Open Post

May 2019 Open Post

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

With that said, have at it!


  1. This week, I only have a pithy observation: Republicans only seem to care about increasing government debt when they’re out of power, just as Democrats only seem to care about anthropogenic climate-change when they’re out of power. But both increasing amounts of unpayable debt and increasing fossil-fuel burning are necessary to keep industrial society in its current form chugging along.

  2. I’ll get to the energy-news later this afternoon, but before I do anything else…

    I had a seriously-crazy notion blossom in my brain this morning and as this the open post, I thought I’d toss it out to the community for comment.

    A subscription-based occult-oriented reading room, possibly associated with a local order of some kind. The idea would be to have a space, like a library but which accumulates books rather than weeding them, where members (or non-members purchasing a day-pass) might have access to the collection. Shelves, a few comfortable reading chairs, a desk or two, a few tables/chairs, etc. The collection would focus on occult materials, but could also include a small low/appropriate tech (green wizardry) section. It would be non-circulating in that no material would leave the space. A small suite of rooms, open for certain hours on certain days.

    If an order were built around it, perhaps a quarterly newsletter, quarterly/annual meetings. Have to think on this. Hermetic Order of the something or other, perhaps.

    Might be a nice post-retirement project for a certain somebody who has (glances at calendar) seven years, eleven months, and nine days until his retirement option goes live.

    So…this is but a thought-experiment at this point (although I might begin slowly acquiring books–twist my arm), however, questions for the community:

    1) What major occult authors would be good to target? My list so far includes DF, HP Blavatsky, WE Butler, Rudolph Steiner, MP Hall, Carl Jung, and a certain John Michael Greer.

    2) What major works (not by the major authors listed) should be included? The Picatrix would be one example. The Zohar and/or Bahir might be another.

    3) Any ideas for a good name for an esoteric order focused on the preservation of occult and green wizard knowledge in the coming decline of industrial civilization?

    Many thanks in advance.

  3. I have a few gift codes from a recent Kickstarter for a short video (about 16 minutes long) about hugelculture. Hugelculture is popular in permaculture practice and is a way of growing crops without irrigation or tilling. It is basically a big mound of wood covered in soil, but there’s a bit more to it than that. It is also helpful for creating warm and cool microclimates on the landscape.

    If anyone here is interested in this video, you can email me at jennifer dot ann dot richardson at gmail dot com or comment here and I will give you a gift code. The gift codes only work once and require creating a account. Permies is a very active permaculture/homesteading/organic gardening forum full of lovely people and interesting discussions.

    (This is not an affiliate thing nor am I employed by Permies, for the record.)

  4. Dear Archdruid Emeritus, you mentioned that the combination of Tai Chi and Druid practices has caused you problems with your health. Could you please specify if this applies to AODA practices like the Sphere of Protection (and color breathing?), and Yang Style Tai Chi, if this was the style you practiced? I would like to know if I have to suspend Tai Chi practice during my candidate year, and if possible find an alternative (is there a Druid counterpart?). Thank you! Yours under the flowering chestnut trees, Anna

  5. This is the final announcement for the Second Annual Ecosophia Midsummer Potluck! Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 2 PM, at the house behind the Charles Dexter Ward mansion. Sign up here. Looks like we’ll have a good crowd already.
    There will be a WaterFire the same evening. It’s about a 10 minute walk down to the rivers to watch, from sunset to midnight.

  6. Mister N, that seems like a perfectly accurate summary to me.

    David BTL, the reading room approach works — it’s been used successfully by a number of alternative spiritual organizations, including Christian Science and the Theosophical Society — so it’s potentially a good idea. If I were sizing up such an organization, I’d look for books by Dion Fortune and Gareth Knight as well as the authors you’ve named; I’d also hope that there would be a good collection of the dialogues of Plato and of the major Neoplatonists from Plotinus straght through to Thomas Taylor. I’d suggest the Somethingorother Society for a name rather than making it an order — that way you can dodge the sometimes dodgy politics of the lodge system and simply organize it as a standard nonprofit, get 501(c)3 status so donors can deduct donations on their taxes, and so on.

    Jen, I’ve never used hugelkultur — my organic gardening has always been straight-up biodynamic deep beds — but I’ve heard good things about it from those who have. I hope this helps people with their green wizardry!

  7. Following on a topic only lightly touched on in last week’s thread, I’m curious what you, JMG, but also, what other comnrmters make of the kind of evolutionary explanation for this or that observed behaviour or trait that I called a “seductive just-so story set in the never-never-land when “evolution” was busy “hard-wiring” us all”.

    That was probably a tad provocative, and actually mythology is full of just-so stories set in never-never lands, that have served people just fine.

    Still, I did hope to start a conversation about how “evolution” has become the go-to toolbox for *crafting* modern mythological themes and narratives of things like “how the women drew the low-pay straw, and other such culturally important tales.

  8. Anioush, some people seem to have been able to manage that combination (the SoP plus tai chi) without trouble. I didn’t, though the problems may have been a function of the specific end of the Yang style I practiced, which had a lot of fairly intensive qigong. There’s a form of qigong created specifically for AODA practice, Nine Hazels qigong, which appears to be perfectly safe in conjunction with AODA practices; you can get info about it from the AODA office.

    Peter, see you there! 🙂

  9. Here’s a bit of humor for this month’s Open Post:

    Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Ohm are in a car, and they get pulled over. Heisenberg is driving and the cop asks him “Do you know how fast you were going?”

    “No, but I know exactly where I am” Heisenberg replies.

    The cop says “You were doing 55 in a 35.” Heisenberg throws up his hands and shouts “Great! Now I’m lost!”

    The cop thinks this is suspicious and orders him to pop open the trunk. The cop checks it out and says “Do you know you have a dead cat back here?”

    “We do now, moron!” shouts Schrodinger.

    The cop moves to arrest them. Ohm resists.

  10. @David, by the lake

    I think that’s a great idea! And I agree with JMG on calling it a society instead and making it a nonprofit. Wish they had something like that near me to be honest.

  11. Scotlyn, I read that back-and-forth last week and I personally think you hit the nail on the head in your reply there. I agree with you. I do think in a lot of these “just-so” stories, they are simply justifications of what we would LIKE to accept as fact or fate or whatever. The explanations of evolution reinforce what we already believe, (and want to believe; often because it benefits us). The specific one last week – a mother’s instinct having the knock-on effect of accepting lower pay, more subservient roles, etc. does not take into account the sizeable % of women who simply don’t nurture/don’t nurture well/it goes against the grain – even as mothers. Not to mention the % of men who do/for whom nurturing goes with the grain. They exist and always have which is proof that they too are evolutionary ‘winners’ or viable.

    “Just-so” stories like “history” is always written by the ‘victors’.

    David BTL: would you also consider works of fiction that may illustrate some facets or points of occult philosophy? I think your idea is great. I’m not much of an occultist, but such a library reading room would be very helpful.

    @JMG: re: my comment last week – Apologies if my comment to Varun et al, came across as a pity party. It wasn’t meant to – in fact, the whole episode has been something of a blessing in disguise for all of us. It was just to illustrate that sometimes we can glimpse that when the world speaks – it’s not always speaking to us! LOL “It’s not about you!” is something I’ve said to my DH many times through this. He’s getting it. We’ve all grown as human beings immensely. It’s just a wonderful, but weird feeling as I said to see that sometimes you (figurative you) are a bit player in someone else’s show.

  12. @Pacshaud

    Thanks for taking a bit of time last week to listen to some of my own mallsoft/punk radio show I did last year.

    @DT: As a former, still-with-one-foot-in-the-door to do fill in shows, community radio guy I’ve had a lot of people complain to me about the absence of smooth jazz and chill jazz type music on the airwaves these days. & Yes the mall was a place where that kind of vapid muzak could be enjoyed in a shared way. Still, I feel like that was kind of a massage by the medium to get the brain softened up and in a loosened mood for more relaxed -and more frequent- charges on the mastercard. Yes, Mallsoft can be just a kind of chill / relax background music, but there is imo, also a defined element of nostalgia, and also a critique.

    And as a radio nerd I love the website. They have a show, on some community and low power fm stations, and one of the episodes they did was on sympathy for Kenny G and What killed smooth jazz on the fm dial. If interested check it out here:

    (My jazz tastes run more towards Alice Coltrane -jazz harp anyone?- and Sun Ra with a bit of Rufus Harley -jazz bagpipes anyone?- thrown in for good measure. Recently though I’ve been digging the trumpet player Christian Scott.

    For what its worth I enjoy the vaporwave & mallsoft genres. There is a bit of irony and criticism mixed in with the nostalgia, without which it would get boring quick. One thing I will miss about the internet is the way that these little microgenres could flourish. Still I have hope in the potential of analog microgenres and niche music.

    Keep it Saxy baby!

  13. With regard to how Dion Fortune said the way to deal with negative evil is to put a vacuum around it, all the modern methods of dealing with HIV seem to work on exactly that principle – Whether a person has been exposed by accident, knows they will be exposed, or has it and wants to keep it from anyone else, the solution is the same – to create such a hostile environment the virus can’t move in or out.

    Interestingly this is the same direction post-traumatic stress disorder research is going in. They want the same three abilities – obviously to deal with people already affected with PTSD, but also immediately post-exposure and most significantly, pre-exposure. With post-exposure they’ve had some success with things like a 400mg injection of hydrocortisone, but it’s still early days. But if they ever got prepatatory treatment to work for possible exposure to trauma, that would change a lot of things. You could load up on a drug and know that no experience, no matter how bad, would ever become pathological and never be more than a bad memory. It could change not only how things like the military and emergency services operate, but how people live their lives. It removes a significant portion of ways humans can be threatened and harmed. People have taken anti-HIV medication and said they felt a weight lift that they never even knew was there. Anti-PTSD meds could provide a wider liberation for a larger number of people.

  14. @ JMG & David BTL: I like the idea of a private library not cursed with the idea of following the latest fads.

    One thing to help ensure longevity is ownership of the space. Many businesses who are dependent on the vagaries of the rental market have slowly been squeezed out by the building owners. Older buildings abandoned by their owners in less fashionable towns often are available for a pittance at tax sales

    A brief aside about 501(c)3s: the tax law changes by He-Who-May-Not-Be-Named increased the standard deduction to the point where a median income filer (namely: me) does not have enough itemized deductions to bother with. In consequence, I have less incentive to donate to “non-profit” organizations. This benefits the large non profits (Universities & c.) who can go fishing in the multimillion dollar pool, at the expense of the smaller and more locally oriented non profits. There are probably enough other reasons to set the room up as a non profit, but you will have to deal with extra paperwork. You may be able to start by piggybacking on an existing organization, to use them as fiscal agent.

  15. @David by-the-lake:

    You’ve hit on a subject of deep personal interest to me (though I ain’t alone in it for sure!).

    There is one group of people doing this already in Delaware. They are the New Alexandrian Library: I haven’t kept up with it, but it’s a real living thing, and was born by a pagan/western mystery tradition group out that way.

    At the library I work at we have partnered with the local main Masonic Lodge in Cincinnati, and have been in the process of re-cataloging all of their collection, so it is searchable through our website & catalog. (Don’t know what will happen with that when the computers die.) It’s a nice partnership. I’ve seen lots of titles in the Masonic library by searching our catalog. Just today I stumbled on their copy of Florence Firth’s Golden Verses of Pythagoras. Since I’ve been in the catalog department too these past 5 years, I get to see the books as they get cataloged. Lots of fun stuff.

    So… one good way to do this would be to look at creating partnerships with existing organizations.

    Membership libraries are also a strong contender. I was a member of the Mercantile Library for awhile -and will consider rejoining. It is one of the last remaining membership libraries in the country -so I guess my yearly dues would go to a good cause even though I didn’t use their collection much. The public one where I work has more than enough to keep me busy. What they excelled at though was being able to have great programs because they could pay, from the membership, for better speakers/authors than the public often gets. Yet there was also a hoity-toity element: most of the people who belonged were definitely not in my class, and that is something I wasn’t supposed to talk about. For instance, I couldn’t afford to go to their biggest yearly gala where some of the best authors came and lectured at.

    Here is a bit about that.

    There have also been punk ‘zine libraries & collectives & such. That may be another option. The basis for all of these though would be a good personal library.

  16. I don’t want to go there, but I feel I must go there, after it has been extensively discussed two or three times on here now, but no one in the ongoing abortion debate on here has as yet argued from the societal viewpoint. To me, this is the first and foremost consideration. If we have a society with large numbers of poorly cared for, and unwanted children, what kind of society will that be? I have to admit, I don’t understand these, to me, weird, arguments about fetuses and “personhood.” I do understand arguments relating to the fact that growing up in a jacked up family is statistically correlated with depression, anxiety, criminality, suicide, violence, etc. The type of family that most aborted “fetuses” would be growing up in. Life is difficult enough when you have two stable parents who try their best to do a reasonable job raising you.

    We are in overshoot, with little to no social safety net, in a two-income family model, where single Moms receive very little to no social support (what kind of family is behind the single Mom?). I suppose there is some respect for the soul of the being-to-be insofar as no one wants to reincarnate as a neglected poor person in a broken family. I speak from experience. Yeah, you can overcome everything, theoretically, but how often does this happen in reality? Theoretically, I could put all my cash on the roulette table and come out so far ahead that I never had to work again. But would it be wise to take that chance?

  17. Next year in Providence!

    I have an oddball question. Would a modern liberal-arts American college student be likely to have learned about the Gordian knot? I read a while back that an appreciable percentage of that demographic doesn’t know when WW II was fought so I’m not assuming anything about them.

  18. Does anyone know of any good books, websites, or other resources on sustainable forest management? Trees are often claimed to be a renewable resource, but we are still taking a large amount of organic material out of the forest every time we cut one down and take it away. As I have written in the past, I hope the forests of the Cascades and Olympics will survive the transition to a world in which more people burn firewood in the colder months.

    Thank you.

  19. First, I’m curious what everyone’s favorite actually-funny, non-sanctimonious satire of Trump (either the person or the phenomenon) is.

    Mine has to be Trumpy Bear, for the utterly deadpan delivery of its faux-patriotic order-by-phone-style commercial; I wasn’t even sure it was satirical until they pulled the flag blanket out of its rear end. It’s a spot-on satire of the Fox News end of Right.

    Runner-up for me is probably the Babylon Bee article, “Trump Awards Self The Presidential Medal Of Not Committing Crimes.”

    Second, I’m surely not the first to mention this, but I realized recently that NASA’s plans of returning the Moon in the final year of Trump’s presidency will, if they pull it off, be a surprisingly literal fulfillment of the Changer myth you detailed last year.

  20. Hi JMG,

    All the talk about collective dreams and shared dream locations had me thinking.

    I am prone to lucid dreaming and I am a guy. So, I do what guys do with ladies in my dreams, even if I don’t know these dream ladies.

    Is this a problem on another plane?


  21. I am pretty sure Tim Morgan at the Surplus Energy Economics blog does not read your blog but it seems like you two are on a very similar wavelength.

     “In my view we have a truly enormous environmental problem, and this – like so much else – ties directly to energy.
    As ECoE rises, the amount of gross energy required for any given amount of surplus energy rises – and environmental degradation is linked to gross energy use, but prosperity is linked to surplus energy.
    Rising ECoE means that a growing proportion of available energy has to be consumed in energy supply itself, something which has been called “energy sprawl”. Though we can make our use of energy more efficient, the rate at which we can do this seems to be lower than the rate at which ECoE is rising.” …….
    “If we are to tackle the environmental challenge, we have to become poorer, at least in the sense of consuming less. The irony is that, as SEEDS demonstrates, we’re getting poorer anyway – so it’s really about choosing the most environmentally-friendly version of deteriorating prosperity.”

    If we are to tackle the environmental challenge, we have to become poorer, at least in the sense of consuming less.

    – someone else is speaking the forbidden words.

    (ECoE is the Energy Cost of Energy)

  22. A question for anyone who has read and enjoyed Arthur C Clarke’s novel “Childhood’s End”. While the spell is on I almost accept the awesome and poignant climax, but not quite: always there’s resistance which takes the form, “Blow the Overmind – why don’t people just have more children and start again? Why give up? It’s not human nature to throw in the towel just because one generation has been lost.” On purely artistic grounds I wouldn’t want the ending changed, but if it happened for real… any thoughts, anyone?

  23. @ Pogonip – “Would a modern liberal-arts American college student be likely to have learned about the Gordian knot?”

    As someone who has worked in higher ed for nearly two decades, I would say almost certainly not. I imagine I would also get way too many blank stares from contemporary liberal arts faculty if I made a reference to it in a conversation.

    Instead, I fear that these students and faculty would argue over which of the various possible privileges is involved (and how they intersect) in the presumption that it is important for a generally educated person to understand a reference to a dead, white, male, Western, militaristic imperialist.

  24. John–

    Re the reading room

    Many thanks. I was wondering about organizational options and so that feedback is extremely valuable, as are your suggestions, of course. So I’ll be trying to think of alternate names for the Somethingorother Society (although that is kinda catchy, now that I think about it).

    And now, to the monthly energy news…

    Nuclear world :

    TMI a-goin’ down

    But it looks like Vogtle will get across the finish line

    It’s a cottage industry

    Subsidies galore


    NIMBY opposition to wind continues

    But the tax-credit clock is ticking

    Reincarnation, of a sort

  25. Scotlyn, most of the babble these days about evolutionary psychology strikes me as high-grade (and in some cases weapons-grade) nonsense. It’s easy to take a culturally constructed behavior, come up with some bit of narrative that claims to explain it biologically, and there you are! The question I always ask is whether the hypothesis is falsifiable, i.e., is there any way to put it to the test and see if it’s wrong? If not, it’s just a fable.

    Bird, funny. Thank you.

    Caryn, “it’s not about me” is a good affirmation to practice. Oddly enough, it’s also a core theme in my forthcoming novel The Shoggoth Concerto

  26. I’ve observed a bit of evolution in real time. I noticed that there have been no squirrels among the spring roadkill this year, at least none that I’ve seen. At first I thought their population must be in decline, but no, I’ve been seeing them all over the place, just not dead on the road.

    So I started paying more attention. You know how they freak out when a car gets close and start darting in different directions? It’s a predator evasion behavior, of course, but it doesn’t work well in traffic. The local squirrels have stopped doing that.

    In the long run, it would be a bad thing for them to lose their zig-zag technique, but I don’t think that’s happening. They just seem very calm when they cross the road, like their emotional state is a lot further from fight-or-flight than is normal for squirrels. It reminds me of the human physiological response to being submerged in water.

    I’ve seen this in two species of squirrel, by the way. What would be the odds of such an adaptation randomly popping up in two species at roughly the same time in the same region? Evolution is an established fact, in my opinion, but this is another one of those things you’d really have to get creative with in order to explain using the accepted paradigm. (Viral RNA exchange? Must be.)

    Anyone who’s interested, maybe keep an eye on the squirrels until the next open post. We could map out this adaptation and see how widespread it is. I’m in northern Indiana, less than 10 miles from Michigan, pretty much in the center east-west.

  27. I will be starting a new, lucrative job in July.Should I even bother to contribute to my 401k considering markets will completely implode in my life time? What is the best thing I can do with the money I save in your opinion?

  28. @ All

    Re the reading room idea

    To everyone who has already commented, thank you. I will be going back through the comments carefully and taking notes on all suggestions. Fiction was mentioned, which yes, I did have in mind: WoH, for one, but also DF’s novels. If anyone has good occult fiction suggestions, ancient or modern, please toss them out here. I’m wide open for suggested authors, works, and society names. We’ll see where this thing goes.

    One further aspect I’d meant to mention is that the reading room as envisioned would have a @$#%! card catalog, thank you very much.

  29. Greetings JMG,

    The idea of a Green New Deal has captured the imagination of many and injected some hope into an environmental movement which seemed to be slipping into despair. Unfortunately the actual plan is too vague, unrealistic and veers quickly off into social justice mandates to ever unite society behind something that might actually make a difference.

    So, if you were hired by a political party to create policy, what would you propose to be the main components of a “Green New Deal” that could be realistically, if optimistically, implemented and would make a significant positive impact on climate change and the environment?

    Another Chris

  30. In druid teachings, how is described the inner workings of fate-karma related with the effects of reincarnation? For example, in the lessons of the French mystic Nizier Anthelme Philippe (Maître Phillippe de Lyon) he said that in order to learn the soul is faced with the errors of its previous lives. A smoker will have weak lungs in his next life, a murderer will be a victim of murder or suffer the lose by murder of a close person, a greedy wealthy man will probably be destined to poverty and privations the next time. In addition the talents developed by honest effort will be in part inherited, for example in composing music. It’s not explained as an exact equation but something like paying your debts in numerous lives and about “cliches” or forces that make something happen. I don’t know if you have read about Maître Philippe, but he is the best reference I know about this topic.
    Summing up, what are the ideas around the effects of your previous actions in your next existences in druidism (karma and fate)?

  31. @David by-the-lake… I realize I didn’t really answer your questions, just started riffing off of your topic. Sometimes I just get so excited I start riffing…

    Anyway, I thought I’d actually answer your questions.

    1. For personal preferences I’d add a few of my own teachers/mentors to the list of who to have in the reading room: Nema, Denny Sargent / aka Aion 131, Oryelle Defenestrate, Owen Knight, Louis Martine & Joesphine McCarthy. Also Frater Acher’s new works. I’d also be happy if there were some books by William Gray, Robert Anton Wilson and Wilhelm Reich. Perhaps also the complete works of Herman Hesse. Some Arthur Machen novels, as well as the novels of Philip K. Dick (particularly his gnostic works). I’d throw in some William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Genesis P-Orridge (The Psychick Bible) as well. I’d seek out some of the books of publishers like Three Hands Press & Scarlet Imprint too -each also publish editions in paperback making those a bit more affordable.

    Put in a turntable and a pair of headphones so people could listen to the music of Current 93 (while preserving others quietude) and Hildegard von Bingen.

    2. Major works to be included: tons of books on mythology and folktales/lore from around the world. The Oxford Classical Dictionary has been a great resource for me. A large desk dictionary -and then perhaps some greek, hebrew, etc. dictionaries. Reference works on religion & mysticism. Depending on your bent some theological works too often can be useful. Esoteric/Mystic Christian stuff. The Nag Hammadi library. Dead Sea Scrolls.

    3. I like what JMG said about a society or club rather than order -though it might make a good hangout for people in an order. How about The BookWyrms? Society of Silence. The Torchbearer’s Association…

    P.S.: I’d also consider too that there are particular spirits, deities, saints etc. who are helpful in such endeavors. If one of those draws close to you because of this activity the order could be named after it, or it could be referenced in a motto or something.

    Have fun & please keep us posted… the more such places the better & more chance of various materials surviving for longer.

  32. RE Library–on the west coast the Adocentyn Library is trying to get up and running with model similar to that proposed. The founders were local Pagans who either had no heirs or children not interested the books they had been collecting for a lifetime. They currently have a rented space and are cataloging books, but no open hours due to lack of staff. The list of books is available on Library Thing. They are located in the East Bay–address not being given out yet because of caution. They are a 5013c. The website is

  33. In this past month, a friend of mine died unexpectedly and in a way that defies logic. Modern medicine has no explanation. After consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it was due to evil eye put on her by extremists of her faith, whose fundamentalist ranks she was raised within, but rejected in adulthood — going for a modernized, liberalized version. She never left her faith, and continued to write about it. A lot. Because she practiced a liberal version of her faith, she probably never even realized evil eye and associated energy was a thing, and that she needed defense from all the pure hatred aimed at her. I won’t put her name here because I would strongly prefer a google search on her not lead to this post; there are many who would take offense to these notions, not even knowing what “evil eye” is. I will say that she was a bestselling author, that she left behind a husband and two young children, and that she was under the age of 40. If you know who I am speaking of, please don’t post her name, but in her honor I would like more awareness of evil eye — or just aiming pure hatred at someone — and what damage it can inflict.

    When word first spread that she had died, I was legitimately afraid someone had killed her by cursing her. After searching out and reading what her haters had to say, I changed my mind. They killed her quite accidentally, but definitely with the force of their hatred.

    If, however, someone does come across this comment because they are under the influence of evil eye, psychic attack, demonic influences, or astral parasites, while knowing no defense techniques nor knowing anyone who knows any defense techniques — as I once was — I do want to offer solutions. The following resources have helped untold numbers of people.

    1. — this is the Dev Danav Siddhaugh Pujita mantra posted by Dr. Nipun Aggarwal, with over four million views as of this writing, and a whole lot of testimonials as to its efficacy at removing evil eye and bad spirits. To be clear, you are calling upon a Hindu goddess to remove all bad elements from your midst; too often mantra enthusiasts say that mantras are just “vibrations” that have effects in the universe. Well, that’s also true, in the way that humans are all vibrations and spirits are all vibrations, but you’re definitely calling upon a sentient goddess to cleanse you and your environment, and cleanse she does.

    2. — Dr. Wayne Brewer guides someone through cleansing themselves, their surroundings, and their property. This cleanse involves Jesus, Mother Mary, the Archangels, one million warrior protection angels, and the Arcturians. Don’t know who the Arcturians are? Neither did I, but the cleanse works.

    3. — a recitation of a script of destroying and un-creating parasitic energies attacking this person. Just listen and process the words as he says them.

    Topics along these lines I want to pursue at some point in the future:

    Orgonite and orgone energy — cloudbusting, cloudbusters, methods and mixtures, and why you get psychically attacked when taking up the practice

    Psychic self-defense in the Dion Fortune tradition — how to fend off astral parasites and, if discovered already infested, how to get rid of the same

    Mantras, yantras, and tantras — the untold story

  34. Merle Langouis–the author of _Freakonomics_ actually argued that Roe v Wade reduced violent crime in the US by reducing the number of unwanted children raised in the kind of environment that leads to crime. I imagine someone has tried to refute the conclusion, but have no references on it.

  35. @Peter van Erp:

    Elva and I are planning to come; I signed us up quite a while back. A question, though: the link you give for this year’s potluck leads only to a sign-up form. Last year we could also see who else is coming and what they are bringing, but I can’t find a way to see that for the upcoming one. Is there another link for that?

  36. @ Bird: re jokes about physicists: reminds me of some more in a Bob Shaw novel, can’t remember which one. Stuff about Planck being inconstant, etc.

  37. David BTL,

    I’m excited about your reading room idea as well. Just as Justin Patrick Moore suggested, it’s definitely not a new endeavor and I’m sure some more researching will help give some other ideas as to organizing it. Creating a society for the 501(3) status is a great idea.

    As far as the name, since this will likely be near you, perhaps something along the lines of the Lakeland Society for Conserving Occult, Spiritual, and Cultural Publications, but which would allow for a better acronym.

    I’d be interested in helping. Finding a suitable place for this preservation, the remodeling (since I’m certain you’d want to reuse an older building) would be a lot of fun and being involved in that would I think lend to being involved in it’s function later on.

  38. Of course it’s not about either Caryn or our host. It’s about ME!

    Thanks, Green Rage Monster. I think. Seems to me Alexander, who read the fine print, so to speak, and acted accordingly, has a lot to teach this age. I will make sure to tell the story of the Gordian knot to the youngsters whenever I can find an excuse.

    May I recommend the book The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, who seemed to have a thing about Alexander, though The Persian Boy is mostly about his slave, Bagoas. It’s wonderful how narrator Bagoas makes his barbarous civilization perfectly comprehensible. I don’t approve, but I understand. Granted the fictional Bagoas, at least, is my kind of person—he loves to dance. May you rock on, dude, through many future printings.

  39. I would be interested to hear a bit about what you know or have experienced of the relation between handcraft and spiritual practice. I’m thinking here of fraternal orders that come direct from guilds and the several questions that have popped up on your other site over the last year(s) posed by writers, musicians, potters, knitters and others who wonder about fusing craftsmanship with both meditative and more operative practices. I think the meditative aspect is widely discussed in general, but the operative or ‘enspelling’ aspect, not so much.

    If Sara is inclined to chime in, I’d love to hear her take on the topic as well: A recent article in Craftsmanship Quarterly ( ) about the connection between traditional Norwegian sweater patterns and discernable talismanic symbols is really interesting and I wonder if Sara incorporates such things in her fiber (and other?) work or if either of you are aware of (contemporary) religious/spititual traditions that include such activities as part of their core teachings.


  40. David by the Lake, I have a few recommendations to make for an occult library:

    Lee, Roberta: The Language of Tarot. ISBN 9781441480415 seems to be quite to very good and extensive.

    George, Llewellyn: A – Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator: Good and comprehensive, but maybe a bit unstructured. The editions after 1975 are to be avoided. It doesn’t cover mundane astrology.

    Mundane Astrology. Books by H. S. Green, Raphael, C. E. O. Carter. ISBN 1933303115.

    Mountfort, Paul Rhys: Ogam. The Celtic Oracle of the Trees. ISBN 9780892819195. Good and comprehensive, except for some misspellings of names. The order of the oghams differ from that in the Druid Handbook.

    Furtermore, the occult books of John Michael Greer, of which some might need updates.

  41. @ Christopher Kinyon – I haven’t seen it yet, but the following new book sounds promising.

    “Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees” by William Bryant Logan.


  42. Good Day Mr Greer and all,

    First, Jen: As a small farmer and horticulturalist I am interested in Hugelculture. My question is about what the small differences are in fact? I’m already sold on the value of organic material to conserve water and need no selling on the idea. I live in a hot, dry western climate and watering around here is frequently called chasing the wilt. I also have access to a lot of cut tree material. I realize that asking you outright is not as easy on you as just requesting the link but I’d rather see the gifts go to those who may not be on board yet. (I’m finding that conservation can apply to access to information as well as physical stuff.)

    B. Mr Moore: I’d vote for Macio Parker on the sax though as a piano player I’m drawn to the jazz of Gene Harris. Check out his recordings with Ray Brown for some truly wonderful listening.

    III. David BTL: I’m not clear if you are meaning a physical reading room or a virtual one. For me the idea of a virtual reading room is odd but I have found some really good titles there that are not available in my local library. Admittedly I love the feeling of a real book in my hands as that is an affirmation of more than 60 years of being an avid reader. Nevertheless, I’m afraid you are too far away for me to partake in person. I’m sure examples of significant online content exist.

    4. Thanks to you Mr Greer for providing this most interesting forum. In my experience it is truly unique.

    Happy spring to all (oh well, my northern hemisphere bias is showing), Aged Spirit

  43. JMG,

    I’ve been reading some books on writing techniques and approaches (multiple, to see the perspective of novel-making from different angles), and one of them explains that in a positive character arc, the character starts with a lie (or a false belief) and something they want based on that lie, which leads to goals, those goals may lead the character to cure symptoms of the lie, but what they ultimately need is the truth, which is what the end of the arc completes – them discovering the truth and changing by it. Would you say you see this sort of thing in your own writing? How do you typically approach character arcs?

    It’s also made me ask – what are some common lies we tell ourselves and how is that impacting the environment and our relationships with others (essentially, what impact are those lies having and how can we change)? I know that’s a question for us all to ask (and trust me, I’m meditating), just thought I’d mention it here because I think it goes along with this blog. You’ve been trying to help us see some of those lies I think and I appreciate it.

    – RMK

  44. I’d just like to ask people what they read on line, besides Ecosophia? I’ll leave it open ended as far as subject matter. Not looking for “News” e.g. Fox, Vox, etc.

    I’ll start –

    I just recently discovered Quillette. I’m sure many of you have known of it from it’s begining, but it’s new for me. What do you folks read?

  45. Just wanted to let everyone know I am out of gift codes for the hugelkultur video. Thank you for your interest and sorry I don’t have enough for everyone!

  46. The third Monsanto trial has now concluded, with the world’s most hated company ordered to pay $US1Billion EACH to married couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod.

    This is not dippy hippies, or bird watchers and tree huggers, or unemployed cranks, this is juries of 12 citizens who have, unanimously in the first two trials, found Monsanto guilty of selling a product, roundup, which does cause cancer. (As far as I am concerned, there is no allegedly about it, and three juries now agree with me).

    I suggest this will prove to be a game-changing, watershed event. We citizens are no longer willing to be poisoned for someone else’s investments, Republicans, or someone else’s job, Democrats. People do have to eat, which fact suggests that there will always be a need for farmers and for farm workers.

    For the first time in literally decades, presidential candidates are now including farm policy planks in their campaign platforms. Sen. Sanders has a very detailed one, which includes reinstatement of parity price supports, which, for you youngsters, does. not. cost. the. taxpayer. a. dime. It is merely regulation which puts a floor and ceiling on farm prices, so that farmers can make decent livings and speculators are encouraged to stay out of the commodity markets.

  47. John–

    I think one thing that triggered the reading room notion was that at the last visit by my public library (to pick up some ILL requests which had come in), I had done a quick wander through the stacks and found whole sections of bare, empty shelves…

  48. Scotlyn,

    I think “just so story” is a perfect term for it. While I find it hard to believe that human evolution resulted in obvious physical dimorphism while leaving the sexes mentally and emotionally undistinguishable from one another, I believe that many (if not almost all) evo psych explanations are disingenuous apologism for social dynamics that are better explained by reference to culture and history. I also think it worth noting that for most of the traits under discussion, there is a great deal more measurable variation within a single sex than there is between the sexes. Evolutionary psychology seems to me to be similar in vibe to “social Darwinism”—a trendy but misguided attempt to apply an ill-understood scientific concept out of context in order to prop up dubious aspects of the existing social order via easily-swallowed little soundbites. Bedtime stories for the discomfited, pretty much.

  49. @Christopher Kinyon

    Hello Christopher. This title is probably not exactly what you have in mind, but I found it to be an alarming read:

    Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests by Derrick Jensen and George Draffan.

    I think it came out some years ago, so, if what it exposes was true then, I can only shudder at what it may be like now.

  50. @James M Jensen
    Re: Returning the Moon?

    I wasn’t aware anyone had taken it.

    Re: Nature vs Nurture

    Since every human activity has both biological and social components, it’s incredibly easy for someone with a loud mouth and an agenda to harp on the social components and deny the role of biology.

    In any case, I’m told that the philosophy of science moved on beyond Karl Popper some time ago. It seems the memo hasn’t gotten read.

  51. What (legal) reproductive rights do women have in Retrotopia? And how are children in Retrotopia educated about human sexuality? I ask this this because I am interested in what you have to say. I occasionally reexamine my stance on abortion as an exercise in thought but I’ve never changed my stance. If it matters I’m male and I support a woman’s right to choose. However, late-term (mos. 7, 8, 9) abortions for non-medical reasons make me squeamish. This topic seems pertinent given the laws enacted in Alabama and Georgia this week. I live in a liberal bubble so I rarely come into contact with people who openly have views that differ from my own.

  52. @David BtL – must not forget William Walker Atkinson (and his half dozen or so aliases). Robert Mathieson made up a list of the 100+ books we know he wrote or co-wrote; that is on RM’s DreamWidth account still last time I checked.

    @all who responded to me last month: thank you all for the various input. I tend to fall behind on comment threads, but especially on open post week, when I have outdoor projects going on.

  53. David, may be it is time to put my contrarian hat.

    Knowing that binaries are bad, I will provide another extreme, for which the balance may be somewhere in the middle, or in another point elsewhere.

    No matter what, a central location is a single point of failure. Highly flammable books demand a way to extinguish fire.

    Storing a library of potentially unfashionable books is a magnet for fundamentalist arsonists, the same way precious metals hoarding attracts violence. Consider an alternative system, where members store a number of books from a core list and some of their favorites; maybe some level of secrecy. It would be harder to destroy all the books in a single attack.

    You might get some inspiration from JMG’s Star’s Reach. Think Fahrenheit 451, where each member takes care of a single book.

    No matter what you do, you won’t save anything alone.

  54. Last week I discovered “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World,” at . It can also be found in different formats (pdf, and others) at
    The authors seem to be Chinese from falun gong.
    The center of their argumentation is, that there really is a strong evil, metaphysical force, the Devil. Their point of view is, that communism is a tool of the Devil, by which he tries to destroy humanity. As the argue, communism is neither dead nor confined to China and the other communist states. Instead communism has very successfully pervaded western Europe, north America and the other western parts of the world.
    To me the book pretty much changed and broadened my view on China and the Chinese. It likewise offers an alternativ explanation for the developments and the current state in the West.
    This book may have some value in the context of
    Is this book known here and if so, what is the opinion of John Michael Greer and others here?

  55. JMG–agree with you about socio-biological explanations. Some of them have fallen apart based on recent DNA evidence. All those happy little “monogamous birds” that turned out to have eggs from 2 or 3 dads in their nests, for example. How many times have we heard that males are naturally polygamous because their best chance to have descendants is to spread attention to every available female, while females, because of their greater investment in the egg or fetus naturally seek monogamy and want a faithful mate to bring home the bug? But logic suggests that you don’t need draconian laws and horrific penalties to force people to do what is natural–if human females were naturally monogamous it would never occur to a society to create horrific penalties for extramarital sex–it would be as nonsensical as passing laws against eating grass or crawling around the village on hands and knees.

    I have just started reading _Black Athena_ and it looks to be very interesting. I had dismissed it for years based on what other people said it said–should know better. As far as I have read so far the author is not asserting that sub-Saharan peoples created or greatly influenced Greek culture, which is sort of the impression one got from popular reviews and comments. I won’t try to summarize the whole thesis here, but I did note that he ties the rise of the Aryan Model and rejection of the Ancient Model to an increased value put on _progress_. The ancient Egyptians were no longer to be admired for ancient wisdom, as earlier generations had, but were denigrated for being a static, stagnant, culture preoccupied with death. As though there is no value in 3000 years of fairly stable society. Looks interesting, but it is extremely dense reading. I will report later if it turns out to be something the commentariat would enjoy.

  56. Thank you for being JMG. Longtime follower, first-time questioner…

    Thinking 20 to 50 to 100 years down the road, could you speculate on a few locations West of the 110th meridian in North America that would be reinvigorated in a new deindustrialized society, facing regional climate changes?

  57. Archdruid,

    Looks like my prediction about indian elections was wrong. BJP and Modi have come back with a wopping mandate. I predicted a smaller mandate. The old anglicized management aristocracy is on it’s way out, and screaming bloody murder (spelled here as “won’t someone think of the minorities”).

    I’ve got a longer though I about what we’ve been discussing here about our current aristocracy’s behavior. It’s very long and I’m trying to edit it down. I’ll post it soon, with your approval.



  58. Balance. On one side of the scale, the Politics of Distraction and AOC. On the other side of the scale, the US has had the greatest influx of cheap labor, ever. I’d much rather know: is the mortgage on the medical center parking garage paid off? Has the parking fee been removed? Same for the hospital or medical center building. Who wants to spell “patient” as “paytient.”

  59. I love these open posts! I mean, I love your witting as well but I like seeing the community be given free reign to just converse with each other.

    I discovered your writings just after you closed the Archdruid report, as such this week I have been going through ‘Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush’ in an effort to catch up on some of your past writtings… wow is that a book that holds up. I keep thinking it was written this year considering how clearly is describes today’s problems/predicaments.

    As a side note, when you were going through the issues with Fusion power and the ‘Sun in a bottle’ I was reminded of this article – – It is from someone that worked on Fusion at Princeton for 25 years and is explains clearly why it will probably never be economically viable and that it will most likely be an energy sink worse than any current power source today. Just a reminder to people, they are trying to get electric energy out and there is no conceivable way for this to happen.

    Unrelated, I would also like to thank you for just the general influence on my life and to some degree my thinking. I was already on the same path as you, I think you speed it up a bit however. Like the Zen master who says to take a shot of Saki before meditation on a Koan so it can speed up the path to Satori by a few months. I think this blog is my sake in that regards.

    I am currently in the process of organizing a local Ecosophy society to continue this discussion in person with the local community. No idea how it will pan out but it is worth a try to see how others take to these ideas or at least get in touch with those that are contemplating similar issues. I have seen the Green Wizards of Auckland and was inspired, mine is just a hop across the ditch and at a similar Latitude.

  60. @Merle Langlois said:
    > no one in the ongoing abortion debate on here has as yet argued from the societal viewpoint. To me, this is the first and foremost consideration. If we have a society with large numbers of poorly cared for, and unwanted children, what kind of society will that be? I have to admit, I don’t understand these, to me, weird, arguments about fetuses and “personhood.” I do understand arguments relating to the fact that growing up in a jacked up family is statistically correlated with depression, anxiety, criminality, suicide, violence, etc.

    This could be read as a dog-whistle for genocide of the “deplorables”. I’d question how many abortions are already being coerced by society through economic and social policies. Is it always the woman’s FREE choice? Or is it frequently eugenics with plausible deniability?

    A society with large numbers of poorly cared for, and unwanted children is a society which was already hostile to life. Yet I’d argue much less so than one in which they are eliminated just because it helps to make those statistics look better. Not least because those children didn’t choose to kill themselves.

  61. Mr. Greer, I am again curious as to what developments you foresee in a certain area of society. What do you see becoming of the automotive industry both here in America and abroad during the next two decades?

  62. @Merle Langlois:I wouldn’t want to turn this thread into a debate around abortion. But I’ll answer some of your points. First of all it’s fine if you believe in reincarnation but I don’t think that should be used to justify a glib attitude about death. Eastern religions that believe in reincarnation are frequently extremely serious about the consequences of taking life. Take Jain holy men, for example, who take extreme care to avoid stepping on or breathing in insects, because doing so would end a life. And while Buddhists in the West tend to be pretty liberal I don’t think Buddhism would justify a liberal attitude on abortion or other “pro-life” issues. Buddhist texts describe the soul as giving shape and form to a creature as it develops, so a fetus developing in the womb would have a soul. And Buddhists have strict proscriptions against killing anything with a soul. Stricter then Christians in fact, since Buddhists extend these proscriptions at least part of the way to animals.Also if you believe in fate or karma or something like that, then you believe that when someone is born into a particular set of circumstances, there’s a reason. It’s not so simple as using abortion to take a mulligan.

    Also, to go down a different rabbit hole, when learning about ethics in school I remember learning about utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is basically a doctrine that ethics are all about increasing “well-being” or “utility” or happiness, and that actions that increase happiness are good and actions that cause pain are bad. It sounds reasonable but there are a lot of problems with it I won’t go into right now but one thing I remember noticing is that it was never a simple matter to calculate the way an action effected utility. If you attack someone then you inflict pain on them, yes, but then you might also leave with permanent pain, they might end up with mental anguish, they might become a burden to others. It can be very difficult to judge the weight of actions because of the difficulty in predicting the impact later down the line. But if you kill someone, that sort of simplifies things. Because once you kill them they’re dead; they can only die once and they can’t suffer any more once they’re dead. How do you weigh pain inflicted during life against the pain of being dead? Technically there’s no pain when you’re dead, right? But clearly that can’t be right. I’ll spare you any examples, but this way of thinking leads to some truly bizarre ethical conclusions.

    So I’m very skeptical of the idea that it’s right to end someone’s life to spare them some hypothetical suffering from being alive. Killing people must be an absolute proscription, divorced from utilitarian concerns about what their life would be like if they were alive. I came to this conclusion by mulling over these dilemmas in ethics class, which I realize might not be very compelling to some people. But that’s my take.

    If you believe the world is headed in a bad direction then its reasonable to decide not to have kids. But to end the lives of people who have already been brought into the world is another matter. And a lot of poor societies around the world have strongly pro-life views on abortion. Pro-life views are not a luxury of advanced societies.

    Of course none of this matters if you don’t believe the fetus is alive. Which brings us to the arguments about “fetal person hood” you claim not to understand. Whether you understand them or not you do appear to be taking a stand, because your arguments are not reasonable unless you believe that the fetus is not a person.

    I do understand the desire to dismiss these sorts of arguments. After all talk of fetal person-hood does seem like a lot of high minded philosophical stuff, while concerns about crime and broken homes are more flesh-and-blood problems that visibly play out in the real world. But this is just the problem that pro-lifers point out. It is easy to rationalize the deaths of people we can’t see. That makes destroying them all too easy, but if fetuses are indeed living people then their destruction should fill us with horror, and probably would if that fact was more obvious to us. If you want to argue that the fetus is not a person that’s one thing, but to dismiss it as irrelevant is like saying you don’t care about the deaths of people you don’t see.

    I ended up writing more about that then I really wanted to. I don’t want to make this take over the thread, but it’s an issue I’m very passionate about, and I approach it as a Catholic who believes what the Church teaches on this.

    Now that that’s out of the way: has anyone here taken an interest in the scientists who brought dead pig brains (partially) back to life? I saw some people freaking out about it, though in a pretty silly way. Whenever people in the wider culture express fear over scientific research it usuallytakes the form of sci-fi or monster-movie cliches. But even though talk of zombies and Frankenstein is clearly silly I feel like there is something deeper to be worried about here. If it ever became possible to truly resurrect dead brains the consequences would be staggering, and certainly disturbing. Would the ability to bring creatures back from the dead play havoc with the idea of a soul? It’s just something I’ve been mulling over.

  63. I would really like to get together with some other JMG fans in the St. Louis area. If you are reading this lets grab coffee and chat about Ecosophia in all its permutations.

    avalterra(at)that google e-mail we all

  64. Man, I’m sorry for that giant wall of test. When I started working on that screed I only intended to answer the bit about reincarnation but it got away from me a bit.

    @James M. Jensen II: I remember the parody news site having some funny anti- Trump satire back in the day, but I just visited the site and found the recent joke-articles pretty lame. The only ones that got a laugh were so far out of left field I don’t know if they would even qualify as satire. (Like “Godspeed, Sir: Steve Bannon Is Bravely Walking Into The Desert To Find A Gun He Saw In A Dream”)

  65. Yorkshire, yep. What works on one plane generally works, mutatis mutandis, on other planes as well.

    Peter, an excellent point. As far as 501(c)3 status is concerned, getting it isn’t hard — I’ve done it myself several times for different organizations — and it has a range of benefits aside from encouraging donations, Still, each group needs to assess its own needs.

    Pogonip, my working guess is that most of them don’t know who Alexander the Great was and couldn’t find Greece on a map. The Gordian knot? Never heard of it.

    Christopher, I don’t, but I trust there’s something good available. Anyone else?

    James, yes, I noticed that!

    Someone Else, I’ve never heard anyone suggest that that’s problematic at all. I think most people have dream sex from time to time, lucid or otherwise.

    Skyrider, he’s thermodynamically literate and unlike most pundits, he isn’t chugging the “Yay Progress!” koolaid straight out of the bottle. Thus, yes, he’s saying roughly the same thing I am, and doing it very clearly and helpfully.

    Robert, I’ve never found that part of the story convincing either, but then it’s rare for a person who’s not religious to be able to write fiction with a religious theme and make it work.

    David, thank you for this.

    You know, I’m going to pass on an idea that I’ve been mulling over for a while now. It’s just a suggestion, and if it’s not what you want to do, no problem; but here it is.

    My idea was for an organization that helps set up reading rooms of the sort you’ve described wherever there are enough people willing to invest the time and money to make one happen. Each reading room has books on esoteric spirituality, nature, and the links between them, along with comfortable chairs and a big wooden table for those who want to sit and take notes. It’s open as many days and evenings a week as staffing level permits. In back, there’s a meeting space of modest size, and every Wednesday night people gather there to practice discursive meditation on a set of established themes relating to the natural world. There might also be talks, small classes, etc., but the reading room and the weekly meditation are the two main functions. The organization is firmly nonpolitical, nonsectarian, and it doesn’t dictate members’ lifestyles or diet, nor does it allow its space to be used for proselytizing of any variety — political, religious, dietary, etc. It’s not out to save the world. It’s simply a place for people to gather, learn, do a little quiet networking, and meditate together. The name of the organization is the Ecosophical Society, and Ecosophical Society Reading Rooms are its main function.

    So that’s the idea; make of it what you will.

  66. Dear David by the Lake, you might want to look into how the Christian Scientists set up their reading rooms. About attracting fundamentalist violence, have not occult societies been for centuries masking themselves behind abstruse, egghead sounding names like theosophist, etc.? You might want to establish but not advertise yourself as an actual religion. Be very cautious about community boards of directors, a requirement for non-profit status. If I were establishing a non-profit at the present time, I would 1. set an upper limit for contributions accepted, and 2. write into the bylaws a meager budget for the Board–no fancy restaurant meals, no galas, meetings to be on site, etc.

  67. I recently attended a public talk about innovation in transportation by an official at the federal DOT. The underlying theme of the talk seemed to be how can transportation become bigger, faster, more innovative, and more complicated, e.g. autonomous vehicles and safety intelligence modules in cars. The official’s assumption was that people want to get to many more places faster and cheaper.

    An idea I would likely never hear at a federal agency talk, as much as I would like to, is: Are there ways to solve our transportation and environmental problems with less resources and less complications through more localized development? In contrast to US cities’ typical approaches to transportation – bigger, faster, and more complicated – Barcelonca is implementing “superblocks,” which are typically nine-block neighborhoods designed to be more self-contained, socially connected, and pedestrian-friendly. Here is the link to a series of essays about them:

    The talk left me feeling a bit disjointed about where I fit in as somebody about to start a formal study of urban planning. This is saying the obvious, but to become a part of almost any group, you need to ascribe to the written and unwritten ideology. Is there a way to make a living, hopefully a comfortable one, while disagreeing with the mainstream ideology? Or am I being too greedy?

  68. JMG, thanks for the lead on crop circles last month.

    @packshaud, thanks for recommending Patrick Harpur. My library did not have the book you recommended available, but it did have The Philosopher’s Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination (wonderful book that is really helping me put current events into perspective) and The Secret Tradition of the Soul (which I will start as soon as I finish the other.) I will borrow Daimonic Reality as soon as it becomes available.

  69. Ynnothir, hmm! Since both squirrel populations face the same selective pressure, and squirrels are quite intelligent enough to learn behaviors as well as having them evolve by raw natural selection, this doesn’t surprise me, but it’s good to hear.

    Carlos, stay as debt free as you possibly can. If you buy a house, pay it off completely as quickly as possible. Then look for investments that involve actually putting money into something that generates value, rather than buying paper you think will increase in price over time.

    David BTL, the novels of William Morris are also well worth including; he knew most of the early Theosophists in Britain, and The Well at the World’s End especially is an initiatory text of rather some potency.

    Chris U, the core of a Green New Deal that actually did something would be twofold. The first would be a sharp improvement in energy efficiency. We waste fantastic amounts of energy in the US, and everyone would be better off if we wasted less. All the simple, standard conservation methods would be important, and there would need to be solid incentives for landlords to put them in rental units and for businesses to apply them to nonresidential buildings as well. The second core element would be using more locally produced low-intensity energy — solar water heaters are of course the classic example, as putting those in nationwide would shave 10% to 15% off our nation’s energy use at one stroke, but there’s a lot more where that came from. Steps of the sort I’ve just sketched out could cut this nation’s carbon output in half without inconveniencing anyone, and would also involve creating hundreds of thousands of working class jobs installing solar water heaters, putting in insulation, etc. Those are the core elements; other details could be worked out if I had a modest grant and some staff. 😉

  70. @Christopher Kinyon, I stumbled across a wonderful book on Forest management in a second hand book store about two weeks back. “The Healing Power of Forests : The Philosophy Behind Restoring Earth’s Balance with Native Trees” by Akira Miyawaki and Elgene O Box.

    This book get the big issues. It not only argues about the practical factors of forests but also defends us keeping and restoring forests simply because of what they are. It also helps that the opening chapter reads more like ‘The Limits to growth’ or ‘Overshoot’ as they talk in depth about population issues and the fall of empire due to resource limitations.

  71. I don’t believe in Darwinian evolution, although life did unfold somehow…but adhering to evolution or not isn’t particularly necessary to the question of just-so stories. It doesn’t really matter nearly so much as a lot of people think how life got here.

    Just follow nature. Observe nature. Watch nature. Learn from nature.

    What I heard was another dreary victimhood narrative, much of which just isn’t true. It isn’t legal to give women less pay or less vacation. It may happen, but not often or there would be so many lawsuits it would strangle the legal system.

    What does happen is that men and women are different, emotionally, physically and mentally and make a lot of different choices.

    Yesterday I was at a meditation group and I heard a lot of complaints from the women about men. And one of the women said she didn’t like her race. (Go ahead, guess.) And a man piped up he didn’t like his gender. Well, well, well, I saw red and while I mostly successfully keep my thoughts to myself about their crazy propagandized beliefs, I gave them an earful. I said I simply would not tolerate racism or gender hatred, and that man would never dare say what he said regarding men about women. Boy, that shut him up as he obviously never thought of that. Likewise, I said that openly disparaging a race is going backward and is simply racism and will get the usual result.

    I’d say the laws we have now are about right. You can’t seriously discriminate against women at the workplace. But where has this utterly bonkers idea come from that if there is any difference in outcome there has been wrongdoing? You know, forcing outcomes is oppression. And since men and women are different, we will never get equal outcomes.

    I don’t know about liberal whites, but if you observe nature there are two genders. Different bodies, different hormones, different strengths and very different interests and priorities!

    Doesn’t matter if it was evolution or a 6-day creation, if you ponder nature after watching 50 nature documentaries, you can ask yourself, does nature waste her time? Does nature do something less efficient in its promotion of life? And the answer is no.

    To have the two genders be actually the same is an incredible waste of opportunity to spread talents within a species.

    Oh, geez, and at the event last night something was said about male violence, and I pointed out that men are going to be more violent because they have so much more testosterone, and she thought that was bizarre. Among biologists, testosterone is called the aggression hormone. Good lord. Hey, I heard a funny story about a woman who wanted to transition to a man and was doing a lot of bodybuilding. To that end, she began to take male levels of testosterone. Her sex drive became so appallingly demanding it drove her nuts and she asked her (male) trainer, How can you stand it?

    The longer I live the more obvious it is that men and women, boys and girls, are very, very, very different from one another. And yes, you always have some 5 or 10 percent who are much closer to the attributes of the other gender.
    They are so obviously and consistently different, that you have to be willfully out of touch with reality to deny it. Which is not a problem for a disturbingly high percentage of people.

    If the coming fascism is run by the left as now appears likely, some science departments will go down in flames because the biological basis of the sex differences has been very well studied.

  72. Aged spirit,

    The video codes have indeed all found good homes! I would be happy to tell you a bit more about hugelkultur, although I am by no means an expert.

    I would say that one thing that differentiates hugelkultur from soil that simply has a high organic matter content is that the hugel mound is above grade (higher than the ground level; some people do do them as buried wood flush with the ground but you lose many of the cool features—however, they are more inconspicuous that way). And if you want to completely eliminate irrigation, it has to be really big, like 6 feet or so, in order to get enough wood core beneath the soil to hold sufficient water. It will sink a little every year as the wood decays. Hugels last longer in a cold climate since microbiota aren’t as active for as much of the year but they work in hot climates too. This means that big, solid logs are superior to brush or chipped wood for building a hugel. The productivity increases afte the first year or two once the wood really has a chance to start decaying and holding water. The mound also needs to be mulched to retain water. The other thing about it being above grade is that it allows you to take advantage of microclimates. So the southern exposure of the mound will be warmer and the northern exposure will be cooler and shadier, for instance. You can also make a “sun scoop” which will allow you to grow things in a higher zone without losing them to frost. You can play with different orientations to control the flow of wind, water, and heat through the landscape.

    Here is an article about it:

    There is also a forum dedicated t hugelkultur at Permies:

  73. I’m old enough to remember the ’73 and ’79 oil crises. Everyone thought the world was going to fundamentally change and the time of happy motoring was over. Well the North Sea and the North Slope came on line and bought us all a generation of abundant oil. Around 2000 people stared to get concerned again and that started all the talk about Peak Oil. Well what do you know fracking came to the rescue and the would is once again awash in oil. So my question today is, “How much time will the fracking boom buy us?

  74. I’ve been thinking a lot that everyone has a religion, whether they’re aware of it or not. Years ago, I talked to a colleague’s wife at a Christmas party. She said she met her husband at the college. They were part of a group of friends. Over time, the group coupled up and eventually the two of them were the only ones uncoupled, so they started dating. The wife thought that it was destiny, or the universe, or God’s work, that the two of them were brought together. They married and had a child. He wasn’t bonding to the child and she worried. She talked to me at a Christmas party about her worries.

    Both I and my colleague were software engineers. I told his wife that sometimes computer people would unconsciously worship computers, and try to become like them. They’d become emotionless and entirely logical. I suffered from that too, and it had been part of my recent divorce. Computers are so foreign and strange that they are as strange as gods, and people unconsciously imitate them, as a form of worship.

    I heard later that he bonded with his child. When unconscious religion becomes conscious, it’s easy to break out of.

  75. Re the reading room idea

    Wow. First, thank you (again) to everyone who made suggestions of any kind. I am writing all of this down.

    And specifically:

    @ packshaud

    Understood. The idea of a physical locus, however, is strong for me. As you point out, awareness (and physical protection of many kinds) would be needed. In this part of the country, and at this time, I think we’re ok re some of the dangers you mentioned.

    @ Prizm

    My vision, such as it is at this point, would be to begin with a small rented space at first. Of course, before that, this whole idea would have to get off the ground. I’ve another eleven months on city council before I’ll have free time to speak of, but this isn’t something thrown together overnight either. Some patient planning is in order, anyway.

    I seem to recall that you are in WI. Northeast, by chance?

    @ JMG

    Thank you, John, for that idea. That framework meshes very well with what I was trying to describe. The Two Rivers branch of the Ecosophical Society of Wisconsin has a nice ring to it.

    I suppose it would be easier to find a group to get something like this kicked off more readily in a larger metro area, but then again, I didn’t think I’d ever get a gaming group together either. Once I actually talked about it, folks came out of the woodwork. Perhaps something similar will happen here.

    I just need to balance between not getting too far ahead of myself, but also not just sit around thinking about it.

  76. Esteban, well, to begin with, different Druids say different things; the running joke is that if you ask three Druids the same question, you’ll get at least five different answers. Some would agree with Maitre Phillippe; others would suggest that it’s more complex than that. Myself, I tend to think that we’ll find out when we reach the point of spiritual evolution when we can assess our own previous lives, and until that point arrives, it’s enough to know that your actions have serious consequences in this and future lives.

    Athena, as we say in occultism, TSW. (If you haven’t encountered this before, the clean version is “this stuff works.”) Focused hatred can indeed have nasty effects, though the haters face considerable blowback as well. This is one of the reasons that I consider the daily practice of a banishing ritual to be an essential part of any form of magical training, because other people’s hatred is one of the things it protects you against. There are other methods — quite a lot of them in Western magical writings — but daily banishing is what’s always worked for me.

    Temporaryreality, I’m not a handcrafter — one of the neurological issues that comes with my Aspergers syndrome is dyspraxia, better known as being clumsy as frack. So I put my creativity into things that don’t require fine motor control (which I don’t have). So I haven’t really looked into this. I know there’s a lot of it out there in various magical and spiritual traditions, just as there’s a lot of connection between spirituality and dance (something else I can’t do), but that’s about all I know.

    David BTL, I’m sure they can beat solar at the fine art of vacuuming up government grants and then going broke…

    Aged Spirit, you’re welcome and thank you!

    RMK, i don’t use stock formulaic patterns such as character arcs in my writing. I find an interesting character, lead them (or simply watch them go) into an interesting and challenging situation, and let them find their own way out of it. To my taste — and of course you’re welcome to disagree — this makes for a more interesting story than imposing a fixed pattern on the character’s development. As for common lies, well, “progress will take care of that” is the one that comes first to mind for me…

    Pogonip, you get one cute kitten link per open post. If I start getting bombarded with cute kitten links I may change my mind and go back to banning them absolutely.

    Christopher, most of what I read online is news; my other reading is mostly books by dead people.

    Nastarana, yes, I saw that, and I think you’re right that it’s a game-changer.

    David BTL, I’ve seen the same thing. Libraries have become the enemies of books. Thanks for the link!

    John, Popper’s analysis strikes me as considerably more useful in practical terms than any of its proposed replacements. It’s the classic fallacy of progress to assume that something must be truer because it’s been more recently proposed!

    MK, I deliberately didn’t deal with the abortion issue in Retrotopia, because I wanted to focus on other issues. Education in the Lakeland Republic is organized on a community basis, with oversight by the national government only in those matters deemed essential to public welfare, so what children are and aren’t taught about sexuality depends on where they live and what school they attend, of course.

    Christoph, I’m not familiar with it.

  77. Do you know of a low-energy way to protect books from humidity and mildew? I have thought about the preservation of books in a sort of archival way, not in the form of a reading room or private library, and this question has always bothered me. My understanding is that the gilt edges you see on deluxe book editions was the historic way to protect the paper from moisture entering in. I would be very curious to hear if you or any readers here know of traditional building methods developed in damp places such as England or Ireland that helped to protect books and documents from moisture and mildew in monasteries, manor houses, or university libraries.

  78. Evolution seems to be coming up a lot here. I apologise if this line of questioning seems aggressive, but I think it might help me understand your position on a number of issues a bit better. So a couple of questions, if I may, about your views on evolution.

    First, do you mean the same thing when you discuss the evolution that souls pass through in the context of western occultism and the biological evolution you describe as having no direction or goal? Or might we be better off distinguishing between the two concepts?

    The second question is only distantly related to the first: A naive interpretation of evolution and the ‘raspberry jam’ principle would imply that virtuous action confers an evolutionary advantage, all else being equal. That would lead me to very different conclusions about the nature of evolution from those you put forward, and I’m wondering where our understandings diverge.

  79. Pogonip:

    I volunteer for our local historical society and in the collection are a number of 19th-century schoolbooks which include selections from Ovid, Shakespeare, plenty of Greek and Roman mythology and a hefty roster of the great writers of the English language. They also include a good deal of Latin – not instruction, but phrases which, I have to assume, were widely understood since little explanation is given. These texts were used for older children and young-ish teenagers in a rural, agrarian part of Vermont, as unlike an urban center of learning like Boston or Princeton as you’re likely to find; clearly it was considered important for children to be exposed to great literature and ideas in order to be considered educated, even the children of farmers and tradesmen. It’s always jarring to compare the quality of textbooks intended for rural 19th-century farm children to the insipid reading lists at the local high school in 2019; on the other hand, the kids do seem to be well schooled in diversity and activism these days.

    Just Another Green Rage Monster:

    Not even Thoreau is O.K. anymore: “Students at Amherst College in Massachusetts convened in April to ruminate on whether or not the teachings of one of history’s most influential environmentalists remain relevant, given that he is a “dead white man” and “Thoreau has not escaped criticism from social justice advocates, despite his advocacy for the abolition of slavery and his authorship of “Civil Disobedience.”

  80. Carlos – Re: investing

    First of all, be skeptical of all investment advice you get. Some “advisers” have a direct financial interest in steering you one way or another, others just want the comfort of knowing that somebody else makes the same choices they do. That said: the biggest threat to your wealth is your health, and the biggest threat to your health and wealth is your diet. You can grow both sick and poor at the same time by eating the foods that are promoted by commercial interests. So, invest in learning how your body works, and what it needs to work well. Then, invest in the kitchen hardware that you need to prepare your highly nutritious diet for yourself. And the most important of these is probably a good knife, for chopping vegetables (onions, carrots, potatoes, etc.) It can’t have a serrated edge, or be otherwise asymmetrical, or it will cut crooked. Then, learn how to sharpen it without grinding it down any more than necessary, and it’ll last for decades.

    As for housing, Right Now is probably a terrible time to purchase a house, because low interest rates lead to high sales prices, while high interest rates force the prices down. “Buy now, while rates are low” is pure Realtor salesmanship nonsense. And if you’re going to buy, buy something you control, not a condo where the board can decide how much to assess you for a roof or sewer replacement, and where vacant units concentrate the “common costs” onto the occupied, and where a plumbing problem in the unit upstairs becomes a water-damage problem in your unit. Yes, rent is expensive, but that’s because renting is a good way to live right now.

    But, if you’re determined to park cash in financial instruments, I like Series-I US Savings Bonds, of which the interest rate is adjusted every six months to track inflation. You don’t have to worry about getting 3% now and for the next 30 years, when inflation goes to 10%, or to -10%, in two years. (Negative-interest bonds are, amazingly enough, a real option. You’re simply paying a fee not to have piles of cash under the mattress to be stolen.)

  81. @Christopher L Hope

    Can I suggest Meaningness by David Chapman? It’s a combination hypertext book and (meta-)blog on how we (as individuals and as a culture) think about questions of meaning and value.

    While Chapman is an atheist Tantric Buddhist, and this informs his writings on meaning, I find his work meshes nicely with JMG’s. He labels himself a “meta-rationalist,” and his most recent work is about how systematic rationality fails to describe the actual world, let alone give meaning to it. (“The barbarism of reflection,” as Giambattista Vico put it.)

    Three ideas of his I’m particularly fond of:

    (1) “Wrong-way reductions”: when a systematic solution is force-fitted onto a problem in a way that makes the problem even harder to solve than it was without the system.

    (2) His half-joking remark that “we should all be much less ethical.” In other words, we’ve over-moralized, treating too many things as a matter of ethics.

    (3) His taxonomy of the different modes of meaning tried so far: the choiceless mode, the systematic mode, the countercultural mode, the subcultural mode, and the atomized mode. (I think he’s on much shakier ground with his hope that these will be replaced with a “fluid mode,” but that’s dispensable as a lingering belief in Progress.)

    His analysis of the current culture war as the last gasps of a fight between a monist counterculture (the hippies) and a dualist counterculture (the religious right) is particularly fascinating, since he sees the heart of the fight as being about boundaries. Thus monist Left hate the idea of a border wall, consider a fetus to be part of the mother’s body, and tend to think all religions are basically the same. The dualist Right love the Wall, consider a fetus to be a separate person from the mother, and divide religions into Us and Them. Thus these battles are going to be fierce from the symbolic value alone, before getting to any other considerations.

    So, that’s my recommendation.

  82. David BTL,

    I’m actually in Northeastern Minnesota, about 90 miles North of Duluth. I’ve been thinking a lot about relocating to Wisconsin, most likely in the Milwaukee area because of the affordability of houses there and the job opportunities but I’m not making any concrete steps towards that until I’m able to get my wife in the US, which is looking more and more likely will happen around August/September. Once that major goal is accomplished, I’m definitely looking at making some changes in my life to start pursuing things which are meaningful, which your reading room idea definitely is something which fits my idea of meaning. While I may have slightly different visions for such a thing, I’m happy to compromise and help as the opportunity will be a great learning experience and heaven knows what other opportunities it may open up.

    In the meantime, I don’t know what I could do to start helping with the reading room idea but if given some direction, I’d be glad to start.

  83. Hello everyone. First I want to thank you all, and our host for the great discussions I have been following here for almost a year now. The Ecosophian attitude is one that resonates very well with me. You all give me something to look forward to every week. There’s not much else out there in internet-discussion-land that has anything like the independent, rational, but spiritual, and open-minded intelligence I find here.

    I would like to add to the discussion of abortion brought up by Merle Langlois. This is a topic that has been a primary concern of mine for most of my life, partly because I never wanted to have children, but I do like to have sexual intercourse, and partly because I feel that a constantly growing human population is a recipe for disaster.

    Why does our society want to expand beyond the limits of Earth to support us? What drives that self-destructive urge? I spent a lot of time researching cultures of the past and found that most cultures have been very aware of the limits to growth and often took very radical steps to control human numbers. The anthropologist Marvin Harris describes the widespread practice of infanticide in his book “Cannibals and Kings” and there are many other sources. I know that I am here today because my ancestors knew that they could only raise a certain number of children and killed other infants so that those who became my forebears could survive. In that context, modern medical abortion, especially early term abortion “before quickening” seems like an absolute blessing.

    That said, I really hate how our stupid political system uses abortion and women’s reproductive rights as a red flag to polarize and stimulate conflict. For many years I held my nose and voted for corporate Democrats solely because I feared the loss of reproductive rights. No more. It’s a con game.

    I also believe that abortion is truly a sacred act that must be done with great respect for life. In my researches, I looked for other approaches to abortion that are more respectful of the spirit than the purely personal-privacy-medical-decision stance that pro-choice people promote. I found many examples of ways to offer appreciation and thanks to the aborted embryo or fetus, from the Japanese Jizo dolls to Polynesian Tiki spirits. I created a website to collect all this material, and if you are interested, you’ll find it at:

    I do hope some of you will find this useful. I have not had much interest in it because the pro-choice community is put-off by the spiritual approach, and religious (Christian) people I have tried to show it to find it outrageous. I am not trying to be outrageous, just trying to find a new/old way to approach the issue of abortion. I was always as careful as I could be with contraception during my reproductive years, but I still managed to get pregnant twice. Both times I had a very early term abortion – before 7 weeks. I have no regrets.

  84. Warren wrote:

    “I do understand the desire to dismiss these sorts of arguments. After all talk of fetal person-hood does seem like a lot of high minded philosophical stuff, while concerns about crime and broken homes are more flesh-and-blood problems that visibly play out in the real world.”

    The false contrast being drawn here is both ironic and very telling. What else is a fetus but flesh-and-blood in the most literal sense??? That is why pro-lifers insist on being so “extreme” about this issue: The fetus is every bit as much a flesh-and-blood human being as any one of us participating on this thread. As such, destroying it is very much a flesh-and-blood issue.

    And insofar as there may be doubts about this in the very early stages of fetal development, the Precautionary Principle applies: In the absence of definitive knowledge that it is NOT a human being, it is wantonly reckless to willfully destroy it. It would be like hunting in the woods for deer, and shooting at something moving in the woods even though you are uncertain whether it is a deer or a fellow hunter.

    The certainty that you are NOT dealing with an ensouled human being ends once the egg is fertilized by the sperm; after that point, it very well might be an ensouled human being, and I would argue that you can make a strong case that it IS ensouled at that point since its development forward is propelled by a new and distinct animating life force that has its seat in the developing organism itself, and no longer in that of either of the parents.

    Also, Langlois, based on your logic, why should we not just put all the millions of already-born children who live in misery and destitution out of their misery by rounding them up and killing them?

  85. Do I get a cute kitten link too? 😉

    On a more serious note, I’m done with industrial medicine. My mom had a gallbladder attack, and the assessment gave her exceptionally severe pancreatitis, worse than the gallstone. She had surgery to remove it a few days ago, and it took more than a day before she could do anything past lying on the couch. Even that required opioids, due to the pain.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back though is that due to the history of heart disease on my mom’s side of the family, she’s been assigned a statin, and me and my siblings will likely be told to start taking them soon too.

    So, I thus have a question for everyone here: what sources do you recommend for looking into alternatives?

  86. Recently, I saw a very simple map of the USA and Mexico, with a line labeled “Wall” on the border between them. The whole top of Mexico was further labeled “Drug Cartels”. I remember your posts in the Arch Druid Report about gangs from Mexico raiding the US in the future. Combine that with the movie “No Country For Old Men”, and half the US population being against building a Wall, and money for building one being hard to get (the Pentagon recently diverted some money from Afghanistan to the Wall – which upset the Democrats), and the more I thought about it, the more this idea sounded good and doable. Evidently, one of Trump’s campaign promises was to get out of the various wars that the US has been fighting in other parts of the world? So why not bring the troops home to defend the Border? A “Wall” of soldiers along the Border. Now the idea gets a wee bit tongue-in-cheek. Having our soldiers in the US would mean their money would be spent in the US, not in foreign countries. For example, sex workers would make more money, and they would spend their money here. After all, where there are soldiers, there are sex workers. That is just one small example. The soldiers along the border could be taught Masonry. And part of their Masonry schooling would be to lay brick for the Wall. So the brick-making industry would also gain. And the soldiers would learn a skill that would be useful for rebuilding America’s infrastructure, which is in pretty bad shape. The U.S.Navy would no longer patrol the South China Sea, and therefore would not get run over by slow moving foreign oil tankers. They would help the Coast Guard protect the thousands of miles of unguarded US coastlines. Likewise, if the Air Force is back home, they can fly over the borders of the US, to help spot intruders, and invaders. If push came to shove, and the US went to war with Mexico, then when it was over, Mexico would be the 51st to 60th states of America, and that would make no more Mexican “illegal aliens” since they would be Americans anyway. And a Wall between the souther border of Mexico and Guatemala would be much shorter, so it wouldn’t cost as much. So in the end, Trump would make his campaign promises come true, such as getting our troops home, improving the economy, building a Wall, and, of course, Making America Great…. Again! Like I said, some tongue-in-cheek humour to brighten the day. Warmest Regards and Best Wishes.

  87. Apologies, Warren – I just read your post more carefully and see now that we are actually on the same side.

  88. I finally figured out something that’s bothered me for a while: Why do so many upper class people freak out about cigarettes? The answer was always “it’s something those people do, but there’s more: it’s also shadow projection. A lot of upper class liberals feel guilty about air pollution, and so they freak out about it. Of course, they don’t target the actual source of it (cars, oil fumes, coal power plants, etc), but rather they pick something else that they can freak out about without needing to worry about their own lifestyles.

  89. @DavidBTL: For the reading room, I’ll put in a good word for The Outsider, by Colin Wilson; Where the Wasteland Ends, by Theodore Roszak, and God is Red, by Vine Deloria Jr. Some works of ecopsychology might also be good.

    James Hillman does a good job, IMHO, of drawing out the deep lessons of mythology, but I also find him grumpy and self-contradictory.

    And for fiction, I’d recommend “The Book of the New Sun,” by Gene Wolfe, and The Evenmere Chronicles, by James Stoddard. Both of those do a good job of laying out a Neoplatonic cosmos.

  90. Robert Gibson –

    Re Childhood’s End and AC Clarke – seems to me that Clarke came of literary age in the late 50’s through the 60’s when mystic/spiritual-themed fiction became more prevalent in the SF genre. (Eg.,Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land, Herbert’s Dune). Tolkien became very popular at this time as well. The problem I’ve had with Clarke is the same prob I’ve had whenever what is essentially a spiritual concept is filtered through a materialistic lens – it’s a wholly misguided “let’s bring heaven down to earth” effort, and in reality, if not Clarke’s novels, it results in disaster.

    In both Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood’s End, the bringers of heaven-to-earth are aliens, who, being aliens “from above” are the modern material versions of the gods, here to social-engineer us into an evolved ubermensch reality. There’s no religion/spirituality involved – recall that in Childhood’s End, the aliens basically demand the end of all religions. In that novel, all the children become ubermensch, the evolved elite ones, at which point there’s no need for humanity anymore. For me, that’s a little too redolent of the 20th centuries’s great social-engineering attempts to create the “New Man”, all of which resulted in millions of deaths. Clarke seems to go one better here – he’s saying that the necessary cost of the New Evolved Man is the death of all of humanity. Yow.

    So yeah, a mystical/spiritual concept, corrupted by a materialistic perspective – even if it is presented in a compelling fictionalized form – is disturbing.

  91. David BTL

    Re the esoteric reading room. What a great idea. I hope you are able to pull it off. I would be happy to buy a membership if and when one is offered.

    Temporary reality
    Re craft and spirituality. If I remember correctly what little I know about Navajo craftsmen and women. They always leave a little error in the piece (pottery, weaving, silver work) so that spirit can escape. I heard this a long time ago and it may not be correct, but the idea that spirit informs craft work is an important one.

  92. Thanks for the relaxed cute policy! I’ll save the excellent emergency personnel of Rock County, Somewhere, USA for next month. (No kittens in that one, but you’ll like McGruff the Crime Dog.)

    Also thanks to those who answered my oddball question.

  93. JMG,

    I do like that more fluid or spontaneous approach. It’s a fun way to let the writer learn along the way rather than have the plan already in mind. Plus it probably allows more flexibility in the character’s possible actions than if you already had decided where you want them to go. That does kind of go with one of my other takeaways from the books, that the character development/inner journey and the environment/external journey create each other (Sound similar to one of your blogs? I think so. “The Worlds We Live In” one particularly). Which makes sense I suppose, thoughts and feelings lead to actions. And our thoughts and feelings about progress impact how we act toward those things that we think progress will take care of. Our neglect arises from our thoughts and feelings about progress, even if we’re not conscious of them. Our neglect changes our environment and our environment doesn’t just take it (because systems). But if we pay enough attention – to what nature is telling us and to what other people have to say, especially if they disagree with us, (and books and all written works can be ways of directing attention toward what we need to pay more attention to), maybe we can find the truth and how to act so we dont destroy ourselves. Wishful thinking maybe, but worth spreading and I see that as the reason for this blog, if in part. (I’ll clarify that I’m reading writing books not just to understand novels, but all written word and maybe more about human nature itself).

    One thing I also noticed lately is that written works, created or not through plan or spontaneity, if they are really good, have no extraneous details. Not really anyway. Writing creates connections and reinforces ideas. “Stay on topic, make everything relate.” Common teacher chastisement for essay writing. Random information either stands out or is forgotten. Our brain doesn’t like unnecessary information though. If it’s not connected, it’s out the window. Or is it? What do you think of this? Does a good book give every detail a purpose, even unintentionally? You say you let your characters sort of blossom on their own, does that leave room for something not related to their journey? Or does seeing how they will act/react, letting them tell you, ensure that things are connected without you having to really consider if it is?

    “here’s the meaning you thought your actions had, here’s the meaning your failure has just revealed to you, and by comparing them you might be able to do better next time.” – from your Adrift in an Airship post. I think this is reminiscent of a positive character arc. Those you mention that beat the “this is the one and only way” could be any of the arcs really. You dont need the words for the process to exist beyond your notion. Writing reflects and interprets life and in doing so, can have an impact on how the readers see things, if they are willing to see.

    – RMK

  94. Rita, exactly. To qualify as a scientific hypothesis, a statement has to be falsifiable — there has to be some way that it can be disproven if it’s wrong. Most of the “evolutionary psychology” out there fails that test. As for Black Athena, interesting. I haven’t read it, but I do know the evidence for ancient Egypt having a very large influence on Greece in the Archaic period is very strong.

    Eric, west of the 110th meridian is not someplace I’d want to be in North America any time in the next 400 years. Inland from the coast, you’re looking at extreme desertification — think Saharan conditions — and those coastal areas which are inhabitable can expect mass migration from Japan and other east Asian countries by sea (the currents make this very easy. Your best bet in North America is east of the 95th meridian west, north of the 35th parallel, and at least 50 feet above sea level if you’re close to salt water.

    Varun, fascinating. Nationalism really does seem to be on the upswing worldwide.

    Jenxyz, then by all means find out.

    MichaeV, delighted to hear it. I’m also glad to see more sanity about fusion — that’s become one of the great money sinks of contemporary science, and there’s so much useful research that’s not being done because fusion research gets the money!

    Rodger, over the next few decades it’ll wobble up and down. Tariffs could give the US industry a new lease on life, for a while. A growing number of urbanites are doing without cars, especially young people, so it’s a shrinking market in the long run; even so, for the next few decades I expect modest contraction but no obvious shifts.

    NHan, sooner or later US cities are going to have to start moving toward something closer to the Barcelona model. In your place, if I was interested in a career in urban design, I’d get the necessary degrees if I could do so without going into debt, and then start writing books and articles criticizing the “growth at all costs” mentality and offering alternatives. Become the go-to person for people who want something other than the status quo. If you make your case well enough and cultural fashions swing the right way, you end up as a well-paid consultant or a professor at a university that wants to catch the next wave, and you’re fine.

    Clark, you’re most welcome.

    Ross, I remember both of those too, and I recall painfully well the way that the same self-defeating inability to think in cycles crippled and destroyed the peak oil movement. We’ve got a few years yet — say, three to five — before depletion in the shale fields, together with depletion of other oil sources more generally, puts us back in panic mode. That, too, will end with another short-term fix…but it’ll run out sooner than shale, just as shale ran out sooner than the post-1970s fixes.

    Tomriverwriter, I’d tend to agree. Human beings are naturally religious; if they don’t worship deities, then they’ll find something else to worship, and most of the alternatives are considerably worse.

    David BTL, au contraire, in a smaller urban area rental costs are lower and you can also start small, with a modestly sized group, and grow slowly enough that the process doesn’t damage the project. So I think you’re in exactly the right place.

    Samurai_47,one crucial requirement is good air circulation, so dampness can’t build up. I don’t know a lot more than that, but it shouldn’t be too hard to research some 18th century libraries and see how they did it.

    Christopher, 1) the two concepts are different, in that the evolution of consciousness is cumulative from life to life, while biological evolution is occasionally cumulative but more often discards as much as it adds. Different words would be useful, but the English language is kind of a blunt instrument when talking about spirituality.

    2) You’re neglecting the point that souls don’t hang around at the human level indefinitely. At any given time you’ve got a certain number of souls incarnate as human beings, some of them fairly recent graduates from animal incarnations, some of them more or less in the middle of their human stage, some of them getting ready to go on. Those who figure out the Raspberry Jam Principle and use it to their advantage, by that fact, are speeding up the point at which they won’t be incarnating as human beings any more, and so their influence on the human community tends to be self-limiting.

    Will J, stay away from statins at all costs. They cause diabetes in about a quarter of the people who take them, and that’s only one of their downsides. They’re very popular among doctors right now because pharmaceutical companies give big kickbacks to doctors who prescribe them — and why not? Two chronic illnesses, and thus two steady streams of money from patients whose illnesses will be “managed” but never cured, is ever so much better than one…

    Suzy, I’m not sure how tongue in cheek that has to be… 😉

  95. Will J, I think you’ve just landed one square on target. Thank you.

    Pogonip, you’re welcome.

    RMK, whether or not every detail contributes to the story varies from genre to genre, and in some cases from story to story; there are stories where the odd little extraneous details are essential to the charm, and others that get their power from the fact that not one word is wasted. The more intensity you want, the more unnecessary details you prune; the more relaxed you want the reader to be, the more things can stray. Tolkien was quite good at this; he liked to alternate periods of spare precise writing for tense scenes with periods of more colorful prose for relaxed scenes.

  96. Dear SuzyCreamcheeze, this is from the site, run by a former CIA guy and Trumpist:

    Apart from the Army Corps of Engineers,[3] each military service has its own major engineering organization ideally suited to creating — very quickly and far less expensively than any contracted effort — a series of defensive physical barriers across the southern border combined with active military patrols able to totally deny free passage to anyone and anything. From the US Army Corps of Engineers to the Service engineering units there are within DoD no fewer than 15,000 immediately assignable uniformed and civilian engineers who would be supported by logisticians and others as needed, and another 15,000 infantry and aviation personnel highly skilled at the interdiction of individual guerrilla fighters – or illegal aliens and contraband smugglers.

    The money Trump was requesting was clearly a payoff to some friend of his.

  97. JMG, I know you’ve written about The Long Descent ad nauseam, but as a (software) engineer I can’t help pondering what technologies (as we understand the word today) will survive into the next 50-300 years. It seems:

    * Cars and car infrastructure: not likely, very dependent on cheap oil, complex supply chains and solvent governments.
    * Heavy industrial vehicles (tractors, trucks, excavators, combines, container ships, etc.): possibly will survive for quite some time when people realize our complete dependence on these machines and the “deplorables” who man them. Bio-diesel might be a stop-gap.
    * Personal Computers: mmm… maybe something simple like a Raspberry Pi. Depends on what you mean by a computer. The Ancient Greeks made “computers”, technically speaking.
    * 3d printers: likely? 3d printers are very simple machines that just run a list of [xyz] coordinates (g-code). Materials are varied (petroleum-based plastic, corn-based plastic, ceramic, metal powder). They can run off-line or on solar power.
    * The Internet: not likely, at least as we know it today. The Internet today is highly centralized on AWS (Amazon) and a few other big providers, dependent on near 100% uptime. Peer to peer and decentralized local intranets (i.e. the original Internet) may survive, however.
    * Subways: not likely. They’re dependent on a reliable grid and tunnel systems prone to flooding. Every city has unique train sets and in some cases, non standard gauge. Even now, “meltdowns” are commonplace.
    * Streetcars and buses: more likely to survive as they’re simpler than a subway and more flexible.
    * Freight and passenger rail: likely. Trains on standard gauge rail can run on diesel, overhead electric wires, steam or some other power.

    Sorry for the long list. Thoughts?

  98. @Scotlyn re: evolutionary explanations of women’s things.

    I just finished, and highly recommend:
    _The Case of the Female Orgasm_ : Bias in the Science of Evolution
    by Elisabeth A. Lloyd

    She presents 21 explanations given for why females have orgasms*,
    and shows how so many scientists just are not thinking clearly, or even
    citing clearly the available evidence, as all but one of the explanations
    try to explain female orgasms as evolutionary adaptation.

    *most, but not all – which is surprisingly ignored in many of the evolutionary accounts.

  99. “Will J, stay away from statins at all costs. They cause diabetes in about a quarter of the people who take them, and that’s only one of their downsides. They’re very popular among doctors right now because pharmaceutical companies give big kickbacks to doctors who prescribe them — and why not? Two chronic illnesses, and thus two steady streams of money from patients whose illnesses will be “managed” but never cured, is ever so much better than one…”

    Diabetes also runs in my family, so I’ve taken the time to look into the research, and from some studies I’ve seen I think the risk is greater than one in four. Certainly for me it would be…

    “Varun, fascinating. Nationalism really does seem to be on the upswing worldwide.”

    Is this perhaps evidence for whoever was discussing planet Bacchus on Magic Monday? Bacchus would be a planet of intense emotion, and nationalism is often associated with fairly strong emotion.

  100. JMG,

    Oooh, I like this. The variation, and the reasoning behind it. Nice.

    I suppose that’s similar to how people differentiate personalities as well. They say some people are more direct and their aim in conversation is often to get the point across fast and not waste time, others like to connect with people and tell stories and talk forever and maybe never get to the point. Recognizing the strengths/benefits and weaknesses of both approaches and being able to switch them up is not only important for communication with different people in person, but in writing as well.

    Balance in all things. 🙂

    – RMK

  101. Whew. I’m way behind, but it’s for a good, nay, delightful reason!

    I hope nobody throws anything at me for bringing up the Game of Thrones TV show, but I read the books and I wondered if the show let Tyrion make his great rouse-the-troops speech. The enemy, whoever they were, was steaming up the river towards King’s Landing and Tyrion’s speech went something like “They’re coming because they want to destroy our town, enslave our families, kick our puppies, and barbecue our kittens, so follow me and let’s go kill those [fooftawoos]!*”. Now, that’s a darn good speech.

    *Archdruid-acceptable substitute for original word

  102. @David BTL–
    The reading room sounds like a great idea–
    As for names, how about;
    Hermetic Order of Green Wizards All Refusing Thaumaturgical Sorcery–
    Or “HOGWARTS” for short…. Darn, that one’s taken 😉

    Seriously, better to pick something as boring as possible, like
    ‘Occult History and Research Society.’ or., ‘Hermetic Occult Understanding & Research Society (HOURS).

    IMHO calling such an organization ‘The New Alexandria Library’ invites trouble–probably not now, but if occult studies go out of fashion, there’s a risk that a name like that could bring out the torches.

    If possible, you may want to get two copies of each volume and store one of them in an unannounced, fireproof, inconvenient and private place.

    @Chris Kinyon–

    How about ‘Tree Crops – A Permanent Agriculture by J. Russell Smith— Free to download;

  103. Thanks for the open forum, JMG.

    Any updates on the timeline for the “Love in the Ruins” contest?

    Thanks again!

  104. Can you please point me to the place where I can find more information about solve coagula ideea?

    Also what are the best books if I want to find backround about Roman magic and Ancient magic?

    Thanks keep up the good work!

  105. @ samurai_47

    monasteries etc kept important documents in a muniment room – which was generally indirectly heated by the kitchen fires, later, people heated libraries directly with stoves and fireplaces (as well as the heat, wood and coal are very drying when burnt). Of course, being close to a major fire hazard had its downsides as well…

    People also stored their records in natural cave systems – some are naturally well ventilated and very dry even in otherwise damp climates. In climates with periods of low humidity, for long term storage, people sometimes sealed things into ceramic pots with wax sealed lids. If you could protect the book from smoke with a wax sealed leather wrapper, perhaps you could leave a tiny candle stub in a cup in the container before you sealed it to burn off oxygen and kill any critters (this works when storing buckets of grain).

  106. Hello JMG and all,

    This is not so much a question as it is feedback.

    I have to say that regular banishing, meditation, and divination have resulted in improvements in self-awareness that I can nearly literally “see” my relationship dynamics when I’ve a mind to be conscious of them, even the electronic ones.

    Recent experience with a facebook group confirmed it for me- each little jolt of vapid memeness or witness of emotional outburst intended to grab my attention (even those I was only reading, and not directly participating in) I could see clearly as a fragment of my total focus and energy draining into a swirling black sinkhole. While engaged in a brief argument, I noted the stages of my reaction and saw my “color rise” in anger, and the attending aural flare get sucked in, too, with a slight urge to keep going, a nudge to keep me feeding it for the reward of “being right!!!” (a reward as elusive and vaporous as the promises of the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes…).

    The sinkhole reflected itself through all the other participants in the group in a sot of fractal manner, and the main body of the whole field, facebook in total, was one grand swirling sinkhole made up of myriad smaller ones, with smaller ones inside of those. There was something incoherent-coherent (??) at the center of all that, but I really didn’t want to meet it so I stopped looking.

    There are threads of genuine healthy communication there, but they are the blessed anomalies rather than the sucking maw. They have to be cultivated and protected.

    I know that’s been going on all along,but I never saw it or felt it so clearly before. Now I can consciously disengage. Pretty sure it’s a result of my regular practice strengthening my shields, so to speak.

    TSW indeed!

  107. I like the reading room idea!

    I am sorry to report that a gentleman on another site says he works with kids who not only do not know what a Gordian knot is—a useful thing to know if you have a job, because rare is the modern job that doesn’t place a lot of Gordian knots in your way—but they can’t even complain about the job being a Procrustean bed, because the poor kids haven’t been taught what that is, either. I originally asked because I am *blush* writing a story where one character is such a kid. Since she starts out attending the (very expensive) highly respected University of Chicago, a school she picked for the excellent reason that I’m sufficiently familiar with the area that I won’t have streets going the wrong way, I wanted to make sure I didn’t have her sounding TOO ignorant, as U of Chicago really is a big-name college. From testimonials coming in, I don’t think too much ignorance is going to be a problem. O_O

    She’s not a bad kid (so please buy the book despite her!). She’s just woefully ignorant and doesn’t have an original thought in her green-and-purple head when we start out, but I think things will be looking up for her and us as she lives through interesting times. Excuse me while I rub my hands together and cackle in sadistic glee. (Did Tolkien do that while he was picking on poor old Frodo?)

    I’ll be picking on all the characters, not just her. I’m an equal-opportunity sadist, and I also agree with the idea that a good story keeps piling on problems for the characters. In fact I spent most of the first two chapters beating the living fooftawoo out of one poor slob. I look for things to pick up for him, too. I am malicious, but fair.

    Piling-on seems to work even if the tale’s not serious. What’s worse than being engaged to Madeline Bassett?—Being engaged to Florence Craye. What’s worse than being engaged to Florence Craye?—Being engaged to both of them at once. What’s worse than being engaged to both of them?—Having Spode stalking you with fury in his eye and malice in his black shorts. What’s worse than Spode stalking you?—Realizing Jeeves is on vacation and you don’t know where he is for the next THREE WEEKS!

  108. @Kay Robison

    Many thanks to you for recommending the physical culture book ‘Natural Born Heroes’ by Christopher McDougall in the comments of JMG’s, ‘A Few Notes on American Magic’ post. I’ve just finished the book and it was fantastic. I learnt a lot and will be implementing a bunch of things to see what results I get. Outside of the physical culture stuff, the history lesson about Crete during WWII was absolutely fascinating too.

  109. @ Ynothir Coll – that is a fascinating observation about squirrels. And it highlights, perhaps, the important thing to notice about evolution. And that is that, for EVERY being destiny, fate and will intertwine in the present moment to craft action and choice. That is to say one could see evolutionarily biology as a subset of the intensive study of destiny acting on individuals populations and species, and revealing its influence on the present. Yet, it studiously ignores the fact that the present is always full of possibility from which beings can choose from a number of actions, and that in doing so they are likely to be either following or resisting their destiny.

    In this specific instance, I don’t doubt that civilised traffic is every bit the environmental challenge to be solved by squirrels, just as pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics are in those respective domains, and that lots and lota of creatures are sizing us up and saying, “kill me? I don’t think so”.

    As to squirrels, I’m lucky enough to have seen one very lately. So they may be coming back around here!

  110. @ All
    @ Ynithir coll

    And of course I meant that (IMO) evolutionary biology (and all derived social apologetics) focus solely on FATE, while wilfully ignoring both WILL and DESTINY. Yet all three are at play in every life (and likely much else among the non-living).

  111. @Will J

    Well, since you asked, I like this website for its pretty thorough takedowns of the supposed science underlying all of the current dietary dogmas: – vegan/vegetarian, standard nutritionist advice, trendy paleo people, Western A Price Foundation, she hits them all.

    Of course, then what do you eat given our nutrition ‘science’ is effectively stone age? In the end I’ve fallen back on Weston Price’s research from the 1930’s. He sometimes drew exaggerated extrapolations from his results but his basic research did tend to show that following ANY traditional diet/lifestyle was protective against the diseases of industrial society including heart disease, diabetes etc.

  112. @ David BTL

    I hope your library dreams become a reality! I was thinking about this topic earlier in the year as there are a bunch of occult books I want to read however are out of print and just too expensive to purchase on the second hand market. I discovered that the Theosophy library just down the road from me has a good research library (it has loads of DF and Butler titles for example). It’s possible there’s some useful ideas for you on how they operate on their website here

    Incidentally, looking at their website just now I found that they have a list of books they consider appropriate for children which could be interesting to have a look at – .

    As noted by Rita, you may find ideas for books to acquire from collections that people have posted on Library Thing. Here’s an example of a collection I’ve found useful –


  113. @ JMG riffing on my earlier comment to Ynithir Coll, it came to me that the “babble-fable” of evolutionary phychology, as you put it, comes down to a simple fallacy.

    Which is that Fate is indistinguishable Destiny.

    The import of which is to ignore the great, big, fat layer of Will which both joins and separates Fate and Destiny in the Sandwich of Life.

    This Sandwich was lovingly crafted and packaged for you by Cycle Thoughts.

  114. @ Will M’s reply to my question re “Childhood’s End” – “essentially a spiritual concept is filtered through a materialistic lens – it’s a wholly misguided “let’s bring heaven down to earth” effort” – you have hit the nail on the head; thanks.

    Clarke is the classic case of someone who is philosophically shallow yet poetically rich; the two halves of his mind create a dissonance of which the author himself was doubtless unaware.

    But as you say, JMG, it’s rare for an irreligious writer to get as far as he did – and he did win great praise from C S Lewis who said something like, “At last here’s a writer who understands that there’s something greater in store for humanity than mere ‘survival’.”

    Trouble is, the Overmind doesn’t seem to have much time for us little ones. Godlike power but not Godlike attention-range. Maybe that’s the trouble with emergent (as opposed to transcendent) Gods.

  115. @JMG & @David by the lake

    Re: Ecosophical Society Reading Room

    This got me brainstorming of an antisocial echo version that could be accomplished here in Vienna. The same collection, but run as a mail-in purchasing or subscription system. The deposit system is culturally understood: at the Christmas markets, you pay eight euros for a four-euro cup of punsch, and if you want the four euros back, return the mug.

    The same system could apply here: the requester “overpays” and if they want to keep the book, they can. This would only apply to books I could legally reproduce myself (I am an amateur bookbinder) and the originals would stay put. This also wouldn’t make enough money annually to force me to notify the Great Austrian Bureaucracy of my existence.

  116. @Christopher L Hope
    I have also only recently started reading Quillette. which prompts me to share from my regular reading list. I read it for the agricultural side of things and to find interesting links to books and articles in the posts and comments. ( I am looking forward to broadening my reading list through other responses to your request.) Regards Elbows

  117. JMG, you respond to readers suggesting alternative energy sources as solutions to industrialism’s energy crises that, although technically feasible, the proposed solutions must additionally make economic sense.

    In my mind, it is only the thermodynamics one must consider and I believe even Vaclav Smil will tell you he is not sure if he knows what anything costs. So what of the economics?

    The peak-oil crowd use energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) as one of their accounting tools and it is interesting that this approach runs into trouble the further up the energy supply chain you go. Where do you draw your box with which to begin your analysis of the energy inputs into a technology? At the mines? What about the energy inputs into keeping the mines running, which deliver energy to keep the mines running and your coal plant? The EROEI can quickly become quite tedious yielding estimates of large variance.

    Fortunately, we have another tool up our sleeves.

    Technical feasibility is a measure of the local thermodynamics. I have shown that my alternative energy source to save industrial civilization produces more energy than what I put in — at the local scale. Now, rather than going into the EROEI bookkeeping detailing all the energy/labor/legal/waste inputs and outputs, economic feasibility [$] is a convenient measure or index of the large-scale thermodynamics. If your energy source fails to make a profit, there is some (or many) explicitly unaccounted-for energy input(s)/waste up the supply chain deeming your energy source a perpetual motion machine — at the large scale. That is, I contend that economics is, when done without any creative accounting, the implicit study of thermodynamic externalities.

    Would you agree, and is this even banal?

  118. Where do you put the odds of the US landing troops in Iran? We’ve already repositioned a naval fleet ready to do aerial bombings. I expected Hillary to do this kind of move with Iran and Trump to avoid it, so I’m pretty disappointed and quite frankly worried.

  119. On the subject of statins. I think the industrial cynicism isn’t reflected on the ground. There are more than a few healthcare workers in my acquaintance, and here is the take from inside the bottom:
    As death is considered the greatest possible harm in this late age, if a regimen of statins trades three good years for six bad ones, your doctor will see himself as having made the tough decision that did you the most good. I only know of one individual, a doctor who did a rotation in palliative care, who is even ambivalent on making such a trade-off for himself.
    Secondarily, I thought I would mention a convergent evolution: The FIRE movement is a financial self help fad built primarily on the idea that if you embrace LESS and the decline of industrial civilization doesn’t happen in your lifetime, then all the money you saved will have made you “rich” in the sense of not needing to take on financial obligations to meet your lifestyle. The audience is mostly Salary Class, and the basic pitch is “you make enough money to support a Wage Class lifetime in five years. If you’d limited yourself to only that level of profligate luxury you’d already be free of your job and able to do something actually useful.”
    The one big divergence is that the whole thing rests on a big bite of techno-utopianism I already mentioned, and it basically works by getting into the Rent Class with the difference between your salary and your intentionally lowered lifestyle, and riding the slow but inevitable growth of the American Economy for the rest of your life.

  120. JMG are you clairvoyant or are you psychic (two very different things)?

    As much as I enjoy reading the forum, it concerns me when people treat your speculative writings as they would the words of some kind of prophet: “what’s going to happen in the future? What do you see for us? tell me what’s going to happen!” that sort of thing.

    I do not know if you are a prophet. At least in the Weberian sense. And while I do not know where you fit on that German sociologist’s typology, it is clear that many look to you for personal advice and direction.

    I wonder if you offer any spiritual tools for protection, defense, power or vision. The toolkit of the Initiate and occultist for public works. Reading and studying books is fine but without practical tools one wanders the astral realm with blindness and illusion. Training focus can also dissipate glamour and bullshit.

  121. Some suggestions for the library: for the “relevant fiction” category, consider the works of John Crowley.

    Also, consider collecting bequests. I could will your society, for example, my own John Crowley collection (which includes some limited edition hardcovers) and my Encyclopedia Britannica (one of the last editions published in printed volumes) plus funds for shipping them to you, and would do so eagerly if you were set up to accept such. Great books are often little valued by heirs and executors, and can end up in landfills or recycled.

  122. JMG,

    A follow-up to a MM post: I’m the one who asked about a justice working. So, I go through the trouble of making the candle, wake up at dawn on the appropriate day (I’m guessing this is the day because of Jupiter?), walk outside to go to my spot I do my rituals and immediately the waning moon is staring me in the face. Then the 7 week time frame pops into my head and I jump ship. 1.) am I right to think this would be better to start in two weeks when the moon is waxing? Or is that sort of thing irrelevant in a working like this? 2.) After the first lighting of the candle would it be prudent to immediately begin on righting my own personal wrong or do I have time, say within a week of that first lighting? Any time within the 7 weeks?
    Probably overthinking this but don’t want to put anyone in a bad spot including myself. Well, sort of,..there is a thief to catch after all. Thank you!

  123. @Will J, my two favorite go-tos for alternative medicine are and Both have searchable archives with information on anything of interest to you regarding health and alternative modalities. My husband and I visited Dr. Mercola’s clinic when he had one. We came away with valuable information that was a really good start in improving our health. I focus on herbs that I can grow myself or obtain without too much trouble. Mercola also has lots of information on how to proceed with exercize.
    The latter (Sayer Ji) has a vast collection of research papers on relevant topics.
    Hope this helps you!

  124. Today I noticed an advertisement on the side of a bus for the up-coming release of the film Godzilla King of the Monsters. And the first thing that came to my mind was, “are these film directors still beating that dead horse? The 1998 version of the film did not fare well, nor did the 2014 version.” I saw neither film but do recall that both pretty much bombed at the box-office and cost a fortune to produce.

    But after a moment’s reflection I wondered if there’s something moving in the collective unconscious compelling the American film industry to pop the balloon of human arrogance. Unlike the ‘alien invasion’ theme (where humans get slaughtered by technologically superior beings but we find their Achilles heel – except for ‘War of the Worlds’ where Hollywood faithfully followed H.G. Wells in having the viruses of Earth play the hero) or the ‘natural disaster’ theme (in which humans get slaughtered by an utterly impersonal or random force), Godzilla is a conscious being who serves us a well deserved dose of humble pie. It reminds me of the many Hindu myths where a God (or group of Gods) create a terrifying being to rid the Earth of a recalcitrant/malevolent tyrant.

    On a similar note, another film monster refuses to ‘die’: King Kong (original 1933, then 1976, then 2005 and most recently 2017). I saw the 1976 remake at the impressionable age of 13 and its pathos still gets to me when I recall it.

    I would be curious if you have any thoughts regarding this ‘repeating mega-monster movie syndrome’?

  125. Yay, the open post! Many thanks, Mr Greer, for hosting this mostly-monthly space for us all to discuss things.

    Temporaryreality, re: handcraft and spiritual practice. I’m not knowledgeable about runic or other designs worked into a project. However, at my (Congregational) church and others nearby, folks who like to knit/crochet participate in a Prayer Shawl ministry. The basic pattern is three-and-three, meant to represent the Holy Trinity. Folks making these shawls are encouraged to imbue their work with prayerful, loving intent, and the finished shawls are distributed (for free) freely, within the congregation and well beyond its walls. I have personally requested shawls for folks utterly unconnected to this church who are in distress and in need of tangible love. Each has told me how much comfort the shawls have provided, both physically in their softness and warmth, and emotionally, knowing that someone put hours of skill and attention and intention into them. My church also hosts meetings of Cancer Connection (a support group) and I know that the shawls are given to all who participate in that group. This crafting group as well as one at the local library (see below – it’s an amazing place) also makes chemo caps, also given to Cancer Connection. If the camaraderie of the Thursday night knitting group infuses the caps, then hope, joy, and laughter will encourage all who wear them.

    Jen, and those who responded to her, re: Hugulkultur video gift codes. I, too, have gift codes to share! You can reach me as gardengirlgarden on that ancient gathering site, yahoo.

    Since all y’all have been very generous sharing reading recommendations, it’s my pleasure to do the same now. I’m working my way through Farming for the long haul: resilience and the lost art of agricultural inventiveness, by Michael Foley (I think it was recommended here? I asked my local library to buy a copy, and lo! they did!) and Growing a revolution : bringing our soil back to life by David R. Montgomery, which I found at the selfsame local library. I can recommend both titles for those interested in regenerative, sustainable farming and gardening practices.

  126. I know you don’t like medical questions but as you’ve taken a position against statins, what are the alternatives to statins if cholesterol is still rising dangerously high despite good diet and exercise?

  127. @ Prizm

    Re WI

    Ah. I must have been confusing you with another. I know there are a few of us here in WI: Varun is around Madison, I’m here on the lakeshore (Manitowoc and Two Rivers are about 90 min north of Milwaukee and about 45 min south of Green Bay), and I thought there was at least one other who mentioned being in the state.

    I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the Milwaukee situation, but I can tell you the cost of living in my neck o’ the woods here is crazy affordable, especially compared to some other regions of the country where I’ve lived over the years (Denver comes to mind). A modest income can go a long way here, particularly with a modest lifestyle.

    @ Peter

    Re the reading room and ownership

    I don’t disagree that property ownership would be in the long-range plan! There are numerous opportunities here for rental space at affordable rates, however, which would be amenable for start-up.

    @ aged spirit

    Re virtual versus physical reading room

    The concept is very much a physical space, although an online presence would likely be involved, if only to make the society known.

    @ JMG

    Re locality and opportunity

    Yes, I see what you’re saying. Slow and patient gets on further… I’ve gotten better with that over these past few years. Might have something to do with the magical training 😉

    @ everyone who commented on the reading room idea

    I will keep working on this and will certainly keep the community informed as to what happens. Again, thank you for the many suggestions.

    @ Merle

    Re abortion

    I saw your comment earlier, but as I was one of the instigators of the discussion last week, I wanted to give space for others to comment before I jumped back in again. As to the points you raise, I don’t disagree that there may be sociological and economic reasons for a woman to terminate a pregnancy, but the more fundamental question remains as to who has what rights when, which is what our discussion last week focused on. Only the woman can decide to end the pregnancy (I would certainly argue no one else has the right to demand she do so), but the crux of the conflict is at what point during the course of the pregnancy does she have that right and under what conditions? Thus, the personhood of the unborn child is very much a focal point.

    @ Seaweedy

    Also re abortion

    I was very touched by your approach, the core principles of which I cannot disagree with. However, the spiritual aspects are very much not the dominion of the state, which can/should only deal with civil matters. But I could certainly see how the approach you described could help those who went though such an experience, and to the extent the abortion occurred post-quickening, also help the spirit of the child.

  128. Scotlyn and others, you may already know this, but evolutionary psychology has a pretty lousy reputation among actual evolutionary biologists as well. I spent four years in a Ph.D. program in ecology & evolution before dropping out and the general attitude toward it was pretty much what JMG has summarized – much of evolutionary psychology is untestable just-so stories (the term is used in the scientific literature after Stephen Jay Gould made the reference) and an attempt by pop psychologists to sound somewhat more scientific.

    Which is not to say that there may not be underlying evolutionary reasons for, say, average personality differences between human sexes. But they’re very difficult to test for, both logistically and ethically, and in many cases may not be obviously adaptive as much as side effects of other adaptations.

  129. John–

    Two questions of a more magical nature.

    First, how would one best go about conducting discursive meditation in a group setting? Is it essentially just that there is a single, common theme? Or would there be a “guided” aspect to it? My initial assumption was the former, but thought I’d ask the question.

    Secondly, and very much a Magic Monday oriented, I have noticed for some time that I tend to be quite drained on Tuesdays following Monday council meetings. This week, it was particularly bad and it took me all of Tuesday to recover from Monday night. (Admittedly, we went for four hours, longer than usual.) I am thinking that I could use some protective aid going into these council meetings to help shield me from whatever is affecting me (etherically? astrally?). What would you recommend? Would a basic protective amulet help?

  130. Will J

    On the question of statins, there is a wonderful blog run by a Scottish doctor but it also has a very intelligent readership with health discussions. The doctor has also written a couple of books which you should probably get. I recall two titles are The Great Cholesterol Con and Doctoring Data.

  131. Suzy,

    I believe Mexico already has or has plans to build a was on their southern border with Guatemala.

  132. David by the lake, I want to thank you. I have have been racking my brain for over a week trying to get my business plan pieces to fit together. You just gave me a huge spark of inspiration!

    John Michael and others who provided encouragement a few months ago… I wish I could name names, but I am afraid I don’t remember. Several of you here in this forum encouraged me to get diagnosed for my suspected Asperger’s syndrome. A couple of weeks afterward I took a nasty knock to the head and have been recovering from a concussion ever since. That was in early October, hence the not remembering who offered encouragement. It took me some time, but I have done what I set out to do. I was right all along. Strange and comforting all the same to have that label added to my lif . I still keep thinking “what do you mean that isn’t normal.” Also, sorry for my long absence. Maybe I can do some catching up with the discussions.

  133. @ Beekeeper

    Re Thoreau

    That makes me very sad, even more so in that I find myself not terribly shocked…

    @ Nestorian

    Re the precautionary principle and abortion

    I’d suggest that the position you’ve made there again begs the question by sweeping aside the notion that there is a counter-balancing set of conflicting rights at issue, namely a woman’s right to her own body. One could just as easily flip your argument, saying that since it cannot be firmly established that a fetus is a person whereas the woman obviously is, the precautionary principle would say that the rights of the woman should be honored absolutely. One assumes the conclusion one wishes to reach.

    I’d again argue that the kind of schema I proposed–with the three distinct periods of elective, medical, and emergency abortions permitted–is a better application of the precautionary principle, adopting differing default hypotheses during different periods along the course of the pregnancy, and offers an aggregate “least harm” approach.

  134. @ Robert Mathiesen: the link is here.

    @NHan: StrongTowns is an organization working to revive older, more incremental ways of building cities, before the Modernists came in quoting Burnham (“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood”). The Notre Dame School of Architecture is one of the few offering schooling in traditional design, and they offer a Masters in Urban Design. They came to Providence a couple years ago for a design workshop, and the proposals by the students showed understanding of how great cities came to be that way.

    If you’re interested in public transport, Human Transit is a great blog.

  135. @ Nastarana – You mention parity price supports and discouraging speculation in commodities markets. I don’t know much about the technical side of that, but I wanted to share with you and everyone else a poem I recently read that puts it in starkly human terms. It is called “Soybeans” and is by Thomas Alan Orr. As someone who grew up in the Soybean Capital of the World and whose father made his living working for Big Ag, I cried when I read this one.

    Thanks for the monthly open forum, John, where we can share all these joys and sorrows with one another. As I learned while enjoying a beer with Spider Robinson at Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, joys that are shared increase and sorrows that are shared diminish.

  136. For David BTL, I’d include some books on cult recognition and cult avoidance in your library. There are many snares to fall into. If I were on your side of the lake, I’d be happy to help.

    Re the squirrels: that’s probably bad news for crows, but crows are smart enough to “find new cheese” And I’ve noticed that they never get hit by cars.

    I had my first lucid dream in recent years a week or two ago. It involved a young lady so I said to myself, “I’m only dreaming so go ahead.” I did and it was allllright. I’m glad to learn there’s no karmic debt incurred. I suspect my karmic debts from my real world involvements with women, especially back in the 70s, are pretty substantial. .

    And, speaking of the 70s and libraries, I lived near Fort Wayne, Indiana back then and was quite impressed with the number of hard-to-find titles in their collection. There must’ve been someone on the library staff with some pretty esoteric tastes.

    As far as my intended comment about Trump’s moral turpitude I’m going to back away from that except to note that the religious right has a serious double standard. Think of how Gary Hart (of Monkey Business fame), and Bill Clinton were treated and imagine if “The Donald” were judged by the same standard. In JFK’s era, apparently a man’s sex life was more or less his own business, and ignored by the press. For a while “the right” liked to go on about moral majorities and character. I haven’t heard much of that lately, but maybe I’m just not hanging out with the right crowd.

  137. @JMG: You mentioned in an earlier post about American’s needing to bone up on our history. Do you have any recommendations for a good general history of America? Many I look up seem to be very agenda driven -looking for something ctrl-center 😉 if you know of anything like it.

    @David BTL: one more author to add to your list: Robert Moss -his books on dreams, and some of his novels. Specifically Conscious Dreaming, Dreamgates, A Secret History of Dreaming, Dreamers Book of the Dead, et. al. His approach to dreamwork is what I practice. If you are into dreamwork, this is the gold mine, imo. @Cliff mentioned Hillman and I think he is valuable as well. Especially his book, “We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy – And the World’s Getting Worse” which made me rethink -along with the horrible prof- getting a degree in psychology. I’m happy to say I have no degree!

  138. Will J
    Re Statin’s. Ditto what JMG said about statin’s. After a mild heart attack a few years ago my life partner was prescribed a statin as “best practice” with little regard to the fact he already had low cholesterol. To make a long story short, he had just about every adverse effect you could have if you take that drug and finally complained to the doctor about it. The doctor promptly took him off of the drug with a very cavalier “you don’t need that” (different doctor then the cardiologist that prescribed the statin) and he has spent years recovering from this “life saving drug”.

    There is a book you might find interesting called The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra (both doctors) that offers a different plan to deal with heart disease.

  139. “NIMBY opposition to wind continues”

    Not exactly. Somerset was one of the ultra-new high-tech coal plants. So they expressly said, “Yes, please, MY backyard.” And why? Unlike wind, they got enormous tax relief from siting the plant. Whereas wind asks you to have a wing that can level your house hovering over until it fails, and you get **nothing** bupkis, nada, no soup for you. So…why would I site you if you take all the land and all the money? You can’t share even a nickel, say pro-rated from distance to mill? Even I have to say no way to that kind of corporate villany. That’s just exploitation and concentration of power/income disparity. Would you say yes? …And then thermodynamically, they also are barely a net gain.

    Alternatives that might work? Wait, DEFINITELY work: Use less energy. 20% of energy is wasted in transmission lines, which is why big wind is a net-zero tax-scam and small wind isn’t. 20% more is wasted in vampire cubes like cell chargers. And THEN we have electric hot water, poor insulation, etc. Those are DEFINITE, simple, double-digit freebees…but wasting less lowers GDP and you can’t scam and profit on it, thus, no go. Not in the last 40 years, not with the last five Presidents, and not now neither.

    “the character starts with a lie (or a false belief) and something they want based on that lie,”

    Sounds like our political narrative. Both parties, ‘natch.

    “The third Monsanto trial has now concluded,”

    Because governments can get nothing done and in fact work FOR the corporations worldwide, most change seems to occur on CIVIL suits. These are always legal to bring. Yet we will go back and argue about Presidents, Congressmen until we gasp for air instead of just suing civilly again, and winning case after case, as a non-violent action.

    ” a magnet for fundamentalist arsonists,”

    When was the last time anybody burned a book, 100 years ago? Besides, in the modern version, who is shutting down online accounts and free speech? I think you’ll be okay.

    “whether or not the teachings of one of history’s most influential environmentalists remain relevant”

    Of course! We choose who is or isn’t worth reading based on the color of their skin. That’s tolerance and diversity!

  140. Lathechuck re: maintenance of the physical body.

    It amazes me that people can’t do this right in plain sight math. They abuse their bodies for however long then spend enormous amounts to live miserably a little longer when they fail.

    It is much better to learn to exercise and eat constructively instead of only recreationally. The small cost is quite possibly the best investment. This is not about going to a germy toxic unnecessary gym.

    I would add the avoidance of toxics. Regulation has become much better but those who find profit more important than public health fight back. The detergent and air freshener aisle at any supermarket are examples of regulatory capture.

    side note:

    The original Tai Chi is a martial art and effective self defense. If you can find a form that has not been dumbed down and mystified go for it.

  141. @ Nestorian, I have been giving thought to the points you’ve been raising, and I know they are coming from a place of deep conviction and much contemplation and prayer.

    So, what I am about to invite you to consider is offered with respect and gratitude for that deep love of life that shines through everything you say.

    But I wonder if you might be persuaded to think a bit more deeply on the following statement:

    “The certainty that you are NOT dealing with an ensouled human being ends once the egg is fertilized by the sperm; after that point, it very well might be an ensouled human being, and I would argue that you can make a strong case that it IS ensouled at that point since its development forward is propelled by a new and distinct animating life force that has its seat in the developing organism itself, and no longer in that of either of the parents.”

    The conundrum here is that your definition of human beings who are ensouled in an egg that is fertilised must perforce include frozen embryos.

    However, it cannot accurately be said of a frozen embryo that it is “propelled by a new and distinct force that has its seat in the developing organism itself, and no longer in that of either of its parents”.

    That is to say, there is only one way that this frozen embryo can continue its temporarily arrested life and development, and enter the world, and that is via the process of pregnancy. The embryo’s gateway into the world where, as a soul, it may encounter and act in the interplay of its fate, its will and its destiny, lies straight through the body of a woman. It has no other available path.

    If no woman makes herself available to be this embryo’s gateway into the life of the world, to be this embryo’s mother, to mother this embryo, then the embryo must languish in an in-between state. As no one has extinguished its life, instead it has been carefully preserved, it cannot be said to have been murdered. But equally, as no one has given it the in-her-body pathway of development to the gateway of breath, it cannot be said to be living.

    A full pregnancy, held within the body of another human being, lived as an extended process of interactive support for its growth and development, is the measurable difference between the life of a fertilized egg (which a frozen embryo certainly already has), and the baby that draws its first breath in the world.

  142. Caryn, Jen, and Onething – thanks for continuing the conversation. When it comes to the specific tale in question – the one about “how the woman drew the short straw when it comes to pay” I don’t think an appeal to “evolution” helps, and likewise, I don’t think an appeal to “nature” helps, if what you are trying to avoid explaining is why the kinds of jobs women do (whether because they choose them or because they are suited to them, or because that’s all they can get), do not seem to be appreciated as much as the types of jobs men do. Since we are talking of pay, of course, by “appreciate” I mean reward.

    However, this is really a subset of a bigger picture, which you see when you start to ask, what kinds of jobs DO we appreciate the most (or at least are willing to pay the most for). It turns out that the kinds of jobs we reward the most tend to involve some type of control. The people who are most in control of resources, of processes, and, of course, of us, are the best rewarded. Then ask what kinds of jobs DO we appreciate (or reward) the least. And these tend to involve some type of care or maintenance. So the people who devote the most care to maintaining the resources, and the processes, and of course, us, are the least rewarded.

    Now, the carers and maintainers of course include mothers, teachers, nurses, but also garbage men, uncloggers of pipes, keepers of buildings, and grounds, providers of food, and lots of other every day tasks that make the world a more pleasant place. Both men and women carry out this sort of work every day for very little reward when you consider how much we would miss that work when it stops.

    But, if they stopped tomorrow, how long would we miss the CEO’s, the financiers, the politicians, the inspectors, the auditors, and etc.

    So really, neither the evolution argument, nor the nature argument, really explain how it is that people who prefer wearing suits and bossing people around are “inherently suited [see what I did there 😉 ]” to being better paid.

    So we may just have to think a bit harder about that one! 🙂

  143. Will J – are you looking for alternatives to industrial medicine? Or alternatives to statins? or alternatives to protection against heart disease?

    If the first, there is a very wide gamut of other medicine “styles” to choose from, but I would personally say that local reputation will be your best guide to what kind of professional is available to you that you can trust. Ask around, see what kinds of things have worked for people you know, and the person you find locally that is helping people “differently” may be a herbalist, may be a naturopath, may be TCM trained, or whatever, but most importantly, they will have had good results – the kind people will happily tell you about. It pays to locate such a person, for specific and tailored attention to yourpersonal healthcare.

    There are two names that come to mind in relation to the question of statins – Chris Masterjohn has been blogging for years about cholesterol – this is just one sample –

    In relation to heart disease prevention, Dr Thomas Cowan’s name comes to mind, for some very interesting “outside the box” thinking on heart disease. He is not so much of a blogger, but he’s written a couple of books, and done some teaching.

    Your mum’s situation sounds awful, but sadly, not unusual. Best wishes to both of you, that you find better care soon!

  144. Thanks for your response to Eric about favorable geography. That’s good food for thought. Could you elaborate on what factors you expect will cause mass migration from Japan to the West Coast?

  145. JMG, I am just catching up on the latest developments in abortion law, which I see as an extremely positive development.

    It seems we are finally making progress John. Given the ongoing poisoning of lands and seas and airs, the profligate wasting of energy, the deterioration in topsoils, and even the new proposals for the expansion of nuclear energy, I thought no one gave a Full Fisting about unborn babies?

  146. Book Preservation:

    Books can take any amount of cold – a level which would be very uncomfortable for a reader! – but free circulation of air is essential: between the books on the shelves; behind them, ie a gap between the back edge of a book and the back board of the bookcase; and, ideally, a gap between the bookcase itself and the wall of the room. For obvious reasons, warm and humid regions with a rich insect life do not favour books.

    Fortunately, most old libraries were, and are, very draughty, which is perfect if there is any chance of damp as well.

    Central heating at typical US levels, and direct sunlight, are most destructive. A New York customer of mine destroyed the bindings, but not the contents, of his 17th-century collection by having the heating up too high, they all warped badly.

    Gilt edges on books came in very late indeed and are not at all essential, but those and painted and burnished edges do repel dirt and grease from fingers.

    Regular – annual at least – opening and dusting is vital, to avert and note damage.

    One of the great tragedies of the book world was the fate of the library of Kenneth Clark at Saltwood Castle: he installed his highly valuable collection in custom-made bookcases in the 14th stone-walled castle, and neglected to leave a gap at the back of the shelves. Damp from the stone walls destroyed many rare books in lovely bindings which looked perfectly fine from the front but were rotten behind…. Regular cleaning and checking would have brought the problem to light, and that too was neglected…..

    Simple slip-cases in acid-free 3mm grey card will also offer valuable protection to books: I have a limited edition leather-bound folio copy of Goethe which is 110 years old and as good as new, due to the slip-case and a paper dust-jacket.

    The poor state of many 19th and 20th century books is largely due not only to atmospheric pollution, but acidic materials which eat them away from within. Buy only acid-free!

    I hope that is helpful.

    PS The other great danger to books is, of course, librarians……..and maybe binders. 🙂

  147. Will J re: health alternatives
    For alternatives of many types. Also very good on unofficial drug dangers side effects and FDA fails. They don’t care what the remedy is as long as it is reported to consistently and safely work. Pee on your feet for athletes foot. Search for “NSAID” and many pages result.
    For what supplements are ‘sposed to do – and not. Current science with some stupid suggestions (drink all the green tea you can). Ignore the suggestions.
    Kind of in between with testing of samples ($32? per annum). I’m on welfare and I pay. Not perfect, merely very good.
    Official pharma side effects. I prefer to take the drug before looking it up so I am not influenced. Did you know that Dextromethorphan (the DM in cold meds) can cause personality change? I learned the hard way before the internet. I don’t take drugs.

  148. There have been some great forest management book recommendations, so thank you to the group.

    On the subject of libraries, I have always loved them, but many modern libraries do not have the same feel as the libraries of my childhood. Too many computers and too much noise. I should not be a snob, I suppose. Many people use computers at the library because they cannot afford a computer or internet connection at home.

    A good library should be like an old church: a quiet and reverent place, with mysteries hidden on the upper and lower levels.

  149. JMG,

    Wait a sec …. are you saying that *only* Pogonip is allowed to post one alluring cat link per Open Post week, or at we *all* can post one captivating cat link during Open Post week? Because if it’s the former, I just don’t see how that’s very fair ….. not that I would post a cat link, but I would post my lyrics of a song that I firmly believe to be the definitive cat song of all time (outside of certain Broadway musicals, maybe), which neatly capture the mystical essence of our feline friends.

    Okay, I’m kidding, mostly. 😉

    Here’s a serious question – I could be wrong here, but re the exercises you recommend for aspiring writers, you seem to imply that just about anybody could learn to write proficiently enough for publication. It seems to me, however, that to be able to write well and in copious amounts would depend to a great degree on the natal chart’s emphasis or lack thereof on Gemini, 3rd House planets and aspects, and mercury placement. Off the top of my head, a few Gemini sun-sign writers: Steve King, Joyce Carol Oates, and recent Nobel Lit Prize winner, Bob Dylan, all who have written and continue to write in niagaras of words. And there’s yourself, of course, a sun sign Gem.

    Now, in my favor, I have merc conj Capricorn sun in the 12th, and I have a singleton planet in Gem, but that’s about it. No other planets in Gem, my 3rd house is a vacant lot. I can write okay in short bursts (song lyrics, short stories), but I’d love to tackle something lengthier without running out of energy, creative and physical – you are saying that I can if I apply your recommended exercises?

  150. Ynothir and Scotlyn, one of the world’s great foods is fried squirrel with squirrel gravy, another important thing modern Americans have lost. My father used to make a couple of incisions in a squirrel’s skin in the correct places, grab the tail (which is mostly fur, skin, and bone, no meat to speak of), and peel the squirrel like a banana. If there’s an American under 90 who remembers how to do that, I’d be pleasantly surprised. Anyway, city squirrels shouldn’t be eaten, they carry a lot of zoonotic diseases, but should you acquire a nice mess of their healthier country cousins, fry those little guys up using your favorite fried chicken recipe, make your favorite gravy recipe, give thanks, and enjoy.

  151. @Merle Langlois:

    You run into what I’ll call a “social eugenics” problem. It wasn’t too long ago that some in the Western world argued for sterilizing people with certain undesirable conditions including a lack of intelligence. Your argument seems to be that people should abort if the baby is going to be in a poor situation socioeconomically. You can’t make these decisions without first demonstrating that you have the right to take these decisions away from the people (or fetuses) in question.
    It is interesting to me to juxtapose this against suicide. Why is it that we allow women to abort but we don’t allow people to take their own lives. The strongest argument against normalizing suicide is that one could be pressured into it. But the same argument could be raised against abortion, that someone (or some set of circumstances) is pressuring the mother into aborting. At least with suicide the person making the decision is the person whose life is in question.
    Which brings me to my next reflection. Let’s grant that the life of the fetus is the life of the mother and the mother has the right to make decisions for that life. Abortion then, becomes a form of suicide. And we allow it.
    Evolutionary natural selection would certainly see it in the same way. To end the life of your offspring is the same as ending your life because you are in a very real sense ending your line or at the very least reducing the potential for future propagation and development of your line. It is a form of evolutionary suicide even if that is not measured in the span of one’s lifetime.
    But really most people’s reasons for aborting a child are no different from the reasons they would give to avoid conception in the first place. So for most aborting mothers it isn’t suicide it’s correcting an oopsie. Although really it is suicide once you get past conception.
    The more concerning question is why the West doesn’t want to have children. We are making a very definite statement as a society here. And we are making these decisions at the same time that overshoot and the decline of the age of oil means developing and undeveloped countries now probably won’t ever reach a level of affluence that seriously limits their childbearing in the same way as it does in US. So the West hits a demographic crisis and gets overrun with refugees from poorer countries as the sun sets on fossil fueled growth.
    The West needs to have more children to help maintain the infrastructure and culture of our society except nobody wants to give their kids a lower standard of living… and pretty much our kids will all have a lower standard of living… Boomer->X->Millennial->Z it’s downhill, so we respond to the end of growth by curtailing child bearing. But we are now starting see how that just makes things worse.
    If you don’t believe in god right now (and I don’t) then life in today’s world is a hard sell. Whether you choose life or death I won’t judge.
    The Club of Rome chart predicts an increase in deaths followed by an increase in births as our economy fails us, people die from lack of means and reduced available infrastructure and reduced social services and ecosystem destruction, and you need more kids not to survive so much as to do all the work that has to be done in the wake of cheap fuels.

  152. Nicholas Carter,

    “As death is considered the greatest possible harm in this late age, if a regimen of statins trades three good years for six bad ones, your doctor will see himself as having made the tough decision that did you the most good. ”

    Not to detract from your actual point, but I have learned from Kendrick’s blog that statistically, that is spread out over many people, the benefit of taking statins for 5 or more years is measured in days.

  153. Hi JMG!

    I have not read the rest of the comments yet so let’s see if other people are thinking on the same lines.
    What I would like to understand better – and maybe you can help – is how human groups (in this case US) deals with slow rolling collapse.

    I realized recently that the anger and bad behavior that I see on the streets and online recently reminds me of the years immediately after the collapse of the eastern communist bloc. I think in that case the political collapse was so fast that people spent the next 10 years processing all their bad emotions. I was a kid so I did not really understand what’s happening but I remember how needlessly harsh and hurtful people tended to be – especially anybody with a tiny modicum of power (bureaucrats and the like). Plus the corruption is eerily similar to today’s US.

    Today, in US the middle-class people are going insane (at different rates) while the corrupt rich thrives in some ways while becoming more and more psychopathic in other ways.

    One interesting thing I noticed is how the so-called “hate groups” are actually more tolerant and somehow happier than the mainstream. True, my experience with these groups is only online and only by scanning a couple of reddit groups (r/mgtow and r/the_donald). There is a certain kind of excitement about the future. These people have build a new way to see the world and it works well enough that they don’t have to lie to themselves.

    On the other side of the spectrum, the closer a reddit is to the mainstream, the more depressed, delusional or nasty they are. I am thinking here of r/climate and r/collapse. They have great information but very few people are consistent in their beliefs – like when people in /r/collapse started talking about what AC unit to use.

    One more anecdote – I started working with people from the poorest county in the state and despite the closeness to the city (two hours drive) they do act differently. Less hurried and somehow more balanced.

    What is your expectation going forward?
    My view is that it will take at least one generational change for the paradigm to shift and some of the cognitive dissonance to go away. Probably events will overtake the politics by then (in the form of a military defeat, multiple climate catastrophes or simple economic depression).
    On the other hand, the younger generations of the well-to-do don’t seem particularly interested in a new paradigm.

    Sorry for the rambling, just hoping to understand the world I am in better.


  154. Pogonip, re: squirrels:

    Me! I remember!

    My godfather taught me to peel squirrels. I am still not as slick at it as he is, though. He used to hunt them with his terrier all the time. He and my dad and I also make venison sausage every winter and a big crock of sauerkraut together every few months. Squirrel and gravy over rice is a common dish among the older generations here. My mom also grew up frying squirrels in Arkansas. Personally, I like the livers fried up in a skillet.

  155. John–

    Another energy tidbit, on the gas side of things. Exploring the other side of zero 😉

    Permian area prices went negative during the week. Prices at the Waha Hub in West Texas, which is located near Permian Basin production activities, averaged $0.86/MMBtu last Wednesday, $1.75/MMBtu lower than Henry Hub prices. Yesterday, prices at the Waha Hub averaged just $0.01/MMBtu, $2.60/MMBtu lower than Henry Hub prices. Prices reached the lowest point of the week on Tuesday, averaging -$0.56/MMBtu, coinciding with two days of planned maintenance on the Northern Natural Gas pipeline. The maintenance was expected to conclude yesterday and had reduced flows by 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) at the Gaines county compressor station north of Midland, Texas.

    And LNG:

    Sempra Energy begins LNG production at its 1.7 Bcf/d Cameron LNG export facility

    On May 16, 2019, Sempra Energy, the majority owner of the Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, announced that the company has started to liquefy natural gas from the first of three liquefaction units—referred to as trains—coming online in Phase 1 of the project. Sempra Energy anticipates shipping LNG cargoes from Train 1 in the next few weeks, bringing total U.S. baseload operational LNG export capacity to about 4.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).

    Cameron LNG will be the fourth U.S. LNG export facility placed into service since February 2016. Currently, two new liquefaction facilities are being commissioned in the United States—Elba Island LNG in Georgia and Freeport LNG in Texas. Elba Island LNG consists of ten modular liquefaction trains, each with a capacity of 0.03 Bcf/d. The first train at Elba Island is expected to be in service this month, and the remaining nine trains will be commissioned sequentially during the following months. Freeport LNG consists of three liquefaction trains with a combined baseload capacity of 2.0 Bcf/d. The first train is expected to be placed in service during the third quarter of 2019.

  156. Dante, the time span 50-300 years is a little problematic. If I’m right — and so far things seem to be tracking my predictions fairly well — we’re in the opening stages of a descent into a deindustrial dark age, and technologies that will still be here in 50 years certainly will have vanished in 300 years. For example, I expect that 50 years from now cars will still be being manufactured and driven, though there may be large sections of the US (or former US where the roads are bad enough you’d need a Jeep; 300 years from now cars will be a matter of old stories. In the same way, the various technologies that depend on microelectronics may still be here in 50 years, but 300 years from now the global supply chains and technological infrastructure that make them possible will be centuries in the past; there may be a few computers in the hands of unusually stable governments and other institutions, maintained the way people in the Dark Ages maintained Roman aqueducts, but the capacity to make more will not be recovered for many centuries longer.

    Will, in that case statins are an utter disaster for you. Moderate aerobic exercise will do you a lot more good, and help keep your blood sugar stable into the bargain.

    MadJack, I’m expecting the page proofs next month, with publication currently scheduled a month after that. Small presses aren’t always on time, though.

    RMK, exactly. A piece of advice that helped me with my writing is, when someone presents you with a rule for how to write, look at it, figure out what kind of effect it’s meant to produce, and then think about good writing that breaks that rule and get a sense of the difference in effect. That way the rule stops being a straitjacket and turns into one tool in your toolbox, which you can use when it’s helpful and set aside when it’s not.

    Pogonip, for obvious reasons, I have no idea. I did pick up from the news that something like a million people have signed a petition demanding that HBO rewrite the last season to fit their preferences; as they can’t stand the fact that in the show, Hillary Clinton lost the election. Oh, and I think some of them are upset because the series showed her turning into a power-crazed tyrant before her defeat…

    JWWM, I hope to be able to announce something next week or the week following. I’ve been slammed for time — no surprises there!

  157. Some comments on book purchasing

    If you are acquiring any book, you should look closely for differences between editions.

    Sometimes they were altered in newer editions and the results were good, bringing useful updates

    In others, new editions are bad. A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator, by George Llewellyn, is a good example. Don’t buy The New A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator.

    Yet another books have exclusive material in different editions. An example is Ghosts in the West by Earl Murray. The first editions include photos of places in the book; newer ones don’t have the photos, but they have three new chapters. One probably wants to have both.

    You will have to decide buying hardcover versions that last more, or paperbacks that will allow you to buy more books. This can be decided for each book.

    In most countries, you are allowed to copy a single chapter of a book. This may be used to “patch” books you have, for example, if only a new introduction is the difference between editions.

    Nothing beats checking the books by yourself. Google Books provides previews of many books, so does Amazon; in the latter, customers who made at least one purchase have access to more pages in previews (not only the first random pages). Internet Archive and Open Library are also good online resources to do so, as well as your local libraries.

    Used book stores are your best friends. In many cases, you will want a used and sturdy hardcover instead of a new paperback. Buying online is a bit of a lottery, you never know what you will get until it is in your hands. Prefer to buy personally, in brick and mortar used book stores. Besides, you will be supporting the used book business, making it prosper, which in the end will lead to more titles available to you.

    I mentioned that several books have editions that are undesirable. Guess which ones are most likely to end in the used books market. Always do the research prior to purchase. Good resources for that are the site Goodreads and Amazon reviews.

    ISBN is very important to identify a certain edition of a book, but sometimes records are mixed. It is a factor, not something you should trust blindly.

    A good seller will always reply to questions on books being sold. Always use this when in doubt, but please don’t do excessive pestering when you should have done your research.

    Patience is key. If you have a long purchase list, be always on the look for deals. That said, high prices are not necessarily your enemies in the case of rare books. They are the factor that give you the possibility to pay the price to get them; otherwise, they would have been sold to another person.

    Many books in public domain are available on the Internet Archive, but you only must print them if there isn’t a cheaper version already being sold. These are also a good alternative if you only need portions of the books.

    Most titles in my personal library are in English, not the language of my country. Always remember that many books may be available in your country, no matter how unlikely you think it will be (I was surprised to find a Brazilian translation of A Treatise on Angel Magic by Adam Mclean. For translated books, it is important to keep in mind that different translations may be available, specially for books in public domain in their original countries. Some of these will be better, other ones worse.

    The more money you save, the more will be left to spend on other criteria that you, and only you, want to use to assemble your collection.

    The survivalist subculture is fond of acronyms. There is one for the general antagonist, the hordes that want to steal your stash: Mutant Zombie Bikers (MZB). Yes, this is a half-joke. For what I said about book burners, I would not be buying translated versions of titles I already own in English if I was not willing to share them; I just think some secrecy where I live would be proper, and I do not intend to provide use of my books in an exceedingly public way.

  158. @Will J:

    I freak out about cigarettes because anytime my wife gets more than a half-breath of second hand smoke, she has to use her inhaler, and then that night she has to take an antihistamine which leaves her hung over for 24-36 hours. If she just uses the inhaler, she will get a follow on full blown allergic attack within 48 hours.
    And people think nothing of hanging out in front of Wal-Mart and 7-11 and everywhere else just puffing away. I have to be hyper vigilant when we go out. No-smoking laws are pretty much not enforced. Too few police and too many better fish to fry for them, I guess.
    If anyone has a solution to help my wife I am all ears.

  159. Jen! We’ll have to figure out a way to bring squirrels to the potluck! My dad gave the squirrel innards, including the livers, to the dogs and the cat.

    Whoever up there mentioned Stephen King—he’s Virgo sun, birthday 21 September. Don’t know about the rest of his chart—if he’s ever had it done, he’d probably lose half his audience if he admitted to same. I remember him being sharply criticized for having a devout, good-guy character in one of his novels. Those “scientific,” eddicated, modern types are not tolerant of free thinking.

    If they’re going to start rewriting TV shows for disgruntled audiences, may I suggest they start with the final season of Samurai Jack. That white dog was very important for a couple of episodes—and then it disappeared, never to be mentioned again. That guy in the black armor who kept urging Jack to commit suicide was very important for a couple of episodes—and then HE disappeared, never to be mentioned again. And Ashi can’t exist without Aku—but Aku never stops existing, he just gets confined to that tree. The whole thing was screwy. I kept snarling “You doofuses make me wait ten years for this and then you can’t be bothered to have it make a bit of sense?” 👿. And I’m not demanding. I’ll believe hobbits, wizards, bed-flying witches, time-traveling bushi, 700-foot-high walls made of ice, veddy British rabbits, Romulans, malicious hotels, homicidal pen names. You name it, I want to believe it for a couple of hours so I can enjoy the story. Just have the decency not to insult my intelligence! Grumble.

  160. A comment on last week’s post about creating our own reality:
    Increasingly we are living in a reality that has been curated for us by algorithms that monitor what we click on and and use that information to decide what appears on our screens. There are whole sections of reality we will never see, cocooned as we are in our little information bubbles.

  161. Some news I couldn’t pass by. The nincompoops from the RAND Corporation publicly released a report on ‘Overextending and Unbalancing Russia’. This is bad because the Russians can read it and draw conclusions. Firstly, it allows Russian strategists to develop counter-moves ahead of time. Secondly, this report completely justifies the authoritarian government of Mr. Putin et al. and promises further collapse of liberty in Russia.

    Let’s take a look at the 8 preferred strategies from the report: 1) Expand U.S. energy production; 2) Impose deeper trade and financial sanctions; 3) Increase U.S. and allied naval force posture and presence; 4) Reposture bombers; 5) Invest more in autonomous or remotely piloted aircraft; 6) Invest more in long-range strike aircraft and missiles; 7) Invest more in longer-range HARMs; 8) Invest more in new electronic warfare technologies.

    Now I’d like to point out that half of the options listed begin with “invest”. It reads like a desperate plea from the military industrial complex to increase their funding. “Keep doing what you’re doing and give us more money”, that could be the summary of this report.

    Full text of the report can be found here:

    Also, I had a thought. If I don’t believe in the myth of Progress and try to distance myself from the lifestyle of the modern society guided by that myth, in the eyes of the believers it actually makes me evil (in Dion Fortune’s definition – belonging to the Ring Chaos). This could explain the aggressive reaction I get from people sometimes when I explain my views.

  162. WRT Christopher L Hope

    In addition to this website, I regularly read two others. Both aim at a ‘make my town better in a realistic and local manner’ vibe.

    They are

    Granola Shotgun by Johnny Sanphillippo:
    Strong Towns by a variety of writers:

    Both sites encourage getting involved in YOUR local municipal affairs. You live there. You should care. If you don’t care, you’ll get a town run by the people who do care.

    Thanks again for a great website.

    Teresa from Hershey

  163. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I apologize if this is joining the thread a little too late, but there is a particular question that has been burning a whole in the back of my mind. I know you and Dimitry Orlov are in agreement on many issues. However, he has recently begun arguing that Russia has access to a new type of Nuclear Fission that will grant it immense power for centuries if not millennium to come in his “The Future of Energy is Bright” articles. If he is right and a new age in nuclear fission is just around the corner then it looks like the dark ages in at least some places in the world are cancelled. Nuclear fission on that scale may even be able to power nuclear fusion at an every loss in order to create whatever elements are needed, and maybe we can have electric cars and other such things well into the future. What do you think of Orlov’s argument?

  164. JMG,
    about the location in US that will do better in the future:

    I would like to hear you expound on these ideas. Even in that small paragraph, there is a lot for me to ponder.

    You mention east coast above 35th parralel – isn’t that a bit optimistic? I think there are already deadly heatwaves (heat + humidity) as far north as New York City. For now there is AC, but not for too long I think.

    About the west coast and migrations – I cannot think of a good historical parallel except the “sea people” and the bronze age collapse. Do you think it will happen at that scale? Emotionally, I don’t want to believe it but once I read it, it sounds so obvious.

    As for the middle of the continent, I would go even further than you. I remember a book of geology I read where they mentioned that the main mountain ranges in US (Rocky and Appalachians) form a funnel for air movements that amplify both cooling during ice ages and heating/desertification during warm periods. Add to that the shifting of the dry meridian ( and it looks like the deserts could encompass most of the flyover country.

    Thanks for your ideas!

    P.S. As a sad note about the internet – when I tried to recover the link above by using some keywords, the only relevant site coming up was the infamous “Wattsupwiththat”. I had to click on the link to find the researcher’s name so I can get a good write up of the study.

  165. Ron M, re Godzilla –

    As popular as ‘zilla has been here in the USA, he’s more so in Japan, where, as you may recall from the original movie, the big guy first leveled Tokyo in a shower of busted power line sparks. In fact, what Snoopy and Garfield are to us in the States, ‘zilla is to the Japanese – lotsa ‘zilla toys and artifacts, blankets and towels, etc. Almost a national symbol, you could say. We have enjoyed our ‘zilla spinoffs and imitations like the Cloverfield beast, but we’re not as obsessed with him as are the Japanese.

    Which makes me think ‘zilla might represent the Shadow side of Japanese culture, that seems to generally balance between 2 extremes. On one side, you’ve got a real emphasis on courtesy, ceremony, politeness, etc. On the other side, you’ve got the samurai warlord culture that literally does not take prisoners. Japan was a modern, industrialized society by the 1920’s, but the samurai ethic rose to the fore in the 30’s, and you know the result.

    I think it’s worth noting that the only 2 major nations that have masculine identities in their self-descriptions are Germany (the Fatherland) and Japan (Land of the Rising Sun). Also, the Japanese islands are basically volcanic ash; that kind of smacks of the Underworld, I think.

    The Japanese fully and humbly accepted their defeat in WW 2, and the warlord culture was squelched, forgotten. But Godzilla first appeared 11 years after Hiroshima, maybe as a reminder of what still lurks beneath all that ceremonial politeness, even if it now appears in the form of an ash tray or a toy.

  166. Since Dante has posed interesting questions about technology, I would like to ask what the world will probably look like a hundred years from now, regarding cars, computers, internet and the like? Although the decline and fall of industrial civilization so far resembles the decline and fall of other civilizations, there are in industrial civilization very complex and idipsyncratic technostructures compared to other civilizations which will give its decline and fall an unique flavor, I assume.

  167. Ron M –

    King Kong, on the other hand, is as American as hot dogs and baseball. You don’t bother him, he doesn’t bother you. A big burly guy, he’s got a soft side, he’s sentimental. He appreciates and will perch on American landmark buildings. He’s got a thing for blondes. Try to chain him up, however, and he will kick your ***.

  168. JMG building off your response to Dante’s comment, also in keeping with your view of the de-industrial future. Anyone interested should look up The 64 Bit Guy on Youtube. I bet reverse engineering those old machines will be the difference between keeping computer technology and losing it.

    I believe computer technology in the form of TI-84 graphing calculators could be salvaged, for government use mind you not so much for regular people. Creating a device with kilo bites of processing power is much much easier than creating one with megabits or giga-bits of processing power. Their old style screens are also much simpler to build. If your circuits and bits aren’t molecule sized, or as absurdly small as in modern machines, then a mad scientist in a lab could build one on his own. I know JMG hates tube type TV but that’s the sort of computer screen that’ll have to make a comeback.

    The question to me is not can we salvage computer technology, it is can we produce a crop of engineers during the decline who know more about building circuits and circuit boards than they do about programing in Python. Modern computer engineers are totally disconnected from a circuit’s relationship to the actual computer code they write. Anyone who remembers floppy disks should remember you could get more memory out of it if you formatted it more efficiently. That’s because a floppy disk was really the last device where the user actually interacted with the machine on a ethereal level.

    Computer programs can afford to be wildly inefficient today because computers simply have much more processing power. All the makings for TI 82, 83, and 84 graphing calculators will be there in the ruins. The question is, will any government retain that knowledge of computer Basic, (Yes Basic is a real computer code on which everything else evolved) and how to build a device with but a kilo-bite of processing power to run it.

    Salvaging the makings for a computer post collapse will involve melting down dead modern machines. You can separate the metals and purify them quiet easily in a crucible if you can get the fire hot enough. If we can smelt steel post collapse, computers aren’t out of the question. It’ll take 20+ modern laptops to build a much less powerful machine post collapse. The soldering iron is the only took I question surviving post collapse. Thoughts anybody? JMG?

  169. Pogonip,

    We always eat the livers and especially the delicious hearts. My grandmother liked squirrel stew. My dad would have to skin the heads out and then she would fish them out and crack the skulls open with a hammer and eat their brains. My dad (normally the least squeamish person alive) still makes little dead buck-toothed skinned squirrel faces and cringes when he remembers.

    I wish I could make it to the potluck! Maybe next year.

  170. (Tolkienguy)

    What book would you recommend for someone who wanted a general introduction to Neoplatonism? I was considering Manly P. Hall’s “Lectures on Ancient Philosophy”, since I’ve enjoyed some of his other writing, but thought I’d ask if anyone here had other suggestions.

    Also, I noticed upthread a discussion of western America’s future-what do you think the South’s future will be? You said something about not wanting be south of the 35th parallel (the Virginia-North Carolina border IIRC)-what makes you say that?

  171. @DT:

    Birth rates have been falling massively in places like Latin America, East Asia, and of course fell stupendously in post-Soviet Eastern Europe. In Brazil, which I know best, fertility is about 1.7 per woman, but I know it is also below replacement level (and below th US level) in other Latin American countries. So no, I don’t think the US are in danger of being overrun by the population exploding to their south (or east). For Europe, things are a bit different, but even in the Maghreb and Levant birth rates have been sinking (from a very high level). In Iran, fertility is 1.6 per woman today.

  172. For those concerned about the loss of computers:

    Antikythera Mechanism, the First [known] Computer

    Antikythera mechanism

    Machining The Antikythera Mechanism.

    Somewhere in his videos he shows how to machine components using the original tools. How to make your own files and drills. He initially uses contemporary tools.

  173. DBTL,

    Love the reading room idea. Since no one has mentioned his name yet, you might consider adding at least a title or two by Lon Milo DuQuette. I admittedly haven’t read much of his work yet, but I’m thoroughly enjoying his Book of Ordinary Oracles—both enlightening, and great fun!—and I know our esteemed host and some others around these parts hold him in high regard.

    After you set up shop, I’ll make sure to pass through when visiting my home state 🙂

  174. @Green Rage Monster:

    That poem nearly made me cry, too, and I have never worked near soybeans.

    It is funny how we hear the word monopoly maybe a hundred times more often than monopsony, but they are equally cruel.

  175. Ed Florinescu, for solve et coagula, The Alchemist’s Handbook by Frater Albertus and The Path of Alchemy by Mark Stavish are good places to start. For ancient magic, it’s been decades since I researched that subject and it was a busy field of research at that time; does anyone else have a few good introductory books to suggest?

    Bonnie, excellent! Yes, exactly — and those are among the essential skills that magical training develops.

    Pogonip, sounds like a fun story. You’re right about piling on; that’s one very good way to build tension in a story, of course — you don’t send the problems one at a time, you start with a trickle and build to a fire hose, and when the character staggers out the other end dripping but undaunted, the vicarious rush for the reader is worth savoring.

    Scotlyn, dead on target. You’ll notice that many of the people who trot out evolutionary psychology as an explanatory strategy also like to insist that free will doesn’t exist.

    Robert, one of the advantages of polytheism is that infant gods can be more or less corralled by their elders until they get old enough to have a decent attention span and can be trusted not to play with an intelligent species until it breaks. 😉

    Jane, fascinating! I’d encourage you to give that a try.

    Thecrowandsheep, I’ve argued at several points that profitability is a decent proxy measure for EROEI, so I’m inclined to think that you’re on to something.

    Denys, I hope not, or my novel Twilight’s Last Gleaming may be rather more prophetic than I want. The Iranians have plenty of high-speed naval cruise missiles — more than enough to saturate our missile defenses and put a lot of overpriced naval gear at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. My guess is that there’s a fistfight going on between the neoconservatives and the realists in Trump’s administration, and we’ll have to see who ends up on top.

    Nicholas, physicians have to look themselves in the face each morning, so it doesn’t surprise me that they convince themselves that statins do enough good to be worth the ghastly side effects. Looking at it from outside a morally compromised profession, I’d beg to differ. As for the FIRE business, yes, I watched that in an earlier iteration a fewdecades ago; I knew people who did that, and then lost it all when the markets tanked in 1999 and 2000, and I also knew people who did that, and then lost it all when the markets tanked in 2008 and 2009. I figure the current crowd is about on schedule to lose it all when the markets tank in 2019 and 2020…

    Y. Chireau, er, were you not aware that I’ve written upwards of twenty books on “spiritual tools for protection, defense, power or vision”? You might see if your local library has a copy of The Druid Magic Handbook, or perhaps the seventh edition of Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn, which I edited; either one of those should give you some sense of what kind of toolkit I work with. As for your initial question, I’m not a psychic; I have the form of induced clairvoyance that’s produced by a good thorough training in ceremonial magic; and whether or not I count as a prophet depends on your choice of a definition — by most definitions, including the one I prefer, no, I’m not.

    Pecan, if the phase of the moon mattered, I would have mentioned it. Don’t worry about that — just do the working exactly as written.

    Ron, interesting. I’ll have to think about that. In the meantime, here’s my favorite rendition of the theme — those final words are worth keeping in mind…

    Yorkshire, the definition of what counts as “dangerous levels of cholesterol” has been massaged several times to justify prescribing drugs to larger and larger sectors of the population. If you have some time to spare, go looking for the underlying evidence that those levels are actually dangerous, or spend some time on good alternative health care sites that discuss the matter — several excellent ones have been posted in this comment thread. Otherwise, your best bet is to remember that the medical industry exists to sell you products and services whether you need them or not, and concentrate instead on getting reasonable levels of aerobic exercise and practicing relaxation exercises and/or getting regular massage — high levels of stress are far more solidly linked to heart disease than, say, the latest speculations about what kind of cholesterols aren’t good for you.

    David BTL, we’re also moving into a phase of history where the movements that matter will come from the hinterlands rather than the big urban centers.

    With regard to discursive meditation in a group setting, that’s quite straightforward. Everyone sits down facing the same direction; the person leading the session starts it with a chime or bell, reads aloud the theme and guiding image, then uses brief prompts to guide the others in a period of relaxation, five minutes of silent rhythmic breathing, and then the period of meditation. Everyone meditates silently for twenty minutes, then the person leading the session quietly prompts them to wind up their meditation, and one minute later sounds the chime or bell. Everyone stretches and gets up, and then there’s tea and snacks for all — this is a great way to finish closing down.

    With regard to city council meetings, the protective amulet would be my first recommendation, yes.

    Aubrey, no problem. I hope you’re recovering well!

    Monster, you’re very welcome.

    Justin, I wish I did. I got my take on American history from more specialized works.

    Half By Sea, Japan and eastern Asia generally have huge populations, many times larger than they will be able to support as fossil fuels price themselves out of the market for agricultural fuels, and there are no cost-effective replacements. That means that crop yields will drop to premodern levels, leaving tens of millions of people facing the choice between migration and starvation. As Japan and Korea are both well equipped with large watercraft, migration is the obvious answer, and the currents flow straight to the west coast of North America — do you recall the debris from the big Tohoku tsunami that washed up on the shores of Washington and Oregon? Boats,ships, converted container vessels — those will do the same thing. As soon as the US and Canada lose effective control of their western littorals, the mass migrations begin, and to judge by past examples, you probably don’t want to be in the way.

    Thecrowandsheep, it’s easier to get bent out of shape about those sources of death and misery for the unborn for which one doesn’t happen to be personally responsible…

    Will M, Pogonip asked first, and so I’ve tentatively given her the right to link to one cute kitten picture per month. I don’t want this blog flooded with sticky sweet kitten pictures, though, so I’m going to be utterly unreasonable and say that she alone has that right. As for writing, anyone can become a capable writer — but not everyone will. The difference is, as usual, a matter of where you choose to put your energy. If you personally choose to put your energy into becoming a writer, you can become a writer. “The stars incline, they do not compel…”

    NomadicBeer, it’s quite simple. The currently privileged classes are on their way down, and know it — thus the nastiness and the delirium. Certain other classes, most of them deplorable to one extent or another, are on their way up, and know it — thus the much calmer and friendlier attitude there. The children of the affluent don’t need to embrace a new paradigm; the new paradigm will be embraced by others, and those others will become the new affluent class, while downward mobility becomes a hard reality for those who barricade themselves in a failing model of society. The classes that prospered during America’s imperial zenith are not the classes that will prosper in post-imperial America: that’s the driving force behind the turmoil we’re seeing right now.

    David BTL, and thanks for these!

  176. Scotlyn,

    You may have slightly misunderstood me. I am not agreeing that women are paid less. I don’t think it is true. What I am saying is that we won’t get parity because men and women have different priorities.
    Plenty of women make a lot of money. It depends on their careers. But even in the same careers, women are often not willing to put in 70-80 hour weeks for years on end, especially when they want to have a family. This is not something that should obviously make you angry. Instead, it seems to me that women are more sane and balanced. At the end of the day, one’s children are the most precious task you will have performed. It cannot be done well with 70-hour weeks. So women have more options than men, not less. I have known many doctor couples in which the husband works the usual doctor hours and the woman has a part time clinic job or part-time pediatrician’s job.
    A family is so discounted by modern feminism! It cannot be done well and joyfully when the home is just a pit stop.
    My understanding of the pay statistics is that they are bogus. It’s an across the board sum of all men and all women. That’s not a pay gap. A pay gap is paying women less for the very same work and if they have put in the same time.
    Shouldn’t you be complaining that nearly all people who die on the job or sustain serious injury are men? That most successful suicides are men?

    It seems to me that the feminist endless dissatisfaction and complaining are a rabbit hole from which there is no escape. The ante will forever be upped, because dissatisfaction is a mental loop or addiction and life is tough and there are endless ways it is fair or unfair.

    What I think society could use a whole lot more of is women appreciating men.

  177. Martin, that’s why it’s so crucial to use the internet only when necessary and use other means to get access to the information that matters. It’s worth noting that this kind of information is rarely part of the news.

    Aspirant, yes, I saw that. The drool-spattered, knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed idiocy involved in publishing that, so that it can be translated into Russian and discussed thoughtfully in the corridors of the Kremlin, sums up the state of US strategic thinking embarrassingly well. They really have lost track of the fact that the rest of the world exists in its own right, and isn’t just a bunch of arbitrary counters we can push around at will…

    Stephen, I think he’s lost his mind. I mean that quite seriously; when I knew him, he would never have fallen for something that riddled with handwaving.

    J.L.Mc12, yes, I’ve heard of it.

    Nomadicbeer, New York will end up with roughly the climate the east coast of Mexico has now. That can be rough to get through in the summers but, you know, people lived there long before air conditioning was invented. As for the center of the country, I’m basing my estimate on what happened during the interglacial before this one, when temperatures spiked to roughly the level we can expect them to get to this time around. The Sea Peoples are in fact the example I had in mind for mass maritime migration — and remember that this time they’ll have disused container ships for transport…

    Booklover, you might find my book Dark Age America informative along those lines.

    Austin, you also have to factor in economic viability. In a deindustrial society, it will be more economical to make slide rules to crunch numbers with — remember that most of the calculations that put human bootprints on the moon were done with slide rules — and store data in filing cabinets.

    Tolkienguy, Hall’s book is a very good introduction to that. As for the South, well, as sea level rises much of the South will be inundated by salt water — Memphis will be a seaport at the mouth of the Mississippi, for example, and Florida will be a shallow area of ocean, with various island chains rising where hills and low mountain ranges are now.

  178. Jez,
    Glad you enjoyed the book. I really did too. I hope you have had time to check out McDougall’s web site. Lots of interesting things there as well.

  179. JMG, as it is, much of the western US is already desert and only habitable through massive infrastructure to move water around. I lived in Arizona in the 90s when the Central Arizona Project (known as CAP if anybody is familiar with it) was just starting to bring water to Phoenix and Tucson from the Colorado River and that was a huge legal and political issue. Do you believe it will be an inability to maintain this expensive infrastructure or simple lack of water to move around that will result in the depopulation of the region?

    I’m also curious why you think there will be significant immigration from Japan and other Asian countries to the habitable parts of the west coast? Is it because those areas already has a significant Asian population? The city I grew up in (Cerritos, CA) is now over 60% Asian with a population over 50,000.

    I also finished reading the Conspiracy Book. I really liked the format and the links provided between the different groups and organizations at the end of each entry. Thank you.

  180. Thank you, Will M, for your comments re: ‘zilla and Japan (makes sense to me!); your comments on King Kong are apt, too. Glad to see that I am not the only one in this group who ponders over these things!

  181. @Martin Back say
    “A comment on last week’s post about creating our own reality:
    Increasingly we are living in a reality that has been curated for us by algorithms that monitor what we click on and and use that information to decide what appears on our screens. There are whole sections of reality we will never see, cocooned as we are in our little information bubbles.”

    That is a decision you have made. Your participation in that ‘reality’ (it isn’t any kind of reality) is totally voluntary. I make every effort to deal with actual, not virtual reality. You can too! Non-curated reality. For godz sake, screens are not in any way ‘reality’. You can opt out, you know. So don’t say “There are whole sections of reality we will never see, cocooned as we are in our little information bubbles.” There is an actual reality that YOU will never see, cocooned as YOU are In YOUR little information bubbles. 100% by choice.

    But I will give this heads-up: The more you are interested in and pursue and study and immerse yourself in the real, natural, unmediated world (not ‘virtual’), the more you will be told “oh, you are just trying to escape from reality”. The culture is not necessarily your friend.

  182. JMG building off your response Half by the Sea, stopping such a migration would effectively mean sinking defenseless people. What would happen to the locals living there? Wouldn’t you also expect a push north from Mexico? Seems like a two way invasion to me.

    What I’d like to know is what happens to US Canadian relations in the long descent? It seems like as everyone flees from the south, New England States might be better off tied to Toronto rather than Washington. Canada seems to have a better shot at remaining unified than the US does…..

  183. @JMG

    “Yorkshire, the definition of what counts as “dangerous levels of cholesterol” has been massaged several times to justify prescribing drugs to larger and larger sectors of the population.”

    After 30 years with no contact with the medical profession, a medical crisis thrust me into the system somehow. With this came some blood work, and a discussion with my doctor. He mentioned the possibility that I might “need” statins for my cholesterol. But get this:

    He handed me their standard ‘cholesterol’ pamphlet, and there’s the table – normal, borderline, high. Well, the figure for high (need statins!!!) was literally scratched out, and a new rather lower number hand-written in. My results were OK under the old regime, but suddenly it was ‘danger danger danger’. What a crock of shale, of the fracked variety! Must not be moving enough statins, I reckon.

    When I expressed my refusal to go on statins, and explained why, my doctor said “that is not an unreasonable decision”. Wow.

    What is going on in medicine?

  184. Austin Levro

    I wrote up a post so long it looks like it would take 3 posts.

    The gist of it is you have a lot to learn but it can be learned.

    Anything that does automated switching (relays, tubes, valves, transistors) can be a base for a binary computer. The problem is getting a gazillion switches to synch and always always work as they should.

    An abacus is more practical for every day. That would also take some learning. They will do precise multiplication and division, that is why some are so long.

    If close approximation is good enough and no addition or subtraction is needed slide rules got us to the moon. Not as much looking stuff up in tables it you have the right tool.

  185. Re: the reading room and meditation center:

    Goodness I love that idea. For the fiction/mystery section, may I suggest the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters? I’ve just started into them and am enjoying them immensely.

    If such a thing existed in my town, and I had an even remotely regular work schedule that allowed me Wednesday evenings, I;d be there all the time 🙂 Best of luck with those plans!


  186. Goodness. I feel like I’ve been knighted. (“Tapping her on the shoulder with a cute kitten, the Archdruid proclaimed, ‘Arise, Dame Pogonip!’”)

    Yes, I’m having fun with the story, though I can’t say the cast members are. That one unfortunate fellow who was minding his own business is hopping mad, or would be if he weren’t too sore to hop, and once he’s up and about I suspect there are some evil #%*/(?##! * fooftawoos who will be in for a righteous beatdown. Then we have this poor clueless American bumbling about, various decent souls who don’t deserve half of what’s happening to them, and of course God only knows what may happen if Bertie can’t locate Jeeves in time. 😈😄. Where’s Samurai Jack when folks really need him?**

    *Denotes un-Druidly language.

    **Not that Jack, however sweet and generous a soul he may be, can hold a candle to Jeeves when problem-solving time comes.***

    ***I would still pay serious money to read a story where Jeeves, Samurai Jack, and one of our host’s shoggoths combine forces.

    Right when I get super-busy, darn it, there are a host of exceedingly important topics this week, even more than usual. I hope to catch up!

  187. Hey JMG! I’ve had the thought for a while now that having a more systematic accumulation of research about magic would be a good thing. I realize this is VERY unlikely to be something that will get funding or support beyond the grass roots level. However, what I have in mind as a first step is something like case studies by individual practitioners.

    Basic reports of different operations could be considered case studies, but I think a more consistent way of reporting them would be useful. For example, having a list of things which need to be noted down for every report, such as astrological conditions, length of the ritual, results, if its an evocation, noting the method of manifestation/communication, etc. This is done by most ceremonial magicians in their magical journals of course, but the interpretation of results is often less careful and nuanced than I feel it could be.

    I know it would vary significantly depending on the type of working, but this seems like a project with good potential.

    Do you have any thoughts on the matter, or suggestions for a fruitful way to go about this? This is something that I would really like to see happen. My hope would be that it could lead into larger studies eventually, after the groundwork of nuanced case reports was made.

  188. Scotlyn,

    Thank you for your kind words. Yes, frozen embryos are a huge moral problem. The predicament you cite is why the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and other conservative Christian bodies have traditionally categorically condemned in vitro fertilization. (This applies to Nestorian Christianity as well.) Every one of those fertilized eggs amounts to a human being that has been brought into existence very cavalierly.

    This is something of a personal issue, since my wife and I married late in life. We are childless (not by choice), but we might very well have tried in vitro fertilization in the very beginning of our marriage, were it something we could morally countenance.

    As to the circumstance of being frozen, that does not eliminate the life force deriving from the animating soul, but merely places it into dormancy. It is still there (unless the zygote is destroyed), and can animate the zygote to complete growth if the barrier of being frozen is removed. Due to the incarnated nature of the animating soul, it is frozen into place every bit as much as the body that it infuses.

  189. Onething–although a long time feminist I do agree that the statistics comparing male and female earnings can be massaged to ‘prove’ many points. I am disappointed that the women’s movement declined into a race to the corporate boardroom rather than an effort to restructure society so that both men and women enjoy family life and productivity outside the home. But that ship has sailed. Your remarks about men dying on the job more frequently, reminded me of a book I read long ago The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell. The author points out that ‘most people in power are men’ does not equal ‘most men are in positions of power’ and that most dangerous jobs, such as miner, lumberjack etc, are traditionally done by men. Further, when childbirth was more dangerous that was the female equivalent of serving in the army. and so forth–probably a little outdated. For one thing, I don’t think he gave sufficient attention to male violence against women. Your remark about women appreciating men did lead to a personal memory. My partner and I were in a rough patch, so one day I decided to quit being so critical and wrote a list of things I appreciated. Oddly, things got worse between us. There are reasons he is my ex.

  190. Also, though I had originally intended to remain silent, I will address a response to Seaweedy as well. I will try hard to exercise restraint in what I do say, but I will say that you can count me in among those who find the idea of giving thanks to a human being you have killed to be shocking – among other things.

    As a close parallel to what you are proposing, consider the case of Andrea Yates, who infamously drowned five of her children in a bathtub about 20 years ago. Acting according to your principle, Andrea Yates could have made it all good by piously thanking each of her children after stuffing their faces under the water.

    Moreover, if indeed your spiritual approach to abortion is expiatory, then according to the same principle, the courts should have acquitted her, and to have considered the moral burden of her actions to be fully effaced by her gratitude to her dead children.

    Come to think of it, any murderer whosoever could apply the same principle to atone for his or her deed by giving thanks to the murder victim after the act. If enough people followed the practice, we could perhaps even eliminate all the murder statutes from our criminal codes.

  191. I just saw Half By Sea’s question and your response which answers my migration question. Interesting, it’s not the response I expected. Thanks.

  192. It looks like things in Washington got a bit more interesting: Trump is allowing the documents related to the alleged spying on his campaign to be declassified. Breathless reports claim that this will be a massive embarrassment and create legal headaches for Democrats in that some members of the Obama administration may have had prior knowledge of and/or involvement in the shenanigans. Hard to know how damaging this might be – if at all – since we’ve been promised so many bombshells these last few years that just fizzled out.

    To any readers in Missouri:

    Hope you and your loved ones are safe.

  193. In re Orlov:

    I’ve been following Orlov for several years, and have always found his analysis of politics and energy to be logical and coherent. Then when I read his “Bright Future of Energy” post, a good bit of dissonance kicked off in my mind; his touting of nuclear seems like not only a complete turnaround, but also at odds with everything he had been saying up to that point.

    Orlov isn’t the only one. Another writer, Ugo Bardi, also wrote cogently of our energy situation. And also recently, in opposition to the conclusions one would draw from his previous work, he is now saying that renewables will save industrial civilization.

    One of the commentators on his blog, Cassandra’s Legacy, called him on this, and Bardi’s lame response was on the order of “We have to keep some optimism going.”

    From all their previous writings, these guys clearly know the score. I’m wondering if the cheerleading for nuclear and renewables is these writers’ emotional inability to come to terms with the fact that “progress” as it has been defined is ending, that several billion people will die prematurely over the next century or two as we stairstep our way back into an agrarian economy with its attendant social and political realities.

    Antoinetta III

  194. Recently, I’ve been noticing an idea circulating among lefty and environmental types (Kim Stanley Robinson, for instance), to the effect that we should all move to the city in order to reduce our footprint on the natural world.

    It strikes me as straightjacketed thinking – or to put it another way, we keep trying to force our own linear thinking onto the rest of the planet.

    Yes, if you want to live an industrial lifestyle, then doing so in a rural area will be more costly to the biosphere in several ways. But if we all up and move to Mega Chicago, then Mega Chicago will unavoidably have a tremendous amount of ghost acreage, and all our technologies will still have a tremendous deleterious effect on the natural environment.

    We have too many people, and too much industry, and there’s no way around that, no matter how you rearrange the pieces on the board.

    Also, I have to imagine that if for some reason we all pack into urban environments, that will just accelerate our disconnection from the rest of the cosmos, and magnify our various insanities.

    More and more, when I read people arguing for ways to stave off climate change, I feel like they’re actually desperately trying to find a way to keep industrial society intact. Bargaining seems to be the tactic of the day – “just let us keep our smartphones and sushi, and we’ll all pile into cities and leave you alone.”

  195. @Stephen I think Orlov lost his marbles a long time ago. Russia follows the normal process of slow decline, no miracles there.

    @JMG It occured to me that ironically the US is at greater risk of becoming ‘overextended and unbalanced’ than Russia. How does that proverb go? He who digs a hole for another may fall in it himself?

    I would also like to ask you about Rhode Island state. You once mentioned you liked a number of things about the state, including the taxes. Everyone else I know says that taxes are really high in RI. So I don’t know what to make of it. Could you give more details on RI taxes? Yes I am making plans for the future, considering moving up there.

  196. Whoever up there corrected me on S King’s natal chart – yep, he’s sun sign Virgo, not Gem. I meant to point out that his sun and Venus are in the 3rd house, the house that relates of course to Gemini and Merc. Virgo also relates to merc, so this is a very “writerly” chart, with particular emphasis on detail, which you can see in his often annoying product placement-like, time-capsule realism.

    I think if it were revealed that King had had his chart done and he took it seriously, he’d lose most of his New Yorker readership, for sure. But he’s got a lot of readers way outside the chattering class circles.

  197. Just some random musings: After the discussion about libertarianism and communism in the last thread, I started thinking about the concept of diminishing returns. I know JMG has written extensively about how advances in technology will always produce diminishing returns, and how that’s one of the biggest problems with the modern notion of unlimited progress. (I have a lot of friends who are into the whole Technological Singularity movement, and they all seem to take it for granted that increasing the intelligence of people or computers will make it exponentially easier to further increase intelligence, when it seems to me that the exact opposite would be true! Then again, most of them know a lot more about computers than I do, so maybe they know something I don’t.)

    Anyway, I started wondering if maybe the concept of diminishing returns applies to politics too? That is to say, the closer you get to a “pure” or “perfect” implementation in the system, the harder it will become to push society any further in that direction. The Soviet Union might’ve had an economy that was 90% centrally planned, but that last 10% proved an impossible bridge to gap, since they couldn’t totally eradicate black market activity or voluntary small-scale transactions or trade with non-communist nations. Some Marxists like to argue that communism can only work when the workers’ state has total control over the entire economy, with no exceptions, but that seems like an impossible goal. I made the same mistake with capitalism when I was younger, thinking that the problems with crony capitalism would go away when we achieved a 100% free market, but looking back that was similarly naive.

    It’s not just political systems either, it seems like the pursuit of any political value is equally subject to diminishing returns. Whether it’s libertarians pushing for total freedom, or social justice warriors pushing for total egalitarianism, or old-school leftists pushing for total economic equality, or social conservatives pushing for a total return to traditional values, it seems like there’s a certain point where you’re just going to start wasting energy and throwing other values under the bus for increasingly sparse returns. It seems like part of the problem with modern society is that political ideologues of all stripes are aiming to optimize their preferred values at the expense of all others, and when that inevitably doesn’t work, that just drives them to double down on their efforts.

  198. Rya, the desertification of the dryland West will have multiple causes, ranging from the exhaustion of underground “fossil water” (for example, the Ogalalla aquifer) through the collapse of infrastructure to a sharp decrease in rainfall, of the kind experienced during the postglacial hypsithermal and the Eemian stage (the last two time periods when global temperatures were as high as they’ll be shortly. As for mass migration from east Asia, if you’ll scroll up a bit you’ll find my answer to Half by Sea, which covers that in some detail.

    Austin, the migration probably won’t begin until the US and Canada are in sufficient disarray that the landings will be unopposed. As for the US and Canada, I’m far from sure either country will be around in a century, if current trends continue; both have serious pressures toward partition that I expect will keep building.

    Sgage, bingo. They’re fiddling the numbers to get people to pay for drugs they don’t need, and then pay for more drugs to deal with the side effects of the drugs they don’t need. The word “racket” comes rather forcefully to mind.

    Pogonip, good heavens, why settle for a mere knighthood? I hereby formally proclaim you Lady Pogonip of Cutekitten, with a life seat in the House of Lolcats. (The Speaker, Lord Cheezburger, will be duly informed.) You’re welcome.

    I’m not familiar with Samurai Jack; my immediate thought (perhaps influenced by the kitten references) was to replace him with Samurai Cat aka Miaowara Tomokato, who could certainly hold his own against just about anything, so long as you don’t mind absurd heroics and a spectacular death toll. I don’t think Mark Rogers did a Samurai Cat story featuring Bertie and Jeeves, more’s the pity, but the idea is, well, enticing.
    Samurai Cat
    P.H. Cannon has written a set of Lovecraft-Wodehouse pastiches titled Scream for Jeeves, so shoggoths are certainly an option. What’s more, Sho, the shoggoth who plays a central role in my forthcoming The Shoggoth Concerto, is of the smallest type of that polymorphous species (around four feet across when drawn up into a sphere), a subspecies created by the Elder Things as domestic servants. Thus one imagines Jeeves and Sho working things out quite readily, though Bertie would doubtless be rattled by having the flat cleaned by a shapeless blob of iridescent black protoplasm with an indeterminate number of eyes…

    Rolf, fair enough. I won’t be interested in participating, however, as I don’t propose to make the details of my workings public. “To know, to will, to dare, and…”

    Ryan, you’re welcome.

    Beekeeper, yes, I saw that. Things could get very interesting indeed.

    Antoinetta, I suppose that may be it. I suppose it makes sense, too, as long as you define “optimism” as “the hope that a miserably dreary status quo will keep lumbering forward indefinitely”…

    Cliff, got it in one. It’s all about pretending that the unsustainable can be sustained if we only engaging in the right kind of bargaining behavior. The reference to Kubler-Ross’s five stages is not accidental…

  199. With the talk of statins I’m led to the rather startling obvious thought that *history is happening now*. I’ve read the first volume of Gibbons _The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_ and I imagine will look back at this time period as the time when people began to abandon corrupt institutions. Quite obviously mainstream medicine has become corrupt, education has become corrupt, the housing market has become corrupt, agriculture has become corrupt, politics have become corrupt, and perhaps most religious institutions have become corrupt. Many of these institutions are, seen from the outside, rather actively evil.

    More and more we see people turning their backs on these corrupt institutions and whether the alternatives are anything better is an open question. On my own account, I feel that I’ve tried to “bargain” with this zeitgeist of corruption for many years and that feels increasingly hollow, and I feel a certain measure of depression, which gives me a degree of hope that I may reach acceptance yet!

    Point being, I feel that it may be worth saying that these aren’t “normal” times. Everything is in active disintegration and decay. This is, of course, just a point in a historical cycle, but still, noteworthy in the sense of everything not simply getting worse quantitatively, but more saliently, qualitatively as well.

    For these reasons, I do hope that the future historians of this time period are able to understand the Religion of Progress well enough to crack some jokes about this mordant irony! It really is quite funny, in its dark way.

  200. DT, I say promote vaping. While it’s not as harmful as inhaling chemically-treated tobacco, it’s still not entirely safe for the vapers ….. but I dont believe there’s such a thing as “second-hand vapor”, so your wife wouldn’t have to suffer around them.

    I’m an ex cig smoker, now a vaper, and my friends who hitherto would never let me smoke cigs around them, now let me vape freely in their homes. No smoke, just water vapor.

  201. Aspirant, the state income tax we pay here in Rhode Island is a little more than half what we were paying in Maryland and much less than we’d be paying across the border in Massachusetts. RI income tax is 3.75% if your income’s less than $61,300, as ours is. (MA’s is 5.1% no matter what your income, and Maryland’s is 4.75% for anything between $3000 and $100,000 plus a county income tax that boosts the total well past 6%.) We saved a chunk of change each year by moving here.

    Libertine, excellent! I would agree with that. If you start with tyranny as your baseline, very modest changes toward a free society have big payoffs, but the further you go, the higher the costs and the smaller the benefits, until you reach negative returns. The same is true if you start with anarchy as your baseline and move toward a governed society.

    Violet, yep. Some future historian — we’ll call him Edward Orangutan — will someday pen The Decline and Fall of the Industrial Empire, and the material he puts in his first volume will be what you’re living right now.

  202. Antoinetta III, I think the reason Orlov and Bardi have started tripping on fusion fumes is simple: both of them have children. It’s icky to think of your grandchildren suffering through the onset of a Dark Age. On a cynical note, when I read that Orlov was up to, my first instinct is that a handsome payoff/offer he could not refuse was involved.

    Cliff and others, thanks to the even keel I believe is a direct result of daily Sphere of Protection rituals for approximately the last year and a half, discursive meditation, prayer, tree rituals, and Druidry in general, I was able to maturely handle the nasty intentions of one of my oldest friends with severe Trump Derangement Syndrome and an equally bad case of salary class entitlement. With the advice of my Ogham divinations, I decided not to cut and clear with my friend, whose behavior has worsened exponentially since 2016. Instead, I cut and clear a business agreement he pressured me into with a fire bowl ritual after ending the agreement verbally. It worked.

    After that event, I showed my friend great hospitality and courtesy in a style I believe Dion Fortune would have approved; the ruder he gets, the more I shall inversely surround him with kindness, firm but polite “no’s” to his breaches of my limits, and pleasant manners. Never oppose the evil you mean to destroy. He’s still my friend…for now anyways. I’ve never felt so sanguine or mirthful about my everyday, mundane affairs. Y. Chireau, I hope you are reading this. JMG’s books and blogs do have sage advice in them that you can use, but you have to be both open to mental subtlety and willing to take a hard look in the mirror.

  203. @ Merle L – “no one in the ongoing abortion debate on here has as yet argued from the societal viewpoint. To me, this is the first and foremost consideration.”

    Well, speaking for myself, I have never gone there and I never will. If a society can be said to have a “viewpoint”, it is being expressed in the kinds of coffee bars where societal egregores hang out and discuss their problems, and I can guarantee that none of them are thinking in terms of what this or that person should do, anymore than you or I give any thoughts to the individual choices of our stomach cells.

    At the level of this person (me) and this point of view, the “unit” of will, so to speak is another individual person, not a society (although I this is not a doubt that a society *might have* a point of view and a will, but just not in any sense I can engage with).

    Whereas I (and I think David) have been focussed on re-introducing the two-in-one reality of what a pregnancy is to an abortion regulation debate in which almost everybody pretends you need only advocate for one or for the other, a discussion that attempts to bring in “societal good” introduces a whole new layer of blindness and de-humanisation (in my humble opinion) by essentially treating all of humanity as a stockbook.

  204. @Onething – thanks for a thoughtful response – as always, I really do appreciate that you are always thinking deeply about the things you say.

    What I will point out that you missed, in my comment, is that, yes, men DO do much of the caring and maintenance work, too, just like women, and that, when they do, we, (and I mean the “we” that is symbolically embodied in the dollar), do not value it or reward it.

    I did not mention danger per se, but I will point out that, yes, men do much of the dangerous work (although, as a commenter above – Rita? Nastarana? apologies for not recalling – pointed out, a female police officer faces 2.5 times the risk of dying from giving birth, than from active duty), but the dangerous work is ALSO not among the kinds of work we like to reward.

    In Ireland, soldiers are the lowest paid salaries that come from the public purse, and they are not even allowed to go on strike. Miners have traditionally been slaves, and in many places in this industrial world of capitalist extraction, they still are. The miners strike in the UK, during the Thatcher years, was the tool used to break the power of the unions.

    The danger of much of the work that men do, and also that women do, is not what “we” (and, again, I mean the “we” that is symbolically embodied in the dollar) tend to reward.

    Anyway, what I am mainly proposing is that there is nothing at all wrong with asking questions that cannot be answered (and coming to our own tentative answers that we know “work” for us). But when we proffer an answer that cannot be questioned (because God, Evolution, Nature, Society, or some other Great Big Authority), we are denying free will to our fellows – especially anyone that hears that story and sees themselves unchangeably cast as its villain or its loser and says “wait a minute”… 🙂

  205. @ Nestorian – thank you for adding the personal dimension that makes sense of a person’s story. And I am very sorry that you have not been blessed with the power to add to your family as you would have wished.

    For the same reason (to show you the personal story behind my views) I will tell you that I have been involved in the “story” of pregnancy from a young child when our house filled up with pregnant and nursing women who my mother was teaching and coaching in childbirth and breastfeeding. In my own clinic I am a generalist due to living in a rural area, but I love working with pregnant women above all. I also see many cases of infertility, often couples in which the woman is so very willing and who, like yourself, are reluctant to go the “industrial” route. For the record, I have never been involved in an abortion from any standpoint – all my own pregnancies were wanted and I happily carried them to term, and no friend or patient has ever asked my advice for ending a pregnancy in any way shape or form.

    I know that something magical happens at the moment of fertilisation. It has been observed that a flash of light is emitted at the moment a sperm enters an egg, and the two, together, transform into something new. And that, alone is miraculous.

    But although this “something new” does have a life force, as you point out:

    “As to the circumstance of being frozen, that does not eliminate the life force deriving from the animating soul, but merely places it into dormancy. It is still there (unless the zygote is destroyed), and can animate the zygote to complete growth if the barrier of being frozen is removed.”

    …in my view you are still expressing blindness to what is required for it to grow. To “remove the barrier of being frozen” will not allow it to grow. It will just thaw it out. The “force” that will propel it to life through the growth sufficient to draw a breath, will come from the body of a woman, in the life-propelling process called a pregnancy. The life force the mother provides within the pregnancy IS the propulsion the life force of the foetus must have if it is ever to draw breath in this world. And a pregnancy will always consist of two people, using one body, and that means it is complicated, not simple.

    And the reason this insight is important to me personally, is that throughout my life and especially in my practice, where I have heard so many of the private stories that are never spoken about even in close company, it has become very clear to me that no pregnancy that is wanted and cherished, and still for all that dangerous, can receive proper medical care, if the medical establishment is influenced by the “pro-life” ethic, by which I mean, the ethic that focusses on the life of the foetus side of the pregnancy and is blind to the life of the woman bearing it.

    Here in Ireland ALL maternity care was massively affected for years by the chilling effect of what we call our 8th amendment (repealed this time last year), which was essentially a foetal personhood provision in our constitution. The law is now transformed – much along the lines David and I have discussed – but the quality of maternity care is still very much affected by the ethical environment in which it is provided.

    This first becomes evident when a miscarriage is being treated. A miscarriage in a pro-life hospital becomes wrapped up in a veil of moral censure, and women who are miscarrying a wanted child often find themselves shunted into back rooms, ignored, allowed to bleed out with no pain medications or treatment, so long as a foetal heartbeat can still be detected. That, at such a time, they want and need comfort, pain relief, treatment to prevent infection and to stop bleeding, and all of the things a healthcare system should be providing, somehow gets coloured, and sometimes completely withheld, behind this moral hesitancy and suspicion that flows to you – “your body is killing this foetus.” I could tell you stories…. (but of course I cannot).

    It also carries into the birthroom itself, where, under our foetal personhood shaped laws, an obstetrician, in Ireland, could legally do whatever they wished (use any drug or procedure), so long as they could claim that in their professional judgment it was for the sake of the foetus. Needless to say, many women who had researched their own birthing and were advocating on behalf of their own, about to be born, baby, might disagree, but their informed consent was not legally possible because of our foetal personhood constitution.

    These are the experiences that have shaped my views as to the need for a light touch in the regulation of pregnancy, especially in its early stages, and for the need to allow women to step up and volunteer to bear one. It is a large and dangerous undertaking.

    I will add that some of the most committed campaigners in removing our foetal personhood amendment last year, were the husbands of women whose care during their wanted pregnancies and births, left deep scars.

    Thanks again, and peace.

  206. Regarding the reading room: I think permaculture would be a suitable topic and could be represented by Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway.
    Another book of a similar vein, in that it works out practical applications of a deeper, more systems-oriented understanding of nature and our place in it is A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, the one book architecture students should be reading, but aren’t. It certainly changed my thinking about space and place in an almost esoteric way.
    Disciplines like permaculture and Alexander’s approach to building fascinate me endlessly, as they point beyond the outdated anthropocentric worldview, regarding the world as reactive and alive, and thus placing observation and adaption above planning and design in the conventional sense.
    Does anyone know of other fields of practical work that have this quality?

    As for your, JMG’s, idea for the Ecosphical Society: Since I’m in the process of moving to the soon-to-be historically significant hinterland and adopting a lifestyle with more spare time, I could imagine establishing a room here in northern Germany. Lesestube der Ökosophischen Gesellschaft has a nice ring to it. Sounds kind of unassuming and quaint, just like the kind of change the world actually needs.

    One personal question for JMG as well: Practicing the Middle Pillar Ritual, I notice that the energy center at the heart is considerably more difficult for me to visualize and handle than the others. That might have to do with me being quite the schizoid type and only having started to undo the damage done by decades of separation of thinking and feeling a few years ago (I’m turning 38 and probably “cut the ties with my heart” at around age 6-7, when hypersensitive little me reacted to the horrors of school life by withdrawing into the intellect and subsequently becoming an arrogant intellectual blockhead until life dealt me a well-deserved blow that woke me up).
    I’m making good progress now in getting my empathy and sensitivity back, but I was wondering a) would you say my assumption is correct, that the heart center can be clouded or difficult to tap into for schizoid people, and b) can you recommend some technique to help with my recovery?

    This goes out to the others as well. People (mostly men) of the emotionally incompetent, selfish, and intellectually arrogant kind are usually (and understandably) just seen as villains, but often have a schism, a separation of thinking and feeling at the root of their insufferable character, which had its causes and can be healed. This whole topic doesn’t get much attention nowadays, but if some of you have something to say to that, please feel free to share your experiences!

  207. A small addendum: watching the rather small number of comments under the Cosmic-Doctrine essays, I wanted to say that there’s probably a lot more active students in the course than one might assume. I know I’m one, although I usually don’t comment. Just for our good host to know, so he doesn’t worry that too few people take the class.

    And finally, with regards to the call for Ecosophia-friendly curse words a few weeks ago: I just learned that the vertebrate with the least favorable ratio of brain to body size is actually, officially, called the bony-eared assfish. Couldn’t keep that to myself 😀

  208. I was wondering what you think of Senator Pan’s activities in California. No child’s parents will be allowed to refuse the 75 vaccines a child now has to get even if their other children were vaccine damaged.

    Aside from the health risks, I am disturbed by the idea that the State should have power over and above parents. Does the state own the children? Also does the employer own the employee? I heard someone in the US say that she was siting at her desk unaware when she got injected with the flu jab. That would be considered assault in any other context.

    I think slavery is making a comeback in the US right now.

    Also in the poorer future ahead of us, who will look after all the neurologically damaged people?

  209. JMG, thanks for the recommendation, but I already have the book “Dark Age America”. My view is, that the world in 100 years will be quite different from the world now, in that cars, computers, the Internet und the like will have markedly diminished in scope or will have gone extinct. They will at best be things for governments, and rich people. As a comparison, compare how different the year 1919 is from the year 2019. At 1919, the Forst World War had just ended, computers and the internet didn’t exist, cars and airplanes were newly invented, commercial ariflight didn’t exist yet, and freeways didn’t exist yet.

    The namen Edwar Orangutan is a delightful riff of Edward Gibbon – I would like to read his book about the decline and fall of industrial society!

  210. @ Cliff and @ JMG

    Re cities and density

    Spotted this on Resilience this morning:

    My initial reaction was ambivalent. As one who has spent over a decade involved with zoning and planning (not as a city planner or anything, but as a member of a planning and zoning commission), there is more to it than what is presented. Single-family housing is less the issue, to my mind, than the suite of accompanying regulations: minimum lot sizes, minimum house sizes, minimum setbacks, restrictions on yard use (*cough* front yard vegetable gardening *cough*), and the like. Pushing higher density in the form of apartment buildings and multi-family housing is less the solution, I’d argue, than the relaxing of these other restrictions to allow more effective use of the same space. Smaller lots and smaller houses might also be higher density, but still be single-family units.

    Just my gut reaction, anyway.

  211. @ Cliff and @ JMG

    Re cities and my comment just now

    I’d also meant to include in the list land-use, specifically allowing a mixture of residential and commercial uses to produce walkable communities with the proverbial corner butcher, baker, and green grocer. Just another thing that seemed overlooked in that article.

  212. Re: Godzilla: “History shows again and again / How nature points up the folly of men”
    Thanks for the musical education, JMG! 😊

  213. Hey jmg
    What do you think are the best books on life in Edo period japan? Ever since you mentioned them I’ve been curious to learn more.

  214. @ Nestorian

    Re Seaweedy’s comment on abortion

    Once more, I would argue that you are confounding numerous issues and sweeping aside a complex reality in order to shoehorn things into a simplified black-and-white analysis.

    First, again, I’d point out that abortion and infanticide and categorically different situations. In the first instance, there is an inherent conflict between two fundamental sets of rights–a woman’s control over her body and a child’s right to life–whereas that conflict is absent in the second. The Yates case is in no way comparable to abortion.

    You continue to ignore the fact that there are two conflicting principles at play here, not just one. In this manner, your argument is no different than that of your mirror image counterparts who insist that the woman’s right to her body is the only principle that matters. Both arguments over-simplify a complicated and multi-faceted reality. Equating all abortion with murder is no less fallacious than equating any restrictions whatsoever on a woman’s ability to have abortion with The Handmaid’s Tale, a popular pastime of the other side.

    An effective solution must acknowledge the truth that both principles are at play here and some recognition must be afforded to each. There is a period of time where a woman’s right to control her body dominates and another period where the unborn child’s right to life dominates. Absolutists of both camps will cry foul, which is to be expected.

    Secondly, your comments regarding the civil criminal code were frankly uncalled for. In this republic, spirituality and religious codes are completely distinct and separate from the actions of the state, as you well know, and one’s personal spiritual practices are no one else’s business. If a woman finds solace in such an approach to this complex situation, it is no one’s place to denigrate such a path. And if your religious code calls for you to consider all abortion as murder, you are free to view it as such. My proposal is only with respect to the civil law enacted by the state.

  215. @NHan
    I work as a transportation planning consultant so I can reassure you it’s possible to make a comfortable living in this field. I agree with Peter’s response that Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns and Jarrett Walker of Human Transit are spreading great ideas, and I guess it goes without saying that James Howard Kunstler is a must-read author.

    I’d also agree with JMG’s response about consulting or academia, but I would add a third occupational category to his list, because you can also make a cushy living working for a city department of transportation or department of city planning.

    In any place you work these days (maybe less so transportation, more so urban design), you will be joining a group of people who consider themselves part of the global elite. Therefore, beyond just believing in endless economic growth, you will be expected to agree with political positions that have absolutely nothing to do with transportation and urban design (such as the latest trends in identity politics). The risks of disagreeing are real. That’s one of the reasons why you’ll never see me post my name or other personal details here.

    However, if you keep your focus on work, you should be fine. I find that if I don’t say much when such topics arise, whoever I’m speaking with will assume I agree with their politics (Obviously you hate Trump, etc., etc. because you seem like a decent person!)

    Same when it comes to the long descent. When someone tells me how I should fly to Europe to check out the way cities are laid out, I tell them I prefer not to fly. When they talk to me about autonomous vehicles and electric cars, I shift the topic to bus rapid transit or reviving the passenger rail system.

  216. @Libertine I like the way this post indicates thinking that you have done for yourself, as compared to your earlier posts, which had a definite whiff of the groupthink a person can get from prolonged exposure to the like of a Mises-named website.

    In relation to the important question of diminishing returns in the attempt to implement any value or ideal to the 100%, may I recommend as further food for thought, the 1977 work by E F Schumacher, titled “AA Guide for the Perplexed”? (Not to be confused with a work by Maimonides with a similar title).

    Meanwhile, keep thinking! :)/

  217. Hello JMG, I hope I’m still in time for a question in this months AMA. As an Englishwoman, I’m keeping a close eye on the Aries Ingress Chart you cast last year for my country and comparing it to how things are unfolding re. Brexit and the other events you highlighted in the chart. So far it mostly seems spot on. What are your thoughts on this, as I know you’re keeping an (I suspect amused) eye on the shenanigans here in Blighty?

  218. JMG,

    I know you differ in some respects with your friend David Spangler concerning what the future might bring re a de-industrialized world. I’m inclined to agree with you, but DS did write about a possible non-polluting energy source basically drawn from water, which I found interesting. DS cites an MIT chemist, Daniel Nocera, who, to quote DS, “… has discovered a way to make hydrogen fuel directly from water at room temperature using means akin to the photosynthetic processes in plants which can split water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight.”

    DS thinks this is a likely beginning to what he envisions as an energy-rich future, a sort of water world, in fact, in which we humans are considerably more attuned to the workings and balances of nature than we currently are. DS is particularly enthused about D Nocera’s hydrogen fuel-producing because it is directly modeled after a natural process – in this case the process of photosynthesis in plants – which DS believes should be the paradigm for all scientific research.

    In any event, DS’s future-envisioning doesn’t quite match the bleakness of your post-industrial dark age, though I suspect he does foresee considerable turmoil in the world before the arrival of a water-based, eco-aware human culture – he just doesn’t like to stress the negative angles, always remains hopeful, which, I have to say, i appreciate. But do you think hydrogen fuel of the sort D Nocera is working on is feasible, particularly on the scale that DS envisions? I haven’t been following Nocera’s work and I wouldn’t know enough about that kind of chemistry to venture an opinion even if I did.

    I should add here that DS became aware of D Nocera after he, DS, had had a sort of telepathic series of communications with several citizens living in a water world future of around 300 years from now, and he decided to find out if in fact such a water-produced energy was at all possible – obviously this would seem utterly insane to most, but I’ve always had a great deal of respect for DS, so I’m not going to completely dismiss his vision.

    Thanks – wm

  219. 5G mobile networks were already shaping up to be a disaster, but now it turns out that they could cripple weather forecasting:

    NOAA chief warns 24 GHz 5G would hamper weather forecasting

    5G uses the 24 GHz spectrum, while meteorologists use 23.8 GHz to monitor water vapor for forecasts. These are close enough to interfere with each other. This could cause weather forecasting, including hurricane prediction, to be as bad as it was in the 1980’s.

    From the article: In his testimony, Jacobs said the FCC’s current plans for 5G spectrum use would result in 77% of weather data collected by NOAA satellites being lost to interference from cellular 5G transmitters.

  220. JMG,

    Yes, and thank you for your repeated exhortations to use daily banishing as one would cleanse one’s hands after using the bathroom. I was falteringly attempting the LBRP on occasion with no little amount of frustration and difficulty until I saw your recommendation and the reason why. Now I do it a minimum of once daily, if not two or three times per day. The difficult to remember, more difficult to pronounce Hebrew God names are taped to my wall, so that I can’t forget the proper order.*

    *I forget the proper order anyway, and am always twisting around to check it.


    If you have access to naturopathic physicians where you live, it might be well worth the consultation. Based on my conversations with the naturopaths where I live, I know tackling allergies with an eye to healing the root cause is something they do that standard medicine does not. What I can offer to actually help solve the problem is a recommendation to try frequencies–Rife frequencies, isochronic tones, binaurals. Here is one: Another:


    Buy land that has intrinsic worth and can be put to good use, such as housing or growing things. Over the next seven years, while Uranus is in Taurus, financial instruments that have no intrinsic value may lose all of their value very suddenly.

  221. Dear Austin Levro, I have a few thoughts, informed I hope opinion only. Keep in mind that the Pacific Coast north of the CA/OR border is a famous graveyard of ships, and an infamous lee shore. Also, even today, without assistance, a large vessel doesn’t get into the Columbia River. Making the admittedly large assumption of an effective govt in the PNW, I think émigrés might be met at shore by units of an activated national guard, not to deny entry, but to perform triage, with, eg., young males sent to military service, academics sent to schools to teach and so on. Such a govt. might well decide it does not have resources for search and rescue at sea. In other words, you can come, but you will make yourselves useful and you don’t get to set up your own cultural enclaves.

    As for Canada, I think you need to look at where the resources are. In North America the grand prize is of course the Great Lakes, 20% of the world supply of fresh water. I doubt a Canadian govt. would be willing to stand aside and allow that resource fall into hostile hands. If the US govt. falls, I think that the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi valley may well become Canadian.

  222. Oh, I forgot the book suggestion to you, David BTL

    Attempt to acquire the 2010 edition (the last one published) of The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

    And alternative might be something I found on Amazon, and which I don’t own: a so called Britannica Global Edition 2016, which I do not know if it is authorized or a bootleg. It is not a simple bootleg; here and there, there are new entries (on ISIS, for example), and the articles are organized in alphabetical order. There is no index.

    Read at least these two reviews before settling for the 2016 version:
    Top positive review:
    Top negative review:

    If you are interested on the last original edition, I also found a seller carrying it, Texas Book Consignments. Price is $1,950 including free standard US shipping. First come, first serve.
    Seller’s description:
    Complete 32 vol set! 2010 last printing!! This is an ex-library copy in good to Very Good condition. Has ex-library and/or discard stamp. Overall appears gently read. We ship daily Mon-Fri. Enjoy!

  223. @David BTL & JMG & all: —just a few more thoughts on an ecosophian reading room—

    1st a synchronicity: taking a walk yesterday after working out I went past one of these “free little libraries” where people can take or leave books. (I’ve done both quite often.) As an inveterate bookwyrm I always look on this route: and lo & behold I took home a copy of the Wilhelm Reich biography A Fury of the Earth. & I’d mentioned Reich as someone whose works or about whom I’d want texts in an ecosophian reading room. Books by/about him are scarce on the ground these days, so I of course snagged and now it has a home in my “biographies” section in the personal library. –books have a way of finding you I’ve learned long ago–

    Also, I am the club librarian for my ham radio club Oh-Ky-In Amateur Radio Society. That means I get to house and store all of the clubs titles -and make them available at our meetings and add to the collection. For this I have a few big tubs of books, and then I select titles to set out on a table for the monthly meeting. I use a simple pocket holder with card for the check outs. (I know in your model it will be reference only.) But I was thinking, a small library can be portable. Before I was the librarian at the club I rode my bike there, as it is only a neighborhood away. But I’m thinking of getting some kind of cart to haul the books behind so I can still cut carbon and provide the service.

    —Having a portable library would mean an ecosophian reading group could meet up anywhere that is accessible: a public space, a park, a picnic shelter, a library, a food court at a decaying mall… Why meet in a public place? So people who know nothing of what you are doing might be drawn in and find out. Low-tech PR.

    I was thinking of this because this is something some hacker groups do. 2600 Magazine has sponsored 2600 meetings all across the world as a way of getting hackers together to talk, learn, teach. I think some of their guidelines might be useful as a model. So, a few quotes & links…

    “2600 Meetings exist as a forum for all interested in technology to meet and talk about events in technology-land, learn, and teach. Meetings are open to anyone of any age or level of expertise. All meetings take place on the first Friday of every month from approximately 5 pm to 8 pm local time unless otherwise noted.”

    “1) We meet in a public area. Nobody is excluded. There is no admission charge or dues of any sort. It’s preferable to have meetings in as open a spot as possible rather than behind closed doors. This ensures that new people who don’t know about the meetings will be drawn in. We have nothing to hide and we don’t presume to judge who is worthy of attending and who is not. If law enforcement harasses us, it will backfire as it did at the infamous Washington DC meeting in 11/92. (You can find more information on this event in the Secret Service section of our web site.)

    2) We act in a responsible manner. We don’t do illegal things and we don’t cause problems for the place we’re meeting in. *Most* 2600 meetings are welcomed by the establishments we choose.

    3) We meet on the first Friday of the month between 5 pm and 8 pm local time. While there will always be people who can’t make this particular time, the same will hold true for *any* time or day chosen. By having all of the meetings on the same day, it makes it very easy to remember, opens up the possibility for inter-meeting communication, and really causes hell for the federal agencies who want to monitor everything we do. (A few meetings have slight variations on the meeting time – these are noted accordingly.)

    4) While meetings are not limited to big cities, most of them take place in large metropolitan areas that are easily accessible.While it’s convenient to have a meeting in your home town, we encourage people to go to meetings where they’ll meet people from as wide an area as possible. So if there’s a meeting within an hour or two of your town, go to that one rather than have two smaller meetings fairly close to each other. You always have the opportunity to get together with “home town hackers” any time you want.”

    –and a few more here:

    While those exact guidelines might not work for a reading room or ecosophian reading club, something along those lines might be good for green wizard meetups, etc. The 2600 website coordinates a list of meetups, so people who become interested can find out where the closest one is to them. The new GW site has a page for local meetups here:

    So, those are just a few more ideas. While I’ve been building a personal library myself… I’m now intrigued about the idea of these ecosophian reading rooms as a viable possibility. Because many of the occult bookstores are gone, this would be very good! I’d always thought of building up my library to be either handed down / donated to another library etc. Creating a reading room would be another option.

    —and finally a few more suggestions for occult novels:
    Little, Big by John Crowley (JMG wrote a nice article on this Crowley’s contributions to deindustrial fic for Into the Ruins a few years back and I read the book two summers ago.)
    Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll (and any of his books really.)
    A lot of pagans like the urban fantasies of Charles De Lint, especially his Newford books. I’ve enjoyed many of them.
    The novels of Joan Grant are hard to beat for someone who was writing from “far memory” of previous incarnations. Check out Winged Pharoh for sure.
    Etidorhpa by John Uri Lloyd. So many more…

    (And if you did get a turn table you could get some Incredible String Band records -Robin Williamson from the band has also written some excellent bardic books.)

    Keep & eye out too for those books that may not be obviously occult but have gems tucked away inside!

    & of course as many of our generous hosts tomes as can be lawfully acquired!

    @JMG: Most of the history I get is by way of reading biographies. I have a some books on local history at home & many available to me, so that is another way general history seeps in. I do have on hold David McCullough’s newest book about Ohio’s pioneers. I did track down three general histories that I’m going to look at and choose from:
    Alistair Cooke’s America
    The American’s by Daniel Boorstin
    A History of the American People by Paul Johnson
    & more recent: America Empire of Liberty by David Reynolds

    Hopefully those may help others who are looking.

    Cheers to all & thanks for all the fun here.

  224. I am curious to know what you think of the privileged progressive urban elites anointing Joe Biden of all people as Our Deliverer From Trumpism. I think it’s just enough of a combination of sad and funny to be a comedy-sketch from the old “Carol Burnett Show”!

  225. Nestorian,

    ” We are childless (not by choice), but we might very well have tried in vitro fertilization in the very beginning of our marriage, were it something we could morally countenance.”

    The problem I have with this stance against in vitro fertilization is that it is being done in an effort to bring a baby into the world, which could not otherwise come here. The unused or sacrificed zygotes would also never have had a chance anyway.

  226. Since this is open post week and comment topics run the gamut, I’d like to recommend very highly a book I have recently read, “Old English Medical Remedies”, by Sinead Spearing. Rather than being a compendium of ancient therapies found in Bald’s ‘Leechbook III’ and ‘Lacnunga’, as the original manuscripts are known, the book is an examination of Anglo-Saxon medical treatments during the time that England was shifting from Pagan to Christian. In addition to remedies for clearly physical ailments, the original manuscripts include treatments for illnesses caused by light elves, goblins and nightwalkers, conditions for which we’d now more likely consult a psychologist. Ms. Spearing does a good job of explaining the way Anglo-Saxons viewed the universe and their place in it, surrounded as they were by supernatural beings and invisible forces of all kinds. She also tries to tease out why the remedies may have been effective.

    From the introduction:

    ” (More than reflecting the medical practice of the Anglo-Saxons, there is) evidence of far older spiritual traditions, pre-dating the religious dichotomy of Christian/pagan so often considered to be the only relevant aspect of these manuscripts. Pagan religions are marked by a plurality of gods, yet within ‘Leechbook III’ and the ‘Lacnunga’ we can literally look back into the distant past, before even this pagan plurality emerged . . . These emerging identities demonstrate an earlier experience of religious impulse, where forces of nature such as the wind, storms, disease and death are found characterized within the domains of supernatural creatures such as goblins and dark-elves.”

    A few years ago, scientists brewed up one of the potions from the Leechbook and to their surprise it was effective against MRSA, ” . . . when the team tested the brew on scraps of MRSA-infected mouse skin, it killed 90 percent of the bacteria, results comparable to those achieved by the leading antibiotic given to fight the superbug.”

  227. Libertine,

    Very cogent comment at 12:08,especially paragraph 3. I immediately thought to add modern feminism to your list. They are living on fumes now but stuck in a rut of anger.
    Then too, it’s odd that while we probably live in the most egalitarian times ever, their is a never-diminishing tide of complaining and dissatisfaction, but the rights and respect which was won were probably ‘good enough’ and now society as a whole and men are being blamed for the fact that not every woman everywhere is gloriously happy, rich and fulfilled.

    But the insidious stance that seems obvious to me now but took a long time to see is that feminism is often driven by a profound dislike of being a woman and an assumption that anything male is to be desired and if not given, it is an outrage. Thus, the recent emphasis on male power.

    It may seem cliche, but women have their sphere of power, too. Many might roll their eyes, but I ask them to deeply ponder why. I’ll tell you why – because it is feminine! Their are cultural differences to be sure, but from nature and biology women have their natural powers. They are completely discounted. For example, women have sexual power, largely because their sex drive is more discriminatory. Then there is emotional power. Women have it. Then, compared to male violence, women can create lifetime wounds that never heal with words. Cruel, mean, destructive.

    Someone said the pressure on girls to be nice is strong. I don’t know if that is more in some families than others? but it would equate with teaching a boy to reign back physical violence, to be kinder to animals. In other words, you want him to grow up to use his power with compassion. Likewise, if being nice is a girl value, that makes perfect sense as women are the emotional center of most families and women can wound.

    Withholding appreciation is a form of spousal neglect.

    I like freedom and variety in people. Let them be who they want to be. Men and women are like two overlapping bell curves. But what I see is an utter rejection of the nature of women, which comes from nature. Men care more about the outer, the further, and the structural. Women care more about the inner, the smaller, the subtler. Lacking as much physical power, but having more advanced an integrated language centers, women use words. The outer and structural is the body itself, but the inner world is orders of magnitude more complex. For heaven’s sake, its complexity tends to perplex men who are less good at navigating it. As the inner, emotional life is closer to psyche and soul, why are modern women convince that having it as their natural sphere is an insult?

    Women have every bit as much power to wound as men do, and it isn’t good that this is getting ignored. Besides, as I’ve explained before, women are men’s reason to exist and if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Which means men need to try to keep their wives happy. I think most women have no idea how much the average husband or boyfriend caters to the woman’s whims in place of his own because it is more important to him to have her happy and emotionally steady than to get his way.

    I’ve made a particular study of ways in which women can raise a criminal or killer, but she will never get arrested for it. Women’s emotional crimes are not jailable offenses but they are very real. Now in this case, I think fathers can raise criminals, perhaps even more often than women and when a man is deranged he takes over the woman’s place as the emotional center of the home, mostly by being difficult or violent.

  228. In regards to the question about contributing to a 401K, or an IRA for that matter, the real advantage is the 10-15% reduction in taxes – based on your tax bracket. Of course your company match is another plus. Any ROI you get is gravy. If you get worried a few years down the road, just sell and take the penalty. You will still be ahead of the game. I expect the phony-baloney corporate game to last another five years at least. Meanwhile we are putting money into property in France where we now live.

  229. Hi JMG

    Really fun the “Edward Orangutans”…he-he-he!

    About the “Declining and Fall” of empires: do you think what is happening in UK, with the scottish and welsh pro-independent parties gaining influence, is a part of its long decline phase of its empire?

    I compare it with the first phase of the spanish empire decline, when in 1640 there were secessions revolts in Portugal (succeeded), Andalusia (not succeeded), Catalonia (not succeeded), but then the empire never recover.
    In the second phase of the decline, after the US-spanish war of 1898, when Spain lost the last colonies in America an Asia, it was when the nationalistc movement started with strength in Catalonia and Basque Country; curiosly before, during the war of independence of Cuba and Philippines, Catalonia was one of the spanish regions that sent more volunteers soldiers to fight against the cubans; but after the defeat, it seems that the catalan bourgeoisie start to think it was not “worth” to be part of Spain.

    Could be that this “pulverization” trend in UK is part of its long decline? (as the case of Spain)


  230. I am also still participating in the Cos Doc studies, it’s just too painful to try to type out my thoughts on my phone, and I don’t have a computer. I can just about manage to keep up a conversation here, but the stuff I want to say about the Cos Doc is too long and/or abstruse for my tiny phone keypad.

  231. @JMG & Tolkienguy, entering the fray, if I may; Having just driven across the lowlands of the South from Tampa FL up to NV, Yes, without a doubt, I don’t think one needs a scientific study to see that most of that land will be quickly lost when the sea level rises. Much of it is artificially propped above the waterline NOW. A great loss to humanity, IMHO. Not only because New Orleans is such a rich, gorgeous, vibrant city. All across that southern coastal stretch, the bayous and swamps are such a unique and glorious confusion of an ecosystem. I hadn’t known that our gators, cranes, heron etc, reached so far all across the South, even into Eastern TX, but they do. They are stupid animals, (unlike the squirrels discussed above!), but extremely instinctual. I expect enough of them will migrate north. Their numbers should survive.

    However, slightly to the north-west are the vast plains and grasslands of East and Central Texas, (and I mean VAAAAAAST!) I wonder what the climate change will do to those? Some, I would guess will dry up in the heat, but some closer to the new coast line will get more precipitation coming off of the gulf, so may be more inhabitable? There’s a heck-a-lotta empty land there at any rate.

  232. @Scotlyn:
    Thank you for your description of Irish maternity care. Brasil is right now discussing a law that would forbid abortions even in case of rape or incest (the only legal exceptions right now, though illegal abortion is rampant), and I have never heard the evil “side-effects” of such a law set out so clearly. As a man, I haven’t heard a lot of the talk, but my wife told me it is very common for women giving birth to be mocked “you didn’t scream that way when you conceived, did you?”. In the case of miscarriage (or complications from abortion), it must be much worse.

  233. Hi John

    Whats your latest take on UK politics? Assuming Boris gets in how do see Brexit playing out?

    A few different comments you might find interesting.

    Reportedly, he has been having one-to-one meetings with his fellow MPs to do just that. Sometime ago, there was a well-founded belief that if Johnson became leader of the Conservative Party at least five MPs would resign the whip. Since then, Change UK, a dustbin of disillusioned Remainers has been formed with eleven MPs, three of which were Conservatives. It has been a complete failure and a sharp lesson to other would-be jumpers, so there are likely to be no more defections on a Johnson leadership.

    Johnson has also been taking the advice of Lynton Crosby, probably the most successful political strategist today. It was Crosby who advised Scott Morrison in last weekend’s Australian election, when the expected Labour opposition victory was successfully overturned. He also advised Johnson in his successful elections as Mayor of London in 2008 and 2012.

    This is interesting, because Johnson appears to be working to a carefully constructed plan. He avoids press comment over Brexit and writes about anything else in his Monday column at the Daily Telegraph. His contributions in Parliament have been brief, the few on Brexit generally confined to democracy rather than trade. He has positioned himself to rescue the party from electoral destruction if called upon, rather than appear to be an overtly ambitious politician, unlike all the other contenders. It is quite Churchillian, in the sense there is a parallel with Churchill’s election by his peers to lead the nation in its darkest hour. He even wrote about it in a recent bestseller, The Churchill Factor,[iv]and understands intimately what it took for Churchill to gain the support of the House.

    It is therefore hardly surprising Johnson is the favourite to succeed Mrs May. His appreciation of free markets means he is not frightened by trading with the EU on WTO terms. Furthermore, President Trump admires him, and would be likely to fast-track a US trade deal with the UK. However, Johnson is likely to pursue a deal on radically different terms on a take-it-or-leave-it basis with no further extensions to Exit Day.

    So this is it. Theresa May will today announce the date when she will formally resign as leader of the Conservative Party. The day is expected to be in the week of June 10. Her resignation will trigger a Conservative leadership election, with a first round among MPs and a final run-off between the two winners among Tory members.

    May will remain prime minister until her successor is elected. The polls have Boris Johnson in a very strong lead. The leadership contest could, in theory, go on all the way until the end of July. But it could end early if the other candidates conclude that they stand no chance of beating Boris. In this case, he could be prime minister before the end of June.

    The FT cites sources that May was in a fragile state during the discussions yesterday, which were attended by her husband Philip. The date was chosen so that she would still be prime minister and party leader during the state visit by Donald Trump on June 3-5.

    The second reading of the withdrawal agreement is now indefinitely off the table. The Times reports that May could be using her remaining time in office to kick-start legislation on the less controversial parts of the withdrawal agreement bill, those focusing on citizens’ rights and the transition period. The Telegraph reports that the latest events were precipitated when Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, told her to drop the bill as he would not be in a position to support it.

    So this detail of UK politics is settled. And now what?

    The UK’s political class will discover that the majorities in the House of Commons are what they are. The UK parliament still has no majority for a Brexit deal, and it might put up obstacles for a no-deal Brexit. A new Tory leader has yet to regain the voters the Tories will have lost in yesterday’s European election.

    We noted the discussions on both sides are once again drifting off into unicorn-land. A conservative commentator yesterday expressed confidence that Johnson would resurrect the Malthouse Compromise. We had hoped never again to report on this wretched idea of dropping the Irish backstop, but here we are. And the Remain side seeks comfort in the illusion that there is no majority in the House of Commons for a no-deal Brexit, conveniently ignoring the fact that it is the legal default position.

    Most of those commentators do not have a clue about EU law or EU politics. The danger of a no-deal Brexit remain significant. The only tools the UK parliament has at its disposal to prevent it are passing of the withdrawal bill, unilateral revocation of Brexit, or a successful no-confidence vote. We see no majority for any of these.

    Our main scenario is that Johnson will become PM and that he will try, and fail, to re-negotiate the withdrawal treaty. At this point he will confront the House of Commons with a straight choice between deal or no-deal. If May had done this, the Commons would have passed her bill, and she would remain prime minister.

  234. A couple of things…

    Beekeper – I believe it, and you don’t even have to go back to the Middle Ages. I happened upon this story today describing common plants in the southeastern US with strong antibacterial properties as known during the US Civil War:

    John Michael – I was the person who commented this past Magic Monday about the US lunar missions being named after Apollo. It seems that NASA may be trying to rectify matters. Their new lunar program will be named Artemis.
    Of course the capsule is named Orion, which may or may not be appropriate, as the mythology is all over the place with respect to Orion’s relationship with Artemis. At least the booster is not named Saturn this time!

  235. For a plausible description of a post collapse computer that uses no electric components at all, nor the highly machined cogwheels and brass of the Babbage Difference Engine, see Sean McMullen’s novel ‘Souls in the Great Machine’. Highly recommended even if you are not interested in computers.

    In other news, the UK’s Prime Minister announced her resignation today in reaction to the probable collapse of the Conservatives in the European Parliamentary Elections in favour of the 6 week old Brexit Party; it seems that events have coalesced around a plausible path to quite a hard Brexit depending on to what extent the next PM supports the idea of leaving. Most of the leading candidates are leave zealots in one form or another.

    Once again I find myself rereading the Astrological prediction made here with considerable interest. I’ve finally managed to acquire a 1975 copy of the George Llewellyn text (black and white natch). There are a number of other elementary texts on my shelf waiting for my attention.

    I’d quite like to be able to erect a horoscope without a computer so I’m also wondering about the Christopher Warnock online course on Renaissance Astrology. Could anyone here recommend it?

  236. DavidBTL – What a great idea – I am really enjoying everyone’s input regarding the Ecosophian Library. A suggestion for an Appropriate Tech book might be the printed website of Low-Tech Magazine . I recently ordered a copy of the articles from 2012-2018, all bound in a paperback book. According to the website, they will be publishing the 2007-2011 book later this year. It is really nice to have it all available offline, and runs the gamut from city planning and homemade tech to simple fixes for heating and cooking. I could imagine reading these articles in a magazine in Lakeland Republic!

    As to fiction, the Library should have it’s own subscriptions to “Into the Ruins” and “Mythic” as well…

  237. Onething–yes, feminism has a very angry component. Living in ongoing, never ending state of fear and caution will do that to people. You think I exaggerate–bah–outside the home most women have been taught all kinds of rules of self protection. When you leave the mall or office to walk to your car watch the shadows, look under the vehicle if it is high enough for someone to lurk under. Carry your keys between your fingers, ready to stab an assailant in the face. Check the back seat before getting in. With the advent of date rape drugs do not leave your alcoholic beverage unattended while you use the restroom. As a male comedian, whose name I don’t recall, so pungently put it: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them.” Make sure someone knows where you are going and with whom and when you should be back. Be are nervous if a strange man gets in an elevator with you; and then be embarrassed for being nervous–he’ probably not a serial killer, after all. I’m not saying that every woman is cautious all the time. Some aren’t, but we also live with the knowledge that if we become a victim our every action will be questioned. Why did you wear that outfit, take too many drinks, go for a walk in that side of town, leave your bedroom window open, park in the far corner of the garage, etc.? Even if no one else asks the questions we will ask ourselves–why didn’t I see, what was I thinking, why didn’t I listen to . . . ?

    Inside the home some of us have suffered violence from a father, or a bullying brother or from a lover or spouse. I am not saying that only men are violent, nor that only women are victims. It is a shame and disgrace that male victims are neglected and mocked. And it is absolutely true that emotional violence from a mother can have a terrible effect on children and may contribute to a male child growing into an abuser. Nevertheless the reality is that most women are smaller and weaker than most men and therefore likely to come out of a fight more damaged. It is reality that women are killed by strangers and by intimate partners every day in this country. It is a reality that one of the the most dangerous time for a woman is _after_ she has left an abuser I have never been beaten, or raped; but I am female, 5’2″ and not athletic and know I’ve been lucky.

  238. 75 mandatory vaccinations!! Am I ever glad that I, daughters and granddaughters have left CA. What I notice about this debate, vax vs. anti-vax, is that the pro vax side absolutely refuses to state where are the vaccinations being made, under what supervision, being carried out by whom, how many times and, what substances BESIDES the mini dose of disease are being put in the chemical cocktails being administered to our children?

    Can someone from Briton, or Europe, explain what is going on with the British govt. lately? It was on BBC this morning that Cranky Corbin is calling for a new election…because he wants to be PM (BBC claims), horrors. Has not Britain had working class PMs before now? Lloyd-George? Aren’t new elections supposed to happen anyway when the PM resigns? I can’t help feeling a bit of sympathy for May; she always seemed to me to be an earnest and well-meaning woman a bit out of her depth, but far more bearable than the aggressively toxic Clinton. Is it possible that Her Majesty might simply refuse to ask Corbin to form a govt.?

    Dear Bee Keeper in Vermont, I saw that news also. We shall see. The CIA, et al, have rather a history of not doing what they are told. As near as I can tell, the CIA is funded by Congress, takes, or pretends to take, orders from the President, and in reality works for Wall Street.

  239. Dear Nestorian, I requested a response from you which, to my complete non surprise, you decline to give, which, I do understand, you have every right to do.

    As a quarter century practitioner (ever since my husband died when our daughter was just three) of the one best method of contraception, abstinence, I can state that not does this method protect a woman from unwanted pregnancies, it also wonderfully simplifies her life in many other ways. To give just one example, I was able to send one child through college and another through trade school precisely because I was. not. spending. on someone’s Mom’s operation, or cousin’s bail, or a weekly bar or drug tab.

    My response to the new laws in places like Alabama and Georgia is 1. that, gee, it looks like men in those states won’t be having sex very often unless and until they by some miracle are able to support families, and 2., if secular feminists could regain their sanity, this would be a really good time for women of faith and their secular sisters to work together on issues where they can agree. Offensive, over sexualized advertising comes immediately to mind as a good place to start.

  240. JMG, TamHob, and Xabier, thank you for the responses on book preservation!

    Xabier, you have made a number of really insightful comments in previous posts on this topic. There was one in particular a while back where you mentioned a method for “cutting in” a perfectbound book in order to retrofit it with a more durable binding. Have you considered writing an essay or nonfiction book to get these ideas out into greater circulation? We live in an age where everyone takes for granted the availability of any book ever published, and all of us here know that is a very temporary state of affairs.

    Sorry if this is a silly question, but I am confused about the function of the slipcovers. Doesn’t a slipcover defeat the air circulation goal for protecting the book? On a related note, what about plastic dust jacket covers…are they desirable for book preservation, or a work of the devil?

  241. Hey! I saw that picture of Samurai Cat and his psycho—I mean, cute—nephew! I didn’t think anyone else remembered Samurai Cat! I think the books are long out of print, darn it.

  242. To JMG: While I could quibble that some religions don’t have a deity (e.g. Buddhism) I’m more concerned about the people who have rejected religions of all types. Some have accepted Reason as a kind of monotheistic god. A friend, an astrophysicist, was diagnosed with bipolar syndrome in his late forties. He is so logical that when he heard the little voices in his head, he knew not to listen to them because he knew they were irrational. He experiences mania primarily as a high heart rate. He found a very successful organizing principal in his life.
    Most other people aren’t as lucky or dedicated and adopt organizing principle, like “You create your own reality,” without thinking them through. Those are the people I’m afraid for.

  243. @ David BTL: I had the privilege to hear Chuck Mahron of Strong Towns speak yesterday here in Western MA. He is definitely in the same category as JMG in propagating messages that 1) offend everyone 2) challenge basic assumptions 3) are probably mostly correct although they are painful to hear. I was curious about your background in land use and the difficultly of dealing with extant regulations. Most people glaze over very quickly when you start talking about setbacks, by-right uses, etc. but these boring regulations have massive and persistent effects.

    In the Q&A, I asked Chuck what could be done about metastasized planning and zoning regulations. His response was to look to Buffalo, NY, where they have carved out exceptions in certain zones to lighten red tape. I was a little disheartened, because what I really wanted to hear was a silver bullet that could blow up the bureaucracy. Not going to happen. Sigh, back to work, and sucking up the counterproductive cost of ill-considered regulations that we are going to be living with for a long while hence…

  244. @Onething:
    It seems awkward for me, a man, to comment on your judgment of feminism. It would be even more awkward if I seconded your affirmation “most women have no idea how much the average husband or boyfriend caters to the woman’s whims in place of his own because it is more important to him to have her happy and emotionally steady than to get his way.” 🙂

    I do want to point out that no matter my attitudes towards my wife, or the attitudes of “most men” towards their wives or girlfriends, my wife
    a) had a higher risk of being hurt or kllled, and an almost infinitely higher risk of being raped than I had when we were living in a dangerous place
    b) bore the physiological consequences of child-bearing, both short-term and for the rest of her life, entirely on her own, and the social and psychological burdens almost alone, despite my best efforts
    c) may well have had financial and other professional disadvantages in comparison with a man of her qualifications before we met, and now may suffer such disadvantages because of her child-bearing which I don’t bear, even though I very much wanted to have our child
    d) is financially to some degree dependent on my continued love and goodwill towards her, which introduces a power relationship, no matter what she thinks of my efforts to please her.

    I can’t tell if the people responsible for a) are men who cater to their wives’ or girllfriends’ whims, and I can’t tell if the people responsible for c) are men or women. All I know is that the niceness of husbands and boyfriends is not enough to declare feminism unnecessary today.

  245. sgage – Re: medical treatment, and medical advice. I read an essay long ago from an MD who said, in essence “if I tell people to watch their diet, get more exercise, and get more sleep, they’ll never do it. If they could, they wouldn’t be coming to see me. If I tell them to take a pill, THAT they can do, even if it’s expensive and not as effective as modifying their habits. So, what should I do? Give them the truth which they’ll ignore, or a pill which might help?”

    A few months ago, my wife reported that my breathing was irregular during the night, and so I wound up wearing a monitoring device for two nights, to take data while we were both asleep. Immediately after sending in the results (electronically, sight-unseen by either myself or my doctor), some company called to set up my “CPAP machine to help me breathe better while I slept”. A couple of weeks later, after I pried the data out of the monitoring company, I met with my doctor, and explained my perspective as we reviewed the data plots. “I think that I can manage this by adjusting my pillows so that I can sleep comfortably without lying on my back.” I told him. “Then I don’t think you should get the CPAP machine”, he agreed, “Some of my patients have them, and they’re hard to keep clean; you can get mold and bacteria growing in them.”

    Invest the time to learn what you need to do, then do it. Don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor, after you’ve done your research. He (or she) might be happy to work with a well-informed patient. Doctors have souls, too, even if they’re under pressure.

  246. Ryan, yes, a sigmoid curve would be a very good way to graph it.

    Eike, I would be delighted to see the Ökosophischen Gesellschaft get started in Germany, and would like to suggest that a good many novels by Hermann Hesse would be worth having on the shelves. As for the Middle Pillar, yes, that’s very much something that happens. In the same way, someone who has a lot of trouble with “ungroundedness” will have difficulties with the lowest sphere, and so on.

    Bridge, that strikes me as another very good reason to leave California. One of many, mind you…

    Booklover, then you already know my views on the subject!

    David, when i see articles like that, I tend to assume as a matter of course that what’s actually going on is some gimmick to make more money for landlords. I could be wrong, of course.

    Ron, it makes a good reminder! (Not least because I adored BOC back in the day, and still find them highly listenable.)

    J.L.Mc12, I did most of my reading about it in a library on the other side of the country and don’t currently recall the titles of the books I liked — there were a lot of them. Sorry.

    Mariette, the Aries chart is good for the entire year. So far it’s tracking the astonishing clown show of British politics quite well, though I didn’t anticipate quite this degree of absurd disarray! I’m standing by my core prediction, which is that Brexit will happen sometime before next spring equinox, that it will be surrounded by endless confusion and no shortage of hysteria, and when it happens and the dust settles, things will go on just fine and the people who were proclaiming Brexit as the end of everything will have plenty of egg on their faces. In the meantime, though, a big bowl of popcorn is a good idea, because the comedy hasn’t ended yet!

    Will, I respect David as a spiritual teacher but he doesn’t have a background in physics, and it shows. Sure, you can get modest amounts of hydrogen out of water by chemical lysis, but you have to put more energy into the process than you get back out from burning the hydrogen. That’s what the second law of thermodynamics requires. Sunlight is plentiful but very diffuse, and that limits the rate at which hydrogen can be extracted. Can you make up for that by having huge ponds of water from which hydrogen is extracted? Yes, but then you face the same problems of scale that cripple solar photovoltaic and algal biodiesel as large-scale energy sources. All this has been worked through many times, starting in the 1970s, but since basic thermodynamic literacy is so rare, these same nonsolutions keep coming up again and again. It’s as though people didn’t understand that you have to make as much money as you want to spend, and kept trying to insist that everyone can become a millionaire by opening a lemonade stand — after all, you can make money selling lemonade…

    James, that just about figures!

    Athena, glad to hear it.

    Justin, many thanks for these. I think the reading room idea could do a lot of good in a quiet and unobtrusive sort of way.

    Mister N, I think you just nailed it. Let’s see, Tim Conway would play Joe Biden, Carol Burnett herself would play Nancy Pelosi, Vicki Lawrence would play Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and of course Harvey Korman would have to play Donald Trump. It would be almost as funny, and almost as sad, as the evening news today…

    Beekeeper, thanks for this.

    DT, ah, but since you have no choice whether or not to believe it, your belief or lack of same has no bearing on whether it’s true or not! 😉

    Whispers, Miller’s a very competent operative mage. You’ll notice that he’s respectful to the deity he invokes and uses a consistent and thoroughly appropriate symbolism. The intention is a little diffuse, but for a general theurgic working invoking a specific deity in several of her roles, that’s not necessarily a problem.

    Walter, that seems reasonable enough.

    DFC, that seems quite reasonable to me. At this point I really think that it’s only a matter of time before Scotland becomes independent (or, rather, an EU province, but at least not part of Britain any more) and Northern Ireland rejoins Ireland. It’ll be interesting to see whether Wales pursues actual independence or simply benefits from its considerably greater importance in a sharply contracted Britain.

    Jen, thanks for this. One way or another, I’ll be doing the Cos.Doc. posts until we’ve finished the book and are ready to go on to something else!

    Caryn, I don’t know enough about the paleoclimatology of Texas to be able to guess what will happen; it might be worth looking up sometime.

    Forecastingintelligence, it’s been a three ring circus over on your side of the pond, with no shortage of clowns and dancing bears. My guess is that BoJo will get the nod and proceed to leave the EU without a deal. All he has to do is say that there can be a deal if a majority in the House of Commons approves it; we’ve already seen that no option commands more than a minority — so he can say, “Look, if you can’t make up your minds, no-deal is the legal default, and out we go.” Leaving the EU is much less difficult than the pundits would like it to be — do you recall how Slovakia and the Czech Republic separated in six months, with minimal fuss? What’s more, if BoJo goes full Brexiteer, the Tories can win back the voters they’ve lost to Farage. On the other hand, if the Tories put in a Remainer and the circus continues, I think the words “Prime Minister Farage” will no longer be an absurdity — and may end up becoming a reality.

    Steve, yes, I saw that! They might just be able to do it, at least mythologically.

    Andy, it’s quite the circus over there! Chris’ astrology courses are great on interpretation but won’t teach you how to cast a horoscope without a computer. You might want to check out the British astrological associations listed here — it’s quite likely that one or more of them will offer the kind of traditional course that includes instruction on doing the math yourself.

    Your Kittenship, yes, unfortunately, they’re long out of print. I hope someone does a reprint of at least the first volume one of these days; the children’s version of the Necronomicon with the Ernest Shepard illustrations (Winnie-ther-Cthulhu, et al) deserve to be seen again.

    Tomriverwriter, that depends on the Buddhist! My Japanese stepfamily are Shingon Buddhists, and the differences between Dainichi Nyorai aka Mahavairocana Buddha, the primary focus on Shingon reverence, and a god are best measured with a millitheometer. More generally, of course, you’re quite correct — it’s the ones who don’t think through the implications of what they decide to believe who open doors to some very unpleasant things.

  247. @ Bridge

    “I was wondering what you think of Senator Pan’s activities in California. No child’s parents will be allowed to refuse the 75 vaccines a child now has to get even if their other children were vaccine damaged.”

    I’m in California and my son received the full slate of vaccines required for school. The total was 16 doses.* Maybe 16 is arguably too many, but the 75 figure looks like scaremongering.


  248. Your Druidship, might your publishers, who obviously have good taste, introduce a new generation to O Miaowara? Does anyone know where the writer is or if he’s willing to negotiate? ( I remember his creation, but not, much to my embarrassment, his name.). 😳

  249. From samurai to veterans! I have been so busy that, until I noticed friends and neighbors who are still working looking unusually happy, I’d forgotten this was the 3-day Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. This is the weekend we Americans salute our deceased, and elderly veterans. To all veterans who are still with us, of whatever age, I’m not going to blat out “Thank you for your service” because I know how annoying that is, but I will tell you that I believe your collective efforts helped keep this poor crumbling society staggering along past the ‘80’s. You’re the best.

  250. @David BTL: It’s hard for me to dig into stories like that, because they always seem tangential to the issues I’m seeing elsewhere. So to me, it’s a lot of stress and strain to make a comparatively minor adjustment, and meanwhile the core problems never get mentioned.

    Sure, I can buy that greater housing density makes sense for urban areas right now, for specific reasons. But the conditions that exist now are not eternal. We’re grappling with late-stage capitalism and widespread cultural senility, an unstable mix at best.

    So I guess I’d like to see people asking questions: What will things look like in 30 years, or in 50? How much sea rise is Seattle looking at? What are the core drivers of the economy in Seattle, and what happens if you lose one or more? How fragile is the supply chain? The more people you have stacked up in a city, the worse it will be if there’s a major hitch in your flow of supplies.

    One final note: When I lived in Chandler, I lived in a monolithic apartment building, which are fairly common out there, and I didn’t know any of the people I lived next to. So greater population density does not equal greater community.

  251. @Kimberly: I’ve had the same effect from the Sphere of Protection and meditation. I can still get rattled and defensive, but overall it’s far easier for me to maintain confidence in my core (this has not been the case until recently), and calmly accept other people’s behavior.

  252. Your Kittenship, the artist was Mark E. Rogers, and he passed away in 2014 from a longstanding heart problem. I’m not sure what would be involved in contacting his family and getting the reprint rights; given the artwork-heavy nature of the publication, it would not be cheap to produce. Still, a being can dream! As for Samurai Jack, the images ring no bells, but then I haven’t watched TV since 1979.

  253. Caryn, for centuries Asians made a virtue of necessity and pooped on their own crops. It’s reasonably safe as long as women are nursing and Mom passes on her acquired immunity through her milk, and as long as everyone observes proper kitchen sanitation. Now you know why the Asian way to cook rice is to wash it many, many, MANY times before you set it to boil. It’s not necessarily all that starch they want to be sure to wash off.

    JMG, I’m so sorry to learn the Samurai Cat guy died! He was truly a cockeyed genius, the P. G. Wodehouse of psycho killer kittens and hilariously overblown violence. I mean the man was funny.

    You missed Samurai Jack by 35 years or so, and if you are the person who was bothered by small images bouncing about on a screen, don’t even try to watch it. The writers graduated from the Pile-On School. In some episodes they kept Jack so busy chasing, and being chased by, baddies that there was little or no dialogue. To this day I have fond memories of an epic battle that stretched for 8 wordless, musicless minutes. I don’t think even Chuck Jones and Tex Avery could have pulled that off (and I do not lightly dis the Great Gods of Animation). But for certain types of neurological impairment, it would be 8 minutes of misery, rather than a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

  254. From the department of catabolic collapse

    The birth rate differential between Amish and the rest of the population is so great that in 200 years the vast majority of the US population could be Amish with a smattering of other Orthodox and religious types making up the rest

    Obviously stats don’t work this way but the difference is very striking and those people have in our hosts words, already collapsed and avoided the rush

    The article author of course doesn’t think the rest of the population will endure a collapse but I think we know this is not the case

    A bad enough fall could say leave the Amish with a fertility rate much lower than current, say one above replacement with the majority of the population well below it

    In a shockingly short period of time, not as shocking as the current migration wave of course the US would become a radically different nation though with some historical irony, one more like the founding one , minus nearly every trace of liberalism

  255. Somewhat in the defense of Dmitri, I think what he is talking is some degree of success in harnessing what’s called the “nuclear fuel cycle,” which has been the Holy Grail of the nuclear industry in Japan, where they are decommissioning their accident-prone attempts to recycle spent fuel from conventional nuclear reactors, reducing the amount of long-lived radionuclides in the fraction that must be disposed of (and they still do not have a long-term disposal site in Japan). To this end, Japan has created reprocessing facilities in Aomori that are still not running (I’ll have to check on that to be sure), and has shipped off high-level nuclear waste to France in the meantime and received plutonium shipments in return. It is a complex game being played, but in essence, despite no operable fast-breeder reactors (FBR) in Japan, by reaffirming that Japan intends to build one in the future, it can get away with stockpiling plutonium. Japan could become a nuclear nation if it decides it wants to badly enough to violate the NPT to which it is a party. It currently plans to team up with France in developing a demonstration FBR in France.

    What Dmitri is saying is Russia has achieved some degree of success with an FBR, which would vastly extend the amount of fuel available for energy generation and perhaps even make the technology profitable for the first time in history. If true (I haven’t heard from other sources on it yet), that is a huge obstacle that has been overcome, but far from the only one I am aware of. As Dmtri has written in the past about the importance of disengaging from technology before it overwhelms you, I consider it a puzzling turnabout, too.

  256. @Matthias Gralle and Will M,
    Amaterasu is a very interesting figure, female, but a leader in every way. A tale in Japan’s Kojiki “Record of Ancient Matters” has it that when her little brother the Storm God said he was coming for a visit, she went out to meet him dressed for battle.

    Mt. Fuji started off as a very masculine god, Sengen, described as a serpent with 16 heads and flickering red tongues. A major eruption took place around 1200 years ago, featuring lava flows, which left a number of lava tubes behind, where this god was said to dwell. To pacify the volcano, it was assigned a feminine identity in the centuries after that eruption, the lovely goddess Konohanasakuyahime, who predates that association, but was always associated with fire.

    Japan has always had aspects that were feminine but applied to males perhaps as a similar attempt at pacification. The way they conduct teamwork is feminine in a lot of ways, relaying on tacit understandings and intuition. Samurai ethics, on the other hand, evolved during the civil warring era, survived the long peaceful Edo period and then was sort of carefully packed away as a treasured relic at the beginning of the Meiji period, when Japan opted for modernization, so it wasn’t the samurai who led Japan into WWII, but a triumph of modernism and too much faith in their own greatness, emulating the Western powers in colonizing. It wasn’t a samurai leader who urged the attack on Pearl Harbor (where my father was being a happy 13-year-old), but rather Japan’s equivalent of the Neocons and the leader, practicing samurai ethics, realizing he was outnumbered and outmaneuvered within his own military, going ahead with what he knew was a suicide attack.

  257. @Jan–
    Depending on your phone, it’s likely you could get a bluetooth wireless keyboard and sync it to your phone. Our local thrift shop stocks computer bits and bobs including bluetooth stuff, so you might find one for a very reasonable price there, if new is not an option.

    @Darkest Yorkshire & all–
    Doctors prescribe statins based on numbers from a blood draw. Usually they tell you not to eat past midnight the night before the blood draw. This is called ‘fasting bloodwork.’ However, in old people like me, things don’t clear your system as fast as they did when we were 20– So the next time they test your blood for cholesterol, try fasting for an entire day before giving blood (ie., water but no food). It’s likely your cholesterol levels will drop into the normal ranges. This will get your doctor off your back…
    The med lit that geriatricians (like me) read tells us that there is not significant benefit from taking a statin if you are expected to live for 10 years or less– and very little if you expect to live > 10 years. So ditto the above advice to do moderate exercise. Try fasting sometimes too– quarterly or monthly perhaps. Your body is designed to starve on a regular basis, so it is always trying to store up extra calories in case the hunting party _doesn’t_ bag the next mammoth for the tribe. Give it a chance to clear the warehouse a bit.

    Its also curious that the chemical structure of statins is very similar to that of Vitamin D3. While no one needs Vit D3 supplements in Summer if they get 20 minutes or more a day of sun exposure to skin, in the Winter months (especially in Darkest Yorkshire!), you may need 1000 units of D3 for every 30 lb of body weight to keep your Vitamin D level in the right range. I suspect that Vit D3 will improve cholesterol as good or better than statins, but no evidence on that front yet…

    Re: childbirth and population–
    There’s a much bigger picture here, IMHO. It does not seem to me that Nature cares as much about our individual well-being nearly as much as with keeping our species in existence. Nature is constantly trying to trick us into having as many children as possible, in as many varieties as possible, so that some may survive the next catastrophe.
    Sex is a very strange thing too–
    Here’s a thought experiment; Gaze at your right pinky. Now (without actually doing it), imagine that you are about to jam your right pinky into the left ear of the person closest to you. What is your reaction? Probably something like “ewww” or “yuck!” And yet there is an even stranger activity along those lines that most of us would _really_ like to do again. And again. … 🙂 Nature tricks us into this with pheromones and endorphins, otherwise no one would even consider it. Childbirth sometimes kills women. Even if it doesn’t, children are ruinously expensive, hard work, and often do not help you out in old age. Ask any old person with adult children..
    Nature is also trying to maintain Balance. Since we are in population overshoot, Nature (or maybe Gaia) is working very hard just now to set up that next Catastrophe. As only one example, we were very close to an Ebola pandemic a few years ago, and Ebola looks like it is getting ready to try again.

    So my friends, we do not have to worry too much about overpopulation. When the petroleum is effectively gone, Nature will prune us all back to a reasonable level, and probably with more efficiency that we want. I remember reading about a genetic study that found that, at some point in prehistory, there were only about 100 people and that all of us are descended from them. This may be the real risk of our future, although I am personally rooting for JMG’s gradual population decline.

  258. @Sunnnv and DaveOTN – just to say thanks for the really interesting comments. I had seen some of that orgasm stuff before, but the book looks interesting. And I do know that evopsych has a lousy rep among biologists.

    Still, it is my view that the general theory of evolution has devoted itself mainly to the study of Fate, while ignoring both Will, and Destiny, although the interplay of all three are what makes the dance of change that we see the tracks of as we examine the forensic evidence left behind.

  259. Scotlyn – re: Who gets paid, and how much? I’ve often wondered about this, and come to the observation that the question of “scale” is important. That is, an hour spent mowing a lawn mows just one lawn, and is paid very little. An hour spent throwing a baseball holds the attention of tens of thousands of people, and is paid very much. An hour spent on the factory floor builds some units of the product (whatever it is), while an hour in the board room may determine the conditions of work for hundreds of employees, product details for thousands of customers, and dividends for thousands of stockholders. And then, there’s a home health-care aide who can only serve a few vs. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) whose decisions affect billions of people. Our system makes people rich when they can get a tiny amount from a large number of people, and keeps people poor who can only serve a few. I’m not saying that it’s just; it just is what it is.

    We also have trouble rewarding those whose work is not easily measured. An author does or does not sell books; but whether a teacher does or does not significantly improve the knowledge and thinking of the students may never be known. (We struggle to identify effective teaching with standardized tests, or so I hear.)

  260. Hi John Michael,

    As always I am impressed and many thanks for taking the time to provide and respond to this forum!

    I thought you might enjoy this article for the sheer awesomeness that is overshoot: Mount Everest death toll rises to seven in a week after number of climbers causes congestion.

    I too would have banned the cute kittens.

    My question for you is: If you had the opportunity to re-write your novel Retrotopia, would you consider any major plot changes that may have occurred to you over the past few years?

    Hi Jen,

    A few years ago, I attempted an experimental bed of hugelkultur. I covered several tree logs in a mixture of compost and woody mulch. What I discovered in the following growing season was that hugelkultur does not work so well in dry and hot summers. The reason for this was that the activities of the fungi reduced as the organic matter grew warmer and drier. I feel that it is a system that would work well with damp summers where the fungi have more time to do their thing. Additionally, it appears to me to be better suited to perennial plants rather than annuals – but again the climate here may be against me in this regard. Tree logs do break down into fine black loamy soil here, but it can take a decade or more to break the materials apart due to the sheer density of the timber (Eucalyptus Obliqua with a density approaching about 700kg/m3).



  261. Will M – Re: hydrogen from solar power. We don’t need to know exactly what mechanism is being proposed to put rigid bounds on the effectiveness of this scheme. Nobody gets more than 1000 W/square-meter of solar power in direct sunshine under a clear sky, and as a rule-of-thumb, for effectively six hours per day. You can take your current energy-consumption figure (personal, city, nation, or world) and compute how many square meters of solar collection would be needed to capture that much energy. Then it doesn’t matter whether you assume PV panels, trees reduced to charcoal, maize converted to alcohol, algae processed into oil, or synthetic photosynthesis of hydrogen… the process yield cannot exceed 6 kWH/day per square meter. Of course, it will typically be much smaller, and will require labor, capital investment, and dependence on exotic elements, and so on. Hydrogen is NEVER a source of energy; it’s just a storage medium.

    And if you can make it work with today’s population, at today’s standard(s) of living, run the calendar forward a decade or two, with “normal growth rates” (as needed for pension stability), and see how THAT works!

  262. samurai_47: One more note on book preservation: a moisture-absorbent substance (desiccant), in a sealed enclosure, might be useful. It would require periodic maintenance, to drive out absorbed moisture, but that could probably be done with concentrated sunshine, whenever such sunshine is available. One readily available, low-cost desiccant is gypsum (i.e., calcium sulfate, plaster of paris, sheetrock, drywall). I suppose that a bookcase with tight-fitting glass doors could be useful. Perhaps some sort of simple balance could monitor the increase of mass as the desiccant absorbs water; when the scale tips, it’s time to refresh it.

  263. Dear Nastarana,

    I went back and read your posts to me, and I think I am in broad agreement with what you say. Yes, the implication of a scientifically and morally principled stance when it comes to the personhood even of fertilized eggs is that of a radical restrictedness on sexual activity that is squarely contrary to the libertarian ethos that pervades our society in the wake of the Sexual Revolution.

    I was raised to believe that sexual activity outside of marriage is both morally wrong and a grave violation of the moral law; and the natural potential sexual activity holds for generating new life is one set of reasons traditionally given in support of that position. I still believe that this view of human sexuality is fundamentally correct. People outside of marriage should be being taught to abstain from sexual activity in sex education classes and other expressions of the culture that touch on this matter.

    The flipside of what I have just stated is this: Many co-proponents of my position have asserted that the reason why this recent wave of very restrictive abortion laws is generating so much anger and even hatred among our opposition is because of the realization that restrictive abortion laws mean that people will have to give up on the expectation of unrestrained sexual license to which they have grown accustomed. I think there is a good bit of truth in this view.

  264. Good day JMG and everyone,

    The Order of Essenes – lesson number 1. May I ask a question about the lesson on drinking adequate water? Although I noted some definite benefits when I started doing this – a clear upswing in my mood on 1st day being the main one – there is this annoying thing where drinking only water makes me feel tired, physically tired and with an odd sense of lassitude, even as my mind at the same time can be a bit clearer. I tried hot water just now and I’m not sure yet if it’s different.

    Does anyone else get this? If so could it be solved by substituting an alternative drink or adding something to the water? I’m not very knowledgeable about hydration.

    For the moment I’m trying to minimise the effect by only drinking first thing and when going to bed. Otherwise I continue to subsist on multiple cups of tea a day as always.

    Many thanks,


  265. My aunt’s a Buddhist—Theravada, if I recall right, though I can’t even keep track of the Sunnis and the Shias, not to mention the 23,000-and-counting divisions in my own religion. One of these days we gotta get organized. Anyway, one time my aunt was explaining her devotion to King Chulalongkorn, a saintly fellow grossly libeled by Anna Leonowens—and the way my aunt explained it there didn’t seem to be hardly a hair’s difference between saints and Buddhas.

  266. Samurai_47 – I, too, am in WMass. If you intend to attend the potluck, would you like to carpool?

    You can reach me as gardengirlgarden on that old gathering site, yahoo.

  267. Matthias Gralle @ May 24, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you for such an interesting response. Going through the letters:

    a) Of course your wife is in danger in a bad neighborhood. More than you? Perhaps. Of course, I’d rather get mugged or beaten up than raped…but the majority of victims of violent crime are actually men, not women.

    b) Them’s the breaks, and she got a lot of benefits too. Of course she took the brunt of childbearing – she is a female, which means “she who can give birth.” I can say as a child who had gender dysphoria, that I slowly have come to appreciate being a woman but motherhood is absolutely something I love. Being a father might be just as good – in some ways better because so much of the hard, grunt work is borne by the woman – yet there is also something men may not quite get – the barrierless bonding. All things in life have positive and negative aspects, and are learning experiences. You seem to carry some sort of guilt about this. You have been convinced by the dogma that it is simply not fair to be a woman. Well, it’s different. The genders are not the same and never will be. My big question is, why is feminism so infused with this gender loathing?

    c) I personally don’t think that missing a couple of years in a career makes an extreme difference in the end, but it probably does for a while. It also may be that the mother deliberately works a more flexible job so that she can be there for her children when they need her. I don’t even know how to discuss the idea that this is not fair. There are two genders, not one. It can be the father who is more available, at least after weaning, but children and families cannot be done well by two strong career-oriented people. You either have home and hearth, or a pit stop. This comment will produce outrage but it is a sliding scale – sure some really together people will do a fair job of it but even then, they lose out on some of the most enjoyable aspects of life – reliable, leisure time with one’s children and spouse.

    There used to be this meme that it was alright if you gave your children quality time. Well, you know what they need even more than quality time? Quantity time.
    You discuss this as though you are free and she has to take the consequences, Well, yes, having a child is a wonderful thing – but very different timewise from not having one – so why do people cry foul when their choices leave them less time than others who focus entirely on one choice? And what about the fact that your uninterrupted career directly benefits your family? Your wife seems to be a lucky woman. She has a good husband to help her raise a child. I find myself repeating Freud, What do women want?

    d) Of course she is dependent on your love, money and good will!!! When people divorce they lose emotionally and financially. Why do you think the Bible exhorts people to take care of widows and orphans. Look, this world is a tough place. In the animal world, if you lose a parent chances are you die. Humans are a pair bonded species in which it takes two parents and actually other relatives to raise children. Yes, women need men. Is this somehow unfair? You also are dependent upon her for your happiness and fulfillment. Maybe less financial, but very real. This is nuts to complain about. Is it unfair for the robin that she can’t raise her chicks without her mate? If he gets eaten, she will have to abandon her nest. She is dependent upon him for resources, for without him she can’t leave the nest before hatching, nor could she feed the chicks by herself. Women absolutely need help to raise babies and children. Why are they angry at men for providing it??????? Why is it unfair that they can’t go it alone??? Neither can the wolf. People and animals, depending upon species, depend on one another. Kids also depend on their parents. Is it a power differential? Yes, a huge one. Actually, a family is a love bond more than a power assessment.

    It’s as if modern craziness is comparing the marriage of a man and woman with children to same sex couples. In non same sex couples, the contributions of each are different, not the same. This is not something to complain about, but something to be grateful for.

    As for whether men who rape in bad neighborhoods also cater to their girlfriends, who knows, but it are a few bad apples that generally cause a lot of the problems. And when I speak of gender, I am speaking of normal people, not the pathological.

    So the issue of male violence is a huge one. I am not sure that feminism is going to solve the problem of rape and other violence.
    As for who is responsible for C, it isn’t someone’s fault! It’s life. If you want to get into the philharmonic orchestra, and you practice 8 hours a day, and another person practices 4 hours a day, you very likely will have a better chance. Why should something be wrong with a situation in which women make a glorious, honorable, fun, loving and fulfilling choice to be mother and then also get to have whatever amount of career they want or don’t want and still have a nice husband who steadily works for her?
    Why aren’t men angry about this? Women get all the breaks! And nothing is their fault.

  268. Hi AD!

    I remember u said that the pacific NW is a good place for an insurgency.

    I know u don’t like podcast, but for your readers this is a good one, by an antifa guy, who postulates northern Cali ruralites, cut off the water to the Central Valley, destroying a big hunk of American agriculture.

  269. Dear Mr. Greer, it appears that NASA is building or proposing to build a space station/small space ship to be in permanent orbit around the moon.

    I can’t tell if this is a small installation for scientific research. If so, why would it need to be manned? Or maybe taxpayer funded mineral exploration, or the ultimate status vacation for the hugely rich.

  270. John Kincaid – As much as I appreciate the work of “clickspring” in showing how to build a replica of the Antikythera machine, I hesitate to call it a “computer”. It displays a number of features of the solar system (apparent positions of planets, stars, phases of the moon), but each of these is, essentially, a function of one variable (time), and could be presented in almanac form. A slide rule, on the other hand, produces functions of one variable (sin, cos, tan, log, sqrt), but also a function of two variables (x*y), where it would be cumbersome to tabulate all possible combinations of x and y to three decimal places. We expect a lot more generality from our computers, like “reprogrammability”: the Antikythera machine only does one thing and will ever only do one thing.

    Antikythera machine is to computing as telegraph key is to Wikipedia.

  271. I’ve made it a mini-quest to discover how “The Donald” has been able to sell himself to the religious right. Apparently, the evangelicals in the south are convinced that TD is on a mission from God, sort of like the Blues Brothers minus the car chases. Here’s a link:
    So it appears to me that Edward L. Bernays did not live in vain.

  272. With regards to the Miller Hecate ritual posted above, how much of Hecate’s own history and nature factor into the likely results? If, as some scholars believe, Hecate is a form of Heqet, the Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, is the request likely to be rejected or even cause offence?

    How much does the relationship the witch/mage *already has* factor into the likely results? That is, is a deity less likely to take offence and more inclined to give the worshipper what he or she wants, even if the desired result is contrary to the nature of the deity being petitioned?

    I am trying to understand if the rather vague requests are purposely vague to prevent a backlash arising from asking for something Hecate may not be inclined to give or if the vagueness is due to a form of internet diplomacy.

    More generally, what happens if the city’s desires are contrary to ones own?

  273. Would anyone have an interest in Matrix and Matrix Regulation? This is about the stuff between cells and supporting structure such as bone and tendons. I think there might be something about directing cell growth to form bodies.

    I have Toxic Encephalopathy. I don’t experience the illness as primarily neurological. The neurological deficits I see as failure of waste removal. All metabolism has byproducts that need removed or recycled. I see my illness as a failure to take out the garbage. I have stated that I have weak liver function but that is only a major organ function not the local body wide mechanisms that direct the toxics to the liver and have been weak.

    Extracellular Matrix: Definition, Function, Components

    Simple video:

    Of immediate interest is a whole body system of fast communication. This can be experienced as a whole body response to a pin prick. I’m guessing a lack of damping in this system leads to my reactions to toxics and EMFs. This includes intercellular fluid.

    I’m a healer. I can rebalance energy. This is very effective shortly after injury and I think most people could to it. For whole body long term healing it seems ineffective, I healed a friend for weeks until there was nothing left to do and he seemed no different to me. What I need is a more productive focus and it could be in a modest understanding of matrix.

    Current research is here:
    American Society for Matrix Biology

    The books I have are mostly too technical for me, a background in biochemistry is really needed for complete understanding. However there is enough in plain language to awkwardly suss out the subject.

    If you ask about healing I will explain and perhaps this effective First Aid could spread. It is simple. You might be almost doing it. A little change in focus might bring it through.

    Books I have:
    Matrix and Matrix Regulation, Pischinger (actually Heine),1975 in German, 1991 edition in English.

    Extracellular Matrix: Chemistry: Biology, and Pathobiology with Emphasis on the Liver
    by Mark A. Zern and Lola M. Reid | Apr 1, 1993

    Regulation of matrix Accumulation (Biology of Extracellular Matrix)
    by Robert Mecham | Dec 2, 2012 (my copy 1986)

    Try for cheap books. Libraries are dumping these.

  274. JMG wrote “…the differences between Dainichi Nyorai aka Mahavairocana Buddha, the primary focus on Shingon reverence, and a god are best measured with a millitheometer.”

    I want a set of theometers! To help me get by while I’m developing my own organs of theometry, at least 🙂


  275. @Matthias Gralle – If you look up the name “Savita Halappanaver” you will read the story of the woman whose death opened up the floodgate of personal stories that had been dammed for too long. I can tell you that I, running a quiet, rural backwater clinic, heard five different and equally horrific stories from my patients, just in that first week after Savita’s death, of brutal care received during a miscarriage.

    The kind of care you get in pregnancy suffers if one of the people involved (the woman in a “pro-life” style maternity hospital) is edited out.

  276. @ JMG

    Re urban density

    I see those ideas as pushing for the collection of humanity into focused megalopolises and leaving Nature Out There alone. It seems to me to be very much an I-It relationship, rather than an I-Thou, positing Nature as Something Else distinct from humanity. The idea of living in harmony, indeed, acknowledging tat we are very much a part of Nature, doesn’t seem to enter into the equation.

    @ Samurai

    Re my planning/zoning background

    I was first introduced to planning and zoning almost twenty years ago, when I joined the planning commission of the small city outside of Denver in which I was living at the time. About a decade ago, i had an opportunity to join the plan commission here in Two Rivers, WI and have served on it since 2009: seven years as a public citizen member and these last two years as the city council representative. While I have no formal training in planning, I’ve picked up a fair amount by osmosis 😉

    I’ve tried to make small changes i regulations where I could, with mixed success. I got ducks added to our urban chicken ordinance, for example, but my efforts to legalize front-yard vegetable gardens have proven a failure to date, as did a short-lived effort to reduce the minimum house size from 800 square feet to 600 square feet. And I’ve generally been supportive of home-occupational businesses, seeing this as an incubator model for local business development, as well as a way to cultivate the mixed-use neighborhoods I’d like to see revived.

  277. Dear Nestorian, Thank you for your very thoughtful response. The second wave of feminism, which began back in the early 60s was not “about” sex, and I believe that early feminists opposed legalizing abortion because they thought it would encourage wealthy men to prey on poor women. Betty Freidan’s book, yes I did read it, was not as I recall, about sex; it was about money. It was about access to opportunity and being paid what one is worth. Some of the first victories of second wave feminism were convincing state legislatures to allow widows to inherit their husband’s estates when those husband’s died intestate. I believe one of the arguments used was the wealth created and maintained by women’s work in the home.

    The emphasis on sex and abortion began with the publication of Ms magazine. Now, I don’t want to get too far into conspiracy land, bur it is known that Gloria Steinem was a CIA agent. That much is fact.

    Freidan explained to a generation of us naïve WASP women how money, power and influence work in the real world, and that we were being conned into spending our and our family’s money on ephemera,, the matched furniture sets, the fashions that changed every six months and the new cosmetics you had to buy to go with the new fashions, etc. A significant subset of American women stopped spending on consumer ephemera and that had the potential to affect the profits of our wonderful mass consumption economy.

    What is happening now is called democracy. Turns out that voters in Alabama don’t necessarily agree with voters in NYC. Who’d have thought. I do think that if a society is going to enforce a no sex outside of marriage ban, then that society must, must have severe penalties, very much including loss of parental rights, on sexual violence. Assault is a crime, plain and simple. It is not a “shared trauma”, or “funning” or “being onery”, and it sure as hockey sticks is not a marriage proposal.

  278. Lathechuck

    The Antikythera machine is the example of lost technology from that era. It is indeed a single purpose machine. It is a convenience as you say.

    That does not make it irrelevant.

    “Antikythera machine is to computing as telegraph key is to Wikipedia.”

    A telegraph key is a specialized switch that opens and closes a circuit. That would make it binary.

    Without switches you couldn’t have Wikipedia. How many transistors are there in just a smart phone? Millions? Most of those transistors are switches. Going from one switch to millions and gaining sufficient understanding of Boolean Algebra / Switching System Theory is both discovery and extrapolation.

    A lot of hard work was done to achieve our level of technical sophistication. Some are saying nothing really new has been discovered for years. There has mostly been extrapolation. There was about 100 years of intense discovery and now we search for Bosons.

    I’m not going to worship a device just because it is multi-purpose. Or because it is complex. (My computers are Lenovo D20 and I don’t think they are that great. Windows shows 16 CPUs in Task Manager. They will take 92 GB of RAM. I couldn’t see an advantage in over 12 GB for what I do. If one essential pico sized transistor fails the whole thing could go down.)

    Special purpose analog computers might become important as the collapse deepens. Disrespect them at your loss. The military drone coming your way might have one.

    The Antikythera machine makes it easy to know both the chronology of events and their inter-relation. It would be really awkward to have a solar eclipse in the middle of your sporting event.

    Or do the hard specialized work of looking up stuff in tables instead of just turning the dial. You work with the same dots but they are much harder to connect.

    Did you throw away your wrist watch? If it only tells time it is the sort of machine you deplore. Did you know these things recently contained gears and then got extrapolated?

  279. Once again, my decision to stay out of a disscussion has failed.

    I would like to draw a parallell between two cases.

    1) There are several people who are observing (complaining?) that “Women are so angry!” When someone attempts to explain that there are social and medical situations where women are disadvantaged/exploited/etc, the original poster attempts to explain why that isn’t really so, or it should be that way, or men have it worse.

    2) It seems to have a similarity to liberals/Democrats/city folks asking “Why are the people in the red states so angry?” and failing to listen to the answers when answers are politely offered.

    I have no doubt that I am misreading or ignoring some of the things that some of the posters here are writing. How can I be a better listener, and how can I write more clearly?

  280. Archdruid,

    Apologies of the length of this, but it’s the product of several meditations.

    Part 1 “The Imitation Dance”

    We imitate machines for the same reason we’ve imitated everything else, there is a deep urge in our primate minds that causes us to contemplate power. Our main focus of contemplation always seems to be power, it is the shining beacon of our social selves. In ancient societies those lights were the powers of nature, but in our society we contemplate our power as amplified by machines. Like that old saying you often repeat goes “what you contemplate you imitate.”

    We contemplate the machines because they extend our power over nature, make us calculably more than the limitations that nature placed upon us. The catch is that anything we can only imitate, but never be the thing we contemplate. Thus no matter how hard we try, we are always faux machines.

    The problem this causes is that our contemplation is based on our perception of the machine as a lifeless hunk that responds to our will and command, rather than what a machine actually is. You’ve repeatedly noted our society’s self-destructive refusal to acknowledge the living and conscious nature of the whole universe. Everything in the universe is alive and conscious in it’s own way, and that includes the machines. A machine isn’t alive and conscious the way a person is, and thus manifests power upon the material world differently than we manifest power. Regardless, we still strive to be like the machine because we want to be that powerful.

    Our imitation of our prescription of the machine forces us into a dance. As you and Violet have pointed out the suppression, destruction, and replacement of our inner lives is the first major step in the dance. The second major step is self-objectification, where a person makes themselves an object to be manipulated by external controllers. We perceive the machine as powerful lifeless hunks that we manipulate, and to be powerful we too must be lifeless hunks that are manipulated.

    Dune beautifully explained that men created thinking machines to control other men. We, instead of creating thinking machines, set our minds to think like machines, which we interpreted as suppressing our inner lives and having an operator/controller. We don’t consciously acknowledge the latter, but we aren’t supposed to be conscious anyway so it doesn’t matter. If we’re all acting like unthinking machines, who or what exactly is the controller?

    The third step in our dance is the executing the task that we observe machines executing, which is the extraction and consumption of vast amounts of resources. The primary resource that we extract and consume is energy, and it is a very specific kind of energy. At this point we are essentially faux machines that extract and consume vast amounts of energy for the sake of extracting and consuming vast amounts of energy. The strangest part about the current situation is that we aren’t ever sated by the amount of energy we extract and consume, we always seem to need more. I believe there is a name for that beast.

    We turned ourselves into these faux machines to be used to consume energy, and we clearly aren’t the ones doing the using. All this would also explain why our whole society has become so emotionally volatile. After all, we still have to process the energy we use, and it makes sense that the Wendigo has to process the energy that it uses…

    (continued in part 2 “The Ecosystem of the Wendigo”)



  281. Dear David, by the lake,

    I’m just starting to read the comments here. This is in reply to your first comment on May 22.

    Check out this privately funded library–

    The Adocentyn Research Library’s collection overlaps with the topics you list (not a great deal of Green Wizardry). Its operating rules are similar to what you propose, e.g., on site use only. Last time I checked, the fully catalogued book collection numbered more than 7,000 volumes and they are getting started on the ephemera. You can search the catalog online on Library Thing. They created a sui generis classification system because Library of Congress is not fine grained enough for a specialist collection like this.

    The ARL has 501c3 status and enough donors to keep the doors open.

    The Adocentyn Research Library is not formally open yet but visits can be arranged and it has hosted at least one tour of librarians. The main collection is located on a commercial street with bus service, near a freeway off ramp, within walking distance of cafes and restaurants.

    I volunteer at the ARL occasionally and am one of their minor donors. I can vouch for the seriousness and hard work of the library board.

    I’m not suggesting that this library is exactly what you are looking for. Rather it is a possible model and proof of concept.

    @JMG– I’m late posting this reply and I’m not sure David will see it automatically. If it’s possible, could you flag him?

  282. @Nastarana

    One of the major reasons why first-wave feminists opposed abortions was that in the late 19th century a husband could legally compel his wife to undergo an abortion, no matter how much she wanted to bear and keep her child. I remember reading a few unspeakably horrific first-hand accounts by women of that era who were physically restrained while being forcibly aborted of a late-term, viable child they had already bonded with, and then made to watch their child being killed by the abortionist–and the abortionist would not necessarily be a competent physician, either. (I was doing research for a course of mine on “Women, Power and Magic, 1775-1975.” Some of the most influential first-wave feminists were deep into occult studies.) Unlike now, women’s opposition to abortion was primarily to protect the mother’s freedom of choice, not the life of her foetus/child.

    BTW, I am from the Silent Generation. There were two very striking things that marked the change from my generation to the Boomer generation (at least as I perceived it) in the San Francisco Bay area in the later ’60s. One was the fairly sudden and dramatic arrival of what I now (in retrospect) label a “therapeutic culture,” where regularly seeing a therapist suddenly became as much a pert of a person’s life as regularly seeing a physician. The other was the notion that one’s physical and mental health depended greatly on the quantity and quality of one’s sexual activity–that sex was somehow very close to the core of who was actually WAS, and not just another activity that one might or might not choose to spend one’s time on, much as one might choose to spend some of one’s time fishing, or playing baseball, or reading novels. (At the time, I dimly associated this change with the rapidly growing popular interest in the ideas of Freud and his followers, which was quite obvious.) MS. Magazine started up a few years later, though its roots were very much in this same Boomer soil.

    This generational change, by the way, also gave rise to the very toxic notion that, since sex was central to physical and mental health and personal development, one should introduce all children to sexual activity as young as they might be made, perhaps with some effort, receptive to it–much as one might intriduce them to swimming, or to cooking healthy meals. Fortunately, many parents had enough common sense to understand how wrong-headed this notion was and how much harm it would do to a child, and many more parents were too prudish even to entertain the notion intellectually, let alone carry it into action. (Sometimes a bit of prudery can be beneficial.) Cases such as the notorious one of Marion Zimmer Bradley and her children cannot be written off as rare, vile exceptions, but were solidly rooted in the intellectual stew that prevailed in SF Bay Area culture back then–at least as I perceived that stew while growing up there.

    Naturally, the Past is always a foreign country to everyone who did not grow up there.

  283. JMG,

    A while back you mentioned a book that laid out the case that Fascism/Nazism was an Enlightenment heresy. I no longer remember which post you made that comment on, so I’ll just ask you:

    Do remember the name and author of the book?


  284. Gloria Steinem was a CIA agent? Really? How long has that idea been out there? It has a certain logic. They botch every other change they impose on a society, why not feminism on Americans?

  285. I would like to echo and support what John Kincaid has to say about mechanical analogue computers and their utility–and sometimes even their superiority!–over digital electronic computers. My father was part of the team of engineers that designed a quite effective mechanical analogue computer for the US Navy’s Air Force during the years that led up to and through World War 2. It was far sturdier than any electronic computer seems to be now. It also worked very well indeed as it carried out its appointed task, which was to drop bombs from aircraft onto chosen targets with much higher accuracy than any human bombardier could manage. It was called the Norden Bombsight. Eventually it also was used to end the war abruptly, when it dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan.

  286. Your Kittenship, I’ll certainly leave that to those who enjoy it.

    Simon, true, so long as you assume that current statistical trends will proceed indefiniteiy — which is the one thing that we can be sure they won’t.

    Patricia O, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians had a working prototype fast breeder reactor. What they won’t have, unless the laws of physics have bent noticeably, is an economically viable FBR. Plain old ordinary fission reactors are economic nonstarters — no nation on Earth has been able to run them without colossal government subsidies — and FBR technology has been tested repeatedly and shelved, because it’s technically feasible but the costs are stunningly high. It’s the same reason fusion power will never be a significant factor in the energy mix even if somebody gets a fusion reactor to work: a fusion power plant will cost orders of magnitude more than a fission plant without producing orders of magnitude more energy, ergo, utterly unaffordable even if technically possible.

    Emmanuel, thank you for this. That’s intriguing about the vitamin D3, and makes sense — not that you’ll be able to talk anyone from the industry into running the relevant tests. As for pinkies and ears, well, you know, last I checked neither pinkies nor ears have certain very distinctive kinds of nerve ends in them.. 😉

    Kevin, fascinating. I hope they’re complete.

    Chris, I have no idea. I’d have to reread the book and reassess it.

    Morfran, by all means use a different fluid if you find that more congenial; for example, your body may be so accustomed to having caffeine and other component of tea in its water that it doesn’t know what to do with plain H2O. The important thing is to stay hydrated, which a lot of people didn’t do when the course was originally issued, and some still don’t.

    Your Kittenship, that does not surprise me in the least — and that’s Theravada, which is the least deity-friendly of the branches of Buddhism.

    Dashui, I wonder if said Antifa individual has any idea of how many farmers with loaded deer rifles will go looking for him if he tries it…

    Nastarana, the one serious point I can see to it is that it would be a good way to find out if there’s any way to shield astronauts from the hard radiation of space outside the Earth’s magnetosphere. If there isn’t, then the space age is over, and that’s that.

    Phutatorius, I admit that I’ve been scratching my head about that one too.

    Nevyn, I tend to be wary of claims that deity A from one culture is “the same as” deity B from another culture, especially if their traditional rulerships and interests vary significantly. Hekate isn’t a goddess of childbirth as far as I know, and assuming that she must be because a parallel Egyptian goddess is, is a little like assuming that the Aesir must be demons because their collective name is cognate with the Sanskrit word Asura.

    More generally, though, you’re quite correct about the role of personal relationships in working with deities. Of course it goes both ways; the more extensive a personal relationship you have with a deity, the better sense you’ll have of what he or she will or will not do, as well as the higher the likelihood that he or she will help you out in an unaccustomed way.

    Bonnie, I’d like one myself!

    David BTL, that makes a great deal of sense.

    Ryan, hmm! That splash of blue across the northern US and Canadian Great Plains isn’t something that shows up in the paleoclimatological data, but there it is — and if it does in fact hold true, you know where a huge amount of North America’s future grain harvests are coming from. If the Dakotas and Saskatchewan get warmer and moister, it’s supper time for the future and the table’s already set.

    Sylvia, a good crisp equation; nicely done.

    Varun, write this up as a more fully developed essay and get that puppy published. You’ve hit on something very important indeed.

    Deborah, if he doesn’t respond to it I’ll make sure to point him to it.

  287. John Kincaid – Let’s see whether I can explain my position on “the future of computing” a little better this time. I think Dante kicked it off, with a comment:

    “* Personal Computers: mmm… maybe something simple like a Raspberry Pi. Depends on what you mean by a computer. The Ancient Greeks made “computers”, technically speaking.”

    What do we mean by “computer”? Today, it’s an electronic device that allows us query the world for esoteric knowledge (e.g., “on what radio frequencies did the first artificial earth satellite, Sputnik I, transmit?”), to read blogs, compose, revise, and distribute written works (without putting ink to paper), compose and perform musical works (without plucking a string or blowing a horn), and/or control a 3D printer to build solid objects to plan out of generic forms of raw materials. (Dante claimed that a 3D printer is “simple”; I claim that a 3D printer contains a vast amount of hidden complexity.) All of these computing tasks are within the reach of our generic desktop personal computer, just by changing the program. But the Antikythera machine has only one program embedded within its gears, and can serve no other purpose than the one that its builder had in mind.

    You say “a telegraph key is just a binary switch”, which is true, but a telegraph key could also be seen as the user interface to a communication system (ham radio) which could, conceivably, be used as a sort of Wikipedia: you use it to establish a connection with either an expert or a librarian, and receive answers to your questions.

    So, what I’m trying to say is that we rely on current technology (and energy) to provide the computing experiences that we enjoy, and they are not sustainable. There will be things that we know, or knew, how to do, that we just won’t be able to do any more. As a historical example, the Romans made glass in England 2000 years ago, but when they left, no more glass was made for centuries. (I suspect that they ran out of timber to burn.)

  288. David BTL, I think that’s a fantastic idea! Two things I’d mention based on my experience volunteering for organizations like that: first, you should expect to get a whole lot of books donated. I would predict your catalogue will evolve quite organically as a result. Second, any place with quiet, people, and a good ambience will attract people who want to work on screens, so you’ll want to think about how to deal with that. I’d be for something like those old-fashioned smoker’s lounges, but that’s just me ;).

  289. @ Deborah (and @ JMG)

    Re the library comment

    I did see it. And thank you!

  290. Re Gloria the Spook: well, I don’t know about her “admission,” seeing as how she’s more full of [foof] than a Christmas turkey and always has been—but it’s possible.

  291. Lady Cutekitten; Yes, I too had heard the story about Gloria S as a CIA agent, quite a few years ago. Also Peter Matthiessen – writer, novelist, Zen Buddhist – and that one did surprise me! But both were involved in magazine publishing, thus the psyop (aka public relations) possibilities were present.

  292. Eike,

    I too have had a very locked down heart chakra, and locked down chakras in general. Recently, I underwent a healing with the help of Archangel Raphael that lifted what felt (and looked, on the etheric plane) like a large, thick, iron breastplate up off of my heart chakra, and I was able to move more freely and feel more things. This was after using blockage removing meditations and intention setting during waning moons to release, dissolve, and purge my blockages. After some months of that, i ran across this video, which enabled me to lift off that heavy blockage of epic size within a few minutes, with Archangel Raphael’s help, who took it away.

    Please note there are numerous Archangel Raphael healing meditations to be found on Youtube, that’s just the one that I came across first, and it worked right away.

  293. Hi John Michael,

    Oh! No need to do that at all, it was just an idle thought. 🙂

    Hey, I was thinking about the abortion law thing over in one state of your country and what I’d do if I was interested enough is to watch the family (including the wider family) of the people supporting the ban and then publicly force through the process of public shame (only if you’re 100% certain) to get them to live by their moral code which they enforce upon others. In the past people used to go an long vacations in order to deal with such unanticipated matters. With social media as it is these days… Anyway, the basic point is forcing them into looking like hypocrites – and losing their income and status to boot, and also pointing out that abstinence as a general policy has never worked..

    Sometimes I feel that basic strategy is a lost art.



  294. Robert Mathieson wrote:

    “Sometimes a bit of prudery can be beneficial.”

    Just so, and I would also add the related idea that “Sometimes a bit of sexual repression can be beneficial.”

    One of the reasons I ultimately rejected the Roman Catholic faith in which I grew up is because of the strain of moral suspicion of all sexual pleasure that pervades it – even within marriage. Both Augustine and Pope Gregory the Great disparaged sexual pleasure in marriage as at least venially sinful, and best avoided entirely, if possible. (The Catholic Church tries to present Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which accords a fundamentally positive value to sexual pleasure, as a legitimate “development” of this earlier tradition, but the two outlooks are in fact manifestly contradictory. Ergo, the Church’s teaching on sexuality is not in fact unchanging, as it claims.)

    However, the fact is that our culture is off the rails sexually. There are distinct indications that, as a culture, we are not that far off from the normalization of pedophilia; I predict that this development will come to pass within 10-15 years if things continue as they have. (If you want to see an abundance of evidence of this trend, do some reading at

    And, of course, sexual libertinism on a broad scale is not possible without institutionalized abortion, which I consider to be institutionalized murder.

    Watching this dynamic unfold, among other things, has me wondering at times whether Augustine and Gregory maybe weren’t on to something after all with their fundamental suspicion of human sexuality. As Robert Mathieson points out, the “culture of the therapeutic” was essentially joined at the hip with the Sexual Revolution. But the resulting cultural stew has accorded a very powerful but also very untrustworthy human passion far too exalted a place in the prevailing conception of the Good Life.

    I consider myself to be in certain ways a victim of the resulting web of delusions – a web that I am still in the process of untangling for myself – and perhaps many of you could discover yourselves to be victims of it also if you were to reflect critically on the sexual libertinism that has prevailed in our society for the past 50 years, and how it has impacted your lives personally.

  295. Lathechuck

    “You say “a telegraph key is just a binary switch”, which is true, but a telegraph key could also be seen as the user interface to a communication system (ham radio) which could, conceivably, be used as a sort of Wikipedia: you use it to establish a connection with either an expert or a librarian, and receive answers to your questions.”

    Yes, that was done. But not with the speed, convenience, vastness, complexity and low cost per datum of Wikipedia. Have you had the privilege of checking out a library book with a 300 baud modem on a Commodore 64? And wait, and wait and there it is. That would be orders of whatever faster than the telegrapher Thomas Edison + librarians + another telegrapher at the other end. Unless you were super rich you had to wait your place for the returning message. You might not like that. Especially when you get the bill.

    If only Wikipedia could get honest. I am very careful with potentially political articles especially if they have anything to do with Israel. It’s the people components that fail.

    “There will be things that we know, or knew, how to do, that we just won’t be able to do any more. As a historical example, the Romans made glass…”

    Phooey. If it is knowledge cared for it is knowledge sustained. 8 bit 8080 architecture is enough for many tasks our feeble brains find difficult. I remember 1973 when I saw my first hand held calculator at Maersk Line Agency. (I was a teletype operator, if you like telegraphy you would be over the moon with TWX.) It cost hundreds of dollars. I asked the owner if it helped and his response was an enthusiastic positive. It might have been about as capable as the Dollar Store devices I use now. You can do a lot with 8 bits, but you insist that if the device is not programmable it is garbage.

    As for the departed Romans I understand bathing went completely out of fashion because Romans did it. Romans bad = bathing bad. Maybe the Brits didn’t care for expensive glass and the rich could just buy it from Yurp. For windows it was lumpy little squares that were hard to see through.

    I made music with a Vic 20 and it didn’t even have a sound card. Do you know what beat frequency is? Combine a few square wave signals and program them to change at random intervals. It is fun. Weirdness comes out as two frequencies interact to make a third and then there is another frequency that makes more which then interacts with the others and then one changes… Are you going to come up with a definition of music that demerits my pleasure?

    I know whereof you speak. But I don’t agree with your attitude.

    Tell you what. Learn CW (“Morse code”) and come on back and see if you feel the same. Go all the way and make a 5 watt transmitter and see what you can do. Check out the ARRL. JMG got his license.

    At least do some DXing, that will be needed for the news. I remember being on my back on the couch in 1964 Frankfurt listening to VOA in New Jersey on a tiny short wave Sony radio carefully moving the dial with a fingernail. I was 14. I think I started that when I was about 9 years old having discovered my parent’s big wood case tube radio would pick up foreign stuff.

  296. Dear Robert Mathiesen, Oh my goodness. I had heard and read about married women being confined in asylums by their husbands, but forced abortions! There does seem to have been a seamy underside to Victorian manners and decorum. I didn’t live in the Bay area, but I remember being bewildered and confused by the everybody must be getting it on theme. I recall in the late 80s reading, and being shocked by, an opinion by a duly qualified family something professional that single Moms who refrained from dating were depriving!! their children. I remember wondering if Dr. Clueless had any idea how much money, time and energy an active dating life costs.

    Dear SylviaR, it seems to me that for the last 20 years or so politics has been a battle of I want what I want in which every issue is a genuine moral crusade and “compromise with the devil” can’t be considered. Now we are seeing unedifying tantrums from every side.

  297. So here I am, happily scribbling away, and from the other room I hear Son of Pogonip intone, “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.”

    Well. This could be a bit awkward.

    Then I hear “Thriller” start to play on his computer.


  298. James – Here’s the full text, for free.

    The author hooked me with this passage:

    ” While writing, I began to develop what might be considered a kind
    of heresy. Increasingly, I have come to believe that the only way to exorcise
    Hitlerism is to steal from it its few “constructive” features. In particular, this
    means that we must disentangle its racist and its nationalist elements.”

    To conceal everything about Hitler’s rise to power is to prevent “vaccination” against those ideas returning.

  299. The ancient Greeks may not have thought of Hekate as a goddess of childbirth, but the idea isn’t entirely farfetched. It doesn’t have to depend on a superficial similarity between Her name and the name of an Egyptian goddess.

    I’ll have to post this in sections.

    The first section owes a great deal to the page linked here—hekate

    This page contains the Orphic Hymn to Hekate in Greek and in transliteration, followed by a phrase by phrase literal translation and explanation of the Greek, most of which is a series of epithets describing the goddess. Below the analysis of the original is a new, ritual worthy translation of the hymn.

    The crucial word for our discussion is in the third from last line of the hymn, transliterated as  kourotróphon. In the discussion, this is glossed thus:

    κουροτρόφον – Ækáti is the κουροτρόφος (fem./masc. nom.), the nurturer of children and youths.

    In art history, kouros is the name given to a Greek statue of a youth, particularly one from the Archaic period. And Greek has another word for a prepubescent boy. I’ve never studied Greek, so I don’t know whether this translation of κουροτρόφον is reliable.

    After the discussion, someone has taken the various bits and turned them into free verse, without adding much or taking many liberties.

    1. Ækáti (Ἑκάτη)

    I call Ækáti of the Crossroads, worshipped at the meeting of three paths, oh lovely one.
    In the sky, earth, and sea, you are venerated in your saffron-colored robes.
    Funereal Daimohn, celebrating among the souls of those who have passed.
    Persian, fond of deserted places, you delight in deer.
    Goddess of night, protectress of dogs, invincible Queen.
    Drawn by a yoke of bulls, you are the queen who holds the keys to all the Kózmos.
    Commander, Nýmphi, nurturer of children, you who haunt the mountains.
    Pray, Maiden, attend our hallowed rituals; 
    Be forever gracious to your mystic herdsman and rejoice in our gifts of incense.

    In the poetic translation, “youth” has disappeared. Childbirth isn’t mentioned at all. However . . . (to be continued)

  300. (continuing my thoughts about Hekate as a protector of childbirth)

    There are similarities between this Orphic Hekate and Artemis. Both are associated with wild places, deer and dogs. Both are maiden or virgin goddesses in the Greek sense; they have no male consort nor husband. FWIW, I think I read in Grave’s The White Goddess that girls worshipping Artemis wore saffron robes.

    Quoting from the same website, “Ártæmis protects children, young girls before they marry, and the sucklings and young of wild-life.”

    It is not much of a stretch from being a protector of young children to being a protector of childbirth. Artemis and Hekate share enough traits that it is natural to conflate them.

    Hekate is the liminal goddess par excellence. She can go right down into the realm of Hades where Persephone is, while Persephone’s mother Demeter can look on but not enter. Hekate is a conductress of souls into the underworld; that is one meaning of the keys which are one of Her emblems. She can travel freely out of the underworld to the surface of the land as the hymn says, and she also travels to the sky. In Neoplatonism, Hekate is associated with the Moon, which to Neoplatonists is the boundary mark and gate between the mundane realm of human beings and the starry realms.

    What in human experience is more liminal than childbirth? It is the only way through which human beings come into life in this world, yet the process can be deadly to both mother and baby.

    In addition, the Moon herself is associated with fertility in general, and with the menstrual cycle, and the Moon herself may be seen to grow and round out like a pregnant woman’s belly, and then grow small again.

    Beyond this–
    Artemis is not just a goddess in Greece. She is worshipped at Ephesus in Anatolia as a Great Mother. Hekate Herself seems to have come to Greece from somewhere else east and north of Greece, before the Classical period, I have read that the Greeks themselves thought so–I don’t believe you have multiple places in Greece claiming to be the birthplace of Hekate the way they do with some of the Olympians. Hekate’s independence of male gods suggests that wherever She came from, She was worshipped as the Great Mother.

    In conclusion, this may be a modern notion, but it is normal in human cultures for powerful deities to absorb the attributes of other deities, and they don’t get much more powerful than
    “the queen who holds the keys to all the Kózmos”.

  301. On the Miller working, he noted that it was meant mainly for people seeking Hekate’s protection for themselves and said it would probably have little to zero effect beyond the effects of prayer if aimed towards targets one has no connection with.

    Anyway, JMG, I wanted to ask you: Do you think that the pursuit of wealth necessarily comes into conflict with spirituality? There are examples of occultists who seem to have established business success, like IIRC the founder of the Order of the Essenes you mentioned before, but generally most contemporary occultists I know of have lead middling lives in terms of finance.

    On my part, I keep doing my daily Buddhist practices, but I find myself more interested in learning about business and entrepreneurship nowadays compared compared to earlier years.

  302. @Lathchuck @James

    “You’re going to want to take that handsome nazi uniform off eventually and go to that pretty little nest you feathered for yourself- No that I can’t abide – I like my Nazis where you can spot em like that. Now I’m going to give you a little something you can’t take off.”

    To bad we can’t brand some philosophical ideas to be sure they stay in histories dumpster.
    (This post is meant as satire and for a good laugh only.)

  303. RE: “Then, compared to male violence, women can create lifetime wounds that never heal with words. Cruel, mean, destructive.” Oh, yes. We women do it to each other, too. And don’t forget our great power to police other women (and our own daughters) into conformity with culturally enforced respectability. Yes. We can laugh at men or slice them up verbally. They can kill our physical bodies deader than a doornail, often with great pain. And in many periods or cultures it’s been legal, and accompanied by “She had it coming. SHE DISSED ME!” What do guys keep telling their sons about taking physical blows? Man up and deal with it. And we’re supposed to be the snowflakes of the world when it comes to (shock, horror) being subject to crude language or home truths.

    Something is badly off balance here.

    BTW, men can cut up each other verbally in a very damaging way as well. Anyone who doesn’t think so has never been subject to a maliciously nasty review in print.

    However, “Withholding appreciation is a form of spousal neglect.” Oh, I do agree with that 100%. Being talked to like some kind of a dog, treated like not only a servant, but an an competent and badly behaved one, being told that the work you do “isn’t work, it’s just maintenance,” and “I support you; it’s the *least you can do” and then all those jokes about the poor beleaguered guys faulted for Her irrational reaction to Him forgetting Her birthday or Valentine’s day or any of the other ritualized holidays in which Commerce tries to force him to hand over a token. …

    Oh, and my late and unlamented father-in-law said in public, after his wife had solved a problem, “my wife isn’t very smart, but I guess she’s smart about little things.” That should have been a clue about apples and trees

    My ex-husband once told a group of men, falsely, that I had done — I can’t remember what, now, but it was one of those petty, stupid, slightly dishonest things that “we little dears” are always supposed to be doing, and thought I was overreacting to be feel insulted. After all, wasn’t that one of those things all men know all women do? (And we get”SO upset over such TRIVIAL things!”)

    Uranium slag on a sea of toxic waste, does anybody wonder why I came out of that marriage a broken woman, walking on eggs around everybody, suspicious of men, and measuring and hedging every word I said to anybody, a perfect mouse wearing a Kick Me sign on big red letters. And ready to join the first (well, not very) militant movement that came along?

    Sorry. You’ve hit a raw nerve. but ….do you honestly think we don’t hurt when that happens? “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”

    Or why I’ve been single, celibate, and happy in that state for the past 30 years.

  304. BTW, whoever made that comment about “Salary class people living wage-class lives so that they could join the rentier class….” Back in the day, that was called “Saving for your old age, and was highly approved of. I still approve of it.

  305. Let me get in a question about the Star’s Reach universe I’ve always wondered about – has knowledge of the source of cholera, yellow fever, and other diseases that ravaged 19th Century New Orleans survived the slow decline? There is no mention of mosquito netting, public or private sanitation, Shanuga seems to be as filthy as 17th Century London, there is no mention of public baths or laundries … and with the sexual mores of the culture, what about STD’s? Because radiation and toxic wastes sites, prevalent as they are, seem like small potatoes next to Mother Nature’s great killers.

    Also, it’s very hard to believe that the pretty girl’s plain sidekick didn’t realize that never having her blood come meant she had no chance at all of having a baby. If she we in profound denial, surely her mother or any of the Doctor’s Guild, could have told her that! (Although, there might be reasons to cover it up, reasons that would keep her out of the guilds reserved for women.)

  306. For Memorial Day:

    Hail to our heroes
    Brave they were in battle
    Fallen with their faces to the foe.

  307. JMG, a small data point: somehow your concept of “there is no Away to throw garbage” reached a dissertation of one of my high school students, here in Brazil, without attribution of the source (“Ao contrário da ilusão que possuímos de jogar algo “fora”, não há fora. Acumulamos lixo em nosso planeta…” – “Contrary to our illusion of throwing something “out”, there is no “out”. We accumulate trash on our planet…”).

  308. @ Chris at F

    Re the shaming of anti-abortion supporters

    Two key weaknesses I’d see in that as a strategy. First, there *are* those who are perfectly sincere in their beliefs and in their willingness to force those beliefs onto others. Secondly, under basic principles of religious freedom, they are fully entitled to the former, though not the latter.

    I have no issues with someone living their life by a strict religious code. I do have an issue with someone forcing others to live by that strict religious code. This republic in which I live, for all its many faults, was constructed to embrace a certain heterogeneity of culture and was founded on certain principles of the Enlightenment. Our struggle on issues like abortion lay in strictly separating civil and religious law, which requires a lot of compromise on all sides. This goes as much to private religious schools being allowed to not hire teachers whose lifestyles fail to comport with the religious teachings in question as it does to allowing interracial, same-gender, or plural marriages in the civil sphere.

    Perhaps I’m fighting a losing battle, but to me, this is vitally important to maintaining a cohesive society with the kind of freedom and cultural diversity we have.

  309. Dear JMG and everyone,

    I’m wondering if anyone with some knowledge about Canada and its economics can provide some insight into a question that popped up during a recent conversation I had. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the mainstay of the Canadian economy for the most part involves selling its raw resources to other countries, who then use those resources to make high value products, which are then sold back to Canadians at higher prices. Why does Canada not encourage home-grown businesses to do this step themselves? Wouldn’t that be better for the Canadian economy? I don’t know enough about this to know for myself.

  310. Robert Mathiesen,

    “in the late 19th century a husband could legally compel his wife to undergo an abortion, ”

    That is beyond shocking. Where was such a thing legal? What countries or states?

  311. Lady Lolcat,

    “Gloria Steinem was a CIA agent? Really? How long has that idea been out there? It has a certain logic. They botch every other change they impose on a society, why not feminism on Americans?”

    Indeed. A worthy line of inquiry. I see that we now live in an age of such total propaganda that it has become invisible to many. Somehow, at this time, it is directed most successfully against the smart and smug and educated progressive, liberal, or left, using those terms somewhat loosely.

    I, who once considered myself a member of the above faction, am increasingly aghast. I see the left now as a force of chaos and destruction. They accuse others of what they are doing. I guess they lack imagination.

    While using blacks to stroke their egos, they are able to remain blind to the hatred, fear and ultimately violence coming from their faction.

    An interesting point is that when I went through the stage of spending hours and hours watching walkaway videos, I noted that a few black people commented that to their pleasant surprise, when they began to associate in more conservative and perhaps Republican circles, all the tension about their race just wasn’t there.

    Whereas, those fierce democrats can’t stop for a moment thinking, “She’s black. She’s a black woman. Black, black, black.” So loud that the black person in question can hear them.

  312. Hi Sylvia,

    “I have no doubt that I am misreading or ignoring some of the things that some of the posters here are writing. ”

    *Another good line of inquiry! It may be difficult to consider seriously ideas that simply go against your own worldview. My advice would be to watch videos of smart and articulate people who have views that go against yours. Seeing things from one side generally involves having a less well rounded exposure.

    “When someone attempts to explain that there are social and medical situations where women are disadvantaged/exploited/etc, the original poster attempts to explain why that isn’t really so, or it should be that way, or men have it worse.”

    *I don’t know where there are situations like that today. I do know situations where women are advantaged. But if you go to certain venues where there is an agenda to paint a bleak picture, you can certainly come out of it believing the above. Keep in mind that I do not deny that in this hell hole world, awful things happen, and always have, and I decry them as much as anyone. So rather than carrying this chip on one’s shoulder, perhaps it is actually quite useful to examine one’s beliefs in such a way as to add components to the picture you might be unaware of, such as, is this really a valid complaint, or maybe men do also have inequities and challenges that women do not? Why would you not be interested in finding out that men also have special difficulties? One of the issues I have with the approach of the leftish wing is the idea that all things must be made utterly perfect or someone is to blame. I’d say there is a kind of delicate balance between not intervening in injustices and becoming a fundamentalist insisting on perfection. There lies oppression. I pondered for years the horrible expression “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Now I get it.

    “How can I be a better listener, and how can I write more clearly?”

    *You have written clearly. I just don’t see the world the way you see it! But asking how to listen better – that is gold. Nourish it. I don’t know why, but most people lack the courage to examine their assumptions.

  313. Further to a comment I made recently, this excellent article by Caitlin Johnstone looks at the kind fo thinking found among Qanon devotees.
    When considering the Qanon mindset and questioning its origins, I also question the real nature of the Kek Wars, explored by JMG on these pages in months gone by.
    I think ‘project Trump’ could be a psyop.
    The economy is not ‘booming’, Trump is not ‘rebalancing the economy’, or ‘helping the working class’, he has not moved significantly away from Neoliberalism’s core strategies and he has surrounded himself with same Neocon war hawks who have dominated US foreign policy for the past 20 years.
    In all significant matters, it’s business as usual. The Deep State abides.

  314. @JMG and Dashui-
    Farmers around here are fairly likely to be packing a lot more firepower than just a deer rifle. It’s not unusual for northern CA valleys to echo with the distant sound of automatic weapons fire. The West’s longstanding motto has been, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.” So the antifa guy would be most unwise to try to mess with the agricultural water supply, unless he wants to meet some of that simmering rage we often discuss here, suddenly given a ‘legitimate’ target and well-armed to boot.
    –Heather in CA

  315. Apropos of absolutely nothing discussed previously

    Given this week’s open post, I’d like to report on a moderately successful culinary experiment just recently pulled from the oven and sampled.

    Homemade sourdough pizza, with spinach, onion, and mushroom, and a fermented pumpkin sauce serving as the base.

    I had a half-crock of pumpkin still fermenting in the basement and came up with this idea to use some of it. I blended the pumpkin (which honestly didn’t need much help after months in the crock) and mixed in some minced garlic and a little olive oil and basil. This served as the sauce base. Par-baked the sourdough crust so that it wouldn’t get soggy, the loaded ‘er up with cheeses, spinach, onion, and mushrooms. Half the thinly sliced onion had been caramelized on the stove top, half left raw. Seasoning (touch of salt, oregano, basil) on top. Bake at 500 dog for ten to fifteen. Not too bad.

    I might have over-seasoned just a bit, but within tolerances, and the crust is dense (not your commercial pizza crust), but the result is pretty tasty.

  316. @ Onething:

    It was about 25 years ago that I was doing the research I mentioned, and it’s possible that I have misremembered, but to the best of my memory the most horrific cases I read about came from New York State, where the law gave husbands total control over the bodies and bodily processes of their wives. The only difference I could see (from those 19th-century accounts) between wives and slaves was that a husband could not legally sell his wife, nor leave her to someone as property upon his death; and he did have the legal right to use considerable violence against her whenever he felt like it, and as often as he felt like it.

    I suspect that this was the law in most Eastern states back in the 19th century, not just in New York. At that time it was the Midwestern states that tended to be the primary bastions of progressive and feminist politics, unlike today. Kansas was a hotbed of radical thinking and radical publishing back then. More recently it has produced conservative activists like the Koch brothers.

    If you can stomach the horror stories they have to tell, spend a year or so reading the writings of the most radical women among the first-wave feminists, such as Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Alice Bunker Stockham and Lois Waisbrooker.

    (Don’t waste time on Susan B. Anthony’s writings while researching this. She was by far the best strategist and master politician of them all, but that also makes her writings a problematic source for some lines of historical research. She was laser-focused on getting the vote for women; she would whitewash anyone and anything, sweep anything under any available rug, and compromise with anyone, if only that would help her secure suffrage for women at the end of her labors. I admire her enormously as a politician, but I wouldn’t trust her evidence for anything all that far.)

    Modern scholars who have mined this vein of historical ore–and put choice nuggets on display–include Hal D. Sears (“The Sex Radicals: Free Love in High Victorian America”; 1977) and John C. Spurlock (“Free Love: Marriage and Middle-Class Radicalism in America, 1826-1860”; 1988). To the best of my memory, they cited some of these horror stories.

  317. JMG, duly noted. Such a project would start with myself, of course. The results of workings could be shared well after they were achieved so as not to risk interference, and personal details could be removed while maintaining the parts relevant to research.

  318. JMG et al

    On a lighter fun note and this is mostly for David BTL. I ran across this bit of legislation this morning.

    CS/SB 82 prohibits a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state from regulating vegetable gardens on residential properties. Any local ordinance or regulation regarding vegetable gardens on residential properties is void and unenforceable. The bill provides an exception for local ordinances or regulations of a general nature that do not specifically regulate vegetable gardens, including, but not limited to, regulations and ordinances relating to water use during drought conditions, fertilizer use, or control of invasive species.

    The bill defines the term “vegetable garden” as a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated for human consumption.

    If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2019.
    I have to say I am rather pleased with some things my state is doing.

    @Nestorian, David BTL and too many others to name.
    In another not so fun, but important, I have been following the abortion conversation here with some interest. The short version is that I am MUCH closer to Nestorian here although I might be able to hold my nose and accept the compromise that David by-the-lake proposed. I am not sure my wife would accept that compromise. She is far more vociferously pro-life than I am.

    To address a point Merle raised the reason we take the personhood of the fetus so seriously is that if the fetus is a person then Abortion is Homicide after that point. There can be no equivocating there. Which is one of the reasons I think people who are pro-abortion objected to it so much. They are the good people after all. Anecdotally I have had conversations with this set where they admitted both points. Now I am one of those knuckle dragging 2nd Amendment types so I do think there is such a thing as justifiable homicide. You just have to be able to justify it. After all I can’t use my gun to shoot someone because they are an inconvenience to me or my life style. They have pose a threat of death or gross bodily harm and I apply that same standard here.

    So when is the fetus a person? Can that be objectively measured? I don’t think there was much of an argument that the fetus is a child 5 minutes before birth. It can survive just as well as any other newborn and we have gotten quite good at keeping premature babies alive. If around the time of quickening is when the child’s soul attaches we could draw the line there but I don’t know of a good soul detector that can tell us that. The mothers Personal Gnosis maybe. But laws are not built of subjective things. Or at least they should not be. So I have a strong pull toward treating a fertilized egg as a human because I would rather ere on the side of not killing someone without cause. Because I just don’t know when that soul attaches.

    Now I went and pulled some numbers. They are from the Agency for Healthcare Administration in Florida. PDF is here.

    Endangerment of life, rape and incest combined account for less than 1% of the abortions. Add in Woman’s Physical Health and Fetal Abnormality and we only get to 3.5% of all abortions. Psychological health moves it up to 5%. In 20% of the cases it is due to Social or Economic conditions and in 75% of the cases it was elective. Looking at that I am looking at 95% of abortions occurring because the child, another human, would be an inconvenience. Now I do concede that the VAST majority of abortions occur in the 1st Trimester. A situation which wouldn’t run afoul of David BTLs proposal. I would further hypothesize that most of these are also early enough to not run into issues with the fetal heartbeat proposals either.

    We talk a great deal about limits around here. This is one of those things if you violate a limit there are consequences. If you engage in sexual activity pregnancy is a likely consequence. That is a limit of the human condition. Killing someone because you don’t like the clearly foreseeable consequences of your actions is not acceptable. Now if some care in Pro-Life hospitals is as brutal as has been alleged that is a problem that needs to be addressed but abortions for any reason all the way up to birth is not the answer. The old saw about Abortion being safe and RARE needs to rear its head here.
    Earlier Nestorian mentioned the flip side that restrictions on abortion also effect men in that the gravy train of the hook up culture would be greatly curtailed. It also speaks to a lot of the subjects that we have been discussing recently in that people believe they can force reality to fit their wims. It looks to me that a great deal rage here is the idea that you cant just do what you want and have no consequences.

    As our dear host has said many times the opposite of one bad idea generally another bad idea. Unrestricted sexual license as a reaction to Victorian prudishness is a fantastic example. That being said people have been making a hash out of their lives with sex for a long, long time and I expect that they will be doing so for a long, long time to come.

    Your response to Mr. Gralle…yes a thousand times yes.

    Other Dave

  319. A busy week kept me offline and an accidentally wrong copy/paste erased my thanks/responses to several posters here, so I’ll just offer a generic thanks to JMG, RMK, Michelle (and one other?) who replied to my inquiry into manual work and imbuing such practices with magical/religious intention.

  320. @Patricia Mathews: What you’ve said about your marriage rhymes with a lot of what I went through in my single long term relationship.

    We’ve been broken up for almost a year now, but I find myself reluctant to even contemplate dating again. The walking on eggshells, the hedging of my words, I get all that.

    I’m not trying to make any larger point about gender roles, I’m just saying I get some of where you’re coming from.

  321. Your Kittenship, I believe it’s been documented from other sources as well. The CIA hired a lot of people back in the day, when part of its assignment was biasing popular culture against Communism.

    Chris, I’m far from sure most of the people pushing the abortion ban are hypocrites. I live in an area with a lot of Roman Catholics and a lot of anti-abortion bumper stickers on cars, and by and large, the cars that have those stickers on them seem to be owned by families with a lot of children…

    Your Kittenship, funny.

    Deborah, thanks for this. Do you think Hekate would be receptive to prayers to defend the right to abortion?

    Alvin, as usual, it depends on how you approach it. You can make wealth and spirituality balance each other well if you think of wealth as what comes from constructive participation in the flow of economic life. From that perspective, you earn your wealth by providing people with things they need and want, and this empowers you to support other businesspeople and also to give to those who need help. If you operate a business in a way that is in harmony with your moral and spiritual beliefs, and your efforts provide people with things they need and help other people thrive as well, that’s wholly compatible with spirituality.

    Patricia M, actually, Shanuga is rundown but not especially filthy. Basic knowledge of public health and sanitation survived the end of the industrial age in the Star’s Reach future; what’s more, fecal matter (human and animal) is in high demand as feedstock for compost, thus the streets are pretty clean. A steep decline in population squeezed out a lot of human diseases, which can’t maintain themselves without a certain population basis; as for STDs, most of those have completed their curve from lethal to asymptomatic — that’s what microbes do over time, as natural selection boosts resistance in the host species and decreases virulence in the microbe. As for Shen’s periods, er, have you never encountered a person who kept on clinging to a hope long after it had obviously failed? That was what her words, and the way she said them, were meant to communicate: she knows perfectly well that she’s not fertile but hasn’t been willing to deal with that, and it’s only after Tam joins Circle and Shen has her liaisons with Trey that she finally deals with it and goes to apprentice with the priestesses.

    Packshaud, excellent! I’m delighted to hear that.

    Jbucks, that is to say, Canada is still an economic colony. Yes, it would certainly be more to Canada’s benefit to enact trade barriers and build up her own domestic manufacturing economy, but that would run counter to the interests of elite groups who profit from the current colonial economy, and so of course they resist it.

    Mog, go talk to the people in flyover country who have abundant jobs again for the first time in decades. I don’t think you’ll get far with your insistence that Trump hasn’t changed anything…

    Heather, fair enough! My thought was simply that a deer rifle is efficient, and can be used at impressively long ranges.

    David BTL, I admit that sounds rather strange, but hey, if it’s tasty, it’s tasty.

    Rolf, fair enough. What do you hope to achieve with this project?

    Other Dave, huzzah! Now to encourage other states to do the same thing.

    Temporaryreality, you’re most welcome.

  322. Hey jmg

    Has it ever occurred to you when thinking about what literature is likely to still be around once industrial civilisation has ended that the most likely documents to survive are essays and short stories, maybe TV scripts as well?

    Since they are small they would be easier to copy and I guess use less paper. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than half of our literature that survives the deindustrial future whoukd be short stuff like that.

  323. Nestorian, you rightly point out, “our culture is off the rails sexually”. One precondition of this is mod-soc’s strange confidence that it can plausibly re-invent right and wrong, right from the ground up, as it were – the assumption being, that modern man is qualified to do so, being vastly wiser than his predecessors.

    I’ve just finished reading and enjoying Stephen King’s huge sf novel “Under the Dome”, set in his usual type of small-town Maine setting. I don’t know how far his characters are representative of reality, but I think they must be fairly close to what ordinary people are like in his part of the world, and though many of them are good people, the good folk are just as void of dignity as the baddies. The f-word is part of ordinary conversation, as if it were a grammatical particle essential to the formation of most English sentences. I don’t think this is a trivial observation. Were the masses as foul-mouthed a hundred years ago? I doubt it. An outbreak of linguistic pustules on this scale betokens a soul-sickness.

  324. HI David by the Lake,

    Fermented PUMPKIN?

    So, all those witches we see on around Halloween, the ones who have flown into trees, came from YOUR house!

    You’re busted, dude! You public menace!

  325. The original feminists were intelligent grownups pursuing badly needed legal reforms. They’d be horrified at what’s called “feminism” today.

  326. To JMG: Thank you for your lesson on the varieties of Buddhism. I was caught by your phrase “what they (people) decide to believe.” It’s a bit of a contradiction; most people believe unconsciously and never decide anything. They either are taught a religion by their parents and society, or absorb it unconsciously from their contemporaries. As you pointed out in your last post, many people absorbed “You create your own reality” from friends, and probably wouldn’t say they believed it, though they act like true believers. Unconscious belief is the contradiction I fear most, because it’s inaccessible to logic and argument.

  327. Austin Levro

    The soldering iron and soldering is old. It just wasn’t powered by electricity. Soldering was used to make tools, buckets, armor, art etc.

    Laundry irons were similar.

    Heat the soldering iron in a flame or oven. Laundry irons on stove top.

    There would be several irons and they would be swapped out as they cooled. Snap on handles stayed cool.

    Laundry irons made good door stops when obsolete. We used them into at least the 1950’s.

  328. Thanks everybody for the link to “Hitler as philosophe”. I have just read it through. It is truly fascinating, though the author is a bit short on sources other than Hitler’s own words, and doesn’t seem to read a word of German. The key insight, in my understanding, is that racism and nationalism both arose in the 18th century, but had not been fused and used by one European group against another European group before. Another one is that the Enlightenment (or at least some of its proponents) brought down social inequality to strengthen biological inequality.

    This brought several strands together that I had seen in different places. The “free slave trade” that arose with the weakening of the Spanish hold on its American colonies and that enslaved far more people than before. The invention of a “Caucasian” race based on white slaves in the Muslim countries. The laws enacted in Virginia around 1700 to prevent indentured English servants and African slaves to make common company. St-Just’s absolutely frightening righteousness (from “Fire in the minds of men”, another book JMG recommended some time back, thank you very much!). The fact that machine guns that had always been used against “natives” were turned for the first time on Europeans in WW I. The loss of women’s voting rights around 1800.

    Hitler’s crazy talk of humanity leaving planet Earth at some time in the future resembles so much science fiction.

    What disappointed me is that Birken hardly speaks about economics in the Nazi regime at all, only about the economic speeches Hitler gave before 1933 (exactly the point under discussion a few weeks ago here).

  329. John–

    Re recipes of strangeness

    I’ll definitely dial the seasoning back a notch in the future, but yes, tasty. I’ve got pumpkin left yet. I might try calzones next. I’m working to expand my use of our sourdough starter (going for some years now) beyond simple loaves.

  330. Sharing this quote from an essay by a writer whose thoughts I find compelling. The last line in particular resonates.

    “I’d like to propose, in fact, a general rule, which I’ve modestly titled Greer’s Law of Evangelism: the more forcefully someone insists that you have to adopt some behavior or belief—be it a diet, a religion, a political stance, or what have you—the less satisfactory that behavior or belief is to the person who’s pushing it on you. You’ve seen this in action, dear reader, and so have I. When I was doing macrobiotics, the people who were obviously thriving on the diet were never pushy about it, though they’d happily teach you if you wanted to learn, and the people who were pushy about it were obviously not thriving on it. The same is true of religion; I’ve met quite a few people who clearly find their Christian faith profoundly meaningful and satisfying, and I’ve met quite a few people who filled the air with gobbets of saliva as they shrieked about how everyone has to fall on their knees before Jesus or fry in hell forever, and you know, they’re never the same people.

    “Out of any group of people, some will be well suited to any behavior or belief you care to name, and some won’t be. That’s simply part of the diversity—or, if you wish, the cussedness—that’s hardwired into our species. The belief that some arbitrary scheme can replace that diversity, or cussedness, with one perfect diet, or one perfect religion, or one perfect anything else is, as mentioned earlier, very deeply rooted in the cultures of the contemporary industrial West. It takes a certain amount of hard work to get past that belief, and the process is made no easier by the way that so many people use their diet, or their religion, or what have you as an excuse to feel morally superior to everyone else. Self-righteousness is an addictive drug, and a lot of people use it very heavily to get through the day.”

    — From

  331. Heather, JMG – it is also much easier to claim “Oops! Accident – thought he was a deer.” with a deer rifle than and automatic weapon…

    David BTL – do you have a recipe for sourdough pizza crust?

  332. @Other Dave – “if the fetus is a person then Abortion is Homicide after that point”

    What do you say to people like myself who say the foetus is a person AND the mother is a person, and abortion consists of the untangling of two persons?

  333. John Kincaid – If what you’re saying is “a telegraph key is a terrible interface to knowledge of the wider world”, then we’re completely in agreement, and I assert that any “post-collapse” computer technology will be just as disappointing, by current standards. I’m not saying that it will be useless! There may be mechanical “computers” (like the Norden Bombsight), analog computers, and relay-based digital computers, but we won’t have 19 billion transistors on a chip (data as of 2017) streaming lol-cats at our convenience.

    By the way, I can copy Morse radiotelegraphy at 10 WPM without error for at least a full minute, and have a certificate to prove it. Maybe some day AD7VI and AB3NA will exchange reception reports, but I’m not holding my breath while waiting.

    Incidentally, whether or not the Norden Bombsight was a particularly crucial piece of war-fighting technology has recently been debated. Some claim that its reputation is due to its role as a macguffin in fiction set in WW-2, and in post-war Norden advertising.

  334. Trina Robbins did a biography of Victoria Woodhull in the form of a comic book. I think it came out in the early 1970s. Not a graphic novel; those hadn’t been invented yet. A regular comic book. If anyone can get hold of a copy, it’s well worth your time.

  335. I don’t want to add anything personal to the abortion discussion right now.

    The following are facts that may be of interest.

    1. All varieties of Judaism encourage people to have children.
    2. Judaism teaches that the saving of a single human life is so important that it justifies breaking most, though not all, of the commandments that G-d has given Jews to live by.
    (There are a good many more than ten commandments; those ten a starting point.)
    3. Judaism does not permit killing an innocent person to save the life of another person, or a group of people.
    4. Orthodox Judaism, the form of Judaism which most strongly emphasizes strictly following the commandments, requires abortion to save the life of the mother at any point up until the time when the baby’s head emerges from the birth canal. Once the baby can draw breath, it is a separate person, and cannot be killed to save the mother’s life.
    5. Any law which forbids abortion for the purpose of saving the mother is contrary to Judaism. Jews will be obliged to violate the civil law, no matter the penalty, if such a situation arises.

  336. @James M Jensen II – Thanks for the link to Chapman, Meaningness, and in particular to the reflections on monism/dualism and boundaries – which I will be reading with great interest, from the point of view how (in my experience and humble opinion) conflict over the social meanings of boundaries is currently manifesting in autoimmune and similar type diseases, which seem to be on the rise.

    More germane to the discussion going on in this comment thread, you say:
    “His analysis of the current culture war as the last gasps of a fight between a monist counterculture (the hippies) and a dualist counterculture (the religious right) is particularly fascinating, since he sees the heart of the fight as being about boundaries. Thus monist Left hate the idea of a border wall, consider a fetus to be part of the mother’s body, and tend to think all religions are basically the same. The dualist Right love the Wall, consider a fetus to be a separate person from the mother, and divide religions into Us and Them. Thus these battles are going to be fierce from the symbolic value alone, before getting to any other considerations.”

    What is interesting is the distinction you make between the warring factions at the absolutist ends of the abortion debate, who David by the Lake and I, in putting forward thoughts on a regulatory regime that aims at reconciling the disparate interests involved – ie mother and foetus – may have equally displeased.

    What I would add to the reflection you’ve described above is the following, which extends it just a bit, to show how each also carries its own contradiction:

    1) the “monist Left consider a fetus to be part of the mother’s body [which may be separated from it whenever she wishes,with no more consideration given than clipping a fingernail]”


    2) the “dualist Right consider a fetus to be a separate person from the mother [but on no account MAY the it be separated from the mother without such a separation counting as a murder]”.

    The idea that when two persons require the use of one body, those two persons may reside within a conflict that no regulation aimed at promoting the welfare of all can make a hard and fast pronouncement on without sacrificing one or the other, is the one that seems to be the most challenging.

  337. Mog,

    “…he has not moved significantly away from Neoliberalism’s core strategies and he has surrounded himself with same Neocon war hawks who have dominated US foreign policy for the past 20 years.
    In all significant matters, it’s business as usual. The Deep State abides.”

    Why then do they hate him so much?

  338. Correction, regarding the Norden bombsight. It was Sperry Corp, not “Norden” which associated itself with the “secret-famous” Norden bombsight in post-war advertising.

  339. Cliff – oh, yes, verbally/emotionally abusive marriages or relationships can happen to anyone. And leave you asking yourself “Am I crazy? Am *I* crazy?” The worst thing he did was convince me that his behavior was normal for men, and my objections to it, abnormal. I thought “If that’s normal for men (took me a few years to realize that was One Big Lie), then I’ll be a crazy faded outcast spinster living in poverty with her books and her cat.” You have my deepest sympathies.

    JMG – thanks for clarifying the question about diseases. OK – Shen was massively in denial. I get that. A friend of mine who just passed failed to deal with her symptoms of fatal illness, partly because of her deep-seated belief that to talk or think about negative things was to bring them on. She thought my habit of running worst-case scenarios was asking for trouble. But I believe in not going blindfolded into battle.

    BTW – what about women with no sexual interest in men? Do they bite the bullet and “go playing” anyway? Considering that this is their entree into political power. Just curious.

  340. J.L.Mc12, now take a look at what’s survived previous dark ages and see how well that correlates with your theory.

    Tomriverwriter, my repeated experience is that people choose their beliefs to a much greater extent than the conventional wisdom supposes. This can be demonstrated by watching how fast they change their beliefs when it’s in their immediate practical advantage to do so. Very often, the reason you can’t convince someone to change their mind is not that their belief is unthinking, but because you haven’t given them any incentive to change them other than the fact that you think they ought to. (Meaning “you” in the abstract, of course, not “you” personally.)

    David BTL, enjoy!

    PatriciaT, granted.

    Deborah, thank you.

    Patricia M, exactly — the whole point of that scene was that Shen was desperate to become part of Circle, and wasn’t dealing with the obvious problem. That was partly a way to point up the importance of Circle in 24th-century Meriga, partly a way to sketch out some of the social dynamics of Shanugan (and Merigan) society, and partly because that’s what the character did — I tend to let my characters do what they want, and the results (at least to me) are good enough that they seem to justify the habit.

    In the world of Star’s Reach, a woman with no sexual interest in men has a range of choices. She can become a priestess or a scholar, or take up one of the other trades open to infertile women; alternatively, she can use sex with men purely as a means of reproduction for the sake of status, alongside whatever emotional benefit she gets from motherhood. There’s a fair amount of social pressure to reproduce if you can — the low fertility rate, as a result of the saturation of the environment with toxic chemicals, makes bearing or fathering healthy children a fast route to status — but there are alternatives for those who don’t choose that.

  341. Scotlyn,

    I would point out that I believe there is such a thing as justifiable homicide. In cases where Death or Gross bodily harm would occur homicide is an acceptable evil. That is the standard that must be reached. If the mother would die or be crippled by carrying the child to term then an abortion is justified.

    Regarding disentangling the two persons I would argue that such a thing is not possible. You only think you are disentangling yourself. I need to track down the studies again but mothers keep traces of their childrens (and their partners) DNA inside them. I believe they found traces in the brain. Then I would point to the many people that have had an abortion and regret it. You can never escape the memories and ramifications of your actions.

    In that vein one can disentangle themselves without killing. Place the child for adoption. Disentangled as much as you can without death. I will acknowledge the argument that adoption has issues in the United States but I would say fix that.

    Killing an innocent is never a good thing and you need to be able to justify what you have done. Personal convenience is not a justification for killing anyone.

    Other Dave

  342. @Scotlyn-

    I was arrested by your idea that “…conflict over the social meanings of boundaries is currently manifesting in autoimmune and similar type diseases, which seem to be on the rise.” I would very much like to hear more about your thinking on that, since I’ve come to find your experience and your humble opinion, as shared here, to be both valuable and fascinating. I hope you’ll be willing to share.
    –Heather in CA

  343. A general thank you to all who have been willing to publicly and thoughtfully engage on the difficult issue of abortion. I understand much more about the passions on both sides, and the room in the middle for thoughtful compromise on the legal aspect, than I did before.
    I really don’t know of another place where such high quality, informed, and respectful exchanges on difficult topics takes place. I’m thinking about issues like immigration and social class, not to mention societal decline and all forms of spirituality. Thanks to our host and to all who take such time and care to both express themselves and listen and respond to others. It’s a great example of how civil exchange is done, which can’t be modeled too often!
    –Heather in CA

  344. Hi John Michael,

    Surely you are joking around with me?

    I don’t believe that I suggested that people in favour of bans on abortions are hypocrites, and I certainly didn’t mention Roman Catholics.

    My main point was that people supporting abortion should be forced to live by their beliefs.

    But since you mentioned Roman Catholics, I sort of feel sorry for them. They appear to have the red guy with the horns and the tail and the menacing pitchfork running amok in their faith, although they may not have noticed. And their concerns for unborn babies should perhaps be extended to the children that do get born and are in their care. We recently had a Royal Commission looking into child abuse in institutions – and far out the results were not good and frankly unsettling. Incidentally, the head honcho of the faith that you mentioned down under is currently residing in the slammer and appealing his conviction:
    George Pell will not seek reduced sentence if appeal against guilty verdict fails.

    This is a general observation on the subject and is not replying to your comment directly or indirectly. I have noticed that people tend to get a bee in their bonnet on some issues and they fail to notice other issues that are of an equivalent nature but are less easily addressed.

    Hi David by the lake,

    I’m pretty sure I haven’t expressed a view one way or the other on the matter. And as far as I can understand, when you talk about struggle, I hate to be the one who told you but: The horse has sailed and the ship has bolted in that state. I’ve never exactly been sure what these ‘rights’ of any sort are anyway. They are perquisites as far as I can tell and they have to be maintained otherwise you end up watching them get chipped away at. I can assure you that down here I don’t even have the right to free speech – whatever that is.



  345. Stray comments

    @John Kincaid:

    They were still teaching boys how to solder with a flame-heated soldering iron back around 1955 in Berkeley in the mandatory 7th- and 8th-grade shop classes (wood shop, metal shop, print shop, mechanical drawing). Looking back, these four classes were more than half of the most valuable ones I ever took in my K-12 years. (A fifth was a very rigorous full-year course in plane geometry, and a sixth was a one-semester course in General Semantics out of S. I. Hayakawa’s “Language in Thought and Action.”)


    My father considered the Norden Bombsight a real improvement over the average human bombardier who relied on instinct to release bombs from aircraft. (You mostly had to do it by instinct; often there wasn’t enough time to run the calculations by slide-rule and tables. These men were smarter than your average joe, but with human beings, that’s hardly ever all that smart.)

    He had done military service in the Navy Air Force before WW2 began, and spoke from his own experience. (There was also the Army Airforce, later the Airforce plain and simple as a separate branch of service.)

    Also, a PS to my post on those five radical women authors from first-wave feminism: four of them were also knowledgeable occultists of one sort or another; the fifth (Stanton) was a scholarly critic of all forms of Christianity and the reliability of the Bible, as was Gage. Woodhull seems to have become an actual Pagan of some sort toward the end of her life, as she kept an altar to Nikē in her home. (I would like to know more about that side of her life and thought, but have found only passing references to her altar in the primary sources I have read.) All five had first-rate critical intellects and were very good writers.

  346. JMG,
    That is an anecdotal reply, so hard to answer. From what I read, employment levels started to recover from 2010 onwards. Like here in the UK (where the Conservative Party has only really cited ’employment rates’ as their singular defence of a policy programme that has diminshed the quality of life for most people but enriched the top 1%), many of those jobs are low wage and insecure. I guess a slave state has zero unemployment…
    I am of the opinion that the US economy contnues to slide further and further out of balance, to the extent that the need to prop up the equity markets bubble has likely resulted in huge scale rigging behind the scenes (see Chris Martenson).

    @ Onething,
    I am not sure that all is as it is presented in the mainstream media. Or even the internet fringes -the link in my earlier comment is to an article that analyses the Qanon cult, which has many die-hard Trump believers in its ranks. Did you read it?
    It tacitly suggests that ‘they don’t really hate him’. As USG expands the military budget and pushes for more war, imprisons whistle blowers and indicts journalists, as the promises of infrastructure spending, and immigration and tarrifs controls evaporate, it becomes obvious (to all but the kool aid drinkers hopeful of a resurgent conservatism) that the permanent government is still in charge. The swamp was not drained, it was added to.
    It was exactly the same under Obama on the other side.
    Has Russiagate actually served the liberal establishment, or the re-election campaign of Donald Trump ? It was transparent evidence free nonsense from the beginning, so why did the Dems pursue it with such enthusiasm?
    When you consider that Trump is not an adversary of the elites who own and run the US empire, but a closed circle member (all be it a rather baffoonish one), that he is friends with the Clintons, that he is compromised by many relationships which have not and will not see the light of day for the majority of American voters…things become clearer.

  347. @ PatriciaT

    Re sourdough pizza

    Here’s the base recipe I found and have been using:

    I’ve collected a couple of such recipes and tucked them in my bread book here in the kitchen.

    The crust I have produced, which may or may not reflect the quality of the recipe ;), seems on the dense side. I’m going to begin experimenting with slightly less oil next time I make it and see what that does.

  348. An outstanding biography of Victoria Woodhull is “Other Powers”, by Barbara Goldsmith. There is considerable discussion of Woodhull’s spiritualist upbringing and background. Highly recommended.

  349. All—

    I have a question for the community, if anyone could help me with this.

    Somewhat by happenstance and somewhat by design, I have recently acquired a copy of IFA: A Forest Of Mystery from Scarlet Imprint (Miskatonic Books). I recall our host commenting at one point that it was useful to learn two divergent traditions, which is how this acquisition might have been an unconscious design on my part as a complement to my Druidic studies. IFA, as I am learning, is a wisdom tradition of the Yoruba peoples of West Africa, and so very much outside my cultural lens.

    As I (slowly) make my way through this text, it has occurred to me how shamefully little I know about the history of Africa and its peoples, aside from that of the northern coastline which is discussed in western civilization (e.g. the Roman Empire, the caliphates, and the like).

    So, my question is this: does anyone have recommendations for a good history of the African continent and discussion of the nations and people of the sub-Saharan portion in particular? I’d be interested in learning more of the traditions and gaining some context to what I’m reading about now.

    Many thanks.

  350. RE the famed Norden bombsight, which could “drop a bomb in a pickle barrel”. My grandparents lived about a mile from the train yards in den Haag (The Hague), and their house was flattened by “precision” bombing of the train yard in 1944. Fortunately, they survived, but my grandfather’s collection of art from Java didn’t.

    @tomriverwriter: “what they (people) decide to believe.” That phrase rings true with me. Since I write this on Memorial Day, I will use the example of the POW MIA movement. 40 years ago, I was unable to believe that the US government would abandon POWs in Laos at the end of the American involvement in Vietnam. I could believe it of Nixon, but I thought that the overall government was mostly composed of honorable people. Today, I wear the POW/MIA pin, and I have no delusions about our government. I have chosen what I believe about the government, and those beliefs were mostly unconscious when I was younger, but have changed as I know more. I like to think I choose all my beliefs because of logical analysis, but some beliefs are not in the realm of logic.

  351. I would like to introduce some dissensus into the discussion about selecting books for the subscription library. Don’t. Let the members to nominate a few books they love, put them together into a list, and if two or more members put it on reserve, accept the donation. I have a great many books that I would love to share with other people, but if I give them to the local library they put them in a booksale for a buck or two. For example, on one shelf of one bookshelf, I have Carl Zimmer’s Parasite Rex, Amdahl’s There are no Electrons, and Jargodzki and Potter’s Mad About Physics. I have a great many bookshelves, and I know I’m not alone.

  352. I think I’m going to throw another complication–a monkey wrench, if you will–into the debate about abortion.

    Other Dave wrote: “if the fetus is a person then Abortion is Homicide after that point”

    And Scotlyn asked, in reply: “What do you say to people like myself who say the foetus is a person AND the mother is a person, and abortion consists of the untangling of two persons?”

    The point that I would like to raise is that a person commits homicide by taking action to end a person’s life, but a person equally commits homicide by refraining from action to save a person’s life. That person incurs the same amount of guilt and/or shame either way, whatever amount that might be in one’s religion or one’s system of morals and ethics.

    So when you (generic “you,” of course) are faced with a crisis situation where two persons are entangled to such an extent extent that if you act one person will surely die, and if you do not act the other person will just as surely die. Either way, you will have committed an act of homicide, and you will (at least metaphorically speaking) have human blood on your hands. You have had to face the very unpleasant situation where each choice open to you will incur equal guilt/shame.

    And this is an extremely common sort of situation, not limited to the case of a mother and her unborn child in medical crisis. Almost every adult will have faced such a choice at least once in life, and probably many times, though almost all adults have worked out stratagems to avoid looking that hard truth full in its face. If you want an aphorism for being human, try this: “No adult can reach the end of life without getting a good deal of human blood on their hands.” (The “blood” can, of course, be metaphorical.)

    So if a foetus is a person, or becomes a person at some point, but its continued life will kill its mother, then either choice, to abort the child or not to abort the child, is equally homicide — whether by action or by inaction is wholly beside the point.

    This unresolvable dilemma, of course, opens the door widely to pragmatic compromises on abortion. Here, as everywhere in a healthy society, an overemphasis on innocence and guilt is inevitably toxic. Humans are so constituted that it is impossible for any of them to live in full accord with their laws, and much less religion or their morality/ethics, no matter what those things might happen to be. This is unsettling, but nonetheless true.

    PS — I should add a footnote: some actual Christians try to argue that an unborn (and thus of necessity unbaptized) child is always innocent, whereas his mother never is. In terms of historic Christianity and its old, old doctrines (1) of original sin and (2) of the undefiled marriage bed, this is is at least two different Christian heresies, and possibly more than two.

  353. Jbucks, there are a couple factors. With a highly scattered population of 30 million we don’t really have the domestic market to justify a lot of heavy manufacturing only for inside Canada, what manufacturers do succeed here tend to be small to medium sized and highly specialized. Then there’s the fact that we perceive our closest trading partner as capricious – ask a Canadian about the Avro Arrow sometime – and it’s much easier to favour your own producers of finished products than of raw resources.

    But I think most importantly, Canadian business culture is much more conservative than in the US, and selling raw materials to established manufacturing hubs has been a winning strategy for a long time. As far as i can tell all political parties would like to have more domestic production in theory, but in practice it’s actually really difficult to get that sort of thing established, doubly so if you’re trying to convince investors used to extraction-margins to accept manufacturing-margins.

  354. Dipping a toe in the abortion debate, if I may;

    For what it’s worth, I am in agreement with Scotlyn and David BTL in a reasonable compromise. I’d only add that as we are debating this in accordance with our personal convictions and beliefs – legislators are bound also to make or change laws in accordance with constituents, some of who agree with their beliefs and some who don’t. Then the arguments of “People are going to have sex whether we legalise it or not” and “Women will have abortions whether it is a safe hospital procedure or a back alley butchery or not” become far more relevant. Then the goal of the legislation goes to what is best for the majority of the people, regardless of one’s own opinions. I think it’s a helpful idea to keep in mind that these are two different discussions.

    1) As this discussion has veered off also into general human / social sexual mores, something has occurred to me that may be worthwhile. The Other David above alluded to (paraphrasing) that our society’s current sexual mores are in disarray, are all over the place and have gotten too free to the point of societal disaster.

    2)Having grown up in the 60’s & 70’s in So. Cal, maybe it was more ‘progressive’ in this area than other places, but I would say it was worse when I was coming of age then/there, post-sexual revolution and pre-AIDS era. Casual sex “Free Love” promiscuity were expected. One would be castigated and made fun of as prudish frigid or old fashioned if one declined. For the generation of kids growing up post-AIDS it was different.

    3) We also talked a few weeks ago here, In my kids’ generation, (Z?) teens and young adults, (I’ll use ‘kids’ because it’s shorter to type) it seems to be a ‘trend’ for lack of a better word to explore or self describe as homosexual, bi, ‘on-the-spectrum’, gender fluid….. when dealing with their own sexual preference and even gender identity. I can attest to this a truly a ‘trend’ from my own kids’ friends, kids of my friends and kids of my online chat friends, (some 800,000 parents). It’s a THING now, whether or not it is experimentation or a biological sea-change. Many of the parents in my chat group grew up in that post Sexual revolution/pre-AIDS loosey-goosey window that I did and have taught these principles to their children in return. “Embrace your sexuality”, “No body or slut shaming”, “Do what makes you happy”, “Ignore the old Victorian rules of modesty, restrict, abstinence”, etc…

    MAAAAAYBE the larger numbers of kids declaring gender and sexual preference “otherness” are consciously or subconsciously reacting to this. Whilst still being able to rebel and shock their parents, (LOL); they’ve found a way to avoid the unpleasant encounters and intimacies that their parents and older siblings of the ‘hook-up-generation’ fell into? Most interesting / curiouser and curiouser is that the vast majority from these groups that I’ve observed do not appear to be actually sexually active. If this hypothesis is correct, maybe our societal ‘hive-mind’ is self-correcting for the excesses of the Boomer “Free Love” generation.

    OTOH: this ‘trend’ may be utterly genuine in their DNA as nature’s way with many species in overpopulation is more births of members hard-wired for homosexuality or diminished pro-creative sex drive to lessen the population through attrition. (?)

    I’m reminded of that mice-utopia’ experiment wherein the mice were put into a utopia of plentiful food, no predators, plentiful space,etc. and well, it ended badly, in mouse-self-destruction; but the most surprising development in the late stage, were in some of the males the scientist dubbed “The Beautiful Ones”. These males had zero interest in mating, preened themselves all day and seemed to rule the roost. I think we definitely see people in our society doing that in human population today; far more interested in their own beauty for it’s own sake than using beauty as a tool to attract a mate.

    Or it may be a combination of things. Just something to ponder.

  355. Hello JMG, I have a question about the Middle Pillar ritual in “Learning Ritual Magic.” Why does it descend from Kether to Binah to Tiphareth? Isn’t Binah in the Pillar of Severity? Thanks and sorry if I missed something obvious…


  356. I am finding the Tomb of Unknown Soldier is worth contemplating on this Memorial Day, and not only to honor all those who died serving their countries. For those of us who are far from the reality of war, every soldier in all of history who has died in battle is a stranger to us, and therefore each one is unknown.

    When I think of those who might call themselves patriots today, and hold up their country’s flag proudly, there is a sense that they are also becoming invisible, since patriotism equates with nationalism, and that is not a good thing. I wonder why that is? We would all like to do without war… but can we also do without nation states? John Lennon’s song lyric says, “imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do…” Really? I don’t think Lennon ever really thought about what the alternative would be in a real-world sense. Instead, he tried to cover his ass by calling himself a dreamer… unlike all those who died in other lands who were also dreamers.

    This is the first year my mother didn’t put out the flag on a national holiday. I didn’t ask her why, but it might have to do with the fact that at this point, we are the only ones on our street who have not come from India or from any of the island nations associated with the Indian diaspora. None of them hang out American flags, although there are occasionally some who display a colorful collection of flags in their yard when honoring their own type of particular holy-days.

    I don’t mind the absence of one thing vs. the presence of another, since I have never had nationalistic tendencies, at least not on the level of symbols. However, national holidays tend to make you stop, at least for the sake of considering the others who live in your society… and then feeling can (and sometimes does) take the place of symbols. In my case, as someone who was never politically oriented (I have never even voted once), I have nonetheless lived long enough to have moved through many different notions of what “America” is or might be, and there is a certain residual feeling that finds a sympathetic expression in the music of Copland, a composer who still honors us with an indeniable, American presence…

  357. Avid reader, seldom commenter, here to answer a couple of Canada points:


    Canada may seem to have a better shot at remaining unified than the US does – somewhat better. But, invariably Americans fail to understand Canada and the fact that we are regional too. Did you forget that Canada literally came within a hair’s breadth of actually dissolving, in 1995?

    As for New England being better off under Toronto, sheesh, talk about frying pan-into-fire. In any scenario of significant economic collapse, Toronto is going to be a dystopian horrorshow…


    Well, here JMG beat me to the punch, with more or less the correct answer to your question!

    What I would add is that complacency (read: laziness) as well as quite a small population (less than California) means there just hasn’t been much incentive to move beyond the commodity economy.

    There is a constituency, which includes myself, that has been hopeful that, as Trump’s tariffs inflict short-term discomfort upon us, that they will ultimately have the effect of forcing us to resurrect some of the manufacturing capacity and ingenuity that we used to have, and are capable of having. Time will tell.

  358. @Lady Cutekitten – Fermented pumpkin may well show up at an Albuquerque pagan potluck. Heaven knows, I’ve tasted stranger things at some of them. Hmmmm…. can we get drunk of it? I’ll bet some of our home-brewers and meadmasters would be glad to try that out. Caveat – if it doesn’t contain chile, red or green, it’s not really Southwestern.

  359. @ Robert Matthiesen – the historical stuff you mention from previous centuries, in which husbands had the legal power to force abortions on their wives is horrific.

    The thing that people on either side of our sadly polarised debate seldom acknowledge is that the fiercest advocate a child can have is its mother – if she has her hands sufficiently free to wage that battle when needs be.

    And allowing women to have the power to decide, under their own steam, that they are full willing and full able to assume the responsibility to bear and birth a child, while providing the absolute best quality of healthcare throughout the length and breadth of that undertaking, and otherwise, stepping out of their way, is the soundest way I know of giving our young the best chance.

    A far better chance than they will ever get from random strangers advocating from afar for their theoretical existence and personhood.

  360. @ JGM – thanks! Good answer. Gives them a wide range of choices, depending on their priorities. I do like to put myself in some fictional worlds and see how well they fit. Or why I concluded that in Stephenson’s ANATHEM, either Ma Cartas was not a woman, or her suurs shaved their heads or wore dreadlocks. No combs! Of course, at St. Edhar’s, they probably braided each others’ hair.

    Just FYI, for sheer self-indulgence – when I was reading every book around, I dipped into the Apprentice Wizards’ Handbook, with its wide range of wizardly paths, and ended up as a grey-robed Loremistress. When I put myself in the Star’s Reach universe, I ended up (if in Plummer’s organization) as a book tender, and if a civilian, as a grey-robed Scholar. Probably a failed Scholar, teaching literature in a girls’ school for the aristocracy somewhere. (Where else did schools like the one Eleen attended, get their teachers? The aristocracy, their tutors and governesses?) Not being adventurous enough for the Ruinmens’ camp. Even though I do like archaeology, and they are that world’s archaeologists. In Retropia – is there a glut of librarians? And with clothes so expensive and kept forever, it’s a good thing I’m a fair hand with a needle and thread – I’d be wearing my working-class sponsors’ hand-me-downs.

    Provides hours of innocent speculative amusement for an idle mind.

    BTW – I reserve the right to make a few My Cat Fluffy posts, since Mr. Spot’s health is of ongoing concern. I will be moving a month from now, will keep you posted as soon as I find out the official street address of the building I’m in.

  361. @JMG and also David, by the Lake

    It’s late in the comment cycle, and obviously, I have gotten distracted by other threads, but I want to say that I am truly taken by the idea of reading rooms, but especially as proposed by JMG:

    “a place for people to gather, learn, do a little quiet networking, and meditate together. The name of the organization is the Ecosophical Society, and Ecosophical Society Reading Rooms are its main function.”

    I think “Ecosophical Society” is a perfect name, that the simple activities described are a perfect sized ambition for a society to form a healthy and pleasant egregore around, and I, too would like to take part.

    My immediate thought is that the meditation gatherings could easily become a thing on their own – and be hosted in houses, while the folk who gather to do that maybe chew on the idea of getting a Reading Room organised.

    I would love to do this, from the Wednesday meditation side – maybe gather a couple of people and start with themes chosen from “Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth”…

    At the same time, I’d love this to be framed within the larger setting of an Ecosophical Society which has its aims, and its limits, and its guidelines, and is in contact with other similar societies doing similar things elsewhere.

    If this Society is feasible, then, I hereby apply to become a member, and offer to sound out other potential members here locally, and get a meditation group going, as well as moot the idea of a Reading Room as a longer termlocal project.

  362. Probably not appropriate to say “Happy” Memorial Day, but Most Honored Remembrances to those who have lost family or friends in duty of their country, whichever country that may be.

  363. Also, for those who enjoy experimentation, fermented pumpkin chutney goes with homemade naan quite nicely!

  364. David Nottabourgheois really presents the best wildlife documentaries !

    In other news, in France, for EU Elections :
    (liberal) “Greens” : 13.5% for 13 chairs
    (alt-left) “Insubordinates” : 6.3% for 6 chairs – older militants with productivist tendencies, but hopefully a lot of younger ones caring about radical ecology ?
    “Animalist Party” (with a beagle on the billboards) : 2.2% for 0 chairs – hopefully not just for the “cute/lolcat effect” ?
    “Ecological Emergency” : 1.8% for 0 chairs – a 3 months old merging of 4 parties. It was a bit weird when the leader of one of them, of the “progressist”(?!?) party slipped(?) and said that they were for a radical ecology – I don’t remember their other candidates to ever use the R word, I guess because it’s associated more with terrorism these days – but it’s pretty clear what they stand for…
    “Degrowth” : 0.1% for 0 chairs – yeah… :/

  365. In light of the recent ‘fake tweet’ where the NYU professor quoted Trump but it was something that Trump had not said/tweeted …

    How do you think it would play out if the day before the 2020 election they made up a ‘Trump said’ that was beyond the pale and it was reinforced by all of the MSM and maybe even came with edited footage of Trump actually saying it while simultaneously banning all of the right wing/neutral sites (server issues you know) so that the evil Trump was the only thing heard?

  366. Interesting interaction at work the other day. On of my colleagues was talking about how terrible it was that the Alabama govt was attacking women with their abortion bill how he couldn’t understand why they would be wanting to criminalise a straightforward surgical procedure. Now I normally avoid getting into political conversations at work but since he seemed so legitimately dumbfounded as to what could possibly motivate such Neanderthal behaviour I mentioned something along the lines of ‘well I suppose if you were someone who believed that people were killing children when they do an abortion then it would make sense from their perspective …’

    His response … ‘well they would be wrong’ … end of conversation.

    I don’t remember who said it but someone (it might even have been you!) said that until you can describe someone else’s position using their own terms you don’t understand them. This guy wasn’t interested in understanding any alternate viewpoint and was perfectly happy demonising them for the crime of disagreeing with his side.

  367. @Nestorian
    Forgive me, but I think that there is something that you and all the other pro-lifers are not considering. Please consider (not asking you to accept or believe, just consider), that some (a lot) of the parents that choose to have an abortion are primarily concerned about the child.
    I know of a couple that decided to abort twice because in both cases the tests that were done showed that there was the real possibility that the children would be extremely retarded. I remember their pain. What made them decide for the abortion was that they would grow old and die and that their child would be left behind, unable to take care of itself. Yes, there are institutions that take care of “those people”, but upon checking two off them, they decided that no child of them would suffer that fate.
    I know of cases when the obstetrician did not inform that parents of extreme malformations of the fetus, so that the parents would not choose to have an abortion. Some of those children require a lifetime of care 24/7. Who will care for them, change their diapers, feed them, when they’re 65? What happens with a 35 year old with the brain development of a 2 year old throws a tantrum and unwillingly hurts his mum? What happens to that child? Drugs upon drugs to keep it quiet, and rot away silently.
    Sometimes an abortion is the least cruel option.

  368. JMG: A question about the LBR (being too late for Magic Monday). My voice has gone very bad on me over the years, thick, with much throat-clearing, possibly a side effect of acid reflux and a dry, dusty climate. I have been trying to vibrate the sounds of the LBR and have had more and more trouble – even shifting octaves no longer works and.or is impossible. What does one do about that?

    Last night as I was trying and about to give up, I heard the sounds not only coming out of my mouth, but bouncing around inside my skull, echoing. What does that mean?

    Also, while I can visualize the archangels in their quarters quite well, I’ve lost the ability to visualize the pentagrams clearly. I can See they are large and flaming, but they are like shadows of shadows, as if seen through a veil. I have no clue why.

    The only possible clue is that this is moving month, and I’m extraordinarily busy; a friend of mine passed last Wednesday night and we’re all dealing with that; and Minerva Medica only knows what shape my body is in, except that I truly need my massage therapy, being strung up tighter than an overtuned guitar. Could you explain some of this, and is there anything that can help?

  369. John–

    Two stories I spotted this morning. First, it appears that the bright, shiny object needs to be replaced by a brighter, shinier object:

    Secondly, a PW post re Trump’s 2020 chances, according to certain predictive models:

    Over 840 comments since it was posted. What I find more interesting than the discussion (such as it is) of the substance of the post is the interaction among the commenters, a handful of which are at least nominally Trump supporters. A fair volume of mindless insults are flung back and forth.

    But over and above that, I was considering the “block” feature which Disqus employs that allows a person to filter posters whose comments he/she doesn’t wish to see. I can understand the need to moderate (you moderate this blog, for example, and I moderate my PW conversations by not having any), but it is something of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? One of the key features of the social media world pertains to the previous discussion re conversations: it allows us to filter out anything that counters our conception of the world and serves to further reinforce our embubbled awareness. I suppose, like all things, there must be a balance, and given folks’ freedom of choice, there is no way to compel that balance (nor ought there be).

    Just random thoughts this morning.

  370. P.S. Again from Magic Monday, but it’s too late now – What people filled their minds with before TV?

    (1) cheap popular novels. Penny-dreadfuls, railway novels (to be read on the train), pulp fiction. (2) Music hall entertainment and traveling shows. (3) Baseball games and horse races. Wrestling and boxing matches. (4) Sentimental or corny or patriotic ballads, played on the piano or on the bandstand or in a parade. In the 19th Century, opera. Also melodramas. (Little Nellie tied to the railroad tracks while Snidely Whiplash gave an evil chortle.)

    (5 ) In earlier centuries, especially the 17th, sermons. Often hours long. Or popular plays, at which people carried on as if they were at a rock concert. There was this 16th Century impresario named Shakes-spear who knew how to please “the groundlings” (in later centuries, “the peanut gallery” or “the cheap seats.”) He specialized in Tudor political propaganda, gender confusion comedies, tear-jerkers like one notorious teenager romance… least one horror story, complete with witches and an evil wife going slowly mad …. a sitcom about housewives conspiring to put a creep in his place….

    In the Middle Ages, miracle plays, whose format was admirably shown in some Game of Thrones sequences – the rhymed couplets, broad characterization, and all.

  371. I am having a problem. I can’t release things which I have started and I have a hard time starting new things. Once I get momentum it’s easy. Starting from scratch feels like wheels spinning in mud. Things like breaking off relationships, habits, and anything established has always been impossible for me.
    Is this because I am too being observant about what is? I observe so much I get stuck in what is? What is a practice to leave this. Should I observe what is not instead? Hopefully someone has similar experience and some hints on metaphysical or practical level.

  372. For Patricia Matthews regarding mind-fillers of past centuries: Epistolary novels like “Pamela” and “Clarissa” come quickly to mind. Also, youv’e barely scratched the surface of 16th/17th century “theatre of blood” revenge tragedies. Think Ford, Tourneur, Webster, and then there’s “Titus Andronicus” or did you already allude to that one? “Nightmare on River Avon,” perhaps?

  373. @ Robert Matthiesen

    “This unresolvable dilemma, of course, opens the door widely to pragmatic compromises on abortion. Here, as everywhere in a healthy society, an overemphasis on innocence and guilt is inevitably toxic. Humans are so constituted that it is impossible for any of them to live in full accord with their laws, and much less religion or their morality/ethics, no matter what those things might happen to be. This is unsettling, but nonetheless true.”

    A concise expression of exactly where “we” (the many of us inhabiting societies and polities) find ourselves inasmuch as we share an interest in norms, laws, and regulations which we can live under together, despite different perspectives, values and interests, and which (mostly) we hope will do slightly more good than they do harm.

    Pragmatism contributes to that goal much more than idealism, I think. Thanks for that.

  374. Hi JMG,

    I know your suggestions in the Magic Monday FAQ about kids and magic, but I am curious about the receptive and active workings that are provided in connection to each element of the SOP. Are those considered “complex magical workings”?

    Thank you

  375. @Other Dave.
    Thank you very much for your thoughts. I appreciate them.

    In exchange, I would like to express how mine differ from yours in this regard.

    As I have said up thread, I see pregnancy in real life, in “the round” as it were, quite a lot in my professional, clinical life, and I cannot think of the unborn growing within my patients, as anything other than aa growing person within.

    But it is not the nature of the unborn that makes it impossible for me to see an induced miscarriage as a homicide. It is the nature of the work the pregnant woman is carrying out that makes this impossible for me.

    Unlike, Robert Mathiesen, who suggests that failing to save someone’s life is as much a homicide as the taking of one, I do not see a pregnancy as the “saving” of a life, but as the “giving” of one.

    I simply cannot see how a life can be said to be “saved” or to be “taken” before it has first been given and taken full possession of. Nor can I see the withdrawal of that offer before given and fully received, as a homicide.

    Where I do find common ground with the pro-life campaign, and I think, with David, btl, is that there are some procedures which DO count as homicide to me. Those are the ones in which the foetus is deliberately killed BEFORE a miscarriage or premature delivery is induced, thus taking away any chance it might otherwise have of drawing a breath and commencing a life of its own in the world.

    Such procedures *may* be rationalised as a “justifiable” homicide, although I can find no medical rationale for that. At the point where the two persons do become disentangled from one another, each then has its own separate destiny, and each should then be defended and safeguarded to the extent possible.

  376. Mr. Greer et al

    Okay this got a bit long and for that I apologize. I tried to make it obvious who I am talking to so feel free to ignore or skim.


    I thought I had posted response to you but as of writing I don’t see it. So either I screwed up posting it (very possible), I inadvertently violated one of our hosts rules, or Mr. Greer is busily catching up on the metric ton of responses that I am sure came through yesterday. Hopefully it shows up somewhere above this and if I did violate I am sure the resident Druid will break out his Shillelagh and administer the appropriate chastisement. If I don’t see it by this evening I will re-write and post. Hopefully you will get a chance to look at it prior to the next Wednesday post sucking up all our energy.
    On a different note I did want to thank you for keeping the conversation passionate but civil. I severely doubt we are going to change each others minds anytime soon but I hope we have given them something to meditate on.

    Mr. Mathiesen,
    I can find nothing wrong with what you say in your monkey wrench. It is after all why this is such a contentious topic. It is also why I choose to use the same standard that I use for the use of force in determining if it is justified. Are we dealing with a situation where someone, the Mother in the abortion case, would suffer death or gross bodily harm. If that is the case I have no issue with aborting the child. With that standard in the truly horrible miscarriage case Scotlyn mentioned WAY up thread abortion would have been permitted.
    You do specifically mention being honest with what you are doing. Homicide is about to occur. Can you live with the fact that someone is about to die and you get to be the chooser. After all no one makes it out of life alive or without some form of blood on their hands.
    In that vein where my largest problem really lies is with the fact that last year 95% of abortions in the state of Florida (see the link in my first comment) do not meet the above standard. Health of the mother is not an issue in the VAST majority of cases. In those cases we don’t have to make the terrible choice that you discuss. Instead we have someone deciding that because a child would be an inconvenience or unwanted by the mother it is acceptable to kill it. I have a problem with that.
    There is a saying that I will paraphrase and not hopefully not butcher too much. Extreme cases make for poor case law. These outlying, horrible cases happen but I challenge people to show that they are common. In a saner place we could make the law say that abortion outside of medical necessity, rape, or incest is prohibited. I will admit that lately I have been increasing in favor of dropping the rape and incest part. Of course such a suggestion in most places immediately leads to accusations and diatribes calling me a women hating, cis-gendered, patriarchal, spawn of the abyss with no attempt to actually address my points.

    Mrs Banker
    Oh how I wish you had posted this earlier. With this being toward the end of the open thread I am not sure how much discussion we can take up. I have had a completely unbacked up pet theory that people without children are some of the greatest innovators in a society as they have the time to do things. I have 4 rugrats running around. Trying to keep my own studies up, work, and devote enough time to my wife and children as a group and individually can be a challenge. So I let my studies suffer, go bring home bacon, and try to interest the midgets in my hobbies.
    I suppose I should mention that my objection to elective abortion is NOT derived from being Christian. I am not. If anything it stems from extending the ethics inherent in being a 2nd amendment guy and my logical extrapolation of when is the fetus and child and therefore human. Basically you have to justify your killing of another human being. To me medical reason is acceptable and pure personal convenience is not. I mentioned earlier that I could hold my nose and except David BTLs compromise for the most part. I would prefer to have nothing but medical reasons but as it is not a religious injunction to me I could grit my teeth for anything prior to the second trimester. Even that comes down to the difficulty of determining when the fetus makes the jump to ensouled child. Heartbeat? Quickening? First trimester roughly aligns with those. Now being as I don’t know or cant prove when the soul shows up and I find the traditionalists arguments compelling the precautionary principle leads me to prefer drawing the line at fertilization and attached to the uterus.
    Circling back to the sexual mores bit. I think that it doesn’t matter what format we eventually evolve into there are going to be costs and benefits. There were some benefits to the free love era but also some horrific downsides. Same goes for that Victorian prudishness. I think we are in agreement that the current sexual climate is not exactly healthy.
    I have witnessed the exploring and questioning with my eldest and her group of friends. Needless to say this has led to some very interesting conversations and stories. I do think you are on to something with it being safer to engage in some of these non-standard relationships while they are young to avoid some of the issues of hook up culture. You aren’t going to become a teen mother due to a lesbian relationship after all. Then you get married and have kids when you are an adult. However listening to them I do have to wonder how much of this is for shock value and to get attention. For instance saying you are Bi because that makes the boys interested in you. Yes I personally seen that one.
    Also I am rather disturbed by the trend where one must be lesbian or bi or what have you for all time and that you must make it the center piece of your life. I am looking at things like the criticism of the magazine cover featuring Mr. Buttigieg and his husband. The accusation seems to be they arent gay enough? Heaven help you if you have the wrong sexual preference paired up with the wrong political ideology.

    Either way I do think you are onto something.
    Other Dave

  377. @Heather in CA – there was another thread a few weeks back in which some of us discussed the ways in which the larger themes that are being chewed over in social, cultural and political discourse can express themselves in the world and also in our bodies. Susan Sontag wrote a book, “Illness as Metaphor” which tracked a change between how the experience of tuberculosis resonated with 19th century cultural themes and the experience of cancer resonated with 20th century cultural themes, and it struck me that the truly common disease experience of the 21st century is autoimmune disease and the cultural theme, or conflict, it most resonates with is boundaries between self and other… Borders, walls, defense, danger, etc. I am only working through this reflection still, but I am working some things out, and due to previous expressions of interest, will share links when I have something written out.

  378. @ David, by the lake
    re: sourdough pizza crust recipe – Thanks for the link!

  379. Hi JMG – nothing to say this week, except to say that I finished The Weird of Hali: Dreamlands, and it was excellent.

    I especially liked this quote:

    Do you believe that humanity is the pinnacle of creation, the master of the forces of nature, the measure of all things?

    She gave him a startled look, but the expression on his face told her the question was made in deadly earnest. “No,” she said after a moment. “No, I don’t.”
    “Why not?”
    “That’s a good question.” With a sudden rueful smile: “It would honestly be easier for me to talk about the process by which that set of beliefs became popular in the Western world than it would be for me to explain why I don’t accept them. The curse of the professional scholar, I suppose.” She paused for a short time. “I think it it’s because of their basic absurdity. All three phrases are sustained exercises in begging the question. There’s no prima facie reason to think that creation has a pinnacle, or that the forces of nature have a master, or that all things have any common measure, and if you’re going to be claiming these supposed honors for just one species that happens to be living at the moment on one out-of-the-way planet in one undistinguished galaxy out of trillions – well, you’re going to have to answer a lot of very different questions first.”

  380. The US has been slowly going down hill since the Conflict in Vietnam. I do not think America ever actually recovered from that.

  381. RSVP for the potluck is a “argh, want to be in two places at the same time”. I booked myself into a week long workshop in Pittsburgh starting evening of the 23rd thinking “the drive from RI couldn’t be that long”. Ha! Google tells me the fastest route by a couple hours is to drive all the way back down 95 south practically to my house and then head west. 9 hours!!! I’d spend all day the 23rd driving, Yuck.

    I won’t double-book myself like that next event. Hope there is one! Best w