Open Post

March 2021 Open Post

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

Before we proceed, a heads up to readers — my book Inside a Magical Lodge is now available in a new edition from Aeon Books. This was my third published book, and the first that really broke new ground; it’s still the only thing in print on how to start and run a traditional lodge — and since more than 25 years has passed since its original publication, and the list of lodges I’ve belonged to and degrees I’ve received in that time fills more than a page in 12 point type, I’ve been able to do some useful revisions. By and large, the book held up well, but 10-15% of the content is new and I’ve been able to correct some errors and expand some discussions in directions I think readers will find helpful. If you’re in North America, you can order it here; anywhere else in the world, here‘s your source. Knock once and then three times on the door, give the secret password, and check it out. 😉

With that said, have at it!

630 Comments

  1. What would be the best careers in a deindustrial society? I am a 22 year old about to graduate from university with an bio-engineering degree, and I am open to most careers related to ecology & agriculture generally. But what are all the best options? Any ideas would be appreciated.

  2. Good Morning All,

    Hope everyone had a pleasant Spring Equinox!

    The plant life around me is starting to go bonkers with the lengthening days.

    I write this post today as I am interested in making local connections with folks that read JMG’s material. I feel a sense of kindred with most everyone whom comments/reads this blog and feel it could be helpful and beneficial for those of us whom may reside within the South, South-Central, or Southwestern Oregon area to form a group. Could be online, could be a potential for a meet-up sometime in the future. I suppose those from Northern Oregon could participate, as well. It is a rather large state and given that I currently am not driving my preference would be to keep it more localized to the previously described areas. That being said, part of this will depend on the amount of response I get from this posting.

    About me:

    I began reading JMG’s former blog about the year 2009. At the time, I was rather collapse-minded and very concerned with the peak-oil stuff. I have since mellowed out, not to say I do not have concerns; but they are rather more localized concerns. Namely, how does the local community (within ~150 miles) feed itself, clothe itself, continue passing on (and re-acquire) skills & knowledge, and continue living in an increasingly drought-stricken and fire-devastated region?

    I am taking ‘Collapse Now And Avoid the Rush’ rather more seriously than I have for years. I moved out of the Portland, Oregon area last year and took up an opportunity to expand my farm operation. In previous years, it was more of a side-business. It is an experiment and we shall see how it goes! I am growing the typical market garden produce; with a focus on hot peppers, garlic and dry beans. Many of the veggies are growing, the garlic is thriving, and the beans will go in the ground by mid-May.

    If you, the being reading this posting, are interested; you may contact me at:

    Bill Q u a n s o n a t p m d o t m e

    Pardon the hard-to-read email, trying to protect against the non-meat variety of SPAM; of which is SPAM really even meat? Haha.

  3. Hi JMG,

    The new revision looks pretty interesting. I have never done anything serious with ceremonial magic, but I might pick up out of sheer curiosity about secret magical lodges.

    My question has to do with the “Wotan” moment we seem to be going through. You have written quite a bit about how Trump seems to have embodied a Trickster/Shadow archetype, but I still have a feeling there are other forces in play here. On the one hand, we have the woke/corporate/institutional forces, which some people have argued are a manifestation of the “devouring mother” archetype, and on the other hand we have overtly patriotic/paranoid/conspiracy forces which I am having a harder time defining.

    I have various allegiances and sympathies to both groups, and perhaps putting them in a binary is part of the whole problem. Anyway, I am just trying to avoid being possessed by any ideologies, as more and more people seem to be, and surf along with the tide as best I can.

    The Wotan story ended in a fairly cataclysmic way. Are we really in the grip of such a thing right now, or is this the standard cognitive dissonance and dysfunction that comes along with the Long Descent?

  4. In energy news:

    Record US solar installations
    https://www.euci.com/u-s-set-a-record-for-solar-installations-in-2020-a-record-poised-to-fall-in-2021/?x=56527v242282Sy&utm_campaign=032421_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    Rate impacts of intense weather events
    https://ctexaminer.com/2021/03/20/on-friday-state-regulators-announced-they-would-limit-eversource-cost-recovery/

    Backed by Bill Gates, Nuclear is Great Again
    https://www.etftrends.com/tactical-allocation-channel/safer-than-coal-backed-by-gates-access-nlr/

    Regional divergence in the path forward
    https://trib.com/business/energy/bills-to-defend-wyomings-coal-industry-clear-house-head-to-senate/article_08e4944a-4f4e-5563-9925-9411d230391c.html

    Speaking of EVs
    https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/22/bmw-and-pge-team-up-to-prepare-the-electric-grid-for-millions-of-evs/

    LNG terminal project terminated
    https://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/news/annova-lng-aborts-export-project/

    Political Winds and Wind Projects
    https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063728059

    “They” need to do something!
    https://www.euci.com/electric-grid-threatened-by-climate-change-federal-agencies-need-to-do-more-gao-says/?x=56262j242282Sy&utm_campaign=031721_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    Sausage-making at its finest
    https://www.rollcall.com/2021/03/15/top-democratic-tax-writers-differ-on-clean-energy-breaks/

    The Standard Run is still the best guide
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-three-biggest-coal-users-040100380.html

  5. Separate from the energy newsfeed, I have a question for the group on a totally different subject. Particularly (though by no means exclusively) those members of the commentariat who are subjects of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, directly or indirectly:

    Could someone please explain to me the whole Harry/Meghan bruhaha? Especially this latest Oprah interview? It popped up in my field of awareness via popular media, but I didn’t bother to delve into any of the details. I’m trying to understand the interest, honestly.

    Any assistance would be appreciated. I find myself rather perplexed.

  6. About 20 years ago I assigned the first edition of this book (along with other readings by other authors) to a small group of undergraduates at my university who were interested in doing an independent study course on how to work magic. They got a lot out of it. I thought, and stil think, that it’s one of our host’s most profound works. I’m looking forward to reading the revised edition!

  7. Hey JMG what do you think about Franz Bardon’s work Initiation Into Hermetics? Would you recommend this path to aspiring magicians as opposed to the Golden Dawn system?

  8. What is your take on all the shortages? Their is a shortage of electrical breakers, it’s because a factory closed in Mexico. A shortage of this and that steel products, it’s because of tariffs. A shortage of fill in the blank, we have an excuse. So on and so forth down a shockingly long list. Covid is always the ultimate thing to blame, it’s all covid. Really? I suppose that microchips and steel and electrical breakers were just things that we considered unimportant, those industries must have all shutdown as non-essential…

  9. @Adrian Smith: You can find Volume 1 of The Underground History of American Education on Thriftbooks and other sites for less than $20. The complete work runs around $70-ip. That’s paperback, I think.

  10. @ JMG (and anyone else) – Short version of a longer story; last week, I was talking to a contractor that was working on my house, and he said that the price of just about every building material, from plywood to concrete to prefab building materials, has gone up, in most cases a three or four fold increase, since the pandemic started last year, and has stayed high. I doubt that Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a uniquely hot building market, so I asked him why he thought prices have stayed high, even though many of the supply chain issues should have been worked out by now, at least regarding COVID. His response was that prices always go up, and rarely come back down, which is, I suppose, of saying inflation happens. I wouldn’t have paid this situation too much mind, except that we are, locally at least, seeing declines in the availability of food stuffs as well. It’s becoming a new normal that, for instance, only one or two loaves of bread, will be in a spot on a shelf that used to hold four or more. And this is true, to use the example, all down the bread isle, not just on a specific brand or type or bread. Are you seeing similar availability issues on basic goods in Rhode Island?

  11. Hello JMG!

    I was wondering what your recommendation for how long working through the Celtic Golden Dawn material should take for a relative newbie to magical practice. I have read the book through and am planning on starting practice soon. The book itself provides some flexible milestones at each grade, but I don’t want to move too fast, or too slow. Is a year per grade reasonable assuming I move through all the grades? Also, though I don’t have The Mysteries of Merlin yet I am excited about working through it as well. I see it is also structured by Ovate, Bard and Druid, should these be worked side by side? Or would it be better to go through this book after CGD? Thanks in advance for your consideration! I truly appreciate your work and your approach and perspective on the occult.

    Sincerely,

    Chris

  12. I was thinking about how you said transformation only happens on an individual level. Where does that leave collective experiences like helping to build the Transcontinental Railroad or fighting in World War II? By definition you couldn’t do those things on your own and the defining feature of such experiences is taking part in something much bigger than yourself, alongside a lot of other people. They change how the people and the larger societies see themselves. Couldn’t something like that prime a mass transformation?

  13. Stagnation all-over, that I see evaporating out of people I know personally and from the media. Also plenty of unfocused energetic outbursts of protest against the looming doom that is encroaching upon us people and suffocating us under its grey blanket.

    In a group meeting yesterday, where we went from moaning about the situation, to reflecting on alternatives, to a sort of cheering hope of positive perspectives we may follow. Like the stagnation I see surfacing everywhere, I see also a strong urge for positive visions and goals which are obtainable. Even I must admit a bit pessimistically that I deem them often illusionary. Technotopians are now also widespread in Corona times hoping for technical solutions to the pandemic. The sceptics from various sides have hopes that go from magically magic resurrecting us from the evil conspiracies, to a great mighty leader that may be our saviour in this times of turmoil.

    So this tiny virus gives us some insight into our future; A deteriorating time of BAU full of exhaustion, devastation and stagnation, perforated occasionally with cheering hopes and deeds following any positive perspectives to alternative ways of life.

  14. Among other things ( higher ed, health care) I predict a quick collapse of the main stream media in the U.S. I find it odd that they wanted so badly to get Trump out of office but now that he is gone they find their viewership trends that were in place before 2016 ( rapid declines) continuing. It is no wonder because they spend most of their time on social justice witch hunts and making excuses for the Biden administration. The later part has gotten so bad that a week ago I coined the term , ” The B.A.M” ( Biden Apologist Media) to replace the old term MSM as it seems more fitting. Weather you agree with such an approach to news, it certainly creates a lack of motivation to tune in to the TV news. ” Turn on the TV dear, I want to find out why it wasn’t the presidents fault that he fell down the stairs”.

  15. Greetings, Ecosophians! In discussions over the past year about the perils of political magic, I’ve been thinking of Merlin, the most famous magical political operative of them all.

    Did Merlin’s magical meddling with kings and battles play a role in his downfall? Was the downfall of Arthur’s kingdom a failure of Arthur and his court, or was it built upon a foundation of guaranteed negative magical blowback? Why does Malory depict the wise Merlin meeting such a humiliating (and totally foreseen) demise?

    Dion Fortune, in ‘Sane Occultism’, Chapter 10, has this to say: “An occultist must make his choice between being a teacher of spiritual things and a leader in the affairs of the world, for he cannot be both; he cannot be within and without the veil at the same time; if he attempts it, though no doubt he will, with his knowledge, exercise great influence on the affairs of the world, he will find that he has paid the price in the clouding of his spiritual vision and the loss of the power to discern between the ‘still small voice’ of the Spirit and the promptings of ambition.”

    I’m open to other interpretations of the Merlin story… what do people think?

  16. Hi JMG,

    My (perhaps incorrect) understanding of the traditional Western occult view on the human condition is, basically: it never really improves because the humans that–through their incarnations–become wise and virtuous enough to create a better world “graduate” to “higher” systems of reality. Their vacancies are then back-filled by “less-developed souls” arising out of the animal kingdom. Thus the “moral state” of humanity remains level.

    With the above framework (which, again, could be way off) in mind, I struggle to find motivation to engage with the world. Why fight for anything outside oneself? Why not, instead, simply focus solely on improving the self?

    Or maybe I can ask the question in a different way:

    From the traditional Western occult perspective, what is the utility of active engagement with the world, vs. the pursuit of individual enlightenment? Why storm the beach at Normandy to end the horrors of the Third Reich–when similar such horrors will be recreated again and again in future times and places?

    My guess at an answer would be: active engagement with the troubles of the world provides a useful source of resistance that provokes spiritual growth.

    Would love to know your thoughts, thanks!

  17. Dear Archdruid, I wanted to ask you a question with regard to your vision of the mentality of people in the far future. In your older blog posts you sketched out a vision where most people of the future view modern day society as highly destructive, wasteful and evil due to its environmental neglect. From what I understand, they would be something along the likes of “hard-minded environmentalists” – people who would be deep green by modern standards, but at the same time also be conservative, pragmatic and practical people, not particularly obsessed with dreams or abstractions in general..

    With regard to these people though, I was wondering – what would their social configuration be like? Would they be more similar to highly theocratic/religious types that were common in the west during the middle ages, or more similar to tribal types, with a warlike behavior and a chaotic society (i.e. the Mongols in Genghis Khan’s time)? Would the outlook of these people with regards to relationships and marriage also be more traditional, or do you think some of the modern features of the sexual revolution (i.e. lower birth rates, smaller difference between genders) be maintained in this time as well.

    Also I apologize if you have already answered this question somewhere, if you want to link to one of your earlier writings, I can look for the answer there too.

    PS: I was brought to ask this question based on the friendly interactions that I have observed between the more social traditionalist end of non-mainstream Western thinking and the more deep green end. As examples of this – Paul Kingsnorth’s recent conversion to Orthodoxy, your friendly interactions with Rod Dreher, or Kunstler getting featured on the same arch-conservative website as Rod Dreher (or even older examples – the Christian techno-critic Jacques Ellul etc.). All of these interactions got me to think whether the future might involve some kind of fusion or mixing between social conservatives and deep greens, hence the question.

  18. Two quick questions:

    JMG, have you decided what the next text will be for the monthly book club here? I gain the most from your posts when I’ve read the chapter in the advance, and I’d like to do that ahead of April’s post, if possible.

    Also, to our host and the entire commentariat: in a recent comment, JMG mentioned that soon we might need to dust off the term “stagflation.” For those of us too young to have lived through it, can anyone recommend a good economic/social/political history of the 70s period of stagflation? Ideally, something similar in rigor and accessibility to Galbraith’s The Great Crash, though alas, books of that calibre are so rarely written these days…

    Thanks to all!

  19. Dear Archdruid,
    Since this is an open post, I just want to point how revolutionary your teachings has been to me. Nowadays, in public I’m a law abiding, somewhat materialistic and leftist-leaned citizen, and in private, I’m a (prospect of) mage, occult student and mistery seeker. Needless to say what side is more interesting.
    I’m absolutely delighted and surprised with all the changes and sincronicities I’m seeing through time. In this process, it’s encouraging to read other Ecosophians asking things like “I’m doing LBRP/MP/whatever and I felt X, is it normal?”. It helped me to know I’m not becoming mad. Maybe we could write a catalog of weird reactions and feelings caused by meditations/rituals/divination/journaling, etc.
    Previously in my life, I only knew that I have afflicted Venus in my natal chart, and that’s why I asked you in a MM how to foster a relation with that inteligency. I did what you told me and the least I can say now is I’m feeling blessed by Her.
    Also, I’m reconsidering seriously my prior decision in order to not join a masonic Lodge. I received some suggestions to join almost every Lodge in my town, and I’m thinking on knock the door of one of them.
    Finally, a special mention to Kimberly Steele, whose advice and Ogham mastering have been an enormous help. Thanks, Mrs. Steele.

  20. Hello All,
    I’m here to remind you that the 4th (sort of) annual Ecosophia potluck will be held June 19, 2021 (also Juneteenth!) from 2 PM on at 148 Congdon Street, Providence, RI (AKA: the house behind the Charles Dexter Ward Mansion). Once again, please sign up here to ensure that 7 different types of potato salad will be represented. Last summer’s potluck was delayed to the become the First Ecosophia Autumnal Equinox potluck, and a good time was had by those who attended.
    In regards to the virus which shall remain nameless, RI currently limits outdoor social gatherings to 50 people. We have consistently failed to reach that number in the past. As leader of the Charles Dexter Ward ward of the New Independent Order of Anti-Poke-Noses, I will gladly tell any Poke-Noses to buzz off, or words to that effect.

  21. Kind of a follow up to Samurai_47 – where does this scapegoating ritual taking place against one side end? I don’t even think the instigators know, or do they? If not, I’m pretty sure I know what scapegoating taken to it’s logical/teleological (experimenting with a word here) end is. Which has certainly happened before.

    Part of me hopes that some part of the USA group soul/egregore has some buried virtue that would prevent things from getting too bad. For instance, if a certain line were crossed it might rouse people from their slumber.

  22. @Chris Jones

    I went into the CGD as a total noob. It’s taking me longer than most. The ovate grade lasted two years, and I am three years into the Bardic grade, with a ton of work left to do. You will probably go faster than I have, but one thing I learned is that timelines are useless in this work. JMG gives minimum guidelines to prevent rushing. That said, it takes how long it takes–likely somewhere between his minimum four months and my two years for the ovate grade. The more experience you come in with, the faster it will likely go. I came straight in from not even realizing that magic existed outside of stage and fantasy.

  23. Dylan, not all versions of the Merlin story end in failure as such. Rather, Merlin has his ups and downs, depending on the version of the myth of Merlin.

  24. Ben – we are seeing something similar up here in the northwest corner of the US. My husband is a contractor. Although he is busy, he is having to change how he prices projects to allow for rising prices of literally everything building related. He is letting everyone know the same thing your contractor told you, that prices are going up and they rarely come back down. People are continuing with their projects, at least for now, but making adjustments to their plans to use materials more efficiently.

  25. Dear Commentariat, I have had a few folks contact me for Racing Stripe Cabbage seeds, definitely available nowhere else. Deeply savoyed blue green leaves, with a magenta racing stripe and delicious broccoli florets.
    If anyone else would like some, contact me at handle below 2013 notorious symbol notorious gmail.
    Nice to see so many other mad plant breeders here.

    Raphanus

  26. To all Ecosophians in the St. Louis, MO area: we will be gathering together around 9am on the morning of April 24 for conversation. Where we meet will depend on the weather. If you would like to meet with us and you don’t already have contact info for me, you can email me. Use my name as given at the top of this comment and follow it with the email server att.net and you will reach me. I’ll put you on the list to receive info on exactly when and where we’ll meet.

    Claire

  27. I have two questions for everyone here that came from last months open post. Last month I asked about fantasy novels. I got a huge list and have started into them with zest. My first question is lots of folks recommended Lovecraft. He has been on my list for a little while but I have been wondering is there any recommended order to read his stuff?
    The second question is that there was talk last month of the value of learning to become a bookkeeper. I was wondering how one would learn that skill?

    Finally a question for David by the lake. Do you have a good recommendation for something like a college text book intro to how the grid works.

    Thanks everyone

  28. Daniel, nobody knows yet. One thing that seems very likely is that if you have skills that enable you to produce goods and services for human beings, rather than just feeding the corporate machine with your labor, you’ll be able to land on your feet no matter what happens. By the way, I hope you don’t have a lot of debt — if you do, getting that paid off should be a priority. With the economy in its current condition, that could prove to be a critical vulnerability.

    Samurai, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the Changer is the only archetype currently in play! Quite the contrary, what we have here is a situation where a collective repression is breaking down, and a flurry of archetypal forces are constellating. As far as I can tell, Wotan isn’t one of them, so we may be able to avoid Götterdammerung — but strange days are unquestionably ahead.

    David BTL, thanks for this!

    Michael, I don’t have anything in mind at the moment — my main fiction project these days is a trilogy about magic in which all the magic is stuff people can actually do — but we’ll see.

    Robert, thank you for this. (Did you get my email in response to yours about Kahane and Kahane, etc.? I’ve been having more emails vanish of late…)

    Carlos, it’s a valid system in its own right and I know people who’ve gotten very good results by doing it. The one crucial rule to keep in mind — and of course this applies to every structured course of magical training — is to do everything exactly by the book, and don’t go on to any step until you’ve finished the full range of mental, psychic, and physical training on the previous step.

    Mollari, people who are terrified of something they can’t handle thinking or talking about reliably find something else onto which to project their fears, and engage in frantic ritualistic activities to control the “something else” in order to keep their real fears at bay. Irrational? Sure, but we’re not rational beings. That’s what’s going on with the coronavirus. It’s an ordinary respiratory virus and the vast majority of people have nothing to fear from it, but it makes a great distraction for privileged classes who are trying not to notice that progress has given way to regress and the basis of their power and wealth is crumbling away from beneath their feet.

    Anon, it’s not the virus. The global economy is tipping over into contraction, and that’s causing supply chain problems. Once the current stock market and Bitcoin bubbles pop — my guess is that we’re within a year of that — we may see some very hard times.

    Ben, the word for this is “stagflation” — we had a lot of it back during the 1970s. Shortages, supply chain disruptions, rising prices in an environment of unadmitted economic contraction — it’s a familiar landscape. Yes, this is happening in Rhode Island too. I’d be amazed if it wasn’t happening everywhere in the US, and in some other countries as well.

    Jeanne, thank you for this! Yes, I saw that, and yes, it’s a great example.

    Chris, the minimum for each grade is 4 months in Ovate, 8 months in Bard, and 12 months in Druid — but I’ve never seen anyone complete it that quickly. Three to five years is a good average. As for The Mysteries of Merlin, you can work that alongside the course of training in The Celtic Golden Dawn — there’s a section in back that explains exactly how to do that.

    Yorkshire, in a certain sense, sure, but no two people involved have exactly the same experience, and in some cases the experiences differ radically. I’m thinking of two guys I knew who fought in the Second World War. One of them came back strengthened — he’d confronted his fears and thereafter nothing worried him too much. (He’d taken out a German machine gun nest single-handed in the Battle of the Bulge, so there was reason for that.) The other helped liberate the concentration camp at Dachau and never recovered emotionally from that experience — he desperately wanted to believe in God but could no longer do so. Same war, different transformations…

    Hubertus, nicely summarized. It’s only those hopes that give rise to deeds that matter, of course.

    Clay, spot on target. Did you hear that the HuffPo laid off a third of its staff a little while ago? Dull sycophantic media is just as dreary now as it was when Trump was in office…

    Dylan, I’m going to sit back and listen…

    Balowulf, good. The Bhagavad-Gita is about that exact question, and its answer is just as relevant in the Western occult tradition: it is by engaging with the world that you have the experiences that enable you to transcend the world. Dion Fortune uses the metaphor of a yacht race; each yacht has to round the buoy at the far end of the course before turning back. In the same way, each soul has to engage with the world, and with the specific duties and challenges the world brings it according to its karma and its individual destiny, in order to develop the capacities that enable it to rise beyond the human level. If you just hole up and try to pursue individual enlightenment, you fail.

    Sam, the future is a very, very big place. If we assume that human history will continue at least as far in the future as it extends into the past, there will be tens of thousands of different nations, cultures, societies, and civilizations in the future, and each of those will have the usual diversity of people in it, ranging from pragmatic conservatives to idealistic dreamers. Furthermore, since all our ideas about the future are conditioned by our own cultural backgrounds, our capacity to foresee what wholly different cultures will do is limited by that conditioning! So the answer to your question is “all of the above” — there will be settled societies and chaotic ones, sexually restrictive societies and sexually permissive ones, conservative eras and liberal eras, and more, far more than we can even imagine.

    (One of the massive blind spots generated by tacky media faux-futures such as the Star Trek franchise is the mistaken notion that the future will be characterized by bland uniformity — everyone thinking the same thoughts, living the same lifestyles, embracing some suffocatingly narrow range of options that always works out to what’s fashionable among today’s urban intellectuals. Fortunately that’s not a fate we have to worry about.)

    Barefootwisdom, I’m still waffling. I’ll announce it, and provide some context, on April 14. As for stagflation, that’s a good question to which I don’t have an answer. Anyone else?

    Edu, I’m delighted to hear this. I had a lot of help from several more experienced occultists earlier in my own learning curve, and decided early on to pay it forward. I’m glad it helped.

    Peter, huzzah! I plan on having a couple of boxes of my books for sale at discount prices, btw, to add to the festivities — and barter might also be an option.

    Youngelephant, I’m pretty sure that what’s going on is that a very large number of Americans are frantically trying not to deal with the end of our nation’s imperial era, and that that’s what’s driving the shrieking. Once something happens to put a definite full stop at the end of that era, I suspect things will quiet down considerably. More on this in a forthcoming post!

    Will O, (1) nope — Lovecraft’s stories aren’t in any kind of connected sequence. (2) Most community colleges offer bookkeeping classes, last I checked, and if there’s a business school in your area that also should teach you what you need to know.

  29. Dylan, if I’m remembering this rightly the Irish monasteries were major players in the power structures from post-Roman times to the end of the medieval era. They still seemed to do all the things monasteries are supposed to do. So apparently some people can pull off the combination of spirituality and politics.

  30. The first question got me wondering… I know that it’s not really possible to predict the future, but I’m wondering about time frames on de-industrialization and decline. With very general notions about the US (would you JMG or others) have a guess on when certain features of our time may become rare rather than nearly universal. For instance, I think that JMG and others in the commentariat have thought that general access to the internet will start to noticeably decline in the 2030s (can’t find an actual post just what I seem to remember). Any guesses about other things that are commonly available now: long distance travel, long distance shipping of goods, interstate roads, communications like phones, electricity. I’m guessing that the longer the period since the introduction of something the further out the widespread decline/loss. For instance, do you think it’s likely that most people in moderately urban areas will have electricity 100 years from now?

    Second question, which I think has been asked before but again can’t find a specific post. The increase in the advocacy of censorship. Is that likely to be a continuing trend in an era with Saturn as a strong influence?

  31. JMG, thanks for the response. Luckily my tuition is entirely paid off, so I won’t have any debt problems. I get the general idea of having goods and services to trade in the future, and from that idea I think long term I would like to become a farmer of sorts, but I have to learn it all very soon. From your old blog post Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush, you mentioned that farming was a very complex trade and that most are not willing to become a farm hand to learn. Luckily I might be able to do that, as my career is just starting and I’m not limited by money at the moment. I’m currently reading your books ‘Collapse Now & Avoid the Rush,’ ‘The Long Descent,’ and ‘Dark Age America,’ in that order, so I have the best idea for what the future will be like and what I can do to prepare for it.

  32. This might be better asked during a magic Monday session, but I’ll float it here all the same – one of the things I am most stuck on after reading The Cosmic Doctrine is the ‘thrust-block’ concept. Casting about for case studies, I had the idea that Donald Trump during his tenure as #45 might be an example of ‘thrust-block’ activity going on in public – the more people hated him, the richer he seemed to get. Would it be possible to relate his behavior and how it plays or played out in the world to the ‘thrust-block’ concept in a way that helps us understand what Fortune was describing?

    David BTL, as a Canadian citizen it does seem everyone has an opinion on the Harry-Meagan brouhaha, and what precisely is going on is obviously a hotly contested question. My own opinion – and it could well be wrong – is that the house of Windsor’s behavior in this matter closely follows the ‘heir and the spare’ playbook. As I understand that practice, if all goes well, the heir inherits the throne and business as usual continues. If the population turns against the monarchy in a serious way, the spare is technically next in line but was very publicly a black sheep, able to align with the people against the old system. The disagreement is largely ideological and genuine as far as it goes, but the acrimoniousness of the disagreement is played up in the tame press – Britain’s ruling class has had a ‘loyal opposition’ for a very long time.

    As for the nature of the disagreement between the heir and the spare, I’ve avoided learning too much about it because it’s irrelevant in my mental model. If you want to know the particulars that are meant to keep the population engaged you could watch the Oprah interview for the Spare’s side of the story, or the Daily Mail for the Heir’s.

  33. “By the way, I hope you don’t have a lot of debt — if you do, getting that paid off should be a priority. With the economy in its current condition, that could prove to be a critical vulnerability.”

    Could you elaborate on your thoughts are on this? It seems that fixed rate debt is on it’s way to inflating to meaninglessness, rather like everybody’s assets. On the other hand, I could see living a lifestyle dependent on a debt accrual could become seriously problematic…

  34. @ Will O

    Re “the grid”

    A well-packed question!

    First, full disclosure: I am not a “double-E” (electric engineer), but an applied math geek (with an undergraduate in history, of all things). However, a standard college text in power system analysis will get you started on the physics.

    There’s a lot more to it, though, and a couple of other resources you might explore would include your state public utility commission website (look for “resources” or other links to background information). Another would be one of several independent system operator’s public websites, which would have similar pages. Here’s a section of the MISO (Midcontinent ISO) website that you might find useful:

    https://www.misoenergy.org/stakeholder-engagement/training2/learning-center/

    At the federal level there’s FERC (which regulates several industries, not just power):

    https://www.ferc.gov/industries-data/electric

    So there’s the pure physics, but there’s also the regulatory part. Something else to bear in mind is that the “power grid” is not an isolated thing, but is intricately connected with other grids (e.g. the natural gas transmission system).

    Also, the DoE (Department of Energy) is a good resource generally. Here’s a link to a primer on transmission, but there’s a lot more to be found on its website:

    https://www.energy.gov/oe/downloads/electricity-transmission-primer

    You can probably find some good lectures on Youtube as well.

    Hope this helps!

  35. @JMG,

    I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about the concept of an American “Imperial Wealth Pump” that is supporting the lifestyles of the American middle and upper classes at the expense of the American Empire’s subject nations. I am trying to find information that will round out my view of how the American way of empire works, but I am running into the problem that most people who see America’s relationship with the rest of the world that way are hard-core socialists.

    But both myself, and pretty-much everyone else in the right-wing political circles in which I grew up, knows that hard-core socialism is also a pretty good way to wreck a country’s economy – I am thinking, for instance, of Kwame Nkrumah, the 1st president of Ghana, who originated the concept of “Neo-Colonialism” when looking for something other than himself to blame after being overthrown in a coup brought on by his political repressions and his massive buildout of unprofitable state-owned enterprises.

    So naturally the question is: Where would I go to get a thorough history and description of the “American Way of Empire” from someone who is not a Marxist and whose criticism of the USA is free of any complementary admiration for the USSR? Do you have any source reccomendations?

  36. I’ve seen many discussions and commentary framed as “my truth” or “their truth” (and then there is “the truth” of course); isn’t the word truth being misused in the case of “my/their/our truth”?

    Thank you in advance for your insights on this.

  37. Anon #10:

    I never thought I’d be writing this, but apparently there’s a shortage of plastics too. Plastics.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/global-plastic-shortage-triggered-texas-deep-freeze

    Last summer we installed almost 300 feet of perforated plastic drainage pipe from the south side of the house to a nearby creek in order to keep melting snow water from entering our cellar. (It worked! Yay! No more water dripping into the cellar!) We also dug a 4 foot deep, 200 foot long trench from the house to the barn in order to supply the latter with water and electric with both the water line and the electrical cable are encased in PVC conduit for protection. We can’t claim any ability to discern the future, but if we’d waited until this year to do the job we’d no doubt be paying considerably more for the same amount of pipe.

    Ben #12 and others:

    We have noticed the steep increase in prices of lumber and building materials for projects here on the farm. Mr. Beekeeper worked much of his career in industrial and commercial construction so buying building materials and having ongoing projects has been almost a way of life around here and he knows, usually to the penny, what different suppliers are charging and what they charged last year or the year before. If only he’d remember the things I tell him so precisely.

    I’m wondering what this price escalation will do to all of the housing starts, at least here in Vermont, that were begun in response to folks escaping Boston and New York City for the Green Mountains. There are a few homesites in our immediate area that have been cleared, but nothing more’s been done. I can’t tell if that’s in response to winter weather or the construction having become now unaffordable.

  38. @Will, try Accounting 101 at a community college. They often have a night class. If you are unable to attend, get a used and dog-eared basic accounting textbook and work through it. Although in this online age, there are probably lots of internet options from local community colleges.

    Raphanus

  39. JMG- Molly Wolejko showing up at the end of Seal of Yueh Lao sent me back to one of my old battered paperback favorites, Gael Baudino’s Gossamer Axe. It’s a time travel-music-magic fantasy about a 6th century Irish harper in 1987 Denver discovering that heavy metal music could defeat the sidhe bard who kidnapped her (she broke free) and her girlfriend (who didn’t.) Two things struck me, hard.

    First, that the timeless perfection of The Realm was shown as a sterile twilight nightmare of shallow perfection to the captives; quite unlike the pleasant pastorale Miriam discovered in Dreamlands. But a nightmare I think your metal heroine Molly would recognize at a glance. One of the Sidhe says “This is my home and I wander through it. But it is dead. …my world is pale, my people are mere shadows…I want lovers who pledge their hearts, not just the occasional use of their bodies….” and the captive tells the bard “Your music neither changes nor grows. You have not changed one note of any of your songs since I first heard you, because you cannot.” The Realm is all seeming and no substance. One wonders what sort of Denver neighborhood – or housing development – Baudino grew up in. I think we all can guess.

    The second is that music – the right frequencies, chords, modes, and combinations – can literally kill. The keyboardist in the ex-harper’s metal band tweaks “Light My Fire” just the least little bit and blasts the ghost of her disgusting father – and behind him, the Sidhe bard – to cinders. It can also heal, and Christa, the time traveling fugitive, uses it so – a lot. And when The Realm is blasted to rubble and the captive rescues, the stories deuterantagonist, a bluesman, goes in and brings both healing and change to the Sidhe.

    Pat, who once used music to express or change my moods a lot, before hearing losses and digitization of broadcast music turned the old melodies into a cacophony of squeaks and squawks, with some wonderful exceptions.

  40. So I ran across this article by Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism skimming thru the internet today:

    Bitcoin, Easter-Island-ism and the Cowardice of Green New Dealers

    Probably lots of nits to pick in there, but this stood out to me:

    The point here is simple: calling for a ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is the lowest of low hanging climate change fruit. Yet the idea is nowhere to be found in the Green New Deal, which actually should come as no surprise. The Green New Deal refuses in any way to advocate for conservation, unless that “conservation” comes about via additional resource expenditure, like retrofitting buildings. Its proponents appear allergic to anything that might dimly resemble a hairshirt. They serve up the illusion that we can save the planet and keep modern civilization more or less as it is as long as we throw money at building out new “green” tech. This “no sacrifice” isn’t just wrong-headed, it’s destructive, since people who ought to know better will carry on as if no fundamental changes are needed.

    Is this a fair criticism? Or is Yves taking a cheap shot? I keep coming back to the same thing; Al Gore on his private jet lecturing me how I need to ride a bike to work.

    I really interested in hearing what everyone thinks!

  41. JMG,

    Thanks for diverting my consciousness from that thought current. I don’t willfully watch TV anymore but caught like 5-10 mins of conservative programming while visiting family, and I think that’s the sentiment they’re trying to install in their viewers.

    On another note, awhile back you recommended reading dense books a little bit at a time on the toilet. I’m happy to report that I finished the Glass Bead Game almost entirely sitting on the pot. This practice also makes for fun conversation starter during moments of silence in social settings. I imagine I’ll be doing this the rest of my life and highly recommend to anyone else in the commentariat. Thank you for the recommendation!

  42. Mollari said “What do you make of the insistence that we keep the restrictions we’ve put in place in place indefinitely? See the BBC and CNN. These cover both sides of the argument I’m seeing: Covid is so dangerous we will need to stay locked down for safety forever, and we never lost anything anyway, this is way better. It seems utterly insane to me……”

    Of course it’s insane. But if you want a little more insight into the second “this way is better” argument, this article may help shed some light:

    https://lockdownsceptics.org/lockdown-land/

  43. Hi JMG,

    Sorry if I oversimplified your perspective–you have been very clear that the Changer/Trickster archetype is not the only one in play here. I was just trying to take that line of thinking to the next step. The Trump phenomenon is a very clear-cut example of an archetype taking control.

    I was actually asking two questions. The first part but you answered, in that we are in a very chaotic period right now in which multiple archetypes are asserting themselves. While most people would deny there is any such thing, this only makes these people more susceptible to their influences.

    The second part, and this is where I am really interested in your perspective, is how exposed are we in the current environment to a truly dangerous archetypal force taking the reins? I have only been paying attention to this sort of metaphysical phenomenon for a short while. One could argue that archetypes are a permanent feature of human society, and we are never free from their influences, and most people never act rationally, period. On the other hand, a lot of people seem to be crazy as bedbugs right now, and that does not seem normal or typical at all.

  44. @ Will O: Regarding bookkeeping: a close friend withdrew from college after 2 years wasted (in several senses) chasing a degree in sociology. He began taking courses in bookkeeping at the local community college, discovered he loved it, went on to get a 4 year accounting degree, and 40 some years later, recently retired to become a gentleman of leisure. I can’t promise the same, but the community college is where he started.

  45. Will Oberton, it took me a bit to come up with my recommendations but I’ll add them to the pile. The Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix. A lot like His Dark Materials, but the good guys are on the side of magic and the gods. The Castle series by Steph Swainston, which is very difficult to describe.

    If you like graphic novels, Jeff Smith’s Bone and prequel Rose are very funny and also have complex plots and storytelling. As well as the web comics I mentioned last week, Gunnerkrigg Court https://www.gunnerkrigg.com/?p=1 and Girl Genius https://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20021104#.YFuCktynxIJ are top-notch. If you want a surreal and strange Northern England, there’s Bad Machinery http://www.scarygoround.com/badmachinery/ar.php.

    My books about the power grid are about Britain. If that’s close enough, the Open University books Energy Systems and Sustainability and Renewable Energy are excellent, tough they are more about generation than distribution. Crisis Management in the Power Industry by Frank Ledger and Howard Sallis shows how flexibly the grid can be operated, and how much creativity can go into keeping it running, given the right motivation.

  46. Revision!

    Hi JMG, I need to slightly revise my earlier query (embarrassed face). I was looking back through CGD, and realized the intro to each grade shows the recommended time, 4 for Ovate, 8 for Bard and a year for Druid. Silly me. But my question about Merlin’s Mysteries still stands. Sorry for my error.

    Chris

  47. Hi Anon, Ben, JMG and everyone else,
    shortages are certainly not only happening in the U.S.: the carpenter I occasionally employ to do work at my house told me he´s having difficulties getting wood and advised me that if I´m planning any building projects to stock some if I can afford it. In my job (elecrical appliance tester; I wonder how long it´s gonna be before that goes the way of the Dodo…) I get around a lot in local industry and businesses. Recently I worked at big local building materials supplier´s office, and the conversations the staff had with their customers on the phone were quite interesting indeed: there are shortages in almost everything from plastic products like guttering or waste water and drainage pipes to metals like copper, alumin(i)um and steel, and prices are going through the roof. Of course Covid and lockdown measures are beeing blamed, but I think they are only exacerbating an already existing trend. I suppose this is what collapse looks like from within.
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  48. Hi, JMG:

    I have been thinking a lot about your analysis in Strange Days Dawning, and the Dancers at the End of Time posts (which could not be more spot-on, in my humble opinion). The term you used was a “revitalization facsimile” – the comfortable classes taking Don Quixote’s route out of an unbearable reality. The banishment of the Orange One seems to have only fed the delusion that it really is viable to keep operating solely in the mythic mode, where virtue-signaling and fanatic purges of wrong-think are all that matters; all while ignoring pragmatic concerns like the continued immiseration of the wage class. In the long run, of course, this is as unsustainable as ever: but in the meantime, the thousand mile stare of the true believer is starting to look more and more like that on the face of a cult member or a church inquisitor. Your advice at the end of Strange Days: to back away from the crazy, and the three subsequent points, are well taken. As to the fourth, brace for serious trouble: I worry that the backlash to the revitalization movement of the great god Progress could be truly ugly. What do you see as to how much worse our current Jungian psychic epidemic is likely to get before the bubble pops?

    Thank you, as ever, for curating this place, and for cultivating this commentariat.

  49. Hi John,

    You’ve written about the dangers of the mRNA Covid vaccines but is there a need to be concerned about the single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine? Thanks

  50. Hi JMG,

    What do you think the utility of savings is right now? My wife and I are debt free and have saved a fair amount of money in recent years. Specifically, I’m talking about cash in the bank here–not investments, stock, gold, whatever. We just have liquid savings. Our main goal has been to buy a house, but the market is nuts where we live (as it is most places) and so we just keep trying to be patient and wait for the market to come back to earth. Between our savings and credit worthiness, we could buy an overpriced house, but we want a reasonable mortgage that leaves us financial flexibility.

    With all the rumblings of inflation problems, though, I am wondering if that savings will remain valuable? If we go into some version of hyperinflation in the next year or two, the utility of those savings vanishes. At that point, it perhaps wouldn’t have been a terrible idea to buy a house since today’s overpriced house would be tomorrow’s underpriced house. I still don’t think I’m willing to take that risk–if the economy goes haywire I feel a lot better having no debt and money in the bank, even if that money is losing value–but do you have any thoughts on the shape of the economic troubles we most likely face? Will our savings survive the next few years with its value more or less intact? And how real a threat is hyper inflation? It seems like the rest of the world is still too tied into the U.S. dollar–for now–to be willing to sit back and let it go completely to pieces without some kind of coordinated action, but perhaps I’m wrong. (Also, coordinated action doesn’t necessarily mean success.)

    I realize you don’t have a crystal ball, just curious about your thoughts since I value your keen eye and historical perspective.

    Thanks!

  51. JMG in your response to Daniel’s comment you said having a lot of debt could be a critical vulnerability, what would your advice be to a stem major (biology) who has 40K in student loans and no realistic way of paying it back?

  52. The discussion about old (19th century) textbooks made me think about different disciplines, and I have come to a somewhat counterintuitive conclusion. I think mathematics, Latin and chemistry textbooks from the 19th century can be excellent study aids. While a 19th century chemist would have no idea what an sp2 orbital might be, they would be perfectly capable of predicting the reactivity of substances like doubly unsaturated fatty acids.

    On the other hand, I think old text books on history suffer from a huge drawback, which is that so little archaeological information was yet available. In my experience, the older the history textbook, the more it (is forced to) concentrate on rulers, laws and high literature in literate societies, simply because there was comparatively so little information about societies without writing, and about how the great majority of people were living even in literate societies. Three books I have read over the last decade which really opened my eyes to the wealth of information that is available when one fuses literary sources with archaeology:

    David Wengrow, “What makes civilization ?”. A very short book; even if you dislike its framing, the wealth of links about pre-Uruk and Uruk Mesopotamia and predynastic Egypt made my jaws drop. Egypt developed from sedentary fishers to nomadic herders, then in less than 200 years back to a sedentary agricultural monarchy with writing. Nothing like the models of historical development older historians had thought out!

    Guy Halsall, “Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376–568”. It amazed me how much the “barbarians” beyond the frontier had changed before 380 AD and how much they changed during the breakdown of the empire – information that was completely invisible to older historians. In a similar vein, archeology within the former empire shows how widespread trade had been and how quickly it broke down or changed already before 400 AD.

    Florian Curta, “The long 6th century in Eastern Europe”. I had thought of the entirety of Eastern Europe, north of the Danube and east of the Oder, as a timeless static realm of subsistence farmers and was amazed how fast and how profound change happened simultaneously in Romania, Poland, Estonia and east of the Volga.

    In the same vein, several years back I read a paper on Neolithic Britain with focus on megalithic constructions on the Shetland Isles (in Nature or Science, but I can’t find it right now…). I was amazed at the huge and contradictory changes happening over a few centuries, long before Stonehenge was even constructed: adoption of agriculture, abandonment of agriculture, construction of megaliths on the mainland, then only on the Shetlands… These people had fascinating history, even though it wasn’t written down!

    And a review on towns in pre-Roman iron-age Europe: how they appeared, then disappeared, then reappeared and disappeared once more, even before Caesar arrived on the stage.

    And even for much more recent times, painstaking counting of parish records has shown that church attendance was much higher in 19th century or even early 20th century Europe than at any point in the so-called “Middle Ages”, putting to rest old theories about an “age of faith” and “age of reason”…

    To sum it up, while older history textbooks might do a better job at telling what they want to tell than newer textbooks, they are blinkered and restricted by the data they didn’t know about back then.

  53. @Barefootwidsom

    Not exactly what you’re looking for, but, may I suggest “Cities and the Wealth of Nations” by Jane Jacobs. Part of understanding stagflation is understanding that traditonal economics looks at the nation state as the relevant economic actor. Therefore all econ data is an aggregate expressed as national GDP, natiional unemployment, nattional inflation rate, etc. Jacobs takes the vew that import replacing cities are the relevant econ actors, not nation states. There will be stagflation in some places but not in others.

  54. Hi John Michael, I am excited that your book is revised and will definitely be buying a copy! The Celtic Golden Dawn book you mentioned to Chris is a great one that I’m still working through 🙂

  55. JMG,

    I just ordered Learning Ritual Magic: Fundamental Theory and Practice for the Solitary Apprentice and I am excited to start the exercises. I’ve been working on clearing out my poor mental habits and prior childhood traumas first and now I feel that I can start developing underlying skills such as attention and focus before I do any work.

    Also, a while back during a Magic Monday I remember someone asking you if you thought we were just parts of the One. You responded that you thought we were more distinct in relationship with the One and that this was one of the great occult debates. I am not sure if I got the distinction or idea right but my question was why do you come down on the side of us being more distinct? I personally do as well through my own research and intuition but I grew up in more traditional religious structures and am just being introduced to the occult.

    Also, I’m still journaling and mulling over my decision to move to Mexico but the journaling has helped me to see what internal blocks need to be addressed first before I can accurately address the question.

  56. JMG, do you think that vaccine passports will be required soon in the USA, as they are in Israel, and probably will be soon in the UK and EU? (That can deny the unvaccinated the right to travel on planes, go to cultural events, etc)? And if that happens, what do you think the response will be? I am very wary of getting a vaccine as I have a physical issue, that I do not wish to go into here, that is something that has shown up in both the Covid vaccine trials and as side effects in those becoming vaccinated now, hundreds of people. I have reason to believe that I could be vulnerable to that side effect, and in a worst case scenario, it could be quite devastating to my quality of life. But the vaccines are said to be “safe” for those with this condition. i don’t believe they really know. I worry about what my options will be if vaccines become mandatory in the US.

  57. PS: The article on British prehistory was about the Orkneys, not the Shetlands, with special reference to Skara Brae, but I still cannot find it!

  58. JMG, always glad to see your works getting revisions. A few months back someone asked you about reprinting some of your peak oil books. I briefly mentioned that you wouldnt have to change much due to you focusing on the structure of decline rather than the specific figures. A smart move. I can put a little more detail to the few changes. The vast majority of the books are perfectly fine as they are. No changes needed.

    But it turns out I had missed your book `After progress` – I love this one now especially in regards to the concepts of civil religions. The only change that would need to be made, the estimated price of the ITER reactor is now estimated at $25 billlion up from the $17 billion you listed. Only makes your point better.

    The big one for changes would have to be the first chapter of `The long decent` that has the current state of resources as they were mid 2007. A lot has happened since then (as you know) and it would probably need to have a fair bit of additional detail added to bring it up to speed. It was pre financial crash, fracking boom/bust and now the whole hype wagon of electric everything. But it is only the first chapter I found any real issues and it is merely a case of age rather than poor writing.

    Not the future we ordered/Wealth of Nature/Dark age America/Retro future etc. All wouldn’t need a single letter changed.

  59. All,

    I’ve assessed my life and have realized one of my biggest issues is excessive internet use. This is not to say I think all use of the internet is bad, just that as with many people born after the internet came into prominence, I use it more than I think wise, and in light of certain trends which are becoming increasingly apparent regarding the ability to use the internet securely and freely, want to get the alternatives in place now, before I need them.

    As I mentioned however, I was born after the internet became a major cultural phenomena, and so I don’t know for sure how to function without the internet. I have never lacked it, and so I am not sure what changes I will need to make. Some of this I’m sure I can figure out as I go, but knowing how people did things before the internet, or how those who choose to live either without it or restricting its reach will help.

    So, if anyone has advice for things to think about, stuff to get and habits to form, or resources which discuss how the internet has changed society or daily life before it existed, I would love to hear them.

  60. “It’s an ordinary respiratory virus and the vast majority of people have nothing to fear from it, but it makes a great distraction for privileged classes who are trying not to notice that progress has given way to regress and the basis of their power and wealth is crumbling away from beneath their feet.”

    The way the targets for vaccinations needed before we can reopen everything keeps rising just out of reach makes perfect sense now. But there is a deep irony here: the over the top shrieking about this virus and the their reactions has become one of the most important reasons why their power and wealth is going away. The universe does seem to have a wry sense of humour, doesn’t it?

  61. @ Daniel M…RE deindustrial…

    Assuming you enjoy biology, you might want to look at working a commercial farm of some type for a bit. You might want to assess what skills you have (at your age, if you didn’t get them from family or working part-time, you are likely just a laborer in most folks eyes).

    My son got a couple of bio degrees, and now works as a patent attorney – go figure. But for deindustrial, it needs to be something that people actually need. So if you are life science oriented, growing things is a path you have some background for. That being said, it will not pay well – you aren’t going to be filthy rich unless you are extremely fortunate.

    If I had a do-over, I would have taken up my Dad’s offer to set me up in a plumbing business. I have kicked my own ass for that decision for almost a half-century.

    How can bioengineering be parlayed into something you can do and make a living – or is it just a step down the undergrad/master. doctorate stream of life?

    My only real counseling here is for you to use a few years to figure out what you ENJOY doing – and then make your decision. There is no rule that says you cannot try on a few “hats” before you make a plan…

  62. @ Younglephant & JMG…STOP

    Some of my oilfield buddies were talking, and one of them posited USA making a misstep in the sandbox, and the KSA doing another embargo. We all agreed that the simplest way to collapse the largest consumer of oil into a heap is to strangle off their supply. With the US military being the single largest consumer of oil on the planet, what happens when they can’t respond due to shortage of fuels?

    There are a HUGE number of soft spots on the Imperial Beast we ride on….that’s just one. The sinking of a single aircraft carrier would likely send the entire USN into convulsions, as their entire global battle plan is shredded before their eyes. Trying to take guns away from over half the populace of the USA is likely a very hard line for the country, regardless of what happens in DC. If voluntary service in the armed forces continues to decline, and they attempt to reinstate the draft, that is also a huge no-no. And then we have various rationales for secession possible from many fronts.

    The death throes of Empire are perhaps the most dangerous time to live in one…

  63. JMG do you think the US imperial era will definitively be over when the next stock market crash happens? I’ve heard rumors they may try to use crypto to kick the can down the road one more time…. thoughts on crypto’s in place of money printer?

  64. As yet another case in point of why so many people hate and distrust the liberal establishment, get a load of this:

    https://www.newsweek.com/twitter-says-calling-boulder-shooter-white-christian-terrorist-ok-1578284

    Apparently, its perfectly OK for people to claim on Twatter that the Boulder Colorado shooter was a “White Christian Terrorist”, which is patently false considering that he is in fact a Muslim Syrian immigrant. Twatter says these posts were not a violation of their rules against misinformation, which was such an egregious example of hypocritical double standards that even Newsweek, a paragon of the liberal news media establishment, felt obliged to call them out. But when the Catholic Review posted a article describing the incoming Secretary of Health and Human Services as “a biological man identifying as a transgender woman”, that was enough get their Twatter account locked.

    https://catholicreview.org/catholic-publications-twitter-account-locked-over-tweet-about-biden-nominee/

  65. Open Question: If the AstraZeneca vaccine is responsible for causing blood clots, however rare they may be, why are “medical experts” still insisting that it’s safe?
    And why are doctors telling us we should not pick and choose but simply accept whatever vaccine is offered to us first, even the AstraZeneca one?
    It seems we’re not allowed to say “I’d rather have one of the non-blood-clotting vaccines, thank you.”

  66. Solarfed, I definitely want to see groups forming that allow productive local discussion outside of the current MSM groupthink. I’m in Corvallis so a little outside of your geographic range, but I would be interested to be involved at least from the sidelines or to be part of a similar group up this way.

    Re: shortages and lumber prices.

    I use lumber in my manufacturing of seed cleaning machines, though it’s a relatively small proportion of total costs so it is only raising my prices slightly. I have also noticed other seemingly random shortages, as well as an overall shortage of transport capacity that is backlogging freight and especially ocean shipping.

    I suspect that there is some stagflation/long descent involved, but mainly I see this as the inevitable consequence of a disruption to a delicately balanced complex system. The panic and lockdowns last year created a pause in demand for most things. Production then slowed, everything from pumping oil to microchips used in vehicles. There is effectively no space to store surplus production and no financial benefit to building a reserve, so companies shuttered factories and laid off employees. When demand begins to increase again that leads to a shortage. That is half of the equation.

    The other half of the equation is that the global virus freakout has effectively shifted the economy by greatly diminishing or shutting down many of the ways in which the upper classes used to spend their money: namely global travel, vacations, tourism, cruises, hotels, fancy restaurants, etc. These people are instead choosing to spend their money on buying property, building houses and fancy outbuildings, and buying lots of (mostly imported) stuff. That shift in demand helps to explain ongoing shortages and price hikes in some areas, including lumber, building materials, furniture, shipping, and many consumer goods.

    For those who claim prices never go back down, I beg to differ. I’ve seen any number of price bubbles in lumber in the past decade, and I’m sure this is one as well. Prices are so high right now that many construction projects simply don’t pencil out. Projects that have been started or contracted have to buy at whatever price, but new housing starts are dropping like a rock. At the same time, lumber mills are making a killing and are doing everything within their capacity to increase output. Once the balance of supply and demand tips even slightly, prices fall. I would not be at all surprised to see prices drop by half by the end of this year.

    For those who want to read a voice of reason and humanity speaking out against the technofascist uniparty agenda, I want to recommend Tessa Lena: https://tessa.substack.com/

  67. Lady Cutekitten, would you be willing to tell us about your recently finished novels? Do you plan to shop them around or self-publish?

    BoysMom, how’s your mother-in-law doing? I hope she’s healing well.

    Sister Crow – you’ll be in my thoughts Monday (and a little incense will be lit on your behalf). Best wishes and a speedy recovery.

    Lathechuck – I saw your message at the tail end of the last post. I’m nowhere near needing anything at this point, but I sincerely appreciate knowing that small shops like yours can make useful parts. If and when I take the dive, and if it turns out I’ll need unobtainable things, I’ll give a report and a request for ideas!

    And, anyone who’s interested in the various signs of the times, the latest shortage to be noted here at the TR homestead is fencing materials. Apparently they were already in short-supply; lockdown had everyone doing home improvement when last year’s fires wiped out some productive redwood stands. We now have a severely leaning fence (but good neighbors) while we wait until prices come back down a bit and stock to be restocked (maybe?) and fence-builders are less booked after our strong north winds took out everybody’s.

  68. For Jeanne at number 13 (Suez Canal blockage):

    This is rather surprising, because of the identity of the company and the common wisdom in the shipping business. Bulk carriers are sized as PanaMax – can squeeze through the Panama Canal – or SuezMax – can just make it through Suez. Anything that can’t do either is probably a VLCC – Very Large Crude Carrier. Freighter owners know what their ship is, and don’t try to push the limits. Evergreen’s ships mostly carry containers, and are big, but not that big. This accident means that either the Suez Canal’s operating authority goofed on piloting, if they supply pilots, or on canal upkeep – not too likely; like the Panama Canal authority, they have a tradition of adequacy – or Evergreen had a helm issue. They are a company with a reputation for serious employee training and decent safety records, as well as a creative approach to bottlenecks. When they decided to start an airline, and found a shortage of pilots available to an Asian airline startup, they took a couple of dozen volunteers from the deck officers of their ships and sent them to pilot school! (I have ridden the resulting airline, Eva Air, and found it quite acceptable.) I can visualize them using some kind of fancy automation to steer the ship, and not keeping a close enough eye on it. With US Navy ships crashing into freighters or each other, i don’t know whom to trust! i guess that is a normal part of the Decline and Fall toboggan ride…

  69. As part of following along the mundane astrology course I’ve started to make a toy. It takes the tabular output of a version of the open source Swiss Ephemeris and constructs a chart. The difference between the charts it outputs and the ones I generally see online is that the charts that the toy is producing are intended to be highly legible, perhaps to prepress standard. They output in SVG which is scalable and is characterised by smooth lines and clear symbols.

    It’s early days and the work is less than half done but today I reached the stage of getting the signs and mid-heaven in the right place. Ironically I know where the MC is, I just don’t know exactly what it is apart from the cusp of the 10th house. I’ve had to convert the output to a jpeg in order to host it at dreamwidth which has reintroduced the jaggies on some sloping lines, but I think the sample – the beginning of the inauguration chart – shows where this could go to. Houses by method Placidus and planetary positions will be next.

    https://adwelly.dreamwidth.org/file/968.jpg

  70. An earlier poster in a previous post asked about good books for kids and older kids.

    Try the Henry Reed series by Keith Robertson.

    I’ve read the first three: Henry Reed, Inc., Henry Reed’s Journey, and Henry Reed’s Babysitting Service. Don’t know about the other two. They are funny, clever, and even better, have a fun, friendly relationship between Henry and Midge Glass, the only person in Grover’s Corner, NJ who’s his age. The illustrations by Robert McCloskey are spot on.

  71. Grocery store shortages. Dear daughter and I just came home from our weekly trip. Lots of spot shortages, some of them of months long duration now.

    Why is it impossible to buy Pam or store-brand Pam? This is grease in a spray-can for those of you who don’t use it. It has it’s uses and mysteriously, it’s been invisible for months.

    The same is true of many canned meat products, like Spam.

    Is it the metal?

    I don’t believe the issue is the similarity between names.

    There are plenty of others. My advice is to always keep at least two weeks of anything in your pantry and if you see something, buy it.

  72. >What would be the best careers in a deindustrial society? I am a 22 year old about to graduate from university with an bio-engineering degree, and I am open to most careers related to ecology & agriculture generally.

    You want to be a farmer? Don’t need a degree for that. Do you know how to weld? How to diagnose and fix a broken tractor? How to wire up a shed for 220 so you can run your welder and air compressor so you can fix your tractor? There was a guy on youtube who recorded himself doing farmer stuff – you might want to search for people like that if they haven’t all been censored yet.

    In any case, I’ll give my standard advice for anyone in that age range with marketable skills at this moment in time – leave the U.S. and don’t look back. Do it now. Get outside the anglosphere if at all possible. Having to speak a foreign language sucks but I guarantee you, it will suck less than the alternatives.

  73. May I post a shameless pitch for our latest book? It’s even got a quote in it from our esteemed host.

  74. This little thing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism is probably well known to most others here, but I got to know it only recently, for it got some fresh media attention due to some kind of discovery around it. Fascinating, in many ways. So we have a device that (presumably) is capable of predicting the positions of the sun, the moon and the planets relative to earth as well as eclipses decades in advance, constructed roughly 200 BC. And it shows sign of being heavily used back then, for example it seems to have been repaired several times.

    You can find a lot of descriptive content about this machine, but Wikipedia (and the few other mainstream sources I have checked) seem to go out of their way to ask WHY – except for pure geekery – could anybody be interested in constructing and USING such a device REGULARLY… If you don’t like the answer, you should not ask, I guess.

    Have a nice day!

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  75. Ack! Forgot this title/series that combines great boys’ adventures, YA, and crackpot inventors.

    It’s The Mad Scientist’s Club series by Bertrand R. Brinley.

    I read the first book (a series of loosely connected stories) to pieces.

    I believe the science was accurate, too.

  76. @Will O

    I’m currently qualifying as a bookkeeper in the UK.

    I don’t know whether you’re a fan of online course material, but if so this guy is well worth a look: https://www.edspira.com/.

    I don’t know how it works in the US, but in the UK anyone can sit the basic exams at any rate without being enrolled anywhere. You can buy second hand text books for way less than a course is likely to cost you, so it’s worth trying to go it alone at first, at least that’s what my experience would suggest.

    I’ve also found very basic maths helpful (linear equations, ratios, percentages- as in an actual understanding of what they mean in practice not the sort of ‘understanding’ that comes from the monkey training they do at school.

  77. >One of the massive blind spots generated by tacky media faux-futures such as the Star Trek franchise is the mistaken notion that the future will be characterized by bland uniformity

    But isn’t that what the 20th century was about? Mass uniformity, at affordable prices? Every man driving the same cars, wearing the same suits, eating the same sodas and burgers, listening to the same music?

    Although you do get a sense sometimes that the people who write for the Star Trek franchises do vaguely grasp that perhaps, just maybe not everyone will want to be a happy member of Starfleet. But then they usually portray those people as being misguided and wayward with some plotline that gently brings them back into the fold. Either that or they’re mortal enemies that have to be blasted in space. Very little in between.

  78. >What is your take on all the shortages?

    I’ve seen shelves go bare and then stocked and then bare and then stocked. Long wait times for certain parts that would’ve shipped in days. At least you can get toilet paper at the moment. For how long who knows though.

    Basically volatility with a trend towards less and less available over time. I suspect next crisis will probably take out the big box stores although they’ll do their best to revive them. Enjoy them while you can.

  79. @David by the lake

    I don’t follow these things closely, but I am a subject of Her Britannic Majesty and I don’t live in a cave, so here’s my take on it. You essentially have to see the Royal Family as an extension of celebrity culture/ a long running soap opera. Various members of it are alternately vilified or glorified by the media, partly for the sake of variety and partly according to the public mood at the time. It seems that that H&M fell out with main branch, have moved to the US. As such, they lose access to the money the royal family is given to support themselves in the style to which they are accustomed and so they seem to be trying to establish themselves as independent celebrities in their own right and develop their own income streams. I would imagine the interview is a part of that attempt. I’ve no idea how much of what they allege is true and the truth of it is really beside the point. The best part for any connoisseur of irony is that they recently sued a London newspaper for breaching their privacy….

  80. I think we should form a horde. Worked for Genghis Khan. Some of us even have yurts.

    Our horde would be a little more tactful than Genghis’s was. As America continues its collapse, people will suffer from blackouts, brownouts, dangerously crumbled roads, that sort of thing. Our horde would ride into town and, since so many of us have specialized knowledge, we’d fix the problem. We’d get the lights on. We’d stay first-class wherever we went. People would probably make horde reservations, they’d be so eager to have us come.

    Peter, would you like to be Horde Head and Prince of Potlucks?

  81. I would like to tell all of you reporterly minded folks that I met a gentleman the other day who has started a local paper. It is unfortunately not print yet, but is pulling in enough ad revenue to keep the gentleman going, and it is printing actual local news, such as which streets will be closed when for paving, what shenanigans the local mayors have proclaimed, etc. It is of necessity a one-man shop, with some guest opinion writers who are likely doing it free for publicity: I did not ask about that, but they appear to all be local chairs of organizations writing about their pet causes.

    I have no idea if the gentleman has any ecosophian leanings, but he’s certainly on the track of what I desire in a local paper and a good spirited, genial fellow. Perhaps this would be a profitable endevor in other towns as well, now. I suspect giving off the likable vibe is a necessity for anyone entering the field as an independent these days, as reporters are generally highly untrusted.

  82. JMG

    I notice a lot of commentators recommending Bitcoin as they say fiat currencies are ultimately doomed. I know you think cryptocurrencies are vapourware but why do you think think they have become so popular of late?

  83. I thought some people may enjoy this article. It is about a woman who started a game company to teach about oppression.

    https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2021/03/05/toiell-washington-masters-tools-game-company

    She named her company after the book “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” by Audre Lorde.
    She mentions that Lorde is her favorite:
    “The theory suggests that we cannot use the tools (racism, capitalism, patriarchy, etc.) to fix society, because they are the tools that were used to destroy and divide us,” Washington said. “I felt it was very reflective of my games.”

    It’s funny that she mentions capitalism as one of the tools that cannot fix society.
    She’s starting a small business to teach people about oppression. That’s capitalistic.
    She’s done analysis to determine her game does well in college towns. That’s capitalistic.
    She makes a profit from the game and wants to use the money to make other games. That’s capitalistic.

    But the real kicker comes when the article shows a cover of her game. In the bottom right-hand corner are the words Made In China. I almost spit my tea out on my laptop. Are you kidding me? Hello, oppression! Did the author or editor of this article not see the irony running throughout it? I don’t think The Onion could have come up with a better tale.

  84. About stagflation: I’d be interested to see, though I’m not sure where to look, past news coverage of the periods leading up to the 1970s stagflation, or earlier periods of inflation. I’d be interested to see if the press coverage then was similar to what I’m starting to see, where central bankers and journalists acknowledge the risks of inflation but maintain the need for stimulus because turning off the taps, in their view, will create a recession.

    I’m interested, because I’d like to know whether economists foresaw stagflation before it happened but governments of the time were forced by previous policies into that situation, or if it caught them unawares. If I remember rightly, economists felt that you could either have inflation, or you could have high unemployment, but not both at the same time, and when it actually occurred, it was labelled stagflation. Which was another example of reality making mincemeat of an economic theory.

  85. I just noticed someone asking for suggestions on which Lovecraft story to start with. You might want to start with “The Call of Cthulhu,” which will help you understand the Cthulhu Mythos you hear about. Have fun!

    Your local library will probably have at least one collection of Mythos stories by Lovecraft and his friends. Once you finish those, you can cackle with glee at references to things like “the High Priest Klarkash-Ton,” and then go on to Lovecraft’s non-Mythos stuff such as the very scary “The Color Out of Space.” (Lovecraft himself did not distinguish between Mythos and non-Mythos—as far as he was concerned, all his stories were interconnected—but anthologists do draw that distinction.)

  86. I am curious what people’s take on the data for total/excess mortality around the world in 2020 relative to previous years. At worst it seems to be about 10% above baseline for the year of the terrifying coronavirus pandemic (see https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/excess-mortality-across-countries-in-2020/), which barely moves the needle on total mortality little more than a rounding error from its usual rate of 1% per year. That is in contrast with historic pandemics which have a total mortality of up to 50 % in Eurasia (and hints at >90% in the new world during the age of exploration). What interests me is contemplating how our organs of power, whose role is to get an accurate sense of the world around them and wield the limited power at their disposal, have gotten so out of touch with reality. Is it akin to an aging person losing their eyesight and strength at the same time, and seeing a blurry outline of a cat running toward them imagine it is a lion, which they try to strike down even though they are too feeble to even land a blow on the cat? Is this kind of derangement of systems of power simply what we must come to expect in the near future? Is our new role as a wider population to pat our governments on the hand, reassure them things are OK and safely tuck them into a rocking chair until their time comes?

  87. About stagflation:

    Each episode is different, and I don’t know a good book about it. The common features seem to be, first, a usual business cycle recession, the bust following an easy credit boom, when many markets are saturated due to previous overinvestment and sales are falling. This may be worsened by a critical resource shortage; in the Seventies, the US, once a large oil exporter, had recently become crude deficit, and the remaining oil exporters organized OPEC and pounced (twice, 1973 and 1979,)

    The other factor is persistent monetary inflation, after there is no longer a growing volume of transactions to provide an excuse for it. Our current monetary authorities, through much of the world, appear to be mainlining Delusionol, and have come down with the economic central planner’s Messiah complex. They actually seem to believe that they can make the real economy grow by blowing hot air into the currency, the symbol system describing the economy, which the normal people use to coordinate the large part of their work and trading which runs through markets.

    When prices duly start going up rapidly, the authorities will blame this on private sector greed (and, Current Year, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, of course!), and apply the Final Solution To The Inflation Problem – wage and price controls. These will quickly and decisively break the markets, resulting in shortages of practically everything, and widespread grey market trading. Productive business becomes difficult to conduct, especially if an investment has to be made now and recovered over a period of years. Much business activity becomes hit and run; find a supply of something people want, sell it to them at a fair price, which may be three times the official ceiling price, then close down and make yourself scarce before the SWAT team arrives. Finders, expediters, and five percenters become a major economic category. A sociable and high energy person who doesn’t mind being an Enemy Of The People can make a large fortune in a short time. What he has to look out for is the usual problem of people smuggling Western goods into the Communist countries a couple of generations ago; you have eager customers, but what are you going to take in trade? Do you really want seven bushels of Czech Koruny?

    The good news, if any, is that this economic climate encourages home production of useful goods and services, undocumented neighborhood barter, and the formation of a new generation of worker and consumer cooperatives. It would be nice if a new generation of service clubs and fraternal organizations also got started, but that may be another story.

    Incidentally, I was looking a while ago for the old German word for the boom period of a hyperinflation when the wheels come off the real economy – a Crack-Up Boom, in English. I found it! Katastrophenhausse. Just what nobody else wanted to know…

  88. Hello Mr. Greer,

    There is something I just don’t understand about the 2020 election. Okay, there are a LOT of things I don’t understand about that election, but one thing in particular has my attention. It seems obvious that Trump was/is 100 percent certain he won by a wide margin. Most of his followers agree. He had multiple Pentagon generals come forward and call on him to declare martial law in order to run a military tribunal. And yet, he never did. Why?

    Was he afraid of creating a civil war? Was his case far less water tight than he let on? Was the whole thing just showmanship so he could stay in the news and increase his chances of a 2024 campaign?

    Also, Solarfed (Tom), good for you for trying to meet up with other like minded people. I know they are doing something like this over at Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity website. Chris has no emphasis on religion but his collapse views are also peak oil driven. You might find more people there that are like minded. I would reach out to you but I am no where near Oregon.

  89. Hello,
    is there anybody in this commentariat who is living in France? It is my own case, and I am quite confused by what’s happening here.
    The government is trying, and quite openly failing lately, to take measures to contain the pandemic. Not least because the vaccines are being delivered with huge delays.
    But the govt has become really authoritarian, and is now taking measures almost on a whim, it seems, with what is now uncomfortably looking like improvisation. The vaccine delivery delays are also a big part of the problem.
    It seems that other European neighbours are taking similar steps right now.
    What’s particular here is that we have the Presidential election next year. And the party in power is gearing up to replay the winning strategy of the current President’s party at the last election. That brillant strategy was… to bring the far right as sole contender for the last round of the election, to play the role of scarecrow pushing the people into their arms instead.
    There are quite a few ways this could backfire, and then the turmoil and division we will face could be quite colorful. Except if you happen to live in the country itself… Or else it will just be a replay of the last election, with even more abstentees in the polls over the soundtrack of an increasingly useless and bitter public debate.

    I am wondering, you were talking about crisis of mass psychosis. It could be that such crises would also play out in how the public debate polarizes, along lines that don’t really make up any logical political discourse. Where one side takes a position on one topic, and on yet another topic, and so on, while the other side takes the opposite position on each of those topics, but if you take all their positions together no clear political lines emerge for either side.

    Another possibility, virtually unthinkable now so a legitimate black swan, is that France could become a monarchy again. But perhaps even closer to plausibility, that the ruling regime becomes factually authoritarian. This would be especially easy in case of involvement into a major war, where it is more easily accepted to instate a military government. Basically the way that the government has forced to restructure the economy is already a good step closer to a war economy : no cafés, no restaurants, essentially no leisure where you get to talk to people physically. Perhaps just civil trouble, since vast sectors of the economy, and not the most fortunate ones, have been thrown under the bus as a result. Or just the government/Europe printing even more money to pay everybody quiet… Hyperinflation and conflict ala 1930s

    One intriguing notion is that the losers in all this restructuring are for a large part people who are dealing with physical reality daily. It is harder to foment civil unrest when you are paid fat money for sitting in front of the computer handling abstractions all day… On one hand the May 68 insurrections were led by some of the most educated people (students) together with blue-collar workers. On the other hand the yellow vests were made of a lot of the same people who now got to lose a lot because of the economical crises due to the pandemic. And turned out to be a dud, because had no clear idea of how politics work in practice, in spite of having valid ideas about political change itself.

    Any thought from other readers living in France? While the rest of the audience on the other side of the Pond will certainly get to enjoy their turn to fetch some popcorn… (indeed, it’s not fun not be on the stage in that kind of show)

  90. I was talking to my son about the rise in prices in building materials. He said that a 2 X 4 at Home Depot used to be around $2.00. They are now $10. The new joke going around is, the girl says to her date, “Take me somewhere expensive.” He takes her to the lumber aisle at Home Depot.

  91. Hi JMG & barefootwisdom,

    I might recommend Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail by Ray Dalio which will be realeased in August 2021. You can also read all the chapters for free on his LinkedIn account. Even though, the book is not exclusively about stagflation, it provides the big picture for the incoming future using historical data.

    He has written another book, Big Debt Crises, https://www.principles.com/big-debt-crises/. This one is more technical but great if you want to see in details how debt cycles drive economical, social and political responses.

    Regards,

  92. Hello Mr. Greer. I have been digging deeper into the concept of EROI and I have found something I have a question about.

    In thinking about collapse, it is important to tie theory to the real world. You say declining EROI of our energy sources will lead to a gradual decline in societal function. However, I have found some papers that measure the impact of varying EROI on actual prices for commodities and human standard of living. The results produce contradictions with your views.

    For example, if the EROI of oil production declines prices rise very slowly. They only rise rapidly towards the end. This is different from your book, where at times you VERY specifically state that the relationship between peak oil and prices, in spite of boom and bust cycles, should be linear on the longest time frames.

    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/cms/asset/963092e9-5ea6-47ba-a63b-7d7a21608ffb/rsta20130126f03.jpg

    The same relationship can be found between the EROI of a society and the human development index.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513006447#f0015

    ———————————————————–

    This seems like a trivial point, but I think it has major implications for your thesis.

    1) This implies that certain energy sources (ex: renewables) can sustain certain aspects of modern society even if they have very low EROIs. Things like running water, medical care, and consistent electricity may be sustainable indefinitely even without fossil fuels. Society might be poor without fossil fuels, but it may not collapse to the dark ages.

    2) If the decline in living standards due to EROI is very gradual, more gradual than your books imply, then that also implies that we have more time to transition to alternate sources than your books imply.

  93. Esteemed commentariat and Archdruid, lately in the media I’ve been seeing an increasing trend of labeling alternative spiritualities as “conspirituality,” and blaming them for ostensibly dangerous conspiracy theory. The idea, mostly implied but sometimes overtly stated, is that if you’re the kind of fool who would fall for the New Age / shamanism / occultism / witchcraft / fill in the blank, you’re exactly the sort who would shoot up a pizza restaurant. Curious if anyone else has noticed this. To me this looks like an “extinction burst” where waning powers try desperately to (1) come up with things to scare us about and (2) enforce conformity. I expect it to pass, but have some concerns about how much inconvenience it may cause before it does. Thoughts?

    Re: what JMG said about debt as a serious vulnerability–For years I have tried my best to pay off my debt, but now that I’m in middle age it is clear that there is no way I will ever be able to pay off my student loans in this lifetime. For those of us in this predicament, what is the next-biggest vulnerability after debt that we can work on? And/or, short of paying the debt off, what can be done to mitigate it? (If it’s relevant, all my student loans were subsidized federal ones, they are all consolidated, but I went to grad school, so there’s a lot of them.)

    @Will Oberton–I decided I wanted to learn bookkeeping a few years back, and got one of those For Dummies books. That can teach you the double entry method easily enough. It doesn’t get the coveted certification you need to get hired most places, but at least you get a jump on the skillset.

  94. Edu,

    I have Venus in Virgo in my 12th house. It’s pretty afflicted. May I ask what JMG advised you to do and how it worked out?

    Thanks.

  95. Sam, now that JMG has answered your question, I’ll add my two cents. This is not a prediction but an observation about why societies develop in particular ways. My thoughts are partly informed by what JMG has written about how exploitation of new sources of energy made the Industrial Revolution possible.

    Economics drives a lot of the characteristics of a society, although not everything. A society that is left mostly alone to develop usually gets to the point where all the resources that it has the technology and knowledge to use are fully exploited. In the course of getting to that point, the society learns what works, what can go wrong, and how to protect against things going wrong. A society that is fully exploiting its resources is usually socially and religiously conservative, because it doesn’t have spare energy or resources for fooling around. It is geared to avoiding making things worse and discourages people trying to make them better, on the grounds that the best ways are already known.

    Societies aren’t left alone forever, even if they try to close themselves off. If they are right at the edge of their resources, major earthquakes or a long stretch of bad weather can do them in. If they are somewhat open to trade, something that isn’t valuable to them, or is easy to produce, may be traded for tech, animals or other supplies they couldn’t previously afford. They may learn how to make better tools or get other economically valuable knowledge from outside. A society may be conquered, in which case outsiders will control and redirect its resources and labor. That will change what’s rewarded and punished.

    If the leaders of the society convert to another religion, the previous social rules may change a little or a lot. What you are allowed to eat, what kind of family structure, who gets to have children, who gets the most wealth, how much violence the authorities get to exercise are all affected by the society’s religion. The economy and social structure also feed back into the religion.

    Labor-saving devices and other expansions of resources have unpredictable effects. For example, the invention of the spinning wheel in the late middle ages gave free unmarried women in northern Europe a way to support themselves spinning woolen thread for the cloth trade. (That’s how the word “spinster” got its connotation.) An increase of autonomy for them.

    The invention of the cotton gin in the early nineteenth century made cleaning cotton bolls of their seeds less labor intensive. That removed a major obstacle to turning cotton in the field into cotton cloth on a large scale. In the American South, soils that had been depleted by growing tobacco (America’s first cash crop for export) could be productive again by planting in cotton. Clearing new lands for cotton plantations became profitable. The cultivation and picking of cotton in the South was almost entirely done by slave labor. The invention of the cotton gin increased social support for the institution of large scale, racialized chattel slavery, because there was money in it. It probably also led to more tribal lands being seized by white farmers.

  96. Bless you, Temporaryreality! I plan to shop them around first and publish them on Amazon if there are no buyers.

  97. First, I wanted to thank everyone here who dug up info for me on basic mechanical movements. I’m very excited to finally have the right books with just the right info!

    Second, here’s one for Robert Mathiesen-
    (hey, cous! I’m descended from Isaac Allerton too! anyway…)
    I was trying to find the materials from your course Women, Magic and Power; but all I could find was an old course schedule. I am very, very, very leery of having to ‘make an account’ to access online materials- in general, if an account is required, I walk away. And academia.edu requires an account. Is there anywhere else to get the full package of course materials?

    This week I just wanted to relate a story that highlights how difficult it can be for individuals to accomplish worthy projects that groups aren’t doing.

    I’ve been a reader of JMG’s for some eleven years now. I originally discovered Limits to Growth, then found The Oil Drum, and that led me to the old ADR blog, just a couple of months before the big Deepwater Horizon blowout. I rarely comment, but have gained much just from reading what everyone else has to say.

    Over time and the various blogs, the idea has been discussed of the need for a new flowering of the monastic movement, and the founding of monasteries to protect information safely through the dark times ahead. There was also talk about how neopagans can have a real difficult time seeing any value in putting real money into real estate type stuff. Many people in polytheism and/or the occult are lone practitioners, or introverts, or just very independent, and so forth. Herding cats, in other words.

    The instant I saw the monastic idea, it was like coming home: “there, that’s it right there, that’s the thing.” And so I thought to get around the herding cats problem by simply doing it myself. After searching for more than two years, I found a building that I believe would have worked very well. But I was twenty grand short and the price was firm. In today’s real estate prices, 20k is nothing, right?

    Well I tried everything. I talked to my bank… asked about a seller finance… checked out the small business administration… even investigated hard money(scary). Nobody I know has that kind of spare funds. I haven’t a clue how to do crowdfunding; doubt it would work for something like that anyway. After pounding my head against a solid rock wall for a month and a half, I regretfully had to let it go. I don’t think I will try again.

    So the groups don’t want to and the individuals can’t- at least, the non-independently-wealthy individuals can’t. It was quite frustrating, rather depressing, and also, I think, rather instructive. I imagine every civilization that’s gone under has had people who had similar experiences.

  98. For all who are praying for my mother-in-law, thank you. She is stuck on bedrest until her bone heals, and she is a do-er so is pretty miserable. Still, there is no infection signs, so this could have been much worse.

    In regards to the prices comments, 40% of the total US Dollars ever to exist were created in the last year, it’s not surprising that prices have skyrocketed. The economy-geekosphere have been lamenting this for a time now. You can look up money supply on the federal reserve bank websites and check it out for yourself.

    I also have been unable to find canned spray oil, and non-dairy milks have been a bit iffy in supply here. Canned tomatoes also: frost got mine last year.

  99. Isn’t this is good time to go into debt, seeing how inflation will destroy it for me over the next few years? Especially if I am borrowing to hedge against inflation later, like financing solar panels so I don’t have to worry about rising energy bills so much.

  100. @ Ric #42

    Yes, no suffering allowed! I’ve been seeing a bumper sticker showing up more and more that says “Drive 55. Save the Earth.” See, all you need to do is slow down a little bit and everything will be fine! You don’t even have to stop driving!

  101. My nomination for the official theme song of the 2020-21 riots, courtesy of my favorite space rock band, Hawkwind. The lyrics sum it up pretty well, especially considering how much of the rioting was orchestrated by certain elements and aided and abetted by others with close ties to the ones who were doing the instigating.

    “Streets Of Fear”

    What is this that I see here
    You’re walking through the streets of fear
    What is this did I consent
    Armed guard of punishment

    What is life and what is death
    You may laugh or gasp for breath
    I ride the streets now filled with hate
    Carve pathways through the lines of fate

    With my energising ray
    Power is the game I play
    I can murder steal or rape
    Panic is the rule I make
    Panic is the rule I make
    Panic is the rule I make

  102. @ DanielleThePermaculturist. Where about in Mexico does your fiancé come from? Many places in Mexico are very stable but many other places are very dangerous. It is very important if you two choose to move there to understand the local conditions. The US state department’s web sight has a good brake down of specific locations there.

    David by the Lake, JMG, and everyone else thanks for all the great answers. Just what I was looking for.

  103. @ Pink Eldritch Unicorn (#36)

    Don’t you believe it about inflation wiping out your debt. That will work for governments. Individuals, unless lucky or well-connected, will somehow still manage to get the shaft.

    As long as you owe serious money, you’re someone else’s debt-slave.

    Besides, debts are obligations that you — unless you get trapped in medical debt — willingly incur. You signed that paper. You might not have understood what you signed but you should for good faith reasons make a good faith effort to pay it off.

  104. Candace, the suggestion that the 2030s might see significant decline in internet access was a guess, not a hard and fast prediction. One of the most difficult things about gauging the shape of the future is figuring out the slope of the curve, and that’s especially challenging when talking about technologies that have many potential failure points. As for censorship, that normally pops up in American life when the ruling elite can no longer justify its belief system even to itself, and it usually goes away when the belief system collapses. For reasons I’ll be discussing in an upcoming post, I think that’s not too far off.

    Daniel, glad to hear it. You could do a lot worse than try to get a job working on a farm, so you can pick up some hands-on skills in a hurry.

    Christopher, “richer” in what sense? Trump lost a lot of money during his four years as president. On the other hand, he certainly used the left as a thrust block — and they also used him.

    Unicorn, inflation is a great way to get rid of debt if you can be sure of having an income to service your debt in the meantime. I’m expecting us to go into stagflation rather than classic inflation, with job losses and economic contraction paired with rising prices, and being caught with a lot of debt in that situation can be disastrous.

    Kiara, of course it is. The phrase “my truth” is a euphemism for “my opinion,” when it’s not a euphemism for “some crap I just made up.”

    Patricia M, hmm! I missed that one. I may just see if the local library system has it.

    Ric, Yves is an interesting character — sometimes dead on target, sometimes out to lunch. This one is dead on target.

    Youngelephant, while reading on the toilet is of course an ancient practice, I got the idea of using it as a specific discipline from the Church of the SubGenius, which refers to it as “excremeditation.” Praise Bob, it seems to work!

    Samurai, I wish I knew what’s likely to pick up the reins next. We are in a very strange period, and yes, a lot of people are acting stark staring nuts.

    Spork, good question. I notice that Biden’s being sheltered from the press, for the most part, so it certainly suggests that he’s not doing well.

    Goran, it’s very effective. I don’t use it but I know people who do, and get excellent results.

    Chris, did you read my response? It’s comment #31, and I addressed your question about The Mysteries of Merlin.

    Frank, many thanks for the data point! Hmm…

    Raab, curiously enough, I’m planning on discussing that point in next week’s post. I think we’ve got a year or so of world-class bizarrerie ahead before things go blooey, but predicting what exactly a bunch of crazy people are going to do is always a difficult task…

    Peter, no, I’ve written about the uncertainties of taking any very inadequately tested pharmaceutical. I don’t know whether mRNA vaccines are dangerous or not, and neither does anyone else. That’s just it. As for the J&J vaccine, I haven’t yet seen any good experimental data on it yet.

    Jack, for what it’s worth, I expect inflation (or rather stagflation) rather than hyperinflation, and there’s a silver lining to that if you’ve got savings — interest rates will have to go way up as central banks fight to get inflation under control. Last time, that meant you could lock in CDs at 10%-12% APR, which compares rather nicely to the current situation! But of course it’s a gamble; so is everything else just now.

  105. I keep up with the articles but sometimes it takes me awhile to catch up on the comments (as I type this I am still reading the ones from Strange Days dawning and A Useful Kind of Madness … but the comments here (and you and the commentariats responses … are almost as good as the main posts!

    Just finished reading the Retrotopia installments online again (I think that is about 7 times now) – still waiting for the library to get it in … was there much of a difference in the published version?

    So my main questions … actually I will just do two this time …

    1) Herbalism … is there a good basic starting point I can dip my toe in and see if we resonate together or is it something you have to go all in and hope you mesh etc and an equivalent of healing (shhh) with plants for dummies equivalent?

    2) Living in the southern hemisphere in a temperate to sub tropical environment … if you were building a house what would you be making sure you had (apart from the solar hot water system of course)?

    Thanks

  106. I was listening to a dumb commercial while sitting with a friend and watching a youtube video, and I heard something that made me bolt up in my chair. “If I listened to logic, then I wouldn’t be me.” It made me shiver for a second, because that stupid, vapid propaganda EXACTLY mirrors the zeitgeist nowadays. Logic is an impediment to self expression; if I checked my identity against an objective marker, well then it would poof away like a vaporous little cloud and we can’t have that. What a horrible, self defeating subliminal message to put in someone’s head! It is really incredible how many identity markers nowadays are formed by nonactive, floating ideas without real life context that crash and burn as soon as you so much as look at them too hard. To be fair, some of this thinking is merely frivolous, not problematic, but wow, it could really flower into something dark and dangerous.

  107. Archdruid and company,

    I work in a security related trade and we’re watching prices rise in all of the construction industries we normally contract with, but it has only driven our profits upward. I expect security will only become more lucrative as the long decline continues.

    I have noticed a couple of things about the current disruptions to the supply chains. The biggest one that I’ve noticed is that it’s hitting developed countries the hardest. I think this is because developed countries have supply chains that were stripped down to maximize speed over resilience. Every part of the construction supply chain in the US depends on smooth flow of regulatory approvals, finance, material, and man power. Not surprisingly no one anticipated that the global quarantine would disrupt the time bound deliveries that normally occur. I imagine these disruptions like string that flows from spool to spool, and a stutter in a single spool causes a massive tangle across the whole system.

    So, everyone from the debtors repayment schedules to the regulators are scrambling to figure a way to untangle the thread. This is a years long process, and it’ll only be possible if some of those spools are destroyed and threads cut along the way.

    Regards,

    Varun

  108. @Will Oberton

    That would be Leon Guanajuato. From my research before 2020 the level of gang violence was about the same in Riviera Maya and Yucatan. Violence in all Latin America has increased due to the 2020 political landscape opening up turf wars. Most of the violence is towards others gangs and rarely involves “tourists” and I would look like a “tourist”. My boyfriend says that Leon has not been noticeably more violent but that I would have to take reasonable precautions as you would in any large city in Latin America. Leon itself is rated Lower in security issues with most crime being petty in nature.

  109. David, by the lake,

    I am a British citizen by birth, but became an American citizen last winter. I have family and friends who are British both in the UK and in Australia.

    The Royal family is all about opening community centers and trudging through the British drizzle to shake the hands of dear old ladies and housewives in cardigans and macs waiting in queues. And recycling their royal outfits to appear frugal. The British people generally are not a people who like to cry in public or see people crying in public, nor are they comfortable with overt displays of wealth. They like tradition and protocol and for people to mind their own business and they expect their Royal Family to be just like them. Generally, especially amongst the older generation, it is expected you will just get on with things and not make too much of a fuss. There are exceptions to our expectations and Princess Diana was one of them. But bear in mind that she was the exception not the rule. And she worked extremely hard at her public image.

    There is also a culture in Britain where you earn respect. It is not just handed over automatically. Whether it is in work or school, there is a practice of giving people a bit of a hard time initially, to see what kind of a person you are or maybe its just sadism?…But at any rate you learn to take it – you get on with it – and eventually you earn respect and your place amongst your peers. I see very similar things happening in my herd of goats, whatever that may mean. It might sound a bit savage but it is what it is. Also, a lot of royals have periodically gone through times where they had bad press, including Prince Charles. It almost seems to me as if Megan expected different treatment and that was never going to happen, especially since she was American! There is a good old fashioned chip on our shoulders in Britain, when it comes to America, in my opinion. She didn’t want to put in the hard work for any length of time. She was not mentally or ideologically suited for the kind of life that was expected of her – and that became apparent fairly quickly I think.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, Megan didn’t want to stay in Britain anymore – and Prince Harry and her left our shores to live a private life first in Canada and then in America. Except that it doesn’t seem to be working out too well for them financially as private citizens. So it appears to me that Megan decided that she would give herself an image make over and some good press and win sympathy from the American public by presenting herself as a woke Disney princess who was treated badly by the British and their press and the royal family, using Oprah to do so.

    I think much of what she said presented things in a light which best suited the overall narrative she wanted to present. For example, she said she got married three days before her actual official wedding. Well, no – that couldn’t have happened according to British law as you need a registered venue and bans beforehand. And it’s been confirmed since that she was not married three days before, although there was a wedding rehearsal. So a strict adherence to truth didn’t happen there in that statement.

    Then there was the “what will the baby look like ” conversation. According to her it took place when she was pregnant, but according to Harry it took place before they were married. And there are many different ways that could be contextualized, as we only have one side of the story. At any rate, again, there is a contradiction in the story. Bear in mind, Prince Harry needed the consent of the Queen to his nuptials and Prince Charles could have stopped his income before he got married, if he really had a problem with Megan’s racial ethnicity. And Prince Harry himself – now a paragon of woke virtue, of course, went to a party, in his mad bad days before he met Megan, dressed in a Nazi uniform and was pulled up by the royal family for both that and also various other behaviours which were less than politically correct. So if that’s the best they have for evidence of the royal family being racist – (apart from Harry himself of course!) – it’s pretty slim pickings to my mind….

    There is also no evidence that Megan was treated differently by the royal family themselves, bearing in mind Fergie and Diana also complained about the lack of support – and that is the only complaint which Megan made, which to my mind, seems to have any validity – but this is not about racism but more about the nature of the institution itself, and also British society, which generally expects its members to have a stiff upper lip and just get on with it. For the women the royals married who didn’t have a strong support network (as I think Kate – Prince William’s wife – does) I am sure it can be difficult at times. I doubt very much, though, that Megan is again telling a completely accurate account of what actually happened in her dealings with the Royal Family. There are aspects of her account which don’t quite ring true. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did feel suicidal at times though. But I can’t help thinking that she is complaining about the lot of human condition. I am a hard non-sympathetic British person though..the only thing you should really ever complain about is the weather or politicians..

    The allegation that her baby was singled for racist treatment as shown by his not having a “Prince” title is a complete invention on her part. Prince Edward (the youngest son of the Queen) never had his children given a title either because of royal protocol (only the actual grand-children of the reigning Monarch can have a title and the Queen is his great grand-mother, as Prince Charles is the grand-parent). The Queen had to personally execute a document to give Prince William’s children titles , which she did because they were in the line of succession. But “Prince” was not even on the cards for Archie when he was born because of that royal rule established by a former King – and, although Archie could have been given an Earldom or some other title like that, apparently Megan and Harry expressed their view that they didn’t want him to have a title at the time, which makes sense if they were planning to leave. I feel that Megan is trying to re-write history again here.. I really do. This was a very blatant untruth, easily disproved and one which Prince Harry must have known needed context. I think pairing prior royal tradition with “racism” exposes Megan herself as having an agenda and wanting to push a narrative which would get her an almost instant knee jerk reaction from her community here in America, at at time when racial tensions are running very high. Aiming at the British royal family with this accusation is to me a little calculated and frankly I think irresponsible. And I don’t see the evidence for that narrative.

    I also don’t think that Harry is innocent about the effect this allegation would have back home on his own family, bearing in mind that his father is no longer happy to support him and is refusing to talk to him, after he walked away from his family and, would have been considered by him, as his duty. The whole idea that Harry is entitled to protection from Scotland Yard (which is what the other royals have) and which would entailed a team of British policemen travelling back and fore to America at great expense, would be totally unacceptable to the vast majority of British taxpayers. Does Prince Harry actually want to be a private citizen, or does he want to have his cake and eat it? I am so sorry that he only has Princess Diana’s millions to live on and his father is refusing to chip in too..

    To my mind, this is a family dispute, which includes some Daddy/son issues, which has spilled out into the public view, and is currently making money for the press, but the Royal Family have dealt with far far worse in the past. The British people will generally rally around them in the face of any criticism from a nasty American I would think. They are after all OUR dysfunctional inbred Royal Family and we will defend them with our pitchforks if necessary. We would probably even forgive Harry. I think Megan probably runs the risk of being pelted with tomatoes if she ever comes back to the UK, or at the very least greeted with polite boos or a sullen silence. She has pretty much burnt her bridges.

    Anyhow, that’s my take. I am sure others will have a different one. I hope I have helped to answer your question, but if not, feel free to ask others. I will try not to be so long winded next time.

  110. @ Ladycutekitten: I’m honored to be considered. I have already appointed myself Ward Leader of the Charles Dexter Ward ward of the New Independent Order of Anti-Poke-Noses, and I suspect those duties may preclude my acceptance of the honor.
    @Zeroinput: Some stats on the Virus Who Must Be Obeyed (Hereinafter VWMBO) for you.
    I live in Rhode Island, a state with the second highest proportion of elderly in the US. Our total deaths for 2020, based on stats reported through the end of February 2021, were 12,109, vs the average of 10,255 for the previous 5 years, or a 17% increase, of which 1,678 were attributed to the VWMBO. That translates to a death rate of 9.7 deaths per 100,000. The last time we had such a horrid death rate, with the people dropping like flies, and the crematories burning non-stop, was in the annus horribilis of 1995, under the presidency of the noted protector of pedophiles William Jefferson Clinton.

  111. John,

    Any thoughts or insights regarding the periodic mass shootings that occur in the US? Are there any underlying
    “cosmic” reasons or influences behind them?

    Thank you

  112. JMG,

    I was one of the people who received the Hieronymus Machine documents set from you a couple weeks ago. I’ve been discussing radionics projects with a couple of friends and possible collaborators, and naturally they’d like to see the material.

    But I figured I should ask exactly what your intentions were regarding that distribution before I start sending off any copies. Am I good to email the plans to anyone I might be working with? Do I need to make them agree to send you a machine themselves, just in case they decide they’d rather work independently after they get the blueprints? Or did you have a narrower limit of just the people you personally emailed in mind?

    Thank you!

  113. #98 Naej-neiviv said: Another possibility, virtually unthinkable now so a legitimate black swan, is that France could become a monarchy again.

    I thought they all got beheaded 200 or so years ago? Does anyone even know who the old regime’s present-day closest heir would be?

  114. Hi JMG – thanks for hosting this fine site. Did you hear anything back yet on the Fix from Grist story contest submission? I’m thinking of submitting something subtle and satirical, just for laughs, and for stretching the boundaries of fiction.

    @teresa from hershey – the “Mad Scientists” are some good stories – two books of short stories, and two books of novel length. The paperback version of the first book of short stories was a Weekly Reader/Scholastic Books selection when I was kid in the early ’70s – they are relatively accurate in terms of science, though a bit dated of course.

    To all on questions of investing and the economy – it’s my opinion that the future will be a great time to have no debt, no tangible assets that can be confiscated, and plenty of skills for the stressful times ahead on the (maybe not as) Long Descent. The “pandemic” certainly seems to have pulled the timeline forward at least half a decade. I’m going into “Collapse Now…” mode in high gear this week, quitting my job, getting the house ready to sell, and then…getting ready to relocate as conditions warrant.

  115. @Spork re Biden tripping

    I suspect this is a guy who really needs to use a cane and is too
    stubborn or image conscious to use one. My late father was like that.
    In his late eighties he had frequent prat-falls (though amazingly he
    never broke anything) but refused to use a cane because he said it
    ‘made him look old’. For him it was a pride issue, though in the last
    few years of his life it was more an issue of dementia. Being the president
    Biden is probably developing mobility issues but is avoiding the obvious
    solution of a cane as the right would have a field day with that.

    @ John Evans re Suez blockage

    The ship measures about 1312 ft (or 400 meters) which would make it about four American
    football fields in length. Photos show this brobdinagian creation loaded to the rafters
    with shipping containers. Accounts say a sudden strong wind apparently shoved it enough so
    it grounded, not surprising given how ungainly it must be to operate, even with
    advanced tech running it. I have no idea what the rules are for canals but I’m surprised they allowed this
    ginormous creation to try going through.

    @teresa from hershey

    I believe I still have a copy of the first Mad Scientist’s Club book somewhere about. I loved
    the book when younger but didn’t realize there was a whole series of them. I thought their
    antics, especially the one with the fake Lake Monster were a hoot.

  116. JMG–Do you know anything about The Lebor Feasa Runda by Steven Akins. It is supposed to be an English translation of a German translation of a Druid manuscript that escaped St. Patrick’s destruction of Druid texts, traveled around Europe, ended up in Germany, where the translation was made and disappeared when Rudolph Hess flew to England in 1941. Akins claims to have accessed the German version by Henry Thorenson and translated it to English. Published in 2008. I ran across the description on the Sacramento Public Library website while looking up Ogham. It appears to be an ebook.

    Rita

  117. JMG, thank you for your kindness and for your efforts in hosting this most valuable forum.

    a) Would one be correct in describing a traditional monotheistic religion as a system which has the ability to attune one to the One overarching Intelligence which Manifests itself in and through creation; though is also veiled by it?

    b) What are your main critiques of monotheism?

    c) Only if your answer to ‘a’ be a ‘yes’; would not then focused worship of, and supplicating to the unitary God for one’s needs, also become analogous in a manner to performing a magical ritual?

    Thank you so very much for all that you do.
    m

  118. Barefootwisdom (@#21), JMG and all,

    The term “stagflation” has always seemed evasive to me. I’ve never seen a definition that could stick in my mind.

    Then one day it occurred to me: Inflation is a pattern of escalating prices AND wages. Stagflation is escalating prices while wages “stagnate”, i.e. don’t rise (or at least rise slower than prices).

    It doesn’t take much to figure out that stagflation for very long is a one-way ticket to poverty for people who work for a living.

    Cheers.

    –Lunar Apprentice

  119. Per David by the lake’s question about H&M – I am Canadian, and I haven’t followed the drama much besides the headlines either, because I DGAF; however because I’m lazily anti – Monarchist, I’ve been watching with huge interest the fallout.

    I’m trying to recall, was it last year’s Aries ingress for the UK that has the sun in the 8th? I remember there was a forecast that looked like bad news for Elizabeth, but now I wonder if it was the House of Windsor/royalty in the UK itself.

    About two years ago hereabouts (in BC) there was brouhaha about municipalities removing portraits of the Queen from their Chambers (in most cases it was actually just moving them to less prominent locations) and replacing them with local coats of arms and/ or commissioned native art from the local nation. The Monarchists had kittens, and fielded letter writing campaigns and sent emissaries to open town halls. I got exasperated and told one of the latter that Herself shouldn’t be too upset about being demoted pride of place in her Commonwealth town halls when her bigger problem will be the commonwealth wouldn’t outlast her death. We took back our constitution in 1982, and we could ditch the Governor General by changing that law, too. That lost me some voters, I’m sure, but it was satisfying!

    And here we are. At the same time H&M went a bridge too far for public opinion (see memes of them commiserating with Oprah while all seated on stacks of cash), our GG spectacularly pooped the bed.

    It’s always been a perennial liberal Torontonian opinion writer thing to suggest we ditch the GG and Queen. But it seems different to have it running in the Washington Post, too. Here’s Toronto’s right wing rag, per the Julie Payette fiasco: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2021/01/27/its-time-to-abolish-the-costly-meaningless-governor-general-job.html

    And support for the monarchy halved in the last year, to only 24% https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-monarchy-polls-1.5952013.

    I have a few friends who have always been that particular sort of first generation British Canadian who follows the monarchy and occasionally affects British posh class markers in opposition to “American low class” cultural habits even if in reality they are quite poor and say, work at Dollarama. They’ve all completely lost interest in the Royals. Like a lightswitch…They’re contaminated by American low brow Hollywood antics!

  120. Hi John.

    I asked you this monday about the telesmatic consecration of talismans. As you suggested I decided to leave that method for something other than a Saturn amulet. I stil want to try doing it just for experience’s sake, and I was considering working with Venus, which is quite afflicted in my natal chart. I want to know more clearly what’s the relationship between the energy of a planet that one invokes for this method and the placing of such planet in one’s chart. Can such a talisman, consecrated when the planet is in a better position (was thinking Taurus, in a few weeks) be an effective way to “counteract” a natal affliction? Or does the affliction play into how the talisman exerts its influence over oneself?

    Thanks as usual, and I hope you’re well

    JP

  121. Quaeritur…

    A few weeks ago I asked around here for authentic stories about New England folk magic being used in context. Some folks asked me to keep them posted if I found any. I have now found some in Cory Thomas Hutcheson’s new book “New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic” (2021); they appear to be sourced from Botkin’s “Treasury of New England Folklore” (1947) as well as other sources.

    For Appalachian folk magic stories, Manly Wade Wellman’s “Silver John” tales were named by several people. I have found another book on this subject: Hubert J. Davis, “The Silver Bullet, and Other American Witch Stories”. This book was published in 1975 but the stories were collected by the WPA in 1939.

    Hope this is helpful to people, and feel free to reply if you want to share your own folk magic resources.

  122. Oilman2, you’re right, I can try on a few hats before making a plan! I think that’s where my head is at now. And if I’m seen as just a laborer, I don’t mind. I am passionate for physical exercise, being a weightlifter now and distance runner in the past, so I think I could handle most physical challenges that would come with work. Thanks!

    Owen, I don’t know how to weld or any of that stuff. Unfortunately I’ve been raised in a parasitically comfortable environment, in the heart of the suburbs. I’m trying to detach myself from that lifestyle as I progress in life, but maybe I’ll learn those hands-on skills if my circumstances call for it. And I’ve spent 8 years learning Spanish in school, (not fluent though), so I have that advantage. But why do you suggest leaving the “anglosphere” entirely?

  123. JMG,

    I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news in the Ukraine over the last couple of months, but it looks like the frozen conflict in the Donbass might be unfrozen come the summer. I’m definitely keeping tabs on the region in case things really do blow up there (pardon the pun). I suppose we in the West better just hope Biden’s handlers (or their puppets here on the western side of the Clown World Curtain) aren’t sadistic enough to want much of the action themselves if things don’t go their way!

  124. JMG,

    You said “If you just hole up and try to pursue individual enlightenment, you fail.”

    Wait! Isn’t that what a lot of people do in the east? I’ve seen Buddhist stuff that tries to seriously guilt load people as to what utter fools they are if they waste their incarnation by NOT pursuing enlightenment. Which I consider an error – but what if a soul is ready to become a monk/recluse and pursue enlightenment?

  125. @Daniel M,

    When you mention getting some farming experience, you wouldn’t happen to be considering WWOOFing, would you? I’m a few years out of college with a degree in biology myself, and I’m considering starting some WWOOFing for farming experience soon.

    If you’re interested in any kind of collaboration or discussion on the matter, feel free to send an email to my username above @gmail.com.

    (I’d also be happy to hear from any other Ecosophia readers interested in WWOOFing, WWOOF-like activities, or hosting such activities.)

  126. @DanielleThePermaculturist #118

    I am sure you will do very well in Mexico. We have our share of problems, but I can see why you’d want to leave the US and take your chances on this side of the river.

    Leon is good. It is a growing industrial city which is traditionally big on shoe-making and leather work in general. They also do automotive manufacture, for Nissan if I recall correctly. All that means the city hall has both pressure to enforce the law and the kind of budget required to run a functional police department.

    You should be careful, however, when you visit around other towns in the state. Stealing gasoline from the Salamanca pipelines is a big business, and there have been struggles between different groups to secure the control of that racket. Last I checked, that area was kind of dangerous.

    At the end of day, it is the same old everywhere you go. Exercise caution, stick to the well traversed areas, don’t draw attention to you or yours, and mind your own business at all times.

    Best wishes

  127. I feel a tad embarrassed to weigh in on the royal fiasco, but my take is that Meghan is trouble, a loose cannon with a narcissistic personality and that the problems are therefore insoluble. Harry has whatever psychological weakness that has rendered him susceptible to her manipulation and follows her lead. Can’t end well.

  128. So I read Lost Connections, by Johann Hari, after seeing a commenter here discuss it a few weeks ago.

    The book is probably worth reading, specifically for the rather startling stories about antidepressants and the medical industry that Hari digs up in his investigations.

    There’s a big drawback, though: Hari is very much one of the PMC, and the book is very much geared toward the TEDtalk crowd. Simple ideas, very clear chains of cause and effect, no real sense of history, an emphasis on sociological studies and “evidence-based approaches”. (Obviously evidence is important for any number of things, but that phrase, I feel, is code for “some scientists did a study and it’s more valid than your personal experiences.”)

    More, he treats a number of techniques to combat depression (including meditation, connection to nature, psilocybin-induced spiritual experiences, greater sense of community and healthier work environments) as entirely new ideas. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of context or the broader scope of the 20th Century, or any sense that, say, 5000 years of Hindu spiritual practices might be worth considering. So there’s a weird naivete to the book.

    Oh, and no sense whatsoever that the policies of the PMC might have anything to do with creating our current dreadful state of affairs. It’s like an arsonist, standing in the middle of a structure fire he created, wondering where all the smoke is coming from.

  129. @ Lunar Apprentice

    Which raises the question: prices for what?

    Prices for real estate, higher education, health care and probably a number of other things have been well exceeding wage growth for decades. Here in Australia, real estate is so far ahead of wage growth that it’s become something of a spectator sport to predict when the market will crash. Now, after a year of lockdowns and widespread unemployment we are seeing an across the board spike in real estate again. Not surprising given that governments are printing money.

    Because of China, the price of consumer goods has been the one thing to not see headline inflation (although arguably the reduction in quality still makes it a kind of inflation). If consumer goods start to see inflation things will get interesting. And if interest rates start to rise then things will get very ‘interesting’.

  130. So I’d been seeing references to things called “non-fungible tokens” (NFT) for a while now, and knew they had something to do with the blockchain, but today I ran across a blog post by Liminal Warmth (who runs the Chaotic Thinking podcast on occultism) that illuminates a really wild aspect of the thing:

    https://liminalwarmth.com/how-to-mint-an-nft-and-not-get-sued-maybe/

    Basically, an NFT is like a coin in a cryptocurrency, but they aren’t divisible and are each tied to a specific thing, usually a tweet or work of art. People can buy an NFT for cryptocurrency, and the purchase is registered in the blockchain. It’s essentially a digital collector’s item.

    The thing that Liminal Warmth points out is that while an NFT is tied to a specific work, it doesn’t necessarily come with any license to the work itself. In fact, it’s not clear what exactly you are paying for, which could cause some legal headaches later on, since, as LW points out, contracts aren’t necessarily enforceable if nothing of value is being provided by one side.

    At this point I kind of suspect that blockchains have some sort of glamour around them that compels people to find new and innovative ways to use them to waste resources while doing almost-literally nothing.

    (Relevant: after writing that last paragraph, it occurred to me that if there really is such a glamour, the most obvious application of a doing-nothing-while-looking-like-you’re-doing-something technology is to climate change, and, sure enough, there’s been a serious suggestion to use the blockchain to fight climate change.)

  131. Citizen, you’re probably screwed. Do your best to find a stable job and hope that you can keep it when inflation cuts in, and you might be able to extract yourself. Alternatively, lobby your congresscritter for a change in the laws so you can discharge student loan debts through bankruptcy, and hope.

    Matthias, I see nothing counterintuitive about that. On the other hand, so long as you want to know about what they cover, older textbooks on history can be useful; for example, there was a lot of very good research into the history of the Middle Ages in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and if that’s what you want to know about, it can be useful.

    Nbuffi, thank you.

    Danielle, ultimately, we can’t yet know all that much about our relationship to the One, so to some extent we’ll each have to wait until we have the relevant spiritual experiences! I favor the teachers who argue that we’re not part of the One, but distinct existences, because I find their teachings on things that I can check seems to make good sense. Even so, some occultists believe one way, some believe the other, and the practical work is the same in either case.

    Lydia, I suspect a lot of people will refuse to get vaccinated anyway, and give up air travel and the other goodies that will be restricted if that happens. I don’t know if vaccination will become mandatory or not; I suspect it’ll be a patchwork, with (say) some airlines and venues requiring vaccination certificates, while others don’t — we do things that way a lot in the United States! But I hope it won’t come to that. I don’t plan on getting vaccinated, for what it’s worth.

    Likely, I’ve transferred that to my Patreon and SubscribeStar accounts these days.

    Michael, once the price of oil goes back into three digits I may be writing another peak oil book. If I do, I’ll take the opportunity to revise the material in The Long Descent. To my mind, After Progress is one of my three best books, and of course that means it’s one of my three least profitable books…

    Mollari, yep. People who are acting irrationally because they’re trying to repress something also routinely act, without realizing it, to bring about exactly what they fear most. The return of the repressed is a very powerful force!

    Oilman2, yep. The US empire is excruciatingly vulnerable, and the number of rival powers that have means, motive, and opportunity to trip us up is getting longer by the day…

    Grendalschicken, good question. Timing the popping of a bubble is one of the most difficult tasks there is. Isaac Newton tried it, and he got caught by the popping of the South Sea Bubble and lost almost everything he’d invested. I don’t imagine I’d do any better!

    Galen, a fine example. And then the corporate media wonders why nobody trusts them and their stats are dropping steadily…

    I.A.A., because the first law of the medical-industrial complex is that people must be allowed no say in their own health care.

    Adwelly, nice to see this! The midheaven is the point on the ecliptic that is highest above the horizon at the moment for which the horoscope is cast.

    Teresa, sure.

    Nachtgurke, I’ve always found that very funny. Wikipropaganda can’t possibly admit that the ancients practiced astrology, and devoted some of their best intellectual energies to it!

    Owen, well, to some extent. A great many believers in progress embraced that quest for uniformity, and dreamed of the day when everyone in the world would be restricted to the same narrow range of opinions and lifestyles, but of course not everyone in the world believed in progress…

    Your Kittenship, the proper title for the head of a horde is Khan. So Peter would become Peter Khan, and his subordinate horde officers would be Ilkhans. The caretakers and quartermasters of a horde had the title Yurtchi, so you would be the Kitten Yurtchi, responsible for providing the dread warriors of the horde with kittens.

    Sister BoysMom, this is very good to hear!

    Chris, funny, in a bleak sort of way.

    Bridge, we’re in the opening stages of a major speculative bubble, and so people are investing in anything they think will gain in price. Cryptocurrencies are tailor-made for such a situation, as they can be manufactured freely and their only value is what someone else will pay for them, so they’re as popular now as investment-trust shares were in the runup to 1929.

    Anonymous_mk, of course she’s being a capitalist while decrying capitalism. All the people I know who are loudest about hating capitalism are busy profiting from it. As the saying goes, if the left didn’t have double standards, it would have no standards at all…

    Jbucks, as I recall, nobody predicted it, and the economists were caught completely flat-footed by it.

    Zeroinput, a fine metaphor! Yes, basically, that’s what’s going on.

    John, thanks for this. To my mind the crucial factor in the stagflation of the 1970s was that rising energy prices functioned as a tax on all economic activity, and drove the seeming paradox of inflation concurrent with high unemployment. I expect us to get the same thing again — but we’ll see.

    Stephen, er, I’m not privy to the reasons Trump made the decisions that he made.

    Simon, admittedly, that’s pretty funny.

    Neaj-nieviv, fascinating. Thank you for the update on conditions in Ecnarf!

    Foxhands, thanks for this.

    RusTheRook, interesting. Where specifically do you think I claimed that net energy has a linear relationship with prices? Because I don’t think I ever said that.

    Alexandra, oddly enough, I’ll be talking about that next week. The short form is that the establishment is circling the wagons, and the various forms of tame faux-dissidence (such as Neopagan spirituality) that were once acceptable for flunkeys are now disapproved of. It’s a common symptom of impending elite failure. More on this soon! As for your question about debt, it really depends on what your other vulnerabilities are…

    DT, if you lose your ability to service your debt before the debt inflates out of existence, you lose everything. In stagflation, employment drops sharply and other ways of making a living become difficult, so that’s a gamble that is easy to lose.

    Galen, Hawkwind really does have an appropriate sound for the present moment…

  132. For occult info pack rats:
    I’ve nearly finished downloading all the IAPSOP archives. Looks like it will be 80-85 hours of downloading. Slow connection. The IAPSOP encourages people to make private copies of the archives and provides everything via google drive to help facilitate the process. So my new hobby of building an electronic Library of Alexandria Occult Annex is well underway.

    I do like having the ability to search the archives and inside the individual pdfs using my own local search tools.

    Anyone interested can find a link to instructions on getting a private copy of the archives at this page: http://iapsop.com/

  133. Warren, (1) you probably need to ask a herbalist, and I’m not one; (2) you certainly need to ask someone who lives in a subtropical environment, and I don’t! As for Retrotopia, I added a few things, but it was mostly published as is.

    Derpherder, yeah, that really does sum it up, doesn’t it?

    Varun, many thanks for the data points!

    Matt, such things happen all the time in most third world nations, and the United States is a third world nation. The only thing that differentiates us from other banana republics is that we’ve got a much bigger army and are temporarily very rich as a result of an equally temporary global empire.

    Yucca, now that you have them, you can do as you wish. I’d just like to get a couple of backup Hieronymus machines to play with!

    Drhooves, submissions are open until April 12, and they won’t be announcing winners until August. You can access the contest here.

    Rita, I do indeed. I was one of the people who first identified it as a blatant fraud. Here’s some of the discussion.

    Mobi, (a) no. Monotheism is the rather odd belief that the god you happen to worship is the only god there is. (b) My book A World Full of Gods gives my critique of monotheism in detail; I couldn’t summarize in anything short of a 5,000 word essay, since the critique involves many different lines of argument.

    Lunar, exactly. Stagflation is the supposedly impossible conjunction of rising prices in a contracting economy, and yes, it’s a very rough row to hoe.

    Churrundo, one of the huge advantages of Golden Dawn-style talismans, as distinct from Renaissance-style astrological talismans, is that you can use them even if the planet that rules them is afflicted in your chart. If you want to make a Saturn amulet, btw, by all means — just don’t wear it all the time, and direct its energies toward some specific purpose!

    Mr. White, that doesn’t surprise me at all. The question is whether Biden’s handlers are dumb enough to walk face first into this particular buzzsaw. I hadn’t been watching it recently, but I’ll correct that.

    Onething, in Hinduism there’s a traditional notion that the quest for enlightenment is something you do after you’ve raised a family and lived an ordinary life in the world, and that’s always made sense to me. The Buddhist idea, not so much — though if your soul has already experienced life in the world in all its richness, yes, devoting a life to enlightenment might make sense.

    Cliff, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Slithy Toves, NFTs are another round of speculative vehicles whose only value is what someone else will pay for them — that is to say, prime bubble fodder. I’ve seen people translate the acronym as New-Fangled Tulips, which seems about right.

    Eric, delighted to hear this!

  134. All right, horde, form a horderly line to receive your kittens! Please make sure the kitten is awake before deploying it, as it has to be gamboling around to reach full cute force. Return used kittens and spent, sleeping kittens to the yurtchi, where we will restore them to full deployability (i.e. we’ll feed them and give them a flea dip).

    Puppy yurtchi position is still open. Not sure about Potluck Officer; check with Peter Khan if he’s not busy struggling with his archenemy, Captain Kook. (And I swear, if that bozo yells “KHAAAAN!” one more time, the fury of the entire horde will descend on him and we’ll sabotage his cable TV and give his Alexa amnesia, punishments reserved for the worst of the worst.)

  135. @Onething

    On a similar note: I remember seeing a New Testament verse that basically said that marriage was for people who could not manage perfect celibacy; i.e. that total sexlessness was the ideal, and that being in a relationship would get between you and Christ, and if you couldn’t manage that, than channel it through the sacrament of marriage.

  136. @ Mr White and JMG;

    Ukraine isn’t the only own goal Biden is setting himself up for. For those of us in Gringostan and Alta Mexico, it’s been far more entertaining watching Biden walk right into the buzzsaw down on the US-Mexico border, a flustered cluck that was entirely self-inflicted and entirely predictable. For the Republicans, this is manna from heaven. For the Dems, it’s turning into a huge embarrassment while threatening to derail the rest of the Biden-Harris-Pelosi agenda.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2021/03/24/_biden_called_for_the_border_surge_and_now_he_owns_it_145471.html

    Oh, and he’s putting his notoriously incompetent Veep in charge of handling the border crisis. You know, the one who prior to becoming Vice President called for the decriminalization of illegal immigration and compared ICE to the KKK.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/kamala-harris-immigration-border-decriminalize-ice-kkk

    The Biden-Harris administration is catching heat even from the mainstream press over the media blackout and wall of secrecy it imposed on news organizations with regards to the detention camps.

    https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-donald-trump-politics-immigration-border-patrols-73171bd6fd8494c16c8ca1f7f3f54130

    And here is Senator Ted Cruz, whose assessment was spot on. He said

    The Biden administration has instituted an unprecedented media blackout. They won’t allow reporters in, they won’t allow cameras in, they won’t allow pictures. And the reason is obvious. Democrats spent four years attacking Donald Trump for kids in cages. Well, Obama built the cages, and under Joe Biden the cages are bigger and they’re much more full. And they don’t want anyone to see it. And it is unacceptable.

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/sen-ted-cruz-the-border-crisis-is-a-direct-result-of-joe-bidens-political-decisions

    I have a feeling that for the GOP, this is going to be the gift that keeps on giving…

  137. Mobi,

    If I may, I can provide a short critique of monotheism:

    Probably the most central is simply that there is good reason to think other gods exist, and that worshipping them is beneficial. One reason to think this is that that’s what their worshippers tell us. And there is often a fairly simple way to test this: pray and make offerings to the gods in question, and see what happens.

    (Note: Check with members of the religion for whether this is appropriate and how to do it properly. Some have made it clear that outsiders are not welcome, and others only welcome outsiders that have gone through a conversion/initiation process. The old gods of Europe, on the other hand, seem to welcome “walk-ins” who just start praying; appropriate offerings vary but aren’t hard to look up.)

    There’s a line of thinking in some monotheistic schools of thought that while the other gods might exist, they aren’t the Supreme Being, who is the only god worthy of worship: after all, why bother worshiping lesser powers?

    But this proves too much: it amounts to asking why have any human friends when you’ve got a friend in Jesus? Contrast this attitude with that of Hinduism, which posits a single Supreme Bring, but allows the worship of many gods.

    There’s almost a sense in which some versions of Hinduism take the Christian concept of the Trinity and push it to its logical conclusion: that if God can be three, he can be as many as he wants to be. Similarly, the gods of many religions have fluid identities that blend with each other and bud off aspects freely enough that there’s no sense trying to count how many there are.

    And that points at another tension: between the one God of monotheisms being the abstract, indescribable Supreme Being, and also a particular god with particular qualities with which one can have a personal relationship. Personally, the more I think of a god in the former way, the harder I find it to relate to that god in the latter way.

  138. Patricia Matthews I second your recommendation of Gatto’s underground history. He explains a LOT….

  139. One of my hobbies is buying old newspapers off of E-Bay. As a rule, I generally favor New York City-area newspapers, particularly from the end of World War Two up until the mid-1960s. Some of the things that I’ve noticed are the superior prose, the increased sense of physical presence, how reading the newspaper will leave you informed without being all worked up – It’s actually a relaxing experience reading these newspapers.
    But my absolute favorite thing about these newspapers is how each one of them seems to have their own distinct personality, their own egregore, perhaps. I particularly seem to notice this with my copies of the New York Herald Tribune, but that might be because I have a minor obsession with the history of that particular paper.
    As a side note, if anyone has any tips on preserving these newspapers, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

  140. Danielle #59, you wrote “I’ve been working on clearing out my poor mental habits and prior childhood traumas first…”. If I may ask: Great gods, how on earth did you ever manage to accomplish such a thing? If I did that, it would certainly merit more than an offhand remark! What’s your secret?

    —Lunar Apprentice

  141. @Dylan I’ve been thinking a bit about that part of Sane Occultism because I took up – essentially on a whim – local politics about two years ago, and I started Mysteries of Merlin at the winter solstice.

    This was a terrible time to take up politics! I’d had allies at first, a lot of people got elected for aggressive talk on the climate front, and now many of them scare me. Some of them a lot. Those are the ones who have all now run for or even been elected to higher levels of government. Because now it’s a social (and climate) emergency, and they need to make things happen NOW.

    So I think, having read our host’s take on Merlin, it depends on whether you think Merlin or Arthur were men, or myth. And myths are about gods and archetypes, not people. There is a large risk in confusing the two, when you are asked to step into the role. I once heard a woman – who had JMG on her own podcast *twice* – give a reading of her interpretation of the Rape of Persephone, and weep at how much men have always hated women because it’s about an uncle raping his niece with her dad’s blessing. And I hadn’t read more than a high school synopsis of any Greek myth before that point, but I still went cold, as I realised I was in the wrong room, with the wrong people into magic. All these years later, they’re all in the same room, though, still, with those community activists turned politicians who now scare me.

    Arthur always falls, and Merlin always helps him, and that’s not a bug, it’s a feature. And some watery tart always hucks a sword at Arthur again one day. Sucks for the guy who thinks he’s the real Arthur, though.

    I also wonder at whether much depends on how they portray the character of Ganeida, but I haven’t got around to that reading list yet.

    So I still don’t know whether I should run again in two years if I wanted to. I am and have always been far too unfit for human consumption to ever consider more than local councillor, which is not a full time job at a place my size, not even close. Right now the question is more like, could I bear it? Each passing day I study magic my ambition seems to get smaller… What risks come with that, instead?

  142. Naomi;

    How sweet, how you bring in the racism claim of Megan. Even under the light you shed over many details, I was not aware before, it makes just a stronger case. Before I already thought M. being focused about her unenlightened self-interest in a quite subjective manner. But it simply is that she is lying, in order to support her air of entitlement, her attention seeking personality and very business-like gaining hard currency out of it, to sustain their lavish way of life, which they certainly disapprove to become frugal and poverty-stricken.

    So indeed M. is a paramount example for established elites with a feel of entitlement, yet lacking any professional service to offer in return to the public. What a pompous nouveau riche so full of entitlement that compared to the artificially humble and restrained British elite M. is really standing out. Its nice that this pinnacle of uselessness for the public in this time of societal collapse is broadcasted to the public. It really is sinking in that the elite is leaving us alone in our misery.

  143. @JMG and commentariat

    Has anybody been told by a doctor (in private, of course) to avoid taking any Covid vaccine? Or is the censorship in the US on this subject so strict that doctors are afraid to even express their views in private? I ask because here in India, we have an indigenous vaccine, which is being promoted by the government and the media, but my friend’s family doctor told her in no uncertain terms to avoid getting vaccinated for Covid, unless she wanted to go abroad, in which case it would almost be a compulsory requirement.

  144. [JMG big typo on last, use this]
    Mollare #65, you asked about how people did things before the internet. I’m from that era (born in 58), and the first thing off the bat with regard to libraries is learning the card catalog system. They also had microfiche (reels of 4 inch film onto which were photographed the pages of periodicals), and there were big mechanical-optical viewers installed one to a desk. There were paper catalogs that indexed it. There were also physical paper catalogs of “Books in Print” that libraries and large bookstores bought annually. This was all stuff I used in college. Having said that, these physical things are long gone (except maybe in the boonies here and there…) and I don’t see how this knowledge could be of use to you.

    FWIW, somewhere in my personal library, I have a 1970’s title I recall as “Look It Up: a Guide to Research”. I couldn’t find it at Alibris or Amazon, but I did find something similar, “How and where to look it up; a guide to standard sources of information” 1958 by Robert Murphey. There is one copy only at alibris.com. Again, I doubt you’d be able to make use of it.

    My daughters are 17 and 10, and forever rolling their eyes at me, saying how I don’t know anything. You know, they’re not entirely wrong. It’s kind of scary to see how some kinds of knowledge that were once so basic and essential are now forgotten history. [‘shudders’]

    —Lunar Apprentice

  145. John,
    I recently read Dion Fortune’s Sea Priestess recently. I thought it was excellent, combining her occult philosophy with fiction which was an excellent way of getting the message across. I intend to read some of her other books too before I tackle the Cosmic Doctrine. Can you recommend some others?
    Regards averagejoe

  146. Two questions: Why do you suggest a year timeline for the bubbles to pop? What is that estimate based on?

    Also: The assumption I am seeing is that, due to the lockdown, the need to stimulate the economy outweighs the risk of inflation. The assumption is that, when the pandemic ‘ends’, the economy will recover, and people who lost their jobs will go back to employment and we continue onwards as before. In this scenario, inflation will happen, but won’t affect people because they will be employed and have the means to deal with inflation, especially if wages also inflate.

    From my reading about inflation, two of the variables that affect inflation are the amount of money in a currency’s money supply, and money velocity, which is the speed at which money moves through the economy.

    Currently, as I understand it, money velocity is quite low, so that’s why inflation isn’t more widespread than it is, but the money supply has greatly increased in the US, Canada, and apparently also the EU too (an article appeared in the Guardian yesterday warning about how the money supply of the Euro has increased far more than in the US).

    So it would appear, on one hand, that when money velocity increases again after the pandemic, the rush for people to travel, spend, etc and go back to the ‘way things were’ will increase money velocity, which will then cause inflation, but this will be, according to economists, manageable as people also return to their jobs.

    The stagflation scenario, on the other hand, is that the assumption that the economy will recover is false, and/or that oil prices will rise to a great degree, which, coupled with inflation, will mean an economic crisis. That gives us stagflation. Already it looks like the oil price wants to creep upward, and only drops back when news of further lockdowns appears.

    So my second question is: what have I missed? Why do you see the stagflation scenario playing out versus the scenario that mainstream economists are predicting (or hoping) happens? For the record, I agree that we’re going to see inflation based on the simple fact of the increase in money supply, but I’m less sure about stagflation and waffle back and forth between the two assumptions.

  147. Hello JMG and learned Commentariat,

    I homeschool my 17-year-old son, and I’m putting together an economics/personal finance course. I’d love some suggestions for books that will give us both a good sense of the history of our economic system and how we’ve landed in the mess we’re in (such as classical vs neoclassical economic theories). Do you have any book/material suggestions?

    I’d like to take our discussions beyond just theory and explore personal finance, not only for my son but for myself as well. I have no debt and am trying to figure out what to do with the money I’m able to save – and to help my son learn these things as well.

    I’ve been waiting for weeks to ask this question at this next open post, and I see I’m not the only one thinking about these things. The economy seems precarious right now, and the real estate/rental market is insane, at least where we live in Michigan. The old ideas for what you might do with your money just don’t seem to apply anymore.

    So I’m wondering what you and the commentariat suggest doing with savings right now. I sold my house and have the money from that sitting in a savings account that earns very little interest. I’m currently renting because the real estate prices are too high to buy. Is there any kind of low-risk investment that you’d recommend, or is a savings account best? And Is it better to continue renting for the long haul, or buy a home?

    Thank you!

  148. Hello JMG and all,

    Here are some musings for the homeschoolers out there. We are pondering different approaches for our soon to be 5 year old son. We are mostly drawn to Waldorf, Classical, Charlotte Mason plus a hefty dose of time outdoors. Has anyone done a mash-up of these various methods?

    Also, does anyone have experience with the Christian Classical Conversations co-op. I know they will differ depending on your local group, however we wonder how we would fit in? Currently we don’t attend any church (though I was raised Christian and still am drawn to it) and husband isn’t a believer. They are the only Classical group around us. As newbies, we are hoping to join up with an existing group, though we may spearhead a Waldorf one eventually.

    Foraging is an important skill we are learning and passing on. Earlier I mentioned our acorn processing. We’ve had success in making pancakes, flatbreads, porridge and crackers with the acorns. And for the 1st time, we tapped our mystery maple tree and actually got a third of a cup of syrup. We were all quite thrilled!

    Ellen

  149. Anonymous MK, the ruling class doesn’t stay the ruling class by giving people a choice. The book From Head Shops to Whole Foods is about the hippy and radical businesses of the 60s and 70s. I can’t believe I’m saying this but reading it I found myself tearing my hair out wishing some of them had been more capitalistic. If the successful San Francisco psychedelic shop hadn’t turned a third of their floor space into a free meditation room, they might have lasted longer.

  150. There’s a whole genre of fiction that sets up a society as a utopia, then shows the rot under the surface. Has anyone ever gone the other way and started with something really bleak-looking, then revealed it’s actually pretty nice? I like the brutalist dystopian art of Neil Montier, Nicolas Moulin and Pouria Khojastehpay but like to imagine there are good societies and happy people in those unlikely structures.

  151. Mother Balance at #124

    Actually, there are several claimants to the throne of France.

    The Bourbon claimant is Louis Alfonse, the Duke of Anjou.
    The Orleanist claimant is Jean, the Count of Paris.
    Napoleon’s descendants have also a claim, that of one Jean-Christophe.

    And of course an entirely new dynasty could take power.

    All highly unlikely in any near-term time-frame. Still, when you look at the past 5,000 years of human civilizations, it seems as though hereditary monarchy of some type is the default system of governance, the exceptions being the Roman republic, some Greek city-states, and the medieval Italian republics, also city-states.

    The modern rise of republicanism seems to have coincided with the start of the Industrial Revolution, and regular economic growth. One wonders if, after we are a hundred years or so into the long descent, the default system will return.

    Antoinetta III

  152. Since you are no stranger to atypical neurological conditions and magical practice, I was wondering if you might have some advice on someone who intends to practice magic but is suffering from the symptoms of ADHD? The basic issue is of course the difficulty of building a consistent routine of anything. In the past I have been able to maintain a daily routine of a protective ritual as well as meditation up to twenty minutes, and keep up with that for almost a year.

    I know this is a struggle I need to face myself. Still, would you happen to know if any practice or another would be better suited for my particular alphabet soup? I do not expect a silver bullet, but if you have anything you could offer, or point me towards a direction for further search, I would be most grateful.

    What I would hope to gain from it would be to cause lasting changes in my own consciousness so that I could be of better use for the living world around me.

  153. @Naej-neiviv,

    I have been watching France for some time. Macron’s transformation and the dramatic change in political rhetoric has been quite interesting to watch. A new great power dynamics is emerging in Northern Europe, with Germany’s grip on EU (and itself) showing signs of loosening while UK has emerged from the chaos of Brexit reasonably better. I wouldn’t be surprised by a return of a monarchy (elected). Wasn’t de Gaulle a monarch in all but name?

  154. @CR Patiño

    Thank you for the detail about the pipeline. That helps me to plan my safety better. There ate opportunity costs to leaving or staying here in the USA. Every decision means we must grieve the road not traveled but I have decided that I will choose for what will help me to flourish as the person I already am and desire to be. Do you live near León if you dont mind me asking or are you much farther away? My boyfriend grew up in León when it was much smaller. He lived on a farm bringing the cows through the hillsides to pasture when he was a young man in the 90s. His family still lives there, they stayed in place they said the city just moved over them. Our idea would be to live off the benefits of the city but retrofit the house and have off grid backups in place while also growing a good majority of our food. His house and 3/4 acre land is paid off. My boyfriend has the relevant experience from his youth and works in construction and house maintenance now so he could do most of the handiwork around the house.

    @JMG

    Yes the work is the same so answering the question may not be that important now. I have found for me conceptualizing being in relationship with the divine assists me but the divine is always outside of our complete knowledge which I find comforting. Thank you for your response!

  155. re: stagflation

    IMHO, there is only hyperinflation, on a spectrum. All stagflation is, is just a milder version of it. But they’re both essentially the same elephant. And the 70s almost turned into a hyperinflation, IIRC. I would claim the 70s was a prelude of things to come, in many different ways. You could make the case that what we’re seeing this century is the 70s, on steroids.

  156. >But why do you suggest leaving the “anglosphere” entirely?

    Nothing more than instinct. A feeling that it would be good to do.

  157. >The question is whether Biden’s handlers are dumb enough to walk face first into this particular buzzsaw.

    You might want to entertain the notion that nobody is flying the plane.

  158. Lately I’ve been getting very passionate about things that I can have neither influence nor control over. John Steinbeck wrote that magic is the last resort of the powerless. I read that and thought that religion was the last resort of the powerless, not magic: magic is participatory. Steinbeck thinks it’s all self-delusion. I (usually) don’t: I think magic is a smoothing out of one’s attitudes and sometimes a bit of a jinx on reality. Magic is one of the reasons I’m not as messed up as other members of my family, because I’ve done some ritual work.

    (The issues in question are my sister’s divorce, and the situation in Xinjiang, China. Trust me when I say I can have neither influence nor control over either of these awful situations.)

    There are things in this modern world that we have influence over. As in, I can go online and make noise about it. Last time I did this it really felt as though reality slapped me down, and my worldview shifted back to those mighty egregores written about in chaos magick.

    How do you know when an issue is just sapping your energy? A mage should pare off these distracting concerns, shouldn’t she? Or at least not get too upset about them. Or nervous. But then again accepting powerlessness can only lead to apathy, and I reject apathy. I want to care, but I don’t want it to be exhausting. I don’t want it to be just an ego trip. I could design rituals about it but they’re ongoing concerns. I suppose I should do some kind of ritual and then resolve not to speak about these things – especially the China thing, as nobody agrees with me about it.

  159. You’ve alluded to this before, but what can one reasonably expect to accomplish by practicing magic using the Golden Dawn tradition? What practical results can be achieved? If you covered this topic in one of your books and I missed it (I’ve purchased several of your books) please forgive me.

  160. DanielleThePermaculturist

    I agree with CR Patiño. I have heard that Leon is a stable city. I also hear they have nice shoes there. Also try to get good at Spanish. That will help a lot.

  161. As far as these non-fungible tokens go, I haven’t taken the time to fully understand how they work, but could someone decide to mint a NFT of the NFT itself, thus creating a second-order form of them?

  162. Thanks so much for your reply, JMG. I feel better knowing I’m in good company! Since I don’t like to fly, and haven’t done so in many years, that may make no difference to me anyway. And if a significant number of people say no to vaccination, maybe those venues that require it will lose enough money that they decide to reverse their decisions.

  163. All who responded to my query re H&M

    Many thanks. I was just trying to understand the fascination in the US media (though I shouldn’t be perplexed really–we are the land of the Kardashians, after all). The multiple perspectives of the responses here helped a good bit.

    Naomi, in particular, I appreciated your lengthy response and the insight into the whole affair from the British perspective. I don’t follow the royals at all, but William and Kate seem like people worthy of respect who take their roles seriously; Harry and Meghan, not so much. (Frankly, they strike me as spoiled brats craving attention, but perhaps that’s too harsh. On the other hand, what the heck is a Chief Impact Officer, anyway?)

    We Americans don’t have anything like the royal family and though I’m a staunch believer in democracy, I can also appreciate the tradition and symbolism embodied in a monarchy. And the notion of people who take the idea of service and leadership and responsibility seriously as a birthright, as a proper aristocracy does, has a certain appeal.

    We do things a bit differently here, which worked for a time. Unfortunately, the best days of the United States seem to be behind us. We’ve become like that one guy you run into at your high school reunion: smarmy and smug and self-important, wearing a gaudy man-ring and too much cologne, talking about nothing else but that championship game his senior year where he took that interception in for the winning touchdown, even though he’s now gone soft and flabby and hasn’t worked out in years.

    For the US, WWII was our high school championship, that thing we go back to. With the *very* notable exceptions of slavery, (lack of) women’s suffrage, and our treatment of the indigenous populations, it seems to me that America had more character back when we were a young republic, just getting our feet under ourselves–say in the first quarter to the first half of the 19th century. Then we hit the big-time and it all went to pot. Of course, I’m also seeing it through a certain lens and like every lens, it has certain biases.

  164. Yves criticism of Green New Deal is the only criticism. The only green is consuming less. The only taxpayer-profit-to-billionaires is in building and consuming more. I don’t know how this could be made any simpler. It’s more than Al and Barack being blinding hypocrites in 5,000 sq ft houses at sea level, if they did the right thing I wouldn’t accuse their wealth and good fortune. But the idea that, having leveled every mountain for oil, we are now going to level every mountain for toxic lithium, so we can double the number of cars AGAIN, is the definition of doing the opposite of anything environmental.

    Moreso, since a child can tell that planting a tree and playing in a garden beside a warm stove IS environmental, and all parts are very specifically outlawed by a corporation-government that stands to profit. No trees, no green spaces, no gardens, no return to family farming and nature, no permaculture, and absolutely, positively, no firewood, no energy of any kind that isn’t centralized with the A/C grid and central oil/gas pipelines and stock/investment profits on Wall Street. And that’s just what we see. So it’s easier to think of it as having nothing whatsoever to do with Green or the environment. It’s a tax and money grab that cuts all trees and levels all mountains to achieve. Look at Musk’s new factory, paving 8 million sq ft of good farmland, not including parking lots and supply factories. Considered green as they come. This is their model, and it’s fake as could be. I worry for the sanity of those who credit or encourage it.

    Yves is right. There is only using less, being happier instead, and making that less go further and better. But ain’t no profit in that.

    Is the idea of Archetype to create a lot of pressure, and that human pressure ruptures through a single archetype that is therefore overwhelming and unbalanced? Like a dam has to run to the end?

    Savings is always good, but these are not normal times. As banks may soon crack, paper cash may have a fine window of buying anything or paying bills when ATMs stall as has already happened, and we see the supply chain fail. After that, Bitcoin and others, and after that gold and silver, which remain money always as in Columbia, Argentina, etc. But “save” in stock, money market, bonds? Not even once. Even when stocks mostly “go up” (in numbers) during an inflation.

    The idea they have now is an ’08 re-do that was so successful, if they can crunch the people, up to the landlords, they will steal all the people’s houses again and give them to the Congressional donor class again: Wall Street and billionaires. It’s only having cash to carry your house, or own it outright, that can overcome this. Even now they’re creating a $40 billion a month running bank bailout for 10 years, and only the lockdown is preventing runaway inflation, which is why it can’t be lifted, science-be-dunked. Real estate would be one protection, which is why Blackrock is stealing yours.

    They made mincemeat of inflationary theories in the ‘70s but then picked themselves up and continued as if nothing happened. We have the same not-working theories today.
    Bankruptcy is wildly specific and often in the borrower’s favor. Look at John Oliver buying off (medical) debt of random people for pennies. Expert bankruptcy lawyers can make this go away legally for nearly nothing just by “asking”. But it’s a specialty and they aren’t going to advertise that the law is in your favor.

    Orkney and other places, like Cornwall, their explanation why they built the defended peninsula cities was to hide from giants!

    Speaking of their technical advancement, there is a man on Youtube that creates the Antikytheria using period tools and techniques. When you see how simple to NOT use electric… They also had steam-powered robots in ancient Greece, commented on by Heron. Archytas had a steam-powered flying drone in 428 BC. But the religion of progress requires that everyone since 1950 was a caveman who did nothing but say unga-bunga.

  165. Neaj-Neiviv, JMG, and others, the situation of Germany in the coronavirus pandemic now is similar: After being hailed as a success story a year ago due to the relative success of the first lockdown, now we are in the third wave of coronavirus infections; the current lockdown, which began at the end of October last year, had, in early February, finally managed to reduce the case load of infections, but a while ago the number of cases began again to rise, although the lockdown rules didn’t change. The lockdowns increasingly don’t work anymore, and a demonstration of the Querdenker movement in the central German city of Kassel showed with brutal clarity the problems with the current crisis management in Germany. The last sessions between the heads of the German states went for 15 hours, but nevertheless, there were no new ideas except prolonging the lockdown. The idea the have a stricter lockdown for the Easter holidays from Thursday to Monday were proposed and abandoned among much criticism. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, seems to be at the end of her wisdom. Today, I read that the Saarland will reopen mostly after Easter amid introduction of corona tests and similar measures. And the messaging about the safety or otherwise of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine is not very helpful, from a mass-psychological standpoint.

    (Possibly posted two times.)

  166. @ Daniel M RE leaving the country…

    If you decide to leave, be aware that you will need to go south. Having lived in Colombia and Ecuador, be assured they have their own issues – just flavored differently than ours here. I say go south, because with your Spanish background, all you need is to be dropped into a Spanish speaking country and immersion will make you literate quickly. It took me 3 months to ‘get fluent’, but I was hobbled by knowing a fair amount of Portuguese from a stint in Brazil. Portuguese stymied my immersion into Colombia somewhat. Pero, todo es bueno ahora!

    You can leverage your Spanish simply by living in Texas rather than moving. Yea, we are entering the slow roll into less, but so is everyone else. We may derive some benefit from entering it from a higher standard of living, but there are pitfalls to believing that will be the case. From where I sit, it depends on your immediately local conditions. You might also want to consider that in many other places, you may be the last hiring option due to the way things work – the “good ole boy” network is much stronger in smaller countries. And you also know the lay of the land where you are; elsewhere, it would take a year or two before that settled into your brain as your ‘operating landscape’.

    I am just letting you know this, because I did live and travel all across the world in my job, but the living was in South America, with extended travel to the other continents. Every country has its own morasses, dirty laundry, corruption and peculiar ways of doing things. But people share commonalities across the globe – hopes, dreams, and the importance of things like family, religion and goodness. Evil is universal from my experience…LOL

    Good luck – don’t be afraid to take a step down a path, especially while it is just you in the equation. Spouses and kids complicate things and instantly change your priorities – yet are the best joys in life as well…

  167. @ Lunar & JMG RE stagflation

    I think the term was coined due to it being a YUGE bump in the ever-expanding economic model. What we are looking at now is permanent contraction due to lessening of easily available energy. I see us Boomers all dying off in 20 years or so as a temporary reprieve, but the energy issue has only one exit unless a rabbit gets pulled out of a hat.

    We need a better term than the “long descent”. IMHO.

    Until people realize that cheap energy is history, and thus eternal expansion is not a reasonable thing to assume, there is unlikely to be significant change in perspective. With the amount of propaganda spewing forth from TPTB, discussion of less energy is simply drowned out in the noise – but at some point it has to be addressed. For now, it seems like TPTB are in “extend and pretend” mode, and unlikely to change without a generational change at the head of the Imperial Beast – yet even that is questionable due to the volume of corruption within the system.

    Reduced cheap energy may be part of the solution to generations of endemic corruption, as the pie shrinks…?

  168. @JMG: Gossamer Axe is probably out of print, but you might try the used bookstores or the Goodwill. If you order online, or have a bookstore order it for you, Worldofbooksinc has a copy, and so does Celt Books. ~$20, mass market pb.

  169. @ Will O

    Not the “grid” specifically, but the Energy Information Administration (eia.gov) has lots–and I mean LOTS–of data on energy consumption, sources, infrastructure, projections, and the like.

  170. Naomi:

    Your excellent explanation of the turmoil in the British Royal Family aligns quite nicely with the opinions of my mother-in-law’s family who live in various parts of southeast England. Until WWII, the family were based entirely in the district of Braintree, Essex, to be precise. The most unhappy cousins are those who now live in Sussex.

    To a person they are quite supportive of the Queen, somewhat less impressed by Charles, agnostic on Camilla, rather pleased with William and Kate. They see Meghan as a first-rate example of trashy American popular culture and someone who cannot stop doing things to prove it. She, they believe, married into the BRF for the status, not because she ever intended to contribute anything meaningful; it was always all about the branding. Now that things are not going her way, she’s determined to do as much damage to the institution as she can. I’d have to agree with their assessment.

  171. Hey JMG, I would love to see your astrological analysis of the birth chart of the USA! I have been fooling around with this myself, but your analysis would probably be much more incisive….

  172. A smattering of comments.

    About Harry and Megan, I never thought it would be discussed here. But the commentary is more thoughtful than most outlets. I thought from the beginning the whole thing smelled like a dead fish. I kept going back to the setting for the interview – three very rich people sitting in a glorious outside garden kvetching about their lot in life. Someone else did all of the gardening and the rest. They just showed up and did their dog and pony show. And of course, U.S. took the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. My personal view is that since people marry their parents and try to rewrite personal history, that Harry was rescuing his mother, and Megan rescuing her father.

    About stagflation. I worked with the smartest people in the room at the Fed. They were always the last to know about anything. They were the keepers of the status quo and orthodoxy. No original thinkers need apply. I suppose this does go into the discussion about cranks and mad scientists. There are times that the orthodoxy clamps down on free thinkers more than others. The more the orthodoxy clamps down, the more the cranks and everyone else come out sideways. What is happening at the Fed is that well they are so fixed that they can’t see the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest.

    About jobs in the post-industrial period. My son works in a warehouse for Goodwill. The people in his job field all ask for two things – speaking Spanish and working a fork lift truck. That and a good work ethic.

  173. I was reading several Magic Mondays where rituals to Aztec Gods were discussed. The upshot was that Mr. Greer regarded the rituals to be quite dangerous, and not to be made public. The reasoning was that the Aztecs descended into worshipping demons.

    This sparked a memory of my younger days. Brain injury shot my memory, but the compulsive writer that I am, I kept journals since I was 8 years old. SO I have a memory record in writing. During my teenage years and twenties, I was into Aztecs and their Gods. To a lessor degree, the Mayas. I was drawn to their human sacrifices and all that entailed. It lasted for about 20 years until I woke up. That is the only way I can explain what happened. I was severely depressed in those days and the Aztec worldview reflected my own.

    I am wondering if that is something like that is common among depressed people or did the Aztec Gods glom on to a kid living in the wilds of Northern Maine. I have no connection that I know of to these Gods unless it was a past life thing. The only blowback to “waking up” is my son being paranoid-schizophrenic and having to deal with that all of his life.

    I am curious as to how these Gods work and if there is anything to keep them away.

    (I would have asked at MM but my computer is out of commission. This is a borrowed one.)

  174. DavidBTL:

    Here’s another take on the Harry/Meghan business, from a Brit. Make of it what you will!

    The British Royal Family is basically too big. The only people who matter are the monarch and spouse, and the monarch’s heirs. Charles will be King soon, William after him, and after that William’s son or daughter. Everyone else is surplus to requirements. But they are still paid from the public purse, and expected to live their lives in a public royal goldfish bowl. It must be a grim fate: no real chance of any meaningful work, but required always to be ‘royal’, which also means you are fair game for any tabloid paper which wants to dig into your peccadilloes.

    Harry has no chance of any real job. He is also doubtless still very scarred from the early and horribly public death of his mother. Perhaps unsconsciously he always wanted to escape. He met Meghan, an ambitious American actress who fancied being a princess, and they married. They clearly both hoped – doubtless led by her – that they could combine a British life of being public royals with an American life of selling branded tat with crests on over the internet. But it wasn’t a goer – say what you like about the royals, they are very serious about public service. So they had to choose: continue being royal, or run to California to be modern ‘slebs. They chose the latter, and are now behaving just like most celebrity millionaires desperately trying to avoid obsolescence in the maw of the media cycle: weepy interviews; playing the victim; pretending to care about racism; making their own Netflix shows; all the while keeping themselves in the limelight 24/7.

    I’m not a great royalist, but I have to say that it makes me appreciate the dignity of the current monarch. Harry-n-Meg, on the other hand, make me sympathise with your revolution.

  175. Dear JMG,
    I haven’t read through all the comments yet, so this might have been brought up. Did anyone else notice that when six Asian women (and two white women) were shot in Atlanta, we were supposed to notice race of the victims even though the shooter said it had nothing to do with race? But when ten White people are shot in CO, there’s zero mention of their race or that it might have something to do with their race (shooter was born in Syria and came to USA as a teen I believe)? It’s kind of like White Lives don’t matter. Sad, but people are noticing.

  176. It has been interesting to observe the recent crop of articles and op-eds talking about how “Republican men” are endangering Life As We Know It by refusing to get vaccinated.

    The subject of vaccination has come up twice at work, as we utility workers are getting earlier access, and I’ve indicated that I’m not planning on it. “Letting the experiment run” is how I put it in one instance. If I’m compelled to by my employer, I’ll likely do it, but I don’t think the management team will go that far. (And to the op-eds, I’m not a Republican, I just don’t like being bossed around by busybody bureaucrats…)

  177. I am wondering about the thought and works of Sigmund Freud, of which I read a little many years ago and had no desire to read more. He is represented as a great original thinker, but I am wondering, was he really? JMG recently referred to advertising using techniques borrowed from Renaissance magicians, or maybe it was sorcerers, and that made me think what were the origins of Freud’s thought ? Was he perhaps reworking notions from Jewish magic, the Cabala I think it is called, for a secular audience? We are expected to believe that Freud’s ideas were born like Athena from his prodigious brain, but nothing in intellectual history ever is so born; there are always antecedents.

    On another topic, I have recently been reading in classical history. I just finished Paul Cartledge’s biography of Alexander and it occurs to me that the western system of dating is vastly cumbersome, not to mention makes no sense. “Common Era” if you please. Common to whom, I would like to know? Moslems date from a certain event in the life of the prophet, Chinese from the foundation of the Chin Empire, and I do believe that Hindu time begins in prehistory, or what is prehistory for many of the rest of us. Is it perhaps time for some agreed upon by historians and archeologists from all countries universal system of dating? I note that geologists don’t even bother with BCE/CE, using BP(Before Present) for their dating of eras and epochs. Suppose the relevant experts from around the world were to agree on some event such as the Battle of Kadesh or foundation of the Chin Empire or some other significant event for which the date can be determined to a reasonable degree of precision. The scholars could then count back from that date and designate and agree upon a designated year 1 as the beginning of human history–foundation of Catal Huyuk or some other significant neolithic settlement perhaps. I understanding that carbon dating technology has become far more accurate than it first was. The designated year 1 would be arbitrary but so are the systems we use now. Scholars could then agree to use the new form of dating in their publications and nations and peoples could do as they pleased.

  178. Found a whole bunch of early 20th century occult pamphlets on the topics you’ve been bringing up at a used book store, Radionics, etc… I ended up just snagging “Astrology and the Ductless Glands” by Augusta Heindall, but I may go back for some more. They had too many other interesting books for me to snatch up! I also might go back for their collection of Fortean Times and/or Journals of Eclectic Medicine… might also just have to build more shelves… It looks like the prices on books are already inflating, after I looked some of these titles up on Amazon…

  179. Regarding the occult history of America, some tangential trivia:

    Paul Manship’s 1934 sculpture of Prometheus in Rockefeller Center (New York City) depicts the god falling though a ring representing the heavens, on which are inscribed the signs of the zodiac.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus_(Manship)

    Manship also created bronze reliefs depicting the four elements (Earth, Air, Water and Fire) for the former American Telephone & Telegraph Building at 195 Broadway, New York City.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a8/195_Bwy_F_sun_jeh_%28cropped%29.jpg/330px-195_Bwy_F_sun_jeh_%28cropped%29.jpg

    For those who are inclined to burrow deeper into this particular architectural rabbit hole, a pdf copy of the January 1924 Architectural Record containing an illustrated article about 195 Broadway by art historian Kenneth Clark is available at:

    https://www.architecturalrecord.com/ext/resources/archives/backissues/1924-01.PDF?-1451674800

  180. @I.A.A. #71

    “If the AstraZeneca vaccine is responsible for causing blood clots, however rare they may be, why are “medical experts” still insisting that it’s safe?”

    From their perspective, I’d say the answer is, “Because if they’re super rare, then for most people it *is* safe, and they’re summarizing.”

    IMO it reflects an increasing tendency in medicine to do everything by the statistics of large groups, instead of the more old-fashioned approach of, “Let’s figure out why this small group is having a negative reaction and *how to tell if you’re in it*.”

    It used to be, “1% have a bad reaction? Better figure out how to tell in advance who’s in that 1% so they don’t take it!” Now it’s often, “1% have a bad reaction? I like those odds! Take it!”

    It also was more common in the past to ban certain things because of the disproportionately negative effect they had on small percentages of people when it was really hard to find out in advance if you were part of those groups. Two examples I can think of are mercury in teething powder, and marijuana. In both cases, there’s a small percentage of the population who have a pre-existing vulnerability that causes severe neurological effects if they take (these small doses of mercury | marijuana). In both cases, this “pre-existing vulnerability” doesn’t affect anything else, so they just would never know they had it. In both cases the substance was banned in the USA. Nowadays, in keeping with the more modern “I like those odds!” approach, there’s increasing support for and moves toward ending such bans (with mercury AFAIK the support is more for using it in vaccines again rather than teething powder, but still).

    Maybe people are less math-literate now, so there’s less understanding now that “1% chance of getting sick” does not mean “NO chance of getting sick”?

  181. Hello Mr. Greer,
    On dreamwidth I posited a question with regulars to little swarming lights one can see if the relax and look at the sky. You did address it and I thank you. However I feel that this subject is one that could be gone deeply into.
    What the Sam Hill are they, and what heck are they doing?
    I’ve done a few experiments, and they seem to not be “out there” but within my own personal sphere.
    They are certainly not “floaters” as soon have said.
    Also I seem to perceive them through my eyes, however I’m not sure that my eyes are seeing actually them. Perhaps some sort of brain static??

    Thanks again
    Travis

  182. Since it’s come up, I have a question on the Meghan Markel thing: does anyone else find it weird she’s considered “black”? She’s tanned, but I would not have thought that enough to make her “black”. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but it does seem to be a pattern: a lot of the talk of racism today involves people who clearly have an awful lot of Caucasian ancestry.

    Lunar Apprentice (#158),

    Thank you for these observations! This actually might be of use to me, since knowing how things were organized back before the internet, as well as how to find things without search engines, is useful. This is actually one of the first tasks I plan to get started on, for the simple reason that I figure it will take quite some time to learn to do it well.

  183. Hello all, and thank you to JMG. I wondered what you think about the recent reports (a book by Shanna Swan; an article by Erin Brockovich) that sperm counts, which have dropped almost 60% since 1973, thanks to the ongoing splurge of hormone-disrupting chemicals into our environment, are on course to drop to ZERO by 2045. In some parts of the world, it seems, a 20 year old is less fertile than her grandmother would have been in her thirties; on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had.

    No one is doing much about all of this, but I wonder what you, and the ecosophia community in general, feel about it. Poetic justice, of a sort; humanity ending with a whimper not a bang; or will we somehow get round this? 2045 isn’t far away …

  184. A link and then a question.

    First, the link (via Ran Prieur):

    https://harpers.org/archive/2021/04/lost-in-thought-psychological-risks-of-meditation/

    One sentence summary: while transcendental meditation helps some people, it has a very negative impact on a not-so-small minority, and psychotic breaks are not all that uncommon.

    Now the question for our host: what *is* this discursive meditation that you keep mentioning? Is there a one-to-five sentence summary? I understand that it’s supposed to be different from the transcendental kind (how?). And, gulp, any known risks of psychosis?

  185. Can I just admit that while Queen Elizabeth 2 is my country’s monarch, I really don’t care that much about Harry and Meghan?

  186. Hi Mary,

    “Common Era” is an attempt by anti-Christians to avoid using “Anno Domini,” “Year of Our Lord.” “AD” sufficed for nearly 2,000 years, right up till the late 20th century.

  187. Sorry everyone for the long comment!

    @Jack: we are in the same boat. My wife and I have no debt and we’ve been saving for years, plus my wife received a small yet not insignificant inheritance. It’s been disheartening watching house prices rise, and we’ve struggled to figure out how to proceed.

    So I’ve been doing a lot of reading about inflation to understand how to proceed. There are MANY more things I would rather be reading about than economics and inflation, but I wanted to get a sense of what might happen based on how historical inflation cycles have played out.

    Please take the below with a grain of salt, I am not an economist, so I’m hoping someone else will chime in to correct me where necessary.

    In Jens O. Parssons’ book Dying of Money, written in 1974, he looks at the Weimar hyperinflation and the inflation of the 60s and early 70s. Tellingly, in the lead-up to the economic fallout caused by those inflations, he identifies a few warning signs:

    – Times are good. In the very early 1920s, Weimar was the envy of the world: new factories, a happy populace, a booming economy. All of it was caused by decisions made just before World War I that started an inflationary cycle. The lesson is that inflation, at first, looks good, and politicians want it. So that’s unlike today, but the benefits of inflation to politicians to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic are clear.

    – The stock market keeps going up and up. Basically, as the money supply increases, all that extra money needs somewhere to go, and so according to Parssons, it goes straight into the stock market, fuels other speculative ventures like the housing market, and also helps create jobs in what he calls the non-productive sectors of the economy: i.e. higher education, government jobs, and admin jobs. Which probably sounds familiar, because that’s what’s been happening today.

    Here in eastern Canada, infrastructure projects that were 10-20 years from starting are being brought forward (new roads, highway expansions, etc). The government is creating jobs and paying for it with the inflated money supply.

    – A division widens quickly between those who are able to take part in the boom, and those who increasingly can’t. I got a (very small) taste of that when house-hunting, when I realized how aggressive house hunters were being while snapping up houses, and how prices are going up probably $10-20k per month in my area, and that we were being priced out of the market.

    All that is to say is that these signs, along with the charts showing a sharp upward tick in the money supply since the pandemic started, suggest that inflation is baked in at this point.

    The issue is how to handle it. Inflation doesn’t apparently happen uniformly. Prices for goods and services will rise, but wages and salaries are slow to follow. So if you get a mortgage, technically the mortgage payments are fixed at a certain amount with a fixed interest rate if you get a fixed rate mortgage. In theory, that suggests getting a mortgage is a smart move, because your inflated dollars make it easier to pay the mortgage down.

    However, if the inflation is acute, then the prices of good and services increasingly climbs, and your household income is consumed more and more with those costs, unless you’re lucky and your salary/wages also increase. Again, I could be wrong, but what happens is that the prices of good and services climb so high, that people struggle to pay their mortgage payments, and eventually are forced to sell their homes. Thus sparking a rush to get out of the housing market before house values drop too quickly.

    Not only that, but inflation should cause interest rates to rise. After the 70s stagflation in eastern Canada, my parents reported 18-20% interest rates in the early 80s.

    The things with keeping money in savings is that, if inflation happens, the total value of your savings will be worth less through time. So even if you can get a high interest rate eventually as inflation progresses, the absolute value of your savings theoretically has less purchasing power.

    However, if the housing market crashes, it may equal out, and you could then buy a house at a great value with your savings. But again, I don’t know, I still have reading and learning to do about this!

    In a chapter later in the book, Parssons discusses ‘self-defense’, what you can do to protect your money during inflation. He does state that in extreme conditions, like Weimar, everyone loses. The crash first wiped out all those non-productive jobs he referred to (admin, higher ed), then the schadenfreude of the working classes was turned to horror when those jobs vanished, too. The only people who did well, relatively, were farmers.

    From the sounds of it, we’re not talking today about hyperinflation, the money supply in Weimar Germany increased way too much in comparison to today for that to happen. I’m not certain whether we’ll get into stagflation or just inflation, though.

    So we made a choice: It’s not yet final, but we bought a house which is much cheaper than we could afford, we are going to make a hefty downpayment and take out a small mortgage and keep some of our savings for a rainy day so that we aren’t house poor. Then we’re going to overpay each month on our mortgage (a fixed rate mortgage) and hopefully have it all paid off in 5 years by the time interest rates go up.

    The thought is that, if we don’t get into stagflation/inflation, then we have a house we’ve paid for and therefore the freedom that allows. If stagflation does happen, we still have savings we can use if either of us loses our job and little debt. Yes, the house is overvalued, but it is a cheap overvalued house. The main thing is that buying a house gives us somewhere that is ours in order to grow vegetables, and learn skills, which are kinds of inflation hedges in themselves.

  188. It just clicked: the response to Covid is a revitalization movement! We really are near the end then…..

  189. On the Bitcoin energy use thing someone posted early on – this is just mainstream media FUD against Bitcoin. It’s invariably something like “Bitcoin mining uses as much energy as [insert country here]” by people who have no idea how the system works or what it does.

    Of course Bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy, but the question isn’t “how much energy does it use?”, the question is “is the energy it uses worth it for the benefits that it gives” – but no one frames the question that way.

    It’s just “Bitcoin uses a lot of energy – insert irrelevant comparison – therefore Bitcoin is bad”.

    For example, I can tell you that the Sony PlayStation 5 games consoles (only the PS5 – not even counting the hundreds of millions of other consoles) worldwide consume more energy than the global Bitcoin mining industry. But funnily enough (not), you don’t see endless media articles filled with irrelevant comparisons and calling for games consoles to be banned, because PS5s don’t threaten (indeed they shore up) big corporate profits.

    The relevant question to ask is to compare Bitcoin energy consumption with the industries and functions that it has the potential to disrupt (indeed, is already starting to disrupt which is why the flood of articles FUDding Bitcoin like clockwork) – I can promise you that the global gold mining industry uses a lot more energy (and creates a lot more human misery and environmental impact) than Bitcoin mining does. And don’t even get me started about the global finance and banking industry.

    But you will never see *those* comparisons in the media..

    (This is before you even get into the point that Bitcoin mining is pretty close to a true free market – despite some issues with antitrust, oligarchy etc – everyone involved in has skin in the game and is risking their own money and isn’t protected by cronyism or government regulation etc)

    (Bitcoin is in a speculative bubble that will crash of course – that’s a separate point, although it’s had at least 4-5 bubbles in the last 12 years and always recovered – this is just the latest one)

  190. We looked at stagflation when I was at university mid ’80s.

    ‘Stagflation’ was the term invented to describe the economy when it failed to follow the 1958 Phillips curve. E.W. Phillips was a New Zealand economist who plotted inflation and unemployment in Britain from 1861 to 1957 and found a very close relationship — if inflation went up, unemployment went down, and vice versa.

    This was seized on by governments. They couldn’t control unemployment, but they could control inflation. If unemployment was unacceptably high (you need a bit of unemployment for worker mobility), they believed they could always nudge it down by inflating the currency a little. But…

    “However, when governments attempted to use the Phillips curve to control unemployment and inflation, the relationship fell apart. Data from the 1970’s and onward did not follow the trend of the classic Phillips curve. For many years, both the rate of inflation and the rate of unemployment were higher than the Phillips curve would have predicted, a phenomenon known as “stagflation. ” Ultimately, the Phillips curve was proved to be unstable, and therefore, not usable for policy purposes.”https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-economics/chapter/the-relationship-between-inflation-and-unemployment/

    If you’ve seen the original Phillips curve, it was beautiful. The points formed a smooth curve with hardly any scatter. But extend the curve after 1958 and the curve goes haywire. Points are scattered all over the graph. Conclusion: You can’t control unemployment by controlling inflation.

    The scary thing is, I read a while ago someone from the Fed implying that the Phillips curve formed a part of their policy thinking. Do they not know it is totally discredited?

  191. JMG,

    Does the essence of the awareness of awareness/the “thing” that is aware, part of the individuality change with respect to what plane a consciousness is centered on? Or would it, say in a dog, still be part of the mental/spiritual planes? In other words, a mental/spiritual construct that is experiencing the astral.

    Also, can you confirm that the thing that is aware is made of mental and spiritual matter? I have meditated on this, and arrived at that conclusion, but also remember you saying that the individuality is on those two planes. You didn’t say if the thing that is aware specifically was though.

    Does AE Powell talk about this, or similar? Maybe in “The Causal Body”? That’s where my intuition is telling me to look anyway.

  192. @balowulf, we (and everything else) emerge from the gods, divine sparks thrust into these physical bodies and this physical world headlong. Despite the ardent longings of some Manichean and Puritan types, we have no choice but to engage with it, and it is indeed through engaging with it thoughtfully–with our soul’s eyes attuned to the workings of the gods–and adequately preparing the soul that we may, if the gods allow, find individual enlightenment. As JMG notes, to focus solely on the goal of achieving this enlightenment would be fruitless.

    Sometimes you have to go down to go back up again.

    Axé,
    Fra’ Lupo

  193. Waffles asked, “As a side note, if anyone has any tips on preserving these newspapers, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

    I happen to know a little bit about archival preservation, and I can tell you that long-term hard-copyy newspaper preservation is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

    Most archives do not keep hard copies of newspapers, because they are printed on highly acidic, unstable paper that will eventually fall apart no matter what steps you take – newspaper literally crumbles to dust after a time, just on its own.

    What professional archivists in libraries/museums do instead is capture the information in the newspapers some other way. Previously, newspaper archives were stored mainly on microfiche (which has its own deterioration issues), and now it’s digital scans (which also have deterioration issues), but in practice the information in newspapers was captured and the original documents discarded. In this case, that’s not due primarily to a belief that “newer is better” or as an excuse to get rid of bulky old hard copies and save space; archivists by their nature tend to like old things, but the fact is, newspaper decays, fast. If you want hard copies, the best preservation practice is probably to scan the newspapers and then print them back out on more-stable low-acid archival paper. While that practice is cost-prohibitive for large collections, it might be do-able for a small number of documents.

    Interesting side note: paper became much less stable after the mid-19th century. Prior to then, paper tended to contain a lot of rag content, and lasted longer. If you’ve ever had the chance to poke around in archives, you’ll find that often the older stuff (150-170-plus years) will feel much heavier and more cloth-like, and very often will actually be in better condition than newer items from the last 150 years. Newspapers, at least those printed from the late 19th century onward, used some of the cheapest and most unstable paper stocks, and so are the quickest to decay.

    Anyway – as you may have guessed, paper preservation is a very big topic, only a tiny bit of which I know. Generally speaking, you can extend the life of any document, even a newspaper, by storing it flat in acid-free archival boxes, and maintaining good climate control (stable temperature, low humidity), but, as noted, newspaper as a material is still very unstable.

    I’m not sure I have a whole lot more to add, although I could probably dig up some links to places selling archival boxes and/or locate some info on best scanning practices, if you want.

    -El

  194. To Ellen, we modify amblesideonline.org and find it suits.

    To Mary Bennet, Common Era is merely an attempt to erase Christianity, as it is imposed exactly on Anno Domine dates. Pay it exactly as much due as any other erasure of history scheme. The line for BC and AD is the once-believed birth year of Christ, and BCE and CE use the same. (Get a couple Christians together and we can have a debate about whether the year was correctly calculated, then or now, but unless it’s our particular thing, we don’t get too bothered over it.)

    To all: it’s a matter of some amusement to me (my choices are amusement or frustration here) that suddenly my husband is expressing mild interest in such topics as astrology and ether. So I may have distressed him somewhat, as he showed me a really poorly done natal astrology table (!) and wondered aloud what the numbers by the planets were. Oh, says I, that’s which houses they’re in. Houses? Well, yes, houses, and I called up the same chart on astrolabe and he found it much too much text, but I was able to show him the chart and explain a bit. Yet another area his wife is a geek in and knows more than he does. (I know nothing, mind you, but he knows less.)

    The problem is that I am a very fast reader and he is a watcher. I can’t give him the old Galabes posts, various books, etc, and expect him to come up with a matched vocabulary, because he will not read. His ideas come from the movie industry.
    So I come to you, asking for video recommendations. I get bored by video and wander off, and so have completely ignored all the videos linked over the years. I know Kimberly has done some videos, and I’ll have to investigate those now. Specifically, though, natal astrology and material/etheric/astral/mental plane videos. He tried to tell me the gods are chunks of ether and I . . . wait, wut, lol no, as the kids would say, and the conversation cratered very quickly. Barest intro level material, if any of you are watchers and know of any. Just enough to have a matched dictionary, because I am not going to ever watch enough of his movies to figure out what on earth Hollywood’s gone and done with it.

    Thanks very much.

  195. @Daniel M

    Have you considered brewing? It’s essentially biotech and there’s no doubt that the demand will always be there. If you enter the craft ale side rather than the ‘vast conglomerate’ side there’s a very vibrant culture around it as well. I founded and ran a small Brewery about a decade ago and it although in the end I couldn’t make it pay, it was a life changing experience. Recommended if you fancy some adventure in your working life.

    @JMG.

    Re: the ecliptic, I think I’ve got my head around that. Thanks. I can largely ignore the 3D aspects in drawing out a chart but even so I have to juggle 4 different coordinate systems to make this work. The latest output with houses and planetary layout is at:

    https://adwelly.dreamwidth.org/file/1368.jpg

    I’ll look at aspects next, but progress will not be as fast as I can’t simply read these out of the ephemeris.

  196. Greetings all,

    On your dreamwidth account of the 22nd of march 2019, you had an interesting post on “an educated mind illuminated by revelation”. You had a tantalizing ending about “Now to figure out more about the methods…”
    Any progress on the latter or any avenues of research?

    Regards

  197. @DarkestYorkshire

    In response to your question about fiction that features a seemingly terrible world which is actually pretty nice……

    If you can abide Manga (it certainly isn’t for everyone, though this author and series I feel don’t really have any of the terrible aspects of the medium)

    I highly recommend the work of Tsukumizu , specifically Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryoko , (Girl’s Apocalypse Adventure) published in English under the name Girl’s Last Tour.

    You can find physical copies on amazon. I don’t know if legally licensed translated e-copies exist.

    A short Anime (animation) adaptation can be watched for free on amazon with an Amazon Prime subscription, so not really for free, but free if you are subscribed. They do a good job, and has great visuals music, and captures most of the story, though it leaves out the part that really gets me.

    Its subtle, and to me the ending that is only featured in the Manga (comic) is the deepest and most beautiful part.

    Back when a version of “Climate change will kill us all next week” was a deeply embedded part of my consciousness, this piece of fiction demonstrated that you can live a good life in any circumstances. And brought me a lot of peace.

    -WindMan

  198. We just published our twenty-fifth book: Career Indie Author Quote Book!

    It’s over 2,700 quotes by writers and a few nonwriters giving writing advice. There are hundreds of subtopics, along with an index including birth and death dates. If an author’s quote has a picture, the page number is bold.

    Our esteemed host has a quote in there.

    Bill’s been collecting quotes for decades. Most of these are NOT the usual ones. He also researched them all to make sure he got them correct.

    As an example (page 117 with picture) is Choire Sicha:

    “If you want to see something sad, ask a room full of freelance writers about their tax strategies. It’s like asking a pack of baby kittens about space travel.”

    The trade paperback includes hundreds of pictures that are not in the eBook version because of file size restrictions.

    Here’s the link for more information: https://peschelpress.com/career-indie-author-quote-book/

  199. womensatlasrc: It occurs to me that the Islamic umma could put a stop to Chinese abuse, if such abuse does exist, of their co-religionists if they wanted to do so. It would be hard and expensive and would require much thought and coordination, but I think it could be done. For example. Muslim govts. could be pressured to boycott Chinese goods, not sell to China and not allow Chinese entry into their countries. KSA notoriously doesn’t permit Jews to enter SA, so such a move would not be without precedent. You might want to ask if this is really where you want to put your energy. OTOH, you could join those of us who boycott Chinese goods, whenever possible, as a matter of principle. For example, it is an easy choice to pass on Christopher Ranch garlic, which is an inferior product, and grown and processed in the PRC, and grow your own or stock up at the farmer’s market.

    For homeschool resources about economics, try to find a copy of The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner. I believe an intelligent High Schooler can understand Aristotle’s Politics, if you take it slowly and use it for discussion, which is how philosophy is learned. First sentence “Man is a social animal.” That sentence alone is good for at least an hour’s discussion. For mythmakers like Plato and Augustine, it is best to wait a bit.

  200. @ Lady Cutekitten. Good luck with your publishing journey!

    Bill and I started ten years ago and are now up to twenty-five books with more in the pipeline.

    If you have questions about what to do, email me at teresa @ peschelpress.com. Remove the spaces. Or, go through our contact page at https://peschelpress.com/contacting-peschel-press/

    This is also for everyone else too. If you’ve got questions about self-publishing or publishing in general, I’ll do my best to answer them.

  201. Your Kittenship, just be sure the kittens are properly outfitted in armor…

    Galen, well, as I noted earlier, his inaugural chart is literally the most negative mundane chart I’ve ever studied. That suggests that literally nothing will go the way Biden or, rather, his handlers hope.

    Waffles, thanks for this. You might compare the recipes in the food columns with the sort of thing that gets discussed in today’s papers…

    Viduraawakened, any physician in the US who was caught doing that would lose his right to practice and probably end up in jail. The medical-industrial complex here is utterly intolerant of dissent and punishes it savagely.

    Averagejoe, her other mature novels — The Goat Foot God and The Winged Bull — and the short stories collected in The Secrets of Doctor Taverner are well worth your while. Her early novel The Demon Lover is not very good and Moon Magic is a mess, having been left unfinished at her death. The rest of her nonfiction is a lot easier to read than the Cos.Doc., and also worth your while.

    Jbucks, (1) partly, once a bubble reaches the crazy stage, it usually pops within a year, and partly, the Aries ingress for the US suggests that. (2) I see stagflation as a very high possibility because the price of oil has been moving raggedly upwards for a while now; it’s around $60 a barrel after a series of drops, and once the pandemic is officially over, it’s poised to rise into three figures. Rising energy prices are a key factor in stagflation.

    RavenWillow, if you haven’t read it yet, permit me to introduce you to John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash 1929, the most hilarious, sidesplitting, compulsively readable book of serious economic history ever written. Hand that to your son, and read it yourself; it will immunize both of you against certain very common economic follies. Beyond that, my book The Wealth of Nature (currently out of print but available on the used market) might be worth a look. As for your savings, as I noted earlier, it’s a crapshoot.

    Ellen, thanks for this. My guess is that a lot of people are doing mashups of different homeschooling methods, but it’s only a guess.

    Yorkshire, hmm! That’s a fascinating idea. Have you considered trying to write one?

    Oskari, I recommend ceremonial magic — it keeps you busy, so boredom is less of an issue. Since (beyond the daily practices you’re already doing) it’s not a matter of day in, day out, but rather of learning and then practicing complex rituals when you have the time, people with ADD (which I have) and ADHD routinely find it less difficult to practice than, say, meditation-based paths.

    Danielle, you’re most welcome.

    Owen, there I think you’re wrong. What sets stagflation apart from ordinary inflation is that it has rising prices along with many of the indications of recession, including high unemployment and economic contraction. That’s why it baffled economists — their models didn’t have room for the way that high energy prices function to drive up prices while dragging down economic activity. As for whether there’s anyone flying the plane, somebody’s telling our geriatric sock puppet in chief what to say…

    Womensatlasrc, remember that the media exploits you by getting you worked up about things you can’t do anything about, and then advertises products as refuges from the stress. That’s one of the things that drives the current craziness. You have, as you’ve indicated, no power over your sister’s divorce or the behavior of people on the far side of the world; the constructive response is to turn your attention away from those to something you can do something about, and then do something about it.

    Joshua, well, what the Golden Dawn system did for me is that it took a troubled and emotionally messed-up young man who had literally never succeeded at anything important in his life, and turned him into a successful writer and teacher who’s been happily married for the last thirty-six years and has pretty much exactly the life he wants. Of course your mileage may vary!

    Mawkernewek, I expect to see those hit the market within weeks.

    Lydia, you’re most welcome. Something like half of Americans are refusing to get vaccinated, and the attempts by the authorities to wheedle and browbeat them into changing their minds are as inept and hamfisted as usual. Even if the vaccines turn out to be relatively safe, that’s not going to change, and if it turns out that one or more of the vaccines have bad long-term consequences…hoo boy.

    Jasper, the conflict between what the privileged say they believe in and what they actually do is one of the great vulnerabilities of the present system. Exploit it…

    Booklover, fascinating. Thanks for this.

    Oilman2, then come up with a better term! I’m going to stick with the Long Descent, though.

    Patricia M, the local library system doesn’t have it, so I’ve put it on the “keep an eye out for this” list once more bookstores open.

    Pyrrhus, that’s an end of mundane astrology I’m still studying, and am not far enough along to do a good job of delineation.

    Neptunesdolphins, interesting. I’ll toss this one out to the readership: do the rest of you know of people being attracted to Aztec deities during bouts of depression?

    Karl, of course. The narrative must be maintained, no matter what the facts might be!

    Mary, I don’t happen to know where Freud got his ideas — it would be an interesting point to research. As for dating, “CE” is of course a standin for “Anno Domini,” based on a probably inaccurate date for the birth of Jesus — thus in the same category as the Muslim calendar.

    Isaac, enjoy! You might see if any of them are out of copyright and, if so, consider scanning and posting them somewhere.

    Goldenhawk, thanks for all of these.

    Travis, it’s not something I’ve studied in any detail. Arthur Powell’s book The Etheric Double might be a place for you to start your own research.

    Morganstemning, when the average sperm count drops to zero, what that means is that a bunch of men have no motile sperm at all, and a smaller number still have viable sperm. It doesn’t mean that everyone is average. It’s very common in the declining phases of a civilization for population to decline sharply, and ours is moving in that direction already. Keep in mind also that since all the children being born at this point will come from parents who are still fertile — obviously! — natural selection will screen out genetics that are vulnerable to the current plague of hormone-disrupting chemicals.

    Irena, quite a few kinds of meditation have that problem, but discursive meditation does not. As for what makes it different, discursive meditation involves controlled and directed thinking, rather than silencing the thinking mind. You can read an article on it here.

    Pygmycory, I’ve been watching that and shaking my head…

    Tidlosa, oog.

    Mollari, ding! We have a winner…

    BXN, well, of course. A monopoly over the money supply has been one of the basic powers of the state since a week or so after money was invented. At the moment, it’s just propaganda; if cryptocurrencies become a serious threat to that monopoly, expect to see them outlawed with long jail terms for those who are caught with them.

    Martin, economics isn’t a science, so the mere fact that the Phillips curve doesn’t work has done nothing to make it less popular.

    Youngelephant, you just keep on coming up with excellent themes for meditation!

    Sister BoysMom, I wish I could help! Anyone else?

    Adwelly, glad to be of assistance.

    Karim, it’s still in process; I’ll post or publish when I have results.

  202. Dear JMG, et all – Seems to me, a good occupation for young folk, might be, wood salvage. In our semi-rural county, a lot of that goes on. Always has. I once had to build a 185′ fence. I took all the measurements and cleared the property line. Found an old retired guy with a small wood mill. He furnished all the wood, cut to size. It came from an old falling down logging bridge. Then I saw some guys building a house in the neighborhood. Yelled at them, “Anyone want to pick up some work, building a fence, this week-end.” Yup. So, all told, I got 185′ of really nice cedar fencing … for less than $500.

    A good general overview of the US electrical grid is: “Lights Out: A Cyber Attack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.” (Ted Koppel, 2015.)

    And, a joke: “I got the first virus shot. Other than a sore arm, the only side effect I noticed was an overwhelming urge to buy a certain brand of computer.” (™ Lew).

  203. @JMG,

    I have been thinking a lot recently about your series of posts on the Archdruid Report regarding the American Empire and its “imperial wealth pump.” I am curious as to where I can find the concept defined and explained in more detail, by someone who isn’t a hard-core socialist.

    The reason I’m asking this is because, as far as I can tell, most people who believe that the United States is somehow exploiting the rest of the world through its financial arrangements are also hard-core socialists, whose own economic ideas, when put to the test, tend to prove at least as bad as the capitalism which they criticize. (I am thinking, for instance, of Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, who invented the concept of “Neo-Colonialism” when looking for something other than himself to blame after he was overthrown in a coup brought on by his suppression of civil liberties and massive buildout of unprofitable state-owned enterprises).

    So who would you recommend that I read in order to get a good criticism of the American way of empire from somebody who doesn’t view either hard or soft Marxism as a better alternative?

  204. JMG,

    A data point to add to the shortages discussion: I live in coastal California and have been speaking to our local water tank dealer because I want to install some rainwater cisterns at my home. HDPE (plastic) tank price are climbing steeply. Two price increases in two months and another set to take effect April 1st. The dealer says there’s a monopolizing move happening (essentially there is only one tank company on the West Coast now), and they are jacking up prices because they can, but the manufacturer also claims resin prices are increasing.

    Neither the dealer or manufacturer say it, but I would guess it’s a supply chain issue like you discuss.

    I for one am glad I am getting in under the wire – the dealer has some tanks in backstock that were purchased from before the increase and offered them to me at the old price. That rush of collapse does seem to be picking up speed…

    DutyBound

  205. @Will Oberton,

    I speak Spanish enough that I’ve been weeks at a time in Mexico without any English speakers and my boyfriend speaks no English but I know that I make many many mistakes and could certainly tighten my skills in Spanish up. That part I am not worried about learning after I learned Italian living with my extended family for a few months. I went from Dov’è il bagno to reading Dante in Italian but it was many weeks of nightmares and emotional exhaustion. Luckily I have had years to gradually increase my Spanish skills though I anticipate a few rough weeks all the same.

    @Lunar Apprentice

    I don’t think I have any special sauce to improving my mental health habits and clearing out traumas and there is much more for me to do but I will share with you my habits.

    Daily practice involves a morning prayer, SOP, discursive meditation and the rosary. I am working on memorizing and adding other prayers. I do affirmations each day based off of where my growth is needed, certain fears I want to eliminate or values I want to exemplify.

    I see a Christian psychotherapist who has been my mentor for 11 years so we have great trust between us.

    I have performed Emotion Coding and found that helpful for emotional states and beliefs caught in the Jungian wounded self.

    I am reading a book based off of Fairborns Objects Relations Theory and do a chapter each day with journaling to help me understand what poor mental habits and frameworks I operate from so I can consciously choose how I wish to react. It is called Leaving Home by David Pelani if you are interested. It talks about human development and how we get stuck and how to get unstuck. It is the best work of its kind and I have read countless books in that field trying to understand the deep traumas caused by a chaotic childhood.

    The biggest help was in having a great spiritual experience where I was able to see the spiritual bodies around a person and the movement around the heart most especially. I was able to release my anger and my victim mindset. I am grateful to God and the Angels for trusting me with that vision. It spurred me on to see the beauty in myself and others and to see change even at the most traumatized and subconscious levels is possible. They gave me the leg up and I now have to do the rest.

    The truth is the wounded self and trauma carries the authentic self so by embracing the wounded self and accepting its truth we can integrate it back into ourselves and our unique self brought by the divine light can emerge. Otherwise we allow the wounded self to take over constantly fighting to protect the authentic truth it had to hide to allow oneself to survive. one often finds themselves swinging between victim and victimizer when they are not integrated. One’s unique divine self usually will respond in more creative humorous ways since it is not in survival mode all the time.

    Surrounding yourself with good people is the best and being on Ecosophia is wonderful for clearing out mental junk.

  206. What else should you do to get ready for the long descent? Other than paying off debt, building local connections, learning how to produce food, and reskilling?

    Take care of your teeth. Your teeth, like your eyes and ears, never get better. They only decline.

    Rinse, floss, rinse, brush and in that order. Rinsing removes the bigger pieces. Floss to strip off the rest. Rinse again and then brush over your cleaner teeth. Brushing should be done last to apply fluoride to the newly cleaned surfaces.

    If you can, get sealants. They’ve saved my kids’ teeth.
    If you need dental work, do it now.

    Be careful and only work with a dentist you trust. Some procedures don’t help.

    Bleaching and teeth-whitening can weaken your enamel.

    My sister found out when she got braces in her forties that she shortened the life of her teeth. They didn’t appreciate being yanked into new locations in her jaw, stubbornly shifted back, and endured damage. She spent a lot of money and made things worse. IIRC, she met her retired dentist (who didn’t do the work) at a party, told him, and he told her that dentists make money of this kind of work but it’s chancy.

    Dental issues can not just destroy your quality of life. They can shorten your life.

  207. “Joshua, well, what the Golden Dawn system did for me is that it took a troubled and emotionally messed-up young man who had literally never succeeded at anything important in his life, and turned him into a successful writer and teacher who’s been happily married for the last thirty-six years and has pretty much exactly the life he wants. Of course your mileage may vary!”

    How long did it take, and do you think that working through the Celtic Golden Dawn would have the same effect? I got the book, have started the first lesson, and will be working my way through it over the next few years. Since I’m in about the same position you were, I figure it’s worth asking.

    As for attraction to Aztec deities when depressed, I can answer that with a strong and emphatic yes. I’m in Ontario, if that matters.

  208. @Mary Bennett about the thought and works of Sigmund Freud:

    It seems probable that consciously, Freud would have wanted nothing to do with ideas from Jewish mystical tradition, which nevertheless would have been circulating in his personal, as well as the collective, unconscious.

    Freud was trained as a medical doctor and specialized in neuropathology. His psychological theories were developed scientifically, and, as reported by Jung, he rejected any hint of occultism or religion. Freud even asked Jung to promise never to abandon the sexual theory, which Freud wanted to be a “bulwark against the black tide of mud…of occultism.” (Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections.)

    Freud relied on a rationalist Enlightenment world view, combined with scientific methods of observation and experimentation, to develop his theory of repression, a mechanical model firmly grounded in the machine age.

    Jung believed that Freud’s negative attitudes towards religion, and occultism in general, were a manifestation of his resistance to his own unconscious contents, against which his rational scientific theories were protection.

  209. @ Lady Cutekitten –

    I’d join a “Merrie Horde” – a sort of syncretist version of your Horde that incorporates some old Sherwood Shenanigans… 😉

  210. Dear JMG and commentariat,

    If I may regarding the Aztec deities and some related issues:

    I don’t know of people turning to them specifically for depression, but I know of a place where an Aztec ritual occurred and it occurred interesting about a year prior to the SJW craziness began. I also note that the worship of Aztec deities is getting a very odd pass with the old charge of ‘cultural appropriation’. For these reasons I wrote up my experiences and observations here:
    https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/105604.html

    That line of thought got me thinking on how one might explore the entire idea of “cultural appropriation” from the lens of the Marxist technique of material analysis: https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/105824.html

    This in turn got me thinking specifically about how the outrage concerning people’s private practices and life — the area where I’ve seen the greatest offense taken with accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’ — is structurally very odd since what someone does in their private life, quietly, oughtn’t logically offend anyone because no one would know about it. I’ve written my reflections on this through the lens of material analysis here: https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/106030.html

  211. Let’s listen to the master about what the economy will do:

    “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

    All his books are worth reading.

  212. Lady Cutekitten and BoysMom, I do know that, and I continue to use AD and BC. My point is if scholars don’t want to use those designations, why not invent something simpler? There are conventions in the writing of history which tend to put people off what is really a fascinating subject. Another ridiculous convention is that two important ancient cities are both known as ‘Thebes’–oh dear, I can feel a rant coming on about the persistent habit of using Greek names for Egyptian places, although I must confess a fondness for the charming name ‘Crocodilopolis’. That would be where the sacred lizards lived and I can think of candidates for the next sacrifice.

  213. @Averagejoe re: Dion Fortune’s novels – I have all 4, and they all have something to say which is instructive. I noticed that each one speaks to a different personality type. For example, I got the most out of The Goat Foot God, because I’m more like Hugh Paston (only middle-class, not rich, and with a few more hard knocks in my past) and can relate to his need for some down-to-earth gritty reality. And a nice, warm, earthy lover who’s been around the block a few times and won’t freak out easily. (Loved his idea of setting up his wife in the artists’ quarter the way he would a mistress, so she can run around with her old crowd and he can enjoy the scene.)

    Also, though every last one of her characters ends up either doing a massive and expensive redecoration job to set up their temples, one can do it in a single room, if it’s a room of your own, and with props portable enough that you won’t upset your landlord.

  214. Hey jmg

    One of the things that I have noticed about the reaction to the covid-19 virus is that a lot of developing countries like Vietnam and India take it just as seriously if not more so than America.
    While a big reason for this is that they have suffered epidemics before and don’t want to take chances I also suspect that it’s basically a form of showing off, trying to prove to everyone else that they have become more advanced and enlightened because they take the coronavirus more seriously than Americans do.

    Do you think that is plausible?

  215. @Averagejoe @ JMG – I read Demon Lover once, then again to see if there was something important that I missed, and tossed it aside as another Beauty & the Beast romance. And it’s a very bad example for Good Girls sure they can reform their Bad Boys by being so very,very Good. A belief which fills the divorce courts, offices of Licensed Practitioners of marriage counseling (Caps b/c of Dear Abby’s incessant use of said adjectives ), and shelters for victims of domestic abuse. Not to mention the morgue. Louisa May Alcott in her most potboiling mood would have tossed it into the fireplace with a few harsh words.

  216. I read Alan Leo’s excellent “How To Judge A Nativity” a few months ago, and I’m looking for more detail on the astrological system in abstract. Does anyone have a recommendation for texts that dig deeply into the specific meanings and relationships of each symbol? I would like to learn more about the signs of the zodiac and the planets in as abstract a way as possible, so I can improve my ability to read natal charts and perhaps begin to see the outlines of mundane astrology.

  217. Lew – from today’s cartoon, a cartoon-bozo (buck teeth, some missing, straw hair, says ‘ain’t’) is saying he won’t get the vaccination because he thinks the government has implanted tracking devices in it. An ordinary guy answers him “That’s an iPhone, right?” And the bozo answers “Yeah, why?”

    Yeah, DUH!

    OH, and a straw in the wind from the crossword puzzle: “Some libertarians are this….” and the answer is “antivax.” Speaking of planting the approved memes in the public’s mind.

  218. @Travis at #195: I have mentioned the phenomena you describe, of many tiny fast-moving dots or what I’d even call pixels in the eyesight, that are not floaters, online. Most people insisted that it was the result of use of hallucinogens. I have never used hallucinogens. There is an acronym for that from “hallucinogen-induced persisting perception disorder.” HIPPD The term I like a little better is “visual snow.” It is like the snow on an old TV, only with smaller dots. Both of these things have awfully angsty communities on Reddit! If you want to read about people taking drugs to alleviate the suffering of what to me (and probably you) is an ordinary phenomenon.

    On the occult side of things (sort of) there’s a guy in the r/castaneda community on Reddit named David who says to sit in a dark closet for at least three hours per day for a year, all while remaining completely celibate, and one might be able to see things in those dots.

    I can sort of create little clouds of darker blue in the green but I certainly can’t make shapes. I’ve certainly NOT sat in the dark for hours, or remained celibate, or read as much Castaneda as that guy. Nor will I.

    Whether it is magical, or anxiety-related, or neurological or just the rods and cones vibrating to our heartbeats, I don’t know. Feels magical.

    @BXN at #206 The banks will crash, probably starting with Deutsche Bank and other bad communicators. Morgan Stanley’s attempt to adopt cryptocurrency is also their attempt to hang on. Transactions aren’t fast enough or secure enough with old bank tech, so they have to go to cryptocurrency. Also, cryptocurrency won’t always be an energy suck in the way that bitcoin is. Eventually it’ll be all about AR, so that we have an economy that resembles Kingdom Hearts, or other such video game. See, most cryptocurrency won’t be like bitcoin at all. It’ll be the stuff poor dumb college kids use. It’ll be the replacement for gift cards, so that you have a cryptocurrency for your favorite store, that can’t be spent elsewhere. And maybe your local government will have a cryptocurrency too, but you won’t be able to spend it too far away from home. You can exchange it, at a loss. Feel creeped out yet? I could talk about this stuff all day if I weren’t short on time.

    Bitcoin is the diamond with the artificially increased value, and all of the other cryptos are colored gems and semi-precious stones. Not worth anything, but we collect ’em anyways, don’t we?

    But it’s not all bad. There are some tedious, boring tasks that people will only get paid for if there’s some sort of just-show-up-and-get-paid system. And the way things are going, that may be the main sort of work there is, in our failing “service economies” in the West. (China hated cryptocurrency, then changed their minds. India hated it, then changed their minds. The situation is…developing.)

    @ Mary Bennett at #216 and also JMG who answered my earlier questions. Thank you. I really do seek out drama to feed my ego. All of those more beneficial things that I do, don’t get attention for me. Whether it’s positive attention or negative, I crave it either way. It’s how I’m wired. As for boycotting China, have you heard of the two books, Merchants of Grain, and The New Merchants of Grain: Out of the Shadows? They’re about agricultural companies, one of which is COFCO out of China. I will at least research more about that, and avoid peeled garlic since it was allegedly peeled by prison labor in China – at least according to a Netflix documentary.

  219. @JMG,

    I just saw that I comment I made yesterday, that I thought had been lost, has gotten through. You can delete the virtual repeat of it that I made a few minutes ago.

    @Everyone discussing hyperinflation vs. stagflation,

    My opinion on this issue is that the US is very likely to get stagflation rather than a “classical,” Weimar-style hyperinflation. This is because the Powers that Be have every incentive to make it so: basically, the US economy is dependent on global dollar dominance to facilitate cheap imports of manufactured goods which the US can no longer make in significant quantities. Hyperinflation means that the dollar will rapidly lose relevance in international trade, something else like Yuan or gold will replace it, and the comfortable lifestyles of America’s upper 20 percent will be gone.

    Stagflation, on the other hand, will involve rising prices which the US upper classes can deal with, but at the same time, the availability of dollars doesn’t spike and wipe out the combination of debts and dollar-based trade relationships which make the imperial wealth pump work.

    @Mary Bennett said (re dating world history), “Suppose the relevant experts from around the world were to agree on some event…”

    Well, the reason that we use the BC/AD system (and remember, “before common era” is a euphemism for “before Christ”) is because for well over a millennium, everybody in Christian Europe was in exact agreement about what the most important event in human history was. Naturally, Muslims had their own idea about the central event of history, and so forth. The idea that all the nations in the world will someday see the same event in that way is the sort of thing that doesn’t happen outside of sci-fi set in the sort of techno-conformist Monofuture that we’re not going to get.

    @Yorkshire,

    I can’t think of any stories set in a dystopia that ends up getting revealed in the end as something good – perhaps their absence from pop culture is saying something about the way our elites want us to see the world, i.e. having been drilled since birth to think of any way of life other than the modern, Euro-American one as being backwards and oppressive, they don’t want us to look too deeply into the alternatives and start forming our own opinions about them.

    Ever since I became acquainted with the idea of deindustrial fiction a little over a year ago, I’ve been mentally sketching out the plots of a handful of deindustrial novels, one of which involves a young man being forced into a culture that seems uncivilized and oppressive, though after many years he comes to see its virtues. I will keep you in the loop if I ever decide to write and publish it.

  220. @Cary,

    Statistics, proportions, and counts are abused, taken out of context, and always cherry picked to tell a particular story in the media. The result is that people are increasingly unable to do their own critical thinking when presented with numbers.

    Vaccine side effects are presented as percentages, which seem small and safe. Meanwhile Covid deaths are presented as absolute numbers, which in a nation of 330 million people will inevitably be large numbers.

    As an example, how many people are aware that:
    — the overall increase in the US death rate in 2020 due to the combination of Covid and our reaction to it was in the range of 15-20%?
    –for anyone under age 50 who is otherwise healthy, the chance of dying if infected is around 1 in 10,000?
    –for school-age and pre-school children, the fatality rate of Covid is approximately half that of the regular flu?

    Despite this misrepresentation it is still quite likely that the vaccines will on the whole save lives. But the severity of the situation and the stakes of the choice to be vaccinated are being strongly misrepresented and exaggerated.

  221. Lew, thanks for all three of these.

    DutyBound, interesting. Many thanks for the data point.

    Mollari, it should have the same broad range of effects. It will take some years of regular practice to do that, however. How many years? Depends on how much change you need. I don’t think there’s any quantitative measure available, but don’t plan on instant results.

    Violet, many thanks for all of these. I’m quite sure at this point that the whole “cultural appropriation” brouhaha has nothing to do with its ostensible subject and everything to do with policing the behavior of the managerial class — more on this soon.

    J.L.Mc12, yes, it might be that.

    Patricia M, I found The Demon Lover very encouraging, in a certain sense. It’s so bad, and her later works were so much better, that it convinced me that writers can improve…

    Snav, have you looked into Alan Leo’s other works?

  222. @Lady Cutekitten, I’d join your horde! But, I fear we wouldn’t last long without a martial arm to our enterprise. Otherwise it might be too tempting for towns to let us fix their stuff, then seize our equipment and run us off (or worse). A well-armed Accounts Receivable Department would keep things more sustainable.

    (From there it’s just a few short steps to telling each town, “We’ll take half your food, and shore up your infrastructure so you’ll have more food for us to take next time.” At which point we’ll have re-invented traditional horde behavior, or government in general.)

    By the way, if the land ruled by a King is a kingdom, the land ruled by a Khan would be… a reminder to practice safe marauding, I suppose.

    Now… I wanted to make a start answering your question about the BitLife computer game (from several months ago). If I recall correctly, the gist of your question is why you were reaching unlikely-seeming events and outcomes in the game, such as becoming a multi-billionaire, so often. The explanation of the answer just happens to illuminate one of the most fundamental dichotomies in people’s mental models of the world.

    BitLife describes itself as a “life simulator.” The premise, the outward appearance, is that your character is “born” in the game as a simulated person, and you progress through that fictional person’s life story, making the key (potentially life-changing) decisions along the way. Now, there’s no one authoritative definition of what is and isn’t a simulator, so I can’t say calling BitLife a life simulator is wrong. But it is a bit misleading, perhaps implying underlying functionality somewhat different than what it actually uses.

    “Simulation” typically describes a process where the next state of the system derives from its current state, plus the user’s input, based primarily on calculated cause-and-effect and/or statistical expectations. So, for instance, in a flight simulator, the simulated plane will change its position, speed, rotations, and so forth from moment to moment based on what it was doing before and what the user is doing with the controls, using equations that describe the physical effects of the plane’s control surface configuration on its motion. A statistics-based baseball game simulator will decide what pitch the pitcher will throw next, and the results of that pitch (ball, swing-and-miss, foul, pop fly, base hit, home run, and so forth) based on the past performance of the actual baseball players represented by the pitcher, batter, and other players in the simulation. Statistics (the batter correctly “takes” low pitches without swinging .452 of the time) turn into specific outcomes (the batter takes this low pitch for a ball) by means of random numbers.

    If you think about it, it’s pretty clear that a simulation of either of those kinds, of a person’s entire life in the world, isn’t going to run on your cell phone. And if it did exist, how much fun would it be? Even if it skipped all the minor day to day decisions, basing the outcomes on real-world statistics would result in a preponderance of routine outcomes. Decide in college to become a pro athlete? Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, you’d fail. Play a mega-jackpot lottery? A quarter million people would have to find and choose that option in the game a hundred times each for there to be a fifty-fifty chance that one of them will see the “you win the mega-jackpot lottery” result. How many simulated “it went okay, I suppose” dates would you want to play through before encountering one that leads to an interesting experience or life-altering change?

    So, that’s a quick summary of what BitLife doesn’t do, and why not. I’ll follow up in a day or two with another comment on how it does work. If you want to think about it in the meantime, here’s a clue: the programmers/authors aren’t out to simulate life, they’re out to tell you a sequence of amusing little stories.

  223. @Mark L

    Your post rung some bells! I have been aware of your winnowing machine for some years and have considered buying it. My Dad is a very big fan of the seed producer that you work with. He met him once at one of the Seed Savers Exchange conferences; more than a decade ago…

    Anyhow, if you would like to be a part of the mailing list that I am building; feel free to connect with me! So far it looks like we will be starting small and including a broader geographical area of Oregon. But I really do wish to get this group off the ground.

    @Stephen Thank you for the kind words.

    JMG, I understand if you would rather not provide any opinion on this subject; but I shall ask anyhow. Do you have any thoughts on practicing magic and living with an Epilepsy diagnosis? Mostly, I am curious if you know of anyone with a similar diagnosis whom also practices some form of magic.

    I have a number of your books and recently got diagnosed with Epilepsy; but am hopeful it really is just a fleeting diagnosis. I am particularly drawn to the Learning Ritual Magic book; but would consider the Golden Dawn tradition as well.

  224. Dear JMG
    concerning eye contact
    Recently I have been contemplating a Buddha and kind of experienced eye contact with him.
    It was a very moving and uplifting experience for me and it is not really possible to express this in words. The most astonishing thing was for me that this eye contact felt somehow solid, like poured in concrete (?).
    Since than I have been contemplating eye contact in general.
    In the western industrial societies it is good manners to have eye contact when you talk to somebody. In Asia a very short eye contact is common. “Western eye contact” is considered rude.
    Buddha pictures from all Asian cultures never look directly at you.

    In this blog it was mentioned a few times that people with Asperger´s syndrome don´t like eye contact.

    I don´t like photos or pictures staring at me but don´t mind eye contact while talking to people.

    Do the occult teachings say something about this issue?
    I also would appreciate your thoughts very much.

    Thank you and best wishes
    Ilona

  225. (ahem)

    The use of Common Era (CE) and Before Common Era (BCE) dates back at least to the 18th century, and was a not-uncommon alternative to Anno Domini (AD), which itself only dates back about 500 years, and was only one of many ways of trying to establish dating systems in a world that had many different religious and secular calendars in use.

    CE rather than AD does seem to have become a bit more common in recent decades, and that may indeed be partially due to the fact that most of the globe has not historically dated anything based on Judeo-Christian calendars (regardless of whether you call it CE or AD), what with having myriad religious and secular dating systems of their own. And when you’re trying to get the whole globe to use a common dating system for practical purposes, it does tend to make a tad more sense to call it a – you know – “common” dating system, as opposed to using the not-even-accurate western Christian reference.

    As far as I know, nobody is prevented from using AD (if for some reason outside of historical scholarship one would actually need to clarify such a thing), but for scholars and other people communicating outside of a Christian religious context, CE does seem to make more sense.

    And I can’t help but observe that this strikes me as a situation where people who complain about other people seeing persecution everywhere should perhaps pause, and take a moment and reflect on why it is that so many people are so quick to imagine persecution everywhere….

  226. Hey JMG, there’s a thread running in the conversation about debt and the current bubble popping. I’m in the same boat as Citizen127, and you told him/her that they’re screwed. I’m not quite as screwed as I have 27K in student loans, but still screwed. I majored in Chemistry.

    SOOOO I do have a small shed that I converted into a “man cave” like if I buy some land for 5K and stick the shed on it….. but I can’t pay the student loan back…. what’s worse that could happen? Like if I have to decalare bankruptcy to get rid of the student loan, should I just stick all my stuff in a friends name for the time being?

  227. @JMG I have not, but I will look into his Dictionary of Astrology, and “How to Judge a Nativity, Part 2: The Art of Synthesis”. Thank you for the tip!

  228. @jmg — more data points. Just got back from the Shawnee National forest. (Great Hiking btw).

    1) Masks — not used — the signs are still up, but in real America people are mostly done wearing them. You could tell the tourists from the Chicago burbs real easy (even out on remote trails).

    2) Shortages — every place we ate, and I mean every place, was missing items. “we just ran out” was a common refrain. Ties in the the supply chain comments earlier.

  229. In case anyone was wondering, I found out what a Chief Impact Officer does:

    “As chief impact officer, Robichaux said Prince Harry won’t manage a team of employees, but rather use his celebrity and influence to “expand the global community and the conversation around preventative mental health and the power and impact that coaching can have on helping people realize their potential.” Robichaux said Prince Harry will also work on corporate strategy as well as build content and customer partnerships.”

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/prince-harrys-new-boss-talks-about-betterups-new-famous-employee-180632661.html

  230. Pink Eldritch Unicorn

    Your question on inflation, I have to ask you this. Do you think the banks will allow you pay off your 200k+ home debt with hyperinflated Weimar dollars? Not a chance. What is going to happen instead is exactly what happened in Cypress a few years back. When the wheels start coming off the economy, the banks will close for a holiday which will become extended indefinitely, and you won’t have access to your money. This is extremely deflationary. An expert whose advice I highly value recommends having a shoe box full of hidden cash, because it will be king when this day comes.

  231. @El #210 Thank you for the info – If you have any links handy, I would definitely be interested in preserving and scanning my newspapers.

    @JMG I haven’t yet looked at the food columns; when I do will let you know what I see

  232. Sorry, Mary, I misunderstood your question. As for your actual question, I don’t know.

  233. Ben #12, JMG and others,

    On the subject of product shortages.

    Here in Sydney, contractors and builders are also reporting shortages and outages of key products. I spoke with a kitchen installer who has plenty of work on but had to stop projects due to a shortage of whiteboard panels.

    A builder told me they had to stop work temporarily because everyone had sold out of 4×2 timber.

    The local bike shop is doing a very brisk trade but cannot get enough stock. The supply chain for today’s complex bicycles has been disrupted, and for the inability to source a single widget, the delivery of an entire bike is delayed. Prices for second hand bikes are through the roof.

    Same too in the car market. Supply of new cars has been disrupted in past year. Consequently trade-ins of used cars has dried up and the prices of second hand cars has exploded. I spoke with someone who owned a two year old Ford Raptor. He was not selling the car but received an offer for more than he paid for it two years ago. He wanted to take the money but realised he wouldn’t be able to buy a replacement anyway.

    So a weird economy out there. Here in Australia the government’s massive injection of money has created a two-speed economy. Some sectors are red hot (housing renovation, retail). Others are moribund (tourism, air travel).

    The Government is now in the business of picking winners. For example, offering 50% subsidies for air tickets to a list of named destinations. The cities not on the list are furious.

    As government and central bank intervention make up more and more of GDP, we are moving to a centrally planned economy. Free market capitalism (or at least pretences to it) are fading rapidly. Every effort is bring made to ensure wealth remains in the hands of people who currently hold it. The status quo must hold. You won’t hear the words “creative destruction” even whispered these days.

    A dark, conspiratorial thought occurred to me this week.

    The American-block is increasingly at odds with China. In warfare a key strategy is to cut your enemy’s supply lines. But what happens when your enemy *is* your supply line?

    China do not have to stop selling to the rest of the world. But carefully selected outages of key widgets can bring the production of whole product categories to a halt. With the economic chaos in the world at the moment they would even enjoy a cover of plausible deniability.

    Here’s to living in interesting times! Cheers.

  234. @JMG Sorry I blurt things out too quickly online. I don’t have this problem in physical life. I did some thread following after work today and found some things 🙂

    RE Vaccines: Does anyone else feel more comfortable with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine? I’m not sold either way, but I’m definitely more comfortable with J&J since they use the classic method. Uploading programs into our genes (dumbed down explanation of mRNA) just doesn’t sound right to me. It’s rather disturbing to me how people are talking about the vaccine as a monolith – “the vaccine” – it makes it clear they’re just following the Zeitgeist without any doubt whatsoever.

  235. Dear JMG,
    I just learned of a music artists named Tom McDonald. He’s a 30 year old white guy from Canada, and he does mostly non-pc or woke rap. He’s very talented with vocabulary, rhymes and beats. He’ll say thing like “All Lives Matter” and names the elites as dividing us by race to keep the poor down. He’s neither left nor right, but calls out the wokeness bs of the left mostly. He and his girlfriend (Nova Rockefeller) do all the recording, selling cds, and videos, so they’re totally independent from any record label or the music industry. Basically they can’t be canceled so they put out song like “Clown World”, “People So Stupid”, “White Boy”, “White Trash”, “Fake Woke”, and “Cancel Me”. I know you don’t like videos, so heres a link with just the words and music to “Fake Woke”. His popularity is increasing daily and not just with white people. Black people react to his vids on Youtube and they all agree with him.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC7BPRyzAME

  236. Re the COVID vax: I am 73 and healthy. I got my second COVID vax 2 weeks ago (Pfizer) with no side effects. My mom who is 99 1/2 got her two Moderna vaccinations. She had a weird neurological reaction the day after her second vax but it was brief. The “long COVID” symptoms do seem worth paying attention to. I don’t believe this is just the flu, or a thing to be taken lightly. Rational people can differ on the best ways to deal with it. Ron Unz continues with his “American Pravda” series, which I found worth the time to read. I don’t really buy his “rogue elements” thesis, however.

  237. Just a follow up for anyone interested. All the IAPSOP files are downloaded and the search software I am using has indexed them. Getting the files took quite a while but indexing was relatively fast and seems to be quite good.

    I do very much prefer searching the files directly on my computer. The desktop search software is much faster than querying online and allows for far more complex search terms. I am finding search terms in pdfs I would not have expected to contain them given their titles which is fun. Lots of distracting paths to wander down.

    The search software is called Recoll and is available for most platforms. Did I mention it was fast?

  238. @RavenWillow

    I second JMGs recomendation of Galbraith. Any and all books by Galbraith would be worthwhile. “The Worldly Philosophers” by Robert Heilbroner, is a readable book tracing the development of economic thought. Jane Jacobs will give insight simply not available from professional economists steeped in their tradtional theories.

    As for personal finance, well…… You could keep your money in a savings account and make almost no interesst, or you could invest it and run the risk of collapse. I expect the collapse to be slow and ragged and propped up from time to time so I think keeping all your money in savings at esssentially no interest might be a mistake. I’m putting half my savings in long term savings (at a very modest interest rate) and half in index funds. I think you have to feel out what you’re comfortable with and do that. Any of us could be wrong about the future. Try to figure out what you can live with – loosiing out on possible gains, or avoiding possilbe losses.

    Stay out of debt.

    Not sure where you are in MI. (I’m in Lansing) I don’t feel comfortable renting. I’m fortunate that we bought our house more than 30 years ago in a somewhat run down part of the city. We’ve never traded “up” and payed off early. I can do most of my own repairs, which is important if you’re going to be a home owner. Home ownership isn’t the right choice for everyone.

    That said, you can somewhat conrol long term costs by owning. Renting you can only control costs to the end of the rental period, then look out. Right now it’s a seller’s market, so a rough time to buy. If you made a handsome profit on your home sale you might consider a downwardly mobile purchase of a modest house with little or no mortgage. .

  239. JMG; Alexandra (post #103) asked about a movement against alternative spiritualities of the “New Age / shamanism / occultism / witchcraft / fill in the blank” genre that connects them to conspiracy theories and you said it’s a “symptom of impeding elite failure. More on this soon!” I will look forward to your post on this, as I have also been noticing this trend. Did you see the Salon article titled “Why some New Age influencers believe Trump is a “lightworker”? They compare it to the role mysticism played in Nazi Germany.

    https://www.salon.com/2021/03/04/why-some-new-age-influencers-believe-trump-is-a-lightworker/

    They also came up with an interesting descriptor I hadn’t heard of before: conspirituality. There’s even a Wikipedia article on conspirituality, and a search turns up further articles that I haven’t had time to read through. Maybe more grist for your mill?

    On the lighter side; I heard some morning radio DJ’s talking about the popularity of beards and referred to “The Philosophy of Beards” by T. S. Gowing published in 1854. He gave lectures in favor of men growing beards. It seemed like something you might be interested in, and no doubt fits into your category of only reading works by dead people!

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/60009/60009-h/60009-h.htm

    The above is better for reading the booklet, but the following link also has some commentary on the work.

    https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/the-philosophy-of-beards-1854

    Note it says the book is “male-centric, macho-centric, Anglo-centric…” so it might soon be disappeared by the woke masses. All the more reason to read it!

    Joy Marie

  240. Teresa, on dental work – I start by rinsing, then dip a little Proxabrush (solid handle, brush head at right angles, sold by GUM brands but not in drugstores, alas) in a shout glass sized mouthwash bottle cap full of mouthwash, and go between the teeth with that, first. Then brush, rinsing at several steps because toothpaste tastes nasty even in small quantities, then sit down and floss. Because bad back requires sitting down after a while. It saved me from some nasty peridontal disease, and I’ve been doing it for decades now. And when it’s all over, drink a glass of fresh water.

  241. Re: Bitcoin and the rest; Elon Musk has announced that you can now buy Teslas with bitcoin.

  242. Regarding Inflation:
    I’m the buyer for a couple of shops in the (booming) tabletop gaming industry, I can testify to dramatic sale price increases and product scarcity in my business. For example – Pokemon ETB boxes with MSRP $40 ( often discounted pre-apocalypse) are now selling for $110 – $150 online and in most local shops. Pokemon USA says they can’t obtain enough raw materials meet demand. Games Workshop, our most important manufacturer, cannot supply 15% of the new product we want.

    Apparently our local Big Boxes have restricted the number of Pokemon products customers can buy. This to prevent the first guy (who was following the delivery truck all morning) from buying them all. To resell online.
    I’ve met that guy. He’s scary.

    Our previously reliable and efficient supply network is in a rough state. And starting to ramp up our costs. Deliveries pre-covid were near 100% on time, now maybe 25%. Some important shipments have been up to 4 weeks late. Fill rates – the percentage of product we order that actually gets delivered – have dropped from above 95% to below 50% for our most important products. If we can get them at all. Re-stocking is months delayed or impossible.
    It feels like the wheels have been coming off the bus for a year now, yet business at our stores keeps breaking records – and we sell our Pokemon at MSRP. Limit one please.
    And everybody got a raise.

    Did we really?

    According to Zillow my home increased $7500 in value last month.
    I think I’ll quit my job and let the house bring home the bacon from now on.

  243. Hello JMG!

    In the last open post, I asked about learning Latin and you recommended Wheelock’s Latin Grammar – have it in my possession and have been chipping away, slowly but surely, to very gratifying effect.

    I’ve been reading your old breakdowns of the impending future in the wake of peak oil on the Archdruid Report Mirror, and as a musician I’m curious if you have thought much about the future of performing arts in America. If you haven’t, I’d still welcome any guesses you might care to hazard.

    Si vales, valeo –

    IVN

  244. P.S. – meant to include a “Thank you” in that bit about the Wheelock. Not sure how I missed it but in any case, thank you very much!

  245. Dear JMG, thanks for your reply. I will be anxiously awaiting your next post, although I always do.

    I’ve taken to heart your advice about having valuable skills going into the future, and I’m glad I managed to develop some humble skills in producing certain useful items (e.g., garments and herbal medicines).

    But useful skills are physically and/or mentally demanding, and I’m wondering what you foresee for people who are chronically ill, disabled, or elderly. I’m well aware that these people possess all kinds of skills and wisdom, but there are also great vulnerabilities. And as what passes for “health” “care” (haha) in this country becomes less and less accessible, wages stagnate, and already inadequate government-provided safety nets dry up, I can imagine these vulnerabilities becoming even greater. In the long term I can imagine community/social systems evolving that mitigate some of that vulnerability, but in the medium term it seems like things could get pretty dicey.

  246. @Travis,
    It is possible you are seeing Elon Musk’s Starlink fleet of 5G satellites. Hundreds of these have already been launched, and you can find photos of them deploying, looking like a string of lights across the night sky. They are in low Earth orbit, roughly refrigerator sized if I recall right, in the upper layers of the ionosphere–the atmosphere–which means they are orbiting at very high speed and experience enough drag to bring them down in a few years. Astronomers have protested this, as have NASA, NOAA and the Navy to no avail. There are plans involving several companies for tens of thousands of these satellites. When high-tech dream plans take precedence over weather forecasting and even military objectives (though the military was notably the first user of the satellites’ services), you know that money and power has accumulated in the hands of a few people really not in touch with reality.
    Meanwhile, an injunction has been filed for against the FCC, who is implementing a rule that allows individuals to deploy radiating equipment on their property with no say from the surrounding community, who are becoming more and more aware of the health impacts.

  247. Archdruid and Alexandra,

    The Hindu community is currently weathering a major assault by some of the old guard’s lackeys, many public intellectuals are openly pointing out that its actually an attack against the last free-standing pagan culture in the world. It’s interesting to note that attack isn’t just against Hinduism, but against all potential diversions from the accepted norm.

    What fascinates me is that Ro Khanna from CA just openly tweeted about the anniversary of the Hindu Genocide during Bangladesh’s war of independence. Our community is also engaged in conflicts with entrenched academic power structures that are openly hostile toward us in both Rutgers and Oxford.

    Question to the British readership of this blog, has there been any mention of the events in Oxford in your press?

    Regards,

    Varun

  248. Jack- The one thing that your real-estate agent will never tell you is that house payments are relatively stable, REGARDLESS of interest rates. People bid what they can afford. When interest rates are low, like they are now, people can bid up the sales price and take on a lot of debt. When interest rates go up, the same affordable payment has to cover more interest, so the sale price must come down. Which means that those of us who bought houses when rates were high paid a lot of interest up front, but when rates came down, refinanced the remaining debt at lower rates. If you buy when rates are low, you’ll still owe your principal even when no one else can afford to pay the new interest rates, so your resale value (if you want to sell) will plummet. And there’s no profit in refinancing to a higher interest rate!

  249. I am 579 comments behind being caught up in this group. I’ve been busy
    since my decision to leave Albuquerque for Denver by April 15th.

    The move is not a surprise — I’m on a multi-year cross-country bicycle
    trip, with the theory that Tom Petty was wrong: sometimes, you *do* have
    to live like a refugee — but the timing is sooner than I’d planned.

    I have made progress on my cranky project. Announcing:

    GWNN – Green Wizard News Network
    greenwizard.news

    Connect to greenwizard.news with your newsreader software and have
    access to the entirety (53000+ posts and comments) of JMG’s Ecosophia.

    If you’re ahead of the times and dont have a newsreader:

    * On linux, ‘pan’ works well;
    * On MacOS, I’ve heard reports of success on Unison;
    * On Windows, try Virtual Access.

    Also, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird are two well-supported open-source
    options that seem good but I have no experience with.

    Then just point your newsreader to greenwizard.news, and look for the
    local.ecosophia group.

    The server offers public read-only access; if you want posting
    privileges, email me at (my handle) @ reverse(ten.puesir) and I’ll get
    you set up.

    Why Netnews?

    On the World Wide Web, there’s only one place to read JMG. Or JHK,
    Dmitry Orlov, or your favorite blogger or online forum. With 24/7
    internet connection, this works. But if the internet is failing or
    blocked anywhere between you and them, you can’t see what those people
    are saying.

    GWNN is an experiment in NetNews, a more reliable, fault-tolerant
    technology.

    On NetNews, you don’t go looking for the news, the news comes looking
    for you! You connect to whichever server is available to you: over the
    internet, by modem, ham radio…. That server is storing all of the
    news it gets, and sharing articles and posts with other servers behind
    the scenes: by internet, phone call, SD cards in the mail….

    Instead of failing instantaneously, it may take hours or days for
    NetNews to get through a network failure or around a censorship barrier
    and successfully get messages through.

    The best part is that this technology is 40 years old; the software I’m
    using was first written 30 years ago.

    Finally:

    If you have a postindustrial discussion group that needs space, I can
    set you up. If you have a greenwizardly blog or forum that you’d like
    syndicated on GWNN, I’d love to have you.

    I’m also looking for folks who have space for and are willing to host
    more servers. A big advantage of NetNews is that everything gets passed
    around many computers, each keeping their own copy. Requirements:
    Static IP address, not behind/can get through the firewall, power, and a
    few Kbits/sec of network usage.

    When I’m settled, I may ask for folks with old laptops to consider
    sending them my way for refurbishment into news servers.

    Coming this summer: a selection of newsgroups from UseNet, the oldest
    and largest NetNews network in the world.

  250. Also JMG: I’m still not able to make posts through my code. Is that tech request still kicking around?

  251. The Phillips Curve has been updated to a thing called the ‘triangle model’, which can handle stagflation. I haven’t looked at it enough to know if it’s up to handling ur-goods like energy that shift both demand and supply curves at the same time, but it might.

    In keeping with the esoteric theme of this place, Bill Phillips was an early exponent of fluidic computing and invented the MONIAC computer, which simulated various economies. There are still a few working examples around the place, including a simulation of the New Zealand economy just up the road from my current office.

  252. @DanielleThePermaculturist

    I do not live in Leon, but go there from time to time to shop for shoes and leatherware. The quality is great and the prices are good enough that for the savings of 3 or 4 items I can pay for food and a room, so it makes for a nice short inexpensive vacation for the family. My children loved the aerostatic balloon festival in November.

    @BoysMom

    I did a bit of searching at YouTube and found this lecture: Etheric Body by Richard Silverstein. It is a bit nerdy, but if your husband comes from a materialistic worldview, it will make a nice bridge from familiar, scientific realities to the esoteric.

    If you prefer a more “mystic” style, I found George Thompson’s vlog, which presents his experiences as a student in a Daoist school in Wudan mountain.

  253. @JMG, @Lathechuck recommended a book on Survival Medicine in response to a comment of mine a few months ago.

    That title brings up a multitude of results on the online bookseller sites I checked. @Lathechuck, I wonder if you could give the ISBN of yours please?

    regards,

    kallianeira

  254. RE Aztecs when depressed: I never worshiped Aztec deities, but I did read Graham Hancock’s War God series when in a bad place, and I absolutely loved it. It’s a classic Cortes-Aztec smackdown in novel form, that depicts the gods and saints as playing the humans like fiddles. I think this was the first time I read for pleasure after many years of neglecting the practice. Kicked off the beginning of loving to read again and might have been the exact point of the nadir in this life. So I’d say I was attracted to them, but i never felt the urge to worship or pray to them.

  255. Not sure if they meet the book suggestions parameters for kids and YA, but I’ve enjoyed the Flavia DeLuce books by Alan Bradley. Precocious, self -taught young girl chemist/amateur detective in England in postwar 1950s, with a bicycle she named Gladys, and a difficult family and village eccentrics aplenty. Very well written, but also heartbreakingly sad, with flashes of joy. Complex and worthwhile.

  256. The old folks home. The final frontier.

    Somewhat belatedly, William Shatner turned 90 on Monday. Happy birthday, your captainship, sir! 🎂

  257. To follow up on jbucks’ reading of Parssons (a very good book, up there with Galbraith for dry wit and clear thinking): he points out that inflation is a tax on those who think money is true wealth and who hold onto it. Value might be worth thinking about (for those thinking about how this is all going to affect savings, etc).

    I wonder (and this directed at JMG and any who care to speculate) if we’re less likely to see Weimar-wheelbarrows because so much of our money is digital (result of fractional reserve system, which I now understand thanks to Parssons). So perhaps we hit a critical point of inflection sooner (at a lowers currency value) because while the Weimar case had so much physical money pouring into the system, sellers of value could require stacks and stacks of cash, while we just don’t actually have that and so perhaps we’d see a split in prices (very high for electronic payment, somewhat high for actual hard cash)…?

    Stagflation sounds like inflation with ribbons in it’s hair. Probably good to start wrapping my mind around what those both imply.

    Re: teeth, I second Theresa’s advice (though I hope I didn’t screw things up by undertaking orthodontia to correct a screwed up, quality of life-degrading bite problem).

    The biggest game changer for me was to start tying floss into a loop (~5-6″ of floss, tied twice) so I no longer have finger s wrapped in floss and losing circulation. Makes it so much easier.

    RavenWillow, I suggest learning about envelope budgeting for personal finance. I’m not sure what literature exists on it (I learned on a no-longer available app), but the method can help you understand what resources you have and how to figure out your true intentions regarding saving or spending.

  258. In this week’s magic monday there was a quesiton regarding what look like little bright bubbles floating through the sky. A few people mentioned that their optometrists dismissed the phenomenon as “floaters”, and you mentioned that in occult writings they’re called bubbles of etheric eenrgy. I thought it worth mentioning that the actual name for it in the scientific community is “blue field entoptic phenomenon” (there’s an image of what they look like in the wikipedia page for it that fits my experience of them very closely), and the explanation they give of it is that it’s caused by white blood cells passing through capillaries in the eye.

    My two cents is that, based on my own observations, the phenomenon is more likely to be caused by something internal to the eye. I base this on a few things. Firstly, I can sometimes get the same effect when looking at certain walls from very close up as I do by looking at the sky. Secondly, much as with a dark spot left over in my field of vision after from looking at something bright for a while, I find it impossible to fix my eyes on any of those bubbles as I can with objects external to my eyes. Thirdly, there doesn’t appear to be any depth to them at all. I can cross my eyes while looking at the sky and still get the same experience of seeing them as I can otherwise.

    Granted, it’s possible that what I’m seeing isn’t the same thing that you and other people are seeing, and I haven’t tried seeing if the phenomenon is affected by the seasons like you mentioned in your replies, so I can’t say that this is definitely the correct explanation. I invite everyone who’s interested to make their own observations and judge for themselves.

  259. Solarfed, I don’t happen to have any experience with that — as in, I don’t know of anyone with that diagnosis who practices magic. Sorry. Learning Ritual Magic, for what it’s worth, is in the Golden Dawn tradition.

    Ilona, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a discussion of that. I have Aspergers syndrome, for what it’s worth, and have trained myself to handle eye contact — it was excellent will training — but I don’t like it.

    Fletch, in the US you can’t declare bankruptcy to get out of the student loan. That’s just it — you’re stuck with it for life, and the lender can just keep on taking from you until the loan plus interest plus penalties are covered, i.e., forever. If you can arrange for property to be held in someone else’s name and own minimal financial assets, there’s not much they can do to you, but other than that — unless there’s a change in the laws to allow student loans to be discharged by bankruptcy, or some other scheme to get rid of them — you’re screwed.

    Snav, you’re most welcome. He wrote a whole series of books on astrology; The Key To Your Own Nativity might be particularly usefl for your purpose.

    Jerry, most interesting. Thank you for these!

    Kimberly, do you know how to make gomashio? If so, dry a bunch of nettle leaves until they’re crunchy-dry, crunch them up in a suribachi until they’re reduced to little flakes, and then mix them into fresh gomashio. Sprinkle them on rice or, well, anything else you like to season with furikake.

    Waffles, thanks for this.

    Darren, fascinating. Thanks for the data points.

    Karl, I’ve heard of him! He came up in the discussion on a Dreamwidth post I did last month.

    Phutatorius, I hope I haven’t come across as telling you what to do. Your body, your choice.

    Joy Marie, thanks for this. Yes, I’d heard of the Salon article, and the broader movement to condemn spirituality — and yes, it’s grist for the mill. As for the book on beards, thanks for this! Also grist for a rather different mill.

    IVN 66, delighted to hear that you’re having a good time with Wheelock. As for performing arts, it depends very much on the art in question. The more resources it requires, the more difficult it will be to preserve; meanwhile those performing arts that can get by with very modest inputs (say, an instrument, a good dinner, and beer) will thrive. As the mass media begins to break apart, people are still going to want music in their lives!

    Alexandra, the vulnerable are, well, vulnerable, and hard times are especially hard for those who can’t take care of themselves. Yes, it may well be brutal for a while.

    Varun, can you point me to some English language news stories on this? That’s a very important bellwether, and I want to be able to keep track of it.

    Shoemaker, thanks for this! As for your tech request, I’ll check back with my tech person. Remind me again of the details.

    Peter, thanks for this. I’ll take a look.

    Anonymous, I’ve talked about revitalization movements over and over again for years. You can read a two-part post of mine on the topic from 2010 here and here.

  260. JMG, I like your comment earlier about how you were in agreement with those mystics and occultists who thought that each individual had some individual being of their own. I’m totally not in agreement, but it was great to hear. Good food for thought for people from both sides of the debate.

    My comment is a bit inchoate, but it revolves around the differences between affirmations and magic, on the one hand, and mystical practice on the other, and the difference between the fact that in the former two, things have to be stated in the affirmative, and in the latter, implied or directly stated negations can be used. You were saying that people can’t use negative affirmations, as the subconscious mind attracts whatever one thinks about, whether one views such a thing as positive or negative. Likewise in magic, you said that magician has to have a clear end state in mind and focus on the desired end state, rather than on what the magician wants to avoid. But in mysticism, at least in the Buddhist and Hindu mysticism with which I am familiar, one can effectively use negations. There are implied negations, “who is dragging this meat sack around?” and there are directly stated negations, “this body is not me, it is not mine,” “neti, neti,” etc. It seems like in these Buddhist and Hindu mysticisms, thinking of the thing to be negated, whether it be identification with the body, one’s thoughts, the reality of the world one is perceiving, etc. doesn’t tie one ever more tightly to the thing to be negated, but liberates one from the thing to be negated. Or maybe it is that use of negation in these systems causes one’s subconscious mind to investigate the object of the negation so closely that it is seen through as being not real? I’m not sure. I myself will be meditating further on the issue, but I was wondering if you had a comment, JMG? Or any one in the commentariat?

  261. @David BTL, re “royal” “antics”

    Popular Australian women’s magazines subsist largely on cover stories about the British Royal Family. Less frequently other dynasties feature, such as the Danes, whose queen is an Australian by birth, and the Monte Carlo/Grace Kelly line. Different attitudes are displayed towards the various monarchies: affectionate deferential condescension for Danish Queen Mary and her family, in contrast to salacious moral outrage for the Grimaldis’ recurring infidelities, illegitimate scions and so forth. The House of Windsor is viewed with grudging admiration for its skilful use of pageantry and hisorical (ongoing) political connection to this country, among other reasons. But royal watching is a constant interest of the populace, as judged by the formula I have observed since I was a child. Harry and Meaghan seem to be a normal form of grist for this pastime.

    Monarchies are not the only objects of this kind of interest. Remember the Geldof/Yates family saga? There seemed to be a compulsion on those women to outperform every new excess. “TV Week” runs (ran?) similar obsessive stories on the dramas of serial and soap characters. Fuel for the mags is also provided by gossip about film and screen actors and musicians. (Brad and Gwyneth, Brad and Jen, Brad and Angelina, or how shocking Miley Cyrus is being this week, to date myself somewhat.) In all, the lot are connected by a strong sense of theatre, as though they were all aspects of fictional entertainment. I think the common use of the word “antics” to describe the topic is revealing. Antics are grotesque, clownlike actions.
    It does feel as though these people’s behaviour is performative–whether voluntary or forced–and at least related to the interest and expectations of millions of watchers and readers. You may recall several recent discussions on Magic Mondays about the energetic effects on performers of the attention they command (or to which they are subjected).

    A theoretical framework for such phenomena may be found in Wilfred Bion’s classic book “Experiences in Groups”.
    Bion posited that organized human enterprises such as society are threatened by three degenerate types of group formation which all feature psychotic traits; the one we observe here he calls “pairing” (obsessive interest in sex/matchmaking). Society’s solution is to sequester this behaviour into a subgroup (here, the “aristocracy”) where it does not do so much damage. By proxy, the members of the subgroup enact/act out and express the drives more strongly so that that the rest of us can get on with a less disturbed existence.

  262. Dear JMG,

    A data point regarding apparent public sentiment towards Hinduism:

    Recently I’ve wanted to study the myths and sacred texts of Hinduism. I live in an area of the country with a large Indian population and there are several temples in neighboring towns. To my horror as I began to look for texts in my public library interloan system I found that there are now hardly any of the major Hindu texts available. There was something like a single copy of the full Ramayana, several copies of Mahabharata, some abridged Rig Vedas, two complete collections of the Upanishads, not a single volume of a single Purana. Furthermore, in seeking myths on specific deities I found nothing but some children’s books. That is to say that suddenly, it seems, it’s very difficult to find Hindu sacred texts in my library system, a library system that includes many college libraries as well. Frankly the collection looks picked over, as if there was once a larger one that has gotten ruthlessly hacked away at.

    Again, there is a very large South Asian population where I live, Indians were one of the largest ethnic groups during my tenure in public school. Furthermore, regardless of the specific demography of where I live, Hinduism is one of the world’s largest religion. That a library system — and again this includes college research libraries as well of which there are more than a few in the library system — fail to have the primary texts of Hinduism strikes me as something extremely noteworthy. While I can’t specifically remember if there once were more Hindu sacred texts in translation within my library system it seems to me that there were and I imagine that they’ve been ruthless purged in the past few years. That said, as befits the sinister reality I describe here, I can’t know for certain….

  263. @JMG

    Had a few discussions with Atheists about the existence of the Supernatural. But instead what I got was how I was delusional and so forth.

    And how its self-evident that the supernatural cannot possibly exist.

    And that those who do so are delusional courtesy of evolution. But to them its extremely obvious such things aren’t possible.

    Really unfruitful. Its like they got blinders that means they refuse to look. The moment I actually try to present evidence.

    Whilst accusing those who do have those experiences as schizophrenic or just have hallucinations or other forms of mental illness.

  264. El, I think the present dating system used in the western world, in which one has to keep an algebraic number line in one’s head while reading, is rather clumsy. Then, there is understanding that, e.g., the 1900s were the 20th century. I think history would be a lot more accessible to readers if we had a dating system which begins back in the neolithic era, or bronze age at least. Nowadays, historians and archeologists from all countries communicate and keep up with each other’s work and discoveries, so it ought to be possible for them to agree on a dating system which would be truly common for e.g., Chinese and Indian scholars as well as for Americans and Europeans. I don’t know where feeling persecuted comes into this, I feel no such thing and I do know what real persecution is.

  265. Specifically, I’m talking about cash in the bank here–not investments, stock, gold, whatever. We just have liquid savings.

    @Jack, food for thought… “Silver prices rose from 12 Deutsche Marks in January 1919 to 543,750,000,000 Deutsche marks by the end of 1923, while gold rose from 170 Deutsche Marks to 87,000,000,000,000 by the end of the same period.”

    It should also be noted that literally every “green” initiative requires silver, and that Basel III reclassifies gold as a tier 1 asset for banks worldwide come June.

  266. if we’re less likely to see Weimar-wheelbarrows because so much of our money is digital

    @TemporaryReality,

    The actual printing of ever-increasing amounts of physical currency is a consequence of hyperinflation, not the cause.

  267. JMG,

    Thank you. While I do not have a diagnosis (yet), it seems that all the symptoms fall into place with ADHD, and more precisely the variant without the hyperactivity, which I understand used to be called ADD, but these days is lumped together with the longer acronym. That, and several cases of Asperger’s running in the family and as I understand, these two atypical conditions tend to often go together.

    So. Wow. You have ADD and you have managed to do all that you have. I get that once you get the naturally occurring hyperfocus there can be amazing productivity, so it helps to if you can manage to work with something you are naturally drawn to, but then there is the other side. The stuff that needs to be done when you are not naturally drawn to it. If you do not mind me asking, did you use magic to change you? ADD can be a really tough hurdle to handle. At least it has been that for me. This is a very recent discovery for me, but the symptoms have been bothering me all my life, causing suffering to both me and the people around me. I would like nothing more than to change that, no matter the cost to me.

    I do not hope to “cure” it, but to learn to live with it, to use the flow when it is useful and to develop better habits to guard me when it is not. Do you think ceremonial magic could do that for me? I have a few of your books, like “Learning Ritual Magic”, “The Celtic Golden Dawn” and “The Druid Magic Handbook”. I have tried them all, progressed somewhere, but perhaps I have rushed too much with each attempt, wanting to “get somewhere”, and then getting exhausted and giving up.

    As for the other atypical manifestation, I do not think I have the Asperger’s myself, not exactly, but perhaps I kind of lean towards the spectrum. At least I have had no difficulty in interacting with the people on in. Generally all it takes is a conscious switch that turns off all the interpreting and reading between the lines and basically taking all communication at the face value and just consistently assuming the other person means what they say. Sometimes I wonder if such policy might be useful for the neurotypicals as well. Still, there probably is an evolutionary advantage to all that implying and obfuscating.

  268. @youngelephant re: J&J vaccine

    The J&J vaccine, while not using the mRNA technology, is still not a “classic” method. In fact, it is in many ways closer to the mRNA vaccines than the traditional ones, as it relies on delivering genetic instructions to the body’s cells so that they produce viral proteins which then generate an immune response. The idea of stimulating antibody production to proteins on the surface of the body’s own cells strikes me as one that ideally deserves many years of careful testing to ensure that it does not unduly induce autoimmunity or a tendency toward autoimmunity.

    The J&J is technically a “viral vector” vaccine, which means that it uses a non-pathogenic genetically modified virus (in this case, a human adenovirus) to “infect” cells with the viral DNA instructions to produce the COVID spike protein. The AstraZeneca is also a viral vector, but based on a chimpanzee adenovirus. Viral vector vaccines are a new technology, and none of the common and widely-used vaccines are made this way. The Ebola vaccine is a viral vector, but it has not been distributed that widely.

    I would personally be more comfortable with a traditional vaccine using inactivated or live-attenuated virus particles. The Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm options are both inactivated-virus vaccines, and there is another under development in India (Bharat Biotech). There are also somewhat-more-traditional subunit vaccines (i.e. injecting a small piece of the virus) under development in China (Clover) and Russia (EpiVacCorona). For some reason the US and European companies have decided to move forward exclusively with new and relatively untested technologies, which strikes me as quite possibly unwise and reflecting an unquestioning belief in Progress.

    For comparison here is a US government list of commonly used vaccines based on the technology employed, and you can see that COVID is the only listing under the mRNA and viral vector categories. https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/types

  269. This topic disturbs me, and has led me to write the stuff below which I had no idea I’d write at the beginning. If anybody is offended, please accept my assurance I do not wish to offend. I have Asperger’s and often offend inadvertently, but I’ve stumbled across something else here.

    This comment regards the recent dust-up about the blood-thirty Aztec gods, and the suggestion that they appeal to some depressed people, to say nothing of the California Dept. of Education. Having dealt with severe depression myself, I can testify to no attraction on my part.

    It just so happens I’ve been re-exploring Christianity to address my daughter’s deep interest in that religion, so that I might cultivate a better relationship with her. But I’ve been choking on a few bones: For all Christianity’s claim of compassion, I find the sanctification of suffering, “taking up one’s cross”, less than compassionate. In my recent studies, I’ve come across a recommendation for some rather starting aceticism (e.g. my 2012 Orthodox daily prayer book, suggests sleeping with a stone for a pillow and no blankets), and problematic ideas such as ‘The World’ outside the Christian community contains nothing good, and should be disdained, hated even (it struck me as the religious equivalent of paranoia). Such an attitude could well blind one to error and evil within the Christian fold.. And don’t forget the hostility to pleasure and specific distain for sexuality, with all the hypocrisy, guilt, condemnation, shame, repression, obsession, loneliness and relationship dysfunction that’s entailed; all this over a normal human appetite. The implicit Christian endorsement of God’s indifference to human suffering doesn’t help; saying we’ll get amply recompensed in the here-after, while He may or may not feel inclined to help us in this life is not reassuring. The front-and-center emphasis on Jesus’s suffering & death to ‘forgive our sins’ when in fact many ‘sins’ reflect unconscious acting out from our own suffering, seems off target. So yeah, He’ll forgive us. But help us with our suffering? “We all have our crosses to bear” and “Suffering is no excuse for sin!” are hardly adequate. And reminders, threats even, of Hell abound, especially for children, and Hell is more convincingly and imaginatively depicted than the other place, and it gets top billing (at least in my upbringing). Grounds for going to Hell include masturbating over fantasies of a sweetie you’re infatuated with…But Jesus died to forgive that, if you repent… and don’t do it again…

    I sense that some people are becoming attracted to the Aztec gods because they don’t perceive the Christian god as a real refuge. The Christian god is supposedly compassionate, but the religious reality mentioned above suggests otherwise to many. People are now getting attuned to the hypocrisy and cruelty of the wealthy and powerful of this country, and may be starting to discern a similar pattern in the Christian god. If the God of Compassion can allow crucifixion of his Only Begotten Son, or send you to Hell for masturbating, would it be a big deal for Him to allow us to suffer? Christian history has no shortage of cruelty and bloodshed between Christians, so it appears not. So if people want to relate to a cruel god because that seems to be all there is, they might as well go to the Aztec ones who are at least honest and up-front about it, with no guilt or emotional blackmail. Besides, the bloodshed of Christian history may well impress Huitzilopochtli, who may be thinking “I’ll have what He’s having”.

    I wish Christian thinkers would take a good, hard look at their own religion, and dig into whether all this harshness really comes from God. They might start by examining the straight-up industrial scale Christian fratricide of WWI.

    Any comments from JMG would interest me.

  270. I am with Pygmycory. I just wish Harry and Meghan would use more of that privacy they left for.

  271. David by the Lake — in comments on another blog someone was persistently labeling anyone who questioned vaccine safety as a bio-terrorist. Wow, over reaction much?

    Viduraawakened–The blog I mention above happened to be the blog of a former OB-Gyn who discussed natural birth, breastfeeding and similar issues. Very early in 2020 she had expressed great concern about rushing a vaccine into production, bringing up the fiasco of Swine Flu vaccine in Ford’s administration that had bad side effects. Now that vaccines are actually available she doesn’t seem to have anything definite to say, at least I haven’t found a pro/con discussion. I would have expected either “don’t fall for it” or “looks like I was wrong, go for it.” She isn’t currently practicing, so fear of losing license wouldn’t account for this. Not sure what to think.

    My homeopathic practitioner advised against vaccine but then undermined that advice IMO by having policy of not seeing patients indoors unless they are vaccinated. I emailed for clarification but no answer yet. Does leave me wondering, if you don’t believe in your own advice, why should I?

    Mary Bennett–not all think of Freud as great–a former admirer, Frederick Crews accessed the diaries and other papers finally released by the family and wrote a scathing reappraisal, _Freud: the Making of an Illusion_.

  272. Hi JMG and Yucca glauca,
    I was wondering if you would be willing to share those Hieronymus Machine plans with me. I’m interested in building a unit myself to experiment with.

    Thanks,
    John

  273. youngelephant @ #252. Not JMG, but I’ve long been all over this topic.

    The J&J vaccine, like all corona-virus vaccines, is experimental. There have been no long term studies to assess long-term risks. None. Zero. Nada. If the short-term studies that were undertaken were like those for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, then subjects from vulnerable populations such as those with severe allergies or autoimmune disease were not included.

    The fact that the vaccine use “classic” or traditional vaccine technology is not necessarily reassuring: There have been several previous attempts (before covid-19) to develop vaccines for other corona viruses. During animal trials, when a vaccinated animal was exposed to the wild virus, the immune system response led to the animals’ demise at or near a 100% fatality rate. This is known as ADE (autoimmune disease enhancement), and it has occurred in humans with other diseases (though not 100% fatality rates). There were no animal studies with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines before the EUA (emergency use authorization). One of the motives for an mRNA vaccine was to avoid the ADE problem, and yes, it seems to have worked. But there has NEVER been a proper long term clinical trial for any Covid-19 vaccine. Such trials take around 10 years, sometimes longer.

    J&J (and the Russians and Chinese for that matter) presumably must have solved the ADE problem of traditional vaccine technology.

    The bottom line: The vaccines are ALL experimental. The long term risks are unknown for ALL of them. Period. For some reason, people seem unable to process the idea of unknown, unquantified risks. It’s like Russia roulette, except you don’t know how many chambers there are, and you don’t know the danger from the “bullet” you might get shot with. The risk profile surely varies from one vaccine to the next, but no one knows. I won’t play this game. Why would anybody if they understood?

    —Lunar Apprentice

  274. So we have the pandemic panic, this lead to a wild swing in the demands of consumers and the giant flow on effects on the already fragile shipping industry. Shipping containers stop moving in anticipated motions and then a behemoth gets stuck in the single most important shipping canal on the planet… and you just cannot help but feel that the universe has an amazingly wonderful sense of humor. Enjoy the show and people befuddled at the longer term blow back from this.

  275. @JMG

    Thank you! That was informative.

    @zeroinputagriculture
    @Matthias Gralle

    What I find interesting is that COVID infections (and deaths) don’t seem to have much to do with lockdowns. Over here in the Czech Republic, we went into lockdown and had very few cases last spring. Well, we’re still in lockdown, and we’re having quite a spike (last I checked, the worst in Europe). How come?

    Or, to be generous, maybe you can control the virus via lockdowns, but you need an extremely strict lockdown, and as soon as you relax it – boom.

    I understand it’s an unpleasant disease. But at this point, I’m quite convinced that the cure is worse than the disease. It remains to be seen just how much worse, but it doesn’t look good.

  276. Dear JMG,

    Regarding the discussion of the necessity to participate in the world living a full and regular life before intensely pursuing spirituality, that’s all very well, but what if I were also a (hitherto) largely unaccomplished and damaged neurodiverse man who, having finally scraped together the will to commit and maintain a serious and fulfilling ceremonial magic practice in response to an inner kick in the pants, had also managed to finally get my first full time job and run headlong into fatherhood? What if my ceremonial magic practice had also kicked off a kundalini awakening process that guaranteed that a) balancing all the above frequently became an excruciating (but somehow sustainable) ordeal and b) I was going to regularly have intense spiritual experiences leading towards enlightenment whether I liked it or not?

    There isn’t any stepping back from any of that. I’ve just had to make that hot mess work. I’ll have to leave the planned coordination of family, career and spirituality to the next (neurotypical) life.

  277. Wow, there are so many interesting and informative comments on this post!

    Regarding the Ever Given, the narrative is being settled on the accident being caused by high winds and a sandstorm. However it seems that other sources say that a) such winds are not uncommon and have not caused problems with similar ships, and b) that the Ever Given suffered a sudden loss of power just before the incident. Given also reports that the ship sailed a path that resembles, ahem, teenage graffiti, before entering the Canal… Are any of the commentariat able to give informed suggestions on the possibility of cyberattack?

    More generally, I’m finding that surveying all the things happening in society, global politics, and the economy at present is producing a feeling akin to the one I got standing on the ledge of a bungee jump: a fearful paralysis combined with a powerful need to commit to one course of action or another, because just standing still wasn’t an option…

    If Lunar Apprentice should happen to read this, I was struck by your career shift to repairing sewing machines. I would be very interested in hearing more about how that’s working out, and any thoughts you or the commentariat might have about courses such as the Sewing Machine Institute’s digital course.

    @Varun: I’m in the UK and hadn’t heard anything, but then I follow MSM less and less. Being curious, I did some searching, and what came up was Rashmi Samant being forced to stand down as president-elect of Oxford University’s Student Union – is that what you meant? I entered the name into the Guardian’s search tool, and nothing at all came up. As a side effect of this, I discovered that the Guardian has replaced its old search tool (which was pretty bad) with a site-specific Google search. The implications of this will, with a hat-tip to our host, bear some meditation.

  278. JMG – In a story about the Boulder mass-shooter, the W.Post headline stated that he had a “mercurial” temper. (Or, should that be “Mercury-al”?) Later in the story, he was described as having an interest in mixed martial (or should that be “Mars-ial”) arts. One of his brothers described him as mentally ill; in other words, a “lunatic”. I scanned the article for any reference to “Venereal” disease, but that didn’t turn up. 😉

    Astrology is more deeply rooted in our culture than just the daily horoscope.

    Is the combination of Mercury and Mars known to be trouble? It seems risky to me.

  279. Greetings!

    A large part of the occult deals with ways to handle the unconscious, if I have understood well enough.

    (1) What would be an occult definition of the unconscious?

    (2) Is the unconscious a purely personal thing or has it other dimensions too?

    (3) Are there any links between the higher self and the unconscious?

    Thanks

  280. JMG – In a world where student loans COULD be discharged in bankruptcy, stopping by the campus legal office to do so would be as routine as buying/renting a graduation gown. It would be part of the “done with college, ready to start a new phase of life” check-list.

    Of course, the lenders would see that coming from a mile away, and there wouldn’t be any student loans without hard collateral to secure them (e.g., the home equity of the parents).

    And without student loans, there would be a much smaller student population, and much more biased toward “old money”, with only truly exceptional students from the middle class attending on scholarship money.

    And so, there would be fewer colleges, and fewer jobs for the Liberal Arts crowd. I suppose everyone involved in the racket understands this, which is why student loans may possibly be “cancelled” en masse by Federal fiat some day, but never allowed to be voided through bankruptcy.

  281. I found a blog recently that uses a very simple but effective tactic to get around Big Tech censorship.

    It discusses very controversial topics (many of the posters are outright racists of the “White people are superior in every way” variety, as well as being sexist etc) and is on WordPress’ free service, so liable to being cancelled at a minute’s notice.

    So all they do is have a weekly open thread (like the open thread here) and give people free rein to discuss anything, and then the whole thing gets deleted at the end of the week and there’s a new thread for the next week. No archives, no moderation, nothing for the Twitterati to link to and get outraged about. But it serves as an online home and discussion group for the regulars who know about it, right out in the open.

    It’s not perfect (leaving aside the unpleasant opinions of many of the commenters) but I thought it was a neat workaround to the problem of having “wrongthink” discussions in public without getting cancelled.

  282. John, et al.–

    Re something not at all related to H&M

    This attitude strikes me as rather calvinistic:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/biden-says-china-wants-become-183416128.html

    Because wealth and power are the proper metrics for right livelihood?

    Elsewhere, I saw Biden’s declaration of intent to run in 2024 (whether he gets there is another question), which has the fascinating possibility of setting up a rematch. Grover Cleveland redux!

  283. It is interesting what many are saying here about shortages. We are not seeing this at all in Japan, at least I’ve not heard about it. My husband and brother-in-law keep buying lumber and other materials so they’d holler if any serious inflation were going on. Stores are all well-stocked. I’m not sure what could account for such a difference in conditions. The yen has declined about 5% in recent months against the dollar, so things ought to be more expensive. Gasoline’s up a bit but not tremendously.

  284. >if we’re less likely to see Weimar-wheelbarrows because so much of our money is digital

    Nobody really understands how hyperinflation works. Zimbabwe had electronic payment systems. They were the first to go. Everyone engages in a desperate search for scarcity and that search drives people into paper. Sounds a bit counterintuitive but paper currency is much more scarce than the numbers on the hard disks are. For every “dollar” out there, there’s like a penny’s worth that’s in paper form. Of course, the state responds by running the printing presses 24/7 and you get the wheelbarrows that follow. One of the odd things you’ll pick up on reading historical accounts is a voracious demand for physical cash when it starts to take off. Chronic shortages of cash, need more cash. More, more, more.

    My ears perked up and swiveled in late 2019 when I started hearing that certain markets were in cash shortage. Needed more cash. More, more, more.

    Ironically Zimbabwe dollars started appreciating in value after they were abandoned – because their supply was now finite and bounded.

    One of the most effective things you can do to respond to hyperinflation is just to leave and move somewhere else where the currency is stable. If you’re young with marketable skills – I’m talking to you.

  285. WindMan, I’m going to order Girls’ Last Tour. To bang the drum for Gunnerkrigg Court one more time, during story breaks Tom Siddell draws pages featuring himself and a character called Tea (who I think is based on someone he went to school with) living in a post-apocalyptic world. They look to have a similar aesthetic to GLT and they’re on DeviantArt, so you don’t have to dig through the comic to find them: https://www.deviantart.com/tea-san.

    Wesley, it’s funny how once you hear the concept of deindustrial fiction, ideas start bubbling up. I wrote a story that’s currently on the ‘can this be published without offending everyone?’ pile at New Maps. 🙂

  286. All–

    Re “the grid” (specifically, trends in transmission infrastructure spending)

    A tidbit that showed up on the EIA homepage this morning:

    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=47316

    These would be (by and large) fixed costs, not varying with usage; hence the need, as I mentioned previously, to keep volumes increasing as well so that rates don’t skyrocket.

  287. I’ve never seen squiggly things from looking at the sky, but it reminded me of something that happened in the early 2000s. I was sitting out in the back garden. The way I positioned myself I could only see the sky, which was cloudless and a perfect cobalt blue. After a while staring into the infinite depth, my sense of gravity inverted and I fell into the sky. It was awesome.

    On the subject of stagflation:

    A book – https://johntreed.com/collections/john-t-reed-s-book-on-hyperinflation-and-depression/products/how-to-protect-your-life-savings-from-hyperinflation-and-depression

    And a song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2oXzrnti4

  288. John–

    Re stresses and strains within the federation

    A bit of news from my old stomping grounds of South Carolina re state militias and federal guns laws

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/fearful-federal-gun-grabs-lawmakers-163500856.html

    I’ll be curious to see if this and similar state-versus-fed issues begin to gather steam in the coming years. Are we looking ahead to revisiting the Nullification Crisis of 1832? (Perhaps in 2032, if the gods have a sense of humor…)

  289. Natural gas (NG) news:

    Weekly EIA natural gas report, main story re expansion of NG production in the Persian Gulf

    https://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/weekly/archivenew_ngwu/2021/03_25/

    Also, if you look at the chart of US natural gas spot prices (Henry Hub), shown partway down on the left, you can see where the spot prices shot way up (to ~$30 per MMBTU) back during the crazy week in February, compared to the historical norm of $2-$3 per MMBTU (million British thermal units).

  290. @ Patriciaormsby re 5G satellites

    I’m waiting to see what happens in a few years when the solar cycle becomes more active.
    While Carrington events are extremely rare (as far as we know) even small flares can
    have a significant effect. I’ve included some links below. Maybe nothing will happen but then
    maybe we will see some fantastic ‘meteor showers’ when Mr Musk’s satellites get prematurely
    dragged out of orbit, especially if they put up as many as they say they’re going to.

    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/saber-solarstorm.html

    https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression

    JLfromNH

  291. Dear JMG,
    Wow, you’re really up on everything – even modern rap! I’ll check-out Joe Limitless too. I haven’t liked rap since early Eminem when he had something to say, and most of Tom McDonald’s fans are the same way. Tom McD has a new song coming out today on You Tube called “Church”. Last week he put out a rock/rap song called “No Good Bastards” and it got to #3 on the Hip Hop chart with a rock song and got 2 million views in two days, without a record label, agent, etc.! Him and his girlfriend Nova are independent musical genius and truth tellers.

  292. >I’m wondering how many war-planes could have been built in WW2 for $2.5M.

    That’s about how much the P51 Mustang cost in today’s dollars. So, that many.

  293. That a ship accident clogged a canal isn’t really the story. The story is how fragile and interdependent the world has gotten, where a failure in any one spot drags the rest of the system down. The real story is how certain people start freaking out the minute one part of the global economy fails. And they are freaking out over this.

    It seemd like a good idea at the time. Save the money, do more with less. No bad consequences happened immediately after the decisions were made, so they just kept making more of them.

    Then again, maybe stability begets instability which then begets stability once more? Welcome to the unstable part of the cycle?

  294. You once mentioned how a blind of the modern world is to think of the natural world as being static. This seems to be present in these vaccine roll outs. In particular one can’t help but notice that the virus naturally mutated in South Africa in such a way as to bypass the vaccine antibodies. This was without vaccinated individuals in its environment. How long do we really expect it to take for new variants to develop which bypass vaccine anti bodies when an environment filled with vaccinated individuals selects for it. Is the plan to lock everybody in their houses for another year while they test the new vaccine, and then attempt to inject that in everyone. Are they just going to skip even the initial trial for the next vaccine, and rely on having better logistics to inject it in everyone next time around? What is the end game here?

  295. @Ric Frost
    One of the things I have noticed with the libertarian types who go in for things like bitcoin/gold. Is while they get the idea that printing money can’t create wealth, but generates inflation. They don’t seem to understand that the opposite deflation, doesn’t generate wealth either. It’s a good thing if a manufacturer makes his process more efficient and prices go down because of this. It’s a bad thing if the rising price of money means that he can sells his good for less compared to his initial investment in plant and equipment. You don’t benefit society by stashing dollar bills in your mattress, why should society (or the market) reward you for doing so.

  296. (@Jeanne)

    “maybe we will see some fantastic ‘meteor showers’ when Mr Musk’s satellites get prematurely
    dragged out of orbit”

    The entire Pacific Northwest was treated to a magnificent “Musk meteor shower” last night, complete with sonic booms, when one of his Starlink-launcher Falcon 9 rockets that failed to deorbit itself had a dramatic encounter with atmospheric drag after 22 days.

    I’ve never seen anything like it – hundreds of burning points of light traveling together and leaving a glowing trail across the sky.

    Rather amazing video here:. https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/03/25/spacex-failure-pacific-northwest/

  297. @ Bogatyr re Ever Given ship

    I admit the possibility of sabotage occurred to me when the story first broke. The Suez canal
    would be an obvious target for anyone wanting to disrupt things for a while. But it is also just
    as likely the outcome of stupidity and overreliance on high tech for doing everything for us.

    On a lighter note, meme producers are having great fun with this especially as a metaphor for
    the last year. I particularly like the lego picture.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/25/stuck-suez-vessel-prompts-amusement-memes

    JLfromNH

  298. @ Mary Bennett –

    I don’t disagree with you, and my response wasn’t directed at you, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

    I saw this comment in response to your post:

    “To Mary Bennet, Common Era is merely an attempt to erase Christianity, as it is imposed exactly on Anno Domine dates. Pay it exactly as much due as any other erasure of history scheme.”

    …and rolled my eyes. It reminded me of woke snowflakes who see offense everywhere, and think every little innocuous thing is some sort of malign persecution.

    People here complain (justifiably imo) about the woke snowflakes taking offense at everything, but pot and kettle and all that. Of course “erasure of history” can indeed be a problem – but seeing malicious intent in the use of (the 200 year old!) CE is just silly. That was my point.

  299. File this one under Now I’ve Heard Everything or maybe Some People Never Learn.

    Neocon extraordinaire Bill Kristol has thrown out the notion that we, the USA, should annex Cuba!!! First it was buy Greenland from Trump, which was insane enough and now this. Apparently Bill is convinced that his rich Cuban amigos in Florida can deliver an islandfull of votes to support the neocon take over the world agenda.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIepJvRpxqw Apologies to JMG, but I don’t think this is being reported anywhere except Youtube and twitter. Bill has given himself deniability, natch, just threw that out there, we need a conservative (he hopes, good luck with that) island to balance statehood for DC and Puerto Rico.

  300. Waffles –

    I have some archival info stashed on a different computer than the one I’m now working on. Happy to share!

    JMG –

    is there any way you can pass my email on to Waffles? So he can email me, and I can send him my digital materials from my archival studies? Many thanks if you can!

  301. “And without student loans, there would be a much smaller student population, and much more biased toward “old money”, with only truly exceptional students from the middle class attending on scholarship money.”

    My understanding is that part of what the proliferation of student loans also did was to increase the cost of education overall. Because of loans, students can afford to pay any price, and everyone (not just the scholarship students) can theoretically go to any school, so schools start competing for students (and those sweet student loan dollars!) by offering more and more costly amenities (fancy dorms, student life centers, athletic complexes, etc.) to attract paying customers. And of course, students are now seen as customers rather than, well, students,

    A better system might be to provide free (or much cheaper) no-frills higher educational opportunities (including in the liberal arts, for those who truly want it) to good students on a meritocratic basis. “Old money” would still dominate the pricey Ivy League, but you would have the potential for public universities to provide good-quality, but low-frills, educations to a smaller number of good middle and working-class students admitted based on merit. My understanding is that for a good portion of the 20th century, that’s exactly what state universities (and urban universities like the City University of NY) used to do.

    But that’s not how the system works anymore.

  302. I have a new short essay in my series on “American Iconoclasts / Great Amerian Eccentrics” inspired by JMG’s Johnny Appleseed posts up now.

    This one is on the life of Ray Hicks, Bard of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It will be of especial interest to those inclined toward the Bardic arts, and those who are looking for inspiration in living a “down home funk” lifestyle.

    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/ray-hicks-bard-of-the-blue-ridge-mountains

    The biography of him by Lynn Salsi “The Life and Times of Ray Hicks: Keeper of the Jack Tales” is a great book for those who went to dig further. In a way it is really his autobiography. It’s his words that she recorded and collected over many years and then edited into cohesive life story. Reading it you feel like you are sitting with him and his family for a spell on his cabin porch underneath the hex sign painted there by his mother to keep out the ghosties, privileged to be listening to him tell his tale. It’s a true bardic transmission.

  303. RE J&J vaccine: Thanks for the responses everyone. I’ll be rereading several times. Frankly, the vaccines aren’t a topic I want to be interested in, but I feel like I’m being forced to look into it with the vaccine being available in my area. It’s hard. Everyone around me is getting the vaccine and pressuring me to get it. I always say it’s impossible to have tested for long term effects since the testing has been going on for less than a year, but it falls on closed ears. I have done a divination on the subject with rather ambiguous results (thanks tarot). I’m not scared of the virus as I’m in my 20’s and in decent shape so I’ll refrain from getting it until convinced otherwise.

  304. @ Mary Bennet

    Re Cuba, etc.

    I suspect that the predominant trend in coming decades will be that the US sheds territory, rather than annexing it! (Likely less-than-officially to begin with–as in “DC is talking but we’re no longer listening”–but transitioning from de facto to de jure as we move further into this century.) To my mind, it’s an open question whether an intact US celebrates its tricentennial.

    What I’ll be curious to see, to the extent I personally witness any of that, is whether the first breaks are single states acting alone (e.g. Texas or California) or a regional group acting in concert (e.g. New England or the Old South).

    As to joining the US, whether Cuba or Puerto Rico, why would an independent people want to lash themselves to a dying empire? I can’t see any clear-eyed population willingly making that choice. Our politicians (of either primary political stripe) have been believing our own press for too long!

  305. @JMG

    Thank you for your reply. I think (and please correct me if I’m wrong about this) that this attitude of the medical industry, coupled with extremely high treatment costs, is one of the reasons behind ‘medical tourism’. I remember reading, some years back, a newspaper article which basically was talking about people from the US coming to India to get operated on, as the costs of getting some types of surgery done in India are much lower than in the US, especially because the rupee is pretty weak as compared to the US dollar.

  306. I know you enjoy slide rules. I got on Etsy and bought a laser-cut working version of an astrolabe. This is an ancient tool for observing the heavens and making basic calculations. Sort of a circular slide rule that does calculations in spherical geometry. Very fun and it works. Online instructions show how you could use a new or one of the originals.
    http://wavytail.com/astrolabe-instructions/

    –JD

  307. @ Teresa from Hershey

    1. I tend to doubt that the powers that be are going to refuse people to allow people to discharge debt as the wheels fall of the bus. That may be the case but, I think people tend to fall into a trap of thinking that the powers that be are all powerful. If the economy is literally suffering massive stagflation or hyperinflation, in either case, if the system is truly falling apart in a quick manner and measures are taken to inflate people’s debt while their wages don’t move, that would be a recipe for creating a situation where debts cease to be relevant. I don’t think that situation is coming.

    2. “Besides, debts are obligations that you — unless you get trapped in medical debt — willingly incur. You signed that paper. You might not have understood what you signed but you should for good faith reasons make a good faith effort to pay it off.”

    That sounds like something struck a nerve, is this a sentiment that you are seeing/experiencing in the world?

    @Trubrujah

    I would agree in part with your friend that having cash reserves (as in literal cash) is a good idea for exactly that reason. As I said above though, do I expect people to be allowed to pay off debt with hyperinflated dollars? Yes. If the government tries to take a bunch of struggling people and inflates their debt to the point they will never pay it off all while they are out of work or their wages are inflating to meaninglessness, I expect we will finally see some serious breakdown. There comes a point at which people will just say, “know what? F&*# your system, my children are starving and I’m just not going to play anymore.” The government has a vested interest in not creating that and I don’t think they will.

    Pink Eldritch Unicorn

  308. Ron M, I once saw a slow-motion film of testing a new design of bomb. It fell free, hit the airstream, and the aerodynamics must have been wrong. It climbed back up and hit the underside of the plane that dropped it. 🙂 It did a lot of damage but didn’t detonate (may not have had explosives in it) and the test plane got back to base.

  309. Hi, Jay & JMG
    Further to the discussion on cranks last week, Jay asked about what I call the ‘intermediate’ book that is something beyond a children’s light overview and an hideously technical manual that requires years of courses to understand, and specifically about mechanics of pulleys, may I suggest”1800 Mechanical Movements and Devices” by Gardiner D. Hiscox, first published in 1899, reprinted by Allgrove publishing?
    I bought a copy years ago at my local Lee Valley Hardware store. (A friend of mine once described Lee Valley Tools as “a sex shop for tool fetishists” and they cater to the woodworking artisan and hands-on DIY crowd.)
    Lee Valley offers a very extensive collection of 19th and early 20th Century books focused mostly on wood-working, probably the same ones used by the said cranks to build their said contraptions. (I don’t work for, or have anything to do with them, but they are my go-to place to find really useful books and plans.)

  310. OH! One other question I’ve been meaning to ask – where did you film your interview for the Pepe the Frog documentary? A Theosophical library, perhaps? Wherever it is it looks gorgeous.

  311. On the topic of SpaceX, is anyone who has influence over the thing away of Kessler Syndrome? I have yet to find anything which refutes the risks, and the possibility of rendering orbit inaccessible for centuries to millions of years is something I think ought to be taken into account. The fact it looks like it’s not is the saddest part of the entire thing.

    Dagnarus (#319),

    The plan is that going forward, vaccines for the variants will not require testing at all. All that is needed is approval for the original strain; since this is based on incomplete testing to begin with, these variant vaccines strike me as very likely to cause serious issues.

    https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/drugs-vaccines-treatments/access-guidance-vaccines-strain-changes.html

  312. Merle, that makes perfect sense to me. Different paths use different methods, and the mere fact that something doesn’t work in one context doesn’t keep it from working in a very different context! The conscious mind is entirely able to handle negations — that’s why we have words such as “no” and “not.” I don’t claim to know how negations work in Hinduism and Buddhism, but then I’m not a practitioner of either faith and have only a very general knowledge of either one.

    Violet, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Large parts of the Desi (Hindu-American) community were very vocal in their support of Trump in the last election, and since the official narrative insists that no people of color ever supported Trump — Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia! — the existence of the Desi community and of Hinduism is being erased in classic Stalinist form.

    Info, I know. I’ve had similar nonconversations with atheists.

    Oskari, yes, I put a lot of work into developing the strength of will to do things that bore me — and then used that willpower to get myself into a position where I rarely have to do things that bore me! I used magic, affirmations, and old-fashioned will training for that purpose. Magic will do that, but you need to take it slow and steady, a little at a time, and not rush things. Establishing a daily practice and then sticking with it even when it becomes dull is a good way to start.

    Lunar Apprentice, those are among the things that drive many people away from Christianity. Certainly the doctrine of eternal damnation is one of the reasons I find mainstream Christianity intolerable; after all the evasions and excuses are said and done, this amounts to claiming that an omnipotent and omniscient god deliberately set up the cosmos so that most of his intelligent creatures would be tortured for all eternity — if he’s omnipotent, after all, he didn’t have to set up things that way, and if he’s omniscient, he can’t claim that he didn’t know how it would work out — and that makes hash of the claim that the god in question is good. Most human beings have better ethics than that!

    Michael, yeah, I’ve been laughing about that one.

    Irena, you’re most welcome.

    Marcu, “Pixie” Smith is far from forgotten these days in occult circles! I’m glad to see her getting more attention elsewhere, though.

    March Hare, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the Hindu approach is suitable for people in this very different (and very troubled) culture! I first started exploring occultism at the age of 15 and began systematic training shortly after my 22nd birthday, so I’m hardly in a position to preach otherwise. My point was simply that magic should not be used as an escape from life in the world. One of the things that makes Western occultism so useful in our time is precisely that it’s designed to be practiced by people who also have day jobs, family, and so on.

    Lathechuck, fascinating. Mercury and Mars — well, it depends on how they relate to each other. Mercury trine or sextile Mars gives strength and vigor to the mind. Mercury opposite, square, or conjunct Mars gives a vulnerability to rash and unthinkiing action, and if Mars is strongly placed and afflicted by other planets, yes, the problems can be serious.

    Karim, the unconscious is a concept from psychology, and occultists have been trying to figure out exactly how it fits into occult philosophy since the beginning of the twentieth century. Most of us — and I’m included in this — simply mash together psychological and occult terminology, and don’t claim to know exactly how the two fit together. In Jungian psychology — which is the kind most occultists use these days — the unconscious is the whole range of mental processes of which you’re not conscious; it has collective as well as personal elements (Jung divides it, in fact, into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious); and the higher self can communicate with, and through, the unconscious long before the conscious mind is open to it.

    Lathechuck, that is, conditions would be what they were thirty or forty years ago, when most student loans were issued by banks and had to be backed up with some of the parents’ collateral. My wife’s student loans were like that. Yes, going back to that far more sensible arrangement would have all the benefits you’ve named.

    Anon6669, interesting. Thanks for this.

    David BTL, that’s one way to put it. I’d tend to use more colorful language, but to each their own.

    Ron M, I saw that. What a perfect omen, especially alongside the stuck freighter!

    David BTL, many thanks for this. I seem to recall someone writing somewhere about how the costs of capital maintenance rise until they cause — what was the phrase? — “cata- something collapse”…

    Yorkshire, thanks for these.

    David BTL, fascinating. Yes, I could see that.

    Karl, no, the only reason I knew about Joe Limitless is that he’s a student in an early twentieth century New Thought correspondence course, the Order of Essenes, which I help run. It was in the discussion that followed my posting a link to one of his tunes that let me know about Tom McD. I was startled to find that I liked both of them.

    Dagnarus, what’s the end game? I’m quite sure nobody involved in the vaccine business has thought that far ahead.

    Irena, yet another reason for people to avoid the universities…

    Mary, okay, I didn’t think I could be astonished any more by the sheer drooling idiocy of the neocons. You’ve just proven me wrong.

    El, I’ve just emailed him.

    Justin, thanks for this!

    Viduraawakened, exactly. If I had to have surgery I’d look into having it done in India — the quality of care is much higher and the cost is so much lower that I could travel there round trip, spend two weeks taking in a few of the tourist sites there, and have the surgery, for rather less than it would cost me just to have the surgery here.

    John, delighted to hear about this! Thank you; I hope you make good use of your astrolabe.

    IVN 66, it was filmed in the Providence Athenaeum. I wish we had a Theosophical library here in Rhode Island; the TS library in Seattle is one of the few things I really miss about that city.

    Mollari, seemingly not. At this point I expect a Kessler-syndrome disaster to make low earth orbit unusable within my lifetime.

  313. It’s just clicked: there is an overarching theme to the Covid restrictions, an explanatory model that allows you to predict which activities people will be up in arms over and which they won’t be: anything that makes city living better than suburban life is “dangerous”! The fact this maps to the rules and regulations nearly perfectly seems to suggest that we have reached the point where people are aware of the fact that the suburbs are going away, and the Covid panic is being caused by that….

  314. Dear Violet (#284),

    I wonder if some of the Hindu temples themselves might have their own private lending libraries. That might be an especially helpful approach in this case, since there are LOT of books published in English in India, which are not available through the “standard” distribution channels that your public library would likely use for purchasing.

    I suspect that whether or not your nearby temples have such a library, they would welcome a respectful inquiry from a neighbor of good will, such as yourself.

    Just something to consider.

  315. I must thank you, JMG, for the notice about the Grist short story competition. I submitted a story a couple of weeks ago and eagerly await the rejection letter. Writing the story was delightfully cathartic: entitled “The Merchant of Progress”, it is a Rip Van Winkle story set early in the 22nd century where the gulf between the preachings of the cult of progress and the steadily declining life that is staring everybody in the face are at such an extreme level that the protagonist ends up crawling back into his “hole”, preferring it to the totally psychotic society that he has woken up in. Oh ya, there is a “climate” theme to it, but I doubt that it is exactly what the contest-designers have in mind. I do hope that reading it does not turn out to be hazardous to the esteemed panel of reviewers’ health!

  316. COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria

    https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/4/1376/htm

    “Hysteria can not only cause people to suffer symptoms. Hysteria, be it collective or not, can make people behave in ways that other persons unaffected by the hysteria would likely consider to be irrational. Under the illusion of a non-existing or highly exaggerated threat, people act in ways that in the absence of the illusion would seem absurd.”

    It’s an interesting piece to read and discuss and maybe a good article to share with those who are not fully under the influence of mass hysteria yet. Maybe some of the authors have read Jung? Or maybe they better had? The arguments for the minimal state seem to be persuasive to me. One could argue, though, that a truly minimal state does not exist since even in what we would possibly consider a minimal state, the interests of a small elite are usually well protected. Also, people tend to be hysteric from time to time. And hysteria can be infectious. Basically the authors seem to hope that in what they consider to be minimal state, hysteria’s decay-time is faster than it’s spread, resulting in … wait a minute … resulting in an r-value smaller than one, mwaaahahaah.

    I think in Europe, there hasn’t been any truly minimal state for a very long time. Maybe the United States were designed to be one in the first place? Right now, at least from an outsiders perspective, it doesn’t seem to work out very well. Combining the minimal and welfare state isn’t a good idea if you combine the worst elements of both.

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  317. This is a bit of a mundane question, but does anybody know of a taper candle holder that is compatible with CGD practice (two short holders, one taller holder) and has a cup-like holder to catch dripping candle wax? My current taper candle holders only have about 1 inch of a lip at the bottom of the taper, but because it’s level the wax pours right off the edge, and it’s PAINFUL having to iron out wax drips from an altar cloth. For some reason the only candles locally available to me don’t drip, cool and build up drippings on top of each other, but instead they form a “pipeline” that transfers all the wax at the top of the candle through a single drip line and dumps it out where the taper meets the holder.
    I’ve tried searching all over online, but the only candle holder with a cup-like catchment that ALSO comes in a short and tall version is a really expensive Biedermann & Sons version sold only through SouthAmericanRiverVendor(tm). Any ideas?

  318. >while they get the idea that printing money can’t create wealth, but generates inflation. They don’t seem to understand that the opposite deflation, doesn’t generate wealth either.

    My take on it is that neither inflation or deflation is what causes chaos, but volatility instead. That makes the real economy freeze up. If you can keep the changes to a band of say, 3% per year or so, the whole system can cope with it, either up or down. But you introduce 25% changes and things break and don’t heal for quite a while. Why do large changes make things stop working? Mainly due to leverage, everything is done on credit and almost already spoken for.

    The 70s was all about volatility. Also the 30s. Maybe stability begets instability?

  319. @ kallianeira

    Re aristocratic antics and their societal role

    Thank you for that insight. I had not thought of them in that light, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

  320. I think the reason that Rutgers is rerquiring all students to be vaccinated for the next academic year is pretty straight-forward: cash flow. I expect to see nearly all universities following suit over the next few months.

    Though private universities often have huge endowments, those moniues are generally reserved for glitzy development opportunities, and are never to be used to cover annual operating expences. So a stable flow of tuition dollars from one year to the next, like a stable flow of research-grant dollars, is considered essential for the stability and survival of the university. And the other side of that coin is that risk management is given a very, very high priority, since adverse court judgements can demand huge payouts these days.

    Now (to judge by my own experience) undergraduate students do not come to universities primarily to learn things, but primarily (1) to earn credentials that claim they have learned things, (2) to establish personal connections with older people who can (and do) open doors to lucrative careers, and (3) to break free of childhood and to initiate themselves into adult roles. (For #3, compare the so-called “puberty rites” of most traditional cultures. College has become our puberty rite, though in contrast to traditional societies, our society’s rites are badly designed and thus unduly time-consuming, and more than a little ineffective.)

    And the last two of these three things require extensive face-to-face contact, which can only be achieved on a rather open campus. They can’t be done online. Only the first, namely getting credentials, can be done online, and only with considerable difficulty.

    Now risk-management concerns lead to the obvious conclusion that only through mandatory student (and faculty) vaccination will a university be able to cover its own posterior in any major lawsuit arising from COVID infection. So mandatory vaccination is almost a no-brainer from the financial and from the risk-management perspective.

    The stated purpose of every university is to educate youth. That is mere window-dressing and advertising, though it may also deceive faculty as well as the students whom it reels in.

    The real purpose of any university with any real wealth is to maintain that wealth, as a minumum, from one year to the next, and to increase it without any theoretical limit over the many years to come. In the eyes of its governing body, a university is a fiscal enterprise that must be managed above all else.

    Students and faculty alike are mere cannon-fodder for this enterprise. As individuals, any number of them is expendable; taken all together, the mass of them and gthe monies they bring in on campus are essential for the institution’s real goals.

  321. @Irena and others:

    Your mentioning the Czech Republic’s lockdown reminded me of a piece in the Intelligencer. Many here on this forum will disagree with many of its premises, but I found it refreshing how David Wallace looks around for reasons why some countries did better and others did worse, and especially how many epidemiologists admit ignorance about the reasons for these differences. He specifically cites Japan and Peru as difficult-to-explain outliers, and mentions the Czech Republic.

    Meanwhile, Brazil in 2021 seems to vindicate, at long last, the Imperial College modeling study from last spring. As I am writing, the total death rate in March 2021 is now at 4985 deaths per day (and rapidly rising), while it was 3150 deaths per day in March 2019, and 3095 per day in March 2018. These deaths are by no means caused by Covid alone, but by the collapse of the hospitals. A former medical student of mine, now a doctor in Rio de Janeiro, briefly mentioned a few days ago that an eleven year old boy, who had suffered an accident, died on his watch simply because there was not a single ICU bed available. They were all occupied by Covid patients – exactly like Imperial College predicted. The problem is that Imperial College also predicted that every time a lockdown was relaxed, cases would shoot up again as high as before, which immediately made me wonder what good a lockdown was at all.

    I don’t have any prescriptions at this point, though I think all of this, both the deaths and the economic and psychological damage, could have been avoided by a global travel ban in February 2020 and by acting more like Taiwan, South Korea or Singapore right from the beginning.

    It would help if people admitted that Covid can, in at least some countries, be a serious threat. We can then still discuss in good faith if taking distancing measures or experimental vaccines is worthwhile in order to avoid death rates like in Brazil, Portugal or England, or if they aren’t.

  322. @ Dagnarus

    They will use ‘booster shots’ to cover the new variants. Virologists will beaver away on their computers analysing genetic codes to find the new variants, vaccine makers will use that genetic code to manufacture the new ‘vaccine’ and the Big Pharma will sell it to a gullible public for billions of dollars. It’s going to be an enormously profitable business model in the short term.

    @ JMG

    I recall that David Holmgren wrote a piece several years ago where he calculated that if 10% of the middle class cut their spending by 50% (I think those were the numbers) the economy could be crashed. If our elites are dumb enough to pursue the vaccine passport idea, and I think they are, I’m pretty sure that at least 10% of the middle class (and other classes too) would be happy to simply forego whatever good or service is behind the vaccination paywall. Which makes me wonder how many business are going to go broke? In particular, wouldn’t a number of airlines go broke and wouldn’t airfares skyrocket as a result? Perhaps we’ll see a yearly or twice yearly bailout bill go through congress to keep the corporations afloat with a few thousand for hard working Americans thrown in.

  323. @ Pink Eldritch Unicorn (#334).

    I dunno. Little people (ala Leona Helmsley) always suffer in bad times. Elites work hard to stay on top and well, someone has to take one for the team and it won’t be one of them. Not if they can help it. See the Cyprus banking crisis.

    I fully expect after the zombie apocalypse that zombies will be hired by debt collection agencies because you WILL pay everything back in full.

    What gets me about nonpayment of debt is many of the current discussions of say, forgiving student loan debts. But what about those people who pinched pennies, scrimped and saved, in order to pay off their loans?

    They get nothing. They are, in effect, punished because they were not profligate.

    I get debt jubilees. I also understand what it’s like to stand by on the sidelines and know that because I scrimped and pinched and said “no” a thousand times, I don’t get.

    It’s a challenge and must be endured.

    In the end though, when you freely walk into debt servitude, make sure it’s for something worthwhile, like the building of an asset.

  324. Regarding vaccines, I assume that this is the end game:

    https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20200504/–annual_covid-19-vaccine-may-be-necessary

    Just think how much money there is to be made vaccinating everyone (probably at government expense!) with yet another annual vaccine, especially when it’s all but mandatory!

    And then there’s this:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-03-24/when-will-covid-end-we-must-start-planning-for-a-permanent-pandemic

    What an interesting time to be alive….

  325. JMG and Commentariate A Book Report My wife and I recently spent a couple of weeks driving to southern California to visit our granddaughter. Since I cannot drive my wife did all the driving. So I read to her to do my part. I read “Braiding Sweet-grass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It was a delicious read. She is a native American with a PHD in botany and teaches at the college level. The book is a great exploration comparing American native traditional land relationships to western societies. She had several chapters dealing with the windigo archetype that provided a great compliment to JMGs posting on this. Overall the read left me with a much clearer sense of subtle aspects of the situation and some optimism. Emjoy

  326. Hey JMG,

    Love most your books ive read, Going through the Dolmen Arch right now. Cant believe this amount of material was just hidden away for so long. Glad you pieced it together and brought it out though. Do you have any plans to re-release The Blood of the Earth in a eco-under $100 version? I want one but the ones i keeps seeing are the 500+ deluxe. Anyways, keep em coming I buy most of your druid/occult books and havent been disappointed yet.

  327. @ Alexandra (#263).

    You asked about people with who are chronically ill, disabled, or elderly and the use of practical skills.

    There are a lot of practical skills.

    In ye olden days, your family took care of you. If they wanted too. Otherwise, you died. We forget how much modern medical care keeps people alive who would have died even fifty years ago. A hundred years ago? All kinds of issues killed you that today merit a pill. The only alternative was being rich enough to hire people to care for you but there must be thousands of cautionary tales about rich old fools being parted from their money.

    So what is the practical skill that matters the most?

    Being easy to get along with.

    We’re currently dealing with this exact issue with my elderly mother. She’s difficult to get along with, always has been. Fiercely independent. Whatever you do is not going to be good enough unless you do it EXACTLY like she would.

    She refused to install handrails and grab-bars in her death trap of a house so she and my elderly father (sinking into dementia) could manage better. They can easily afford the modifications that will keep my father from falling down the stairs and shattering his bones.

    The result was preordained: she fell and broke her wrist in two places. No, the boxwood bushes did not break her fall as she claimed they would.

    The family leaped into action, but you know, there is a reason why we all moved away and don’t visit often.

    Youngest grandson volunteered to stay with grandma and grandpa for the duration. He has stated that she’s killing all the affection he ever had for her.

    So, include in your practical skills kit being easy to get along with. It’s the one that matters the most.

  328. @Lunar Apprentice, #292

    You asked for JMG opinion, but if you are interested…

    Ft. Antonio Fortea, – Spanish writer, Roman Catholic priest and former appointed exorcist of Madrid,- is the source I have been studying over since early February. He is of the opinion that “it would be inconceivable that God would allow the damnation of even 10% of the population” [my words, note he did not say “the flock” or “the faithful”]. His stance is that regular sinners go to Purgatory, for a finite amount of time; not because God wishes to inflict punishment in them, but because they need to cleanse themselves in order to partake in the glory of Heaven. IMHO it is not fires and torture instruments, but a form of extreme and brutally honest psychotherapy: nothing hurts you but what you have already inside.

    According to Fortea, Hell is a destiny reserved to those recurrent, unrepentant sinners that got themselves corrupted through life. That means, they lost the ability to tell good from evil and pushed their unchecked passions into new lows, not once but many times. Again, IMHO, that sounds remarkably close to the “Eternal Death of the Penumbra” in Dion Fortune’s terminology. When Catholic theology is utterly brutal is when it tells us that the ride on the tail of the comet does not lead to mere annihilation: it gets worse!

    In your example, a kid masturbating to his high school sweetheart (or for the matter, a middle aged guy, 30 years later) do not get a straight ticket to Hell. That does not make the act 100% kosher, and each one will have to meditate in their hearth of hearths what are the moral implications. But on the other hand, a guy who has allowed himself to get addicted to the most sordid porn available in the Dark Web… might be at peril. Whether that one will land in Hell or not, that depends on his will and his good luck. Will he pull himself out and get his sexuality in some resemblance of order? Or will he cross another line when no merchant is able to provide a product that actually turns him on?

    As for why does the clergy do not tell us this all as it is… I say it is the control, of course!!! The Church is both a Saint an a Whore, and since the popes and bishops got in bed with Emperor Constantine, they have been addicted to Worldly Power.

  329. Shoemaker, any chance you could give us the non-techie version? I downloaded Thunderbird (because nothing popped up in a search for “Virtual Access” that looked like what you were talking about – there’s a bunch of stuff called virtual access ), got to the newsreader section, plugged in greenwizards.news … and nothing. Even adding “https://” in front of it yielded no hit. I’m confused.

    Peter van Erp – I’d be interested in your knife sharpening method.

    JMG, if you replied with your take on how inflation might play out in a highly digitalized banking/monetary system, I missed it… granted my callout of “for JMG and whoever” was somewhat buried in my text, so I’ll try to be better about that, but, did you care to weigh in on that?

  330. You don’t benefit society by stashing dollar bills in your mattress, why should society (or the market) reward you for doing so.

    It’s society and the market that are incentivizing that behavior by continuously (and now aggressively) undermining the currency… and liberartarians are always among the first to see it.

  331. To the contrary, JMG, Bill Kristol is a great American providing an invaluable service. Say there’s a foreign policy question on which you can’t make up your mind, e. g. “Should we bomb Canada?” Turn on Fox when Kristol’s on and listen. When the interviewer says “Should we bomb—“ Kristol will immediately reply “Yes,” without waiting for the interviewer to say “Canada,” as it doesn’t matter to him what country gets bombed so long as somebody does. Now you know that, if Kristol ‘s in favor of it, bombing Canada is an outstandingly stupid idea with nothing whatever to recommend it. This test will work for any issue. He is ALWAYS wrong. He’d probably approve of starting a land war in Reality. (Reality is not in Asia, but starting a land war there would be a similarly bad idea. 😁). I think Bill Kristol’s thoughts should be solicited on everything, and the government should always proceed accordingly, e.g. in the opposite direction from Kristol.

    Looking back, I think Bill Kristol was an early indicator of Mom’s senility, if we’d only known; she thought he was a very intelligent man. But she had crushes on some of the Fox characters and we didn’t think it was any more than that. She was always telling us that some idiot talking head she happened to like was a very intelligent man. So take note, folks; if your elderly relative starts praising Bill Kristol’s intelligence, it’s time for the neurologist.

  332. Thanks, Yorkshire, for the ‘bomb story’… you’d think that of the 10,000 people who worked on designing the blasted Lard Bucket, they’d at least check the aerodynamics of the ammo (in case that is the cause)…

  333. @Pink Eldritch Unicorn

    I was indeed referring to actual cash. When everything breaks down, we will eventually move into a barter system where gold and silver may be important or some new currency, but in the interim, while they try to put the wheels back on the carriage, hard cash will be king while people still believe in the dollars power.

    And I think you are mistaking something. The government doesn’t really have any say, as it isn’t the government who those debts are owed to. Its the banks. If you think the banks will allow you to pay off your debts with hyper inflated dollars, I think you are mistaken. They will shut down the banks, and lock your money up, before they allow that to happen. Of course, they’ll make sure that the government goes along with it, because if they don’t, then the corrupt politicians won’t have a back door to get their money before the plebs do. Just look at the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the banks basically held the government hostage to get their money.

  334. Hi Bogatyr (#301). If you’re interested in an update since I first posted, here’s the short answer: There is a surprise delay in my transition. Here are the gory details:

    After I announced I would be departing, the landlord at my clinic reversed position, and said we could remain in the space without paying any rent until the lockdown ends and business conditions return to normal, maybe even for a year. This is all informal; nothing is in writing and we could be sent packing at a moment’s notice. That didn’t assuage me, and I informed my business partners that I’d still be gone after 12-31-2020. Amazingly, my partners succeeded in hiring a physician to replace me. Good for them! So over November/December, I hand off my patients to him, tell him the issues, and of course my care plans are documented in my notes. Then he starts cancelling my care plans, even to the point of cancelling pre-authorized, scheduled consultations with surgeons! And then he refuses to accept many of my patients at all because they are “too complicated”. My partners, patients, and my patient’s attorneys are aghast. My partners have a frank conversation with this new doc, and he states that he is so afraid of the payer (the workers comp payer), that he anticipates their objections, and formulates his care plans according to what he thinks the payer will cover! His fears are not groundless, as many physicians (of patients with chronic injuries) in my state who stand up to the system are punished by one means or another, such as de-credentialing, intimidation visits from high-level bureaucrats, audits (at your expense for $40,000) with potential fallout, public defamation, claw-backs of money you’ve already been paid, groundless accusations of fraud (a crime) but with an offer to negotiate a “settlement” which can amount to surrendering your credential, or somehow making your care cheaper (I’ve never been privy to details), etc…

    I’ve always been ready to accept that if the payer really wants to get tough and drop the blade, then fine, I’ll leave. So my care plans are patient-centered and standard-of-care. When my care plans are denied pre-authorization (a routine occurrence), I write a protest note with a thorough explanation of the medical grounds for my protest. The labor-law attorneys like my notes because they offer a roadmap for legal appeal. 99% of my patients have labor law attorneys. In testimony, I’m articulate, succinct, and I don’t fall into the traps set by the cross-examining attorneys. My patients have a high success rate on appeal.

    So I am well known in the payment system as a trouble maker, and case managers and higher ups all know me and hate me. But there is one curious fact: as hated as I am, I’m told I’m also respected, and so [knocking on wood] the knives have never come out for me… [whistles in the dark…]

    My partners, patients and patient-attorneys have pleaded with me to stay on part-time, 2 days per week; and the landlord has been quiet…. I confess to some gratification at being so valuable to my patients, irreplaceable even; it’s an ego-boost, and is the only big thing in life (as yet) I can feel justifiably proud of. Still, I have mixed emotions…

    Part of me wishes I had just left practice cold; as even part time, it is a yuuuuge drain of my attention and energy. My sewing machine studies proceed apace, much more slowly than half-time. My mental energy also sapped by my slow divorce process, my difficult relationship with my older daughter, my chronic distress over my poor social skills owing to my Aspergers (a live issue now that I’m effectively single and looking). And I have visceral fear over the loss of human contact I would experience fixing sewing machines. I sit at my workbench for hours going through my practice machines. This is solitary work, and 8 hours per day of that scares me, I’m discovering. I am a social creature, Asperger’s notwithstanding, and part of me is balking. I’ve only recently been able to name this fear, and last week’s post by JMG, “A Useful Kind of Madness” on cranks shed light: See my comment #100. My dad worked, as if possessed, in utter solitude for decades. He had an awful life, and I’m afraid of that. So I am studying sewing machine repair against stiff inner resistance. (My mind is inexplicably NOT reassured that my clients will be virtually all women, that I’d be seeing several daily, and I’d very likely be exposed to courtship prospects.) It’s yet another problem I have to solve. And I DO need to solve it.

    And yes, I do like the Sewing Machine Institute’s (digital) course very much, though I did make sure to obtain the course in DVD format (I was only charged $50 extra for this), and also the whole thing on paper (ouch, that was another $800). His workbook consists of several hundred essay questions, all of them meaty. You also have to obtain used machines to practice on, photograph the steps of your procedures, keep a log of your work and such. I asked David if I should send in my work piece-meal or all in one big dump, and he wants the one big dump. I would prefer piece-meal, as it would compel me to pace my work at some rate. David can be a bit taciturn, and I take care to maintain a deferential attitude towards him. But over all, the course is truly excellent, and I recommend it highly.

    I’m sure I rambled on more than you wanted to hear, ‘sigh’.

    Oh, and any unasked-for advice will be welcomed and sifted for useful nuggets.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  335. Here is something I read once on Zero Hedge. A dollar of debt that can not be discharged in bankruptcy is worse than two dollars that can. Some people convert their student loans into other debts that can be discharged. Specially if you are screwed anyway… what do you have to lose?

    @JMG
    I think you already wrote that 5,000 word summary on polytheism; the cats story was posted in the closed ADF-Magicians list (the version on “A World Full of Gods” is expanded), but you might have a copy laying around. The name was something like “An argument pro-polytheism” or something like that.

    By the way, you mentioned “Inside a Magical Lodge” and “After Progress” as two of your three favorite books. What is the third one, “A World Full of Gods”?

  336. Danielle, #222, I just saw your response to my question to you. Thank you for all the detail you included, and I’ll be doing some investigating.

  337. About the Sussexes, can anyone in Britain explain why Harry had to give up his military career, which seemed like a good fit for him? If he was willing to take the risk of kidnapping by Moslem militants, could not someone from Whitehall have had a quiet word with British Moslem leaders–you do realize that if anything untoward happens to a popular, as I think he was then, member of our ruling family there will be no more Moslem migration into the UK for at least a generation? As for his wife, Americans don’t transplant very well, and she clearly did no due diligence about what she was getting herself into.

    What interests me here is that certain powerful parts of the more conservative end of our ruling classes have been trying to sell a notion of Monarchy is A Good Thing to the American public since about the 1980s. Flattering portraits of the British royals on network miniseries, endless trashy books and cheap TV shows about princesses (all aimed at young girls) have been a staple of popular culture since then. Now, thanks to Meghan, don’t get me wrong, I have no use for her either, in the USA the prestige of monarchy in general seems to be falling fast.

    Theresa, et al, of course people should pay their debts, but that moral principle doesn’t explain why the govt., that would be us taxpayers, needs to backstop private lenders. I have heard and read a lot of pious statements about pay your debts; what the purveyors of such bromides never mention is that maybe one shouldn’t borrow money in the first place. We as a society have allowed things to come to such a pass that education past HS and home ownership are ONLY possible if you borrow money. Furthermore, staying out of consumer debt means non or minimal participation in the mass consumption economy and that is something which your average believer in the flag, God and family values doesn’t want to hear. If you don’t buy the latest toy, you must be a communist godless atheist.

  338. I’ve been thinking about some of the information on life expectancy and health the past few years, and thinking we may have passed peak life expectancy in Canada. It isn’t just the coronavirus, though a lot of resources that would normally go elsewhere are now being devoted to that, with consequences:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/hiv-hepatitis-c-syphilis-spreading-1.5960987
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-overdoses-october-2020-1.5815835
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-fatal-drug-overdoses-february-2021-1.5961892

    Mental health issues have gone up, but early data suggests a drop in suicides, at least during the first wavehttps://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/suicides-alberta-bc-saskatchewan-canada-2020-no-increase-1.5902908

    Life expectancy in BC had started dropping before Covid, and I think Canada as a whole had leveled off or begun to drop. A major driver was deaths among young to middle-aged men, likely due to the opiate epidemic.

    ttps://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/opioid-life-expectancy-decreasing-in-canada-statistics-british-columbia-alberta-data-1.5156279
    https://www.vicnews.com/news/b-c-mens-life-expectancy-down-for-a-third-straight-year/ (only has up to 2018 data, but 2020 was a lot worse for opiate deaths)

    I really want to know the life expectancy results for 2020. I expect they won’t be pretty. When you add the Covid-driven problems (both direct and indirect) to the pre-existing situation, I’m expecting a jolt downward.

    I know the USA’s opiate problems are worse than Canada’s, and the death toll from Covid higher per capita, so I’m assuming that a similar jolt downward is occurring there.

  339. Not an economist but this is what I see:
    Pretty much every country has been forced into substantially increasing their money supply since the covid lockdown. I believe the US has introduced another 25% new money in 2020 alone and its gdp to deficit ratio is close to ww2 levels (about 100%)
    Nobody can predict the future but one thing that can surely be said without argument is that the rate of currency debasement is increasing exponentially.
    In practical terms that means that everyone’s purchasing power is decreasing – alarmingly,
    Is this the end game, the last innings for the us dollar as reserve currency?
    Who knows?
    And why are all these silly people bidding up the price of this worthless bitcoin thinggy?
    Hmmm….whisper it quietly but maybe they can see the value of a decentralized, permission-less store of value that no government on this planet can ban, and that no central government can ultimately control.
    One bitcoin is exchanging hands for approx $50k on the markets right now. Ask yourself the question – do you think it hit $100k before $10k?
    Do your due diligence and act accordingly. Yes, it can be scary out there in digital land but instead of seeing all the bogeymen coming out from the under the bed, consider the possibility that – even though we might not completely understand the technology – this might not be a bad development.

  340. Varun

    I am a Hindu living in the UK (I am religious but I actively avoid the culture wars and don’t participate in the local Hindu community). I do follow the news generally but have no idea about what’s going on with Hindus in Oxford and have not seen any news. Even my father in India who usually emails me about this kind of stuff hasn’t said anything.

  341. Shoemaker

    I am happy to help with server space for the NetNews project. I have no particular tech skills but I am old enough to have actually posted on Usenet in the 1990s and even briefly ran Linux on my desktop in the 1990s so I am comfortable with the command line. I pay a big web hosting provider for my wife’s and my work email as freelancers and have more server space and bandwidth than I need for that so I’m happy to use that if we can figure out how.

    Email cstruan@yahoo.co.uk (I may take a few days to reply but I will)

  342. Isn’t the student loan being non dischargeable kinda in violation of the thirteenth amendment.

    If the banks want my brain back, I can think a few creative ways of getting blown out my skull. Kinda like losing the house in bankruptcy.

  343. @Tom Solarfed and Mark L.
    Our experience here with seed cleaning is that the equipment is best sized to the batch. For the smallest batches, I have a bucket thresher, which is similar to the barrel thresher, but made from a 4 gallon plastic cupcake frosting bucket. The business end is a paint stirrer shaft with a foot of nine gage chain bolted to it. A metal bushing protects the hole in the lid. The prime mover is an electric hand drill. It works best with the stem material mostly removed by cutting off the heads of grains or stripping the seed heads into the bucket.

    Small to medium batches can be winnowed use a box fan on a chair seat. I have a century old Clipper seed cleaner, patiently rebuilt by a friend of mine, for larger batches. The Clipper works by using a screen and blowing the chaff away. It was originally manual, but has been adapted to electricity using a washing machine motor.

    My friend who rebuilt the Clipper made a grain thresher by buying a used wood chipper and slowing down the gearing.

    Raphanus

  344. Lunar Apprentice,
    I have been a Christian all my life for reasons I do not understand since I was not brought up in a Christian family. And I suspect I am the oldest person writing here, so a long time. I have also not been much interested in or believed so much of what you have written although I suspect many others delight in it all. If you dig deeper I think that many have taken a good hard look at their religion and looked at things very differently from what you have seen. Some interesting theology has come out of the US Episcopalian church over the last few decades. You might try reading Marcus Borg and John Shelby Spong for starters. If you are a bit older C.S. Lewis is very readable for an academic. I could add others but that would make it my blog and it is John Greer’s. I do hope you search a little more widely and find ideas of interest to you there.

  345. @Dagnarus

    Geert Vanden Bossche, who has spent much of his life working with vaccines, has recently come out and said he expects just what you’re proposing to happen, that the vaccines will lead to more mutations in the virus to escape the antibodies from the vaccine. He is rather alarmist about it, and I’m pretty skeptical of his claims about how bad things are likely to get, but it still is worth noting that someone with his background is risking his reputation to speak out about the current vaccine rollout.

    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/vanden-bossche-mass-vaccination/

  346. but maybe they can see the value of a decentralized, permission-less store of value that no government on this planet can ban, and that no central government can ultimately control.

    They can and they will. They’re only permitting this as a proof-of-concept for mass acceptance of their own digital currencies.

    BTC has way too many dependencies to qualify as a true store of value.

    How Bitcoin’s vast energy use could burst its bubble

  347. Anonymous, good heavens. You’re right, of course, and I don’t know how I missed that. Coronavirus as the last stand of the suburbs — yes, I think that explains it all.

    Ron, excellent! I’ll look forward to reading your story. If enough of us submit stories, once we all get our rejection slips, let’s see if there are enough stories for a volume, or at least a website. 😉

    Nachtgurke, thanks for this. “Combining the minimal and welfare state isn’t a good idea if you combine the worst elements of both” is a keeper, btw.

    Boulderchum, if you find one, please let me know!

    Simon, I remember that piece. I’m not sure his math worked, but in a broader sense, of course, you’re quite correct. If half the American population responds to vaccine requirements by saying, “No problem, I just won’t spend money on that,” I think you’ll see things shifting into reverse very fast!

    El, no doubt! And since none of these vaccines will receive adequate testing, and the risk from playing Russian roulette increases steadily with each time you spin the cylinder and pull the trigger…

    Tomxyza, thanks for this.

    Isaiah, the paperback edition from Scarlet Imprint’s Bibliotheque Rouge imprint is $24.95; if you’re having trouble finding a venue to buy it, let me know.

    Temporaryreality, that’s something I’m going to have to read up on. I don’t think it’ll differ that drastically, but I need to look into recent examples of inflation to be sure.

    Your Kittenship, a definite point!

    Anonymous, regrettably, I don’t have a copy. I cut-and-pasted it from the list in question while I was still a member of ADF, stuck it straight into the manuscript, and expanded it on the spot. Yes, A World Full of Gods is the other of my three best, and thus least profitable, books.

    Other Anonymous, not unexpected at all. He knows that he can and will be muzzled just as effectively by the censors.

    Pygmycory, hmm! Many thanks for this. I think you may well be right.

    Evan, er, any government that chooses to do so can make owning and using cryptocurrencies illegal, and since nothing on the internet is private, violating that law with impunity will be much harder than, say, owning and using non-digital controlled substances. I have no argument with your claims about currency debasement — that’s been accelerating quite a bit of late — but anyone who thinks that cryptocurrencies are immune from government action is fooling themselves.

    Fletch, I don’t recommend trying to make that argument in court. They’ll just laugh at you.

  348. JMG, I just read a book that I got from the public library; The Selected Letters of Cassiodorus – a Sixth Century Sourcebook. (Cassiodorus, as you would know, was a high official in the post-Roman government of Theodoric, King of Italy). It wasn’t what you’d call an easy read, even translated from the original Latin, excessively ornate for my taste, but literary criticism aside, something for which I’m not remotely qualified, what I got from those letters is that life did go on after the empire in the west expired. Cassiodorus dealt with a multitude of issues, taxation, finances etc, important if mundane matters that any ruler, Goth or Roman, would have had to deal with.

    So, what happens when Washington’s authority no longer extends from ocean to ocean over the whole of the continental US? These letters might give a glimpse into life in the “post-imperial” era after the long decline. Some ruler, IMO probably a number of them, with officials like Cassiodorus acting on their behalf, will run the successor regimes. It probably won’t be any fun, but power abhors a vacuum as they say, and some societal structure will rise from the ashes, maybe literally.

  349. Hey all! For those who are interested in the Ever Given in particular or global shipping generally, have a look at this marine shipping tracker website. Every vessel in the world with an AIS (Automatic Identification System) on board, including pleasure craft, fishing boats and commercial craft is shown by name, position and destination. You can zoom in to specific region (including Suez) or get the global view of shipping traffic. Ships are color coded: green for cargo, red for tankers, etc. Similar sites are available for air traffic, too, of course. Here it is:

    https://www.marinetraffic.com

    Interestingly, Ever Given was showing yesterday, but appears not to be currently transmitting.

    Tad

  350. “Anonymous, good heavens. You’re right, of course, and I don’t know how I missed that. Coronavirus as the last stand of the suburbs — yes, I think that explains it all.”

    This also explains the timing: the coming oil crisis promised to destroy suburbia, and oil prices went up quite a lot in 2019; we were gearing up for a major crisis. In fact, I think the only reason we didn’t have it in 2020 is because so much of the global economy was shuttered, sending oil demand down to levels which would have been unimaginable when 2020 started. Hmm…..

  351. I just read an interesting blurb that I never before noticed. You see it when you google Toronto Public Library. It sez this:

    Toronto Public Library is situated on Indigenous land and Dish With One Spoon territory. This is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The Toronto Public Library gratefully acknowledges these Indigenous nations for their guardianship of this land.

    And so what? Toronto has got close to three million people, the Greater Toronto Area six and a half million, the Golden Horseshoe around eight million and none of it is going anywhere. It was like saying thanks but this land isn’t yours anymore.

    Better to shut up.

  352. Archdruid,

    Sorry about the haphazard nature of these links. I’ve only been tracking these issues out of the corner of my eye. Like UK Hindu, I’m not really interested in the culture war fights, although they seem to be an indication that the Hindu community is breaking from the post-colonial status quo.

    Two major fights against defamation of Hindus by various actors that were defeated:
    Chicago:
    https://in.news.yahoo.com/chicago-city-council-rejects-misleading-042747419.html
    http://dy365.in/world/chicago-city-council-votes-against-resolution-critical-of-indias-caa-7644

    NY:
    https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/NY-lawmakers-asked-to-acknowledge-Hindu-swastika-15610173.php
    https://twitter.com/SuhagAShukla/status/1375154935730409481?s=20

    Ro Khanna’s tweet:
    https://i.redd.it/y9aiufvdjdp61.jpg

    Rashmi Samant’s fight at Oxford:
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uk-police-and-oxford-university-open-investigation-into-bullying-of-indian-student/articleshow/81641786.cms?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=TOIDesktop

    https://swarajyamag.com/blogs/oxford-presidential-coup-an-essentially-indian-hit-job-against-rashmi-samant

    https://swarajyamag.com/insta/i-dont-feel-safe-going-back-to-oxford-uk-begins-probe-into-hindu-student-leader-rashmi-samants-bullying

    Rutgers incident:
    So, I don’t have a single link over the Rutgers incident because it was an issue for years, but just went side ways in the last few weeks, however the summary of the incident is as follows.

    A professor by the name of Audry Truschke is currently coming under heavy criticism from members of the Hindu community, and had a complaint filed against her by several Hindu students for creating a hostile learning environment.

    Truschke is best known for her inflammatory statements about the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Calling the former a misogyny manual and calling Ram a misogynist pig. Needless to say that the statements didn’t sit well with the Hindu community, and her subsequent works on the tyrant emperor Aurungzebe where she plays apologist for him made matters worse.

    She is a target for various twitter mobs, but largely doesn’t engage with them. Interestingly she doesn’t engage with Indian scholars who follow academic standards to refute her arguments.

    Rutgers administration is currently reviewing the complaints against her.

  353. Since we’re discussing inflation and collapse, I thought I might post a passage from “The World of Yesterday” by Stefan Zweig. This is describing life in Salzburg shortly after World War I. Obviously that was a fast collapse and hyperinflation, but the description has stuck with me after reading it:

    “Every descent into the town at that period was a moving experience; it was my first sight of the yellow and dangerous eyes of famine. The bread crumbled into black particles and tasted like pitch and glue, coffee was a brew of roasted barley, beer like yellow water, chocolate like colored sand and the potatoes were frozen. Most people raised rabbits, in order not wholly to forget the taste of meat; a young lad shot squirrels in our garden for his Sunday dinner and well nourished dogs or cats returned only seldom from lengthy prowls. Such textiles as were for sale were no more than specially treated paper, ersatz for an ersatz; men crept about almost always dressed in old uniforms—even Russian uniforms—which they had obtained from some depot or hospital and in which more than one had already died; trousers tailored from old sacks were not uncommon. Every step through the street, where show-windows had a plundered look, where decaying houses shed crumbling mortar like scurf,where visibly undernourished people painfully dragged themselves to their work, served to trouble one’s soul. Out in the country the food situation was better; no peasant-farmer allowed himself to be influenced by the general breakdown of morale to sell his butter, eggs, or milk at the legally prescribed“maximum prices.” He concealed his goods wherever he could and waited at home for the highest bidder. This procedure gave rise to the “black market.” A man would set off with an empty bag or two and go from farm to farm,sometimes even taking the train to particularly productive illicit sources of provisions which he would then peddle in town at four and five times the cost price. In the beginning the peasants gloated over the shower of paper money for which they had sold their butter and eggs, and which made them profiteers.However, when they brought their bursting wallets to town to make purchases,they discovered to their exasperation that while they had merely quintupled normal prices, the scythe, the hammer, the kettle which they had come to buy had meanwhile risen twenty or fifty times in price. Thereafter they sought to exchange only for manufactured goods and demanded substance for substance,merchandise for merchandise; mankind with its trenches having been content to retrogress to cave-dweller times, it now dissolved the thousand-year-old convention of money and reverted to primitive barter. The whole country was
    seized with a grotesque traffic. The city dwellers hauled out to the farms whatever they could get along without—Chinese porcelain vases and rugs,sabers and rifles, cameras and books, lamps and ornaments—thus, entering a Salzburg peasant’s home, one might be surprised by a staring Indian Buddha or a rococo book case with French leather-bound books of which the new owners were particularly proud. “Genuine Leather! France!” they bragged impressively. Substance, anything but money, became the watchword. There were those who had to take their wedding ring from their finger or the leather belt from around their body merely to keep that body alive.”

  354. @Evan
    “One bitcoin is exchanging hands for approx $50k on the markets right now. Ask yourself the question – do you think it hit $100k before $10k?”

    Translating from Ponzi to English. Do you think you will be able to sell this thing to someone else for 100k before the bubble pops.

    Everyone currently buying crypto is doing so with the idea that they can sell it for more fiat later down the line. If fiat collapses, average transaction time for a bitcoin transaction is ten minutes, this is because each transaction requires miner compete to solve a complex math problem. Problem becomes worse as more people use bitcoin, expect miner fees to go up. The more you look into it, the more clear that bitcoin would be a terrible currency. Great ponzi scheme though.

  355. Dear JMG, that’s an unnervingly good point. Earlier today, appropriately enough, my research led me to conclude that my public library system has also been massively purging copies of _1984_ as well.

    Dear Barefootwisdom, many thanks for your suggestion!

  356. @Raphanus

    I am familiar with all of those methods. My Winnow Wizard is essentially a substantial improvement on the box fan, with an adjustable and even laminar airflow and an automatic feed from a hopper than holds 50 lbs or so. I designed it while working for a small seed company that employed the box fan method, but at a scale where I and other employees would often spend all day winnowing behind or in front of fans. Buyers are primarily small seed companies and contract seed growers who need to clean something on the order of 500 to 10,000 lbs of seed annually, often in several hundred discrete lots ranging in size from a few ounces to hundreds of pounds. While I have not personally used a Clipper, I have heard from a number of folks who have both a Clipper and a Winnow Wizard and who claim to prefer the Winnow Wizard for most cleaning tasks.

  357. “Mollari, it should have the same broad range of effects. It will take some years of regular practice to do that, however. How many years? Depends on how much change you need. I don’t think there’s any quantitative measure available, but don’t plan on instant results.”

    Given daily practice then, would it be reasonable to expect to be living the life I want to live, or at the very least well on my way, by my 30th birthday (in 2025), or is that too optimistic?

  358. Regarding the Suez Canal situation – I checked the astrology as soon as I heard of it and we had a nice description of the situation – Mercury in Pisces, debilitated, exactly square Mars in Gemini. Mercury for trade, having problems in Pisces, the water, and a hot windstorm (Mars in Gemini) as the trigger point.

    Regarding vaccines, for what it’s worth I did a divination on it for my family and asked about the risk from the virus and the risk from the vaccines we contemplated, and got the answer that basically neither the virus nor the vaccines were going to harm me or my husband in more than trivial ways. In such a misleading media environment, I find divination a surer source of guidance. We’ll get vaccines so that we can allow our child to participate in society again, for the sake of his mental health.

    Ellen – not sure if you are still reading but I am pursuing loosely Waldorf homeschooling with my son. I say loosely because the vast majority of homeschooling parents end up with a patchwork of resources that best suits their individual child and a homeschooling philosophy is mainly a starting point. Waldorf and Charlotte Mason blend very well, and in later years both are similar to a Classical type education; the difference is mainly in the early years, where Waldorf and Charlotte Mason both emphasize free play and time in nature, while Classical is more desk-heavy. I can say that I wouldn’t recommend Classical Conversations due to financial malfeasance in the national organization and an intense concentration of MLM-types in my local area (and I suspect more broadly as it has a similar-ish structure). Rather, if you want to go that way, pick up The Well-Trained Mind and go from there.

  359. @JMG

    “Certainly the doctrine of eternal damnation is one of the reasons I find mainstream Christianity intolerable; after all the evasions and excuses are said and done, this amounts to claiming that an omnipotent and omniscient god deliberately set up the cosmos so that most of his intelligent creatures would be tortured for all eternity.”

    I do find the eternal damnation doctrine to be very horrific. That I hope is wrong. But if its unavoidable that I have to accept.

    As for deliberately setting up the Cosmos so that most of his intelligent creatures would be tortured for all its eternity.

    I am sure you heard of that before but the counter to that despite Omnipotence/Omniscience. He for whatever reason decided that all creatures must have agency and not be mere NPCs like those pre-scripted characters in video games.

    Similar to how Humanity is trying to give AI agency.

    Therefore this agency or what is termed free-will is a self-imposed limitation that he imposed on himself for his own reasons and because there are many,many potential timelines that would be generated by whatever actions he took. Therefore he must tread carefully as a result.

    But such a timeline won’t be actualized until the creatures especially humanity and the angelic hosts chose. Therefore constant adjustment is necessary without necessarily violating agency of lower order creatures.

    It was certainly is possible for everything to go well. But when his top creature became arrogant and sought his Throne. Then this corruption spread and rolled downhill like a snowball with resulting implications.

    If one is Omnipotent/Omniscient I think making sure creatures have agency is the best and only way to make things more interesting and challenging for oneself.

    On the other hand this Deity is the ultimate Cosmic Horror. And that also has interesting implications.

  360. JMG, going on the principle that you don’t interrupt the enemy when he’s making a mistake, Bill Kristol has probably provided a lot of leisure time for Middle Eastern generals over the years! 😄. One good thing about the Democrats having control is they’ll pay no attention to Kristol.

  361. JMG, Varun and UKHindu,

    These three articles give a good idea about what is happening culturally in India. Swarajya is normally considered a fringe Hindu nationalist publication by the mainstream media. But I have noticed many of the cultural ideas covered by them appear in politics downstream. It is clear that they the people who matter in politics are paying attention to what they write.

    https://swarajyamag.com/politics/reawakening-of-pagan-india-and-the-challenge-it-can-pose-to-abrahamic-worldviews-part-i

    https://swarajyamag.com/politics/reawakening-of-pagan-india-and-the-challenge-it-can-pose-to-abrahamic-worldviews-part-ii

    https://swarajyamag.com/politics/reawakening-of-pagan-india-and-the-challenge-it-can-pose-to-abrahamic-worldviews-part-iii

    While I don’t find the articles very well argued, I want to point out a few things to give more context.

    First, the Indian Hindu right is well aware of what’s happening in USA and Europe — the social justice movement and the oppression olympic circular firing squad contest it has become. They have also paid attention to how the alt-right borrowed tactics from the left and flipped them on its head. The conscious use of terms like “pagan”, “genocide”, “polytheism”, “heathen” is to arm themselves in the culture war.

    Second, the pseudomorphosis that was imposed in recent centuries (whether this happened under British colonialism or even earlier during Mughal rule is a matter of debate, but it happened) is slowly being shaken off. The churn is making many in the existing order very uncomfortable — particularly media, universities, and the NGOs. For example, there was much handwringing that the “Idea of India” is under threat. It was about the increasing role that Hindu religious symbols, rituals and identity are playing in politics. The earlier consensus on a secular state, where politics and religion are separate, is cracking.

    Third, we also have our very own cycles of anacyclosis. After gaining self-rule on 1947, we have had three elected dictators – Nehru, Indira Gandhi and now Modi. Each time thus happened, we have seen massive wealth redistributions to the bottom of the populace — land redistribution to the poor, nationalisation of private companies, free foodgrains, progressive taxation, massive public works programmes etc. The aristocracy is not happy about it.

    India has been highly dependent on other countries for investment capital, fossil fuels, military weapons and technology. This gives the West some leverage over India, which the old guard is trying to co-opt to engineer a regime change. Also, the current regime’s hold on power is a lot more tenuous than it seems. The political dispensation is keenly aware of this, and they are rushing to consolidate power domestically. They are also trying to reduce external vulnerabilities by bringing more manufacturing home, and by diversifying their external partnerships. Many of their economic moves mimic America’s economic and trade policies in the latter half of 19th century — high tariifs and protectionism is an example. All this is disconcerting for western punditry. They have always thought of India as a land of snake charmers, roaming cows and people relieving themselves on the roadside (the last one happens a lot less in India than in San Francisco), perennially dependent on handouts from the World Bank. An example is this NYT cartoon when India launched it’s mission to Mars.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/opinion/heng-indias-budget-mission-to-mars.html?_r=1

    So all this counter-rhetoric by India is partly driven by genuine grievance and partly by a desire to beat the west in its own game.

  362. @JMG:
    This was extracted from an Amazon review of A World Full of Gods:

    The thing that makes me give this only four stars is the incredibly poor editing. I don’t know enough about the publishing industry to know who should share the blame besides the author–copy editor maybe?–but there are scores (literally) of errors in the bibliography and citations. Missing bibliography entries, typos in the citations and entries that aren’t even in alphabetical order…(I mean come *on* people!) Examples of missing entries: in chapter 1 alone there are references to Simmons 1986, Nielsen 1982, Salisbury 1982 and Tooker 1979 which don’t exist in the bibliography. Similarly for other chapters.

    I would recommend you to read the reviews of A World Full of Gods on Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B00HY09INE ), specially if you are planning to release a new edition.

    I checked the bibliography in your Monsters book, and there are also small errors:
    * your book Encyclopedia of Natural Magic does not have “The” in the beginning;
    * the author of The People of the Sea is David Thomson, not Thompson;
    * Wilson’s book is The Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved, not Unexplained;
    * you wrote on the other blog that The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis was a primary source for some content, but his book is not listed on the bibliography.

    Other things of interest, regarding Monsters:
    * R. J. Stewart’s book Walker Between Worlds got a new edition, Robert Kirk: Walker Between the Worlds, which of course you didn’t use in your book, but that could be interesting to reference;
    * the book by “The Cryptozoological Society of London” could have been attributed to Joel Levy, also because there is another edition of it: Fabulous Creatures and other Magical Beings;
    * John Palmer’s paper “A Community Mail Survey of Psychic Experiences” was republished in Parapsychology, edited by Richard Wiseman and Caroline Watt. If you want a copy, I would not recommend trying to get it from the ASPR, given its sorry state ( http://tomruffles.blogspot.com/2019/07/more-downs-than-ups-at-american-society.html ). Get a free digital copy: go to ( https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781315247366 ), click “PREVIEW PDF” (to see this button, you must have JavaScript enabled, the normal way web browsers are shipped) and you will get a sample of the book including the full paper, with printing allowed;
    * Qiguang Zhao’s dissertation was published later as a book, A Study of Dragons, East and West.

  363. @Matthias Gralle

    Thank you for your comment! I think this is the point, though:

    “The problem is that Imperial College also predicted that every time a lockdown was relaxed, cases would shoot up again as high as before, which immediately made me wonder what good a lockdown was at all.”

    Well, right. As I see it, the ONLY reason for lockdowns that ever made any sense at all was to buy a bit of time (a few weeks max) for increasing hospital capacity. That’s it. Nothing else ever made any sense whatsoever. Right now, they seem to plan on keeping us in a version of lockdown (relaxed here, tightened there, as rates rise and fall) for years to come. Well, great. The damage of that is so enormous (suicides and overdoses being only canaries in a coal mine), that it would have been better if governments had just sat on their hands and done nothing at all.

  364. @JMG re: comment #339 – “Before enlightenment, wash the dishes and do the laundry. Before enlightenment, wash the dishes and do the laundry.”

    Also, in today’s newspaper – all sorts of extravagant ideas that will hasten the coming crash. Including “an urgent need for (some expensive and resource-intensive) high-tech solution to climate change.” “Apres moi, le deluge.” This will not end well.

  365. Dear Violet,
    You can get many full length translations of the Hindu texts online, here, although I know you would prefer paper copies (as do I)! The Gita Press in India also sells paperbacks, you can get them off (vomit) Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Books-Gita-Press/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AGita+Press . Their translations are of high-quality and generally well-regarded by actual practising Hindus.

    I would be wary of reading translations done by most western indologists – the deliberate mistranslation of Sanskrit was and still is central to western indology, and Sanskrit is such an immensely rich language that it is nearly impossible to unpack the layers of meanings without someone being both a language and a scriptural authority.

    Being a follower of your posts and blog, I’m sure that you are interested in understanding the genuine Hindu sacred texts, and not the distorted colonial interpretations that have wreaked huge damage on Hindu culture.

    Thankfully, many such authorities were also fluent in English and worked hard to translate these texts to the best of their ability. I would personally start off with English commentaries on the texts rather than the texts themselves, as it is an easier transition into the complex Vedic philosophy and worldview. Notable modern-day authorities who have written in English are Swami Sivananda, Swami Chinmayananda, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Srila Prabhupada etc.

    Some of the organisations they founded are active in the US and sell books of their commentaries. I am involved with the Chinmaya Mission (founded by Swami Chinmayananda) and their online store is here: https://www.chinmayapublications.com/

    Hope these resources help you out, and I’m sure many of the Hindus who are regular in the commentariat including myself will be happy to help you out whenever you need!

    Kind Regards,
    YCS

  366. kallianeira – The “Survival Medicine Handbook” that I have is by Alton and Alton, now in a 3rd edition.

    ISBN-13: 978-0988872554

    One complaint that I have about it, is that it doesn’t say anything about nutrition. In a survival situation, I imagine that one might be forced to make choices about eating questionable foods, or going without, so some guidance on the difference between uncomfortable hunger and dangerous starvation would be nice. Also, there are issues relating to resuming eating after a long fast that could be relevant. (Hint: just because you COULD “eat a horse” doesn’t mean that you should try.)

  367. I think some sort of vaccine passport system will be tried in Canada. Nearly every mainstream news orifice has run pieces about vaccine passports that use identical language – for example, describing people as “vaccine hesitant” if they don’t want the shot.

    Here are some especially Orwellian abuses of language from the CBC:

    “Vaccine hesitancy”:
    tinyurl.com/5cw2b235

    “Additional freedoms” for vaccinated people, meaning ordinary freedoms:
    tinyurl.com/m63nbb8b

    This one conflates decadent capitalist luxuries like bars, restaurants and keeping your job:
    tinyurl.com/59nvay5n

    This article is one of the finer propaganda pieces – it sells the premise that vaccine passports are a decision being made by ordinary middle class Canadians – bar owners and such.
    https://tinyurl.com/5xtc4nyx

    If the medium is the message, the message of a vaccine passport needed to keep your job or go to the grocery store is “everything about you is everyone else’s business”. Of course, normalizing the use of a unified national ID system to do just about anything couldn’t possibly be used to attack other civil liberties as well as guarantee tremendous profits for pharmaceutical companies.

  368. Regarding the “Ever Given” container ship; my caption for the image would be “This is what happens when you become too efficient.” I shudder to think of all the “just in time” supply chains this must be affecting.

    The Lego version someone linked to earlier (#322) is great.

  369. @ Solarfed (Tom) I don’t have an epilepsy diagnosis, but rather a neurologist who says that it is possible I have partial/focal seizures. These are “spells” in which my back and neck arch, I remain conscious, but can’t remember how to talk. GIve it a minute or two and the English language comes flooding back. I and everyone around me calms down.

    I also have trigeminal neuralgia with a strong tic to it which the doc says I have his permission to think of as having a seizure of my facial nerves. I am also a Christian contemplative and practitioner of kitchen magic.

    Every since all this broke in on my otherwise healthy middle aged life, I’ve dealt with a recurring temptation to think God has especially chosen me for something and that these disease(s) are the pathway to whatever that is. My pain and “seizure” triggers are specific vibrations. Because there is so much singing (and amplification) in church, I gladly deal with the pain. (Trigeminal neuralgia hurts. It hurts a lot.) The more I practice contemplative prayer (the Jesus prayer, prayer of the heart, centering prayer, etc.) the fewer the seizures. The more I practice pilates, the fewer the seizures and the less effect they have on my balance. (Without the exercise, the seizures cause me to wobble back and forth like a children’s toy. I train to help my body deal with her disabilities.)

    I have no idea if this is helpful to you but I hope it is. NOT a doctor but I think prayer and exercise are always a good idea and may be therapeutic. But having one of my spells — doesn’t do much for my herb learning.

    @ Lunar Apprentice – I spent my 20s as a neopagan who secretly enraged at God over everything you’re asking. I specifically grew ever more angry over the Crucifixion because if anyone didn’t deserve misery it was my old childhood friend Jesus. Finally, one day God hit me with a vision in which He explained that He loved me very much for getting so upset about Jesus’ death, for loving Him so much, but that I needed to trust Jesus Himself that it was okay. The Crucifixion was God committing suicide by cop, and in some sense, it was His business, not mine. But God thought it was pretty cool that this neopagan chick kept insisting on weeping at the foot of the cross with His Mother. …. You sound like you’re in kind of the same spiritual state I was in then.

    He further clued me in that if I loved strangers enough to be that chronically pissed off about human misery to please trust Him — He’s God and therefore has the capacity to loves them even more than I can hope to comprehend. You haven’t had a vision, but all I can tell you is that I’ve never looked back. JMG is the only nonChristian thinker I can now even abide (and I’m ridiculously fond of him).

    I can’t remember the other person’s name who replied to you, but they told you right. The only people in hell are people who insist on being there. Lots of Christians are nasty little creatures who teach otherwise, many of whom will end up in hell insisting they’re in heaven or some such nonsense. I hope your situation improves. You sound like you were an excellent doctor, a kind of person who’s going extinct. I am so sorry you’re leaving that profession. I pray many good things for you.

  370. @teresa at hershey and Patricia Mathews

    Re: dental health

    My routine is gargle with about 10ml of oil (I use sesame) for 10-15 min first thing in the morning. Then spit in garbage (to avoid clogging any drains) and resume regular dental routine. This helps remove the bacteria from overnight.

    Try doing a search with the words “oil”, “pull” and “teeth” for more info.

  371. JMG:
    I wondered if you would consider posting — maybe on a different site — some of the more egregious violations of your anti-trolling policies. I am curious what kind of outrageous things folks are saying. Maybe I just like to feel a jolt of indignation now and again.

    RE: the grid
    for those who are ok with youtube, I like the stuff “Practical Engineering” puts out. I think they make instructive videos without being too technical. I would also try to steer folks clear of the book “The Grid,” by Gretchen Bakke. It was so rife with technical errors as to be mostly useless. A few errors I could forgive, but the technical information was so consistently dead wrong, or just a kind of word salad, that I became very irritated with it.

  372. I don’t think it would do great injustice to the American taxpayer for the federal gov to forgive student loans, because the damage has already been done. The taxpayer has already been robbed every time the government makes a loan without regard to the recipient’s expected ability to repay. I’d be shocked if the true market value of the government’s student loan holdings is more than pennies on the dollar. (Does anyone really know?)

  373. Lunar apprentice,
    I’m not a theologian or anything, and some of my ideas are pretty heterodox, but I am a Christian so I figured I’d say how I see and experience my God and religion.

    When I’m trying to figure out who God is and what he wants from his relationship with humanity, I tend to focus more on Jesus. Jesus is one of the Trinity, which is confusing, but means that he is simultaneously a part of God and an individual – which means that God sending Him was basically Him coming Himself to pay the price humanity could not, and fix the broken relationship between Him and humanity. It’s that that makes me trust Him. If He’d just sat there and demanded stuff we couldn’t do, I don’t think I’d follow Him.

    It also means that I tend to discount some of the ‘everyone who doesn’t repent and follow Jesus right here and now will burn in hell forever’. This is someone who loves us so much He lived and died as one of us, in order to repair a broken relationship with us. It just feels wildly out of character to me.

    I don’t know what will happen to those who never heard about Jesus (perhaps He makes Himself known to them after death?), or had nasty prejudices and injustice directed at them by Christians and rejected God because of that, or who chose other paths. I hope that wherever my deceased non-Christian stepdad is, that they are happy, even if I never see them again. On a gut level, I can’t see them suffering eternal torment. It’s like 4+2=27. Does not compute.

    Sometimes I do wonder why He didn’t come as Jesus shortly after the Fall, given the history of Israel and Judah, if He’s completely omniscient. My best guess is a) that people have a tendency to try salvation by deeds and their own strength and He felt the need to show it wasn’t enough and b) that humans have free will and this may interfere with God’s ability to know absolutely everything ahead of time. But the latter is a fairly heretical idea, and comes from me thinking that the history of Israel’s relationship with God looks a lot like someone trying to find a way to fix something through trial and error.

    I don’t think we fully understand God. Our minds aren’t really able to grasp all that He is, and there’s a certain amount of blind people describing an elephant from what they can touch going on.

    For me, knowing God even very imperfectly has been primarily a source of strength and joy, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

  374. Hi Fletch, Re: defaulting on student loans. Are you already in default? Because one thing that happens is that penalties get added to your debt, perhaps repeatedly, and of course the interest compounds. Any wages can, and almost certainly will, be garnished, and assets seized. Do you need a loan for a car, or a credit card? Forget it. Prospective landlords commonly check credit reports, and some prospective employers might too. That kind of debt encumbrance really crimps your marriage options, if it doesn’t take you out of the marriage market altogether, permanently. You can lose, or not have access to, certain kinds of professional licensing.

    You seem pretty young. Can you stay in your parents garage for a while? $27k in debt should be repayable at full-time minimum wage if you can swing that, and if you do deep poverty mode. IIRC, default is declared if you haven’t made a payment in 9 months, then the bad stuff kicks in.

    If I may Fletch, your attitude strikes me as cavalier, like denial even. Even making minimum payments to stay out of default is worth doing, so you can prevent penalties and prevent compounding, and get a leg up later when your fortunes improve. Man, if your debt explodes to 100K and beyond, which it can, then you will be well and truly screwed. This is like having a house on fire man. You need to get on this.
    Take care.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  375. @TJandTheBear
    I will agree with you that Government money printing is a bad idea in the long term. Also I was needlessly offensive with my example of the mattress.
    I will note however that a common refrain from the libertarian right, is that of inflation, how a dime would buy you a loaf of bread in the 1920s. This leads to the quite true thought in many peoples minds. Wow if the value of the dollar had stayed constant my $50K salary job would buy me so much. The problem is, if the value of the dollar had remained constant, you wouldn’t be making anything close to your current salary. In fact the idea that keeping the value of the dollar completely can create real wealth is the mirror equivalent of the idea that I can create real wealth by money printing.
    I believe that this erroneous thinking is what makes many libertarians like the idea of bitcoin, which is designed so that the first bitcoins are really easy to mine, but they become progressively harder to mine, so progressively rarer, so more valuable. The believers in Bitcoin, those who think it can be an actual currency think that value can be generated out of deflation, it cannot. Bitcoin is just a more intricately created ponzi scheme.

  376. I tried reading the three articles from Swarajya but one has to subscribe to read them. I did come across the following in Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla’s thirteenth-century Gates of Light. According to Gikatilla, polytheism is not forbidden to non-Jews. In fact he states that the gods (whom the Hebrew Bible references quite clearly) were created for the gentiles. It is only Jews who must restrict their worship to the one God. This might not have any effect on those reading Swarajya, or on anybody else for that matter, since Joseph Gikatilla is not generally known to those who are not students of the Kabbalah, nor his views adopted, but I thought I’d mention it.

  377. @Varun

    Robert Spencer’s website has also called out Audrey Truschke’s lies (link: https://www.jihadwatch.org/?s=Audrey+Truschke)…I remember reading, quite some time back, a twitter feud involving her, where she lied about the ancient Nalanda university, saying that Bakhtiyar Khilji was innocent, and that Nalanda was destroyed by Indics themselves. The interesting thing was that she wasn’t even tagged in the beginning, she came on her own into the debate, and when refuted, she blocked people left, right and centre, calling them ‘fascist’, etc. Not to mention, of course, the fact that Indian ‘intellectuals’ and ’eminent historians’ supported her…

  378. Dear Lunar Apprentice-

    your post touched my heart and i had to write a piece:

    ten years ago i was still touring my book and a show, and was back east in amherst visiting my pops. he had his tiny apartment filled with old sewing machines he picked up at flea markets and goodwill, and he’d fix them, then drop them off at battered women’s shelters as a way for women to have an economic way of not being dependent on a bad situation.

    as an artist trying to make it in america in the new economy of 2011, all of the sudden, SEWING seemed better than being dependent on a bad (and worsening) situation for artists writers and well… most people.

    so i’ve spent the past 10 years reading studying and copying OLD books from the library about sewing, tailoring, hand stitching, interfacing structures, and pattern drafting as well as grading patterns by hand so that i never need to be …dependent on computer software etc.

    it’s been a decade of re-introducing myself to my own hands and The Real World, just as everyone else has been doubling and tripling down into abstraction and fantasy.

    now i have taken the idea i got from my father’s hobby in his retirement, and am trying to find make or participate in an ECO-SYSTEM of other similar-doing people because my BIGGER goal is to make a scene OFF-LINE and in the Real World.

    i feel just as lost and unsure about this as you sound, so i had to write because maybe all that i’ve written will spark other ideas for YOU on how to find machines or help start a …thing, because we cannot exist in our own little worlds and pull anything big off.

    i don’t have asperger’s syndrome, but i’m an artist–more specifically i was born a cartoonist–which is like asperger’s and misanthropy together with a sheen of arrogance. so meeting people I LIKE and wanna stick around, it’s hella hard.

    but it’s not IMPOSSIBLE. the other side of my misanthropy is surrendering, knee-cracking love and adoration, and that’s why and how i bought a one-way ticket to san francisco back in 1994 and never looked back: for my (now late) elder cartoonist mentor, that i’d never met and only got a coffee-stained fan letter from when she saw my cartoon work.

    we find each other and after 30 years of computers/internet/ magic phones, we’re all struggling and socially retarded and cannot make friends or lovers anymore.

    so i’m trying to make loud things to wear and carry on my bicycle to get attention from cars when i’m riding or dancing outside in the streets.

    if i knew a budding sewing machine mechanic HERE, i’d try to get sewing classes going at a struggling fabric store or with whoever has space. i’d try and make a fashion show.

    well… i AM going to try and do all these things in time because i don’t want to rely on promoting myself and my work online anymore. i want to re-localize art, fashion, audacity.

    but i don’t even know if this dream is REAL because i’m 53 and am realizing i was wrong about everything up until 2 weeks ago and in the future. i’m getting used to having the Munch “Scream” painting show up in my mind all the time.

    but that’s what i’m thinking: try and get a THING going because it’s the only way i can think of re-seeding Real Life with people who DO things instead of people who’re only trying to find a way of being an intermediary with an app.

    it’s hard because america is killing small businesses and outgoing small business ENERGY. money in america now only chases yield, which is now mostly in “distressed properties” which seems to be the scrapping of our country and so-called values of being a scrapper.

    it’s hard to BUILD in an era of contraction, fear, and give-me-money passivity, so having asperger’s might be an ASSET in the ability to focus and not be as dependent on reading or feeling others’ passivity.

    i feel people and try to appeal to what sparks their eyes. it is the source of why almost every one i’ve met eventually is repelled by me out of FEAR. i feel them and often can PULL out things in them others don’t see or wanna pull out. i try to direct it.

    but it freaks people out because it goes against everything they’ve been told about behaving and looking to others for validation.

    the internet has created a world of people who’re controlled by thumbs up likes clicks views and so on. it is TRAINING. i feel it because i was brought up mostly Quaker, where you’re taught to listen to your inner voice in silence and are supposed to hold the terror of going AGAINST the status quo. THAT takes a lot of training because in doing so, you are going against your SAFETY and can be eradicated (see cancel culture and witch burnings and the inquistions etcetera).

    so it’s going to be difficult for us to find each other, especially nowadays— BUT it’s very interesting how everytime i get weepy about going out in san francisco and seeing masks and fear everywhere now, i go about without a mask and find OTHERS without masks who come up to me and we TALK for 20-45 minutes.

    you have to leave TIME. free time. i leave home early on purpose to run into neighbors or friends because i hate answering telephones and texting (i have a flip phone not a magic one, but i can hang online messing around just like EVERYONE can).

    so asperger’s could be an asset in you plodding forward in a lost enervating time, because i’m mostly alone in this “let’s make a REAL WORLD thing offline!” thing right now. people look at me sideways.

    i think, “go ahead. i have NO CHOICE.”

    and the funny thing is: now that everyone’s afraid and wanting everyone else to approve of them and like them eternally, i’ve somehow become “The Pretty Girl” as i go around maskless. people talk to me and hug me and tell me things.

    they’re attracted to me because i’m DIFFERENT.

    when i first decided to vote for Trump, i told all the liberal gym goers who’d come up to chat, “STOP RIGHT THERE. I WANT YOU TO KNOW I’M VOTING TRUMP. so you can come talk to me or leave me, but don’t start with me.”

    and some white folks got freaked out and confused, but forget about them; mixed and different people came up and talked to me for HOURS some of them!

    so you may not have the double leo ease of simultaneously making a huge public scene, while also keeping everyone verrrry much at arm’s length, you have the ATTENTION SPAN to keep going and if you’re not as emotionally fragile and wigged out as the rest of us, you’ll be GROUNDING.

    i’m reaching here, dear Lunar, because i don’t really even GET asperger’s syndrome, because as an artist, all the “symptoms” sound like all the artists and cartoonists and musicians i’ve known and respected. why? because their interpretation of humanity is different and usually the most INTERESTING.

    so that’s how i’m trying to get over my irritation of humanity and what they’ve done to this town, and bring back Life. this is what we do… make LIFE grow out of the feces rot mold and hell.

    that’s what Papa Greer is doing here./he’s THE go-to guy for the End of America and how to try and FLIP OUT of that trajectory and control how it goes. this is tantra. taking what may be deemed destruction drama or disaster and trying to re-route it in a different way.

    this is where the going it alone myth won’t work.

    so forget about any awkwardness. we’ve ALL got it. i said to a guy at the gym, another artist and dancer, i said, “i’m sorry i blew off any friendship before covid but from now on i’m going to invest in knowing you ON PURPOSE. i’m a little awkward and don’t remember how to make friends so just be patient with me. but that’s what i want.”

    he smiled and nodded because he felt the same.

    and now we’re really sweet to each other and after things open up more, i know he’s up for it. it’s best just to be honest.

    so that’s how i’m trying to re-seed the arts music and fashion in san francisco. i’m still in the same building i moved into (rent control), so i feel my mentor, Kris Kovick, with me just about EVERY day.

    i saw how she built a baby dyke art scene in a small cafe that sold peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and she made me a baby star.

    i wanna do the same and pass on the knowledge of how to build a party, too. and Kris couldn’t much stand most people even as she loved us all beyond anything we’d known. she saw INTO us and brought us OUT.

    you need to find and attract OTHERS. loud people if you’re the quiet one.

    good luck–

    erika in san francisco
    (the mission)

  379. JMG – “Baltimore’s ‘tough on crime’ era ends” (Tom Jackman, in Washington Post of 2021-03-27). “… last year, … the city would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus. And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot. … violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent from last March to this month, property crime decreased 36 percent, and there were 13 fewer homicides compared with the previous year. … So on Friday, Mosby made her temporary steps permanent. … Even with its progress, Baltimore had 335 homicides in 2020, and killings are up in the first months of this year. ”

    One could regard this as turning a necessity into a virtue, I suppose. They can save a ton of money by letting criminals find room and board in the neighborhoods, instead of arresting them! It’s the sort of thing that the Libertarians have been arguing for for years, and who would have expected Baltimore to lead the way?

    Your take?

  380. escher – Regarding student debt, I’ve heard the argument that, as popular as the anecdotes are about starry-eyed Liberal (or Fine-) Arts graduates leaving school with crushing debts, most of the debt is owed by graduate-students about to embark on lucrative careers, who will be able to dig their way out. That’s no comfort to those with poor prospects to repay relatively modest debts, but it’s something to consider when proposing policy.

  381. Speaking of debt management, I encourage everyone to take a look at https://efficiencyiseverything.com/ which claims to offer (among other analyses of household economics) a $500/year individual meal plan covering all necessary nutrients. It may not offer a lot of variety, and almost nothing with a copyrighted brand name, and you’ll have to cook it all yourself, but if you want to cut your expenses, food is a good place to start. (And this doesn’t even require growing any of your own food. That would be extra savings.)

    The author backs up his claims with reams of numerical data, so you’ll be able to cross-check the nutrition, and update the expenses for inflation.

  382. All this talk about inflation, hyper-inflation, deflation, reminds me of a music video which just shows that these issues have been on some people’s minds for at least 11 years. This is “Merle Hazard” with “Inflation or Deflation?”

  383. Roger, Cassiodorus is a great source. On the one hand, yes, it’s very clear from him and from the few other authors of the same period that life went on after 476 AD; on the other, it’s equally clear that he had no clear sense at all of how much had changed. Thus you’re quite right that he’s a good model for our future. Of course there will be successor states once the US implodes, and someone will probably claim the title of “President of the United States” for many centuries thereafter — that’s why in my novel Star’s Reach, set around 2480, I had a hereditary monarch based on Sisnadi (pronounced “Cincinnati” in our time) whose formal title was Presden of Meriga.

    Tad, many thanks for this! Quite a bit of traffic around the Cape of Good Hope, I see. 😉

    Anonymous, hmm indeed. And did you notice a few weeks back when movements toward reopening sent the price of oil up into the $70 a barrel range?

    Roger, yeah, that’s become a fetish on the Canadian left these days. I expect to see it down south of the border any day now.

    Varun, many thanks for this! Haphazard is fine — I simply wanted a way to gauge which way things are moving, and these will do nicely. As for Audry Truschke, yes, I’ve heard about her. She’s using one of the standard American academic strategies these days: take up a stance that would qualify as hate speech if it wasn’t sheltered by political correctness, push that stance as loudly as possible in order to attract attention, and refuse to respond to critiques. It’s worked very well for some avant-garde pseudoscholars, so given the increasingly harsh competition for jobs in the academic industry these days, it’s not surprising she would pick it up and run with it.

    Alex, thanks for this.

    Violet, of course Orwell is being purged. I’m sure wokesters are really tired of having it pointed out just how exactly Orwell describes their core strategies.

    Mollari, you should be definitely on your way to the life you want. Whether you have it yet depends on just how big the difference is between the life you want and the life you have, and also what the obstacles are in the way. For me it took longer, but making a successful career as a writer takes time.

    Breanna, fascinating. Did you use the site of the wreck as the location for your chart, and if so, which house was Mercury in?

    Info23, first, there’s no reason at all to consider that the doctrine of eternal damnation is true — such evidence as we have supports reincarnation, not the one-and-done theory of a single life followed by heaven or hell. Second, if the god in question is actually omniscient, he knew before the beginning of time what every one of his creatures was going to do — if he didn’t, he’s not omniscient — and if he’s omnipotent, he could have set things up so that no soul would ever actually be damned forever — if he couldn’t, he’s not omnipotent. You can’t claim that your god is omniscient and omnipotent and then claim that there are things he didn’t know and couldn’t do!

  384. Fletch – Maybe I’m reading too much into your comment, but I don’t want you to “blow your brains out” under any circumstances. If it starts to seem plausible, find some one, especially someone old to talk to about it. You never know what challenges we’ve overcome, and what resources we might be able to bring to bear, if you don’t let you know of your distress. And, see my link to the “efficiency is everything” site. You might be able to save some serious coin if you re-examine some assumptions.

  385. @JMG

    I remember reading in one of your writings that large scale tree plantation (provided it is done properly, of course) could be a potentially useful strategy for lessening the impact of climate change. In that regard, I found this article by Sadhguru (whom I’m not a big fan of, but I do agree with some of the things said by him): https://isha.sadhguru.org/rally-for-rivers/agroforestry-key-solving-indias-water-scarcity/

    This article was made in the context of his campaign ‘Rally for Rivers’, which aims to rejuvenate India’s rivers, which have dried up to a significant extent, via a large scale and deliberate campaign of increasing the green cover. I find this especially significant as some of India’s most important rivers, particularly in the South, are rain-fed, and have now become seasonal, in certain stretches, and while there are a lot of water conservation projects in the form of check dams, bunds, etc. this is the first mass movement pertaining to this issue which highlights the importance of vegetation.

    Incidentally, if you search ‘rally for rivers’ on YouTube (which I know you won’t, but I’m just providing it as a reference), you’ll likely come across a video by a left-wing ‘woke’ Indian news outlet called ‘The Quint’, which aims to show the ‘pollution caused by Rally for Rivers’. To give you some background, the people working at this news outlet are the Indian version of the people who write for the Huffington Post. After watching the video, I couldn’t help myself from thinking about the pollution caused by the consumerist lifestyles of the people who work for this news outlet. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a popular English proverb about people living in glass houses…

  386. JMG and commentariat:

    The Japanese Journal of Antibiotics, issued 10 March 2021, has a rather detailed time line of creating appropriate vaccines for Covid-19 and the issues of off-label use, repurposing drugs. ‘Tis a long, detailed read, however there are some tidbits regarding how drugs receive approval status, country stats and preliminary and field study findings.

    Ivermectin is one established drug that has met numerous issues with off-label use. Pages 61 to conclusion of Journal, (only 44 pages in Journal) detail studies of how positive this drug has been.

    Worth note “a particular public law requiring regulators to consider measures for off-label use was enacted in the United States in 2016…..a provision requires that a Novel Clinical Design be devised to justify real world evidence…obtained from such trials that can be aimed at ‘repurposing’ existing drugs….this stipulation warns that one should not disregard evaluations or reviews that adhere to old-fashioned evidence-based medicine (EBM) that integrates clinical experience. Unfortunately, the law was not enforced due to the change in government in the United States and is now too late due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

    http://jja-contents.wdc-jp.com/pdf/JJA74/74-1-open/74-1_44-95.pdf

    Donna

  387. “Mollari, you should be definitely on your way to the life you want. Whether you have it yet depends on just how big the difference is between the life you want and the life you have, and also what the obstacles are in the way. For me it took longer, but making a successful career as a writer takes time.”

    So I can safely expect to be well on my way, but still have a large gap. That’s good to know. Thank you.

    Also, the Covid as the last stand of the suburbs idea also explains the passionate insistence you need to wear a mask outside even if no one is around: one of the advantages of rural areas is that you can be outside in fresh air without a soul for miles; the passionate insistence masks are necessary even there is an effort to destroy that benefit. It really does seem to explain it, doesn’t it?

  388. Just a data point here re the fortunes of my acupuncture clinic (established in a very rural area, in 2005).

    In January of this year, inspired by tales of “lodge practices” on this very site, and having no local “lodge” to offer my services too, I decided I’d set up a membership club, complete with special member rates. For a reasonable annual fee (slightly more than my normal once-off treatment fee) a person can join, and then enjoy a seriously reduced price for every treatment thereafter (something of the order of 25% of the normal once-off treatment fee) throughout the year, as often* or as seldom as looked for. Essentially the cost of membership + two member rate treatments is exactly the same price as two once-off rate treatments, and after that the member will be winning (in terms of price. I am, of course, still winning, in terms of practice opportunity, learning and keeping my skills sharp).

    This is by way of background to the data. For the last year or so, I have been moderately busy – which is how I would describe having around 1/3 of my available appointments actually booked and used. Since February of this year I have been growing towards intensely busy – which is how I would describe having around 2/3 of my available appointments actually booked and used. But in March this has graduated to insanely busy. I have now filled every available weekday slot, and have begun offering Saturday slots.

    I have no way to know whether the membership club (which is proving popular) is the main factor here, or if people’s interest in alternatives to the (looking more and more broken) standard medical system is the main factor, but either way, this fully licenced and regulatorily compliant “alternative medicine” practice is now three times busier than it has ever been since first established.

    * the main restriction I have on this offer is that a member may only book one treatment at any one time, and appts are allocated on a first come first served basis, and it may be the luck of the draw whether the “next available” is one day, one week or three weeks away. With a small bit of “professional judgment” (mine) applied to considerations of the matter of urgency…

  389. @Dagnarus #320

    Yep; deflation wipes out the owners of plant/equipment, inflation wipes out savers (like my working class parents).

    As far as bitcoin goes, it al looks like a repeat of the tulip mania from where I sit. People keep screaming that its worth something because of blockchain. Granted, its a neat little techno-stunt that may at some point lead to a useful application. Or maybe I’m just full of beans (as my great-grandmother would say) and I’m missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    @JMG

    Yves is a good read as long as you keep the bs detector on 10. She looses me completely whenever she gets on an MMT kick.

  390. @ Temporaryreality Email me peter.g.vanerp at gmail. I just wrote a long mail for another interested reader

  391. JMG,

    For what reasons did you make Sisnadi the capitol of Meriga in Star’s Reach? I’ve read it, but don’t know enough about the areas of study relevant to Star’s Reach to be able to come up with a good answer.

  392. Your Kittenship, true enough!

    AnonymousHindu, thanks for this. As I see it, before its conquest by Britain, India was by many measures the richest and most economically productive society in the world. The British stripped it to the bare walls — that’s what empires do — but now that it’s recovering from that experience, it’s moving back toward the stature that the ecology and resource base of the subcontinent make possible. What’s going on now is the intellectual and cultural side of that recovery. Are you at all familiar with ancient Egyptian history? The recovery of Egypt in the New Kingdom after the Hyksos invaders were overthrown is a very similar case.

    Anonymous, yes, I’m aware of all of that. Did you think that authors have any control over how publishers edit their books?

    Patricia, yep. Thanks for the latest collection of clippings, btw — that issue of The Atlantic is worth its weight in gold.

    YCS (if I may), I’m delighted to hear that Sri Aurobindo is considered an authoritative author by Hindus. His writings speak very clearly to Western occultists — not accidental, as Mira Alfassa (the Mother) was deeply involved in the Western occult scene before she came to India. One of these days, if I have some serious spare time, I plan on putting the necessary effort into studying his writings.

    Justin, no doubt. I’ve noticed these days that the Canadian elite class seems to be dealing with its historic sense of inferiority toward the US by picking up whatever our elite is doing and taking it to even more absurd extremes.

    David BTL, how utterly predictable!

    BCV, nope. I refuse to give trolls the attention they crave.

    Escher, that’s also an option; I think it would be less problematic to simply make it possible for people to discharge student loans via bankruptcy, since that would force banks to exercise basic prudence in giving out student loans, and force universities to prune back their absurd annual price increases and shed worthless departments such as Critical (adjective) Studies.

    Someone, interesting. Thanks for this!

    Lathechuck, funny. Yes, I suppose it does make sense.

    Viduraawakened, this is very good to hear. Sadhguru is quite correct — trees, ecologically speaking, are water pumps, lifting astonishing amounts of water from deep underground and releasing it as vapor through their leaves. Planting large swaths of dryland in hardy trees is a very effective way to make those areas less dry. I hope it goes well — and of course the Quint is snarling at it, since Sadhguru and the others involved in the project are doing something constructive themselves rather than waiting for some overpaid manager to do it for them…

    dMay, many thanks for this!

    Mollari, bingo. The mask fetish has many dimensions, but that’s certainly one of them.

    Scotlyn, huzzah! This is very good to hear.

    Ric, well, yes, there’s that.

    Youngelephant, it could have been any large city in the Ohio River basin, which I expect to be the heartland of the future American great culture. I happened to choose Sisnaddi.

  393. JMG– You keep saying that you see the Wokesters as following 1984 as if it were a handbook. If that’s so, I think it’s worth keeping the following in mind…

    Winston Smith, the main character in 1984, wasn’t a member of the lower classes. Instead he was a member of the Outer Party. Society in 1984 was divided into 3 tiers. The Inner Party consisted of 1 or 2 percent of the total population. They were the people who had all the power. The proles were 80% of the population. They were, in theory, the subject people– but they were largely ignored provided they kept themselves busy with booze, sports, gambling and pornography. The rest of society belonged to the Outer Party. They had neither the freedom of the proles nor the power of the Inner Party. Their role was middle to upper management. And they were, by far, the most heavily regulated and most heavily monitored.

    In other words, they correspond exactly to the Professional Managerial Class in our own time.

    In 1984, party, and therefore class, membership was explicit. You were in the Party or you weren’t; you were in the Inner Party or the Outer Party. In our society, Party membership is implicit. You join the Outer Party by getting a PMC job, but also by participating in PMC social networks.

    You commented to Violet above that the discourse around cultural appropriation was entirely about “policing the behavior of the managerial class.” That’s one of many examples, of course.

    The lesson from 1984 is clear. If you want to be relatively free, don’t join the Outer Party. Or, to put it in our terms– stay as far away from the Managerial Class as possible!

  394. Dear JMG,

    There might be an infrastructure stimulus happening in the US. What kind of infrastructure is actually worth repairing for the long descent, do you think? I’d say at least water treatment facilities.

    I just worry that money will be put toward car infrastructure rather than transitioning off cars. Trams/trolleys are much cheaper and easier to maintain.

    The thing is: Americans can’t afford their cars anymore. And they can’t afford to *not* have their cars either, since things are spaced out and their jobs are far away and suburbs isolate you from everything.

    I can’t see the American collective giving up cars, really. What do you think? Maybe future generations of Americans will at least take up horse carriages again.

  395. @JMG

    Loosely on the topic of eternal damnation: sometimes, the foundational myth of a religion/culture is quite frankly bonkers, and yet, with time, the culture/religion has some great accomplishments (whether because of, or in spite of those bonkers ideas). Christianity is a textbook case. Come on, people, eternal damnation? Who ever came up with such nonsense? And then on top of that, declared the God who supposedly set it all up omnipotent, omniscient, *and* (get this) omnibenevolent? (Simultaneously!!) That qualifies as certifiably bonkers in my book. And yet, Christianity has inspired many accomplishments (obviously in art, but also in things such as charity). There are other examples (an assortment of bloody revolutions comes to mind, starting with the French kind).

    So my question is this: what is the appropriate stance toward long standing traditions whose foundational myths are insane, and which have nevertheless accomplished some great things?

  396. Hi all,

    I’ve asked about this before (thanks to the person who recommended Brinkley’s Housebuilder’s Bible, which we bought and its explanation did help). Now our boiler needs to be replaced so we need to make a decision…

    What’s everyone’s experience with solar hot water heaters?

    Does anyone have a RI recommendation for who could install one? Or a northern US recommendation for what’s a good prefab one?

    Has anyone installed a solar hot water heater on a 2-story house, and/or a house with lath and plaster walls? Spouse is concerned that our 1912 house with both those things may be unsuitable for a solar hot water heater.

    The boiler technician who made a temporary fix when our boiler went out in the middle of winter says that boilers are better off when they run all the time–he said you get moisture on the chimney when they don’t, and we do have that problem–so he recommends an external hot water tank heated by the boiler. He seems to think our boiler is also too small, but we currently keep the house at 60 in the winter so I feel like a bigger boiler would run too little. In any event we have to decide what “size”/rating of boiler to replace it with. We currently have something we’d never seen before buying this house, which is apparently super common in the UK and called a “combi” there. It does not allow actually hot showers in the winter, so we run an electric space heater in the bathroom for half an hour before, and then during, winter showers.

    (@TamHob, you had commented on one of the last few posts about the potential pitfalls of attempting an energy-saving retrofit of an old house. I have a question for you or for anyone who has knowledge/experience on this: What could be going on with the “mortar coming out from between the chimney bricks in the cold attic” situation? *Is* it from not running the boiler enough? From having the insulation on the attic floor instead of the underside of the roof? Or…? All I can say is, nearly every house we looked at when house-hunting triggered my severe mold allergy. This was the one that didn’t. We’re afraid to mess with it but also concerned about the loss of mortar.)

    This is our first house and we’re replacing the boiler that came with it, which BTW is pretty new but, of course, just out of warranty…

    Thanks in advance everyone!

  397. @Dagnarus re Bitcoin, ponzi schemes, bubbles etc

    One should pick one’s bubbles wisely! Ten years ago five bitcoins could have bought someone a whole pizza. Today those five bitcoins would probably buy you the franchise.
    If you don’t believe that BTC will continue to increase in value against every fiat currency then stand aside. You may be right, you may be wrong – but you’ll be buying fewer and fewer slices of pizza with those crumpled old Fed IOU’s!!

  398. Roger – has anybody ever read the records of a 15th century English village manor court? No wonder everyone from lord to villein was starting to prefer having things on a straight cash basis. The major difference is who was keeping the records. (Often, the priest, with the help of the reeve (a village official) and the steward (the landlord’s employee.)

  399. @JMG
    I’m aware of the countless problems with book releases, but to the possible extent, I wanted to inform about these issues.

    Commenting on your book about monsters I remembered one thing you posted on the other blog: for astrology related factors, the spiritual world is getting more distant (this is related to the precession of the equinoxes). Could that be part of the reason why the fairies are always waning (since, at least, the previous peak)? Actually, there may be some truth to it.

  400. @JMG – I also have last month’s issue, which has an article on Prince Hall – mostly about him as an activist and as the founder of what is still the oldest and largest African-American lodge in existence. And also two on music: “How Caroline Shaw is Making Classical Cool,” and one on something called Hyperpop, titled “Noisy, Ugly, and Addictive.” Sounds like yesterday’s verdict on heavy metal. And for the humor column at the end, “An Ode to Low Expectations.”

    The Atlantic was getting so woke I decided to ignore their pleas to renew, and now they’re sending me an issue every month without the pleas.

    BTW, if you can’t find Gossamer Axe anywhere in any used bookstore, let me know and I’ll lend you mine – will send it with an SASE for easy return.

  401. Steve, that’s entirely correct. Why do you think I backed away from a career in the corporate or academic worlds, and went for a career as a freelance writer and fringe intellectual instead?

    CS2, when the word “infrastructure” is used in the US these days, what it means is “government welfare for the construction industry.” It might just possibly happen that something useful will be built or repaired by the infrastructure project, if that makes it through Congress, but if so, it’ll be purely a matter of chance.

    Irena, it depends on how strongly you feel about the bonkers elements, of course. I’ve joined Druid orders that claimed to be descended from the ancient Druids (they aren’t) and had ideas about ancient history for which “bonkers” is an understatement. On the other hand, nobody ever went into severe suicidal depression by brooding over the origins of this or that Druid order, while that’s actually not that uncommon among people who brood over eternal damnation.

    Anonymous, then you should inform the publisher. It doesn’t do any good to inform me.

    Patricia M, thank you! I’ll let you know.

  402. Hi JMG,
    Of course Si Aurobindo is an authority! Why wouldn’t he be? On top of that he was also a revolutionary in the true sense and might have become the father of the nation if he hadn’t retired into spiritual practice. My home library had several volumes of his commentaries on the Gita and Upanishads, and no books by non-authorities would be included in my home for sure.

    I’d never thought about the occult dimension (before I saw your comments a few months ago responding to some of the other commentators) as unfortunately I haven’t had the time to investigate and understand occult philosophy, or to seriously study Sri Aurobindo’s methods of Integral Yoga for that matter, as my path has mostly been Advaita Vedanta through the tradition of Swami Dayanand Saraswati & Swami Chinmayananda. But my understanding is that various arms of Indian philosophy encompass occult philosophy – the Atharva Veda, for example was included within the four vedas to preserve and legitimise occult teaching. That shouldn’t surprising for a system that allows for any and all methods of seeking truth – after all, even the Aghoris who are cannibals are allowed to freely practice their ways in India.

    @Violet
    This is a good resource I found of the writings of Swami Sivananda, who wrote extensively in English. As it has been a long time since he passed his mortal body, his organisation (The Divine Life Society) has put all of his writings online for free:
    https://www.dlshq.org/download/download.htm

    – YCS

  403. JMG, which one of your books would best explain why you expect the Ohio River Basin to be the future of the American great culture?

    RE Christianity: I would be sold on Christianity if they ditched eternal heaven&hell and added in reincarnation and all the necessary corollaries. I know some churches have basically done this, but I can’t find any near me so far.

  404. Bitcoin is just a more intricately created ponzi scheme.

    @Dagnarus,

    Agreed, but this ponzi will have more legs than most because it represents the mythical god of “Progress” as much as Tesla. BTW, did you know that over 60% of the miners are in China? The day the CCP pulls the plug the whole BTC world collapses.

    Regarding inflation/deflation, you can’t justify higher prices via higher wages — that’s entirely circular thinking, and with inflation the wages never quite keep up. It’s all about relative value. Inflation is and always will be a bad thing, whereas deflation is a natural byproduct of increased efficiency and productivity.

    Inflation will be particularly troublesome going forward given we’re past the peak for energy and a significant number of critical minerals. Even if we had a stable currency base costs would still inevitably rise. The fact that we don’t have anywhere near a stable currency is of course just another symptom that we’re past those peaks. Got popcorn?

  405. Re. Student Loans

    There are income-based repayment plans that will allow you to make payments over a period of time and discharge the loan at the end of that time. My understanding is that when the loan is discharged the amount of the write-off is then considered taxable income, but the tax bill should still be less than the amount of the loan. Better than defaulting on the loan, IMHO.

  406. Roger & JMG re: the “fetish” of the Canadian Left: it is not just the Toronto Public Library. Every single public and Catholic school board in the City of Toronto starts its day with this recitation, along with the national anthem; and any meeting that is held under the auspices of the City of Toronto (even local community garden meetings, if the gardens are on City land) MUST start with this recitation. While the 2.5 million souls residing in Toronto are not going anywhere (soon), neither are the estimated 46,000 Indigenous people who live in Toronto. I, for one, not only tolerate the recitation, I enjoy it – but then again, my kids had Indigenous classmates and friends, I live 1 km from an Indigenous group home, 5 km from an Indigenous village that was thriving 300 years ago, and 10 km from a 700-year-old burial mound that has over 520 graves (all within Scarborough). Since the city name, Toronto (“meeting place”), and Ontario (“beautiful lake”) and Canada (“village”) are all Indigenous words, I am happy that Indigenous culture is having a major resurgence (and it is – for those who are in the know) in a city where Indigenous culture had been effectively extirpated at the time when my ancestors landed there circa 1900. Toronto’s history didn’t start with a French trading post in the 1720s!

  407. Hi John Michael,

    Yes, it is a bit of dark humour isn’t it? A few days ago a very large city-flooding-storm (some parts of the city of Sydney flooded) sat over the east coast of the continent. My understanding is that two atmospheric rivers converged, but the upshot was that the east coast of the continent scored some serious rainfall totals – some places over three feet of rain fell in only a few days.

    Nothing unusual about that, and you may have heard the poem penned about down under which mentioned: ‘droughts and flooding rains’?

    Anyway, one day of the storm produced only half an hour of sunlight over the farm, and the next day was only an hour. And on neither day did the wind blow – it just rained and rained. The solar power system provides reasonably accurate statistics and on such days we have to seriously reign in consumption. Industrial civilisation as it is currently experienced for most people however is used to far more regular energy than either of those days could deliver.

    There is a certain sort of discord between expectations and reality and it really is fuelling some strange behaviour.

    Speaking of which, I’m tending to agree with you in relation to stagflation as it does appear to be kicking off – and has been for a while. Channelling inflationary pressures into equities or bonds or other speculative vehicles was a super nifty idea, but it falls down face flat down on the ground when the same technique is applied to house prices. People have to live somewhere. It really is that simple. And economists don’t wish to grapple with stagflation because it punctures their closely held belief systems – and possibly also their standard of living! Good luck with that one economists.

    Cheers

    Chris

  408. On the Kessler syndrome for low-Earth orbit, a lot depends on when it happens. If it were to happen this year, it would be a blow to the companies putting up all these satellites, and the religion of Progress would take another hit, but the ground-based systems are still functional so I don’t think it would change things all that much. If it happens further down the line, the results could be far worse. If the satellites become the main providers of internet and phone over this decade, then the ground-based systems may fall into decay, and I could see a Kessler syndrome around 2030 bringing the end to internet and even phone service to many regions. The ground-based systems would be rebuilt in areas important enough, but if the Long Descent has picked up speed by that point, many areas may never recover.

  409. Evan – re digital currency – “.whisper it quietly but maybe they can see the value of a decentralized, permission-less store of value that no government on this planet can ban, and that no central government can ultimately control.”

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have been labouring under the impression that digital currencies require two conditions that can only be fulfilled if central governments are still in reasonably stable condition – 1) the internet, and 2) electrical grids.

    That is to say, if a person were considering buying into a currency as a hedge against the collapse of central governments, or buying into a currency whose use might promote sufficient decentralisation as to trigger the collapse of governments, might they find that they had bought a pig in a poke, if said governments did collapse, and with them the infrastructural supports for internet and electrical grids?

    Would this be an overly pessimistic view, do you reckon?

  410. Lathechuck at #395;

    About coming gently off a period of hunger, I remember reading a book about juice fasting for health improvement (Juice Fasting, by a Finn named Airola), which remarked on the people who, contrary to his advice, left his spa after weeks of nothing but juices and vegetable broth, and went straight to eat a large pizza. “It would be funny,” he said, “except that several of these people were not merely uncomfortable; they got so sick they were admitted to the hospital.”

  411. Building off something Pretentious Username posted in response to my question on Magic Monday about Babylon 5, his observation that Trump is perhaps embodying the Emperor Londo Mollari archetype, I just realized that the Left may be in the middle of embodying an archetype from Babylon 5 as well, which I’ll call the G’kar archetype, after the character in the series. This would fit, as Londo and G’Kar both were tied strongly together in the series, and one of the most significant dynamics was Londo repeatedly going out of his way to provoke dramatic overreactions from G’kar, keeping him isolated from others. (Trump’s twitter comes right to mind)

    G’kar spent his childhood under alien occupation, by the Centauri, Londo’s race (2016-2020; Trump administration). The Centauri were eventually forced out (the 2020 election), but he then spent the next fifty odd years consumed with a blind rage and hatred towards them; which locked the conflict in place (we are here). The way in which so many on the left seem to embody this is fascinating, as is the fact that we can already see the next part taking shape: G’kar’s rage and hatred eventually lead to a rematch, which ended in catastrophic defeat. If, as I suspect, all the people asking about the election and getting Trump will win in a landslide were seeing the results of 2024, then this would fit quite well.

    What’s interesting here is that this even allows me to make a prediction on the future past this point: G’kar entered into a state of depression, but eventually found a way to mortally harm Londo, but only by destroying himself; but before he could do so, had an epiphany that lead him to become a fundamentally different individual; even working with Londo to save their peoples. If the left is acting out this archetype, then it seems to suggest that this dynamic, where the left will push until it is almost in a position to destroy both Trump and itself, before rather suddenly veer in a very different direction, is still coming.

    This is a rather interesting possibility, one which I think is worth keeping an eye out for: if this is accurate, then it does seem to suggest these archetypes have a lot more power than we’d given them credit for….

  412. Person who suggested the Practical Engineering Channel on Youtube:
    Thanks! I’m enjoying it. I really like the demonstrations he does of the principles and techniques he’s talking about.

    Though if you want to see airlock, and have a fishtank that you use a gravelvac on, you’re already familiar with what it is, how annoying it is, and how to get rid of it. Weird skills you learn when fishkeeping: I learned three different ways of getting air out of a gravelvac so I can use gravity to siphon the water and gunk out. I came up with my favorite one myself when I couldn’t fit the gravelvac completely in a 2.5gal aquarium. If you hold the bottom end closed with one thumb, get some water in the vac end with the other, then point the vac end skyward as high as you can, and let the water run down to the bottom. If there is still air in the tubing, repeat until there isn’t. Stick the vac end back in the tank, and siphon away. The other two ways are to a) immerse the entire gravelvac and pipe in the tank until all the bubbles are gone, or b) suck on the end by the bucket. The latter is not hygenic, but I’ve seen people doing it, including a coworker at the petstore (so I taught him the way I like, and he sort of facepalmed and said I can’t believe I didn’t think of that).

    You can also buy a little pump thingy to go on the bucket end of the tube, but they’re kind of finicky and an extra cost. If they come off, the pipe goes flying around and sprays water everywhere. Been there, done that…

  413. In the Suez Canal chart (I cast it for Suez, Egypt, at 7:40am local time or 5:40am UTC March 23rd) Mercury is in the 11th house, overcoming Mars in the 2nd house by an applying square within a degree.

    My training’s in natal astrology and the astrology of specific events is a bit different from what I’ve learned about the astrology of nations or ingresses. But the 11th house has to do with groups and ambition, and the 2nd is obviously money, so you know, they got overambitious and wrecked a lot of finances.

    The chart also has Uranus in Taurus conjunct the Ascendant and the ship was suddenly and surprisingly stuck in the dirt, so that is also a nice astrological picture.

  414. @ Irena

    If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling” where he discusses the Old Testament story of Abraham being told by God to kill his son, Isaac. That’s bonkers but, according to the story, Abraham was prepared to do it which raises all kinds of fascinating philosophical questions.

    This touches on a critique of Christianity that was made by Kierkegaard and then later by Nietzsche in The Anti-Christ, which is that the only way to be a ‘real’ Christian is to imitate Jesus. All else, including the whole subsequent ideology of the Christian Church, was a falsification of the central message of Jesus’ teaching. According to this critique, unlike Abraham, most people professing to be christians didn’t take any of it seriously and happily nod along to the idea of eternal damnation or whatever else they are told. Of course, most people in our time do the same in matters of religion or otherwise.

  415. @JMG
    I will not dispute you on Reincarnation and other possibilities and whether the evidence supports that worldview or that worldview. But I will argue for the sake of making sense and the internal logical consistency of the religion.

    “Second, if the god in question is actually omniscient, he knew before the beginning of time what every one of his creatures was going to do — if he didn’t, he’s not omniscient — and if he’s omnipotent, he could have set things up so that no soul would ever actually be damned forever — if he couldn’t, he’s not omnipotent. You can’t claim that your god is omniscient and omnipotent and then claim that there are things he didn’t know and couldn’t do!”

    I am sure within the religion itself its known that God well knows what will happen and so the whole thing about taking on human flesh and the crucifixion and the resurrection to deal with that was also pre-planned.

    None of that for the Fallen Angels though since they committed high handed treason with full revelation of who he is. Compared to Mankind who didn’t do so in such a manner.

    As for setting things up so no soul would ever actually be damned. That is a possibility.

    But that means agency is impossible. If one want’s to make Beings with Agency do you really want to hang out with creatures that simply repeat their programming? Or do you want people with their own volition?

    If evil cannot be chosen is the good really chosen or do they truly have no choice?

    Is good truly good if it isn’t self-willed?

  416. @Steve T. – yes! When he and Julia got on a train with a bunch of proles going out to visit their country cousins, I thought “If Winston wanted to be free, he should have opted for prole status.” Though now I realize that, if he did, he’d be quietly vaporized, since I’m sure the Inner Party knows where most rebels come from! It’s also the case that he was physically unfit for anything but pushing paper, 1984 makes that quite clear.

    @CS2 – but the initial cost to set up trolleys and streetcars might be a deal-killer. The roads are already there; tracks have to be laid, the steel found (unless they’re horsecars and can use strap rail), etc. Perhaps some latter-day Eisenhower could push it through in the name of national defense?

  417. JMG – I have a quasi-occult question that I’m hoping you’ll consider (this being Open Post and all). I just came across a report from a researcher into the realm of the ‘weird’ that in August 2017 he received numerous calls from people (many of them on the same day – August 8) having horrifying dreams/visions of an imminent nuclear holocaust. Unless I am mistaken (😊), such an event never occurred. Which begs the question: why would so many people have a vivid premonition of a non-event?

    It reminds me somewhat of the ‘contactees’ in the 1950s who told stories of the tall blonde UFO-nauts who declared that they were contacting us to spread the message of universal peace and love because Earthlings were in danger of blowing the world up (which made a lot of sense at that time). The suspicion I have is that sensitives sometimes pick up on the collective unconscious when things are particularly awry and misinterpret what they pick up as being a premonition. But I may be under-thinking things. I recall feeling a period of inexplicable dread around that time and the dread seemed to be focused on war/civil unrest, but the “facts on the ground” did not fit my feeling and the dread gradually faded away.

    I am wondering if (a) others in this group recall having such feelings in August 2017 and (b) whether you, JMG, have a similar or different explanation of the phenomenon.

  418. @JMG
    Much searching and still no sign of a cheap taper candle holder with a raised rim or cup receiving base. If people actually burned candles on a regular basis I’d recognize this as an unfilled niche and a good business opportunity, but sadly I think this sad state of affairs is a result of people using unburned tapers and dainty little candleholders as mantle ornaments instead of portable light sources. Maybe in several decades when electricity coverage drops below 50%.

    I did however find a nifty piece of retro tech called a Bobeche. It’s a cup-like ring you stick at the bottom of your taper candle in between the holder and the taper. Most of the ones for sale online are crummy disposable foil and paper cups that resemble muffin tins, but http://www.chandelierparts.com makes some rather ornate and beautiful crystal bobeches for 5 – 20 bucks a piece. So that’s an option worth considering.

    I’m starting to appreciate why lots of old candle holders were essentially just a pretty tea saucer with a handle – because that’s what most people used when they needed something immediately available and cheap. Also, check out this nifty “automatic shutoff timer” from Victorian Era Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=von6umef9qk

  419. Patricia Mathews, you asked if I ever read the records of a 15th C English village manor court. I haven’t had the pleasure.

    But I have had the great displeasure of having to become familiar with Canadian tax legislation as part of my mis-education in business. It was a miserable experience, sentences that literally ran on for pages, convolutions inside of convolutions. the justification being that the rules may be complex but they are fair. At the time I read a study of the economic effect of the tax system as it was then (a half century ago) and the conclusion was that the taxation system was at best proportional but probably regressive, a mechanism for making sure the rich stay rich in other words, and while the rich disproportionately benefitted from the levers of state in protecting their interests, the rich back then like nowadays were highly averse to paying full freight.

    But I think your question related to the baroque complexities of recording transactions 600 years ago along with their tax implications which made people want to transact solely in cash to escape the clammy fists of church and secular and tax authority. I think things haven’t improved, and if I was a betting man I’d bet they’re worse. And if I was a betting man, as collapse and the disintegration of state authority proceed apace, I would bet people will do their best to circumvent the system, that is, to pay in cash. I think JMG said this a while back, that government bureaucracies don’t even pretend to serve the people they’re mandated to serve but rather serve themselves and I would agree. I mean, do school systems cater mainly to the interests of students or to the interests of the edu-crat establishment?

    JMG, I hope I didn’t mis-quote you.

  420. Dear YCS,

    Many thanks for the kind words and suggestions! Currently I’m reading a short book I found at a local thrift shop that details some of the history of Hinduism through the centuries. Getting a grasp on the utter vastness of the extant literature, some commentaries seem like an excellent idea. As for the distortions of Indologists, dear goodness, I have an encyclopedia set published in 1940 and the misinformation in it concerning Hinduism is frankly obscene.

    Regarding Gita Press, I’m pleased to say that some research into the publisher you linked to shows that their edition of the Bhagavad-Gita employs the now public domain Sir Edwin Arnold translation, which I printed out and read a few days ago. With a little research online I see now to my surprised delight this appears to have been Gandhi’s favorite English translation, he writes in his autobiography: “I have read almost all of the English translations of it, and I regard Sir Edwin Arnold’s as the best. He has been faithful to the text, and yet it does not read like a translation.”

    Thank so much for the list of authoritative Hindu authors! From my public library system I’ve reserved every volume that they still have from every author that you’ve mentioned. Also many, many thanks for your warm offer to help me in these studies. That genuinely means a lot to me.

    Very best wishes,
    Violet

  421. @ Matthias

    Couple of data points from Australia and New Zealand. As everybody knows, we ‘beat the virus’ down under. Nevertheless, hospitals are being overwhelmed with patients even in summertime.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/439170/new-zealand-hospitals-in-crisis-after-biggest-january-february-on-record

    https://www.6pr.com.au/exclusive-ama-says-perth-hospitals-at-crisis-point/

    Western nations haven’t been keeping their medical capacity up with population growth for a long time (a nice bit of hidden inflation). So, it probably was true that hospitals were going to be overwhelmed by even a modest increase in demand.

    The truly mystifying part of the whole thing is why governments didn’t just throw money into new facilities, especially in Europe where they had a reprieve over summer. Corona gave them an excuse to funnel almost unlimited funds into the health system, build new hospitals etc. Instead that money went into vaccines. That doesn’t solve the underlying problem and, if the vaccine strategy fails, doesn’t even solve the main problem.

  422. When the Johnny Appleseed thread began, JMG wrote how poets in the first half of the 20th century used myth to push the English language to its limits. Today, in an astronomy book my little daughter found in the public library, there was a poem by Claude Roy (1940s). I find allusions to the planet Venus and foam-born Aphrodite in the first strophe, and maybe to Apuleius’ Psyche in the the fourth. The influence of the stars is clearly stated in the third strophe. There is much else that I have no idea how to interpret, and I would love suggestions (my French is not very good), since I really liked the poem (translation not my own, and no guarantees).

    La nuit

    1. Elle est venue la nuit de plus loin que la nuit
    à pas de vent de loup de fougère et de menthe
    voleuse de parfum impure fausse nuit
    fille aux cheveux d’écume issus de l’eau dormante.

    1. Night has come, it has come from beyond night and dark
    creeping in like a wolf, lurking like fern and mint
    a stealer of perfume, impure, unfaithful night
    a girl with foaming hair born out of stagnant waters

    3. Sa main laisse glisser les constellations …
    la semence de feu qui féconde les terres

    3. Constellations do flow out of her drowsy hand…
    seeds of fire about to impregnate the grounds

    4. Mais elle vient la nuit de plus loin que la nuit
    à pas de vent de mer de feu de loup de piège
    bergère sans troupeaux glaneuse sans épis
    aveugle aux lèvres d’or qui marche sur la neige.

    4. But she’s coming the night from beyond night and dark
    blowing over the sea, blazing, howling in trap
    shepherdess with no flocks, a gleaner with no cobs
    golden-mouthed, blind eyed, walking on endless snow.

  423. Steve T and JMG, way back when the Iron Curtain really looked like it was made of iron, and the USSR looked as immoveable as the Himalayas, I was a member of that professional managerial class. One day I had a discussion with some compadres (people I felt I could trust) after work over a beer about democracy and dictatorship. This was a ways back so the particulars are lost in the sands of time, but I wondered how different is it working in a corporate dictatorship as opposed to a political dictatorship? You were free of course to get another job, management had no power of life and death – at least theoretically. OTOH while at work you had no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, with information tightly controlled, secrecy absolutely central. Outside of work you had more flexibility but one employment contract I almost signed specified that while political engagement of company employees was encouraged, it must be done with “discretion”. Meaning keep your hole shut and if we want an opinion we’ll give it to you.

    And things are now much worse than they were back then in the pre-internet age when you had a life that was much more difficult for anyone to surveille, especially government and corporate despotisms. Why are lap-tops and smart-phones a condition of employment? Until the covid outbreak not really for any valuable business reason but so that the boss could rattle your chain when he felt like it, just because he can, to show he’s boss, to better monitor you and to shrink you to your proper size.

  424. Re romances

    I don’t recall who recommended Sophie Kinsella’s The Undomestic Goddess but I wanted to say thank you. I enjoyed it very much.

  425. Thank you BoysMom and Breanna for the homeschool suggestions. Next fall, we may do one day at Classical Conversations and one day on the opposite end with a forest school-type group run by unschoolers. We’ll see how it goes! Breanna, what does “MLM” stand for?

    And to the commenter who wanted recommendations on pre-internet research, we just took some of our stimulus $$ and splurged on the 2020 edition of the World Book. We want to build up a library for our son (and ourselves) to do research at home that doesn’t involve going online. I can’t count the hours I spent as a kid rambling through our encyclopedias, and the dictionary…

    Ellen

  426. Irena, What are the foundational myths of Christianity? I would have said, “Sell all your possessions and give to the poor and in my father’s house are many mansions are many mansions”. This latter one seems to mean there is plenty of room in heaven and make no mention of eternal damnation.

  427. @evan
    Wow, your right. I never realised. A pizza cost 10000 btc, 10 years ago. That poor dullard chucked away 500million. And you know what, that dumb pizza shop owner probably sold those bitcoins to so he could buy flour to make pizza.

  428. @Lathechuck, re your criticisms of the survival medicine handbook; thank you for the details:

    “the difference between uncomfortable hunger and dangerous starvation [and] issues relating to resuming eating after a long fast that could be relevant”

    from both of which it seems my education –including a Biology major–and culture have conspired to protect me,

    Why is it too distressing to contemplate such aspects of reality?

    Would you or anyone else be able to point me to any further practical resources on these topics?

  429. JMG, thanks for providing the reference to Ancient Egypt. I will be sure to look it up and share with like-minded people. I am sure it will be a source of some useful learnings.

    https://swarajyamag.com/politics/how-neoliberal-shenanigans-are-championing-destructive-causes-in-india

    Here is another article from Swarajya. A communications strategy against Neoliberal propaganda is slowly taking shape. I expect a Russia Today/CGTN style Global TV channel to be launched anytime.

  430. I just came across another distasteful anti Trump comic, and have accepted that Trump hating is going to be part of the media landscape for decades to come. It’s just occurred to me to note how often there is a punchline about Trump being gay. Has anyone else noticed this?

    Also, I’m immersing myself in French, and finding an awful lot of ads for Covid-19 vaccines. I’m an English speaker, but these ads are far more common in media from France and Quebec than anything I’m seeing in English, so to those who are immersed in French culture, is this a sign that people in Quebec and France are not getting vaccinated? Does anyone know if these vaccines are less popular in the French speaking world than the English speaking world?

  431. YCS, that’s very good to hear. Before I delve into a tradition in which I don’t have adequate background — and I don’t have anything approaching adequate background in Hindu philosophy, just some exposure to a few of the classics driven in part by my enjoyment, back in childhood, of an English language version of the Mahabharata for older kids — I like to know is people who participate in that tradition think it’s worth studying.

    Youngelephant, I discussed it to some extent in Dark Age America, but most of my thinking on the subject hasn’t yet gotten into print. As for Christianity, that’s one of my issues with it, though I have others.

    Ron, fair enough.

    Chris, I remember people in the Seattle area who put up solar panels and then were surprised when the notoriously scarce sunshine didn’t give them much power…

    Kashtan, an excellent point!

    Breanna, thanks for this! Fascinating.

    Info23, if the Christian god is actually omnipotent and omniscient he can create beings with agency, and then set up the universe so that eventually the free exercise of their agency will lead them all to heaven. If you say “he can’t do that” you’re saying he’s not omnipotent. All of the “omni-” adjectives eventually land you in that kind of paradox — which is why Alfred North Whitehead and Dion Fortune both ditched the idea of an omnipotent and omniscient god, and proposed one who is still learning and growing.

    Ron M, from the point of view of occult philosophy, they’re experiencing astral phenomena of various kinds (technically speaking, astral phenomena mirrored in the reflecting ether) and mistaking those for premonitions. That’s basically another way of saying what you said about the collective unconscious. Just as most dreams are not prophetic, most visions are symbolic rather than literally true — and it’s particularly common for dreams and visions to be mistaken for prophecy when the population in question is bent out of shape about things most people don’t want to talk about.

    Boulderchum, yes, I saw the commenter who pointed you to bobeches. I’ll be considering those.

    Roger, that seems like a reasonable comparison!

    AnonymousHindu, good to hear. The sooner the neoliberal hegemony is broken, the better.

    Mollari, the left is gay-bashing Trump? Seriously weird…

  432. anonymous_mk’s comment above reminded me of an experience of my own.

    A few years ago, I was forced by circumstance to spend a year working in a warehouse owned by a major fashion brand that caters to the upper middle class. The management of this place was blatantly unethical-on one occassion, the plant manager stood up in front of everybody at an all-employee meeting and blatantly lied to everybody in the room. (The warehouse was switching to a “10-4” schedule-ten hours a day, four days a week, with everybody in different groups so it would be open seven days a week. The plant manager looked everybody in the eye and explained that, while it might become a “10-5̶