Open Post

May 2022 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no paid propagandizing, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic. (Well, with one exception: there’s a dedicated (more or less) open post on my Dreamwidth journal on the current virus panic and related issues, so anything Covid-themed should go there instead.)

With that said, have at it!


  1. Hello all: Happy morning

    Just curious: Is anyone else considering writing stories in our host’s Halivserse?

    Reason being is that I am almost to the point where I am going to be posting chapters at a site over at Dreamwidth and would love to have critics explain what I am doing wrong (seriously: Criticism is is important to neophyte authors such as myself)

    Thanks JMG for giving me the advertising space. Also thank you and such worthies as Lovecraft, Derleth, and Machen for the sandbox to play in

    First chapter should be out early next week.

    As a plug for JMG, any one of JMG’s eleven novels are for sale over at Founder’s House

  2. Dear Commentariat- who’s doing cob construction? Anybody have any experience with adobe? Stonemasonry? Traditional carpentry? I’m serious about thatching some roofs. Long story about the magical applications, but it turns out that having earthen floors and walls that breathe with organic ceilings is essential for proper medicine hut design. Please share any resources you recommend based on your experience with various natural building methods, especially Native American architecture. Thanks, M.M.

  3. Hi JMG,

    I didn’t get to respond to your last message, but we had carpenter bees (or at least one!) and sweat bees too – I didn’t even realize what those tiny guys were till I followed up on your response. I hope you and Sara are able to have a garden again. As a couple data points on housing markets up here, themselves not particularly significant, but as both were unthinkable even just a few months ago I’ll share them. One of my millennial friends (in his late 20s) who was waiting for the housing market to go down so he could buy (naturally I would have said “wait longer” if he’d asked, but still) saw the market dipped a bit last month and ended up low-balling on a place, which the sellers accepted. Additionally, my in-laws said that a house across the street from them cut 100K off the asking price as they got caught unable to sell after having bought a new place. Both of these are in Southern Ontario, for reference.

    In slightly related news, my parents bought a car about 6 years ago or so and said that they’ve been contacted several times by the dealership looking to buy it back off them, as they are in high demand but can’t get more. Another data point: A paved front yard on our street got torn up this week and raised beds went in.

    A personal marker: Our neighbours’ daughter “went to Europe” late last year with plans to stay indefinitely. I thought to myself: “When/if she returns home that might be a useful sign of where we are at”. She is back as of this last weekend. I had the thought a few years ago that I’d know something about the world if some Russian colleagues (and Dmitry Orlov) moved back to Russia, which they all did in 2019, and it does seem to have been a significant marker in retrospect.

    One last story, which I found very odd. Over the weekend I hung out with the guy who introduced me to the concept of Peak Oil back in 2004. I mentioned what a huge influence it had been on my thinking, ultimately (after maybe 5 or so years of doomer/denialism waffling), and he laughed and said Peak Oil was “such a dumb idea”. I suggested it was actually playing a large role in, you know, the general economic situation we found ourselves in presently, which he laughed off by launching into a tirade on Russia/Ukraine war, which was tiresome, and I let the topic drop. It was interesting to me, because he was so convinced years ago.


  4. Related to last weeks discussions about rail freight etc. My wife and I recently came down with a certain respiratory illness (you may have read about it in the news over the past 2 years) so we were both working from home. My wife works in supply chain manufacturing services and I was listening in on some of her meetings throughout the day. The rising cost of fuel is hitting the industry hard and was a topic of conversation in each meeting. Her company is somewhat forward thinking and set up their HQ along both a major highway and rail line. So now they’re suggesting rail freight to many of their clients worrying about over the road shipping costs. They are looking to open a second location and proximity to rail is one of their requirements. Apparently others in the manufacturing sector are thinking the same thing and certain areas on freight lines are becoming very desirable locations for manufacturing plants and distribution centers.

  5. Greetings ADJMG (ret),

    Hope you and your wife are doing well.

    My question is: Does Crowley’s famous dictum, “Do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the law”, somehow become popularized with the “Do your own thing” of the disco era?

  6. Over 200 people died in Texas and Louisiana last winter due to power outage which lasted for weeks. Some people starved to death, some froze to death. Polar air forced its way down South; this will happen again and again with the onslaught of climate warming.
    So,as soon as the electricity gets taken offline by high winds causing trees to fall on powerlines (happens here in Maine frequently) or a squirrel gets into an electrical transformer thus shutting down power for potentially millions, all this nonsense high-tech-y-tech-y with new gadgets to make life more “:convenient” – most of which is just AI for the boys with the toys – will come to naught, and will only hasten our becoming toast, along with millions of other life forms.
    Question of the day – – do you have a non-electric means of keeping yourself and loved ones from freezing to death in the dead of winter? I have a wood-burning stoves, but what of city folks?
    And in Southern climes – what about the extreme heat waves which will only worsen over time? No electricity, no a/c. I see housing developments with few trees or gardens and I shudder at the fates of those people when the climate worsens year to year.
    One way to help slow winter’s wild (and getting stronger) winds is to plant fir trees on the North side of dwellings, and shade, fruit, nut trees on E. and W. sides for food, shade, beauty.
    Anyone have other ideas how to survive a long-term (more than the few days a generator lasts) power outage?
    I’ve asked our county commissioners to spend some of their “infrastructure” money from the federal government to install large wood-burning stoves in every school auditorium in the county. So far, they’ve just raised their eyebrows and let me speak without getting response from them…….but if we don’t have warming centers, what will people without non-electric warmth do?

  7. Dear J.M.G. Just yesterday, two comments from two diametrically opposed historical figures
    appeared on the news. Most likely a fifty year span (if ever)that Noam Chomsky and Henry Kissinger agreed on anything, yet they both proposed some sort of normalized agreement
    between Russia and Ukraine. Seems quite unusual to me. Edson

  8. My husband and I are in our late forties. We, along with our adult children, one of whom is special needs who will be living with us for the rest of his life, are selling everything and moving back in with my parents so that I can care for them. My father is showing early signs of dementia, my mom can’t care for him on her own, and I won’t’ put them into a home. My sister and niece are moving in next door.

    There’s and acre and a half between us and I just purchased Green Wizardry to help me maximize all of that space.

    I have never been more at peace with a decision in my life. Combining our resources into a home with no mortgage, with a network of neighbors that my parent’s have known for three decades, and a reasonable growing season seems like the right idea. And now with the turn the world appears to be taking, it seems like we’re just in time.

    Is anyone else drastically (or not so drastically) changing their lives as catabolic collapse moves out of its current iteration of its “very slowly” phase and into its next iteration of its “all at once” phase?

  9. I am curious to know if anyone has any response or opinion on Peter Zeihan’s saccharine collapse analysis: To wit, that Russia and China have systematically exaggerated how well prepared they are for the shocks immediately upcoming, and that over the next twenty years the US stands to fall the most slowly into the demographic collapse, and to experience some of the least actual pain from the curtailment of global trade.
    His thesis on the US actions regarding Ukraine this year make actions seem actually quite reasonable, granted the above claim: Biden expects that within two presidential terms the financial arm of the American empire will be kicked over anyway, has no particular personal love of the empire’s maintenance (on a policy perspective thus far it isn’t unfair to summarize Biden’s non-Ukraine foreign policy as “What if Donald Trump understood subtlety and tact.”), and is trying to wring one last bit of profit out of the system’s maintenance before spinning the catabolic collapse as a grand moral statement. The reason it is so important to act now that this is the best fire sale opportunity, financially and materially, is to keep the Russian invasion of Europe bogged down in Ukraine as long as possible. With the idea being that by the time Russia has the secured supply lines and repaired logistical infrastructure to build up for their invasions of Romania and Poland, the next down step will have robbed them of the opportunity to do so.

  10. I asked you some months ago about where dreams come from. You answered something short and deep about the astral plane. Do you know of any good book that could unpack the mystic view of dreams for me? I recognise several categories of dream: incidents from the future; advice from the universe about matters of which one knows nothing or little; messages from the dead or symbolic information about their recent death, etc.

    I’d also like to ask about lucid dreams. I once had a very weird one that led me to believe that one enters different dimensions in lucid dreams, but very real ones, and that the humanoid creatures one meets there are objectively real. Have you ever had a lucid dream, and if so, would you agree or disagree with my suppositions?

    Finally, what is your view of the multiverse, as a Druid and a mystic? How many dimensions are there? How many universes are there? Is it the case that each universe also has its own separate dimensions? Is there one deity per universe or dimension, to ensure that its laws of physics are all of a piece? Could you recommend a book or books that would present this from your or a Druid point of view?

  11. JMG,

    I am wondering if you might share your thoughts about the recent proposal for a ministry of truth in the United States. Also, to what extent (if at all) are you concerned about the dystopian idea of a surveillance state and/or Chinese-style social credit system happening in the United States?



  12. Wanted deindustrial Technology list.

    Dear JMG and Ecosophians,

    we have problems in front of us like food, water, shelter, and not freezing in the next winter. But if we look at the bigger picture: what du you think are technologies worth rescuing, or better: to (re-)invent in the next decades, for the next centuries?
    I am thinking of using the knowledge of today, with technologies of the 19th century, or back to late medieval skills.


    – low tech high efficient electrical lighting (homebuild sodium vapor lamp?)
    – non-burnable paper and books made of
    – so much knowledge about paints, coatings, plastic … what can be used for local small scale paint manufacturing? Is there something more robust than lineseed paint that can be made in the backyard?
    – vacuum drying of fruits, berries … with manual pumps

    Of course slide rules and beer brewing.

    What „advanced“ technical stuff from 20th/21th century can be worth rescuing, and made working with a small group of people and local materials???

  13. Hi JMG and everybody else! 🙂

    Three things today:

    1. Germany: connecting and potential meet-up

    A couple of weeks ago, somebody asked in the Magic Monday thread if people from Germany were interested in connecting, and potentially in a meetup.

    If there is any interest (even if it’s only for sharing emails), I’d be happy to be the initial contact point. I created a new dreamwidth account milkyway1 where I can be reached for this purpose:

    If you live in Germany, or close by, and might be interested in getting to know other ecosophian readers in any way, feel free to drop me a note.

    (Please be aware that I sometimes don’t read emails and messages for a week or two, though. If you want to have a different means of initial contact, or a faster-response contact point, feel free to step up to the plate… 😉 )

    2. Sewing patters for cosplay

    One of my kids is digging into sewing costumes for cosplay. We both have only elementary sewing skills, so this is… fun. 😉

    Atm, we are searching for a sewing pattern for a medieval style bodice (not a corset!). Something in this style, but potentially without the tightening strings in the back:

    Our internet search hasn’t been very fruitful, alas. Some instructions are way over our shared heads (“cut out a triangle with roughly the measures of your body” – uhm, yeah, whatever you say). And there are a ton of paid instructions (although mostly Bavarian style bodices), but we have no clue if they are well-done and especially if they are beginner-friendly.

    In short: We are a bit lost here…

    Does anybody know a good source of (cosplay) sewing patterns, suitable for novices? Especially a medieval bodice pattern, and maybe also a short-sleeved shirt/blouse to wear underneath.

    Also, if anybody has recommendations for (instructional and helpful) sewing books for beginners which also cover the stuff one would need for cosplay costumes, in German or in English, that would be much appreciated.

    I’m not looking for something with shiny pictures, but for something which really shows the standard techniques which my kid would need. (I know how to sew a straight line with the machine and have also done a couple of zippers way back when, but need to look up anything more elaborate.)


    3. Fermented elderflower soda

    And finally, if elderberry is flowering in your part of the world, you should definitely enjoy all that goodness and try a fermented elderflower soda:

    Two notes:

    A. They say that raw honey is important. Well, it’s not. You can use any kind of honey (although raw and local is always nice, but for other reasons), and it’ll ferment just fine. I have done both and it works just as well.

    If you can’t/don’t want to use honey, I presume you will also get a nice soda if you simply use plain sugar. The fermentation critters just need some sugar to ferment.

    B. Forget about the whey. It is not important.*

    You can use the same recipe with other edible flowers, btw. Oregano gives a really nice, special flavour!

    Enjoy! 🙂

    JMG, thank you as always for hosting this space. You have no idea how much your sites have saved my sanity in the last few months. My very best wishes to you and your wife!


    *For three reasons imo: First, the flowers contain enough yeast etc to get the fermentation going all on their own, no whey necessary. Secondly, store-bought yoghurt must be heat-treated, or it would continue to ferment (and get sourer) within the container. So there are no living fermentation critters left anyway. And thirdly, the critters in yoghurt are specialised on fermenting milk products, not on fermenting flower pollen and sugars. That’s like putting a raw steak in front of a bunch of sheep and expecting them to eat that…

  14. “no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank”

    Are short screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank allowed? Because if so, I hereby declare FILL IN THE BLANK IS TRUE!

  15. Sorry, JMG and others: I have to retract PART of what I said in this “Open Post” space on 2022-04-28 under the timestamp “6:09 am”, as posting “#105”. In that posting, I suggested a couple of authorities for the survival-relevant, social-collapse-relevant, topic of ham radio. I now have to withdraw one of my recommendations, namely the recommendation for Walter Maxwell’s “Another Look at Reflections”, available on the Web as . Proper inspection now reveals that Walter Maxwell’s material, while surely good, is not UNUSUALLY and EXCEPTIONALLY good. Although nobody will be harmed by reading it, it does not rise to the level of clarity and explicitness which we find in another item I recommended in my April 28 posting, the essay on “What Tuners Do” published by UK amateur G3TXQ at In general, it is remarkable how seldom writing on the physics of radio makes everything properly explicit and properly clear, at the level of the Halliday-and-Resnick and Sears general-into-to-physics books. In radio, we need to take special notice of people like G3TXQ, or again (to take an example of an ancient radio author available in various languages, but I think not in English) Eugène Aisberg. – For what little this is perhaps worth, I do notice today that Aisberg’s _La Radio? Mais c’est très simple_ can be had in the original French as , and that Aisberg’s bio is available in French as and in German as . Last year, I worked through the Soviet-era (pirated?) Estonian translation of the Aisberg _La radio_ book, from a full photocopy of a library copy. – Hastily, resolutely, writing from south-central Estonia, Toomas (Tom) Karmo = toomaskarmo[dot]blogspot[dot]com

  16. Hi John,

    These days I feel a bit like a passenger on the Titanic (albeit on the 1st class bit).

    Most people are generally clueless about what is happening but I’m one of the few who knows the ship is going down. Slowly, but its going down. And I’m frantically trying to get my stuff together before everyone else realises what a terrible situation they are in.

    You should also find this interesting. I have summarised the key points Zeihan has spoken about in his latest presentation online. If you are interested, his book is out within weeks.

    · The war in eastern Ukraine now better suits the Russians and Zeihan is seeing signs that the Russians are making progress in seizing the eastern bits of Ukraine. He also expects a move on Odessa as well and the seizure of the entire Ukrainian coastline.

    · Arab Spring II is coming across the Middle East/North Africa that could be as bad or worse than in 2010. Mass migration flows to Europe is likely.

    · Russian oil and gas production is facing partial collapse but soaring prices mitigate that to a certain extent.

    · Lack of Belarus/Russian fertiliser, potash and ammonia exports will trigger a global food shock. From Q4 2022/2023 certain key parts of the world will be facing severe food shortages and famine (South Asia, Brazil, Africa and the Middle East).

    · Demographic shifts are changing rapidly. The boomer generation are retiring en masse and the majority will be retired by 2023, paving the way for reduced capital markets and higher rates which is bad news for financial markets and economic growth. For most places, capital costs will rise by a factor of 6 from 2023.

    · Predicts China will implode this decade. Also doesn’t think China will invade Taiwan (and if that looked likely, the Taiwanese will develop nukes within months).

    · Potentially up to a billion people will starve to death, this decade, starting from Q4 2022 as food production collapses globally due to scarcity in critical inputs (e.g. potash, fertiliser, diesel, petrol etc) as globalisation collapses.

    · Forecasts that at some point (likely this year), the US will ban oil exports to the rest of the world to saturate the domestic US market and help the Biden Administration in the mid-term elections. Will send us to a pre-1940’s era of “national” oil prices. Oil prices outside America will soar with the loss of American and to a lesser extent Russian/Kazakhstan oil. Future of oil pricing, post global, is North American (functional ceiling of $70/barrel), Europe (functional floor of $150-170/barrel) and East Asia (functional floor of $200/barrel). These prices will be our norm within the next 3 years (e.g. 2025).

    · A full scale green transition (including electric vehicles) requires a globalised supply chain and Russia is a vital source for resources (including cobalt etc). In a new era of de-globalisation, a green tech transition on a large scale is probably impossible for most of the world. The world is likely to return to coal to keep the lights on (and the war in Ukraine has accelerated that trend).

    · Global oil consumption is driven by transportation. Future military capacity will be generated by access to reliable oil supplies (either domestic production or reliable import flows) so those countries without access will be highly vulnerable.

    · Predicts 3 big wars: 1) Ukraine has already started, 2) Gulf war III between Saudi Arabia and Iran (which will massively disrupt oil supplies) and 3) and East Asia (warfare over sea supplies from the ME).

    Overall, I agree with most of that.

    My only major criticism is 1) he seems not to have factored in the possibility that the Chinese-Russian axis, and their allies in central Asia, might develop their own bloc. So, China, facing cut-off from their sea-based supplies, will pivot to land-based supply chains to keep their country afloat during the 2020’s.

    And, 2) whilst he gives a good account on why North America should do ok (with some challenges) I still feel that he is a bit too rosy about his outlook for America going forward. Rising food and energy costs could tip America into serious political crisis and the 2024 election is looming.

  17. On a more serious note, I currently live in Southern Ontario, and am stunned at how catastrophic the current loss of power has been for a lot of people. A lot of people throughout Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec have lost power. I’ve seen estimates that more than a million people lost power, and that most of them still don’t have power back yet, some four days later.

    It seems that next to no one had any kind of plan for what to do about an extended power outage, whether at institutional or individual levels, and so everyone is scrambling. There are towns where no one is able to cook, which seems to me to be an enormous problem. What really bothers me is that given the estimates given for when the damage from the storm will be fixed, it will almost certainly be after more damage is done to the grid.

    It looks to me like the end of the electric grid as we knew it is here, although I suspect it won’t be obvious for a while yet that this has happened. Perhaps future historians will date the start of the end of the electric grid to what happened in Texas last February, but in either case, it seems that step down the slope of the Long Descent is here, and that very few people are prepared for it.

  18. Poster DT stated last week:

    As much as I believe in the power of American elite propaganda to sell us a win in Ukraine when things might be going the other way, I think while Russia is making smart financial decisions, they will ultimately not win this. Russia will either be forced to accept terms or else be in a very weakened state. When they lose, the battlefront will shift to the far east, particularly Russian Manchuria, NE China and the Korean peninsula. Easily can see China and Korea fighting over far east Russia and Russia not being in a state to do anything about it!

    That is what I suspect. I think Taiwan is a distraction, to keep attention of US governing classes turned away from what (I think) China really wants, which is Siberian resources and Arctic Ocean access. Not least for ivory, now that China has been forced by worldwide public pressure to stop buying illegal ivory from Africa. I think the turning point there came when a Chinese national was given a very long prison sentence in Kenya, IIRC, for ivory trafficking. All of a sudden, Chinese citizens were not immune from prosecution, no matter how much diplomatic pressure could be brought to bear.

    Also a follow up from last week; When I was born in 1949, the latest, scientific method of birth was to render the mother unconscious with ether. Babies were born in a stupor and not able to breastfeed. Baby formula makers prospered.

  19. Hi JMG I just came across this article and thought I might share since it talks about some of the ways people made a living currently in a collapsing economy in this case venezuela, I noticed in the last several posts you had on current events comments asking what a person could do to make a living and thought this might help or give a few ideas.

  20. A very interesting and predictable development is happening with the war in Ukraine. Now that the Ukrainian forces holed up in the steel works have surrendered and by many accounts the dug in Ukrainian army elements in the Donbass are being rolled up by the Russians, coverage of the war in the mainstream U.S media has almost ceased. Anything can still happen at this point, but it is a pretty strong sign that things are not going the empires way in Ukraine.

  21. I have been reading the news, but not on the mainstream press, and have been experiencing so much cognitive dissonance that sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy. I like to keep up with what’s going on, but it really gets to me if it’s all lies and propaganda, and totally negative.

    But when I step back and look at the whole world, I see that I am living in a dying empire, and it is going to do as much destruction as it can before it totally goes down. The people who are in control now are so incredibly narrow minded that they cannot imagine a different world, and I think they will do just about anything to keep this empire, and their privileges in it, going. It’s going to get harder and harder, I think. I read my books on other things and spend a lot of time looking at the trees, planting my garden, and trying to see the positive in life.

    This sounds very negative, on rereading, but it’s the truth right now. I’m thankful that it’s spring, and the leaves are green and the sky is blue.

    But, JMG, I’d love if it you would write an essay on how to stay balanced and sane in a totally weird world. Thanks for all you do.

  22. You pointed out four years ago that Elon Musk’s fortune and the success of his companies were both built on government subsidies. American liberals may not have liked Musk for being a billionaire, but they generally quietly ignored what you pointed out as long as they thought he was on their side. Now that he is trying to buy Twitter, potentially ruining their venue for activism and entertainment, then announced that he wasn’t on their side, they are all over that fact. They’ve also called into question the purported technological achievements of his companies and realized a lot of their value springs from faith in Musk himself. His companies’ stock prices are now collapsing, which was one of the “black swan” events Lathechuck postulated in the comments four years ago. I don’t suppose you are surprised by any of this, are you?

  23. The Russia-Ukraine war will surely reconfigure international relationships… but it seems like it will reconfigure warfare, too. Inexpensive drones destroying tanks and warships… armed drones seemed decisive also in the recent Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. The military-industrial conflict is such a powerful shaping force in our society. If the way wars are fought changes… maybe that will lead the shift from Hummers to electric bicycles…. I remember some years back you wrote a story about U.S. aircraft carriers being taken out by drones. Have we hit that transition point that you had forecast?

  24. Heather,

    Ironically enough, I’m making the exact opposite decision, and leaving my family home for good. I’m in my 20s, and been living at home because rent is so expensive that if I tried to live anywhere else I’d have to make a lot of sacrifices. However, I’m finding that as things get more and more real, the pressure from my family, who are very much PMC types, to just stop all of my preparations for the future is growing, and at this point there’s no way to live with them and prepare for the future.

    Add to this that my family refuses to even consider the possibility there might be a reason to plan for things like power outages (despite most of our city having lost power a few days ago and the best estimate being most of them won’t have it back for weeks), and it becomes clear to me that staying here will drag me down hard.

  25. “Anyone have other ideas how to survive a long-term (more than the few days a generator lasts) power outage?”

    I’m on the local Water Board that oversees out small scale 76 customer water system. We do worry about that. Our water supply is a pair of 480 ft deep wells. No power, no water. We have a 50,000 gallon tank on the hill, so a short term power outage is no problem.

    The emergency plan is to truck in water from a nearby town. That will work until their backup diesel runs out of fuel. After that it’s put a barrel in the truck and drive to a lake. Obviously not very practical. Water supply is real weak spot to living here.

    The good news is we are only 40 miles from a hydroelectric dam. So the probability of the power going out for a long time is pretty low. And that is why we haven’t installed our own backup generator. It would only delay the inevitable for a bit, and the permitting and maintenance would be expensive, and the probability of needing it is marginal.

    Outgoing water is all septic tanks, so power outages won’t matter there.

  26. Hello everyone,
    I live in a rural part of Devon UK, in what was once the fastest growing town in Europe. Suburban houses have rapidly covered and continue to colonise the fields that surround the town, which are primarily used for cattle and sheep grazing. There doesn’t appear to be money to maintain local green spaces so they have become quite overgrown. I eye them up for their suitability for future guerrilla gardening. I work for a charity that gives benefit, debt and energy advice. We are anticipating a very difficult winter but many are already struggling. I can’t see our services being able to offer much realistic help for what is coming.
    I worry particularly for the future of the UK. We are densely populated and we produce less than half of our food. I have made repeated attempts to convince some family and friends of the need to prepare for the coming troubles and long emergency. I have a larder, I have purchased tools, made a large polytunnel and have connected with the local permaculture scene but there’s always the feeling of playing catch up and knowing I could have done more.
    I read and follow the catastrophists and the extinctionists but I am more drawn to JMGs ways of seeing the coming changes. I am particularly in debt to now seeing through the binary of Limitless progress and Ultimate Armageddon. I don’t fear the future, all I want is to help prepare my circle and society for it.

    Many many thanks JMG for these forums that provide intellectual and spiritual nourishment. I would not be where I am without your efforts.

  27. I’m curious if you think Latin will continue to be an important learned language, in the times ahead. I tend to think it will. A lot of books people will want are in it.

  28. @PartTimeDruid

    Here’s my list, I guess you can add it to yours:

    1) Sturdy bicycles with latex rubber tyres
    2) Much of modern mathematics – the topics which are at the intersection of pure and applied mathematics, that is.
    3) Atmospheric electricity generator for electroculture
    4) Organic crop breeding and plant population genetics
    5) Hand-cranked egg beater
    6) Manually operated sewing machine
    7) Treadle pump
    8) Mitticool refrigerator (
    9) Mathematical statistics
    10) Techniques of historiographical research

    Hope this helps, and best wishes:)


    Could you do a future essay on non-linear writing? Also, could you do another future essay on historiographical research and writing? I’d much appreciate any help in this regard.

  29. As for sewing, as much as I hate to recommend YouTube things, Bernadette Banner and Rachel Maksy do a lot on historical sewing techniques and cosplay sewing respectively. I know this because of my daughter. My sewing skills are limited to reattaching buttons and sewing straight seams.

  30. Whenever there’s a mass shooting, people want to talk about gun control. I’m not an NRA member, but I don’t think guns are the cause of this; they’re just the tool. What other possible causes could we consider? I’d like to consider psychiatric medications, and I’d like to see some statistical studies of the medication history of mass shooters. I wonder if we’d see any patterns. I know of anecdotal indications that some meds make violent behavior in some individuals more likely. I’d like to see better evidence than the anecdotal kind. I suspect that in the USA, the HIPAA privacy provisions prevent that kind of research from being done. I also wonder whose privacy is being protected by these provisions: that of the mass shooter or that of the drug manufacturers. I’d support re-writing the HIPAA privacy provisions to add an exception for the perpetrators of violent acts. Another question would be, how likely is the government to award grants funding this kind of research? I suspect there’d be resistance to such funding.

    This topic sent me scampering to my bookshelf where I found books critical of the drug companies by the following authors; Donald Bartlett & James Steele, Marcia Angell, Peter Breggin, Daniel Carlat &, especially, Robert Whitaker’s “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” And my reading on this topic isn’t even very recent! I’m sure that there’s lots more currently available.

  31. Thanks JMG for these open posts. I find the range of concerns fascinating and enlightening. The commentariat on this website includes some of the most insightful people I have ever run across.

  32. JMG: What do you think about lucid dreams? Do you have any advice on having them? Is pursuing lucid dreams a waste of time? Or is interesting for spiritual advancement?
    (mood: dreaming).

  33. @andrewskeen

    I’d definitely recommend your horary astrology service to any interested party. I was a client of yours back in late March/April and you gave a reading regarding the outlook on some financial move timing I was thinking about. By taking your advice, I was able to exit the market before Wall St started going down hard. Otherwise I would have seen a 30% drop in the value of some investments. Thanks for your work and a shoutout to kimberlysteele for recommending you.


  34. Joseph Jenkins has a relatively new edition of his Humanure Handbook available in a case of 32 books for $10 apiece (more than half off the retail price). If 28 more people express an interest, I am willing to order a case and ship them out for $10 plus shipping and factoring in sales tax for the case if applicable.

    If you’re concerned about (or figure someone in the future will be concerned about) fertilizer and food shortages, or even basic utilities like sewer going offline at any point, this is the book that covers those bases. Buy one for you and one for your library?

    If you’re interested, please email me at my username’s gmail account.

  35. Hi Liam J,

    I’m so very sorry that your family won’t shake themselves out of the infinite progress dream. It’s bad enough not to have support but active interference is so much worse. I’m sure they’ll come around when it’s clear that there’s no alternative.

    I hope that you’re able to find a situation that will allow you to get ready!

  36. I hope this is not too early, but as June has 5 Wednesdays, and I expect to be travelling during a few weeks in June, I wanted to submit my candidate for Fifth Wednesday topic. So, I submit karma as a potential topic. Seems like a common topic on MMs, so maybe a whole post?
    Thanks for consideration.


  37. On the techno-decadence front we have this smartphone controlled battery powered coffee cup.

    Which brings up a question, how many clipper ships did it take to keep Europeans supplied with coffee? If the coffee stops, does modern society collapse? Is The Coffee Must Flow going to become a mantra?

    Note that I’m allergic to coffee so this symptom of the fall won’t bother me, at least not directly.

  38. @Nancy+Oden
    There are portable, indoor safe, vent free, propane heaters you can buy. Because they are vent free and portable you can use them in an apartment. If you go that route you have to be certain you are buying an “indoor safe” model so you don’t kill yourself.

    With the small portable ones you can just hook them to a propane tank like you would use with your gas BBQ grill. But there are larger “installable” ones that you can have plumbed into your homes gas lines (if you get gas where you live). So you can just use your homes gas lines rather than having to run it off a small propane tank. That is what my parents did. They got a non-electric propane heater installed and connected to their gas lines so when they lose electrical power they still have heat.

  39. I hadn’t realized that Ioan Couliano was not only an exceptionally erudite scholar and original thinker, but also a practicing mage. This article, ‘The Tree of Gnosis’ by Ioan P. Couliano, introduces the notion that Couliano was interested in reading history as the intersection of ideal objects, which the author of the article analogizes to spirits, with human experience. I found the notion of ideal objects incredibly interesting, and it brought to mind Spengler (with respect to the patterns of history) and Jung (with respect to archetypal images). I think the article is well worth reading, and the concept well worth contemplating.

  40. After ten years of deliberation and five years of one step forward, and two steps backwards, I have finally arranged to move to New Hampshire. But I just had to delay the move once again because there were zero apartments available online. It’s a small town of 20k, but even so, zero availability was shocking. Even now there are almost no places available. Mind you, there could be things that aren’t put online. Property managers have told me that people from the larger cities have moved to New England since they can work remotely. To make matters worse, home sales went up in the NE compared to the rest of the country where they decreased.

    Does anyone foresee a mass migration to New England in the near future? Will those small villages be overrun
    by people from the larger metropolises such as Boston and New York? Will an energy shortage be a problem for people living in the Northeast?

    Thanks for any advice.

  41. Clay Dennis @ 23 Agreed. One always needs to pay attention to what is not being said.

  42. I’m hoping you’ll share with us your criteria for relocating to a new location. Of course everyone’s situation is different, but I think some insight into your thought process given your evaluation of our current predicament in the U.S. would be helpful to those of us who want to escape the droughts and fires in the west. You’ve mentioned several times in various posts your journey from Oregon to the east coast and I’m curious what those decisions entailed and how you settled on a specific environment.

  43. Katherine Halton #24
    > how to stay balanced and sane in a totally weird world

    I have been reading JMG’s blog(s) for, hmm, twenty years-ish, ArchDruid Report (and later).

    For close to fifty years, having fibromyalgia, I have practiced a meditation I invented out of necessity. I categorize fibromyalgia as merely one “pain” among many. Pain and misery comes in all forms. I can see how this practice could help deal with ANY pain or misery, physical, spiritual, emotional, whatever. Here goes.


    Usually, mornings as I awaken, I lie in a half-life state🛌. I stay put. I don’t get out of bed right away. The session generally lasts an hour. All I do is “feel.” The main feeling groups come up: shooting physical pain, aches, anger, sadness, shock, fear, hatred, joy—whatever. No feeling group takes precedence, and none are better or worse than the others. Whatever feelings emerge—mild or intense, so be it. Two or three often arrive intertwined. I let the feelings come, label them, stay aware of them. I don’t deny the feelings, nor encourage them. I don’t attach “becauses” to the feelings. I don’t do “I am angry because…”—I just feel “anger” and, when I can, label it anger. I don’t try to figure out where THAT feeling came from. It doesn’t matter WHERE the feelings came from.

    During, I interject “All things must pass,” with a sometimes “even this.” I often watch my breathe. As long as I breathe, I am okay.


    Then comes the “grump meditation” or “grouch meditation” which is sacred time. My first two hours I am “grumpy.” I really cannot deal with anything or anybody🤯. My family knows to NOT bother me during those two hours, or they are going to get grumped at. Occasionally, if they push me, I EXPLODE grumpiness, really letting them have it. Everyone stays away from me—that is the point. Most of the time, “I am in my two hours” is enough of a reminder, and they depart. Whatever I cogitated in the earlier half-life one hour, the next two hours further clear me of residue-feelings.

    After the three hours⌛️, I am sane, cr_p gets processed from the previous day, and, as a clean slate, I am ready for the upcoming day. These three hours I have carved out, out of necessity. I am at an even keel, so to speak, relatively balanced.

    I don’t do any kind of “guided meditation” which, in my opinion, is a load of New Age cr_p. “Guided,” to me, means trying to change the feelings, which is not my intent. The intent is to see the feelings appear, stay static during their power, then pass into oblivion.

    If I didn’t have done these three hours for fifty years, I would not be here today. It has kept me from doing something rash to myself. I have not been tempted to cause me to leave this life artificially🙏. I am not saying this practice will work for any particular person—just suggesting.

    Hope this helps.


    I am 70, and ready to learn new skills each day—my thing is seamstressing (sewing women’s clothes) but, more importantly in my case, first learning the lost art of fitting (pattern making) which I never grasped as a kid in home ec (home economics) or at home.


    Thank you, John Michael, for helping to guide others to find and choose new “old fashioned” skills suitable for the next couple, few decades.

    Northwind Grandma
    Wisconsin, USA

  44. Degringolade, delighted to hear this!

    Johnny, we’re waiting on the market down here as well. Right now it’s overinflated, though not bad by contrast with hotter US markets. Buying when everyone else is selling runs in my family — there’s a story about that, which I think I’ve told a few times — so we’ll see. As for your friend the former peak oil maven, no surprises there — a lot of people bailed into that when it became a fad and dropped it like a hot rock once it stopped being fashionable.

    GP, thanks for the heads up! I wonder if anyone’s beginning to think about proximity to river and canal transport…

    DaShui, it’s quite possible, though I don’t know that anyone’s done the research to trace it.

    Nancy, one thing to keep in mind is that power gets restored in-city much more quickly than it does out in the country. Another thing is that it really isn’t difficult to keep yourself from starving or freezing to death in the absence of electricity. Back in my insufficiently misspent youth, my Boy Scout troop used to go on a snow campout every year; we’d go up into the mountains where the snow was thick, build igloos, and get by with no more central heating than a very small camp stove will provide. Learn how to prevent hypothermia and how to retain body heat, and winter isn’t a problem; a century and a half ago, remember, nobody had electricity, and many people lived in buildings that were for all practical purposes unheated.

    Edson, first of all, Chomsky is far closer to Kissinger than he likes to claim; he’s a highly paid university professor, i.e., a shill for the corporate-bureaucratic state, and his role as a big name radical can be neatly summed up in the phrase “controlled opposition.” That said, you’re wise to be noticing that. It is starting to sink in, in the circles of privilege to which both men belong, that the war in Ukraine is not going the way the West wants, and they’re trying to find some way to avoid a defeat that will have far more sweeping consequences than most people expect.

    Heather, I’m glad to hear that you’re doing something that sensible and compassionate. Yes, I think you’re also doing it just in time.

    Nicholas, I think he’s smoking his shorts. The sanctions against Russia have turned out to benefit Russia at the expense of Europe and the US — more evidence, if any were needed, that the global economy benefits the well-to-do of a few western nations at everyone else’s expense — which is why right now the ruble is doing better than any other currency on earth and Russian exports are booming. The US, meanwhile, is lurching into a serious recession at best, and running a significant risk of currency collapse into the bargain. As for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, keep an eye on the battlefields in the east; they may not stay “bogged down” (i.e., in the preparatory-bombardment phase prior to major encirclements and assaults) much longer.

    Batstrel, I don’t know of any books on the occult dimension of dreams, as it’s not a subject I’ve studied in detail; I’ve collected my dreams at several points in my life, compared them to the various schools of dream interpretation (Freudian, Jungian, etc.) and ended up completely baffled. (I have very weird dreams.) The concept of “other dimensions” is from science fiction, not occultism, as is the concept of the multiverse — iirc, Michael Moorcock invented that in the course of his “Eternal Champion” pulp-fantasy stories. From an occult perspective, there is one universe, though it’s unimaginably vaster and more complex than the very limited universe known to science; there are seven Cosmic planes — our solar system exists on the seventh — each of which has seven planes of its own, but these planes are not “other dimensions,” they’re states of being that all overlap and interpenetrate, so that right now you’re in all seven planes of this Cosmic plane at once, though you probably aren’t aware of most of them. There are many deities right here and now — you might look up the concept of polytheism sometime! My forthcoming book The Occult Philosophy Workbook covers much of this, and so does Dion Fortune’s The Cosmic Doctrine.

    Robert, thank you. I think of it as a Greatest Hits compilation. 😉

    Jacques, the current US ruling caste has been in a state of blind panic since 2016. They’ve belatedly discovered that a good half of Americans don’t care what they think and won’t do as their supposed betters tell them, and their entire self-image as the Best and the Brightest, boldly leading the way up the ladder of progress forever, is coming unglued as a result. The frantic censoring of social media and the attempt to install a bureaucracy to suppress discussion of inconvenient facts is part of that. I confidently expect further attempts to be made in the same direction, and I expect those attempts to blow up spectacularly, as the ruling caste has a significant drawback they themselves don’t seem to be able to see; a really impressive level of basic incompetence. That’s standard in a system like ours, where the privileged are protected from the consequences of their bad decisions, and it’s a major factor in the decline and fall of nations throughout history.

    PartTimeDruid, you might consider joining the Green Wizards forum if you’re not already a member — it’s at — and starting a thread there for the purpose.

    Milkyway, thanks for all these.

    Liam, sure, but I reserve the right to make fun of them.

    Toomas, thanks for these!

    Forecasting, I’m glad to see that Zeihan has gotten more of a clue, though I think he’s completely wrong about China — it’s in for some rough times, but nothing that a prompt change of dynasty won’t fix, and it can get all the fossil fuels and raw materials it needs from Russia, which is going to be unusually friendly for the next few decades after China’s backing during the current crisis. The “green transition” was never going to happen anyway, though the collapse of global supply chains will be one more nail in its coffin. Also, he seems not to be aware that the western half of North America is undergoing rapid desertification and that’s going to clobber food production in some currently important grain areas. More on this in next week’s post!

    Liam, that’s right, you had a bad derecho up there, didn’t you? I’m sorry to hear that so few people are prepared for extended power outages; it’s not at all hard to do, but yes, it does take some initial planning.

    Mary, all I can say is that I think you and DT are both quite mistaken about the Ukraine war. We’ll just have to wait and see, of course.

    Ty, thanks for this.

    Clay, why, yes, I noticed that. I’ll wait until the fighting’s over, but this whole business is pointing out some severe problems with the status quo here in the US, and that’ll take some discussion.

    Katherine, I really recommend a media fast when you’re feeling stressed. I do that from time to time, and the news these days is what I’ve expected for years! Get outside, enjoy the blue skies and the things that matter, and let the disinformation specialists on the corporate media babble in vain. As for an essay, I’ll consider it.

    Vincelamb, I’m so surprised I just yawned for two minutes straight. 😉

    Jim, I’m far from sure that the situation on the battlefield is all that different from what it was in, say, the Eastern Front in the Second World War. The Armenians were hit hard by drone strikes, but that alerted every other military in the world to get countermeasures in place, and a lot of drones are getting shot down over Ukraine these days. Now of course all the media from both sides is 100% propaganda just now, so we’ll have to wait and see what things look like once the rubble stops bouncing. That said, if the fall of Ukraine is at all parallel to the fall of Afghanistan — and I consider this a real possibility — it’s not going to take cruise missiles aimed at carriers to cause the collapse of US prestige.

    Chris, I’m glad to hear that my comments helped! I’m sorry to say that yes, you’re likely facing a very tough winter, the first of several. Making sure you can get by without power and heat probably ought to be high on your to-do list right now!

    Celadon, that’s not something that can be predicted, because it depends entirely on what small groups of people choose to do. If enough people put in the effort to keep Latin going as a language of scholarship, then it will survive; if not, down it goes.

    Matt, thanks for this! I hope it does well.

  45. Kris Neuhaus #28

    I love earthships! Excellent suggestion. I’ve seen him live and have been a fan for years. I’ve combed the YT archives and am looking for offline or obscure sources that perhaps don’t self-promote as much on new media. I know I can depend on folks here to mention the out-of-print sources, lost blogs and related concepts that go by different search terms. Thanks for mentioning Michael’s work here for everyone who hasn’t heard of him already!

  46. Point of references – some are paying more attention.

    I went to the bookstore yesterday, and asked if I could order Retrosuburbia, by David Holmgren. The young man working the desk perked up, and before long was describing his garden and other resilience changes he had made. He is teaching his kids and soon will be reading JMG on the topic. Additionally, JMG’s Druidry book was prominently displayed in this mainstream bookstore – first time I have seen any JMG books there.

    When purchasing a treadle sewing machine, I was the eighth person who called, but the only one who intended to fix and use the machine – so ultimately was able to purchase. I couldn’t find a needed vintage part, but was able to get on a wait list at an online specialty shop. Then I ordered one from China, that listed the 1887 patented machine on it’s ad – if it works, I will order a few extra…

  47. To Nancy+Oden,
    About keeping warm/cool.

    The house I live in now has the first floor built into the hill, about 5 feet down on one side. That is enough to keep the temperature at 50F winter and summer. I know because we bought it in the winter but we moved in later. The electricity was off for months but the temperature stayed constant. Even upstairs the temperature never dropped below 40F from the ground heat rising.

    We also don’t have AC so we move downstairs during heatwave. The only problem is that it’s too cold for showers…

    And no, this is not passivhaus, just standard leaky stick and osb.

    It made me realize some things are just so simple, why don’t more people do it?

    Note: 50f is the yearly average here, it will vary with location. In Hawaii it might be 75 while in Alaska could be 25.

  48. JMG if you could put anything on a billboard right now, what would it be? What message do people most need to get right now?

    Thank you for creating a space without doomerism! It feels like a lot of people have tuned out through drugs, alcohol, and various entertainment choices because the news on all sides is filled with messages of “everything is doomed and there is no hope.”

  49. I confidently expect further attempts to be made in the same direction, and I expect those attempts to blow up spectacularly, as the ruling caste has a significant drawback they themselves don’t seem to be able to see; a really impressive level of basic incompetence.

    Very well stated as usual.

    Their gross incompetence is very much on display these days. The masses will be shaken out of their blissful ignorance by soaring inflation, critical shortages, accelerated infrastructure decline, and — last but not least — the full deadly consequences of the jabs. When they do the ruling class will fear for their lives.

  50. Jon Goddard,

    I currently live in VT, am moving to and have lived NH, and have lived in rural ME. What typically seems to happen is that people move here from cities, discover how long, cold, and dark the winters are, learn that there’s virtually no public transportation, no Ubers, no DoorDash, and that everything closes by 8:00 PM and they end up leaving. Yankees also have to get used to new people for at least a year before they’re very friendly, which can definitely be off-putting fo newcomers too.

    In Vermont one mud season is usually enough to make city folk leave. We had a rash of lawsuits against farmers here because the people buying the homes visited in autumn and weren’t aware of the fragrance of liquid cow manure throughout the state in spring. The judges rule in favor of the farmers.

    So I say all that to say, I doubt that there will be a mass migration here, there seems to be more of a revolving door, at least in the more rural areas.

  51. #48 Northwind Grandma
    Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    I have a similar feeling from time to time, I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I had a moderately severe episode of mania back in March, I think it was partly due to being overwhelmed by some of the news cycle stuff about Ukraine. It wasn’t so much the human tragedy of it, that it joined one of the several conflicts in the world that are such, but the way it had to become a moral crusade, to be virtue-signalled by adding Ukrainian flags to your social media, never mind that doubtless it would be exploited by those who had their own agenda to push.

    With having another episode, I had a set of other medications added to my lithium and sertraline, which I wasn’t all that happy about, but I was in a confused state at the time. I’ve finally as of this week come off all but the lithium now, but particularly in the last couple of weeks I have felt really tired, especially in the mornings.
    I’ve also been out of work since before the pandemic started, and feel a load of anxiety about what I’m really meant to do with employment, and my general direction in life.
    I feel like I’m overeducated (I originally studied astronomy, and almost got a PhD in it, and then did another MSc in Remote Sensing and Planetary Science), but not having quite the right kind of experience, like I’m a hexagonal peg in a board with square and round holes, and I’m neither one nor the other. It doesn’t help when I think about what we discuss here that with the current world crisis, whatever I do when I eventually manage to get back into work it could go away again all of a sudden.

  52. JMG, what do you think about the concept of confirmation bias? My hunch is that it is,at least sometimes, a sort of thought-stopper against unorthodox theories. But I’m not sure if that is the case wcwey time.

  53. Combat drones aren’t the only interesting innovation in warfare to make the news recently. Check out this artillery targeting system the Ukrainians developed. GIS Arta leverages the basic principles of apps like Uber to create a high tech version of the “time-on-target” artillery tactics the US Army used with devastating effect against the Wehrmacht in World War II.

    One of the things that I find endlessly fascinating is the way that the armed forces of countries like Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Yemen and Israel have been taking COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) technologies like drones, GPS, smartphone apps, digital cameras, computer software, the internet and so on to create very effective, low cost weapons systems, just as John Robb over at Global Guerrillas predicted. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing, especially as the Long Descent accelerates, and military forces find themselves having to make do with whatever resources they have on hand or can get ahold of.

  54. Regarding living without electricity, my husband and I did so for 6 days in July 2006 in suburban St. Louis, MO. Here are all the things that brought us through it in fine shape.

    1. Water. Because we are on municipal water this actually wasn’t an issue, but we do have a backup water supply, namely rain barrels to collect rain water, a garden hose to carry the water to storage barrels in our basement, a manual pump to pump water from the storage vessels into a bucket, and a filter to filter the water to drinkable quality. Link to my blog post on this:

    2. Laundry. Here is a post on doing laundry by hand:

    3. Lighting. We used kerosene lamps, candles, and flashlights for lighting as appropriate. Because it was summer, we didn’t need much light, and we went to sleep shortly after dark.

    4. Refrigeration. We took out of the refrigerator anything that doesn’t really need it (butter, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables that wouldn’t rot for a few days, and so forth). All of that we put in the basement, which is the darkest, coolest place we have during the summer. Of the rest, we gave away the fresh foods we knew we couldn’t eat before they rotted to neighbors and put the rest along with leftovers into coolers, purchasing ice for them. We kept the coolers in the basement so the ice lasted longer.

    5. Cooking. We used a combination of a solar oven, small rocket stove (for heating hot water), and gas and charcoal grills to cook on, and we only cooked as much as we could eat instead of enough for leftovers as we usually do.

    6. Hot water. In that outage we still had hot water because we had a gas water heater that didn’t need any electricity. A few years back, when our water heater failed and we didn’t have hot water for a week, I used solar showers to heat water for bathing: We could also have heated water on the gas grill or in the solar oven and stored it in the 2 or 3 gallon jugs that we use for water when we travel or camp to have hot water for hand or dish washing.

    7. Cooling. It didn’t happen to be especially hot during that period, so we slept in the bedroom with open windows as usual. If it had been hotter we would have slept on cots in the basement. Now that we have a large screened in back porch we can sleep in it as well as live in it.

    8. Communications. At that time our landline phone was hard-wired, so it worked off our phone provider’s electricity. I still need to get a solar-powered phone charger now that we have fiber optic service so that we can keep our cell phones charged. I’ve seen somewhat larger versions that can charge a laptop, something else to look into. We have a hand cranked radio that also receives weather broadcasts.

    If it had been winter, we have a wood stove and storage for about 2 cords of split wood to use for heat, hot water, and cooking. Whenever the outside temperature is low enough we could put our refrigerated food into coolers and put the coolers on the back porch without ice. We would use the candles and kerosene lamps for longer in the evening.

    People who live in apartments or condos or who don’t have basements or who rent houses will need to adjust to their own situations, but this should give you an idea of what is possible. If you don’t have some of the supplies that you think would be helpful, now is the time to buy them.

  55. The concept of “other dimensions” is from science fiction, not occultism, as is the concept of the multiverse — iirc, Michael Moorcock invented that in the course of his “Eternal Champion” pulp-fantasy stories.

    I believe E.E. “Doc” Smith wrote about parallel universes in his Lensman series, back in the 1930s. He didn’t call it a multiverse, I don’t think, but the concept has been around since before Moorcock.

  56. JMG said

    the current US ruling caste has been in a state of blind panic since 2016. They’ve belatedly discovered that a good half of Americans don’t care what they think and won’t do as their supposed betters tell them, and their entire self-image as the Best and the Brightest, boldly leading the way up the ladder of progress forever, is coming unglued as a result. The frantic censoring of social media and the attempt to install a bureaucracy to suppress discussion of inconvenient facts is part of that. I confidently expect further attempts to be made in the same direction, and I expect those attempts to blow up spectacularly, as the ruling caste has a significant drawback they themselves don’t seem to be able to see; a really impressive level of basic incompetence.

    A textbook example would be the Disinformation Governance Board (gotta luv the blatantly Orwellian implications of that name!), which was widely criticized by sources ranging from Republican members of Congress to civil liberties groups. It was just announced the DGB would suspend operations and it’s direction, Nina Jankowitz, is resigning. The Biden administration claimed Jankowitz got the job because she is an expert on disinformation. Considering her well-documented role in multiple disinfo ops, including the Russia-gate hoax and peddling false claims that Hunter Biden laptop scandal was Russian propaganda, it could well be that in this case, Biden’s handlers were actually telling the truth for once, at least in a roundabout sort of way 😉

    And you wonder why so many people, particularly in flyover country, don’t trust anything that comes out of the government or the news media…

  57. @Forecasting Intelligence:
    Regarding your point 1. It is not included in his most recent videos, but I had seen an older video regarding the China-Russia axis. He offers a political hurdle neither country has thus far seemed prepared to overcome, and two specific problem with the Belt and Road initiative.
    Politically, it seems to be necessary that both Russia and China view their alliance as one of two equal powers. If a formal declaration of war is necessary to overwhelm western Ukraine, or if the other half of the country has to be taken at a later date, this will be a signal that Russia is the apparent junior partner of the two, an unacceptable implication to an administration that validates it’s power on *not* falling into another nations sphere of influence. This factor, combined with local environmental disturbances, suggests that a proxy war in the -stan countries may break out in the next 20 years: China needing peace in the area for the Belt and Road, Russia unable to allow China to control their entire Asiatic border.
    As far as the Belt and Road in the present, problem one is the fact that it is simply much more energy intensive to transport goods over land than by sea. This energy need will be especially high as the buildup of naval infrastructure on the coast will not be easily repurposed to inland road infrastructure- does anyone know if canals have been successfully used to connect western China to the heartland in history?
    Problem two is the fact that the America to America’s British Empire appears at this time to be India, the country that is, in Ziehan’s view, the *actual* best prepared nation for the coming disruptions. A country with a vested national interest in the lands formally known as Tibet, that is as far from the roads on China’s western border as Madrid is from Brussels.

    @Clay Dennis
    Ziehan also has an analysis of this that is… quite ghastly. Basically, the US interest in Ukraine is that there is no US interest in Ukraine. It has value as a buffer province, but if the entire country is burned to the ground few American citizens will suffer materially. The goal is to weaken critical Russian spear-head units (If the truth is only a quarter of the way between Russian and Ukrainian numbers we’re halfway there) and force the Russians to spend time destroying and then building back up the logistics infrastructure of east Ukraine such that the next phase of the invasion, NATO allies the US would actually have an interest in defending, can begin. Ukraine is being sacrificed, and the narrative needs to maintain frame on the cool white robe and stone altar, not the dagger.

    An obvious but pernicious confound is that the more warning signs of violence in a patient, the more adamant their doctor will be that they be medicated early and often. I do not think it would be wise to carve an exemption for any kind of criminal into HIPPA, it’s one of the few rights that incarcerated persons receive at all in the united states.

  58. Heather:

    My girlfriend is from NH and all of her family still lives there as well as her 88 y.o mother. We’ll be relocating to Maine next week, specifically the Portland area, so that my girlfriend can be within a couple hours drive of her mother, and where we can both hopefully find employment. We know about the Maine winters, but perhaps you can enlighten us about other, less we’ll know attributes? Does Portland have good public transportation, Libraries, Bookstores, Farmer’s market? Etc?

  59. The Spectator has an interesting article on Karahan Tepe, a 11 to 13,000-year-old city discovered in Turkey – see
    You might find it interesting in the context of your work on the Secret of the Temple.

    ‘Gobekli Tepe upends our view of human history. We always thought that agriculture came first, then civilisation: farming, pottery, social hierarchies. But here it is reversed, it seems the ritual centre came first, then when enough hunter gathering people collected to worship – or so I believe – they realised they had to feed people. Which means farming. […] some time in 8000 BC the creators of Gobekli Tepe buried their great structures under tons of rubble. They entombed it. We can speculate why. Did they feel guilt? Did they need to propitiate an angry God? Or just want to hide it?’

    What I find odd is that the writer talks about how it was easy to unearth because apparently it had been filled in with rubble – but the unasked question is where did this rubble come from? The sheer amount of rubble needed to bury just a single home is not insignificant, let alone a village, let alone a city. I can understand places being buried by mudslides, volcanic eruptions, or residue of floods – but manually filled in with rubble?

    On another note, I’d be interested in you and your readers’ thoughts on Paul Kingsnorth’s latest essay at
    “Humour me. Imagine for a moment that some force is active in the world which is beyond us. Perhaps we have created it. Perhaps it is independent of us. Perhaps it created itself and uses us for its ends. Either way, in recent years that force seems to have become manifest in some way we can’t quite put our finger on, and has stimulated the craziness of the times. Perhaps it has become self-aware, like Skynet; perhaps it is approaching its Singularity. Perhaps it has always been there, watching, and is now seizing its moment. Or perhaps it is simply beginning to spin out of control, as our systems and technologies become so complex that we can no longer steer them in our chosen direction. Either way, this force seems to be, in some inexplicable way, independent of us, and yet acting within us too.”

  60. @Phutatorius #35:

    Yes, I think that psychotropic drugs are a big factor in mass shootings. I don’t have the statistics you asked for to hand, but I believe they do exist.

    Here is another factor that doesn’t get enough air-time: Fatherless children.

    Family law in all Anglosphere countries is specifically designed to separate children from their fathers as much as possible. Much has been written about this, which I need not repeat here. However, please keep in mind that it is no accident that the English word “b****rd” has two meanings – (1) a fatherless boy and (2) a cruel and ruthless man. It has been known throughout recorded history that the one has a high likelihood of becoming the other.

    Fathers are crucial in helping children form a conscience. Just because we don’t know the exact mechanism by which that happens, does not mean that this is not the case.

    So, if we want to reduce school shootings and other forms of young, male antisocial behavior, “no fault” divorce will have to be repealed. There is a reason why divorce was historically made so difficult.

    “No fault” divorce is another example of Baby Boomers demolishing traditional safeguards and fences which got in the way of something they wanted, without regard to the second- and third-order effects of doing so. At some point, there will be a backlash, and it won’t be pretty.

  61. We, humans, are advancing, some say.
    Towards what?
    If we don’t know the destination how can we assess the progression?
    Are we moving forward, backwards, or simply going nowhere faster than we were yesterday?

    There’s no freedom, only Acceptance & Denial (and the journey back & forth between the two.)

    The Universe is a Heart, quiet & monotonous at The Center/Core (Acceptance’s abode), wild/exciting and dangerous at the throbbing Periphery/Frontier (the land of Denial.)
    We are prisoners of the Heart and of the everlasting peregrination between The Center & The Periphery.

    [We all do the same: we try to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.
    We can’t escape Sameness.
    We all have different strategies on how to achieve it, we all try to do it differently.
    We can’t escape Difference.
    Pleasure & Pain, Good & Evil, Symbiosis & Parasitism, Cause & Effect: The Dualistic Engine.
    We can’t escape it – we can’t rig it – we can’t destroy it – we can’t understand why it exists.

    There’s no freedom, only the everlasting peregrination between The Core & The Periphery. The Center assuages us with its quietness, weary us with its monotony: we leave, frontier bound. We love The Frontier for its excitement, hate it for its perils, so we leave, centresick (homesick for Acceptance.)]

    Some will understand these words, while others will be infuriated by them; that’s OK, because while I’m returning to The Center, longing for Acceptance, others are leaving for The Periphery, summoned by Denial; our expectations are wildly different, we can never meet on common ground. That’s how it’s supposed to be: for the Whole to hold, the Parts must be out of sync. [Do you know how a structure responds to an increased amplitude when the frequency of its oscillations matches its natural frequency of vibration? That’s right, it collapses (Yep, the walls of Jericho, the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the London Millennium Bridge cases comes to mind.)]

    A better future?
    Fully embrace The Now regardless of any reasonable doubt.

  62. In light of the recent events in Texas and elsewhere, I recall you saying once that the standard liberal explanation of such events as an excuse to push for gun control never made sense to you because other places(such as Latin America) have high levels of gun ownership as well, without these events.

    I find I agree with you, having moved away from the cult-of-progress liberalism of my family, and seeing these events exploited for such a crass agenda is nauseating. The equivalent push on the Right, which amounts to “Everyone accept Authoritarian Christianity or more massacres will happen!”, even more so.

    If I could ask you to expand upon your original thought, what do you think is unique(ly bad?) about American society to make this the only country where such things regularly occur? Or is that a false, possibly media-driven misconception?

  63. #8 Nancy+Odenl; Re: keeping warm in winter without power.

    It is possible to have a multi-layered strategy on this one;
    If your finances allow, and you have natural gas to the house, you could get a backup generator that runs on natural gas–A bit pricey but it will kick in shortly after the power goes down and will work while there is natural gas.

    If you go the woodstove backup route, be sure to keep your chimney clean. Depending on your fuel, you need to have it swept at least once a year, and maybe twice or three times a year with very heavy use.

    Our home in British Columbia has no central heat. it is built partly into a hillside, has 2 small gas furnaces in the main living areas with optional electric heat in other parts of the house. Mostly the electric heat stays off all winter, or set to 10 C (50 F)

    We have hung drapes inside the house to restrict the convection of hot air from the stove areas, This keeps the cosy areas cosy with minimal fuel.

    In one winter power and gas outage, we kept warm for several days by pitching a tent in the living room and sleeping inside it, and also setting all the faucets in the house to a constant drip to prevent pipes from bursting.

    Future plans:
    We have a good Southern exposure, and are planning to build a greenhouse along the South Side of the house with an airpipe loop that will go 6 to 10 feet down. Blowing air thru the loop from the greenhouse in winter will warm the air to about 10 C (50 F) by the time it returns to the other side of the greenhouse, keeping the plants alive and also helping the house stay above freezing.

    It is difficult to cause local governments to think ahead, but we can each make up our minds to keep an eye out for our near neighbors. Who are the old people in your neighborhood? What would it hurt if, in the next power failure, you knocked on their doors to be sure they were OK?

    Best wishes for the coming winter! — EG

  64. Wow, comments coming in fast this month…

    Economy anecdata. I build and ship seed cleaning machines. For the first part of this year the freight companies have been running ragged, often a day or two late for pickups and deliveries. Today the truck arrived before noon, and the driver in a pleasant mood said he had only two more pickups to make today. Apparently business has really dropped off over the past few weeks.

    Re: Relocation
    I was considering moving back to the Midwest last year but was put off by the real estate bubble prices and the challenge of establishing resilience quickly. For now I’m content with riding out the next step down in my current location and then looking again in perhaps 5-10 years.

    Re: heat with no electricity

    –wood stoves are great if an option for you.

    –below ground spaces stay a much more survivable temperature.

    –with shelter from wind and rain/snow even subfreezing/subzero temperatures are survivable with the right clothing and blankets.

    –tipis were an innovative simple structure that could be heated with an open fire in the middle. Probably not practical for most but we may see now similar design.

    –human bodies generate a continuous 80 watts of heat. In a reasonably insulated space, gathering at the density of a well attended party can maintain a comfortable temperature.

  65. JMG, what are your thoughts on the heat waves currently ravaging parts of India and Pakistan? I’ve seen some scary news reports from the region about mass deaths, both in human and animal populations, caused by them. I’ve talked to some of my relatives about them, and while they don’t deny how deadly they are or that they’re caused by climate change, they don’t think comparable events will happen in Canada or the northern US for a long time. I suspect they’re wrong (though I dearly hope they’re right), but I’d like to know what you think about them. Do you think similarly extreme temperatures will start to appear across the rest of the world in the near future?

  66. Milkyway #16

    Sewing patterns for cosplay.

    Are you aware of the German-language magazine Karfunkel? It has a broad focus on various aspects of (mainly medieval) history and includes material that is relevant to historical reenactment, including costume-making. Although I’m not sure it would help you directly with your current bodice situation (though you never know!), it might be worth a look just to get an initial idea of the current state of medieval costume-making in Germany, for future reference maybe. It includes articles, patterns, book reviews, adverts – that sort of thing.

    The Karfunkel Verlag can be found at:

  67. @Nancy+Oden – I will second NomadBeer’s observation on sub-ground-level living spaces. Prior to my present living situation I lived in Idaho. Temperatures in summer would reach well over 100 degrees in the daytime, and winter temperatures could reach 20 degrees below zero at night. Yet the basement temperature (it was a “daylight basement”) stayed near 55 degrees year round. So staying cool in summer was never a problem and a modest pellet stove kept the entire house warm during the winter.

  68. Raymond, you’re welcome! No question, I’ve got the best commentariat on the internet.

    Chuaquin, I’ve had a few of them. I’ve never really done much with dreamwork, however — I put enough time into other modes of spiritual practice that I figure it’s probably healthier to let my dreams do their thing. I know there are people who do a lot of dreamwork, however, and it seems to work well for them.

    Temporaryreality, I’ve got one, or I’d join in. Thanks for this!

    Will1000, so noted. Does anyone else have a subject to nominate?

    Siliconguy, just when I think the stupid has risen just as far as possible, something like this comes out. As for coffee, it was a major trade item for centuries before the Europeans got to it, with major trade routes across the Indian Ocean to bring it to the Middle East. Doubtless people will figure how to get it in the future, too. (Personally? Bleah. Coffee gives me migraines.)

    Asdf, you might want to find a copy of Eros, Magic, and the Murder of Professor Culianu by Ted Anton — it covers Coulianu’s occult activities in some detail.

    Jon, I’ll reiterate advice from some others: wait until next spring if you can. My guess is that winter will flush a lot of ’em out.

    Joshua, my process for relocation starts with a detailed list of my (and my wife’s) needs in a place to live. That’s going to be highly personal, since what works for me may not work for you, and what I need may be irrelevant to you. (For example, Sara has serious food allergies, and so we’re limited to places where she can get the foods she needs.) I also factor in astrology — a relocation chart, which is done by casting your own natal chart for the exact time you were born, but for the place where you’re considering moving, is a very useful tool for this. So I start looking at likely places, and examining how my relocation chart there works out; once I have a short list, I visit the places and make a final decision.

    Suzie, delighted to hear all these things! If you happen to recall, was the book of mine you saw The Druidry Handbook or The Druid Path?

    Denis, nothing I want to say to people could be communicated to them by way of a billboard. That’s why I use long, quirky, teal-deer essays…

    TJ, beware of premature triumphalism. The masses aren’t necessary any more competent or self-aware than their leaders.

    Booklover, the people who talk most often about confirmation bias are usually busy supporting their own confirmation bias. That is to say, no concept is so useful that it can’t be turned into a thoughtstopper.

    Sardaukar, keep in mind that truth is the first casualty in wartime. Let’s see how well that’s worked once the fighting is over and the smoke of propaganda clears a bit.

    Cliff, granted, the concept of parallel universes was around before Moorcock; I’d read that he coined the term, though.

    Sardaukar, a fine example. If your propaganda is working you don’t need a special board to keep alternative narratives at bay.

    Kerry, yes, I saw that! I’ll be seeing what I can find in the way of journal articles and books on the subject, to get more of the details. I want to see in particular what geometries they used for their temple design. As for Kingsnorth, I’ll pass, thanks.

    Armenio, if that works for you, by all means.

    Matthew, it’s a media-driven misconception. Latin America, with 8% of the world’s population, has 38% of its homicides (source), including plenty of mass killings, and there are other parts of the world that also have serious problems with epidemic homicides. In Asia, where guns are harder to get, mass stabbings are tolerably common, and so on. Our species is naturally violent, and especially under situations of excessive crowding and economic stress, some of us wig out and go on killing sprees, irrespective of location or type of weapon.

    Mark, thanks for all these.

    Ethan, climate’s a complicated thing. India gets ghastly heat waves from time to time because of the fine details of its regional climate; the same thing happens in other parts of the world that are on the border between the wet tropics and the dry savanna-to-desert belts. Here in the US — well, it depends on where you are, but it’s unlikely to get so extremely hot for the simple reason that we’re a lot further from the equator. I’ll be discussing all these things in next week’s post.

  69. Milkyway:

    I do lots of sewing and have been starting on costumes for Renaissance Faires. I’ve looked at a lot of resources and I feel that Margo Anderson’s patterns are the very best. She gives a great deal of guidance, historical background, and the patterns and instructions are quite detailed.

    Something like this would probably suit your needs:

  70. “it’s unlikely to get so extremely hot for the simple reason that we’re a lot further from the equator.”

    That ought to be true, but last year’s Northwest heat wave changed my assessment of what is possible. The little town of Lytton, BC reached 121°F at 50°N latitude, then burned to the ground two days later in the high winds that accompanied a transition back to a cooler airmass.

    When the Hadley Cell circulation gets disrupted and dry sinking air/subsidence/compressional heating moves further north, it seems that higher latitudes can reach temperatures very similar to the subtropical deserts.

  71. @Malleus M. #3:

    Would you care to expand a bit on the magical applications of natural building methods, or share some links? That sounds very interesting!

    @Siliconguy #34, @erikalopez # 57, and @Owain D #72:

    Thank you very, very much for your suggestions! My kid went to bed a very happy camper, and I’m supposed to say thanks on her behalf, too.

    We’ll check them out together tomorrow. I don’t like YouTube videos myself, but they come natural to the kids, so this is a great resource.

    And Karfunkel… well. I just had a quick look, and I definitely have to make some room on the shelf. They’ve also got stuff about herbs. And about combat tactics and weapons (yes, some family members have weird interests). And incense and stuff. Sweet! 🙂


  72. Hi Joshua,

    I love Portland. I haven’t been back in a few years but as I remember it has all of the amenities of a city. If you live in Portland proper it’s quite walkable.

    They have great restaurants. Duckfat is one to try. It has fries fries in duck fat and milkshakes with their own ice cream. MacWorth Island is a very pretty walk.

    It’s a good city or it was about five years ago.

  73. On the subject of technologies surviving (or not, case in point) the current decline, I feel compelled to share this anecdote. This happened to me today.

    I have an occasional need to print documents on oversize paper; for this purpose, I have a 24″ ink-jet printer in my office. Today, there was a technical glitch that prevented it from operating. I went through the ‘troubleshooting’ function on the company’s website to no avail: there was nothing at all there in regards to my problem. The best it could do was offer a software update that refused to download onto my computer.

    So I called the toll-free helpline phone number. Eleven minutes later, I was transferred to an agent (yes, a human believe it or not) who, after about another 15 minutes of discussion on the topic concluded that the problem was a fouled print head. The conversation became rather lengthy because that printer model, apparently, was discontinued ‘many years ago’. The necessary parts are still available, for now, but they could not quote me a price on them because installation requires an authorized technician to make an on-site service call. And the manufacturer considers those parts to be ‘consumables’ that should be replaced in this fashion on an annual basis.

    My employer purchased this appliance just 6 years ago, when it was first introduced as the latest, greatest, all-you’ll-ever-need, top-of-the-line model. Now it’s discontinued. Many years ago, in fact. For reference, its predecessor was a refurbished older unit that rendered a full 17 years of trouble-free service until the day it died. The one before that was a second-hand (NON-refurbished) unit that was discontinued before they even bought it – and it lasted 11 years. Neither of those previous units ever needed any service calls (until the day they died), let alone an annual visit at heaven-only-knows-how-much per hour – to replace ‘consumables’.

    Three cheers for Almighty Progress!!

  74. We have had two people ask us if we (Peschel Press) sell books direct.

    We do!

    For my two emailers: I responded but please check your spam filter in case my reply ended up there.

    We haven’t formally set up pages on our website, but email me at tdbpeschel @ and remove the spaces and ask.

    We ship media mail and only within the U.S. but if you’re outside the U.S. and are willing to pay the shipping, we’ll be happy to provide you with books.

  75. Malleus,

    I’ve been into cob for a very long time, well before I went apostate on the Progress crowd 13 years ago, and I think it’s beautiful, and magical, and thatched roofs are absolutely the cat’s nightwear.

    If you haven’t looked through Lloyd Kahn’s old books – “Shelter” and “Homework” – I think it’s worth the time. I feel quite inspired by what some of the featured builders have done, in cob or otherwise.

    If you’ve haunted the cob scene at all you’ve no doubt run across Kevin McCabe in Devon, England. Big time builder, with heavy machinery, but I love his builds. And there’s something to be said for turning a modest amount of diesel fuel into a beautiful earthen house that’ll last half a millennium or more, if the “boots and hat” are cared for properly.

    All this love and I’ve only gotten so far as a cob oven, myself. But it’s really cool.
    Makes the best pizza ever.

    If you do this please keep us updated!

  76. @ Heather #10

    You’re doing the right thing. As your parents’ health declines, be prepared for hospice. My father recently died at home, thanks to hospice and my mother’s dedicated care.

    Be prepared for a *lot* of work and a *lot* of bureaucracy. The rules can get convoluted. If your hospice patient must enter the hospital, then they’re no longer in hospice! When they come home, then you sign up for hospice again!

    Also, I *strongly* recommend you simplify finances, insurance, and wills. Make sure you know what’s going on with your parents’ banking and accounts.

    My mother had to wade through a bureaucratic maze loaded with dragons because my father had four pensions from four entities. His city pension had been granted so long ago (he was 87 when he died) that the city had not digitized his records and the inexperienced clerk had to go into, gasp, filing cabinets in the subbasement.

    My sister-in-law is a retired GS-13, experienced in the ways of bureaucracies. If she hadn’t walked my mother through the maze, my mother would still be lost at the entrance instead of most of the way to the escape door. I would have been equally lost.

    Simplify the paperwork maze now, while you can.

  77. Here are some photos of my garden in the Spring of 2022 (Chicago area):

    Heather and others — when Coronatarianism in Chicagoland forced me out of my music studio in a commercial space where I had rented over a decade, I consulted Andrew Skeen who did some horary astrology charts for me. I had choices: stay put or collapse my business. I decided on the latter: to teach partially out of my home and partially out of my parents’ home. I moved one piano to my parents’ and the other to my house. My construction-skilled husband built a beautiful sound abated vocal booth which acts as a much needed draw to set me above competing voice teachers in the area. I sacrificed having a living room for the time being though because my house is tiny, one small bedroom and approximately 600 square feet. Downsizing was an excellent and timely move. For the first time since 2015, I am making all of my bills, paying down my credit card, and financing my husband’s work on the house. Because I teach at my parents’ house, it gives me the opportunity to see them more often and to do much needed chores that are hard or impossible for them.

    So much of collapsing is mental first. As the US quickly becomes an economic also-ran, the people who are going to be the worst off are the complaint upper middle class who zoom to Costco in their leased Teslas and whose fully vaccinated kids fiddle around with TikTok when they’re not in an organized indoor sport or doing massive loads of homework. They are screwed. I’m glad I started down this path nearly 20 years ago when I started reading James Howard Kunstler and found out about JMG’s blogs. I’m worlds better off for finding both, I think.

  78. Milkyway,
    I bet if you spoke to people in the SCA (society for creative anachronism), they could point you to someone who has forgotten more about medieval bodices than you will ever need to know. Try contacting your local chapter of the SCA and asking for a beginner friendly version.

  79. The Druid Path – seen at two different branches of Barnes and Noble.

  80. What is it with America? This comment in today’s Nature magazine:

    “Of note, this is strictly a US problem. The authors cite a sobering statistic: 90% of all firearm deaths for children 0–14 years of age in high-income countries occur in the US.”

    Paediatrician Rachel Moon highlights a shocking statistic in an introduction to research analysing gun violence, which in 2019 became the leading cause of death for children under 19 in the United States. (American Academy of Pediatrics blog | 2 min read, from March)

  81. Hi JMG,

    You are probably right about my friend. Interesting about it being a fad for a while there. I am glad that happened! Because had it not I likely wouldn’t have heard about it, and might be getting caught very off-guard at the moment.

    I did bring up the concept of “plan B’s” often during the night with them. His brother who was also with us, for instance, had taken up woodworking over the years and could build a lot of stuff himself/had done a lot of carpentry in his own house, which seemed like a great idea to me (and a brilliant plan B).

    It’s possible my thinking would have been somewhat like this without discovering Peak Oil, as my parents were wiped out in the early 90s recession here in Canada (bought high in ’89, then both of them lost their jobs). Also I had my childhood in Trinidad, which I discovered had it’s own oil peak roughly when I was born, so to some degree I am familiar with decline already. In my memory, people reminisce about “how it used to be” often, but it also was a shared source of humour.


  82. I posted previously that Gonzalo Lira was missing after having been captured by the Ukrainian secret police. After massive public outcry he was released. He is okay, and he has been posting regularly since then.

  83. Regarding sewing medieval garb, as well as some guidance to making your own patterns for it, I like Sarah Thursfield’s “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant, 2nd Edition: Common Garments 1100-1480”.


    teach your kid to FISH regarding sewing!

    Adele Margolis’ “How to Make Your Own Dress Patterns” – back in print via Dover and in hardcover via some other newer publisher (but the hardcover’s pages are NOT in signatures– glued only so the binding could crack) – it’ll take the mystery and airs out of pattern making.

    the OLD books on sewing are priceless. sometimes ACTUALLY priceless so people steal them from libraries.


  85. @N. Carter #63: Not even for dead mass shooters like this most recent one? Beyond that, I’m not at all sure that I agree that our incarcerated folks have no rights.

  86. As we watch the decline of the U.S. empire accelerate, I am reminded of a stirring (modern) sea shanty by The Dreadnoughts.

    (Still image, no video)

    Featuring inflation, an oil crisis and an ill fated attempt to just make really big oil tankers to get around the Suez crisis and keep the oil coming profitably!

    But due to inflation, cut corners, and lack of knowledge, The Esso Northumbria was not all it was cracked up to be!

    The line from the song that keeps playing in my head as I watch various managers and people in power issue sillier and sillier orders…

    “So come all ya good workmen beware the command, that comes down on high from the desk of a man, who’s never held steel or a torch in his hands,

    Roll, Northumbria roll,

    For atop the wild breaker that cracks in her frame, spilled her black guts all across the wild main, she limped away through an ocean of flame,

    Roll Northumbria Roll me boys!
    Roll Northumbria Roll.

    And it’s one for the hot sun above
    Two for the Empire we love,
    And it’s three for the fire that burns down below,

    Roll on Northumbria!
    Roll Northumbria roll!”

    Hope everyone’s having a good May soon to be June!


  87. Hi JMG –

    Do you have any knowledge of Paul Wheaton, the ‘bad boy of permaculture’? We’re considering applying for his Permaculture Boot Camp, and I’m trying to get a handle on what we’d be signing on to.

  88. @Phutatorius #35

    Re. your theory of psychiatric drug induced mass shooting. Let me add my personal anecdata. I am currently right in the middle of antidepressant (Zoloft) withdrawal. Week 2 of the most frightening rage you can imagine, triggered by the drop of a hat and very unpredictable. Now, I am of nature a very mild and pleasant middle aged English cat lady. The term “wouldn’t hurt a fly” describes me. Yet for the past 2 weeks I have truly turned into a rage monster I do not even recognise. If these drugs could mess with the likes of me in this way, I shudder to think what effect they have on our poor kids. So yes, I truly get how Texas and other such tragedies could happen.
    @ Northwind Grandma
    I have recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The pain started around a year ago, got more intense and is more or less constant now. Nothing works not even prescription painkillers.
    I have therefore been asking the Divine and my guardian angel to please help me, show me how to deal with it, and lo and behold, here you are, literally answering my prayers. I would be very grateful if I could pick your brains on your experiences some more, please? My email is my username at gmail dot com .

  89. @Phutatorius

    FWIW, Alex Berenson wrote a whole book on the link between cannabis use, psychosis, and violence (back before he was a go-to-guy for coof info). It’s one of those drugs that seems to be pretty “safe” for most people, but there’s a definite subset of people who just shouldn’t. I’m not sure if his argument is any better than those for prohibiting alcohol (i.e. perhaps true, but maybe also true that prohibition causes more problems than the drug does), but there does seem to be at least a casual link between cannabis use and the incidents you’re referring to. Likely that’s in combination with tons of other factors– mental illness, lax law enforcement, soul-destroying school environments, availability of firearms, toxic social media, and the mass prescribing of psychotropic drugs without the necessary psychiatric supervision or follow-up– or it’d happen in every town every year.

  90. Matthew #68

    It’s the only ‘developed’ Western country where these things occur with consistency. If you look at the homicide global statistics, you’ll see an undeniable link between poverty levels and homicides. Unsurprisingly, Latin America and Africa feature prominently in these metrics but I think it’s a mistake to compare the USA to Colombia or Mexico and say “gee everything is fine here, look how bad it is over there!” when clearly the US would be better served comparing itself to Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.
    Aside from poverty, many of these Latin American countries have been suffering from some form of civil war/insurgency usually related to narcotics and/or American political meddling, so this skews the data somewhat too and makes for difficult comparisons.

    JMG mentioned stabbing sprees in Asia, and he’s right, these do occur, but they are few and far between and hence the homicide rate is generally minuscule relative to the United States. The question you need to ask yourself is if that madman running around the street was armed with an AR-15 instead of a kitchen knife, would more people or less be likely to be killed? I think the answer to that question is fairly self explanatory.

  91. @Heather

    Thanks for your advice. I hope that it is a revolving door. I’d like to get a house but many are over 50% more than their price in 2019. I’m hoping prices decline. I’m glad you’re in a good position, despite the hardships. A solid sense of security within a community is a treasure to have.


    Thanks also for the advice. Rents here are skyrocketing so I’d like to leave sooner than that, but it may be what I have to do, alas.

    @Kerry Nitz

    It blows my mind that the so-called experts refuse to admit that there is a problem with their view of ancient history. Somehow, those skills of stone cutting, quarrying and astronomical alignment all appeared before agriculture? I don’t think they understand the skills necessary to do that kind of work. Then they get mad when Graham Hancock makes millions with his books because he’s asking the questions everyone else is asking.

    Also, if anyone would like to do more research on where to move, not only is there astrocartography, but also something called Local Space. Local Space really surprised me because I discovered two cities where I lived had planetary lines over them and I got results I would expect from those planets. Both astrocartography and Local Space are free on astrodienst.

  92. Phutatorius and others – regarding the recent mass shooting in TX: not to state the obvious, but mass shootings are nearly always carried out by young males (though sometimes by older males). Is there something about our society and young males right now that is contributing to this? High levels of testosterone, fatherlessness, psychotropic medications…there are so many factors. Would like to hear from JMG and the commentariat on this, especially from the XYs (I’m an XX, so can only speculate on what it’s like to be a young male).

  93. On mass shootings, I will point out that “all or nothing” is a common enough thing for XY people of a certain age to do. It simply works so well, sometimes, that it never got bred out. About 10% of men, historically, reproduced, so the fact that men have the mental machinery for crazy all or nothing actions doesn’t surprise me one bit. Obviously shooting up a grocery store or an elementary school is a reprehensible perversion of that impulse, but I remember working in a fast food place, where my black coworker couldn’t stop telling me about the achievements of Nazi war heroes. Men love this stuff, and even if most aren’t up to it, that doesn’t stop a black burger slinger being fascinated with Michael Wittman’s impressive career as a tank commander 70 years ago. And you know, I’d rather live Wittman’s life than mine, a few years as a spectacularly successful tank commander, ending with a brief moment of agony as a British 17pdr penetrates my Tiger doesn’t sound that bad these days. I have an issue, of course, with the ideology Wittman served, as I’m sure my fellow (non-Aryan!) burger artist did, but what’s that in comparison to seeing your enemies driven before you and to hear the lamentations of their women, along with the V12 Maybach and 88mm? To echo Greer, we’re a violent species and we are easily impressed by our conspecifics doing incredibly violent things even if it ends badly for them.

  94. Ethan L,
    I know the heat dome in the pacific northwest and BC last summer caused a noticeable bump in deaths in Vancouver for a few days. I believe there was about 200 more deaths over a few days, just in that one city. Over the rest of the areas affected, the number could easily top 1000, but I don’t know of anyone who’s done numbers. Could a larger one that kills more people happen here in the future? I have to assume so, given that what happened last year happened, and we continue to pour more CO2 into the atmosphere.

    It was interesting to live through. I’ve never felt heat like it before – the one time I went out in the hottest part of the day for 5 minutes, it felt like being inside a car on the hottest day of the year in the fraser canyon. It should not feel like that on Vancouver Island. It felt completely wrong and bizarre.

    I was very glad I live in a basement suite. My landlady and her daughter moved downstairs for a couple of days to escape the worst of the heat. None of us have air conditioning.

  95. Hi Milkyway,

    The big pattern companies—Simplicity, Butterick, McCall’s—all make costume patterns.

  96. Hello John Michael Greer,

    Wanted to ask some things earlier about one of your books again.

    *Do you think Stainless Steel would have the same effect on ethereal matter and beings in the same manner as purer iron (Carbon steel, Wrought Iron and etc) or whatnot?

    Its effectively not exactly pure iron but still has large portions in it mixed with more than 11%+ chromium to prevent rusting. A more modern alloy.

    Some may have nitrogen, aluminium, silicon, sulfur, titanium, nickel, copper, selenium, niobium or molybdenum.

    *With increasing natural burials or new non-toxic methods of embalming like Enigma ecobalming? is there a potential for etheric revenants to once again exist or not?

    *Is it possible at all that at one time the paradox resolution mechanism of the physical universe was different to allow situations like reanimation of physical bodies and its hard to tell when it changes or has it always been the same? Some peiple think gods or spirits could manifest more physically if it wasn’t for it but its only a theory of the supernatural some people have.

  97. Mark L,
    to be fair, Lytton is located in Canada’s only hot desert. The area in the rainshadow of the Coast Range in southern BC is pretty weird climatically. Sagebrush, cacti, rattlesnakes… all can be yours in (elsewhere) rainy BC.

    But it sure was scary hot that week, in a way that just does not happen on Vancouver Island. And people died from it.

  98. Hi Yavanna,

    If I may:

    My perspective is that human males have a strong tendency to violence, full period, end of sentence. Talking with human males and human females I have gotten the distinct impression that the male desire for physical violence is often comparable in its intensity with the desire that many females have to bear children. Both desires have a sort of rising intensity that slowly peters out at certain ages, and a clear biological basis.

    The male desire for violence is as far as I can tell a basic aspect of healthy maleness within certain age ranges. To my mind is that it is not surprising at all that this normal and natural desire for violence in males occasionally spills over into egregious acts of homicide on defenseless victims. Reading accounts of war, this sort of thing happens all the time when human males have the opportunity to indulge in bloodlust.

    Of course, there are more sublimated ways that males can handle their bloodlust. For instance, a certain taut, short-haired self mastery seems far more common in males than females, and I consider this a sublimated manifestation of the male impulse towards violence. That said, not all males will be either strong enough to master themselves or weak enough to be harmless. Personally I think that pointless violence is just another way that we humans engage with each other brutally with a basically animalistic lack of reflection, insight, or ethical capacity. At the end of the day, regardless of anything else humans are, we are also mammals and primates and act very similarly to our close relatives the chimpanzees, who also engage in egregious violence towards the weak and defenseless, slaughtering enemy troops with glee when they can.

  99. Recently I was reading a book of Australian cultural history which mentioned in passing something surprising to me about the US.

    In Australia, there was a well known phenomenon known as the “cultural cringe” which was the default assumption, that lasted until about the 1960s, that Australian culture was necessarily inferior to European. This was especially true of cultural products eg. literature, film, painting etc. The book mentioned that there was something similar in the US until the early part of the 20th century which surprised me as I assumed the US would have broken out of that much earlier. Is it true that the US still had a “cultural cringe” in the 20th century?

  100. Hi Grover #81

    Thanks for the recommendations! Lloyd Khan is exactly the sort of overlooked genius for which I depend on this forum. Kevin McCabe is also new to me but essential as I don’t feel badly about leveraging existing fossil fuel assets to construct lasting structures. It’s all about embodied energy. Good stuff! So grateful for the guidance. Keep it coming! I combed the Green Wizard forums but without luck so far. Will definitely share what works!

  101. miowjones
    I have fibromyalgia too. It stinks. You have my sympathy.

    Things I find help somewhat:

    1) doing some light exercise very carefully every day I possibly can. Increase the amount very slowly, starting from a rediculously tiny amount I can do easily at the start. I find this reduces pain due to lack of moving around, and increases the amount of stuff I can do. But it does take a long time to see results, has to be done like clockwork, and I have to just accept that I will not see the kinds of results a healthy person would. It is very important not to compare what I can do to what other people would be able to do with the amount of work I put in. Instead, I compare to what I could do when I started. And don’t overdo it, or I can hurt myself and worsen my fibromyalgia symptoms.

    2) I find an anti-inflammatory before bed helps me not be in pain and therefore sleep better in at least the first part of the night. If I sleep, I am much more functional the following day. I also use painkilling creams (voltaren emulgel) on specific areas that are painful.

    3) I try to avoid getting wet and cold. If I’m outside on a rainy day, I make sure I have really good raingear. If I mess up and get wet, then get into something dry as fast as possible. I seem to react to barometric pressure changes, but I can’t do anything about that. Staying as dry and warm as reasonably possible while still getting out and doing things, though, that I have some control over.

    4) I use a hot rice bag at bedtime and place it against (usually) my lower back. Hot showers or baths can also be helpful.

    5) Stretching before doing things that push my limits can help. So can not scheduling too much on any one day, or breaking things up into smaller tasks and spreading them out over the course of the day.

    6) Sometimes all the above will fail. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

    But yes, fibromyalgia changed my life pretty thoroughly when it got added to my other issues. It is a thoroughly unpleasant thing to have to deal with, and I hope you are able to manage it with more grace than I did at the start.

  102. @Yavanna #98

    This feels like it’s getting closer to the truth than anything about guns or drugs.

    Young males have always been society’s warriors; they feel invincible and can be convinced to kill others and risk death for a cause.

    In the past, much more effort was made to integrate young males into the community, to guide this warrior energy to positive ends. Many societies had initiatory rites, and even if not the boys after age 16 or so labored alongside the men in the factories and fields or apprenticing to skilled trades.

    Compare that to our atomized modern world in which many young men sit in front of screens alone in their rooms, watching violent porn, playing first-person shooter games, and joining discussion boards populated by other bitter, lonely young men with little hope for their futures. Is it any surprise that some of them “snap” and align their warrior energy with some crackpot cause or other that leads them to wage personal war on their own country and community?

    To me, the problem is not guns, or drugs, or porn, or violent games, or “toxic masculinity”. It is a culture that has lost touch with what children (and especially adolescents) need to feel supported and to functionally integrate into community and society.

  103. Since the recent Texas elementary-school shooter had no history of mental illness, it just goes to show how easily mental illnes can go undiagnosed. An NY Times story mentions him shooting his grandmother (seriously wounded), but no mention of his father, and a co-worker said that he said that he despised his mother (and grandmother) for not letting him smoke weed. (I wonder if the former co-worked is relieved that the shooter didn’t attack their store.) So, I don’t think prescription drugs were a factor, but he may have been self-medicating with cannabis. Even if someone had sought mental health care for him, the chances of him getting it appear to be slim. Mental illness can be deadly, and not just for the ill.

    I noticed that people want to compare US violence rates only against other “wealthy” countries. I guess that means Japan, France, Germany? Maybe they haven’t seen much of the United States. It isn’t all New Jersey or Wisconsin (thickly settled and well-watered). Just because our states are united, doesn’t mean that they’re economically or socially homogeneous.

  104. andrewskeen (no. 1), what makes a good divinatory query? Yes/no questions that involve dates?


    dashui (no. 7), was Crowley ever all that popular? Sure, he was known in rock music circles (e.g. the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s”), and a few musicians even studied his writings, but the popular perception of him is of some kind of Satanist. Anyway, “do your own thing” seems reductive.


    Nicholas Carter (no. 11) (hey, like the spy novels!), a number of people have suggested that the USA has seized the war as an opportunity to destroy as much of Russia’s military capability as possible, without causing a nuclear war in the process (hopefully). In one version, this is because if Russia took Ukraine, the next war would be in a NATO country (Poland or the Baltics–not so much Romania, there are mountains), which the USA would be obligated to defend directly. In another version, all this is a warning to China, or a rehearsal for war with it (although Ukraine is a land war). In another, the USA is purposely prolonging the war because it is a useful way to weaken Russia, unite the Western countries (or most of them), and/or provide an excuse for endemic economic problems in the West.

    Zeihan is kind of the opposite of Ray Dalio, who is bullish on China for cyclical-historical reasons. Both views seem reasonable–as do those of YouTuber Rudyard Lynch (whatifalthist), who expects China to collapse in the near term (based on the current behavior of its government), but later rebound in the form of some new dynasty or regime. He sees something similar happening to the USA (based on Turchin’s cycles, fundamentals, and historical analogy–US wokeism is like revolutionary France), which he expects to experience an expansionist Golden Age (with space travel) in the 2040s. None of these people seem to incorporate resource limits into their analyses. A glance around the world geopolitics section of the bookstore will reveal all kinds of predictions–e.g. the future center of the world will either be the Indian Ocean Rim, China, the USA, some combination of Poland and Japan, or the Arctic Circle.

    “What if Donald Trump understood subtlety and tact.” LOL! If Trump were still in office, I suspect that he would have done nothing in response to the invasion of Ukraine, shown little interest in it, and remained blissfully ignorant of the regional geopolitics. Biden on the other hand has been part of the system since forever, and shares its concern to maintain the post-WW2 security system, discourage border changes, etc. Of course this also helps him look presidential, and the fact that his family seems to have (ahem!) personal ties with Ukraine must have at least ensured that it would get his attention.


    batstrel (no. 12), medical science still does not have a good understanding of why we dream–what purpose (if any) dreams serve. Of course there are theories (other than Freud’s or Jung’s). For example, perhaps they help us “rehearse” situations that we may encounter in real life (recognizing that dreams are often very surreal). Or perhaps they serve no purpose at all, but are only an interesting byproduct of other processes.

    Of course there are mystical or religious theories as well, such as the widespread idea that dreams can portend the future. In Tibetan Buddhism, life is often said to be dreamlike, in that both are products of the mind (through karma, in the case of the “real” world). “Lucid” dreaming is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa, and is considered a great accomplishment, since the dreamer will have learned both to see through the illusory nature of the dream, and to maintain this awareness. The afterlife will be similar, we are told.

    Swedenborg kept a journal of his dreams (some erotic), before embarking upon his career as a seer.

    “Dimension” is mathematical language. A point has zero dimensions; a line, one; a square, two; a cube, three, etc. The possible spiritual significance of “higher” dimensions was first broached, I think, by P.D. Ouspensky. We laugh at the notion that God lives in the sky, but relocating heaven to another dimension seems hardly much of an improvement! Mathematical dimensionality has to be distinguished from “many worlds” theories of multiple timelines, or dramatic presentations of parallel literary “universes” (perhaps with crossovers) in the form of a “multiverse.”


    Jacques (no. 14), surely the USA would have a *Department* of Truth, not a Ministry! See here:

  105. Liam J. (no. 17), if Nagarjuna is to be believed, “filling in the blank” is the origin of samsara.

    forecastingintelligence (no. 19), your link doesn’t lead to Zeihan, but to Stuart Kirk on climate risk.

    Mary Bennett (no. 21), neither you nor DT have explained how China would get around the fact that Russia has nukes. As for “what China really wants,” well, each political player would somewhat slightly different interests (typically focused on personal political survival, and the demise of their enemies), but in general “China” would like Taiwan for allowing it access to the Pacific / ability to pressure Japan and Korea / national pride and legitimacy. It also needs to find some way to keep other countries from cutting off fossil fuel imports through the Indian Ocean / Strait of Malacca. Siberian resources and Arctic access would be nice to have, but Russia will sell them (at a discount) most of what they want. Pacific trade is much more important to them than these overland connections.

    Clay Dennis (no. 23), things do not seem to be going Russia’s way, either. At this point they’ll be lucky to take and hold a bigger chunk of Donbas.

    Jim Kulula (no. 26), aircraft carriers are really hard to sink. That said, many analysts expect advances in military technology to eventually make them obsolete (as has happened before, with other types of ships). In addition, a Chinese / US war would presumably be fought closer to China than to the USA, which would favor the former. Anti-ship missiles (perhaps hypersonic ones) are the most relevant technology here.

    Celadon (no. 31) “A lot of books people will want are in [Latin].”

    Say what?! Okay, I see comics starring Michaël Musculus, Donaldus Anas, and Carolini Brown:

  106. Building a better battery, they hope.

    “Single crystal Li[Ni0.5Mn0.3Co0.2]O2//graphite (NMC532) pouch cells with only sufficient graphite for operation to 3.80 V (rather than [greater than or equal to] 4.2 V) were cycled with charging to either 3.65 V or 3.80 V to facilitate comparison with LiFePO4//graphite (LFP) pouch cells on the grounds of similar maximum charging potential and similar negative electrode utilization. The NMC532 cells, when constructed with only sufficient graphite to be charged to 3.80 V, have an energy density that exceeds that of the LFP cells and a cycle-life that greatly exceeds that of the LFP cells at 40C, 55C and 70C. Excellent lifetime at high temperature is demonstrated with electrolytes that contain lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (LiFSI) salt, well beyond those provided by conventional LiPF6 electrolytes.”

    Just a little more complicated than lead acid batteries.

    LFP batteries have the wonderful feature of not bursting into flame at the drop of a hat. They didn’t evaluate propensity of combustion of the new one yet.

  107. Hi John Michael,

    Ah, the open post question and answer session is now in play! Thank you for providing this forum.

    There has been something which has been bothering me of late (and to which I’ve been meditating upon), and I’d be curious as to your perspective on the matter and would appreciate learning of your thoughts.

    Due to unusual circumstances I have taken a week off paid work. Now this is my first week off paid work for a few years, and even that was a bit of a struggle to negotiate and one or two exceptions had to be made. Incidentally, I’m fine with that and have so structured my life around that circumstance. The upside for me out of this is that I’m not irreplaceable, but let’s just say that it isn’t easy to do so, and there’s plenty of work around.

    Anyway, not working this week has given me an opportunity to have a good look around and just talk to people who I wouldn’t ordinarily speak with due to being too busy and all. And right now there are people all over the shop, and I’m hearing stories of people travelling to distant shores etc. These are working age people too, and so I’m scratching my head wondering how they are affording to act so, and have come up with the possibilities that they are going further into debt, or consuming their capital – or the capital of others. Given my line of work, I have a fair idea of how people pay for things and what they earn, and this current situation is something of a mystery.

    Dunno about you, but I’m getting this weird feeling of Déjà vu like back in 2007 when ill economic news was piling up, oil prices were beginning to sky rocket, and then you-know-what happened the following year. And back then I thought much the same, in that things were going very poorly but nobody seems to want to notice.

    It’s raining again here. It’s been a very damp year.

    As an interesting side note, I find it particularly ironic that there was so much concern expressed about Climate Change in last weeks federal election, and yet people seem to be wanting to travel all over the shop and to far distant shores. Hmm. Probably can do both (concern and travel), but they appear to be contradictory outcomes. I dunno, another mystery.

    Yours confusedly 🙂


  108. Greetings all,

    Well, we’re finally getting around to installing a wood stove, after procrastinating for a decade. It’ll be one mainly for heat with a cooktop for winter soups, etc…

    Also, another finally; when we married in 2008, my wedding present was a scythe from Scythe Supply in Perry, ME (lightweight Austrian-style). Just this week, my husband, who has taken up learning sharpening, dug it out and successfully used it to mow the lawn and our knotweed stand. The weed whacker is going up for sale!

    And Joshua #64, please contact me! We live just over the bridge from Portland. I’ve been here for almost 20 years and can fill you in on things. And I’ve been wanting to post here for other Mainers who may want to occasionally meet up. My email is ammarafa at yahoo.

    Nancy+Oden, where are you in Maine? I’m glad to see others from the Pine Tree state here!

    Last but not least, viduraawakened, have you used the Mitticool fridge? Would it work in warm, humid weather? Thank you for linking to it!


  109. I found Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which I have not yet read, when cleaning a bookshelf. I have recently added poetry to my reading program, and as classical history is my current history project, I decided to read Ovid as well.

    I have the impression that the metamorphosis is a kind of compendium or summing up of classical myth. The first chapter is an account of creation, earth and the heavens being formed out of chaos by a nameless god. I found something rather curious. Lines 61-71 (2004, W. W. Norton, Chas. Martin trans.)

    And as the vault of heaven is divided
    by two zones on the right and two on the left.
    with a central zone, much hotter, in between,
    so, by the care of this creator god,
    the mass that was enclosed by the sky
    was zoned in the same way, with the same lines
    inscribed upon the surface of the earth.
    Heat makes the middle zone unlivable,
    and the two outer zones are deep in snow;
    between these two extremes, he placed two others
    of temperate climate, blending cold and warmth.

    Publius Ovidius Naso was neither a scientist nor an explorer. How would he have known of the existence of Antarctica? Any southern place of which he might have heard, such as India or sub-Saharan Africa, was in the tropics. Unless “two outer zones deep in snow” was something widely known by educated Romans? We know so very little of early Asian explorations.

  110. Hi John Michael,

    This one is provided as a general helpful insight into economic conditions.

    Metricon meets with Victorian government amid insolvency rumours

    Now, inflation is a funny thing in that it pushes up prices, and has the feedback loop that people ask for higher wages to accommodate this situation. Wages go up, and the higher costs are passed on to customers in terms of higher prices.

    Around and around it goes, and where it stops, nobody knows (to quote the children’s Doggerel).

    When companies have to produce stuff on a fixed price contract, and yet they face increased prices, well someone eventually loses. Domestic houses are one such item of ‘stuff’.

    Certainty is a social and economic abstract construct upon which many activities are undertaken. Recently, I’d have to suggest that the rug has been pulled out from underneath that abstract construct, and here we are today. The pressure is always applied downwards.



  111. Greetings John,
    I was wondering if perhaps you might be a able to point me in the right direction with something.

    I have a close family member who I suspect may have Asberger’s (based on all the criteria I’ve read, they seem to check all the boxes). I know this would be a delicate subject, and I would never dream of bringing it up to them, but this is someone I am close to and care very deeply for, and I would love to see them get help and live a more fulfilling life.

    Is there somewhere I can go, something I can read, or maybe someone I can talk to who could help? What would you recommend I do?

  112. For whoever was asking about canals in western China, my first reaction was “LOL, whut?” (they’re all in the east–the Grand Canal being the archetype), but on looping it up, there is in fact a canal project planned for western Sichuan up to the border of Qinghai. Everything I found was behind a paywall, unfortunately.


    Chuaquin (no. 37), lucid dreams can be induced in the lab by shining light into the closed eyes of a sleeper (who has been trained to recognize that as a signal that they are dreaming) (they can see the light even through their closed eyelids). I think somebody sells a home version of this device?

    A Tibetan Buddhist approach would be to train oneself to ask “Am I dreaming” even about the waking world, so that when one is, in fact, dreaming, one will recognize this. (The waking world is thought to also be dreamlike.)

    Other tips: Train yourself to wake up several times during the night, and immediately ask “Did I dream?” (since dreams go into short-term memory), then write down any dreams one remembers. Apparently most lucid dreams happen after dawn–but then, this may just reflect the fact that we tend to get up around then, and then remember whatever dream we just had. So…sleep late?


    Will1000 (no. 41), I would be interested in such a topic. A number of New Age types teach reincarnation and karma, combined with more or less fanciful visions of past lives in Atlantis or whatnot. It is easy to say that Atlantis etc. are archetypal images rather than literal past lives–but then, what would “karma” even mean?


    Northwind Grandma (no. 48), Osho teaches forms of mediation in which one laughs for no reason, or screams into one’s pillow. Meanwhile, the Church of the SubGenius recommends that devotees affix an image of “Bob” in the restroom for purposes of “excremeditation.” It is hard to say which practice is the more sublime.


    Booklover (no. 58), Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams recommends that we attempt to avoid confirmation bias by testing our views with predictions.


    Nicholas Carter (no. 63) “Tibet…is as far from the roads on China’s western border as Madrid is from Brussels.”

    What does this mean? Lhasa is well connected to the rest of China by road and rail. I can’t see China losing Tibet again at this point–there are too many Chinese people living there. If China breaks up, then the result isn’t Tibetan independence, but some kind of Chinese warlord. India is separated from Tibet by mountains, and in places, by buffer countries.

    Speaking of Trump, since I am interested in Tibet and the Himalayas, for years I wondered what Trump’s attitude towards the region was. Finally I found out. The story goes that one day, Trump was given a briefing on Sino-Indian relations. He wondered aloud what “all this other stuff” was on the map, i.e. the several countries in between China and India, and was informed that they were Nepal and Bhutan. Trump is said to have laughed at their names, which reminded him of “nipple” and (belly) “button.”


    Michael Martin (no. 66), “bastard” was formerly a legal term, with important implications for things like inheritance. I am aware of a British man whose birth certificate bore the notation “bastard” under his name. (They don’t do this anymore.) He proudly displayed it on his wall!

    The debate over divorce goes back thousands of years, and is found in the New Testament, for instance.

  113. Dear JMG and commentariat,

    If I may, I’m curious if you know of any books that comprehensively discuss the magical and spiritual aspects of pregnancy that you might recommend. Certainly I’ve seen some discussion in the context of reincarnation, but most of the books focus on death rather than rebirth, and the only discussions I have read of the magical dimensions of pregnancy have been online, and have not been comprehensive. I’m quite curious and so ask you and the commentariat!

  114. Hi Liam J,

    Your family may end up being very glad you learned how to live off the grid.


  115. About sewing books: each of the big four pattern companies, Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue, and McCall’s published how to sew books throughout the 40s-80s, and all are quite good with earlier usually being better. Professional sewists with whom I have spoken swear by the Reader’s Digest Book of Sewing, which is a big book, very detailed and very well illustrated with clear and understandable drawings.

    My go to references for pattern drafting are How to Make Sewing Patterns by Donald McGunn and Dorothy Malone’s Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking. Both are especially good for skirts and pants. Drafting for above the waist is a bit more complicated, and you might want to alter a commercial basic shell or tank top pattern to fit yourself or a client exactly and then use that to guide the fit of other garments. The book which explains how is Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zieman.

    Medieval costume for women is easy to draft. I have done so. The bustier thing didn’t appear until the Tudor era, along with puffy pants for men. Personal opinion, I think Tudor era garments for both genders are the ugliest clothing ever devised by insolent tailors for the humiliation of their clients.

  116. Mark, my working assumption is that the Lytton heat spike was one of those temporary extremes you get during the chaotic transition from one climate regime to another. I’m prepared to be wrong, of course.

    Old Steve, that’s a fine example. I expect it to be repeated over and over again, with many technologies, over the next few decades.

    Susie, thanks for this! The publisher of The Druid Path is B&N’s house publisher, so that’s no surprise.

    Dave, it would be interesting to see how much of that is because other causes of death are more common in other third world countries. (Don’t let the coastal cities fool you — the US is a third world country.)

    WindMan, ha! I like that.

    Dave, nope. I haven’t had much contact with the Permaculture scene. Anyone else?

    Illuminate, (1) you’d have to experiment and find out. These things aren’t a matter of theory — they can and should be learned from practice. (2) I don’t know enough about those methods to be sure, but it’s possible. (3) The whole question of whether the effects of magical workings have changed over the ages is a vexed one, and as far as I know impossible to test at present. What we can be more or less sure of is the set of limits we have to deal with now.

    Simon, it depends very much on where you are. The urban east coast, especially in the middle and upper classes, has always been culturally subservient to Europe, though which part of Europe has varied from time to time — early on it was mostly England, in the first half of the 20th century it was France, and these days it’s usually Scandinavia. (There’s a recent book on the cultural cringe of the US comfortable classes toward Scandinavia titled The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, for what it’s worth.) Outside those regions and classes? Not a chance. That division marks one of the big cultural fracture lines in the US.

    Siliconguy, I’d love to see a comprehensive net energy analysis…

    Chris, let’s just say you’re not the only person who’s noticing parallels to 2007.

    Mary, excellent! A lot of ancient people knew about things they supposedly shouldn’t have known about. A good many Greek writers, Plato among them, knew there was another continent on the other side of the Atlantic, and knowledge about Antarctica was surprisingly widespread before it was officially discovered; here’s a nice example from around 1500:

    Chris, yep. I expect it to get quite colorful.

    Ethan, my approach — once I first learned about the existence of Aspergers syndrome — was to head for the nearest big public library and read every book on the subject I could find. (Now of course that’s a typical response for an Aspie!) I’m not at all sure whether that would help you, but it’s what worked for me.

    Violet, I know of very little on the subject — it typically gets a couple of pages in occult books, which is why my comments on the subject all sound more or less the same. I’ll be interested to see if anyone else has anything to recommend.

  117. Mary, in Roman times it was already known the Earth is round and thus the existence of different climate zones in the Northern and Southern hemisphere followed logically from that knowledge, even if there wasn’t any direct knowledge of Australia and Antarctica. There were even Earth globuses in ancient Greece with the landmasses then known.

  118. JMG – I too was going to post a summary of Zeihan’s presentation but see others beat me to it.

    Here is the correct link –

    I know you don’t like blobs of colour on glass, but this is a slideshow presentation. You could probably get away with just the audio.

    His analysis is nuanced in places, particularly when related to his expertise around supply chains and resource flows.

    On the question of Russia selling to China … according to PZ it’s not as simple as redirecting trade.

    First, the gas fields in the west of Russia supply Europe. The fields in the East supply China. They are separated by thousands of miles of Siberian tundra with no pipelines connecting them. They could build the infrastructure but that is no easy task.

    Second is oil. PZ predicts 4-5 million barrels of oil a day are being shut in right now. This creates “indigestion” throughout the supply chain. When the indigestion reaches all the way back to the well head, the well must be stopped. That means the oil stops flowing. He says most Russian oil is drilled in areas of permafrost. That means the liquids in the oil well will freeze and crack the well. That’s the end of that well’s operational life. (Would love to hear Oilman’s take on this).

    Add to this issue the departure of a huge quantity of technical expertise as the western oil companies and service companies have left. PZ says Russia does not have the expertise anymore to handle this. So Russian oil won’t be available to anyone, including China.

    He predicts 4-5 million barrels a day of Russian oil and another 1m of Kazak oil will go offline in the next few months. This could create such a price spike that Biden uses his legal authority to ban exports of US oil. If that were to happen, Europe, Asia and the rest are left to fight it out over West African and Persian Gulf oil. He suggests again, this scenario could come to pass this year.

    Some of his predictions are even darker than that.

    With the disruptions to energy, food and fertilizer supply out of Russia and Ukraine “a billion people could die” from famine in the “next few years”.

    It is against this backdrop that he says the PRC is essentially finished. Collapsing this decade, if not this year! They do not have the ability to feed themselves. They do not have the ability to project power into the Indian Ocean to secure Persian Gulf supplies. He suggests half a billion Chinese could die very quickly.

    There is plenty more in the presentation and I recommend it to the commentariat. We will know very soon if his thinking is even remotely on the right path, or not.

  119. @ Bei Dawei #112

    Clay Dennis (no. 23), things do not seem to be going Russia’s way, either. At this point they’ll be lucky to take and hold a bigger chunk of Donbas.

    Sources, please? Have yet to see anything not going their way despite propaganda to the contrary.

  120. Has anyone here read Nightmare Alley? There’s a lot in there! I was unaware of its depth till I started analyzing it chapter by chapter.

  121. Hey jmg

    I want to ask you about why you think a lot of neurotypical people seem to think that people with autism/Asperger’s are child-like.

    One of my theories is that the cautious approach we often take when interacting, because we don’t want to do or say something “wrong”, reminds people of the shyness kids exhibit when they talk with adults they aren’t familiar with.

  122. Mary Bennett (no. 122) “…sewists…”

    I was today years old when I first saw that term. You know that cartoon meme of the guy who raises his hand to object, thinks for a minute, then lowers his hand? That’s me right now!

  123. Heather,

    The interesting thing is that I remember around the last spike my parents made simple and reasonable preparations. I was in elementary school when it started, but I remember during my childhood that my parents got in the habit of walking to pick up groceries; took the time to make sure we had a working generator, and made sure they kept it supplied; when we moved, they assessed the neighbourhood to make sure it was walkable; they started to grow some food in the backyard; and made other simple, reasonable preparations. I kept on hoping that that ray of common sense would come back, but at this point I don’t think it will until late enough in the game that I expect them to slam face first into some serious crises before it’s resolved.


    What I found fascinating about it all is that there’s so much flailing, but no one seems to want to talk about what can and should be done to prepare for the next time there’s an outage; and the people who kept power are blabbing on about how this proves they don’t need to worry about power outages. I wonder what will finally break the delusion that this sort of thing is temporary and transient, and just how much of a mess we’ll see when it happens.


    As a straight white male, I’d like to note that one of the major issues we face is that it is socially acceptable to hate on those who happen to be any combination of straight, white, or male, on the basis of those biological traits. This is as unfair and absurd as any other case of hating on someone for a quirk of biology, and the fact that the media makes the case all the time for why hating someone for biology is insane, but refuses to apply it in this one case helps fuel a lot of frustration.

    Add to this that the younger generations are expected to be able to follow in the same kind of life pattern the Baby Boomers did, despite the massive number of obstacles which now exist (ex: the dramatic increase in rent to income over the last few decades has priced a lot of us out of being able to live independently; a terrible job market for entry level positions blocked a lot of us from entering the job market for years, and then the lack of real options for advancement once in trapped a lot of us in those jobs for a long time), and it makes sense that a lot of people are losing it.

    Human men tend to become violent when we lose it, and one outcome of this is pointless mass shootings.

  124. JMG, understood but just to follow up if its ok. So with regards to the Draugr when you wrote your book would you say they were entirely ethereal beings or was there infact physical animation? The sources I read talked about them physically reanimating and walking out of their Barrow, which if true it might raise a question of how they would have been distinguished from the living and if they would have had the same cellular processes. Bodies ‘sitting up’ (If it still happens) is still not regarded as naturally explainable or ‘possible’ by morticians I think.

    What type of damage or change in the body of the deceased do you think is required in order to destroy the ethereal body? If all blood was removed would that do it or it would just be something like Formaldehyde that destroys its attachment from the physical?

  125. @Ellen

    Thank you for your reply. I haven’t used the Mitticool refrigerator myself, although I intend to buy it when I have a house of my own.

    As for your question about its efficacy in regions with warm and humid climates, I checked the site, and found positive testimonials from Mumbai and Kerala – both being places with warm and humid climates. So I suppose it should be okay for your requirements as well. I suppose you will have to contact the company for more details, as such things normally necessitate prior testing using hygrometers, and the like, before the refrigerator is actually installed.

    Hope this helps🙂.

    @Mary Bennett

    I’ll attempt to answer your question by way of an analogy pertaining to India.

    The religion of Progress holds that ancient people were stupid and didn’t really know much about anything scientific. But is it really true? Consider this –

    1. The Hindu astronomer-mathematician Aryabhatta worked out the value of pi to 4 decimal places (the decimal system was already known in India in his time), and posited a heliocentric theory of the solar system, sometime in the Gupta period. He also proved that the Earth is round and not flat.

    2. Surgery was quite developed in ancient and classical India. Many surgical instruments used today are descended from instruments that were used in traditional Hindu surgery. Texts like the Sushruta Samhita describe this in detail. Stuff like rhinoplasty is also of Indian origin.

    3. Botanical and agricultural knowledge too was extensive. While many of the causal theories behind agricultural phenomena seem nonsensical in the light of modern science, the techniques and practices developed did yield results. Texts like the Vrikshayurveda contain some really interesting recipes like this one:

    This is not to say that ancient Indians knew everything. However, if they could know all these things in the absence of modern tech, it’s quite possible that the Greco-Roman world too knew a surprising number of things. It is possible, IMO, that the Greco-Roman fleets did sail to the Arctic region. This doesn’t seem far-fetched when you keep in mind Thor Heyerdahl’s study of the Polynesian voyages, which were done with relatively much simpler tech.

  126. -Adding details to my previous post sorry*

    I forgot to mention apparently it says the Draugr were not affected by sunlight or that there are no sources indicating it?

  127. Malleus M. #50

    Hello again, fellow Earthship fan! This really IS the best spot on the interwebs 🙂 I was looking for an episode of Escape to the Country which showcased someone teaching ancient cob building methods in Britain, but instead found these folks:

    Best wishes for your project!

  128. Dear JMG and Ecosophisians. Good morning to you from Pakistan
    I would like to update everyone on the currently ongoing Savesoil movement to rejuvenate soils across the world. Several dozen nations have either signs MoU’s or committed to some degree to raise organic content in soils to at least 3%. At UNCCD COP 15 in Ivory Coast, Sadhguru (the person leading the movement) insisted that soil be separated from climate change and other environmental issues. It must also be solved as a single point agenda, similar to the Montreal protocol for the the Ozone. UAE Ministry of Climate Change and other Arabian nations have been quite enthusiastic about the idea. Reportedly, word of the movement and soil extinction issue has already reached roughly 1.5 billion or more people through social media and other means. The target is to get to at least 60% of the world’s electorate to talk about soil in some way.
    If you haven’t already, you can learn more at You can also engage on social media with #Savesoil hashtag, or spread the word in anyway that seems appropriate to you🙏 All of this will help get soil degradation as an issue into public consciousness.
    Let’s make it happen🌿🌿🌿

  129. Datapoint: I work in a farm supply store in northern Alberta. We literally cannot keep up with price tag changes anymore. We also only have Roundup for contract customers set up months ago, nothing to sell to walkins. Other farm chemicals in limited supply. Feed & fuel prices are climbing steadily. How long can this continue? How does it end?

  130. Dave in WA about permaculture courses.

    I have no direct knowledge of Paul Wheaton but I do read where he is very involved.
    I just want to note two things from my and others’ experience.
    First is that permaculture is a very down to Earth art. You need to do something. Do you have the time and desire to do that? Otherwise a boot camp is just a fancy camping trip.
    Second, most US “permaculture” classes are just cons designed to attract suburbanites willing to virtue signal. People pay $5000 for a weekend to learn how to make rain barrels then they get a certificate, big deal!

    What I did is read a lot of books. Most books on permaculture written by americans are ridiculous. I remember one where this famous permaculturist said it’s not good to move to the countryside because he had to maintain a mile long driveway and had to drive a lot to the grocery store for vegetables and meat. Books written by the originators of the word (from Australia) or Europe are much better.
    Even better – read old books on farming and gardening before fossil fuels. What do you know, permaculture is just a rebranding of old techniques.
    After reading all the books I proceeded to try (and mostly fail) a lot of their recommendations. You have to find out what works in your area and for your budget.

  131. Greetings from New Zealand JMG and the commentariat,
    Though we have so far dodged the covid bullet compared to many other countries (IMHO, covid is real and for some people has pretty dire effects, my sis is a nurse at SF General Hospital and she sees it daily), we are not immune to the current world-wide economic climate changes. Stagflation, rising interest rates (good for me as I’m debit-free and a saver), bursting housing and other bubbles, resource scarcity , basically just what was predicted in the “Limits To Growth”.
    Its a dire situation for a lot of the younger generation. I know a “young” guy (he’s 30, I’m 77) who is currently obsessed with crypto currency, blockchains, and AI. Some of the attraction for him is the idea that its somehow outside the mainstream economy, the “people power” idea, peer to peer, screw the banks, etc. It appeals to his youthful idealism and its the “in” thing among his peers. The rest of the attraction is making a quick buck, doubling your $ in months or weeks. Idealism and greed….
    These schemes are even more complicated and opaque than the dubious financial “instruments”, subprime loans and credit default swaps, that were in vogue just prior to the 2007 meltdown. It impossible to have a coherent conversation with this intelligent young man about any of this stuff because he always goes off into abstractions and half-understood descriptions of blockchains, non-fungible tokens, blah, blah. To me it all looks like just another scam and its sad to see this guy pouring real (borrowed) money into it.
    Any comments …

  132. JMG,

    Thanks. That makes sense. We get some of those Nordic adulation articles here in Australia too. I assume they are copied straight from US media feeds.

    On a completely different subject, I noticed a couple of right wing commentators in the US have started talking about growing vegetables and cooking your own food. Is gardening about to become part of the culture wars? I can see the NYT headlines now:

    “Far-right extremists caught composting in suburban backyard”

  133. @mm #3
    re: Cob construction

    I built number of cob structures an can attest that the material has an excellent earthen quality to it. Can‘t tell you much about thatch, though.

    A great resource about cob is „The hand-sculpted house“ by Ianto Evans et. al. A very practical and exhaustive book on most aspects of the technique.
    Besides that I recommend getting your hands and feet dirty asap, as nothing teaches cob building like doing it yourself. Try and find a seminar, those are fun!

  134. @Simon S (#106):

    That’s only true of the East Coast, and only in elite circles. Despite living in Rhode Island now, I’m culturally and historically a Californian. (My ancestors came to the San Francisco Bay beginning in the late 1860s.) Europe still feels to me, on a gut level, as a distant and very irrelevant, historically insignificant land. For me, China and Japan are my closest neighbor countries; the differences between them are deep and recognizable; and it’s fairly obvious to me at first sight who is Japanese, who is Chinese. When I first arrived in Rhode Island, I had no idea whatever that, say, an Irish-American, an Italian-American, a Portuguese-American and a Jewish-American were very different in their respective “home” cultures. Nor did I have any clue how to tell whether any given person was one or the other. (After 55 years here, I have slowly learned to spot the differences between them.)

  135. @Yananna (#98):

    Of course social factors contribute to young male violence here, especially the factors here and now that have destroyed any systematic social efforts to integrate young males into a functioning society. Malidoma Some offered a penetrating critique of this deep flaw of our present society in his first, and by far the best, of his books, Ritual: Power, Healing and Community (1993).

    However, it has deeper roots than that. I’d like to stress the importance of what Violet (#105) wrote:

    “the male desire for physical violence is often comparable in its intensity with the desire that many females have to bear children. Both desires have a sort of rising intensity that slowly peters out at certain ages, and a clear biological basis.”


    “At the end of the day, regardless of anything else humans are, we are also mammals and primates and act very similarly to our close relatives the chimpanzees, who also engage in egregious violence towards the weak and defenseless, slaughtering enemy troops with glee when they can.”

    I would actually go a bit farther than Violet did: for many males, violence, especially lethal violence, is just as orgasmic as sex is; and for a few males, it is even more orgasmic than any sex ever is. Lethal violence is a fundamental, very strong, basic need hard-wired into the majority of male human bodies (not all), just as orgasmic release is.

    And the same is true of our closest biological relatives, the chimpanzees. My wife is a primatologist. At one of the international conferences she attended back in the day, one memorable speaker presented a memorable paper and film documenting how groups of young male chimpanzees go out into the wild looking for young male chimps who belong to other troops; when they find one, they slowly torture him to death f– apparently for the sheer joy of torturing and killing. As with chimps, so with humans, more or less.

  136. Bei Dawei

    “What does this mean? Lhasa is well connected to the rest of China by road and rail. I can’t see China losing Tibet again at this point–there are too many Chinese people living there.”

    Remanber chinese people not faust nationalism robot,if China proper’s government can’t control Tibet,they will be assimilation by Tibetan Buddhism, just like Thailand Buddhism assimilation han people.Tibet not Geographical east asia.

    The wish to believe chinese is some kind of jewish is unpractical,In history any han people leave the China proper are always be assimilation by non-chinese, If they can keep their colony they were be split apart into different identities,think they have completely different Mandate,So they can refuse any order from the china.Singapore、Brunei(and many people in taiwan) are the example. if the time was long enough they even can developed different identity, and think their ancestor are not from china but local, you can find these phenomenon in the korea and Vietnam,in the 6th century AD most of people who live in Vietnam are Self-identification as han people but over time they developed their different identity and think they have different Mandate with China,and establish a Long-term independence country.

  137. @Bei Dawei, the Buddhists tell us that ALL of waking life is a sort of dream – just a different sort from sleeping dreams. An illusion, in effect. And physicists have discovered that physical objects are not as solid as we think, of course. Some people believe that we are all just God dreaming himself and that therefore we are literally all one. For me, dreams provide clues to the occult nature of the universe.

    The symbolism of my only lucid dream told me that I was in the afterlife. A humanoid persuaded me to shake hands with her, whereupon I woke up in bed. For 2 or 3 minutes I thought I was dead, as the world had stopped. There was no traffic at all on my usually busy London road, no people or cars to be seen, no birds, cats or foxes at all in my back garden. After 3 minutes or so, a car slowly drove up my road, then the world gradually came back to life. I later read a book by Jenny Randles who named this sort of experience “The Oz effect”. One can of course hypnotise a person not to see certain things, and it is my theory now that the being in my dream hypnotised me not to see these things for a few minutes after I woke up in bed, as a kind of proof that she was real and that reality is MORE than we can imagine – lots more. Weird theory, but how else can I explain it?

    Dimensions – yes, words can have different meanings, or functions – or dimensions! If I ask you how many sides a UK 50 pence coin has, you will tell me seven. If I ask a German, he will tell me it has only TWO sides but seven EDGES! When I try to explain my theory of “dimensions” to others, I compare them to TV channels – nothing special. The Afterlife is just like another TV channel, and we can sometimes use our mind to change channels!

    In the book “Parallels: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena” by the late Richard L Thompson, an American called Dr. Herbert Hopkins describes his encounter with a “man in black” who visited his house:

    He was dressed like an undertaker in an impeccable black suit, was bald, and lacked eyebrows and eyelashes. He sat motionlessly like a clothing-store dummy and proceeded to ask Hopkins a number of questions in flawless English, speaking evenly spaced words in an expressionless monotone. When he rubbed his straight, lipless mouth with his gloved hand, it turned out that he was wearing lipstick. After the conversation had gone on for some time, the man said Hopkins had two coins in his left pocket, which was true, and he asked him to remove one. Hopkins took out a penny, and the man asked him to lay it on his palm. According to Hopkins, “The shiny new penny was now a bright silver color . . . the coin slowly became light blue in color, and then it began to become blurred to my vision. It became more blurred, and then became vaporous and gradually faded away.” Hopkins declared that this was a “neat trick” and asked the man to make the coin return. He replied, “Neither you nor anyone else on this plane [not planet] will ever see that coin again.”

  138. @Dave #59 and permaculture – I got my PDC in 2009 in a group that met in suburban Philly and am absolutely sure that I would not do it again. I found the people in the group almost universally lived in apartments or homes with strict HOA’s and so they couldn’t use anything learned in the course where they lived. So they would come to class and then complain how the entire world needed to be re-organized so they could do permaculture practices where they lived. I don’t know why they took the course.

    We did various projects around the area and visited a few in progress. Zero of the projects made it past 2012. One was funded by the state of PA and folded. Community gardens were never maintained more than 3 seasons. And one person who had a property and we set up a keyhole garden, plower it over to make the house more presentable to sell.

    I’m sure it varies by location and time period, but I find permaculture people to be all talk and little action. When they do act, they only do it for a few years, then whatever propelled them to do it must wear off.

    For myself, I found the final project to map out to scale a site, then plan a permaculture design on it using the principles to be super valuable. I’m still following mine now on our property over a decade later. It forced me to learn to identify every plant and tree and study how the water flowed, and learn the soil type. I produce excellent compost each year and have an incredibly diverse plant population here.

    I don’t know Paul Wheaton but his entire Twitter is him asking for more money shilling permaculture designs that have been around for over two decades. I don’t know I’m probably just sour on permaculture people because I thought they wanted to work to create a different present but they were more interested in complaining.

  139. @Dave in WA

    This is opinion only, so take it for what it’s worth: I’d approach anything Wheaton with extreme caution. I’ve been very interested in permaculture over the years, but could never really get into it, and Wheaton is a major part of that. I can’t really put my finger on it, but when I’ve tried to listen to him in podcasts or watch him in video, I simply can’t do it. The man seems deeply unbalanced, and the way he relates to other people in those formats is alarming. It’s been a while since I gave it a whirl and maybe I’m misremembering, but… try it yourself. Find some podcasts or video where he is interacting with other people– both his own student/assistants and other people interviewing him or touring his farm– and observe closely. What I was hearing there was a deeply angry person, with the people assisting him constantly having to stroke his ego and try to calm him down and redirect him (often failing). It seemed like a really unhealthy dynamic, and I’ve known enough people like that IRL that it made me sick to my stomach to hear, and I could not listen, even though I was very interested in the content. I also got the distinct impression that he is one of those people who is full of “great” ideas that he can never, quite, implement properly, because reasons. Mostly other people’s fault.

    Again, It’s been a while, maybe I just caught him on a bad day. Maybe track down some audio/video of him and see if you observe the same thing, or not. Draw your own conclusions.

  140. We are once again returning to the era of privateer armies working hand-in-hand with political leaders. It’s now common knowledge that Ukraine was using the Azov militias as shock troops. And when “anarchist” black bloc kiddies started attacking protests against state-sponsored vaccination requirements it became pretty clear that these rioters are state or corporate funded. It also became clear that, in America as in Ukraine, the lines between oligarchs and government leaders was a very blurry one.

    The Russia/Ukraine war brought the Azov/Ukraine government connection into the open. As for Antifa, I’ve noticed a dramatic drop off in “wokeness” over the past few weeks. Netflix dropped its entire “Diversity Board.” Florida gave the Mouse the bird over Disney’s support of teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to children under 3rd grade.

    In the 70s lots of limousine liberals idolized scruffy revolutionaries and funded radical causes. (Remember Leonard Bernstein’s infamous party for the Black Panthers?) Patty Hearst and Charles Manson put the kibbosh on that and by 1980 we had Ronald Reagan keeping conservatives happy while The Usual Suspects looted the Treasury and began the process of dismantling America’s unions and manufacturing sector.

    If this downturn follows the 1970s script, I expect to see the Republicans fielding a grandfatherly, reassuring type who talks a good game. I also expect the Democrats to distance themselves from causes and groups they have tacitly supported. Some will double down, but after a few lose elections the rest will come around. And “Antifa” doesn’t really have a strategic place in any of that. So I would expect to see that public/private funding moving away from the Black Bloc militias toward actual militias who use guns and artillery rather than mace and baseball bats.

    If I’m right, we will see a dramatic decline in Antifa street squabbles and maybe even a few lengthy prison sentences for crimes that once garnered a slap on the wrist. So keep an eye on the kiddies in black and see what comes next.

  141. Dear JMG,

    – How can one know if he’s been re-contacted by an order from a previous life? Is there a certain mark that’s usually common in this case? What do you suggest for someone curious about that?

    – In one of your posts about Lemuria you mentioned the possibility of Saturn being a sun of former universe if I remember correctly, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Strangely enough, I was going through a rather peculiar and rare Islamic text from the Qaramatian literature, possibly the only text we have from that culture, it shows deep and esoteric understanding of religion, it mentions Saturn as a “lower plane” of hell according to Holy Qur’an, the book is called Shajarat Alyaqeen (The Tree of Certitude), just thought of mentioning it if you ever had the chance to get your hands on a decent English translation. I’ve always been interested in this part of Islamic history and possibly because lots of misinformation about it been going on for hundreds of years.

    – You mentioned sometime ago that certain astrological alignments/influences will give rise back to monarchies in the near future, what were they? I cannot recall it unfortunately.

    Have a nice day.

  142. Recently moved to Western MD and looking for a Druidic order. I am new to the tradition, but have long felt a deep calling and connection to the rites of my ancestors. I am gifted spiritually and want to learn how to amply those gifts and use them for more practical purposes. Does anyone know of any resources or community in my area that I can connect with?? Thank you!

  143. @JMG re: Ethan – me, too. Every book I could find. The one that called my name the loudest was “Pretending To Be Normal” by Liane Willey Holliday (or was it Holliday Willey?)

  144. In regards to Paul Wheaton, I personally find him insufferably arrogant, boorish and self-centered, but he does have some good info and ymmv. I was lucky to intern at a real deal premaculture farm and take their PDC for free… of course there were people who just went back to their apartments and never did anything with the PDC, but there were people who took it seriously and went on to practice what they learned too. I also, of course, did extensive self study and practice over many years. The PDC is like an initiation. It doesn’t work for everybody, but for those whom it does, it is only the beginning. It does help to see these systems first hand, and to be guided by a teacher, but you can learn a lot of it from books, youtube and practice/experimentation- you make more mistakes as an autodidact though.

  145. So… obviously the Trifield Natural EM Meter is discontinued and unavailable for purchase. What are monster hunters using in its place?

  146. @Mohsin Javed

    I want to bring up something which is not the #SaveSoil movement, but something similar – the Miyawaki method of forest regeneration.

    Basically, it was developed by the late Japanese botanist Dr. Akira Miyawaki, and has quite an impressive potential for forest regeneration in terms of forest density, plant biodiversity, and speed of plant growth.

    Mr. Shubhendu Sharma, founder of Afforestt, has been implementing this method in various places in India, and a few places in Pakistan as well. You can find out more here:

    Also, regarding soil regeneration, I invite you to check out the link I posted in my reply to Mary Bennett. You might find it useful.

    Hope this helps:)


    Was there anything wrong with my comment to you in which I asked you a couple of questions? I ask because you put the comment through, i.e. you approved it, but you didn’t reply to it. Or maybe you missed it while replying…hope you don’t mind:)

    Also, what strategy/strategies would you recommend for preserving modern techniques of historiographical research? I find that modern scientific historiography, its limitations notwithstanding, is worth preserving and passing on to future civilizations. Perhaps there will be a future civilization which, as Spengler said, will develop a language which is best suited for history to be written in, the way mathematics is the language of physics and chemistry. But till that happens, we would be better off making do with what we have. More than historical information, it’s the techniques of analysis, deliberation and writing that need to be passed on, IMO. Hence my question.

  147. Folks don’t have to answer, but am I the only one who is looking into privacy tools for when we are online?

    I am wondering if I am crossing the line from a safe caution to a mild paranoia.

    The thrones and dominions seem to be getting a touch testy about being questioned. If things get worse (that is my bet) I don’t think it out of the question that snooping will go up.

  148. Hi John

    Interesting article on why the Chinese and Russian economies are far more important once you strip out the notional value in nice-to-have services built in to the Western economy.

    In regard to PZ, I get that the infrastructure issues are a challenge, but are they insurmountable? Sure, the Russians will probably face a drop in production but with higher prices and new pipelines to the East and global South coming by the end of the decade, they should be ok.

  149. I noticed some interesting parallels in the arguments of the proponents of green/nuclear power and the “Ukraine is winning” crowd”. As we have discussed ,the math does not add up for continuing our current lifestyle with solar, wind, and magic-nukes, nor does it add up to that a poor, corrupt country without a functioning airforce , navy, command structure or working transportation system is going to defeat a larger county with short supply lines, air superiority, standoff weapons superiority , numbers superiority and decades of technical and mental preparation for its undertaking.
    Most of the popular arguments for the bright future of green energy tend to be based on such things as, coming breakthrough technologies, scrappy innovators disrupting the status quo and the ” it just has to happen because the good people deserve it”
    The exact same thinking goes in to the arguments of why the war will soon go the Ukraines way. Most of them fall in to the categories of ; The newest wonder weapon from Nato will change everything ( Javelin, switchblade drone, etc.), the scrappy underdogs have figured out how to disable Russian tanks with tuna fish cans and gunpowder, or the ” Democratic Good people of Ukraine will certainly win over the dark forces led by Slavic Voldemort”. In both cases the arguments stem not from logic or evidence but digging in to the tool box of the religion of progress.

  150. @ MethyEthel re # 149 & Paul Wheaton

    I don’t think it’s just you. Not being into permaculture I hadn’t heard of him before. I found a Ted talk video of him talking about energy. He struck me as restless, bombastic and more than a little sarcastic. I found him a little hard to take as well and didn’t finish the video. He has a number of fans who praise him to the high heavens while others such as the couple on this video

    came away with a strong negative feeling about his permaculture bootcamp. Your milage may vary, I guess.

  151. @Bei Dawei (Yes, just like him- in my part of the world those novels are much less famous and when they are brought up they’re considered smut. I’m normally asked about a local musician with the same name who was popular in my childhood)
    The logic for invading Romania as it was explained to me was that the mountains themselves are the goal: that Russia hopes to ride out the deindustrial shocks with a land border it’s almost impossible to penetrate with good logistics. To that end they want to plug the little gap between Galati and Focsani (sic) with military installations. Which will probably mean a 2016 style land grab or splintering off a puppet state in the regions bordering Moldova as opposed to a full invasion.
    I do think Zeihan indicates a form of myopia that we don’t normally think about in our elites: It’s not that they are blind or denying the issue exists at all, but to them it’s a perfectly ordinary solvable problem, and if we’d all just sit back quietly and let them work in peace they’d have us over these little bumps in the road in no time. Biden *thinks* he is managing the wind down of the American Empire. He *thinks* he’s massaging us through cyclic political turbulence. He *thinks* he’s preparing us for a drawdown in global wealth. It’s just a question of whether the medicine is worse than the disease.
    Like, the military *is* hosting speakers telling them that the shale, green, and oil energy revolutions are collapsing, along with the entire system of globalized trade- they just don’t think of it as an existential crisis, just another little challenge to be a sub-header in some future history book on the middle part of America’s history. Which is sort of right, if you take a philosophical enough view I guess.
    AltHist is interesting, but he seems to be less accurate the more local he casts his gaze. His analysis of trap music for example suggests a certain unfamiliarity with parties and why that music might be aesthetically useful. My recollection though is that he also lives in a radically differently part of the country than I do, and you can barely know anything about El Paso from Austin.
    My two cents on dreams is that when we sleep we are not actually unconscious. We think, as we always do. But to be deprived of all novel stimulus for several hours, and unable to form short term memories to link our train of thought into a greater narrative, we enter into a self hypnotic trance so extreme that we lose sight of the line between fantasy and reality. And that is what a dream is: a ‘day’ dream that has received so much focus it has encompassed all experience. And if human beings have any capacity for divining the future- in a mundane sense of planning in forecasting or in a more occult modality- then we will naturally think about the future as we dream.
    On the topic of Sino-Indian relations, I don’t think that the involvement there will be related to Tibetan politics: China is building dams in the area that would allow them to dry up the Brahmaputra, and these are likely to be seen as existential threats in the future. Most of the Belt and Road infrastructure passes through Xinjiang province, which means that China will be exchanging a naval trade precarity vis the US for a land trade precarity of roughly equal difficulty vis India. Holding that territory is likely prohibitive, but having a few special forces hike across the border with javelins on grain-truck day is probably easily done, especially if there is any instability in the regions west.

  152. Hello JMG,

    I tried your suggestion to reduce my discretionary expenses by half for a month, i.e. by eating much more rice , eggs and vegetables, and by buying things only when I need, and not going to coffee shops or restaurants much. I decreased by 35 % so far. Thanks .

    Do you have other suggestions on how to reduce expenses without reducing quality of life much?

    I read an article about two guys who lived like the poor in India for a month. Without going that far as it would reduce my ability to work (they could not eat nutritious meals, and they spent most of their time on food gathering and cooking), I think it is interesting to experiment and train with how far one can go in expenses reduction and function normally, and have a fairly good quality of life.
    I would also feel safer having that skill since there is no guarantee of high income in the decades to come.

    Any thought or advice on that topic would be appreciated, from you and other readers..


  153. Re: Mass shooting

    Seems for me that the gun violence in the US are, in some specific aspects, unique in the world, not only not comparable with others developed countries, but even with extremely violent societies as Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc…In the case of those countries, with extreme violence, you see the pattern of gang tactics, power struggles, revenges, ethnic/racial hate, inforced omertá (mafia), political terror, and so on, and at the end they are tactics we can say are “purposeful” to some end of an organization or group of people, but the mass shooting in US, in most cases, lack this kind of foundation/pattern.
    For example in the case of the recent mass shooting committed by some person or people from inside the community against their “equals” (in schools, workplace, concerts, etc…) As far as I know this kind of murders are very very rare outside the US, something is unique to US that make this kind of tragedies more frequent.

    The first words that come to my mind trying to explain this are: rage, imitation and nihilism.


  154. For anyone who is looking for an on line permaculture PDC, i would recommend the one offered by Quail Springs in CA. I believe they are in the midst of one now, but will offer another in the autumn. I know most of the instructors and they are excellent. They used to teach it on site, but with the Covid and certain land use issues, had to go on line. I spend part of my year there, and have done so for 17 years. Sasha Rabin, the instructor for the natural building segment of the course is excellent, and also teaches separate natural building courses. She was in charge of building my cob cabin.Both she and Quail Springs can be reached at They also offer work trade situations, which are a great way to learn more of a permaculture, farm life.
    I hope this doesn’t come across as an ad. I have nothing to gain from it, but feel it can be a gateway to a different lifestyle. People often go on from there to situations at organic farms, etc. I fully agree with JMG that it is probably too late to start a somewhat self sufficient rural life on ones own, but not to find a place on a farm that is looking for help. That is a route people often don’t think of. If anyone wishes to contact me personally, they are welcome to at stephen h pearson all run together at

  155. With our host permission, I will continue this journey through the musical culture of Mexico. Today is May 26th, and while I would love to bring some Geminean vibe for your consideration… it’s just been Mother’s Day.

    The figure of the Mother is greatly revered in Mexican culture. I do not want to lecture or debate on this, but I see the traditional Mexico as a de facto matriarchate (for all the “machismo”, both factual and alleged, you will find around here).

    The list of options is very long. If the mother is still alive, the Brasilean-Mexican songwright Denise De Kalafe has given us the best know example in Señora, señora (Lady, lady). On the other hand, if the mother has already passed, the hymn of filial love that is Amor eterno (Eternal love) by Juarez’s Divo, Juan Gabriel, is beyond match. All the big names have tried their hand at this; but then, I want to try something different.

    Pedro Fernandez (born José Martín Cuevas Cobos) is a talented and versatile singer who continues to carry the torch of Ranchero Music in the international scene. He picked his stage name out of admiration for his two idols: Pedro Infante and Vicente Fernandez. He has had a very long and successful career that started as a child in the 1970’s. From those early beginnings I gift you with Flores para mi Madre.

    (Translation by Google Translate, corrected by me)

    With music from heaven
    I sing to you my mother
    I sing to you on this day
    of love and joy.

    Here I bring you these flowers
    of a thousand colors [they] are
    To you my dearest mother
    who suffers my pain.

    On this glorious day
    that joy reigns
    the sky is more beautiful [and]
    gives us the light of day.

    On this glorious day…

    Remember dear mother
    when I was very young,
    you always looked at me
    with all of your love.

    Today is your saint’s day
    In your bedroom I’ll put flowers,
    carnations and lilies
    all in a thousand colors.

    On this glorious day… [twice]

    Remember dear mother…

    Today is your saint’s day…

    May God give you the glory
    to you my dearest mother
    In exchange for your history
    may you always be blessed.

    May God give you the glory…

  156. Darren, I’m familiar with these claims, and they don’t hold water. First, the boycott of Russian crude oil is so leaky it makes a sieve look watertight; ship-to-ship transfers are being used to work around it. Second, Zeihan’s overstating the amount of crude that would be shut in — says three million bpd later this year, and only if the EU is able to make its boycott stick — and last I checked, it’s entirely possible to decrease the flow per well in many cases without shutting wells off completely, so maintaining wells in working condition in permafrost would be an option. (I’ll look forward to Oilman2’s comments here as well.)

    Third, if the EU does decide to commit economic suicide by shutting off Russian gas — a step which they don’t seem especially interested in taking, despite the bluster — maybe you can think of two countries better prepared than Russia and China for the huge brute-force infrastructure project of building a trans-Siberian pipeline, but I can’t. Fourth, given that Russia is expecting a record harvest this year — global warming may be bad for some but it’s money in the bank for Siberian farmers — it’s kind of odd to suggest that Chinese are going to starve because China can’t import grain and fertilizer from the world’s largest grain and fertilizer feedstock exporter, with whom it shares close economic ties and a common land border with rapidly upgrading rail links.

    That is to say, Zeihan’s scenario is the sort of thing I fielded all the time during the peak oil years: somebody strings together a set of worst-case scenarios and presents it as a prediction of what’s going to happen. Once it doesn’t happen — because of course it never does — they just change the subject and start predicting some other version of imminent doom. It’s great clickbait, and most people never seem to grow tired of it, but it inevitably rests on the fallacy that nobody will see what’s happening and take the obvious steps to prevent it.

    J.L.Mc12, it’s partly that, but I think there’s something else involved as well. Children haven’t yet learned to read all the subtle body language and social cues that neurotypicals use for 90% or so of their communication, and Aspies like you and me never do learn how to read those. So we remind them of children in that way as well.

    Liam, how bizarre. Thanks for the data point; that makes me wonder how many people will respond to other crises in the same ways.

    Illuminate, my working guess is that the draugr were etheric. Really dense etheric condensations can affect physical matter, as any good poltergeist can demonstrate; lycanthropy is clearly etheric, but those bodies of transformation can leave footprints and tear out throats. As for forcing the Second Death and dispersing the etheric body, formaldehyde might do it, but mere bloodletting won’t; cremation is much safer.

  157. JMG,
    thanks for creating this space that is diverse enough that it can capture some of the zeitgeist.
    I noticed some people here wishing and hoping for some form of US “winning” or at least surviving longer than W. Europe and Russia.
    To me, the fact that NY Times, Chomsky and Kissinger are talking about negotiations it’s a sure sign that US and its proxies are losing badly and a new Afghanistan moment will happen soon. They might just try to delay it past elections.

    Question to everyone here: does it look like the US mainstream is going through the 5 stages of grief over losing the empire?
    Denial has been in place for decades.
    Anger was obvious at least since Trump won the election in 2016.
    Bargaining always manifests during a crisis (Hydrogen, ethanol, drill drill drill etc) but it’s quite obvious now too in the sudden desire for peace of the warmongers.
    Depression – a lot of normal people have been in this state for years but now even PMCs start to feel it.
    And finally – Acceptance. I have days when I know I am at peace with the future but I admit of still reverting to anger sometimes.

    How do you think acceptance will look like at societal level? Will we ever get there?



  158. @Deringolade, #158

    Don’t bother (too much). My first and foremost line of defense is living the life of a boring, mediocre professor that does not really *get* social media. Do not share too much, do not interact too much, but do not try to hide either (wink, wink). Even if your online persona is airtight, your contact’s will be anything but, and a too clearly defined hole in their dossier’s make for an unusual (aka, interesting) dossier itself.

    Of course, you need basic computer literacy (though I have a skewed sense of how “basic” you can go before it stops being worthy of the label “literacy”). You should not use Muggle passwords, nor leave default options for privacy settings; and a few privacy/safety tools like add blockers and antiviruses are very good to have. However, if you did not acquire the relevant skills in the olden days of text-only Internet, the fact that you are researching serious protection while unprotected makes for a heck of a Chicken-or-Egg problem.

    Other that that… never write/record anything you want unknown in a computer, ever (unless you know what a Faraday cage is, why that’s relevant and have some idea of how to pierce that particular defense). Do not utter anything you want unknown in the presence of Muggles either, because they carry around their spy-phones at all times.

    On the other hand, you can console yourself in the knowledge that nobody is out to get *you* in particular. You do not have to outrun the lion; just the fat, geriatric, half-blind gazelle three places to the left of your current location.

    If anything, at least you know you are not alone. 😉

  159. Denis about permaculture,
    thanks for your view. I agree fullheartedly and I am glad it wasn’t just my different cultural view (I am not from US originally) that made me dislike the way permaculture is debased and sold here.

    To add more for people interested – if you have a chance go to any poor country and you will find plenty of people that still practice traditional gardening. Talk to them and you will learn a lot of “permaculture” practices – actually better because they are tried over generations and most likely much cheaper than any newfangled fashionable thing.

    I personally know E. Europe still has good traditions in this area.

    Another benefit of talking to poor people about this is that you will know if you like this life. It’s not backbreaking work as it is presented by some (that happens only in plantation or serf systems where all the benefits go to the owner), but it does require a flexible mindset and a lot of physical activity and some solitude.
    Just like anything else, don’t do it just because it’s fashionable. There are many ways to survive the current crisis and there are many niches – not just food producing.

  160. @Degringolade
    I’ve considered doing some short fiction in the Haliverse, but I was not sure our host was okay with it.
    It sounds like you are okay with this – do you have some rules or guidelines you would like people to follow?


  161. With regards to how the U.S. compares to other countries in terms of violence.

    The U.S. is relatively open and aboveboard with its statistics yet they’re still biased and laden with error.

    Do you actually believe that other countries do a better, more honest job in what and how they report anything?

    I don’t.

    If I can’t trust U.S. statistics, then I sure can’t trust Chinese or Zimbabwe or Columbian self-reporting.

  162. Re: young men and proclivity for violence – at that age, young men are also far more likely to act rashly and take unnecessary risks of all kinds. At a traffic safety conference some decades ago, one the speakers (who always gave fascinating presentations of cold, hard facts), talked about the high rate of deaths and injuries from motor vehicle crashes among young men (ages 17-24, the highest of any age/gender group). His explanation: “Testosterone poisoning”.

    That said, I think it would be a good idea for all young men to do a year or two of public service – useful service that would involve physical labor, as well as learning practical skills. There is so much that needs to be done: clearing brush from forest floors, insulating and retrofitting homes, picking up litter, etc. Military service is one option. Young women should also be required to do some sort of public service. Separately. I have no clue how a term of public service (whether local, state, or national) could be worked out and paid for, and done without displacing paid workers. I am also aware that the universe doesn’t care what I want to see happen. But one can hope.

  163. Simon @ 141, gardening, especially organic gardening, has been part of culture wars for decades now. Gardeners are taking food out of other people’s mouths, don’t you know? Everyone is supposed to do their part to keep the vast engine of mass consumption turning.

    Viduraawakened, Greek sailors from Massilia (Marseilles) are known to have sailed to Britain, one most likely sailed around both islands, and possibly as far as Iceland. It is likely that Phoenician and Carthaginian sailors did the same; there were reasons why Carthage would tolerate no foreign ships in the Western Mediterranean, (except for the Gulf of Lions where Massilia and her sister and daughter poleis ruled). Cornish tin was needed for bronze making. I have never believed that East Asian sailors would not have been equally adventurous.

  164. I know some of you may have followed and read Sharon Astyk’s writings on peak oil and collapse. (And she has a someone different perspective than Greer on the Covid situation and where it might be heading.) For anyone interested, this Sunday at 8 pm she and her husband are offering a public zoom chat about collapse and preparedness (Free but optional donations accepted). Should be time for questions:

  165. Newsflash.

    SPOKANE, Wash.– For the first time in 2022 Spokane is in the 70s! The weather station at Spokane International Airport hit 70 briefly at 11:20 a.m. and again at 11:50. Highs in the mid-70s are in the forecast for Thursday afternoon.

    May 26th, 2022 is now the latest day in the calendar that Spokane hit its first 70 of the year. This beats the old record by five days. The old record was set over 120 years ago in 1896!

    End of flash.

    April was like the 9th coldest ever recorded, although ever only started in the 1880s when an accurate thermometer finally showed up.

    Garden is off to a slow start.

  166. Dave,
    I’ve heard enough bad press on Paul Wheaton that I’d at least think twice about that, and maybe search for a mentor that’s less…commercial. That’s a problem permaculture suffers from for sure. Selling PDC certs and all.

    There are actually good aspects of permaculture – I totally think it’s worth exploring – despite some folks’ naysaying around here.

  167. JMG,

    Don’t you think it’s interesting how every burial practice in N. America seems to have been put in place to avoid vampires and the like? (Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of your book “Monsters,” and loan my copy out regularly.)


  168. For a while there, it seemed like Unherd was publishing some interesting stuff, including pieces from you and Paul Kingsnorth and Malcolm Kyeyune. But all I’ve seen, these past few months, is a sort of bog-standard contrarianism, very lukewarm, very tepid. And a sort of fascination with modern sexual politics that very drearily goes nowhere and does nothing.

    I’m wondering if the editors got scared by the mounting chaos in the world, and they’ve fallen back to a Potemkin mind-palace which lets them grumble about Putin and feminists.

  169. JMG said…

    “…somebody strings together a set of worst-case scenarios and presents it as a prediction of what’s going to happen. Once it doesn’t happen — because of course it never does — they just change the subject and start predicting some other version of imminent doom. It’s great clickbait, and most people never seem to grow tired of it, but it inevitably rests on the fallacy that nobody will see what’s happening and take the obvious steps to prevent it.”

    I’ve never seen a better description of why I stopped hanging out at CFN and started hanging out here.

    No offense to JHK…

  170. A YouTube astrologer that I follow has recently been going to Quaker meetings to sit in the silence. He loves it and says it blends well with his Bhakti yoga practice.

    It’s just a hunch, but this seems like a way for the PMC to inch back to Christianity without saying that they’re Christian. You can probably move from Vipassana or any Eastern style of meditation to Quaker prayer quite easily.

  171. Tony,

    We basically lived in the (rapidly approaching) 3rd world, or at least the 2nd, for 2 years, here in north Georgia (USA), in a 20X16 wall tent with no plumbing and only a 12W solar-powered fan to keep air circulating in the tent – no other electricity. It got to 106 F one day I remember (but fell quickly when the sun went down). I actually had to go move the little solar panel into the sun several times a day to keep that fan running. We charged our phone (our mobile hot-spot) and laptop in the car when we went to town to keep our business running. We had a woodstove, and a clawfoot tub, and a king-sized bed on a deck floor in our tent, so it wasn’t like sleeping bags by an open fire or anything, but it was still a very real experience. We could tell when air masses changed, right at the border…and we knew all our local owls by name…

    But one thing I can say for sure is that it was GOOD for us. Our lives just adapted as necessary. We know for a fact that we could do it again if we had to. And that’s quite comforting.

    I think you’re doing a righteous and useful thing. Keep exploring. Whatever that means to you..


  172. @ Darren RE: frozen wells…LOLOL

    So, have you ever heard of that happening in the Canadian foothills? Alaskan North Slope? You might want to consider that it is warmer BELOW the permafrost, and warmer the deeper one goes.

    Besides – injecting steam would thaw things pretty fast.

    Most wellhead equipment is rated with an eye towards freezing issues in northern climates You might want to consider any potential damage the result of ice expansion, and it doesn’t expand more just because it gets below 0… So as long as the wellhead is rated high enough, it doesn’t matter.

    We make patching systems for wells with pipe damage, just an FYI…

    Most producing wells are fitted with a variable choke – think throttle valve. So you can reduce the flow.

    Traditional oil wells can be shut-in and recover in most cases. A lot depends on the exact composition of what is produced (acidity, pressure, abrasiveness of particles in flow, paraffin, specific gravity, etc.) Not so much with shale oil due to movement in the frac of the proppant and other issues.

    So, do I need to actually spell things out more? Russians long ago figured out how to deal with these issues – just like Canadians and Alaskans.

    Anyone reading about dire predictions and/or miraculous developments needs to check themselves. EVERY article is written to attract eyeballs first, then the brain attached to said eyeballs. The current internet is governed by mouse clicks – always remain aware of who is paying the writers!

  173. John, et alia–

    Of what practical use, in meditation or otherwise, is Daath? Are there any applications of the Tree of Life where it comes into play? Or is it better left aside?

  174. Karim, nice to see that they’ve noticed. Of course there’s a real chance of serious unrest in the western industrial nations; fifty years of idiotic mismanagement and malign neglect will do that.

    Mohsin, thanks for this. Sadhguru’s a smart guy — he’s clearly noticed that the standard gimmick for stopping constructive action on the environment is to tangle it up with every other issue. Insisting on treating it as a standalone issue is essential.

    Svea, how does it end? There’s a fine old book about that…

    Sandy, I think blockchain will eventually be useful — well, for as long as the necessary computer hardware remains available — but right now cryptocurrencies are a Ponzi scheme propped up only by the willingness of one sucker to buy from another. They have a long way to fall before they return to their actual value.

    Simon, it’s already happening. One of the most fascinating shifts in US culture these days is the abandonment of hippie topics like backyard gardening and herbal medicine by the left, and their enthusiastic adoption by the right.

    Hackenschmidt, thanks for this. The number of scenarios that would make that happen are multiplying.

    Kenaz, of course! The implosion of BLM — have you been following the latest stories about misappropriation of funds there? — is another sign of the same transformation under way. Partly, of course, it’s becoming clear (one school board and gubernatorial election at a time) that the blowback against the woke agenda is a much bigger political force than anyone in power expected, and the sheer fact that “get woke, go broke” turned out to be an accurate slogan was a good solid rolled-up newspaper across the nose for those who thought they could dictate the public taste. The Democratic Party’s paramilitary wing has thus become a fatal liability and it’ll be discarded in short order.

    Aziz, (1) that’s always a difficult question to answer until past life memories start coming back in. For now, if you feel a strong draw to an order, you can always just follow through on that. (2) Hmm! I’ll see if I can find anything in English about that. (3) I discussed that here.

    Jessica, there wasn’t much when Sara and I lived there, and that was five years ago. You might see what you can find in the Pittsburgh area, if you don’t mind the drive.

    Siliconguy, fun! Now if the sharks start riding the volcanic plumes into the air… 😉

    Anonymous, good question. I do my monster hunting the old-fashioned low-tech way, so I haven’t looked into it. (You know, if someone good at electronics wanted to make a nice income, turning out high-quality Trifield clones would be a way to do it…)

    Viduraawakened, no, there was nothing wrong with it — I must have missed it. In fact, I just went looking for it again and couldn’t find it. Perhaps you can let me know the number! With regard to preserving he methods of modern historiography, that’s a helluva challenge, since the techniques are one thing but the intellectual culture that frames them is something else again. I’m not sure what to suggest, other than trying to preserve some fine examples in the hope that future scholars can learn from them.

    Forecasting, I’m coming to think that the sanctions over the Ukraine war will turn out to be one of the great own goals of modern times, because Russia’s economy is thriving while the economies of the US and EU are tanking. As for infrastructure issues, as I noted to Darren, maybe you can think of two countries more used to brute force infrastructure projects than Russia and China, but I can’t.

    Clay, you know, that’s a remarkably good parallel. It’s also very reminiscent of the attitude of the German high command in the last two years or so of the Second World War, who convinced themselves that this wunderwaffen or that gimmick was going to overcome the immense economic and military advantages of the Soviet Union and the United States.

    Tony, excellent! Not many people are willing to trim their income by a third, and you’ve done that, so kudos to you. To go further, work out a detailed account of where your money goes each month; that’ll very often turn up potential savings you didn’t notice before. That’s the thing that enabled me to slash my expenditures down to the point that I spend rather less than half my income. I’d also be interested to hear what other readers have to say.

    Jacques, thanks for this.

    DFC, one difference is precisely that we don’t have the kind of constant small group violence you see in so many other Third World countries — and of course the US is a Third World country, despite a First World overlay in a few coastal regions. In other countries young men who are driven to violence can make a career out of it. Here? Not so much.

    CR, thanks for this.

    NomadicBeer, the problem as I see it is that different sectors of the US population are going through the stages at different paces, and the elites are currently stuck somewhere in Anger or Bargaining. When Depression hits there, it’s going to be epic.

    AV, yes, in fact, I posted something on Dreamwidth a while ago about it. I gather I need to post something a little more up to date!

    William, yes, I was wondering when she’d pop up. Clearly collapse has become fashionable again.

    Siliconguy, hmm! My wife, who was born and raised in Spokane, was thoroughly startled by this.

    Grover, we had vampires here. Rhode Island in particular had several well-documented cases in the late 18th and early 19th century. I suspect a lot of US burial practices may have been influenced by the very widespread interest in occultism in the 19th century…

    Cliff, I’d had the same thoughts about Quillette. My guess is that the push to censor alternative views got to them, probably accompanied by substantial amounts of under-the-table cash.

    Jon, that would not surprise me at all.

    Oilman2, thanks for this. I had my doubts but it’s good to hear from a professional.

    David BTL, it’s something to deal with when you get to the advanced levels of the work and have to try to deal with the complexities of getting something across the Abyss. Before then, it’s best left alone.

  175. @JMG & @Oilman2

    Many thanks for your replies. While listening to Zeihan’s presentation my recurring thought was “he is jumping the shark here”. He makes some pretty wild predictions.

    He is strong on demographics. But that is good for forecasting the shape of things in the decades ahead, rather than years and months.

    He is good on supply chains, at least how they *have* worked. He does not seem to have the imagination to consider how they *might* work.

    But his geopolitics and military strategy stuff – I don’t know. Following PZ on twitter, he appears to rely on the most main of mainstream media sources.

    The technical oil patch stuff I have no way of critiquing while hearing it.

    Oilman, if you are interested in critiquing his oil patch comments they run from 12:05, 1:02:05, 1:15:36, 1:48:24. If you feel so inclined, would love to hear your insights.

    Here’s the video –

    Note, he is presenting to students of the Eisenhower School, a “military educational institution tasked with preparing selected military officers and civilians for senior national security leadership positions dealing with the resource component of national power” (wikipedia).

  176. I’ll add a point about keeping private things private.
    I learned this decades ago at my first Navy command.

    If you want your correspondence and message traffic to be secure, then shred it yourself!

    If something interesting was going on, us junior watch-standers would compete to shred the senior officers’ burn bag. Everything got shredded but you could read the private correspondence as you fed each sheet into the cross-cut teeth.

    I don’t think they ever quite grasped the concept, despite having once been JO’s themselves.

  177. Siliconguy @ 177,
    We’ve had a rather cool/wet transition from winter to spring (NOP). A somewhat mixed bag: the garlic not doing the best .. but the cooler crop veggies – carrots, cruciferies, lettuces etc. are going gangbusters!! My honeybees are bringing in sooo much nectar/pollen, they’re shunning what additional bee syrup – herb tea+cane sugar+water – that I’ve offered; the nectar draw being what it has been so far .. Our tomatoes are finally showing for size: they are plastic protected at night, go retain heat.
    Cliff Mass, on his blogsite, states how this season is shaping up to be very similar to 2011, to which I’d have to agree. We might be gearing up towards a triple Latina occurrence.
    Ya gotta bend and sway with the weather ya gots .. not the weather ya wants, no?

  178. TJandTheBear (no. 126), I’m not following any particular source, other than the general progress of the war and media commentary thereon. That the Russians are trying to take a slightly bigger chunk of Luhansk seems obvious–that is where most of the fighting is now. It is really village-by-village. As I see it, the Russians may well advance and take additional territory along this front, or they may lose territory, or it may be a stalemate–all of these outcomes seem plausible, and of course there is no fixed end to it. The Russians have already pulled back from Kharkiv, so I can’t imagine them attempting anything more difficult than Kharkiv (like Odessa). That means the contested area is effectively just that region to the west of Luhansk / northwest of Donestsk.

    林龜儒 (no. 146), there are only a few million Tibetans, vs. more than a billion Han Chinese. In Tibet itself, the population is probably only half Tibetan now, and there are big Chinese military bases. Some Han people are interested in Tibetan Buddhism, but this is kind of a fad, like the hippies 嬉皮運動. Their children don’t usually follow the same interests, as they would if it were a real group identity. So the Han people probably won’t assimilate into Tibetan culture–the other way around is more likely.

    Sure, regions can develop their own separate cultural identity over time, as Vietnam has. Chinese propaganda tends to see ethnic identity primarily in terms of ancestry, but sociologists point to the importance of shared group experiences (and China certainly doesn’t want to acknowledge that regions like Taiwan might drift away from feeling “Chinese” because of this!). On the other hand, groups can also be absorbed–thousands of years ago, south China was not really considered Chinese. It’s hard to know what direction China will go in the future. But it’s hard to think of any possible development that might bring Tibet back, in anything like the way it was. And I say this as someone who loves Tibet.

  179. Hi John Michael,

    Am I to presume that the ‘other’ who is also noticing signs, is your good self? 🙂

    History, as you may (or may not) agree, is a chain of events, and a strong argument could be made that western civilisation has been in decline ever since it became uneconomic to extract coal alone using human and animal labour, that was called WWI. Another hurdle in that chain was the Great Depression, and from an economic perspective although there was ‘stuff’ to purchase, the flows of cash seized up. WWII and expansionary cash policies broke that gridlock.

    Alas, all good things come to an end, and policies have diminishing returns. I suspect that the temporary increase in the energy supply AKA oil, meant that the growth of the money supply kept up pace with the growth of energy and ‘stuff’ – and nobody noticed.

    But after conventional oil peaked in 2005, I suspect that nobody really had the gumption to step away from the expansionary money supply policies, and here we are today with serious inflation. And let’s not forget that the battle for reserve currency status is physically being fought as I type away. And oil is US$117 a barrel – ook.

    Maybe I’m over simplifying the story, but economically it is possible that we’ll get to experience the flip side of the Great Depression sooner or later, except this time there will be plenty of money, but nowhere near enough energy and ‘stuff’ to purchase.

    It’s a bit of a worry, don’t you reckon?

    On the flip side of this event will be a great reset (not as those feckless folks imagine) but in terms of cost base, and as a society this will have positive benefits for many who wish to work.

    As an interesting further side story update regarding the construction industry: NSW racing to save Metricon from collapse. It’s very curious to me that this is not more widely reported, especially in the more traditionally left leaning media sources.



  180. Hi JMG,

    I just wanted to say thanks to you for hosting this forum. It has been extremely valuable to be able to connect with you and all the contributors here, especially during the last couple of years when things seem to have become crazier than ever. I really appreciate all that you are doing.

    A few people have mentioned the emotional rollercoaster that can come along with facing collapse. I have to admit, even after all these years, I still lurch into bouts of dread or depression once in a while when contemplating the future. These are the things that seem to help me: 1) spending time in nature 2) spiritual practices 3) physical work – especially repairing things for some reason 4) being grateful for what I have.

    Not too long ago I came across a podcast episode in which the hosts discussed the Stockdale Paradox (AKA “Face the Brutal Facts”). The idea is that it makes one more emotionally resilient to assume the worst and face it straight on rather than fooling yourself. Stockdale was a Vietnam War POW who endured unbelievable cruelty and hardship for years. He survived, unlike many of his fellows…

  181. Jmg

    Ok, that make sense. Do you have any tips on how to counter the infantilisation that we receive?

  182. @ Nancy+Oden #8

    We spent two years voluntarily living in a car. So I can attest from personal experience a few things about keeping warm in winter.

    First, you would be *amazed* at what you can get used to with temperatures. The key is that the temp must be continual in nature. When the high is 38F and the low is 25F, and you dress warmly and stay in that temperature for a week or so, you actually get used to it after awhile. Your body adapts to it. The next time you walk into a friend’s house that has heat and is at 68F, it feels like getting smacked with a heat club, almost a body blow. It actually feels oppressive, thick and heavy; you break into a sweat.

    Warm clothes are the key, critically important. A warm hat, and neck covering like a scarf, very important. Two layers of socks, and shoes big enough to hold both pairs without constricting the circulation in your feet. A thick warm winter coat. The idea is, when the inside of your house is as cold as the outside, you need to dress *like you are outside*.

    We have two sleeping bags, both rated for 0F, and unzip those and put both over us at night, one atop the other. We have slept comfortably down to 5F in an ordinary bed that way.

    But you have to buy the clothes and sleeping bags ahead of time.

    As for food with no power, beef hash in a can is one of the highest fat, highest calorie things you can buy to help your body generate its own warmth, and you can eat it cold right out of the can. If you have a manual can opener.

    @ Yavanna #98

    “I’m an XX, so can only speculate on what it’s like to be a young male”…

    I’ve had a glimpse of it. When I was back in my 40s, I had terrible fatigue. They did a bunch of tests, and one thing they found was my testosterone level was very nearly zero. Women *are* supposed to have some, just a little, just like men are supposed to have just a little estrogen. So the doc gave me a very low dose of testosterone for a month.

    Holy cow. I had always been very conflict avoidant. Suddenly I was Ms Aggressive- any kind of conflict, anything antagonizing, whether people or situations, and I would feel this tidal wave of rage come surging up from within me. For the first time in my life, I suddenly would take no shale, I was on for a fight. It was terrible. I was only able to (partially) control it because I was a fully mature adult, and fully understood where it was coming from. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a teenage boy. Well, actually I have an inkling, and its awful.

    I got off that stuff, didn’t even quite finish the month. But to this day, I am more assertive than I used to be. That brief exposure rewired something in my brain, permanently. So when people say about male excess, “testosterone poisoning”, there’s something to be said for that.

  183. batstrel (no. 147), a “magician’s illusion” is one of Nagarjuna’s seven similes, but there is a sense in which the world is real, and a sense in which it is unreal (the Two Truths, relative truth and absolute truth). Just as there is a sense in which a mirage is real (I’ve seen them), and a sense in which it is unreal (as a body of water on the horizon). Similarly, life is suffering, but birth as a human being is said to be a precious opportunity to practice dharma. Karma / cause and effect don’t really operate in dreams, but they do in waking life.

    The god who dreams the universe is Vishnu.

    One issue that might come up is, if the universe is in some sense illusory, then why bother caring about other sentient beings? After all, they don’t *really* exist! Garchen Rinpoche says that an enlightened being no longer distinguishes between “self” and “other,” so love and compassion automatically follow from this recognition.

    Nicholas Carter (no. 162), I never read those books–just saw ’em on the shelves. Ted Mark’s “Man from O.R.G.Y.” was more my style!

    I’ve run across the notion that Russia is trying to fill in various defensive gaps, which the Soviet Union used to control (YouTuber Shirvan Neftchi from Caspian Report says this), but have trouble imagining anybody invading Russia regardless of such vulnerabilities. I mean, who would the enemy be? And who would invade Russia through the Bessarabian Gap? The problem for Russia right now is not so much invasion, as defections by what used to be core territories like Ukraine–and what Putin seems to fear is not so much vulnerability to a surprise nuclear attack from these territories, as a more general perception that Russia is not a major power anymore. That is, he’s worried that Russians will gravitate towards European culture and values, which would threaten his strongman rule.

    Rudyard Lynch (whatifalthist on YouTube) is about 20 years old. Although he must be some kind of genius, to be able to analyze history (and the future) the way he does, I’ve found big gaps in his knowledge. Which of course we all have, and are to be expected. I’m still a big fan.

  184. Congratulations to Tony for being willing to trim your expenses so well. As a lifelong frugalista, I recommend Vicki Robin’s book “Your Money or Your Life.” The details are a bit dated, but the fundamental perspective is life-changing. Truly magical, in the ‘change of consciousness’ sense.

    Here is the key: every dollar is a piece of your life. You had to earn it or get it somehow, and traded a piece of your time on earth for it. What can you do with it, that is worth the piece of your life that you gave up to get it? No judgement: sometimes the chocolate bar is worth the 15 minutes you spent working to earn the price. All of your spending decisions are about how you value different things, enough to spend a piece of your life on them.

  185. Patricia T #174
    Hi, We used to visit German relatives some years ago and it appears that Germany at that time had a similar system to that which you are proposing. Everyone did national service but not only in the military. Some, for example, worked in the aged care sector and there were many other voluntary type areas where they were used. Something to think about. Young people need the opportunity to find a purpose in their lives and this would help.

  186. I agree that the commentariat here is something special; there are a million and one comments I’d like to interact with and I just don’t have time.

    I would like to offer an answer to whomever asked, “Where should I put my money?” Many people responded with excellent answers, including the wisdom that going forward, having a *skill* is the best wealth. Notwithstanding this advice, at the end of the day the fellow deserves a straightforward answer, all the more so because it’s a common question.

    Something I didn’t see in any answers, and I think it’s important, is the point about diversification, viz., if you don’t know what’s coming (and none of us do for certain) then the best financial strategy is diversification. One should generally assume, especially these days, that any given asset class is subject to evaporation, inflation, confiscation, etc. So, rather than any magic answer – “definitely put your money HERE, it’s the ONE SAFE PLACE!” – one might make a list of different asset classes and place money into each of them. A little index funds here, real estate there (this includes paying one’s mortgage), precious metals here, cryptocurrency there, for example.

    On the gold question: some people were dismissive of gold, including our host, and I disagree with them. True, one does need to ask oneself, have a realistic appreciation, of what the gold is *for* and what might or might not be possible with it. Let’s be clear on one thing: DUDE. The government is not getting your gold if you don’t want them to. Yeah, they can pass all the confiscation bills they want. “Now let them enforce it.” Of course it’s true that if holding gold is illegal then it will be hard to trade with (but black markets are always a thing) but then that’s just back to the question of what your expectations were when you bought it – just realize that’s not what you’re buying it for. Meanwhile I’m given to understand that in some places that have undergone currency collapse, silver coins can feed families.

    On the mortgage question – some people were discussing this, and I chuckled because I literally called my bank this week, to inquire what the prepayment penalty would be if I paid off my mortgage today. The nice young lady on the phone was bewildered and a bit suspicious – “Sorry, you want to… um, pay… off your mortgage? The whole thing??? Why???” At the end of the day it goes back to the diversification principle I mentioned above. I can’t say this enough, we’ve seen it on a micro scale here in Canada in February (when Trudeau froze bank accounts) and on a macro scale in the US (when the Russian assets were stolen), that governments are out of control and they’ll do anything and there’s something to be said for holding something that is not easily seized or frozen.

    On that note, commenter Owen said:

    “historically, banks have negotiated clawbacks and reset mortgages and put their debtors back on the hook”

    If you are knowledgeable about this, I would like to hear more about it, details about what happened, etc.

  187. To add my two cents to the permaculture debate, from someone who has met and talked with one of the founders (David Holmgren) who lives not far away…

    The way it has been packaged and sold in America in the PDC format is and always has been taking advantage of first world middle class dumbos to subsidise projects in developing countries to assist those who actually need assisting.

    There was a schism in the movement early on between Mollison and Holmgren and what you guys got over there in the USA is basically Mollison taking you all for a ride so you would pay for what he was really passionate about which was helping the less fortunate victims (including non human) of Western imperialism/globalisation. No doubt some good things have been taught, but both Mollison and Holmgren realised pretty early on that the ideas and techniques would be much more useful to those who really need them, rather than spoilt, wealthy middle class westerners who flip flop based on fashion trends and can always retreat into consumer comfort (perhaps not for much longer).

    Holmgren has always maintained scepticism of the whole movement/course side of the idea, and has basically lived his life as a modern day peasant as an example to others as to what it actually takes to walk the walk (rather than talk the talk). He was always horrified that the permaculture movement would become dogmatic (which it has), and become part of the problems it was trying to solve (probably has too.)

    So I don’t blame many Americans for being disappointed with the American version of permaculture, but it always has been taking advantage of you guys to fund things elsewhere. Again, this is more Mollisons vision than Holmgren’s, and I would encourage people to read Holmgrens books for a gateway to more useful and interesting perspectives, that are in a similair vein to the ideas of our esteemed host.

  188. Darren, thanks for this. Demographics are important but they’re not destiny, not least when most of the world is going through a similar transition right now. As for Zeihan’s information coming from the corporate media, that’ll explain a lot — the old GIGO rule, “garbage in, garbage out,” applies to pundits at least as much as to computers.

    Chris, I don’t think that’s oversimplified at all. One of the big questions right now is how we’re going to deal with the massive mismatch between too much money and too few actual goods and services; I don’t know any way that can be resolved without a lot of pain, but resolved it will be.

    Darren, of course. Notice, however, that all they’re doing is making sure there’s less oil for Europe and the US and more for the rest of the world.

    Samurai, you’re most welcome. I appreciate the contributions made by you and the other regular commenters here, for that matter.

    J.L.Mc12, I have no idea. My usual approach is either to ignore it or walk away. I doubt that’s the best option but it’s the only one I can come up with.

  189. I can’t resist sharing a little brouhaha that has recently emerged, between Salman Sheikh, a Pakistani-American Freemason and Sufi (Bayani) from Philadelphia; and Douglas Duane Dietrich, the Taipei-born but white American author and lecturer on time travel, Satanism (esp. Michael Aquino), and associated government conspiracies. Let’s start with Dietrich, who has what must be the worst Linked-In page I’ve ever seen:

    Here is his equally eyebrow-raising website, the “Time Travel Education Center”:

    And here is a website devoted to exposing Dietrich as a scammer, in case all the stuff about time travel and Satanism wasn’t enough of a red flag:

    If you read far enough into the notes, you may find that Dietrich claims to be the child of Adolf Hitler, through some shenanigans in which Hitler’s sperm was saved, and used to impregnate women in Taiwan. The fact that Dietrich is proud of this may give you some notion of his politics.

    Salman Sheikh was apparently one of Dietrich’s supporters until recently. He is also a member of the Fatimiya Sufi Order headed by Wahid Azal. This group is…okay, outsiders may find this a bit complicated, but have you ever heard of the Baha’i religion? Well the Baha’is grew out of an earlier 19th century messianic Shi’ite movement called Babism, which waged uprisings across the Persian Empire between 1848 and 1852. When these failed, many of the surviving Babis were exiled to the Ottoman Empire, where some of them began following the Baha’i founder, Baha’u’llah, and morphed into what we now call the Baha’i religion. This was not, however, the end of the non-Baha’i Babis, pockets of whom apparently continue to exist (and prefer to be called “Bayanis,” after their main scripture, the Bayan; Baha’is refer to them as “Azalis,” after one of their leaders). Wahid Azal and Salman Sheikh are both converts to this movement (which, unlike the Baha’is, has remained within Islam), and Azal (who is quite a character in himself) has become one of its leaders. Anyway, members of the Fatimiya Sufi Order have been rallying in support of Salman Sheikh. Here are a couple of YouTubes: (Salman Sheikh in dialogue with Matt Douglas, focusing primarily on the implausibility of Dietrich’s account of time travel from a physics perspective) (Wahid Azal finding fault with Dietrich’s qur’anic exegesis)

    These link to a 12-hour livecast by Dietrich which apparently started the whole thing, and which I have not seen. Anyway, I was amused to discover this whole new (to me) corner of the New Age / conspiracy milieu, and its connection to what I thought was an entirely unrelated esoteric group. Wahid Azal, a Leftist, has long written and spoken against Russian geopolitical writer / occultist Alexander Dugin, whom Dietrich claims was “created” by Michael Aquino, a former military intelligence officer who founded the Temple of Set (an offshoot of the Church of Satan). Dizzying, I know, but I love this stuff. Bring popcorn.

  190. I’ve been thinking about funeral issues bit reading the comments. I see cremation being recommended for the sake of preventing etheric remains from becoming a problem right? Well the thing is that I’m rather inclined toward making funeral arrangements for myself such that my physical remains can be available to the decomposes which have been so helpful to gardening through out my life. If I succeed in that, would there be any sensible precautions to minimize leaving any etheric funk about?

  191. PS. Oh God, I left off one of the best parts! Apparently Dietrich offended Azal and Sheikh by interpreting the Qur’an to mean that Muslims actually worship Cthulhu, of Lovecraft fame.

  192. @ Darren, JMG, et al… A few other thoughts about Russian oil industry

    PDC drill bits were once only available in the west – now they are made in Russia, China and India. Several Chinese outfits got so good that the US buyers put them on exclusive, long term contracts to supply their diamond cutters. Naturally, Russians buy Chinese due to price, and now sanctions…

    China and India make a LOT of steel pipe – I toured both places about a decade back, and while their reject rate is high, they just keep rerunning it until it is right and meets spec. It is the Chinese steel that the oilfield is struggling with due to lockdowns and shipping issues.

    Does anyone know the Russians invented directional drilling? They simply built slanted rigs on rails, pointing the bit and pipe where the center of the field was. Or that they developed the first drilling motors for use downhole? Russia is also MUCH less hamstrung about SAFETY and PROCEDURES – in the oil patch, you don’t get to make many stupid mistakes. Termination and injury weeds the stupid people out fairly quickly, up until about 1990 – when complexity began to take over. Drilling engineers now sit in their offices and literally watch the drilling operation remotely on their computers – it has been rare for me to see ANY office drilling engineers at a rig site these last 10 years.

    Fully half the oilfield jobs I have perused this year are in IT or ‘big data’ handling. Truth is, the smaller companies operate without all that, especially private ones, because they are not trying to push their portfolios and stock sales by roping overkill digital stiff into their operations.The small guys hire experienced field guys and let them do what they do best – get wells down without problems.

    Russia put the first man in orbit – oil drilling is only as complicated as it has to be, and rocket science is much more difficult. The more complex the drilling, the more it costs. The west has rules and procedures for most everything – down to exactly where each fire extinguisher must be placed. These onerous rules are used whenever there is a western partner in the operation, just as the same western insurance outfits underwrite projects. As the multi-polar world is reborn, many of the things considered “MUST DO” are likely to change more towards “DO-IF-YOU-CAN”.

    Remember – Russia got into space first, and currently supplies rocket motors to the USA…we spent money to make a zero gravity ball point pen – and the Russians just used a pencil. This guys entire expertise argument is crap, and I will venture to say that the current sanctions will make the Russians develop their own skills and equipment – or buy from China, who already has most of it courtesy of USA. The oilpatch has been global before globalism was ever a thing – so my suggestion is to ignore this guy.

    I am not about to argue with some internet noob about all of this – who is unlikely to have ever been on a drilling rig, and even less likely to have been in Russia or China to see for themselves.

  193. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I wanted to ask you a more targeted question. You have stated many times that people should try to be as independent as possible from the larger economy as we dive deeper into the long descent. Corporations and governments will not be in the best position to provide long term financial security going forward. With that said, do you have any advice for people who are dependent on critical medical supplies such as type 1 diabetics? Leaving the official jobs is mostly a non option for people in this position who live in the U.S., and even other countries won’t necessarily be able to guarantee access to these things.

  194. @Michael Martin
    ““No fault” divorce is another example of Baby Boomers demolishing traditional safeguards and fences which got in the way of something they wanted, without regard to the second- and third-order effects of doing so. ”
    It wasn’t actually the Baby Boomers who were responsible for no-fault divorce.

  195. Heather, I just wanted to say that your story hits me in a very timely moment of my life. Thank you, thinking outside of myself has been a life –even if short– long struggle and your comment makes me think a lot about my attitudes towards family and community in general.

    All, in a slightly different topic. Call me obsessive (I definitely can be) but as I was scrolling my text file on the things I’d to ask JMG and this increasingly homey online community it came to the fore the I need to stop evading some deep seated trauma and pain by entertaining the ramblings of an untrained mind. So instead of that…

    …if anyone feels so inclined, prayers for peace my way and my family’s would be most welcome and would gladly pray for yourself as well with your own petition should you like to.

  196. Regarding permaculture; by all means check into whatever you can find out about traditional food production techniques but keep in mind that food production is only one part of permaculture. Permaculture is a system of environmental design grounded in ethics and science. Ideally a permaculture designer incorporates ecosystem repair with systems of production that mimic natural systems and meet human needs.
    The ethics and principles that guide design decisions are universal. Ignore them and whatever you are doing, good or bad, is not permaculture. The techniques, whether it’s food production, power generation, or ecosystem restoration, are always situation and site specific and they are borrowed, taken up and used, from wherever they are found. If it helps regenerate the natural abundance and supports the diversity of life we use it.
    There is an amazing potential for anyone who wants to delve into it whether through personal study or taking a course. However, I have to say that many of the comments made here are absolutely true. Like any other human endeavour permaculture has fallen prey to dogma and a faddish appeal to people who aren’t serious. It’s also been plagued by many egotistical big name ‘teachers’ who ape Mollison’s infamous curmudgeonliness and bad temper.
    There are also amazing teachers who have created fabulous learning environments and set many, many serious students in both rich and poor areas of the world on a path of learning how to live in ways that are less damaging to the earth.

  197. Jmg

    Fair enough, I suppose confronting it aggressively as a NT would do is not a safe option for us anyway.

    Concerning the talk about de-industrial age warfare, I myself have had thoughts about it. While you suggest a return to 18th century style firearms (which is likely) I wonder if some guns derived from modern improvised firearms could also be used.
    The most likely gun is the “slam-fire” shotgun, which can be made from metal pipes and is a common and simple weapon which some guerilla soldiers have used before, however it’s use is dependent upon whether shotgun shells can still be made.

  198. Re paying off mortgages

    I’m aware that quite a few people in the US got wrongfully dispossessed during the last mortgage crisis who were either completely compliant with their loan terms or had negotiated alternative payments but had the house sold out from under them anyway. A lot of the record keeping and decision making was very sloppy both within banks and in the courts that were meant to be overseeing bankruptcies and repossessions. Fighting wrongful court orders took a long time and quite a toll on a lot of people.

  199. (Deborah Bender here; my automatic login seems to have turned off)

    To Clay Dennis #160,

    I’m in the “Ukraine isn’t losing (yet)” camp. Like the State Department, I was surprised that President Zelenskyy wasn’t dead or in exile by the end of the first week. The conventional wisdom is that the main reasons Russia didn’t achieve its war aims quickly were that it wasn’t expecting serious resistance, and General Mud. Those disadvantages are fading away.

    I think that Russia finds itself in a position analogous to the USA when it took over from the French in Vietnam. The opposing side is getting massive material support from nearby allies who cannot be interdicted without widening the war. As long as the legitimate government of the country has enough support from the populace, it can keep the fight going.

    Zelenskyy is aware that the military-industrial complex, AKA the Arsenal of Democracy, is now in gear and ready to fight to the last Ukrainian. One of Ukraine’s biggest vulnerabilities isn’t on your list; it is German and American domestic politics. As for being outnumbered, if we begin to see news reports of contingents of unbadged Poles fighting alongside Ukraine’s regular army, the end is near.

  200. Does anyone have any advice on how to let go of something that’s bothering them, and accepting it and moving on? In my case, without going into too much personal detail, it’s something relatively minor that I’m allowing myself to Ben bothered by to the point that it’s like I’m losing my mind.

  201. Hey JMG,

    I am interested in starting a magic course and have been bumping into a lot of criticism of the Golden Dawn system. The most common being that it’s out of date and concerns about its functionality. Some of this commentary comes from fairly well known practitioners. I know everybody has their preferences, however I dont quite understand any issues in regards to if the system works…more than a small number have been working with it for a while. Can you help me understand why some of your contemporaries would put this information out? My thoughts are if it works it works….

  202. @ Robert Mathiesen

    Thanks for that. Have you ever read Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle”? Your description of the Chinese/Japanese thing reminded me of it. It’s an alternate history of California where the Japanese won WW2 and are running the show.

    @ Mary Bennett

    Ah, ok. That explains a few weird online exchanges I’ve seen including one where somebody was arguing that backyard chickens are somehow environmentally unfriendly.

    @ JMG

    Enantiodromia strikes again. Maybe a future Republican presidential candidate can revive Jimmy Carter’s platform.

  203. @viduraawakened #157
    Thank you for that information. However, its not techniques per se that are lacking on the global scale. They are available, as is the expertise to apply them. The question is, if the willingness isn’t there, how many people will apply them?
    Also, an important distinction needs to be made. #Savesoil is entirely about regenerating FARM soils and making it economically lucrative for farmers. This is a policy issue. To make large policy changes you need governments to be pushed by concerned voters. To get the concerned voters interest and attention, you need an INCLUSIVE movement (No blaming Monsanto or coal miners or whatever) with a single point agenda and simple targets. Not to mention inspirational narratives and vision. If an 65 year old man is willing to bike ride 30,000 km in 100 days through europe and middle east, for example, he’s getting my attention for sure 🙂

    In short, what will help most right now is for you to check out the movement and spread the word. Spend 20 or more minutes a day talking about soil regeneration as public issue. Get that electorate support going. (You can do that in a simple way. Go to and sign up as an “Earth Buddy” It works as a kind of petition. Of course, you can get involved as much or as little as you like)

    Thank You.

  204. Jon Goddard #183

    Back in my lapsing Anglican days, after I’d stopped attending church, I turned to the Quakers to try to fill the gap on Sunday mornings.

    Unfortunately, it was rather in-at-the-deep-end stuff. I knew absolutely nothing about any sort of meditation whatsoever back then and wasn’t prepared for an hour of seated contemplation after the more familiar regimented approach of the church service. The people were very amiable and the experience of focussed silence was powerful but, ulimately, the main thing I seemed to be getting out of it was back pain, so I stopped attending and started going for long walks instead.

    If I had had access to a more incremental introduction, in the manner of JMG’s approach to presenting discursive meditation, maybe things would have turned out differently. I certainly think there’s a lot of sense in what you’re suggesting.

  205. Bei Dawei (no. 194) The reason of chinese lifestyle can exist in Tibet is faust technology what depend on fossil fuels,just like the chinese can politics direct control is maoism(Another faust Ideology).

    I think the future of han people in the Tibet are more like what were happen outside the great wall more than inside the great wall.If you understand the history of north east asian where was outside the great wall, you will find the emperors send many people outside the great wall and plan they can expand the “China proper”, but it’s still very easy that han people give up their Identity and join the nomads,Plateau terrain isn’t a good place for the east asian lifestyle.

  206. Thank as always to the commentariat for the many and interesting contributions,
    also especially to those who do nothing more but give us a recount of how their personal life is going.

    Here is a short text of my recent experience:

    I spent a rather magical weekend in the highlands of Austria.
    It is a lower level highland with massive granite rocks lying like stapled on small mountains about ~200m high from valley base. Bog rivers run through there, with amber brown waters.
    Narrow valleys and gorges riddle the granite hills.
    The whole region is scattered with ancient rock walls, little mary shrines carefully tended, ancient castle ruins and old farming houses many of rock slabs fastened with chalky matter. It has some kind of an energy.
    There’s some regional hiking and horsing tourism, but it is a very unknown area across Austria, where people mostly do forestry, engineering and commuting to the steel works in the proximate city.

    I’d thought about horses before going and knew there was a horse riding Inn in the area.
    When I arrived with a friend in my highland spot, the old Hippie who has settled there paid us a visit and brought with him two carpenters, who were twins, two slenderly built men with giant gray beards. They told me since 10 years they lived a “gipsy life” and currently worked at the horse riding Inn I had thought of, in exchange for a room and dinner there. One of the twins marveled at the ~90 year old spruce in front of my cabin, with a diameter of probably 80cms. “This tree has an ancient energy…I do not mean in a material sense, but…” he said, and gestured the opened hands in front of his chest, typically known as a qi gong energy flow form. The twins carefully brought the topic of spirituality on the table, to see whether me and my friend are open to these things. Which we are. We talked about our predicament and my worries of this coming autumn, about the implications of birth and rebirth in such a scenario and our purpose in life. About horses also a little. The Inn also has one of these draft horse races.

    The old hippie is amazing as well I find. At age 60, he still pulls logs out of the forest on a tight rope for the alcoholic neighbour. He also makes alchemical experiments I understand nothing about, distills liquors and herbal essences, takes motors out of old washing machines and builds a thresher for apples out of spare parts, astrology… He is a very comical figure – long, slender with only muscle, always keeps a straight back when bending down. With thick round glasses and long gray hair.

    Even the village drunkard is enourmosly robust. In front of the little village shop he is everyday drinking and smoking eagerly, until he rides and shoves his heavy old bike up a steepest little mountain 4km to his little house, at 75 years of age.
    We also visited the farmers, my cabin’s neighbours ~20min walking distance up the hill.
    They took the message about my ideas of the upcoming economic predicament much better than the people in the city, where I most of the time don’t even bring it up to avoid unhelpful negative feelings.

    I talked about my software banking job and how I saw no future in it at all in the long term, and wondered whether I should instead scrap it and help my 96 year old grandma who becomes
    lonely, which accelerates her decline I fear. Also about how I knew no practical crafts, only physical exercising.
    The farmers daughter said: when the economy goes down, you can come and work for us!
    This joyed me to hear, whether or not it will prove practical should it truly come up.

    The old hippie, who is anything but an easy character, also had sternly suggested I should question why I want to do an office job and reflect my life’s decisions.

    The cabin I have in the highlands is an unusual artifact I think. My great grand father had it built in 1924 when he toured by the area for some entirely random reason and a farmer
    convinced him to buy a little patch of meadow at the little river. Nowadays it is in a little forest of ours, with a few raking giants of trees. Back in the day my great grand father went there with his family from Vienna via train and steam boat and bus, about 200km of a track. My grandmother and father have also gone there in one day via bike. That may sound unlikely but the biking track along the lowland river for most of the track
    is very straight and easy. It is possible to get there with a purely mechanical device in one day from Vienna, given good condition. The cabin is stocked with tools like in the 19th century, it is possible to live there in a small but comfortable place like in those days. Things like an ancient oil lamp are functional and present. There is electricity and a small spring of water out of the rocks in front of my house. An ancient compost toilet and a good stove. The neighbours and village are 20-40mins walk, so no car is needed for most of the time.
    To go with public transport there is possible and not all too cumbersome. For those who like walking;

    The spiritual carpenter twin said to me: this is a good thing for you, here you can get into contact with your ancestral energies. He also predicted what I hear more often: many souls in the western world will leave in the upcoming years because they cannot bear the big transformation,
    the new life without luxury and comfort.

    Graciously as I have 5 weeks of holiday in Austria. My grandmother for the first year will probably not be able to go to our hut and care for it.

  207. @Milkyway

    Thanks for your suggestion of ecosophians in the german speaking regions. I wanted to propose a similar thing for Austria.
    One commenter actually from Austria wrote here once he met other Ecosophians and that they were weird.
    Those who have read my comments will presume the same about me, and I cannot deny I may be weird; but I am also harmless and respecting towards people’s sentiment and limits of privacy.

    If you don’t mind, I will enlist and write to you too!

    regards, Curt

  208. Another contributions from my daily experience, this time the less funny end:

    My friends egged me on to go out drinking and watching a football game on tuesday. That in itself is not a tragedy, but then one friend wanted to urge me on drinking all night.
    There were masses of people, but mostly men and few woman, a tense atmosphere of frustration, boredom and lack of an aim in life. My inner feeling is sufficiently developed nowadays that I can “feel” whether a group of people nearby is interesting, friendly or has otherwise a bad energy, which helps
    me to avoid unfortunate ecounters and sometimes guides me to good and interesting characters.
    That night I feel on the whole an atmosphere of absolute emptiness and tired decadence around me.

    Some cocaine induced individual from Britain walked up to me and talked inconsistent stuff from his own planet.
    My friend accompanying made me angry several times these days, exactly like in the past. He said that I have to party all night now and should get chemical drugs to enforce this project. He often says it is no problem to go out when tired, after all you can help yourself chemically. Yes, I said, but what comes thereafter when the body has already given signal it needs rest and you ignore it with violence? Some bad days of reconvalescence are a necessary price for the absolute need to party, he replied.

    Recently some weeks ago we have actually been on a rave party together. Same thing, absolute mental dissolution all around, the only glimmer of hope being a young couple below 20 accompanying us.
    They had a positive demeanour, the girl also being interested in Yoga and meditation and a surprisingly mild and agreeable character for a youth. Her boyfriend was also nice, though he also said: “If I didn’t take in stuff, I’d have no sex”. This by the way is the penultimate argument I always get for selfdestructive behaviour: it may lead to sex! The holy cow!

    After the rave party we visited several localities of which I have absolute no memory (a rare thing for me). In the end, which I remember better, some guy who said he was from South Africa rapped in front of me and to me. He claimed his brother had cut off the head of a neighbour because she called him a slur, and that it were in the newspapers. He also stated he was on cocaine. To me he told about tragedies in his life and opened his heart. He threatened a friend of mine on the other hand because he touched him on the shoulder. So did I before, but I know how to deal with people with aggression problems. Apparently he was hostile to my friends, but I don’t remember him being hostile to me.

    However you can already see where all this is going;
    The partying hedonism is getting on my nerves. I do sometimes enjoy it, but the suffering and frustration is ever present.

    My friend also unnerves me with his ideas about health and training. We trained weights together until I hurt my shoulder. He can train still, while I’m doing my gymnastic exercises. Those help my shoulder and well being a great deal. He said that stretching and breathing are “hippie cr*p” and that me not stretching and being in bad condition has absolutely nothing to do with my hurt shoulder. It was the same years ago when my knee was heart and I was very sick at large. I learned that hard way (but I learned) how the whole body including mental health must make a concert to enable proper movements and healthy life. My friend back then just said I should start smoking weed again and lift weights. I am pretty sure that would have lead to an operation of my knee.
    My friend has had many operations, including those typical for overstraining one’s body. Back then I unfriended him for a year because the hard-core intoxication, the bad places and his ignorance became a burden too big for a man trying to escape the looming danger of his own demise.

    Also, my friend has a fetish for academic status. When I worked half-time while restoring my body, mind, social relationships, residence and other things, he always wanted to egg me to make a Ph.D., which woulöd have translated to: giving up my restoration efforts, sitting in front of a computer the whole time, doing something I despise, travelling to places I have zero connection too, and so on. He also thinks that leisure aviation and internet will always persist because “people want it” and that my foreboding ideas about a quickly approaching crisis are only paranoia.

    In general, my friends and family unnerve me with constantly urging me I should travel by plane to faraway places for a holiday because it is “spectacular”. WHY, am I supposed to burn my free time AND resources on a project that benefits me little in my life here, all the while I am absolutely happy just going outside into the forests, I do it all the time, I have the easy opportunity, while connecting with the people there who speak my language and share my ideas, while preparing my whole life and health so that I might have a chance to also survive dire times?

    I am a very social man, so say others, I enjoy being around people often. But the habits of our time, the sorrounding atmosphere and the constant ignorance against the idea that times *may* change and options may become unavailable, these things start to make me real irate once again.

    One commenter stated he feels like a passanger on the sinking titanic when everyone around does not want to believe what becomes more obvious. I second that. On the corporate company jubilee I attended however, some boys I hung out with especially (below 30 I guess) were open and positive to my ideas about a need for higher fitness in the populace, as well as more hands-on crafting skills and skills to survive also under adverse conditions.

  209. Bei Dawei
    Until around 1950, there was a large amount of land in Southeast Asia and in Tibet that was basically ungovernable. These were patches of land that produced too little surplus to support a state and/or that were populated by “hill tribes” who had evolved their culture to avoid being governable. For example, they grew crops in scattered locations and grew tubers rather than grains. (James Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed). (This was also the reason why Rome conquered the Gauls but not the Germans.)
    Up till 1950, most of the Tibet was not really governed, not by Lhasa, not by Beijing. A few valleys, such as around Lhasa and Shigatse, were the exceptions.
    It was always possible to march into such areas and conquer them, but they could not be held because there wasn’t enough that to be taken from those areas to pay for the cost of occupying them.
    Around 1950, technology advanced enough that most of these areas could be permanently controlled.
    It was its basic ungovernability that made Tibet what it was. This was also why “Tibetan Buddhism” (Vajrayana Buddhism) survived primarily in Tibet. In other, more tightly governed nations, Vajrayana was suppressed one way or another. Sometimes by just crushing it, sometimes just by subsidizing more docile variants of Buddhism (Thailand). Sometimes, by quarantining it in monasteries or burying it under militarist hierarchy (Japanese Zen).
    Curiously, those parts of Tibet that were governable are dominated by the Gelugpa school, which is not Vajrayana, but a more docile Mahayana.
    So the basic condition that made Tibet possible has disappeared. Also, the transmission of Vajrayana skills from one generation to the next has been highly compromised.
    Since this is the open post, I can add without going off topic, that the reason why Vajrayana Buddhism was suppressed wherever governments could do so is that Vajrayana (and Chan/Zen) teach that all beings are already enlightened but just have not realized this yet. (Tathagatagarbha; inherent Buddha nature)
    Taken seriously, this teaching is profoundly subversive of all hierarchies. “If we are all enlightened, then how come that guy gets to be king and I just get to clean the s**t out of his stables?”

  210. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks. I believe that you’ve remarked before that the opposite of a bad idea, is another bad idea. And I’m seeing no signs that the expansionary money supply policies will be walked away from, possibly because so many people profit from them. Usury has long been considered a mortal sin, and here we are today, and what does that say about our leaders who want so much to loan money to themselves, at the cost to everyone else?

    I’ve been of the belief that at the core of the Russian affair is the reserve currency status. Looked at from both sides of the story, that explanation makes a lot of sense. And even before the first shots were fired, the SWIFT system was being discussed in the media. It is possible that notice had been served.

    The media is something you sure have to take in small doses. Have you seen this: Germany calls for G7 to phase out coal power generation in bid to halt climate change. It sounds like a lovely proposition, until you realise those same folks may have recently run out economically extractable coal, and might not want other countries to have a competitive advantage. Nice try dudes. I’m all for renewable energy, but my experience suggests that it ain’t that good.

    Tony – Every man and their dog wants to earn more mad cash, just so that they can spend more mad cash. As you’re beginning to note, there is an alternative strategy – Spend less, and perhaps if you get the chance, spend mad cash on things that will further reduce your spending in the future. It works, but is not widely seen as a viable option. But when everyone is heading in one direction, might not be a bad idea to check out what other ways there are to go!



  211. Yesterday I saw the ultimate symbol of our times. Two woke looking persons crossed the intersection in front of me in Subaru wagon. They had both front windows rolled down, and were both wearing n95 masks. As they passed I could see on the back of their car a BLM sticker, an Antifa sticker and a large Ukrainian flag sticker.

  212. John–

    With re to the puzzling actions of our ruling elites: if the actions they are taking with re to Russia (sanctions, embargoes, etc.) are clearly not working–and, in fact, are producing the opposite result, as well as undermining American power, legitimacy, and finances–why don’t they try a different approach? Or at the very least, stop the actions undermining the US position? It all seems pretty clear to the person on the street…

  213. RE: rail and freshwater shipping


    Thanks for the follow up about rail freight! I live near one of the main routes of rail between Canada and the USA to the West of Lake Superior. I’ve heard a significant increase in traffic the past few months and suspected attention had been turned to rail.


    I’ve been following maritime news and noticing an uptick in discussion about use of the Great Lakes for shipping and the desire to increase capacity of ports. It wouldn’t surprise me if river and canal usage was being considered more.

  214. The commenters who have stressed the constant, underlying drive towards violence in humans, especially young men, are of course right. However, human societies vary strongly in the actual expression of this drive, just as they do in the actual expression of other behaviours that are in the human repertoire, e.g. sexual promiscuity. The Inuit and the San are towards the low end of human-on-human violence, as are modern Japan and Western Europe. To me, it seems more fruitful to discuss what determines that variation than to discuss what is constant.

    As JMG remarked, Latin America is the absolute outlier in terms of violence (homicides per 100 000 people). The great majority of the most violent places on Earth are in Latin America, not in Africa, nor Asia, nor the Middle East. As a layperson, but one who lived for 12 years in one of those violent Latin American megacities, I can think of only one characteristic that unites the Latin American countries and defines them against Spain and Portugal, where violence is much lower. That characteristic is a history of large-scale, violent slavery (of indigenous or African people) and/or eradication of the indigenous population. My speculative answer would therefore be that this long-term violent history still reverberates in Latin America.

    I don’t presume to give an answer about the US situation since I have never lived there. Michael Moore argued a long time ago that Canadians have just as many arms as US Americans have, but use them much less often against human beings. I do think it may be useful to think about what the USA has in common with Latin American countries, instead of lumping the USA in with generic “Third World countries”, which would include the less violent African and Asian ones.

    And of course, given a certain number of serial killers, the actual number of victims will be higher if fire arms are easily available. JMG said years ago that “left” Americans voted for the Democratic party on environmental issues, but had been let down by them in practice, while “right” Americans voted for the Republicans on gun issues and had been equally let down by them in practice. I have always meant to ask: in what respect have gun owners been let down? What restrictions are there that they would like to lift?

  215. JMG,

    Thanks for being so patient with a good many of us. I know I kept beating the horse about wanting a pill to make it through the coming declines for my family and I, although to be honest I didn’t realize that was what I was doing. That realization happened when my son asked me what the best bait for catching fish was and then I responded that there wasn’t a best bait for all fish, and he then doubled down with “yeah but fish like one more than others”. Like with fishing, when you need to know what sort of fish inhabit the lake, which populations can change from year to year, then you can choose your best bait for the best odds of success, likewise the amount of change we can see from even day to day really make it impossible to know what will give the best odds for pulling through the coming decline. So again, I appreciate your patience. I wasn’t so patient in trying to explain to my child after his continued insistence closed his ears to reason.

    On another note, this is perhaps more for data, but I see more and more of the Second Religiosity beginning. My brother has been baptized at a local Catholic church, one out of twenty newly baptized. Their school has doubled in attendance in just a year. Those statistics are pretty impressive for a town of less than 9,000 people, and a parish area that probably isn’t much larger.

  216. We ordered some compost from a landscaping company, and had a truckload delivered the other day. There are a lot of little plastic pieces in it, and it smells a bit and not in a healthy way, so I called them to ask about their source, which turned out to be the local landfill. Internet research shows mixed views about whether compost that comes from landfills is safe for growing vegetables in, but the look and smell of it gives me pause.

    I can’t exactly take it back, so I’ve decided to turn it into a pile, and plant things that remediate soil. It makes sense to learn how this is done, because contaminated soil is a growing problem.

    (Oof, bad pun…)

    Internet research shows that sunflowers, willow trees, indian grass, poplars, and certain types of mustards will improve contaminated soil. Birch trees will apparently remediate microplastics.

    Does anyone know of other useful plants? We are in eastern Canada, hardiness zone 6a.

    And also, once the plants have absorbed the toxins, what happens next? Do they break them down?

    Moral of the story: when ordering compost in bulk, always ask what the source of it is!

    @Cliff: I noticed the same thing about Unherd, glad someone else noticed. Interestingly, it seems to correspond with their drive to increase subscriptions and evolving paywall.

  217. More of an echo than an @Darren #190, I’ve also enjoyed reading Zeihan and especially his call outs of the impact of geography, but like many others the isolation of Covid seems to have negatively impacted him and put him more in the online echo chamber.

    I never agreed with the argument that Russia needed to block itself geographically to prevent invasion. All the competent invaders are having the same demographic issues.

    Having strong cultural and historic ties to the Crimean peninsula is a different matter.

    Trying to gather in Russians and nearly Russian slavs to support Russian demographically makes sense, but I will call that a failure as they have greatly escalated the rate of neighboring slavs going to the EU instead of Russia.

    For the war itself, more and more from media I assume the opposite of what they say, mainstream sources on how poorly it is going for the Russians make me think that the Russians are winning, pro-Russian sources saying its all going to plan and they are about to crush the Ukrainians in their pocket make me think that is a stalemate.

    I’m settling into the historical view, that the Russians will muddle through at great cost to make not particularly useful territorial gains (think Finnish war).

    I agree that the big impact is showing how much the US is willing to use the existing financial system as a weapon and the rest of the world adjusting accordingly.

  218. Hi Northwind Grandma: Thank you so much for your thoughts and experiences on meditation. I have tried “guided meditation”,and I do it for a while, but then life gets in the way. I am going to save your post and read it again, and try to follow, or create something like that.

  219. I don’t know if I posted this or not before, but find myself in a poetic mood, so here is some original poetry. First up is Meta Verse:


    I am averse
    to the Metaverse
    but not to meta verse.
    I’d rather be in a hearse
    than live inside the Metaverse.
    I cannot think of what’d be worse
    than living inside the Metaverse
    not even liverwurst

    I am not averse to the meatverse
    I am not averse to the beatverse
    I like to see people walking,
    walking down my streetverse
    eating feta cheese from an alligator purse
    getting their medication from a sonic nurse

    (wounds stitched; that’s the way it is with meat)

    The Metaverse does not compute
    I’m already complete, art does not compete
    Artificial Intelligence is not discrete
    there are better guitarists than Matthew Sweet

    Zuckerberg needs Metamucil
    I’ll be eating analog streusel, cherry
    he can upload his self to a fuselage
    and make his life a social media montage
    & yet there are still those of us
    who do not “get” the massage
    weaponized platforms become a barrage

    (I binge on reality, life is my sustenance)

    this court is adjourned, we don’t need further evidence
    of click-bait, troll farms,
    transhuman market hype
    Bitcoin, fake life,
    fake news, fake world, fakebook,
    twitter, mind in splinters
    I need a crane to lift me out of digital rubble
    bereft in the Midwest, I tighten my rust belt,
    & look outwards with Hubble
    delete the dividing lies
    that keep us siloed inside media bubbles

    I see the Meta Verse that logic does defy
    and call upon the ancient ways
    of the ancient of days
    earth and sea, fire and sky
    yes, o yes, Prometheus does rise
    let us wash our eyes, wash our eyes
    from the glare of mind forg’d manacles
    the screens that hypnotize

  220. This poem started off as a morning bibliomantic reading in Webster’s and erupted into this stream of consciousness:


    The fragrant Francophile
    patchouli over pit sweat
    rolled trousers, elbows patched
    on the corduroy jacket
    flunks out in fluorescence
    emulates the indispensable automatism
    brain in a schism, reality a surrealist prism

    shattered by dada dooda doohickey
    astral conditions are getting icky
    need to mop things up
    too many deaths by cop out
    lets found a different route, a detour
    septic renditions are going sour
    urban munitions of evil do flower

    power yuppies turned their backs
    on the scant tracks in space they laced
    turned their lives over to the higher power of X-men
    and the corporate wolverines embrace

    jello commercial shots from Cosby laced with mickeys
    unconscious wakes up with fresh hickeys
    I don’t want to be a granola head
    I’d rather be listening to The Dickies

    brainwashed by the flicks the flacks
    have to kludge together new workaround hacks
    while hillbillies sing elegies to their kids shooting smack
    and urban inner city blacks laughing at meth heads
    their communities already impinged by CIA contra crack

    what the world needs now is slack
    Praise Bob! and light the pipe
    no need to phone just refuse to swipe
    media blinks blank stare disinformation screen scare
    check in for 2 minutes hate with ample time to spare
    solar flare renders electric grid so fried
    amazon forests bezos plunder desupplied

    for all concerned about the slash and burn
    overdue status of globalism churns
    neoliberal nightmares in the crosshairs
    as shares get rent asunder, all take stock
    Who is your Shepherd? Who is your Flock?

    another’s hope, another’s game
    another’s loss, another’s gain
    here labeled as lunatic sequestered and content
    with fire in the athanor, and visions to ferment

    opening up the vessel from the cauldron it will spill
    to silence talking heads, invective so shrill
    the lure of the new eddies down the drain
    the energy that props it all so hard to sustain

    the common consensus allied in their resolve
    to seek out new simulations, synthetic lifeforms
    as if these spectacles would dissolve
    us all back to Eden, utopia to enjoy
    or headfirst to apocalypse, all life to destroy

    as if we’re all just puppets on a string
    the lizard people’s toys

    sweet land of liberty let your mortal tongue awake
    as the apples from the grove do fruit
    of these we shall partake
    from the stream in the mountainside
    from the dream of freedom, still burning on the inside
    let us drink, and let our thirst be slaked

  221. @JMG

    Thank you for your reply.

    The comment of mine which you missed was “Could you do a future essay on non-linear writing? Also, could you do another future essay on historiographical research and writing? I’d much appreciate any help in this regard”.

    Also, do you plan to do a future essay on WB Yeats? Just curious to know.

  222. @jbucks #233

    I would be very surprised if the compost comes from the landfill directly. Usually the same companies that collect trash also collect “yard waste” which they compost at facilities near the landfill. The problem is that people throw all sorts of things they shouldn’t (like bits of plastic) into the yard waste bins, which then end up in the compost.

    I used to prefer compost from a local organic farm, until they got manure from a farmer who didn’t tell them about the persistent herbicides he used, with the result that the compost grew weird stunted plants. Trouble can come from anywhere, but as long as it doesn’t have heavy metals or “forever chemicals” it should be good organic matter in a few years.

  223. Just a quick comment on Zeihan: he has a new book coming out *next month*, and is releasing videos to drum up interest. The more extreme and near-term the predictions, the more interest. Who’s going to buy a book about China collapsing in 80 years? Half of Chinese people dead in 12 months…well yeah, that’ll get some attention. So both a “prediction” and a sales tool.

    Meanwhile, the War Narrative seems to have changed a bit this week: Noam Chomsky and Kissinger stressing a negotiated settlement, and the Washington Post article about difficulties within the Ukrainian armed forces. Are we being “prepared” for a potential Russian victory?

  224. Dear JMG,

    My family and I are considering moving further north (we’re near the western end of the Canada/US border currently) and you mentioned casting a relocation chart to see what influences the stars might have on the move. If I move back to my birth place, would my relocation chart just be my natal chart?

    I’ve appreciated all the writing you’ve done over the years. The many books you’ve recommended over the years have been a real wealth of information. Thank you.


  225. William,
    about Sharon Astyk.

    I did hear that name long ago but never read anything by her. I looked at the titles of posts on her page ( and I have to ask: is this a parody account?
    I mean I cannot believe that someone seriously would write that – one posts pinpoints “the moment we lost” the day that CDC removed the mask mandate for schoolchildren. It almost make me puke (sorry for the uncouth language).

    So caveat emptor to anybody else that might be mislead in thinking there will be serious discussions about collapse at that link.

  226. For some reason I am not surprised.

    “Supply chain woes, spiralling energy prices and the COVID-19 pandemic have reversed the downward trend in average business interruption (BI) claims for renewables developers, with solar nearly doubling its average downtime days, while the renewable sector-wide average rises by 38% on 2016 levels.

    Unfortunately, solar has fared particularly badly, with a 95% increase in average downtime days, much more than the renewable average. An unevenly distributed supply chain concentrated in China and Southeast Asia has been rocked by recurring lockdowns and underscores the importance of supply chain diversification, the report said.

    GCube said the lack of funded development leaves the supply chain unable to scale up its resources and its personnel to accommodate the growing demands of the sector.”

    Renewable energy is not as resilient as one would hope. The inverters are fussy.

    Which makes me wonder, the boat (Sturgeon class SSN) had motor generators which were not fussy. I wonder if the new submarines are still using them or do they have inverters that work? Supposedly inverters are more efficient, but the rotational momentum of the motor generator rotors can supply the starting surge the larger induction motors need without getting fussy.

    If you are wondering, the motor-generators sit between the 450 V AC system and the 250 V DC system which was (and still may be) a large lead acid battery. I have wondered if they new boats are still using the lead acid batteries or if they have changed to lithium. A smaller battery compartment would be a good thing, but the weight of the lead batteries is part of the ballast needed for stability. The sulfuric acid makes chlorine gas when mixed with seawater which is bad, but the highly flammable electrolyte in a lithium battery might well be worse given you already have torpedoes, Otto fuel, and solid rocket motors all in close proximity. Trade offs everywhere.

    The size of the battery on a Sturgeon might still be classified so I won’t divulge it, but in WW II,

    “The US Navy “Balao” type submarine (1944/45) was fitted with 4 four Elliot Main (Electric Motors) two on each shaft, with a total horsepower of 2,740. While submerged, these motors were powered by two massive (each cell weighing 1650#) 126-cell batteries (in series) capable of delivering 5,320 Amp/Hrs [sic] each.”

    So for one battery, 250 V (nominal) at 5,320 Amp-hours is 1.33 MW-hr of energy. Amp-hr ratings on batteries are usually at a six hour rate since the faster you take the power out the less you can have in total (blame internal resistance, as in P=I^2 * R, or the square of the current draw times the resistance equals the power dissipated as heat.) So you can take your 1.33 MW-hr out over 6 hours which is 220 kw as a steady load.

  227. @ Waffles #217

    You need to forgive yourself – or whoever/whatever it was that now bothers you.

    Forgiveness is one of our society’s most misunderstood concepts. It does NOT mean you forget entirely about it, and it does NOT mean you lower your moral standards to believe it’s acceptable. What it does mean is that while you remember it, accept that it happened, and acknowledge that it was wrong, you also decide that you are not going to demand that it be corrected. Forgiveness means willingly and deliberately allowing the debt to remain unpaid, and just leaving it up to the Creator to settle the matter to His/Her/Their/Its satisfaction after this life is over. As the Evangelicals are wont to say, “Let go, and let God.”

    Then, one day at a time, you get on with your life.

  228. Bei, one of the upsides of being out here on the fringes is that things get very, very entertaining. This is a great example; few things are funnier to watch from outside than this sort of tempest in a fringe-group teapot. (And I say this as a fringe-group habitué and a target of several such tempests.) As for Dietrich, of course he’s a con artist; Satanists always are. Satan is the father of what?

    Ray, if I may put things in graphic terms, the faster you rot, the better. Cremation does the same thing much faster, but if you want to provide a banquet to worms and bugs — a reasonable choice, btw — the best choice is the human-remains composting arrangements that have been in the news recently. Burial without embalming in a plain wooden coffin is a distant second best, as remains can stay intact for quite a while in those conditions, depending on temperature, humidity, etc.

    Oilman2, thanks for this. I figured Zeihan was shoveling smoke but it’s good to hear this from somebody in the industry.

    Stephen, that’s a very hard question. Anyone who’s dependent on pharmaceuticals for survival is going to have to make a lot of difficult choices in the years ahead, and will probably have to stay in a corporate or government job, in an area that retains some semblance of modern infrastructure.

    Augusto, positive energy incoming!

    J.L.Mc12, not 18th century firearms, 19th century — there’s no reason at all to go back to smoothbore muzzle-loading single-shot muskets. Revolvers and bolt-action rifles can be made by skilled craftspeople using hand tools — the Colt .45 originally was made that way! — and percussion caps are well within reach, too, so proper shotguns are well within reach. Keep in mind that I’m expecting ultralight aircraft, decent artillery, and biodiesel-powered naval vessels, too.

    Waffles, that usually takes a general cleaning-out of the emotional attic; the reason you can’t let go of the thing is that it stands in for a whole flotilla of emotional issues, childhood memories, etc. One way of doing that is taught in the Octagon Society lessons; you can access them for free here.

    Charles, yes, I’ve heard the same thing tolerably often. My response starts from the fact that Golden Dawn magic worked extremely well for me; I spent twenty years at it and accomplished a great deal, both in terms of practical magic and in terms of personal spiritual growth. It’s fussy and elaborate, and there are other ways to get to the same places, but that’s what I could get back in the day, and I still use GD techniques tolerably often when they’re well suited to my intention. As for why some people don’t get good results from it, I put that down to two factors. First of all, the system of meditation that was practiced by the GD was far more important than most people realize; if all you do is a pro forma pass through the grade meditations, you’re going to hinder yourself drastically. Daily discursive meditation on the knowledge lectures and the rituals is essential for success with the system. Second, most of the people I know who don’t get good results with the GD system don’t treat the gods, angels, and spirits in the system as actual beings — they say “oh, it’s all just tech” and don’t establish relationships with the beings in question. That way lies failure. Prayer is an important element of the GD path, and so is the habit of treating angels and spirits with respect and courtesy, and establishing good relations with them. If you don’t, they won’t help you, and your chances of accomplishing much won’t be very high.

    Simon, I expect it, complete with the cardigan — but it’ll be presented as an upbeat, hopeful, onward-and-upward project and everyone will fall in line behind it cheering.

    Curt, thanks for this. I wish I could visit there!

    Chris, no, I hadn’t seen that. Funny!

    Clay, Portland in a nutshell.

    David BTL, I suspect it’s Hagbard’s Law: nobody will tell them how stupid they’re being, since doing so means losing a cushy job as an elite yes-man. So they get daily briefings from people whose main job is to make their masters feel better, using whatever baroque logic is necessary. Since the rich and powerful aren’t necessarily very smart, it’s not a difficult job.

    Prizm, I’m delighted to hear about the discussions re: the Great Lakes — that’s a good sign of sanity creeping in. Defunct equines soak up a lot of kinetic energy around all these subjects, and I’m used to that — don’t worry about it. As for the second religiosity, I’m hearing the same thing from a lot of places. It’s a normal event when the illusion of material security begins to break down.

    Jbucks, ouch. This is why I always prefer to make my own compost.

    Drew, I could see that as a possible outcome, yes.

    Degringolade, I’ll be putting something new up on Dreamwidth about that sometime soon.

    Justin, you should turn that first piece into a rap number. I’m quite serious — I think it would probably go viral and make you famous.

    Viduraawakened, thanks for this. Er, what on earth is “nonlinear writing”? I’ll consider one on historical writing, and yes, Yeats is going to get some attention in due time.

    DaHoj, fair enough; that makes sense.

    Tim, thank you. Yes, if you relocate back to your birthplace you get your natal chart as your relocation chart. If you can do a progressed chart for the year of your move, see what it has to say.

    Siliconguy, no, no surprises there. Thanks for the data point.

  229. Good day JMG, I appreciated your and other readers answers to my question.

    It seems there is interest about how to live frugally without reducing quality of life.
    Maybe that would be an interesting topic for a future post if you are willing?


  230. @Bei Dawei
    That particular Romanian gap has been used in the past by the Ottoman Empire. A Turkish puppet in Odessa probably sounds quite nice to Erdogan.

  231. @JMG
    Non linear writing is sometimes used as a term in discussion of cultures in which non-chronological plot devices such as the In Media Res and the nested story are the default reader/listener expectations, and a strictly beginning to end narrative is a subversion of form.

  232. Minor question for our esteemed host

    Why do you think a future American civilization would arise centered on the Ohio valley rather than the Mississippi valley that the Ohio feeds into? Especially with Cahokia as an earlier example.

  233. Living in the NW of the EU, I’m getting increasingly exasperated by the political numpties who are running the place. Tom Luongo thinks it’s akin to suicideby cop ( and I’m inclined to agree.

    Whether it’s monetary policy, the various plandemics or the war in Ukraine, our so-called leaders think up the daftest possible response and do that. They never seem to think through the consequences of their policies and seem equally little concerned that the price of rope and piano wire has been outstripping inflation lately.

    I don’t know how it’s going to end but war looks like a definite possibility. Mundane astrology tells me that as early as this autumn things are going to get decidedly dodgy.

    So what’s a European to do who has no chance to emigrate to somewhere less precarious? Do you have any words of wisdom for me? Otherwise I think it’s a case of getting my best stoic attitude on and stocking up on popcorn.

  234. Thanks for the kid words John!

    That’s the second time though you’ve suggested I should turn a poem into a rap. It makes me wonder if I should start thinking of a second career as a rapper.

    I’m not sure how viral I want to go / famous I’d like to get, so we’ll see how much effort I put into honing my rap skills, and putting up a video or whatever… Maybe now would be a good time to invest in some gold chains & a pinkie ring though.

    I know one thing, I don’t want to stop writing verse, of whatever kind. It’s got to be a part of what I do. If other people like what I create, than that’s a huge added bonus.

    (Of course the second poem could use some cooling time & then revision… that was off the cuff.)

    I think I was so turned off by a lot of contemporary poetry that I just gave up on writing it for awhile. Then I decided if I’m going to do it, I’ll write it for my own pleasure, & possible sharing. But I need not be afraid of rhyming, or allying myself with more popular forms, such as the cadences of rap.

  235. Permaculture at it’s best, a la David Holmgren and others, really just comes down to common sense gardening that is appropriate to the location you are doing it, and as much as possible reusing your waste cycle. one hesitates to use the phrase toilet to table, but pretty close. Obviously not everything can be done in a suburban back yard, but a lot can. I think there is a lot to be gained for someone who is serious about growing their own food and reducing their energy use by taking a course, reading a book about it, etc. You might get some ideas you hadn’t previously thought about.
    It is true that a lot of permaculture devotees can be pretty self righteous and quite nauseating to be around. Sadly now it often ties in with some of the less attractive manifestations of woke culture in general.. There is a fine line there, which many people fail to navigate.

  236. To Chuaquin post #37 – A real lucid dream is amazing, you are fully awake with daytime awareness in dream world. I induced several lucid dreams a few years ago with Robert Monroe Hemisync’s Lucid Dream series. It took about a month and it was a bit unnerving getting to the state of being fully lucid in a dream. If you have seen the movie Inception it is a lot like that, especially the time perception aspect. Well worth pursuing.

    Hi JMG,

    I have been using your recommended method of beginner tarot daily divination for almost a year. I have purposely not read books on tarot. Having gone through the deck twice for a daily card meditation and a 3 card reading every morning, what book could I read to get better at divination?

    I really like tarot or anything to do with cards, but always wondered if astrology is so precise for divination why not spend the time learning that from the beginning? I realize it is immensely more complex, but why did you wait until you were older to start? What is the difference between tarot and astrology for divination? I’m looking forward to your astrology book.

  237. Thank you for the funeral tip, now I know what sort of arrangements to have in place. Hopefully I can delay the relivance of such knowledge until I’ve had a satisfying play through of this incarnation.

    On that note, I’ve been making a living as a green wizard, mostly helping my local food community (farmer market folks) with their projects. Here’s hoping its a very recession opportunistic niche. My main project this year is helping a farmer friend develop a second field. His main field is already a successful market garden, but it depends on all the fashionable farming supplies of plastic water lines, plastic row cover, plastic green house skins, plastic weed barrier, plastic packaging…. you get the idea. Like its a pretty good farm, and he working on reducing dependence on those inputs, but market farming as a living is dog eat dog, and you got to optimize to stay in the game. He has kit enough that material cost inflation we can duck for maybe a couple years. But we both estimate that the high end fancy produce that makes such materials profitable might not be the booming market in tough times. So I’m hype man for a volunteer garden on a otherwise unused acre, getting non farmers to come out and learn basic farmhanding, and testing techniques to get early produce with out plastic, using landrace seed breeding, more climate (less market) approprate crops, and salvaging materials to make the infrastructure. I’m very excite about it, and like rats jumping off a ship, I have friends jumping into farming! So trying to initate them to basics.

    I have two somethings to ponder, assuming the economy gonna be wack for the next while, there are two situations I am trying to figure out how to address, The first is economic, right now most the livelihood in market farming comes from tedious crops that don’t make much food, but pensioners love. High dollar lettuce (because loose leaf lettuce is tedious, it is therefor high dollar) is a poster child for this, but early season tomatoes are other good example; getting tomatoes to produce early is lucrative, but only at top dollar prices. There are many such crops. If times going to be hard, I figure most people might need cut back expenses, and those still indulging in buying produce might only be affording cheap stuff. Kohlrabi and winter squash, I can grow much poundage for modest work, are good examples. The crux is this, will inflation of industrial veggies make our fancy produce remain viable because it can compete with disrupted supply lines, or will cheap (heavy) produce reign supreme? I am diversifying, but I really want to hear chatter about such dynamics.

    I said there was a second matter, I been collapsing ahead of the rush for more than a decade, I feel kinda good at it. I see many friends who are trying to bail out of the system, and in ways that are sad or sometimes funny making bone head emotions and thoughts, because outside their experienced place they are trying to now live by vague abstractions, for they don’t yet have experience to rest on, and act like knuckle heads. I figure there will be alot of this going around, people trying to adapt to economic decline and guided by ever more glitched narratives of progress and apocalypse acting dumb. Not mean way, but just they don’t yet have experience. How best to help?… Gottaa go camping now with recently jumped rats, wish me good times!

  238. We’re currently working on our second “old-farm-house-renovation-project”. The first one was the one we live in, the second will be for rent. If you have a few practical skills those old German farm houses are an interesting invest. They are usually very cheap since 95% believe they’re worthless. Still, these buildings are centuries old and made of stuff you can’t purchase today even if you’ve got the money (like this, massive walls of quarried stone and centuries old oaken timber framing with cross sections > 15 cm (how much’s that in your unit system, 5 inch?) ).

    Well, usually there has been put a lot of work into those buildings over the centuries which few people are willing and capable to do and we have to dismantle a lot of stuff that has been put there post-WW II since it usually ugly and harms the underlying substance. When you do this, you will frequently find old notes that had been written on the walls by the tradesmen who worked there. And while I am currently in a frantic run to purchase everything we need to complete the work before we run into problems with price and availability (it’s already starting, need windows?), I realized that all these notes I find on the walls are all dating shortly pre-WW II. Usually something between 1930 and 1939. It seems that there was a lot of money available to the ordinary farmer in that time and that they were willing to spend it, too.

    Well, I see what I am currently doing and I notice that a lot of private money is currently invested into maintenance of buildings wherever I look. Connect the dots. It’s scary.

    Oh and we had a major disruption of the electronic card payment system over the last days. You could still get money from your bank, but you could not pay with your card at the fuel station, for example. Of course there are technical reasons for this – but I’d be surprised there wasn’t some intention related so some high-level financial problems involved…


  239. Justin Patrick Moore, I concur with our host, your first piece there would make for some turbo-viral rap. Might I dare suggest accompaniment by ukelele & goblet drum.

  240. @ Deringolade #158

    re Internet privacy

    Check out Rob Braxman tech on Excellent explanations about the new technologies and how to protect your privacy. It’s especially important to understand neural hash.

  241. @Aldarion, #231

    I really, really should not feel proud about this, but we did not need your help to breed cruelty into our blood and culture. We had been killing and slaving each other for at least a thousand years before your Catholic Queen hired an Italian conman to lead her famous three sail ships into the big unknown sea. If anything, your cruelty was the fire that extinguishes a bigger fire, maybe.
    What I think is behind the violence is the echoes and afterimages of a very, very dark, possibly demon worshiping, theocratic culture. The land is thirsty, and not precisely of water. I think there are ways to sublimate that, and part of what we need is a great warrior culture to emerge and work this out of our systems. But as long as this is just thugs strong-arming everyone else into giving them whatever they want… I don’t see how we can collectively crawl out of this.

    @NomadicBeer, #243

    Sharon Astyk was the real deal back in the days of the Peak Oil Blogger phenomenon. If you decide to not listen to her because of her opinion on face masks… I suppose that’s your prerogative, but it will be your lost. Just as much as every broken clock tells the correct time twice a day, every sage can brain-fart at any particular time.

  242. @ NomadicBeer: Sharon Astyk was an active writer in the collapse scene with a focus on the practical details of running a household. She wrote “A Nation of Farmers” and “Depletion and Abundance”, among other books. She had four children of her own and adopted another five from foster care, so a lot of her writing is about caring for others in a low-energy world.

    Just because her perspective on Covid disagrees with yours doesn’t mean her advice is worthless. Her advice on saving money would be of interest to many people commenting here.

  243. To tie up the response to Aldarion with the discussion about revenants and other etheric monsters. Many years ago I came up with the campaign backstore for the game Vampire, the Masquerade; this was adapted for adventures in the New World, specially Latin America. So, what follows is pure fiction, but maybe the authors were occult savvy.

    The campaign talked about the origin story of vampire clans different from the ones form the original game (which from a Watsonian point of view crossed the Atlantic along with the first settlers and conquistadors)… but anyways. The point I want to raise is that it portrayed the deities in Aztec pantheon as very powerful, very ancient vampires. They would have earned the trust of the humans a long time ago, by battling a chasing away other more brutal sorts of monsters that cannot be bargained with. This is actually based on the myth of Tonatiuh, the Sun god, who need to be fed with sacrificial blood in order to be strong and chase away the stars in the night sky every dawn (these stars are said to turn into jaguars and prey on men when Tonatiuh strength fails and night becomes everlasting).

    Leaving aside the entertainment side of things, does it sound like a plausible theory? Maybe a cadre of ancient powerful magicians that used the same (or similar) rituals as the Egyptian Faraons to “cheat Death”, but who required to be kept fed by further and further generations of the living. On the other hand, if that was the case, why we do not see the same behavior (aka, human sacrifice) in Egypt? Or where the Faraons fed with something else?

  244. @Ray Wharton #257

    I also work with local food systems and I’ve had similar thoughts.

    Take, for example, dry beans…

    1500 lb per acre yield
    1500 calories per pound
    Enough to support three people per acre per year. That’s not as high as corn or wheat, bit it’s far better than most vegetables and it’s high protein.

    The going price for locally grown beans is $7/lb. That’s $3500 per year to get one’s calorie needs in beans, which is fairly reasonable all things considered (10% of median income). And even at that price, small scale growers make poverty wages.

    The going price for industrially grown beans that look and taste the same is $1/lb, up from 50 cents a pound a year ago. That puts a pretty hard cap on the ability of local dry bean growers to expand their markets.

    The problem is that industrial beans are going to run short before the price rises to parity with local beans, at which time we are going to wish we had more local bean growers.

    The plus side is that if you can grow early tomatoes, you can definitely grow beans, so I think there is value in getting more people involved in local farming even if it currently means marketing low-calorie-high-value vegetables to elite buyers. Next year, if we really have a food shortage, a lot of those tomato and strawberry fields will be planted to corn, beans, and wheat.

  245. Nicholas Carter (no. 249), how would that work? Would Erdogan invade Bulgaria, Romania, and probably Greece too, before proceeding through the Belarussian Gap to invade the new USSR? Or would he send troops by sea? As much as Erdogan would like to recreate the Ottoman Empire, he seems to be bogged down in Syria for now, and of course Turkey’s economy is terrible enough to make him fear for next year’s elections.

    Rudyard Lynch (whatifalthist) is bullish on Turkey due to fundamentals (enough water, secure borders, long history as functioning state, robust militant patriotic tradition), and expects it to absorb the Balkans (again) later this century due to relative demographics. I don’t see how this could work–even a much-depopulated Balkan Europe would still be full of mountain people who hate the Turks–but who knows.

    JMG (no. 246), Dietrich isn’t a Satanist–he’s a conspiracy theorist who sees Satanists everywhere. In particular, he believes Michael Aquino, now a well-known Satanist, was involved in covering up the government’s time travel project. (Aquino did serve as an army intelligence officer, but in psychological operations, and has written about his work there.) Of course Dietrich is a scammer. On whether all Satanists are con artists, an acquaintance of mine, who has been kind to me, has recently come out as a Satanist. I was forced to reexamine my prejudices. It is easy to guess at the psychology behind this in the abstract, but each person is very different, and many of them have backgrounds not too different from yours or mine. My own Tibetan practices might come across as diabolical to those with a certain mindset.

    Speaking of which, you (JMG) write that “most of the people I know who don’t get good results with the GD system don’t treat the gods, angels, and spirits in the system as actual beings — they say ‘oh, it’s all just tech’ and don’t establish relationships with the beings in question. That way lies failure.” This is an issue that comes up in Tibetan Buddhist circles as well. On one hand, the deities are acknowledged to be creations of the mind; on the other hand, so is everything else, in some sense. There may be a rift between (modernist) convert Tibetan Buddhism (which sees a lot of the tradition as just ridiculous–come on, “hungry ghosts”?!) and heritage Tibetan Buddhism on this point, although plenty of converts believe in the deities more or less literally. I remember years ago, asking the Nechung oracle (he channels a spirit called Nechung for the Dalai Lama) whether Nechung “really existed,” or whether it was all symbolic. He said he definitely existed, and had to be careful not to be possessed by accident. Of course one would want to be respectful regardless. As I see it, it is enough to commit to values of love and compassion, and the deities who serve these ideals (whatever their nature) will be satisfied. Noting that there is extensive lore about deities or spirits who become angered for some reason. (Not that, say, a peaceful deity like Chenrezig or Tara would ever do that.)

    On Zeihan, if you’re hearing a lot about him, it’s because he’s got a book coming out (“The End of the World is Just the Beginning”), and has been giving, like, a million interviews. He’s got followers, kind of like Jordan Peterson does.

  246. Dear JMG, if you were to estimate, how many individuals in the United States would you guess practice a daily meditation, a daily banishing ritual, and a daily divination? I’m curious on what order of magnitude you imagine individuals might engage in these occult practices regularly, for instance do you think it would be more likely for the number to be between 1,000 and 10,000 or between 10,000 and 100,000?

  247. Following the seizure of a tanker carrying Iranian oil by the US and Greece (as mentioned by Darren, #196), Iran has now retaliated by seizing two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf. As usual, the west has taken action without considering that there will be consequences and if it continues on the current course (I’m guessing we’ll see it double down as it so often does) it may now have a minor “tanker war” on its hands.

  248. @ Ray Wharton, Interesting question about the lettuce, tomatoes, etc. I would guess those would not survive very long into the decline as a marketable item, nor would berries, stone fruit, grapes. They are all quite fragile and go off quickly, especially without refrigeration. They are pretty much a luxury item already, at least for me. They are delicate to carry home if you don’t have a car. When I am at my daughter’s and go to the farmers market, I always want those items and am horrified by how much I spend if I get them. Without a car it is quite a challenge to get them home unbruised.
    I remember living in rural Ireland and rural Greece in the 1970s. What you could get was what grew there then. The cuisine was definitely seasonal and it was a treat when the spring and summer fruit and veg appeared.

  249. I have been trying to continue a media fast that I (somewhat inadvertently) started a few weeks ago. So I’m not following the story in Uvalde closely. However, what I am hearing about the police response is beginning to smack of government incompetence, and it got me thinking that at some point it could be revealed there was some PMC incompetence at play there. As you’ve noted before, professional incompetence seems to be in abundant supply these days.

    Regarding your response to Katherine about media fasts, one thing you didn’t mention is how hard it can be sometimes to stick to them! Some of these news stories are—unfortunately—as fascinating as watching a train wreck in slow motion. And when it seems like everyone is talking about it, the curiosity is hard to overcome!

  250. Jessica (no. 226), I agree with most of this, but can’t resist a few nitpicks. Before the Gelugpa ruled central Tibet (esp. Lhasa and Shigatse), the Sakya did. Basically what happened was that there was a long history of turning to lamas to solve disputes (something like this also developed in Shi’ite Iran), and making tithes to monasteries, or serving as tenant farmers for them. Also, the big monasteries were centers of education. So after the fall of the Tibetan empire, these monasteries were often the only institutions capable of governing, in the sense of collecting taxes or organizing corvee labor. Various invading Mongol groups would appoint one or another monastery to do this. Sometimes they fought. In Eastern Tibet, Gelugpa monasteries forcibly converted several Nyingmapa ones, for instance.

    There is a popular stereotype to the effect that Gelugpas (for the benefit of other readers, this is the sect that ruled Tibet through the Dalai Lamas) study, but don’t meditate (but the other sects do the opposite), and that Gelugpa don’t really practice Vajrayana very much. In fact, Gelugpa “founder” Tsongkhapa’s group took some time to coalesce, and Tsongkhapa himself was trained in Kagyu and Sakya monasteries, seemingly not distinguishing. His “reforms” consisted of re-emphasizing tantras that he felt could be traced to ancient India, and emphasizing debate (and thus study of sutras and shastras) as a foundation for further practice. Now some forms of tantric practice (certainly the major monastery rituals, probably other private practices) would be done by everybody, but the really advanced ones were ideally begun after many years of study. Tsongkhapa emphasized the trinity of Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara, and Yamantaka (Vajrabhairava), but also wrote on Kalachakra, and according to oral Gelug tradition, secretly favored Vajrayogini.

    Ordinary laypeople wouldn’t do any of this. For them, typical religious practices might consist of things like chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum,” bowing to or circumambulating holy objects, or giving to monks. Chanting the Mani is actually a form of Vajrayana–one visualizes the deity Chenrezig, and chants his mantra, perhaps after a brief sadhana–although it is considered a “lower” practice that doesn’t require formal initiation. The Dalai Lama often gives empowerments for this practice, which is tied very closely to Tibetan identity.

    Of the various names floating around for what I call Tibetan Buddhism, each have limitations. For instance, “Tibetan” Buddhism is also practiced in non-Tibetan places like Mongolia, Bhutan, Ladakh, and Kalmykia. “Vajrayana” is actually just one category of practices within Tibetan Buddhism, and to complicate matters, is also found in East Asia, e.g. Shingon Buddhism in Japan. “Lamaism” is nowadays often received as a pejorative (as if it’s not really Buddhist), and anyway focuses on just one aspect of the religion (the institution of the lama). I figure that if Catholics can be called Roman Catholics, even if they’ve never been to Rome, then the same principle should apply to Tibetan Buddhists!

    林龜儒 (no. 222), we often use “lifestyle” to mean things like activities or affinity groups (“the hippie lifestyle”), but anthropologists use “lifestyle” to refer to more basic things, like where our food comes from (e.g. lifestyles based on hunting and gathering, nomadic pastoralism, mass agriculture, etc.) So when we talk about “lifestyle” changes in Tibet, the most crucial changes have been things like the kinds of food that are eaten (not just tea and tsampa anymore!), the way buildings are constructed (steel and concrete), social and trade relations, etc. Most of these are products of the modern era, which in Tibet has coincided with PRC rule, and it is an open question how much of these can survive into the future, as resources are depleted and governments weaken. Some pre-modern aspects might return (nomadism, perhaps), while others seem unlikely to (like governments led by monasteries) (although this still exists in Bhutan). We tend to focus on religion, because it’s very unique, and a lot of us are interested in that, but its role in Tibetan society is much reduced from before. Certainly religious practice and belief persists, but even this will change over time, as other aspects of society change (like population movements).

  251. Jessica (no. 226) PS. On the Buddha Nature teachings, I don’t see that the belief that we are already primordially enlightened has had much effect on social relations. Tibet and Japan were feudalistic regardless of how various authorities interpreted the Three Turnings, or sudden vs. gradual enlightenment. If a peasant were to ask why he had to toil while his lord or lama relaxed in luxury, the usual answer would be karma. And who could doubt cause and effect? Or the words of the Buddha?

    A central conceit of Tibetan culture (introduced by the Karma Kagyu sect) was the notion of identifying reincarnations, as a solution to the problem of succession in celibate monasteries. (The Sakyas used a system of succession from uncle to nephew.) If we start to doubt this system–which of course was politicized from the beginning–we might start to wonder what makes some lama’s opinions better than yours or mine. (Granting that a lama might also acquire charisma on his own, through scholarship, asceticism, or saintly behavior.)

  252. It’s just hit me, but I’ve seen the Russia Sanctions game before. I knew a guy who’s marriage was falling apart, but who was unwilling to deal with it. He did everything to avoid dealing with it (including becoming unbearable neurotic at work), but eventually the pressure built too much, and so he blew up the marriage in spectacular fashion, by publicly having an affair with his wife’s younger sister. Oddly, this was about the same time that he became bearable at work, since he no longer needed the outlet for his unexpressed emotions.

    He was so scared of what would happen when his marriage ended, and utterly unable to deal with the possibility at a conscious level, but his subconscious could not cope with it anymore and decided it was time to force the issue. If we’re dealing with the collective subconscious of the privileged classes deciding to shred the system, because going on has become too much to bear, and it’s time to just get this over with, things could escalate very, very quickly indeed in the weeks and months ahead.

  253. Those are very welcome! Thank you very much.

    On a different note, have you seen that there is a theory based on one of Yeats archivist on a 1987 Golden Dawn conference in London that the Smith-Waite tarot deck should probably be the Yeats-Smith deck? Apparently, Yeats sent some notes to Waite based on the Welsh Grail Cycle mysteries on which the deck was eventually built upon.

  254. Tony, possibly so. I’ll consider it.

    Nicholas, so noted.

    AV, you’re welcome to post this here. I don’t have anything particular to say about that, though I’ve written such things from time to time.

    Drew, the Cahokian civilization, as far as we know, had no overseas trade. In an age of ongoing sea level rise, when coastal cities are being drowned, the Great Lakes offer the advantage of seaports (via the St. Lawrence and Mississippi valleys) that don’t have to be moved inland every decade or so, and so the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley region will have a substantial economic advantage. There are other factors as well — my book Dark Age America discusses some of them.

    Hereward, make sure you have a pantry full of food and other necessities, and be ready to hide in the cellar and hope for the best when the fighting gets close.

    Justin, duly noted. Of course if you don’t want to be popular, don’t — but I’d definitely give a signal boost to that first piece, if you did.

    Charles, ironically, the book you want isn’t in print yet; I’m assembling John Gilbert’s tarot manuscripts into several volumes (there’s around 150,000 words of material), and a lot of it is instructional, ranging from beginning stuff to fairly advanced. As for astrology, the difference in time investment is colossal. You can learn to become a decent tarot reader in a few months of steady work. To become a decent astrologer takes years. I took the easier option first!

    Ray (1) I have no idea — it depends on complex economic factors I don’t know well enough to predict. (2) Let them know you can offer advice if they want it, and then shut up until they ask for it. The freedom to be dumb and make your own mistakes is precious, and worth preserving.

    Nachtgurke, 5 centimeters is 2 inches — that’s a convenient rule of thumb you can use. So 15 cm is 6 inches. As for the notes by farmers, no surprises there — as times get hard, people who can produce necessities such as food generally do very well.

    CR, the dead Pharaohs were fed with offerings of ordinary food; since they had the shelter of very large amounts of stone to keep the solar rays from disrupting their etheric bodies, they didn’t need much. An etheric revenant that needs blood is leaking etheric substance like a sieve and probably won’t last long.

    Bei, so noted. With regard to Satanists, maybe there’s an exception to the rule, but in the cases I had to deal with personally, all that chatter about liberty and rebellion meant in practice that they didn’t keep their promises, they didn’t respect other people’s boundaries, they trashed things that other people valued and then got nasty when the other people were upset by this, and generally behaved like jerks. My response to finding out that somebody has just gone Satanist is therefore to walk away as quickly as possible.

    Violet, I quite literally have no idea. It could be a thousand or a hundred thousand for all I know.

    Blue Sun, that wouldn’t surprise me at all. As for news fasts, of course it’s hard. A good opportunity for will training!

    Liam, oof! You know, that makes more sense of the current mess than any other analysis I’ve heard yet. Thanks for this.

    Augusto, no, I hadn’t heard of that. Thanks for the heads up!

  255. The book Cosmopolis by Stephen Toulmin, recently referenced on this blog, is a popular account by a professional philosopher of what changed when “respectable” European society embarked first on a “Quest for Certainty” and then on the resulting scientific program in the 17th century. The author paints a fascinating (perhaps slightly too rosy) picture of the tolerant, skeptical outlook of 16th century humanists like Montaigne, Francis Bacon and Shakespeare, as compared to “modern” philosophers and writers. It struck me, when reading the book, how strongly many commenters on this blog have often expressed a preference for a similar outlook.

    In spite of Toulmin’s clear predilection for 16th century tolerance and skepticism, he does also state the downsides (p. 29): “Naturalists rejoiced in the profusion of God’s Creation, but those who looked for comprehensive systems of physical theory in human experience faced disappointment. Given the very varied ideas that circulated in the 16th-century intellectual world, no one could ever bring matters of physics to a convincing confrontation, and everyone was free to believe what he liked. In natural philosophy, many of the humanists – once again, like Socrates – were driven to adopt attitudes of outright skepticism… Montaigne saw attempts to reach theoretical consensus about nature as being the result of human presumption or self-deception.”

    The main part of the book traces out the appearance of what we know as science.

    p. 30: “In four fundamental ways, however, 17th-century philosophers set aside the long-standing preoccupations of Renaissance humanism. In particular, they disclaimed any serious interest in four different kinds of practical knowledge: the oral, the particular, the local, and the timely.”

    p. 32: “After the 1650s, Henry More and the Cambridge platonists made ethics a field for general abstract theory, divorced from concrete problems of moral practice; and, since then, modern philosophers have generally assumed that – like God and Freedom, or Mind and Matter – the Good and the Just conform to timeless and universal principles.”

    Toulmin tells a fascinating yarn about the impact of Henri IV.’s assassination on young Descartes, and accompanies the catastrophe of the 30 years’ war. Whatever the merits of his particular explanation, he manages to really bring out the contrast between the more relaxed and less dogmatic atmosphere of the 15th and 16th centuries, and the New Science that started with Descartes.

    p. 98: “After the catastrophic times from 1618 to 1655, a new and self-maintaining social order was gradually established. One thing helped the respectable oligarchy to take the lead in this reconstruction: this, we shall see, was the evolution of a new Cosmopolis, in which the divinely created Order of Nature and the humanly created Order of Society were once again seen as illuminating one another. Looking back, we may find the 18th-century demand for stable and predictable social relations too rigid… With the social crisis of the 17th century in recent memory, however, preachers at that time were tempted to adopt the familiar rhetorical commonplace of “lest worst befall”, caricatured in Hilaire Belloc’s couplet that exhorts the child

    Always to keep hold of Nurse,
    For fear of meeting something worse.”

    p. 108-109: “The chief girder in this framework of Modernity, to which all the other parts were connected, was the Cartesian dichotomy…the division of Nature from Humanity…

    On the Nature side of the division, we find half a dozen beliefs: Nature is governed by fixed laws set up at the creation; The basic structure of Nature was established only a few thousand years back; The objects of physical nature are composed of inert matter; So, physical objects and processes do not think; At the creation, God combined natural objects into stable and hierarchical systems of “higher” and “lower” things; Like “action” in society, “motion” in nature flows downward, from the “higher” creatures to the “lower” ones.

    On the Humanity side, we find half-a-dozen similar beliefs: The “human” thing about humanity is its capacity for rational thought or action; Rationality and causality follow different rules; Since thought and action do not take place causally, actions cannot be explained by any causal science of psychology; Human beings can establish stable systems in society, like the physical systems in nature; So, humans live mixed lives, part rational and part causal: as creatures of Reason, their lives are intellectual or spiritual, as creatures of Emotion, they are bodily or carnal; Emotion typically frustrates and distorts the work of Reason; so the human reason is to be trusted and encouraged, while the emotions are to be distrusted and restrained.”

    p. 117: “Certainly, any suggestion that all these doctrines were “scientific” or
    “mathematical” does not bear close examination. If that had been so, they would have had to be defended far more diffidently and tentatively. Again and again doctrines that had not been proven by mathematical or experimental standards – that had not been demonstrated as geometrical theorems, and had little factual support – were presented as conclusions that “stood to reason” and “went without saying.” How could that be? What sort of commitment to “rationality” did this attitude represent?”

    Toulmin argues that the “respectable” framework of modernity repressed heterodox science the most where the nation-state was strongest, i.e. in England and France), and that sciences like psychology and economics, which infringed the modern orthodoxy by treating humans as natural objects, therefore first arose in regions where the nation-state had not been realized: Germany and Scotland. I found one short remark on economics very revealing (p. 125): “Anglo-American economic theory stayed firmly on the “reason” side of Cartesianism. Economics did not explore the causal tangle of motives or feelings behind real human choices exploring instead the rational choices of “ideal” producers or consumers, investors or policy-makers. For the purpose of economics,”causal” factors were set aside, in favor of ever more precisely “rational” calculations.”

    p. 128: “The comprehensive system of ideas about nature and humanity that formed the scaffolding of modernity was thus a social and political, as well as a scientific device: it was seen as conferring Divine legitimacy on the political order of the sovereign nation-state. In this respect, the world view of modern science – as it actually came into existence – won public support around 1700 for the legitimacy it apparently gave to the political system of nation-states as much as for its power to explain the motions of planets, or the rise and fall of the tides. Conversely, the Nonconformists, who called into question the presuppositions of the framework, were not attacked for intellectual temerity: they were exposed to scorn and contumely on other grounds.”

  256. To the people who worry about possible coffee shortages: during WWII, in occupied France, some people made coffee substitutes with barley. It looked like coffee, but there was a caveat: it tasted absolutely awful! So told me a 96 year old lady, whose parents drank the concoction during the war.

  257. Austria has a massive problem finding labor for its dining and tourism industry.
    It’s not hard to see why.
    A friend who was in tourism several seasons and was unemployed this August had a call in with his disgnated labor office employee.
    The govt agency wanted to send him to the other end of the country to some lone Inn for tourists.
    “My father is terminally ill and I have to care for him” he said. “That’s not my problem!” was the unfriendly reply.
    He terminatede the call and meanwhile has found him some good and fruitful job in a trade.

    A job as a stranger in some remote tourist magnet, socially isolated, working conditions beyond what the official contract allows,day and night, no weekend or national holidays, more often than not miserable treatment and disrespect. Who did these jobs in the past? The eastern European brothers of course.
    But, during corona times they were often left alone without beforehand notice, with no social security and immedeate replacement job.A brazilian friend almost crashed financially during that time, saving himself as a pizza courier riding the bike, that service class job description that seems to have expanded the most in the past years. Probably similar to events in the US, the tourism and otherwise service class has left their post to a big extent.

    As others may have mentioned too here concerning the East/West divide in Europe, I think the gap is closing economically.Many eastern European workers, as it also said in the news here and there, found themselves a better job at home.The easterners have filled the gaps of low pay and unpopular jobs these decades since the fall of the Soviet Union, both in skilled and unskilled labor, as well as in academia and education to some extent. They were willing to do so either because they could better feed their family in Austria or otherwise send their earnings back to their home, where their people benefited from the steep
    gradient between our currency and theirs.

    These times I wager are coming to an end. “Controversial plan of Hungary to make different gasoline prices for foreigners”. Guess what. Hungary has opposed the demanded sanction of oil from Russia most directly. Serbia did so too and Turkey as a NATO memeber send the message to the international media right away: nope, its our economy, our decision. Friends who have working class jobs tell me about their colleagues from Hungary and there rest, but especially Hungary as Austria’s direct neighbour. These people often commute to Austria and have houses at home where they raise chickens, grow vegetables, build stoves and traditional cooling cellars that need no electricity…

    May it also be that modernity and loss of primary jobs in production has influenced the Eastern European parts of the EU too, I think it is nowhere near the Western decline. More hands-on skills, more creativity, more opportunity to circumvent official regulations no one cares about in reality…no possibility for the state to execute mandatory standards of construction mandating a high resource and energy use effectively. Hungary has also denied weapons delivery to the war through its territory.

    These past days I went out leisurely, and today felt like I has fallen out of a dream, as if nothing of that ever mattered, as if there was no resource
    crisis with turbulence to be expected….that’s the real dream I guess.

    Massive food shortage by Q4 this year is I think pretty much the consensus of those discussing matters of global trade and food security. Not to speak of the more complex and crucial matter of oil and oil production.

  258. @Robert Mathiesen
    Much of our understanding of chimpanzee behavior is based on research by Jane Goodall and colleagues that was accomplished by creating a quite unnatural situation for the chimpanzees. When Goodall’s team first went to the area with the chimpanzees, they rarely saw them. So they decided to bring them into viewing range by putting out boxes of various items desirable to chimpanzees. The chimpanzees proceeded to start fighting over the boxes and the research proceeded from there.
    To put it simply, humans put the chimpanzees in a situation similar to that of a drug cartel, then took the results as indicative of chimpanzee behavior.
    Also worth looking at bonobos, who are notoriously peaceful and sexual, and who are if anything even closer related to humans.

  259. Great Lakes seaports? To sail from Toledo, say, to the Atlantic Ocean, a ship must pass a modest barrier called Niagara Falls. The Erie Canal was widened at about the turn of the 20thC and is now known as the Barge Canal, and it is indeed fully navigable, although I question just how much sea going traffic it could accommodate. Mind, I have no doubt of the present and future importance of the Great Lakes as inland waterways.

    Bei Dawei, what do you expect will happen when the present Dalai Lama passes away?

  260. @DFC

    On mass shootings:

    I think it is an inherent thing of an atomized society.

    There examples at hand I have read about:
    1. When social and psychiatric institutions were closed during the Reagan years in the US and stray loners reportedly commited acts of random violence
    2. In Germany since 2015 there are a couple of incidents every year where usually an asylum seeker or stranded immigrant randomly kills people in trains or in
    public, over here in Europe usually with knives, axes or cars.
    Austria had one incident in Graz where a bosnian turned islamist ran his SUV through the pedestrian zone
    3. I had read that also in China children running amok in schools happens, usually using knives or sharp objects

    Given that an islamist background traces to something political and ofc also Breivik was attribute a political cause, the mutuality of the incidents still often speaks of social isolation. Over corners I heard from the neighbours of the Vienna amok shooter, his parents and sister tried to stop him and that
    he isolated himself. It wasn’t in that sense his actual society that guided his target.

    I think in most poorer countries people are more traditionally, or also naturally, inbound into the society they live in. That starts already with reasons like car culture and suburbia in the rich nations, when poorer people often walk, spend time outside in their block close to others, and on average cannot afford the big private space that is normal for the rich countries.

    In an atomized society however, the isolated individual cannot side with any group or greater society, and the enemy can only be the whole of society. When I was limp and could barely walk and at large in a bad physical and mental shape at large, living in a 2millions city, I remember being pushed and shoved around on the streets from the middle of an anonymous mass. The outside world is simply hostile by then, and there is no social anchor for one’s self.

    Another possible aspect on this individualized, random violence may also be somewhat a middle class phenomenon: people in my upper middle class social environment are much more unfriendly and narcisstic at large than in the working class districts, and a trade worker friend who knows both worlds seconds me on that.
    The shooter of Vienna, the car murderer in Graz, Breivik, quite a few middle class examples I think, who probably combine social isolation with an intellectual prowess
    that allows making one’s murderous act also a symbolical one.

    The school shooter type is more middle class I think; the random public killer in Europe often is not so, though.

  261. @Bei Dawei
    You know a lot about this subject. Great.
    I agree that the notion of inherent enlightenment of all beings has not had much effect on how societies are run. However, that is because ways were found to defang this teaching. One way was to eliminate it by force or by subsidizing tamer teachings. Another way was to quarantine it inside monasteries and hierarchies. (Tibet and Japanese Zen)
    I needed to go elsewhere than Tibetan Buddhism for teachings when I noticed that although we were taught that all beings are inherently Buddhas, we acted as though reincarnate lamas were inherently and permanently better than the rest of us and when I brought this up with my (European) lama, he couldn’t see that there was any contradiction. The lama and sangha were wonderful but I wanted to go see what might be accomplished by unleashing the power of the inherent enlightenment teachings. Still working on that. The material conditions for such an unleashing became more favorable than ever before (so many people free of fear of starvation etc. and with free time to meditate), but conditions have been deteriorating for decades now and figure to do even more so.

    I apologize that the rest of this post may be so much insider baseball, so to speak, as to not be meaningful for too many here other than Bei Dawei:

    What I learned (from the rival Karma Kagyu school, so maybe not 100% reliable) is that nowadays the Gelugpas mostly study and that when they meditate they do not do the advanced tantric practices that were confined to monasteries until the Rimed (ecumenical) movement of all the non-Gelugpa schools from the late 1800s. (Although the current Dalai Lama himself does do advanced meditations that his school does not do.) The advanced practices are claimed to make it possible to reach enlightenment so much faster as to make that a somewhat reasonable goal rather than an abstract but impossible “jeez, wouldn’t it be nice”.
    Also, that the Gelugpas only recognize sutras for which the original exists. Since most of the originals were destroyed when Persian-Afghani Muslim armies wiped out Buddhism and its universities and monasteries in India, most of the teachings exist only in Tibetan translation. The Gelugpas also do not recognize new teachings created in Tibet. Usually, such teachings are not presented as new but as treasures (terma) discovered by a treasure finder (terton). Some of those new (newer than 1000 years ago) teachings were “found” by being channeled.
    So the Gelugpas only recognize documents that they have the original Indian version of in their centralized libraries, but the other schools (especially the Nyingmas) recognize teachings “found” even by lower status people if those teachings are powerful enough to catch on. Also, at least the Nyingmas and Karma Kagyu’s have a complex relationship with the kind of street Buddhism (Chod, for example) that the Gelugpas don’t even condescend to look down their nose at. For Westerners, it is the difference behind a working class church in a former movie theater vs. St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.
    In other words, the Gelugpas’ choice of teachings and practice fits a school that has had most of the political power in Tibet for nearly four centuries and that is concentrated in the governable valley while the other schools fit more organically into the culture of a nation that was mostly ungovernable and ungoverned until 1950.
    Finally, the whole notion of Tibet as some incredibly isolated land reflects the situation of the Dalai Lama’s school, which made itself more isolated in central Tibet response to the conquest of the British in India. They also rejected the new ideas and technology from the West as a danger to the purity of their culture (and to their theocratic power). The other schools had monasteries and connections more on the periphery of Tibet and in neighboring lands as well (even in Russia!) and responded to the recognition of the threat posed by the West by burying the hatchet among themselves.
    I believe that each of the four main school took its turn being politically dominant. The Nyingmas were top dog when Buddhism first directly reached Tibet and Tibet was at the peak of its power thanks to Silk Roads passing through it (and the weakness of the late Tang dynasty). Then the Sakyas. After them, the Karma Kagyus ruled as the advisers to kings, then the Mongols invaded and replaced them with the direct theocracy of the Gelugpas.

  262. Aldarion #231
    I agree that societies that were based on large-scale slavery in recent centuries seem to mostly (all?) be more violent.
    Albion’s Seed claims that in the more violent parts of the US, the first English settlers came from areas in England that had long been more violent and that they laid down patterns that remain in effect even after the earliest colonists became a tiny minority. (For example, New England is about 4% English. The largest sources of the population when he wrote the book were Ireland and Quebec.)
    Latin America may be even more violent than the US because in addition to slavery and (less complete) ethnic cleansing, the economies were highly extractive and never had a population of folks working on their own for themselves, such as the yeoman farmers of New England and the middle Atlantic.
    Japan and China have little violence now, but the Japanese killed enough in China and elsewhere during WWII to fill up their quota for a while and the death toll from Chinese civil wars in the 1800s (Taiping) and the 1900s is mind boggling. Are those societies fundamentally different now or are they just in the peaceful interlude between brief outbursts of massive violence?
    Of course, about the same can be said about Europe (WW1 and WW2).
    Not sure about Africa, but South Africa has very high levels of violent crime.
    Not to fall into a Scandi-fetish, but when I lived in Denmark, ordinary life felt more peaceful and far more democratic. I wondered how the blood thirsty Vikings I read about in Irish history and in a Roman Catholic litany had become basically decent. One factor was that after Prussian mauled Denmark with one hand tied behind its back in the 1860s, they understood that their days of even the pretense of being a great power were well and truly over and dropped any attachment to that kind of patriotism. Staying out of WW1 and pretty much staying out of WW2 helps too.

  263. Would you say western country leadership – both government and corporate – despise their natively born populations these days? Or is it more an indifference? I agree with you on the PMC hatred of the working classes (and there were some real doozies of tweets from journalists this week explicitly calling for death of the middle and working classes in America – talk about taking the mask off!) but it feels like its broadened beyond the working classes to most of the population now. I’m not seeing as many goodies given out to the PMC for their work these days.

    It feels like the only message I get through the media is frustration or disgust at me that I haven’t done enough in whatever their topic of the day/week is. It’s all complaining and pointing out how horrible other people are in the country.

    Does one even have a country if the leadership doesn’t treat its citizens with at least some level of respect? I feel like western leaders turning on their own citizens is the biggest turn of events that isn’t in the media specifically.

  264. I read an interesting essay from Rod Dreher yesterday:

    Dreher is one of those authors I mostly disagree with, but he writes well so I read him to challenge my own thinking. Ignoring the panicy elements of the above linked piece, it raises some good points. The ideology promoted by our elites of our times is a sort of scientific dogmatism which does see any form of tradition as a bad thing. It also promotes if not social atomization directly, the conditions that create social atomization.

    In short, this ideology wants to make everything bland, as we exist as nothing but individuals living alone (even if other people are in the house) consuming content on screens and buying nonsense to make ourselves happy. That is, an ideology that seeks to keep us alone and miserable so that we are good little consumers.

    I’ve known this for a long time, but it is interesting to read a Christian conservative waking up to this reality and seeing the emptiness of the progress narrative.

    One place where I differ with Dreher, and why I think the article is overly panicy, is because the ideology is falling apart. For one, we’re running out of energy, minerals, and sand that makes the consumerist fantasy land possible. Throw in elite overproduction, and there aren’t enough jobs to allow people to live the atomized lifestyle. I also see wokism unraveling.

    In short, I am optimistic that the ideology of late-stage capitalism is in its last hurrah. However, Dreher and Kingsworth do make a good point that we have to be careful about what rushes in to fill the void. A religious fundamentalist revival for instance would not to my mind be much of an improvement.

  265. @ Violet #105

    You say ( and I have no reason to think you do not mean what you say)

    “My perspective is that human males have a strong tendency to violence, full period, end of sentence. Talking with human males and human females I have gotten the distinct impression that the male desire for physical violence is often comparable in its intensity with the desire that many females have to bear children. Both desires have a sort of rising intensity that slowly peters out at certain ages, and a clear biological basis.”

    When I hear people say things like this, I often wonder how it is that I can have reached the age of 61 having:
    1) witnessed numerous women (including myself) fulfill a desire to bear children
    2) never witnessed a man fulfil a desire to commit violence, not ever

    Certainly I can read reports on the news like anyone else, and I realise that wars, and shootings and physical fights happen. But, while I have travelled in many countries, hung out with people of both sexes in a variety of socio-economic niches, and currently enjoy the presence in my life of a husband, two sons, and quite a large number of male friends, I have not actively witnessed any of these men either engage in violent acts, or appear to walk around in a simmering suppression of a strong desire to engage in a violent act.

    To be sure men are quite different from women, and, in my experience, very often inclined to a strong protectiveness that makes them quick to turn to face and to directly confront a perceived threat against people they care about. But IF violence for the sake of violence is accounted a specifically male thing, and IF a desire for violence as violence is presumed to be animating half of the people I meet, half the people I come to know, and half the people I come to love, THEN there must be something wrong with my eyes. Because nothing in my 6 decades of life on this earth has shown this to me through any part of my personal life or personal experience.

  266. Not to beat a dead horse, but….. Here is an article relating to the meds issue I raised in an earlier post. As I said earlier, my reading isn’t very up to date. I was unaware of this article and this web site until this morning, but it covers the subject quite well, all in a 19 minute read. Naturally, this isn’t a US web site; it’s from the UK.

  267. JMG, regarding your experience with Satanists…back when I was making a living in the music business, I learned the hard way that Christian artists/labels who were “saved by faith alone” could be counted on not to pay their bills and in one case to vanish with some of my recording gear. I wonder what other resemblances there are? :{)

  268. Greetings All,
    @Milkyway #16
    I recommend you check out for all things thingmaking. I just checked for how to make a bodice (they have a search label at the top right) (and obviously I’m running behind keeping up with ecosophia) and came up with
    At least 3 different sets of instructions are in the first 5 rows of possibilities.

    And then of course there’s everything else they have.

    Elizabeth Ann Kennett

  269. Errata from comment #263,

    I said “came up with”, but meant “came across with”. If some (most?) of you are under the impression that I was the author of that campaign, let me set the record straight: I was not.

  270. Long time reader, but first time to comment. I’m dismayed at the bit of permaculture bashing going on. As someone who was lucky to take a great class, I can truly say it was a life altering experience, and for me a big step forward in following a lot of JMG’s advice. I was living in San Diego the first couple of years after I discovered it, and had to be self-educated, since I could find nothing in the area to support it. But despite all the books I was reading, the lack of hands-on experience was holding me back. I moved up to wine country 6 years ago, one of the main reasons being that I wanted to grow a lot of my own food, and found a class right away. Living in an agricultural region helps, I suspect.

    Mine was a 6 month class, one weekend a month at different permaculture sites, and I’m glad it wasn’t a boot camp situation. One of the joys was getting to know the 35 or so other students, and it was a great cross section of people. Ages 20-80, very different backgrounds and life circumstances, all concerned about the state of the world. It’s impossible to generalize a “permaculturalist”.

    As for walking the walk, some were able to go home and do a garden right away. But the younger people tended to be renters with no gardens, others were looking to start a small farm one day, and even I didn’t have a garden for another 2 years, thanks to the Tubbs fire creating a housing shortage. But the great thing about permaculture is that it changes how you see the world, even if you can’t get your hands dirty. So look at it this way – you have a group of people who care enough about the world to educate themselves about solutions (whole systems thinking, just what we need!), who can still volunteer, vote, support non-profits, etc.

    As for the Wheatons of the world, everyone in America has to hustle a living these days, and permaculture is just another path for the hustlers. Debating dogma is the equivalent of clickbait. YouTube can be a great resource, but for every inspiring Geoff Lawton video, there are a hundred influencer wannabees who can barely record a video or speak in coherent sentences. Pity them and move on. And skip the dogma debates. Just get your hands dirty, take care of yourself and your little corner of nature.

    If you’re looking to educate yourself, certificates don’t matter. There are plenty of books out there (I recommend Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway for the home garden). If you’re lucky to have a class in your region, start there as opposed to the boot camp half way around the world. You would do better to learn about resources and appropriate crops for your region, and hopefully connect with others.

    My little food forest is 3 years old now and looking good. I’m still educating myself in any way possible – volunteering, garden tours, workshops and webinars, even getting to know my neighborhood gardeners who have more experience in this region. Thanks JMG, for providing a road map to navigate these challenging times.

  271. JMG, thanks for the response on Latin. I’m trying to do my bit, which is for now, procuring Latin texts and training manuals, and I’ve been brushing up on my Latin, some, which (this is strange) seems to weather surprisingly well during lack of use. I am not sure why this is, as I can’t say the same for my German. Perhaps there is some hidden reasons for this, which has helped it’s status as a dead language that just keeps persisting. It would certainly be a way for scholars to continue to communicate, and there are so many important primary texts in Latin. English is an extremely strong language in terms of vocabulary, so it may compete as a primary Common tongue.

  272. Hi JMG (& Mark L.)

    I’ll consider making Meta Verse into a track I can put up on my bandcamp page.

    I remain paradoxically averse about starting an account for something like youtube or tiktok, or other social media in those veins, where I could put up a performed version of the piece. However I do want my work to be furthered and I think the bandcamp platform remains one of the healthier places for artists online, so I’d feel comfortable putting it on there.

    Thanks for the offers to signal boost and share links.

    As for popularity I am a sun Leo with several other planets conjunct there in my birth chart, but also cancer rising… So I like being out there, but also have this tendency to want to withdraw into my shell. I am sure there are other factors that have contributed to me being this way, but that’s part of the paradox.

    All the best.

  273. @J.L.Mc12 re: why Aspies get treated like kids:

    A) because on average, we are more credulous than normal people. So like little kids, we are easy to lie to. Some of us, after bitter experience, simply develop a base assumption that everything should be considered a lie unless it comes from someone who’s proven themselves trustworthy, or until proven true. Some never catch on, and are easy for unscrupulous people to take advantage of. We’re typically naive: because we mean what we say and almost *can’t* engage in duplicity, we’re often lousy at detecting that behavior in others. It gives the impression of innocence.

    B) Because our social responses really are more like kids than like adults. Kids learn the ropes over time: what’s expected, what’s appropriate, what to infer from nonverbal cues. We’re kind of stuck with the verbal, and struggle with the more complex rules: we often learn them, but by deduction and rote rather than instinct, so even when we can figure out what’s going on expectation-wise, we’re slower at it because, metaphorically, normal people just cross the bridge, and for us there is no bridge and we have to trek three miles upstream to the fallen log across the creek, inch precariously across, and then trek three miles back down, to get to the same place. Slow. Response. Time. This is easy for NTs to read as dumb/clueless/childlike.

  274. Are you familiar with the “Law of One”, and particularly the Ra contact? If so, would you comment on it?

  275. @CR Patino 261:
    Yes, I wondered about Mesoamerican religion, too. Having never been to Central America, I didn’t want to go into that, and it seems to me none of the South American countries have that kind of past. I tried to think of some explanation that would hold for all the Latin American countries, including those (like Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil) that have sky-high homicide rates today. I did wonder about the warlike and cannibalistic fame of many tribes on Brazil’s coast, but I am not sure if they were actually more violent than in other places of the world.

    @Jessica 281: That is an interesting perspective on different parts of the US. I also wondered about Europe’s very bloody 20th century past and have no answer for that, except maybe that this violence was concentrated in a few years. The 18th and 19th centuries were comparatively less bloody there and might have served to cool down the horrible 17th century convulsions (for those, see my post on Toulmin above).

  276. Scotlyn (285)

    You were addressing Violet but I hope it’s ok for me to respond to your comment with a couple of thoughts about male violence. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones, or your karma is clear enough that you weren’t exposed to the kind of violence we’ve been talking about here. I have personally seen domestic male violence and heard even worse stories from others. I’m not good with numbers or data but I have heard that statistics are available showing that most physically violent acts are committed by males. I worked at a battered women’s shelter/hotline for a year and the vast majority of reported offenders were male. Of course most men do not do these things but when they are done, they are done by men.

    That said, I don’t think women are better than men, just physically weaker. We are subject to the same emotional imbalances and impulses as men. They just come out differently. Women are more likely to hurt each other with words and what I’ve seen referred to as relational violence, I think? For example gossip, cruel rumors, ostracizing. These things are especially painful to other women and can be used to cause a great deal of suffering that doesn’t leave a mark.

  277. Dear Scotlyn,

    Of course I write from the impressions formed by my experiences, as I trust you do too. In my last post I did not present any of my bona fides. Now it seems more appropriate to do so: as a child I received male violence, and so for me the question has never been abstract: and I have indeed seen far more of my male peers engage in physical violence than my female peers bear children. There were times as a child that I got jumped by a whole group of boys, after all. There were multiple times I was sucker punched out of nowhere. And there were many other fights besides. What’s more I have had friends of mine murdered, chased, brutalized, raped, and pistol-whipped all by men. I have witnessed first hand a starving and homeless Latin American man beat his wife under a bridge in New Orleans while his children cried. Many, many years ago I witnessed multiple violent protests in which mostly males engaged in egregious property destruction. More recently I attended a protest in which the counter protest and the main participants angled for a street fight with helmets, shields, and bats. Once in a railyard in Mississippi while hiding on a train, I heard one man cry and plead while another man dominated and struck him. I could go on and on, and am restrained by space and by my own aversion to these memories. They are to my tastes at least rather gross.

    Since I was born a male I can let you know: in _my experience,_ human males engage in physical violence with one another as a matter of course. Human females sometimes speak of their “female mysteries” from which men are excluded. Male on male violence is a comparable “male mystery,” one might say. Certainly I feel inducted into that mystery: it forged me into something steelier and instructed me in the power of aggression.

    Very often I have noticed that females seem to be as unaware of the inner dimension of male experience as males are unaware of the inner dimension of female experience. You write that you have “never witnessed a man fulfil a desire to commit violence, not ever” Have you ever witnessed the aftermath? Again, I have. Have you ever seen boys play fight with sticks, or heard youths talk excitedly about their love of violent videogames and books and war? I have, and I see this sort of behavior as precisely analogous to how girls play with dolls. That is, it expresses a deep instinct.

    Have you ever known any male who joined the military? I have known multiple veterans, one who showed me the bullet wounds on his body and another who refused to talk of his experiences. Another male I know desperately tried to join any military that would take him, which was challenging given his past. Eventually he joined the French Foreign Legion. A member of the military has, of course, become part of one of the prime organizations of state violence.

    Also, there are other organizations of state violence, viz., the police. I have spoken with and become friendly with one retired police officer at the community theatre I used to volunteer at. I asked him if he had ever killed any one and clearly pleased he said “yes.” Then we talked about religious philosophy and practice. I’ll note that I have seen people I have known attacked by the police before in the sense of going around town with with broken bones from the batons.

    So you see, I have many, many experiences that affirm the reality of male violence, and the reality of it as an instinct that males have. Of course, females are often plenty violent too, when they get the opportunity to be, just as men can behave in nurturing ways when given the opportunity. I write all of this not to affirm crude stereotypes, but out of the realities of my experiences and those of my peers. I can remember many gentle, kind hearted males too and I have known many females who have no interest in nurture.

    Of course, you have your own experiences. Mine are radically different.

  278. Aldarion, my local library has a copy, so it’s on my to-read pile at this moment. (It’ll have to wait until I finish Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book and Henry Miller’s The Wisdom of the Heart, but that shouldn’t take more than a week or so. I’ll be interested to consider Toulmin’s argument.

    Horzabky, here in the US a lot of poor people used to make coffee from chicory root. In the South, where this was particularly common, you can buy coffee cut with chicory; for those who like coffee, it’s apparently quite good.

    Curt, interesting. So Austrian employers have the same attitudes as American employers!

    Mary, yes, and canal locks were a thriving technology in Roman times, so the canal around the falls will be perfectly viable as a means of access from the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence seaway for the very long term. There’s also the Erie Canal, for that matter. Plenty of seagoing traffic used to go via both those routes before the current craze for supersized ships, and once that craze ends, there’ll be plenty more.

    Denis, yes, very much so. The current ruling caste in America hates, despises, and fears the classes beneath it; that’s normal in a decadent aristocracy like ours.

    Chris, he’s quite correct, and I’m glad to see that he’s noticed! People were writing about this in great detail and quite some passion back in the 1950s. The crucial point, however, is the one you make: it’s already going to bits, because the bland isolated life that the corporate system pushes on people fails to meet too many human needs — and of course there’s the little fact that it depends entirely on unsustainable resource flows.

    RPC, that doesn’t surprise me at all. On the one hand, Satanism is a Christian heresy, so it shares the faults of its parent religion; on the other, religions in general attract scam artists who use faith as an excuse for fraud, and also clueless types who think that since God will forgive them, so will their creditors.

    Chow’d, I’m glad to hear you had a good experience with Permaculture™. Many other people haven’t. I think it’s just as reasonable for them to discuss their negative experiences as it is for you to discuss their positive ones, don’t you?

    Celadon, glad to hear it. I hope it’s Latin and not English — I make my living from English, but it’s a steaming mess of a language.

    Justin, I’ll look forward to the link!

    Ben, not especially. There are lots of systems of channeled teachings out there, and they aren’t something I’m very interested in.

  279. @Scotlyn, #285

    Thank you for continuing to stand up of the whole of the human race, with its full quirks and not so likeable habits. This is something I really admire and appreciate of you.

    @Psychedelic jocular puca, #296

    Of course having worked in a battered women’s shelters allow you to see most cases of male upon female violence. That’s what the words “battered” and “women” mean after all. Leaving aside the fact that domestic violence occurs against both female and male victims (though female upon male violence is grossly under-reported), I’d like you to consider that police statistics say most physical violence happens in a male upon male fashion, and that usually the victim and the perpetrator are in acquaintance of each other (not kin, not close friendships, but no total strangers either).

    If I where to venture an explanation, I’d say that both sexes have roughly the same flight or fight response hardwired in their brains (though which one you pick will be influenced by both individual and social factors). When acting out from fear and anxiety, women are not much less violent than men. Equally both sexes are equally capable of cruelty (in which case the emotion would be contempt/disgust… not sure what the correct word is, something like hate, but on a gut level), though since acting out from this emotion requires you to attack an easy pick, you will see this reflected in the children abuse cases of adult women towards minors of either sex.

    What I have come to believe is unique to male violence is that it is used to resolve contests of dominance. Women do not put other women (or men) in their place by kicking their… undruidly sitting parts; as you say, they resort to the destruction of their social persona as their favorite technique for that. Females do not seem to intuitively grasp when an attacker is out to get you and when is he demanding for you to fall in line. Now, a properly socialized male should be aware that women do not compete in the same social hierarchies, and that “educational beatings” are not Ok on any women; but then transfer of social values is never perfect, much less in times of degradation such as the ones we live now.

    What I would very much like for all the female commentariat to consider is this: as much as females find the idea o violence totally abhorrent, most males are equally unable to grasp social attacks aimed at our good standing in the community. Deviant males that resorted to these tactics were traditionally considered the lowest of the scum, and unworthy of any courtesy or chivalry. It is as devastating for a male to be falsely accused of unmentionable acts by a romantic partner as it would be for the women to be assaulted and battered by the counterpart partner. Please consider that, then think about what is the likely effect on the Woke favorite tactics on the supposed oppressors.

  280. @Mark L #240:

    That’s exactly it, it is compost derived from the community’s green bins for organic waste, and many don’t seem to be that careful about what they put in it. That anecdote about the herbicides in compost from an organic farm is also good to know. I think I will take JMG’s suggestion and only ever make my own compost.

    Still pondering what to do about the compost I did get. I have to shovel it all anyway, so when I do that, I will likely just sort out all the plastic bits to remove them, and then experiment with plants that will remediate soil. And be certain not to eat anything that grows there.

  281. @Jessica (#278):

    There’s been a simply enormous amount of study and observation on chimpanzee behavior since Jane Goodall started her work. The primatologist who observed (and filmed) the behavior (torture and slow killing) that I mentioned was Richard Rangham, and he was working in another part of Africa than Goodall, with chimpanzees with whom Goodall had never worked.

    Goodall was indeed a pioneer in chimpanzee primatology, and a good one, but she’s hardly the last word in primatology these days. The field has developed enough to hold quite large biennial conferences of researchers all over the world. (These conferences are scheduled in alternation between countries with significant populations of primates and countries with significant populations of primatologists.) My wife was assistant editor of The Laboratory Pirmate Newsletter during the last part of its run; she attended these conferences and went to as many of the sessions where new research was being presented as time allowed.

  282. @Breanna #75, @pygmycore #84, @adara #89, @erikalopez #90, @Princess Cutekitten #101, @Mary Bennett #122, @Elizabeth Ann Kennett #288 (hope I didn’t forget anybody!)

    Many, many thanks to all of you for your suggestions! JMG, your audience truly rocks! 🙂

    I’ll have a nice Sunday afternoon tomorrow, going through all the suggestions and links with my kid. I suppose some shops might not ship to Germany (or there might be issues with shipping times/customs/…), but that will be easy to find out. A quick glance says that e.g. Margo’s Patterns has a shipping partner in Germany.

    Also, asking around in historic societies etc hasn’t even occurred to me – a very good idea! Thanks also for the various book recommendations, much appreciated. 🙂

    Lol – my kid called that bustier thing “medieval style”, and I never even questioned that. That tells you about what my level of competence in this area is… 😉

    @Kimberly Steele #83

    What a nice garden! It looks like you have not just daylilies, but also some hostas growing there, haven’t you? I suppose you know that both daylily flowers and hosta shoots (in spring, before the leaves unfold) are edible. I have yet to try the daylilies, but hosta shoots are delicious. Prepare like asparagus and dig in!

    @Simon S #141

    Gardening already is part of the culture wars, methinks. Starting a garden means you are somewhere, you identify with a place. That separates you from the people who are “at home anywhere”.

    On another note, “preppers” are being portrayed as right-wing extremists by the msm and also some politicians here in Germany. Not sure what they think a prepper does, but I suppose storing some food and, well, preparing for what likely is to come counts as prepping. Like, you know, owning a wood stove or doing your own canning. Boy, do I feel right-wing extremisty today, after a day in the garden! 😉

    @Waffles #217

    You could also look into EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), also known as tapping. There are a ton of instructions available online. Imo this would also make a nice addition/companion to the Octagon Society material, if it is your cup of tea…

    @Curt #224

    We’re all our own brand of crazy. 😉

    I’ll simply get people in touch. It’s up to everybody who they want to converse or meet with, and in which way. That’s to say: I’d be happy to add you to the list!

    Have a great Sunday, everybody!


  283. Hi JMG,

    I thought you might be interested in this. I went to NORWAC today to browse the fine selection of books and to take a few home. It was nice seeing everyone back after two years of virtual conferencing. One thing that struck me was the incredibly high number of under-30 people, of which roughly 80% were women. Most were dressed up in expensive looking clothing and it jarred from the 40 and over crowd who wore t-shirts/sweaters. Many of the women were dressed in sexy outfits, as if they were going to a club. I’m not sure what’s going on here, maybe astrology has become fashionable for the younger set? If I were to hazard a guess, these people are leaning towards Wicca or something similar.

  284. Regarding the fussiness of solar power components such as inverters and charge controllers, as I understand it, part of the problem is having components running at or near their rated capacity, which is less expensive and more efficient (and thus, completely acceptable for a power generation company trying to maximize profits when replacement parts are readily available), but it means they run hot. Running hot is the bane of all electric and electronic devices. In a small off-grid solar power system, if you have 500W of demand, you’ll get the most out of your battery capacity with a 500W inverter. But that inverter is less likely to last. A 1000W inverter will cost more, and it will consume more power to produce the 500W power output than a 500W one. It will produce even more waste heat as well. But it won’t run at as high a temperature, so it will likely last longer.

    I grew up in one of those families where the parents constantly said, “Don’t do that, you’ll wear it out.” Where “that” might be something innocuous sounding like flipping through the channels (using the manual dial) of a TV set for more than one full revolution, or running a kitchen mixer at high speed. (Heck, I was once scolded for mistreating and thus breaking a balloon-like toy commonly called a “punch ball.” My malfeasance was punching it.) But it does seem to be the case that things last longer if you treat them gently. A habit that seems to have gone out of style, and might need to come back when things get harder to replace.

  285. In one of your last posts I proposed the idea that the apparent one-dimensionality large parts of our society display in their thinking and action might somehow be linked to materialistic monism. I pondered that idea for a while… I think what’s at the heart of it is linearization and that is indeed deeply linked to the scientific concepts that form the foundation for most purely materialistic perspectives on the world.

    If one or more variables depend on one another and do so in a non-linear fashion (as they usually do) it can become very complicated to solve this problem mathematically. But you can perform some mathematical tricks and then pretend that the dependence of your variables is linear in a small environment around a given point. There is some sense in this, a circle can be approximated by a set of straight lines, after all. If you are interested in the non-linear aspects of the problem, you can try other tools of your mathematical toolkit, like perturbation theory (which only works reasonably well if the non-linear perturbation is small).

    There are a lot of problems that contain linear (or first-order-) approximations. You can derive Newtonian mechanics, for example, as a first-order-approximation from special/general relativity. The more crude (and frequently older) theory is often contained as a first-order-approximation in a more sophisticated one.

    So what I do think is that our society is engaging in a lot of first-order-approximations to a lot of problems. Want to build a house? First-order-approximation might produce you some ugly housing block. Agriculture? Well, first of all, it’s about producing food, isn’t it? Medicine? First of all, the illness has to go away. Permaculture? It’s only about saving the planet, right? And so on.

    Is it possible that this kind linear thinking escaped into the wild at the advent of Newtonian mechanics and what we call modern science? Or are both an expression of a deeper phenomenon? After all, linearized solutions have their appeal – you have to think less and your work is finished much more quickly, for example. So there is some kind of Pareto’s law in it. You can get 80% of the solution in 20% of the time, maybe – but the remaining 20% usually contain the juicy parts. That’s true for science as well for life. I’d tend to say there’s an underlying phenomenon beneath all of this, although I can’t tell what it is. Could be a slogan for the Radiance… “Life’s linear”.


    (PS: Thank you for the education on how to convert inches into centimeters. The metric system is maybe the only thing where I’m super-convinced that it’s superior to other systems of measure 😉 )

  286. I am yet to see who responded to my previous comment. In retrospective, it sounds stupid and over the top. I am not sure why I wrote that. There’s some half truth over there, but it was very over the top and more than a bit inappropriate. I clearly cannot think straight about the issue. Over and out

  287. Scotlyn,

    Just to chip in to your response to Violet regarding male violence, a lot of makes will protect their loved ones from experiencing that aspect of them. I know personally, as a male, I’ve been in a number of fights, some sought out just for the experience, others that I couldn’t avoid.. but none of them happened with my loved ones around.

  288. Concerning male violence, I can say that many groups of dudes I’ve befriended are quite lustful about violence. I consider a vegan friend who though killing animals was psychotic, yet I’ve heard speak almost in baited breath of what horrors he’d unleash on another human if they did something to his family. I’ve desired the harm of others, and punched and been in fights as a child, and I was an unusually agreeable and non-violent boy. Violent video games, childish obsessions with swords and guns and fighting heros, all indicate to me some sort of lustful fixation. And I know the times I punched a bigger kid who was bullying me, it felt exquisite. To Violet’s point I’ve known many men to speak longingly of what violence they’d do if, if only, someone would give them cause.

    I think that a lot of honor is in learning to keep that desire in a poised position, such that it won’t be triggered unduly. And the people I’ve known who have well secure the trigger and the safety on that possibility also have a kind of dignity. Outside of those who are violent to others there are clearly ways that violence can be self directed. If you pay attention humans have some pretty intense movements under their skin.

    What I figure is odd about America is that we have the meme infiltrated into our collective consciousness of the mass murderer. And the sorts of folks who have one of the concoctions of inner traits that is potential to fall to such evils follow that tract in space to its destination. I figure it’s likely to get worse until our society passes its point of steepest decent; but in a distinct flavor where it exists as an evil inversion of martyrdom; the Devil committing suicide by cop at Golgotha. I don’t know enough about the details of the heads of the past shooters to know the patterns that have been at play, but clearly they are extreme cases where some mental barrier is crossed and then the meme track pulls them along a remarkable stereotyped path. What is strange is how stereotyped the pattern is. It is literally a National scale recurring nightmare, and I bet bottom dollar what is under it is something repressed by all sides; akin to the nasty funk a recurring nightmare might indicate towards.

  289. Hi John Michael and Chow’d,

    Like everything else, there are both good and bad aspects to permaculture and I take the good aspects such as zoning, and have abandoned the inappropriate for this environment aspects such as food forests. It is very possible that the idea does not translate well to this particular environment as I reckon it suits much warmer climates. I really gave it a go here for many years but the climate is just too damp and the growing season is too short. Others may fare better than I.

    The main issues for me were:
    – Rats have almost perfect cover in such a densely planted environment. And those happy little rodent critters will eat a lot of your fruit – more than the birds in fact;
    – Rabbits also have great cover in such a set up and they’ll strip the bark from apple trees as predators have a hard time getting at and eating the rabbits;
    – Encouraging plants near and around fruit trees increases the incidence of disease and pests. Wood lice love those protected moist conditions, not to mention fungal diseases;
    – Thick ground covers reduces the sunlight at ground level keeping the soil cooler and thus slowing the growth of the fruit trees – and also the fruit trees have to compete with the ground covers for minerals;
    – Harvesting of fruits in such an environment is hampered by the presence of the ground covers; and
    – Snakes are attracted to an easy feed of rodents. Nuff said.

    All of the ground covers were chopped and dropped, the understory of the orchard was opened up and the fruit trees grew better and were easier to maintain. What I’ve taken away from this experience is that just because ideas work in one area, does not mean that they will translate to every area. And this also taught me to simply open my eyes and take a look around the area so as to see what works, and then try and understand why it works.



  290. Hi Walt,

    Sonkitten used to get obsessed with a particular snatch of videotape and rewind…and rewind…and rewind… He still remembers having his controller politely confiscated so he wouldn’t break the VCR. He’s not as obsessive now but still has the occasional repetitive spell, so he’s very happy we now have DVD players and computers.

  291. @C R Patiño #306:

    What you said here makes perfect sense to me, and does not strike me as over the top at all:

    “What I would very much like for all the female commentariat to consider is this: as much as females find the idea of violence totally abhorrent, most males are equally unable to grasp social attacks aimed at our good standing in the community. Deviant males that resorted to these tactics were traditionally considered the lowest of the scum, and unworthy of any courtesy or chivalry. It is as devastating for a male to be falsely accused of unmentionable acts by a romantic partner as it would be for the women to be assaulted and battered by the counterpart partner. Please consider that, then think about what is the likely effect on the Woke favorite tactics on the supposed oppressors.”

    Having been the target of two false accusations during the course of my life, I can relate to this entirely.

    Here in NZ, private citizens can, in fact, initiate prosecutions against wrongdoers without waiting for the Police to act. It requires hiring a lawyer (not cheap!), and the District Court judge has to agree that the case is meritorious before it can proceed, but it is a last resort for those who have been wronged, and for whom the “justice” system refuses to act.

    I hope that I never have to face a false accusation from any woman for a third time. However, I have decided that, if it ever happens again, I will pursue a private prosecution for false accusation, which, in NZ, carries up to a 14 year prison term.

    I am not a vengeful person by nature, but I believe that things have come to the point where women routinely expect to be able to blatantly perjure themselves without serious accountability or consequence. You cannot have a functioning civil society where half of the population believes that it can recklessly libel, slander and falsely accuse the other half, and then just “swan off” without being punished. Public examples will have to be made of egregious offenders, to deter such behavior.

  292. @Stephen and @Mark, thank you for your thoughts on the food system questions. For what its worth my current plan is about 7000 sqft of highly marketable crops to fund the basic improvements to the gardens; irrigation, mulch and wind breaks being the big aspirations for upgrade. Because of the sprinklers I have use of to very nicely irrigating those 7000 sqft about a much larger area gets marginal irrigation that is uneven or irregular. That area is filled with high cal per man hour crops: squash beans and corn, and sunflower from largest to smallest area. There are huge tracts of land in my region that are not kept well enough to make a buck, and with some social skills they can be put to use as a wizardly service, the limit is just elbow grease. My figuring is that since I ain’t limited by land (I could make deals for free acres when I have myself put together well enough to manage them nicely, but most farmers I know err by going to big out the gate.) fill in the stuff I cannot work hard like carrots, lettuce, and beets, with lazy crops that just need hand tools and minimal work like corn and squash.

    Right now the beans and corn are bothersome to make a buck on (though I grow pretty corn with fancy colors that I can upmarket to fancy people if I get enough) but I can feel myself, my land lords and make the mistakes that aren’t lethal yet. Squash, even at walmart competitive prices ain’t too bad as a small side hustle.

  293. Jon, hmm! That’s interesting. Divination in the US has long been lopsidedly a female pursuit — your average tarot reader, astrologer, palmist, etc. is usually a woman, and has been for a very long time — but seeing a new generation from the comfortable classes getting into it is news.

    Nachtgurke, fascinating. I’m going to reread your comment and think about it at some length.

    Chris, thanks for this.

  294. Mary Bennett (no 279), the most likely scenario is that the PRC and the Tibetan exile government each identify a different child as the fifteenth Dalai Lama, much as they did with the current Panchen Lama(s). The present (fourteenth) Dalai Lama has hinted that he might not be reincarnated, or alternatively, that he might be reborn as a female, but unless he directly states either of these, I expect that the Tibetan exile government will pick a boy as usual. The PRC will too, since they don’t much care what the present Dalai Lama thinks, and a boy would be more traditional. The exile candidate will probably be found in Arunachal Pradesh, since this used to be part of traditional Tibet (the sixth Dalai Lama was born there), and the current Dalai Lama has said that if he is reborn, it will be in a “free country” such as India. The PRC for their part insist that the future Dalai Lama must be born within Chinese borders.

    So we can expect two Tibetan boys to be identified, and spend a couple of decades being educated for their respective roles. Each can count on a certain amount of institutional charisma as they are paraded around–the PRC candidate under the firm control of his handlers, the exile candidate more of a question mark as people watch for signs of scholarship, leadership capabilities, etc. I wouldn’t expect either to turn into a world-class celebrity like the present Dalai Lama, though. One complication is that support for the Tibetan exile government has been quietly shrinking as younger Tibetans take citizenship in India, or elsewhere (one of the Karmapas bought a passport from Dominica). I saw a figure of “40,000” for the number of Tibetans who register under its jurisdiction, and this is likely to shrink–young Tibetans are less interested in religion, and often regard the institutions of the exile government as corrupt, incompetent, and focused on the interests of a different generation. I also suspect that international interest in Tibetan Buddhism will turn out to have been something of a fad (similar, perhaps, to neo-paganism and the New Age).

    Jessica (no. 281), when you write “advanced tantric practices,” there is wide inter-lineage agreement over what those are (anuttarayogatantra / “unsurpassed yoga tantra,” to use the “new tantric” nomenclature). The Gelug and Kagyu traditions both emphasize Chakrasamvara, which entered Gelug tradition from Kagyu (and there is a related “Gelug Kagyu” tradition of Mahamudra). For the Kagyu schools, Chakrasamvara is the most prominent anuttarayogatantra; for Tsongkhapa it was one of three main practices, along with Guhyasamaja and Yamataka (which Kagyu tradition has in different forms–Yamantaka is a protector practice, while Guhyasamaja is an anuttarayogatantra but features a different central deity, Red Chenrezig.) But each school practices a number of others. The Gelug tradition was that these would be learned after finishing the lower geshe curriculum, while the Drikung Kagyu traditionally thought that one should complete ngondro (the “preliminary” practices of 100,000 prostrations, etc.) first. However, hierarchs from both have offered public empowerments for anuttarayogatantra practices, leaving it up to initiates to determine if they were prepared, or if they would receive the empowerment just as a blessing.

    As for whether any of this is capable of bringing about enlightenment in a single lifetime, well, such is the rhetoric, but in cold reality, few dharma practitioners can expect results like that, and it is an open question whether *anybody* has been thus enlightened, although many will piously insist that their teachers were. A few bold souls have declared themselves to have achieved some profound distinction (Geshe Michael Roach claimed to have become an eighth-level bodhisattva), but their receptions have been mixed at best (Roach was shunned by other Gelugpas, and is widely considered crazy).

    When you mention “original” sutras, well, it’s not like there are original versions sitting around somewhere and being copied; almost everything (except some inscriptions) comes from centuries if not millennia after the life of Sakyamuni Buddha. The main issue was whether a text could be traced back to India. If a Sanskrit version existed, then this was generally enough to get it accepted. The (so-called) Heart Sutra was probably composed in Chinese (as a digest text, containing excerpts from the Perfection of Wisdom in 25,000 lines, perhaps as a charm), then translated into Sanskrit for the sake of legitimacy once it became popular as a devotional text. Other Prajnaparamita texts apparently go back to something like the second century AD, at least in some form (and according to legend, had spent the centuries since the life of the historical Buddha underwater, until Nagarjuna persuaded the nagas to part with them!). So the terma (discovered “treasure texts”) are not really qualitatively different from canonical stuff.

    Tsongkhapa was a brilliant scholar, but his agenda and methods were very different from anything we would recognize today, and he was still very much a product of his Kadam training. I suppose you know that the Sakya scholar Gorampa thought Tsongkhapa was possessed by a demon! (He was known for channeling Manjushri.) But few Tibetans would dare agree–more likely, they would consider both Tsongkhapa and Gorampa to be enlightened beings, and their disagreement as some kind of performance for our benefit. Perhaps they hoped to inspire critical thought and debate!

  295. I went camping with a group of friends who run a moderately successful restaurant. One of ’em is a prepper whose views are not far from what would be mainline on these boards, the others aren’t so incline to concern themselves with the larger future. Well I asked some probing questions about how the economy looks from the business side of running a middle to almost high end restaurant targeting tourists to the Mesa Verd. Here’s what I was told:

    They had to up prices on their nicer meals 50% because of rising costs. People are still buying faster than they have in a long while. A slight uptick in local business. And finding good people to work the place is hard, and the fraction of workers who need to do an extra side hustle is up. None of them could figure out why folks have the money for $$$ ribeyes, but their higher end meals are more popular than ever.

    Make of that data what you will.

  296. @Ray Wharton, What I didn’t make clear in my previous opinion was the time scale. It could be six months or 60 years. I guess I would grow and sell the high end produce as long as there was a market for it, having your backup crops ready if the luxury market declines.
    @JMG,and I believe your name is Patricia who lives there or anyone, I would be interested in your opinion of Japan in the long decline. It seems to me that, if they can avoid being dragged into America’s wars or have not already hopelessly blotted their copy book with China, and if they can keep enough resources coming in and enough manufacturing going as they bring their population down, they might not be in too bad a shape. Their population is already stable or shrinking a bit and they seem aware and intelligent enough to grasp the changes they will have to make before many other countries do.They have no resources anyone would invade them for in the near future, but have rich farmland and forests, and could do well in an echotechnic economy. Ironically they would probably have to import farmers to get started. I have seen that they are actually giving away houses in rural villages.

  297. Jmg

    Another idea I had for deindustrialised warfare is getting a solid fuel rocket and attaching wings to it to increase its range, a kind of low-tech kamikaze drone or cruise missile.

  298. Lawn and yard care

    I was just curious if anyone had noticed any changes in how people are caring for their yards? Around me I’ve noticed most folks going at it as normal but a few more yards have the grass quite a bit longer. Then there is me, using my Fiskars push reel mower, almost like 1950s style lawn care. I know in time caring for the yard will mostly be left to goats and other domesticated livestock but as things are descending, there must surely be some options.

    One benefit I’ve noticed using the push reel mower is since I’ve got the momentum going, usually I won’t stop until getting near sidewalk so I end up helping mow a lot more of the neighbors yard, which is appreciated. Plus it gets some conversation going, helping with the community aspect of things.

    Winters have been fun, especially this past one, shoveling snow. Most folks will use their snowblower and surprisingly it doesn’t make things much faster and really only starts making sense when we’ve had 10 inches or more. My son has learned to just go right down the length of the sidewalk, helping the neighbors out and earned a hefty amount (a lot of folks paid more than it was worth just because they were happy to see a kid out doing that sort of thing still) plus befriended many of them.

  299. @Nachtgurke #305 on the Metric System vs American Measurement

    First off, fair warning: I am an American who learned inches/feet/yards/miles/etc and uses them every day, and metric was an afterthought in science classes, so I’ve likely got a bias here, but I thought I’d offer something of a counter to the idea that metric is clearly superior.

    Okay, so what’s good about the metric system? It’s really easy to do math with it, because it is base 10 the way that our mathematical system is base 10. I will readily concede this. On the other hand, when some pro-metric people start making fun of the American system for being based on “feetsies and toesies”, I like to remind them that the reason metric is “just logical” is because it’s based on 10 fingers.

    So, what’s good about the American system (I’ve been saying American because the Imperial system from which it’s derived is *slightly* different these days)? Well, almost every measure is something very human-scaled. A teaspoon is about the right amount of sugar for a cup of tea or coffee. A “cup” is about a one-person serving of water or dry goods like rice. A pint is a good serving of beer, a gallon is about how much liquid you can comfortably carry in one hand. A yard is roughly the distance from the center of your chest to your outstretched arm (or one long stride). A furlong is roughly how long a normal person can sprint in one go, a league is how far you can walk in hour, and so forth.

    I will concede that Celsius and Fahrenheit have roughly equal claims to validity – the boiling point of water and the (almost) body temperature of a live human are equally relevant real world standards.

    Anyhow, my point from all of the above is that it might be a pain in the tuchus to do math with inches, feet, yards, pints, gallons, and so forth, but that the standard of “easy to do math with” is only one of many valid groundings for a way of measuring. I can’t really fault engineers and scientists for preferring the metric system, because they have to do a lot of math with measurements, but for day to day life, I’ll take a pint over 473.18 ml and a foot over 30.48 cm (yards and meters are close enough that I can’t make much of a point here – when the US Army switched over to NATO standard, they *literally* just changed the word “yards” for “meters” without making any changes, so the “300 yard target” on the shooting range became a “300 meter target” despite the not insignificant difference in actual distance at that scale).

    As I said, I’m likely a bit biased, and I’m not especially trying to convert anybody – just sharing a point of view of why us poor, benighted non-metric users might like what we have.


  300. @PatriciaT

    “I think it would be a good idea for all young men to do a year or two of public service”- that is in place in Austria at least to a degree.

    There is mandatory state service for young men. Originally it was just ordinary military service, but “civil service” was allowed historically for those who absolutely refused to serve with a weapon.

    Nowadays the civil service is more prominent and important than the military service in our country. The reason is simple: “civil servants” (not to confuse with the english meaning of the word) are cheap labor for the social system – do jobs like caring for the old and retarded, take care of children with special needs…and so on.

    Even though my draft in 2008 came at a horribly bad time for me personally and has destroyed much, I voted in favor of it 2 years after when there was a popular poll whether the service should remain.

    My pro-arguments: I’ve met people in my age I wouldn’t meet under normal conditions (lower class people, for I am upper middle class), useful skills can be learned, social realities usually hidden can be revealed (the life of the dowontrodden and sick, those usually ignored)

    Recently at a corporate festivity I attented, I talked weith some young programmers who had gone through the military service or otherwise, and we all agreed it is a good thing, and should even be expanded.

    regards, Curt

  301. @Ray Wharton 312

    > To Violet’s point I’ve known many men to speak longingly of what violence they’d do if, if only, someone would give them cause.

    Given cause is the fundamental point though, don’t you think? If someone initiates violence against yourself or your family and you simply have no idea what to do – I’d suggest that makes you less useful to your family and perhaps to humanity as a whole. Naturally there are situations where anyone can be seriously outclassed but that doesn’t excuse the absence of a certain level of preparedness. And of course this only applies to those who have the physical and mental capability to defend themselves and others.

    I suspect that the sort of fantasy you mentioned is more akin to a flight simulator. Someone trying to work out what if anything they could do under the circumstances.

    People, well men, talking like that a great deal suggest that they are worried about something. I would suggest getting some training appropriate to their cultural and legal environment.

  302. @ Milkyway

    Could actually be a good thing. If I wanted to get teenagers and young people interested in gardening, I’d try and make it a little bit dangerous and exciting. I didn’t think that was possible but our clueless elites might have found a way.

  303. @Chris at Fernglade:

    I’m really glad that you listed a few of your findings with permaculture techniques! Yet more examples of Nature foiling our best-laid plans, you can’t pin her down with some system, even if that system is ostensibly designed to work with Nature.

    I have a couple of permaculture books, I’ve never taken any training in permaculture but I am enthusiastically trying a few food forest techniques out on the land we live on, but I will keep the very useful counterpoints you noted in mind when it comes to our climate.

    More broadly, and this is speculation, but it strikes me that perhaps an aspect of the debate about permaculture may have to do with how the successful use of a tool ends up becoming an ideology, similar to how the scientific method as a useful tool ended up becoming scientism, a worldview that explained the world in terms of the tool itself.

    There’s the old saying ‘if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail’. Another way of describing the same thing would be that centuries of successful hammering have led to hammerism. To hammerists, every problem IS a nail, because hammerism is thought by its proponents to describe Nature better than any other model simply because the hammer as a tool has been so useful in the past.

    If I’m not careful, I can suffer from this tendency, but of course I’m not sure if I can generalize it to other people. And somehow it strikes me now that this idea has been written about elsewhere, but I can’t remember where.

  304. CR Patino,

    Yes, I agree with many of the points you wrote. I’ve read in many different places (can’t remember where) that most male violence is aimed at other men. I didn’t know about the acquainted part. Male to female violence is what I am personally most familiar with. Also, I agree thta it is often unacknowledged that women can do serious harm to men such as false accusations of rape and other reputational damage. Another example of female to male damage that comes to mind is a woman who lies to her partner about being on birth control because she wants a baby and he doesn’t. This isn’t traditionally considered “violence” but certainly it is some kind of huge violation.

    Human beings, all of us perhaps, struggle with the ugly/animal part of our nature. I’m glad we can talk about it here. Thank you for responding to me.

    Psychedelic jocular puca

  305. Hi John Michael,

    No worries, and reality it should be noted, is an antidote to ideology. 🙂

    Mate, I really wanted that system to work too, and put a lot of energy and resources towards that outcome.

    What struck me about the usual agricultural arrangements in place was that they’d been tested over huge periods of time. And people were just as clever back in the day as we are today. It’s a bit like solar sourced electricity in that if it was better, easier and cheaper, it would replace the large fossil fuel generators and the facts would speak for themselves. I dunno, I gave it the good Aussie go, and then went back to basics.

    My only regret is that I didn’t listen more closely to my grandfather when I was kid. He had a very large and productive vegetable garden in his backyard. But because I didn’t listen, I didn’t hear. 😉



  306. JMG’s link for Latin American violence was good, but focused on only a few countries. These are the cities with the highest homicide rate per 100 000 people . You will see an enormous predominance of Latin American cities; only some South African and US cities make their appearance. These are the countries with the highest homicide rates (scroll down to the graphic with the most recent data). Here Latin American and some African countries divide the ranks.

  307. Chris (UK):

    I am also based in Devon. It would be good to make contact; try me via my blog (linked via username) or my Twitter account (@LukeSDodson).

  308. Hey JMG,

    Let me just say that I’m a huge fan of your work, especially your geopolitical analysis of the world and its ongoing decline. Having just re-read Dark Age America, I was wondering whether you could point me to any other resources on Peak Oil and the poor EROI of renewables? I’ve searched for resources on my own, but many of my findings are pro-oil/pro-renewable writings that basically say that oil/renewables will magically save the day. Any recommendations you have are most welcome! Thanks.


  309. Regarding dreams, I can add another category. Some 20 years ago, my alarm clock went off at 7 a.m. on a work day. I spent my usual leisurely 50 minutes getting ready, including eating my breakfast, tying my shoelaces and all that boring but necessary stuff. When I came to leave for work, I raised my hand to open the front door. Just at this point, I heard the alarm go off again in my bedroom. I thought that this was weird, as I hadn’t reset it. I turned to go back into my bedroom but then my vision suddenly went blurred, though I could still hear the alarm clock. I woke up again in my bed to the sound of the alarm clock. I was furious! I had just spent 50 minutes getting ready, and now I had to go through it all over again.

    Later I learned that such an experience is called a false awakening. I was puzzled by how realistic my apparent dream of being awake was. I had my normal waking consciousness in it and went through all my little tasks in the normal way, and they all seemed perfectly real and realistic.

    I later read about a young Englishman who had experienced eight nested false awakenings, one after the other, each time getting deeper and deeper into the day, up to about 3:30 PM. I managed to contact him and asked if he had learnt anything from his workmates in his conversations during these false awakenings that he didn’t already know. He said he hadn’t. Apart from the fact that he had experienced these false awakenings, he had no special insights into them. But I do wonder – if he had awoken into all these slightly different realities, is he now in a slightly different world from the one in which he originally went to bed? Is this maybe how the Mandela effect arises? 😉

  310. Here is yet another category of dream I have experienced. I was a young man (probably under 20 years old) working at a family-owned restaurant with my kindly father. It was perched on a clifftop that overlooked what I thought to be a beautiful scene of the Mediterranean. I spent many, many minutes preparing food, etc. It was one of those very long and realistic dreams.

    Upon waking, I asked myself, “Whose dream was that? It wasn’t MY dream!” I remembered wearing a smart red waistcoat in the dream as part of my waiter’s uniform, which seemed to be from around 1950. In the dream, my father looked either North African or Middle Eastern. In reality, my father was white European English, as am I. And I also dislike cooking or preparing food and I rinse my hands every few seconds, as I dislike getting sticky. But in the dream, I still felt like “me”.

    My dream led me to wonder whether this was a reincarnation dream and whether reincarnation was therefore a fact. I found this shocking and something I would want to be true.

    In another dream I was being murdered and felt the terror of being helpless. After a few seconds of panic, I woke up. Phew! Was the universe showing me somebody else’s experience? If so, I would classify it as a teaching dream. I recalled that I sometimes had dreams of incidents that later did occur in my life. Had my dream shown me my own future? I do hope not but do not know and cannot be sure.

  311. Regarding mass shootings by young males, I think the US has a unique set of interlocking causes: We have lots of guns, the vast majority of kids spend most of their time in large, understaffed schools, and we medicate a massive percentage of young males with ADHD/depression drugs without intensive counseling to go with it. What other country has enough of a “socialized” medical system to diagnose ADHD/depression in even the very poorest young males, and to give them powerful drugs, but NOT enough medical resources to do careful testing and counseling of both the child and his family/caregivers? I think many other countries have just as high a per capita rate of gun deaths, but for the typical reason of adults competing for resources—criminals, gangs, political competition, etc….the mass shootings of people under 25 years old, by people under 25 years old, for no useful purpose in the US is the sign of drug side-effects on undeveloped brains, plus easy access to guns, plus children crowded into buildings like prey on a game farm.

  312. “I’m delighted to hear about the discussions re: the Great Lakes — that’s a good sign of sanity creeping in. Defunct equines soak up a lot of kinetic energy around all these subjects, and I’m used to that — don’t worry about it. As for the second religiosity, I’m hearing the same thing from a lot of places. It’s a normal event when the illusion of material security begins to break down.”

    Do you foresee plenty more Canal building in the future? Its going to be down to Trains and Shipping. And creating those Artificial Rivers is going to be very important for the prosperity of many towns in the future.

  313. @ Violet

    Thank you for your answer, and I also thank you for being kind enough to revisit your unpleasant memories in order to better explain your perspective. I certainly cannot dispute your insider and hard-won knowledge of violence in human society. Obviously it is exceedingly different from mine, and both of our experiences must somehow be made room for in the understanding of what human nature is, what maleness is, what femaleness is, etc.

    I think you are calling violence a biologically based aspect of maleness, and this is the part that I feel is on shakier ground. If it is a biological part of maleness, then this means it is a biological part of males of all species. A point I wish to return to in a bit, as I share this farm with sheep, and donkeys, birds and wild animals, all of which also come in two sexes, one of which is male.

    But first let me proffer the possibility that, just as there may be a bright and a dark side to the mother archetype (and our co-commentator Simon Sheridan has taught us much about her dark and “devouring” side), it may be that there is both a bright and dark side to the warrior archetype, the warrior being, perhaps, the personification (for humans) of strength and power and the willingness to fight that IS central to maleness.

    To me, though, none of these warrior characteristics rate the term “violence” any more than bearing, feeding, nurturing children rates the term “devouring”. In both these cases, aberrations are certainly possible, and certainly happen (and I do not doubt this at all), but a warrior who engages in hurting others for the sake of hurting others, is not expressing his maleness, but his twistedness (however he got this twist in his soul), just as a mother who engages in belittling or smothering or micro-nannying her children is not expressing her femaleness, but her twistedness (however this twist arrived into her soul).

    We have male animals on this farm, some domestic, some wild. Rams, stags, jacks and male birds certainly compete and fight with each other during their horny seasons, I have often watched this. But they only ever do this to the “cede and withdraw” stage which instantly brings any fight to an end. None ever go on to vanquish, maim, hurt for the sake of hurting, or kill one another. As to attacks on the weak, I have never witnessed a male animal attacking a female, or attacking an infant of their own species (ie a non-prey infant. In any case, predation behaviours come in two sexes, not one, otherwise the female of every predator species would starve). The urge that male animals clearly have to fight with each other in the presence of horny females they wish to impress, does not seem to be in any way accompanied by a desire to hurt something just because they can. It is this last which is what I would rate AS “violence”. A desire to hurt something or someone just because you can, and even more so if they are too weak to defend themselves.

    And, this is what I have never myself witnessed in the men I have personally encountered. Either the act, or the apparently repressed desire, to hurt something or someone just to hurt them. I know this is possible, and this happens, just as I know there are devouring mothers, I know that is possible, although I have likewise been blessed with an absence of them in my personal experience. But it does not seem to me that the desire to hurt people for the sake of hurting them can be called a feature of maleness, any more than smothering/micro-nannying/stifling children can be called a feature of femaleness. Something ELSE must also be at work here. Something that distorts and warps. Something that twists the male defender and protector into something darker.

  314. @ Curt (#280)

    I don’t think the cause of so many random mass killings in USA is due to young male’s lack of a way to express the inner drive of physical violence in modern societies, as many people think.
    For example I can described my experience with a group of football (soccer) hooligans (from a spanish team) in a night in Madrid, many years ago, where I have to fight and flight from a very very risky situation due to people whose hobby is violence and they attack us suddenly without any prior provocation or advice; I have to kick and punch and then flight to save the skin, as a result I was more than one week with half of my face swollen and sore, but I think I was lucky. Those people remind me the guys of “A Clockwork Orange”.
    But even this kind of violence is very very different to kill children cool blooded. In our case we were adult males, we can defend ourselves, and even if they outnumbered us, we could fight and escape, and that is what we did. I don’t think they pretend to kill us.

    If you are violent, there are always groups where you can deploy your inner violent drives: in football fan groups, radical political parties, in the army, local gangs, etc…But I think the random mass shooting of the USA is another thing; that’s one of the reason I use the term “nihilism” to describe the moral state of mind of such behavior.

    “Random” is the part of “mass killing” more difficult to explain (compare to other countries/societies), because may be who are the victims, may be, it is not important at all for the murderer.

    I think the film “Joker” (2019) the screenwritter probably try to explain this kind of phenomena, where a pure “loser” (american word), a person in absolute loneliness, despised by all, mistreated by many, without any family or community support or friendship or help, suddenly find a “role”, a “character”, and a very important one = a medatic one, so he became part of “History”, very famous and start to be even imitated. Praphrasing Pirandello: he is “an author in search of a character”; the World will be different after him, no more “indifference from the World” to him and his fate, he now “exists” in the waves of our Virtual Scene. It is more “real” than us.

    Apart of possible inner drives (or instincts), what I think we see in many cases is almost a total dissolution of families and communities, and the losts of all (moral) references that those institutions play in the human live; so for many people in fact many of the models and rferences of the world are related to a “Virtual World” of (digital) images and archetypes, a disastrous simplifications of the human desires and dreams where less and less people meet the “expectations”…
    OK, but at the end “we will always have fentanyl” (or Prozac), unfortunately, in some cases, the new “Soma” is not enough and may be the insane lust for fame, the desire to “exists” in the New Brave Virtual World of Images explain what happened.

    So a question: is it possible that the rise of Mass Media and the rise of random mass shooting are related?


  315. Violet at #297

    My experience as a male is that we need a ritualized outlet in which to express our physicality. Sports are good for this. In my younger days, studying martial arts and participating in the sparring group probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. Sports, including sparring, are both physical and ritualized. That is you enter a liminal space (the court, the pitch, the ring) where a new set of rules apply, and when you leave the liminal space you return to the day-to-day.

    Which is not to say that sports are sufficient to keep out physicality in control. I did anti-domestic violence work at Legal Aid for years, so I know better. But having a ritualized outlet is, I think, necessary.

    As for cops, when you give a person a badge, a gun, and virtually no accountability for engaging in violence, you are going to have brutality.

  316. JMG, curious as to what fiction you’re reading these days, in the category of trash/lowbrow or pure entertainment? A while back you read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. I’m wondering if you had a chance to read any of his other novels – my personal favorite is The Little Sister.

  317. Ray W, I’ve noticed that good grilling cuts of beef have doubled since early 2020, but ground beef is within 10% and slow cooker cuts are up at most 20%. I’m in Canada though, maybe things are different down south.

  318. Greetings JMG!

    I think you discussed how the alchemical method is different from the scientific method somewhere recently, so this question likely stems from that. Isn’t the scientific method applied to alchemical processes? You hypothesize, test and observe the alchemical process to see if you are getting the results you expected?

    So maybe I’m struggling to think alchemically 🧐 and can’t quite see that the processes are separate.

    Can you help straighten this out?

    Thank you very much!

    As a second question – what was the order of reading through the Bible that your friend followed?

  319. @Scotlyn (#333):

    Actually maleness and femaleness are not quite the same across all species. In birds, for instance, the female (i.e. the egg-laying and mothering bird) has the XY chromosome combination, while the male has the XX combination.

    Just as women have things they are strongly inhibited from talking about, or exhibiting in action, when men are present, so men have similar things they are strongly inhibited from talking about or doing when women are present. Each sex in our species has whole areas of experience that the other sex rarely or never becomes aware of.

    So it’s only to be expected that you, as a woman, will never have seen things that men generally are quite familiar with. And, obviously, neither sex gets to determine what is normal and what abnormal for the other sex–much less, what should be normal–no matter what the survival of the species seems to require.

    Richard Rangham’s chimpanzee data seems to me conclusive that the “dark side” of violence is quite normal behavior for young male chimpanzees, not an occasional deviation. It may not be normal for many other species, but it certainly is for that one species. And chimpanzees happen to be our closest biological relative, slightly closer than bonobos are.

  320. JMG,

    I do think it’s the upper classes at NORWAC and that is surprising as you’ve mentioned that the upper classes will be the ones to push back on any form of spiritualism. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of the under-30s were college educated, and that implies that they came from middle class or higher family incomes.

    Several of the young men I saw there were dressed flamboyantly, including ankh earrings, a nose ring as well as a bdsm collar in one case. I think two were in cosplay. It reminded me a lot on how SF conventions eventually got away from the panels and focused more on partying.

    There are two interesting factors that both include a form of anti-authoritarianism. The first is that being woke is still considered ”fighting the power,” or their parents. There was a panel called, Queering Astrology. The irony is that our power structure is currently woke as the government, media and all of the corporations show. Maybe this is a form of the ”evil uncle” archetype, where the evil uncle manipulates the prince to hate his father and kill him, so that the uncle then manipulates the prince/king from behind the throne.

    Secondly, perhaps studying astrology is genuinely anti-authoritarian as these under-30s were raised in a secular household and astrology is a form of rebellion?

    One surprising event was the long line of young women waiting to speak to Demetra George. I got a sense of adoration from them. In no way do I mean to disparage Demetra George because she’s contributed greatly to astrology. I did get the sense that these young women were adoring the ”wise woman.”

    These are just thoughts based on one afternoon of observation and I could be 100% wrong. Because it was so different from earlier conferences, it was, at the very least, fascinating to watch.

  321. PS to my previous:

    Raccoons are another species that (like chimpanzees) kills for the sheer joy of killing, as shown by leaving its dead or half-dead victims uneaten. Raccoons seem to prefer savaging animals that can’t put up any sort of effective resistance. (I had to put a disembowled, but still living frog out of its palpable agony one morning after a raccoon has come through the yard the previous night. Shudder!)

  322. Ray, thank you for the data points!

    Stephen, Japan’s population has to decrease dramatically so that it can feed itself in the absence of fossil fuels; the current decline isn’t anything like enough to take care of that. I’ve suggested more than once that mass migration by sea to the west coast of North America will be one option for the excess. The other wild card, of course, is Japan’s relationship to the great Asian continental powers; if they manage that more gracefully than they’ve done so far, it might not be a problem, but it’s also quite possible that they could be overrun, not because they have resources but because they’re a major security threat to China. So it’s still anyone’s guess at this point.

    J.L.Mc12, what’s the guidance system? Without one, that would be of very little use.

    Chris, I find myself wondering if tens of millennia ago, as some notional advanced civilization in the Ice Age disintegrated, all its technology got lost because everyone discovered a bit at a time that none of it actually functioned in the absence of vast amounts of nonrenewable resources…

    Jack, you might check the bibliographies of my earlier books on peak oil, The Long Descent and The Ecotechnic Future, and William Catton’s Overshoot (old but still highly relevant) and Richard Heinberg’s peak oil books (dated at this point, but the references are good).

    Info, eventually, sure. I hope we can get canals reopened and rewatered here in the US in the next fifty years or so, because afterwards we can expect a long period where nobody’s going to have the resources to spare; once the dark age is over and the successor cultures start rebuilding, canals will be an obvious option, and the more canals are available at that time, the more obvious that option will be.

    Drhooves, I read all of Chandler — when I like an author, I read all their books. My personal favorite is The High Window — a briliantly crafted story — but The Little Sister and The Long Goodbye are runners-up. These days? I just finished a read through most of Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels, but that’s mostly because I’m working on an occult-mystery project and want to hone my grasp of mystery technique.

    Matt, no, alchemical practice doesn’t follow the same sort of inductive, correct-as-you-go approach as science. That’s the best way to fail at alchemy, in fact. Alchemy requires a shift in levels of consciousness, and lacking that, you’re just doing clumsy chemistry. The classic advice is lege, lege, lege, relege, ora, labora, ut invenies: “read, read, read, read again, pray, work, so that you discover it.” That is to say, intensive study of alchemical texts combined with prayer are what gives the laboratory work the capacity to enlighten you. As for the daily Bible reading approach I learned from the friend in question, you start with Matthew and read a chapter a day. You read the Gospels and Acts, and then the rest of the New Testament, and then the historical narratives of the Old Testament from Joshua through 2 Kings. Then tackle the rest of the Old Testament, but you’ll probably want to skim over Leviticus and Deuteronomy, since they’re legal codes for the Israelites and not especially instructive for anyone else. Oh, and you can also read one Psalm a day out loud as a prayer.

    Jon, that’s really interesting. Thank you for all of this!

  323. @Jeff #319 @Nachtgurke #305 re: American vs. metric measurements

    One thing I like about the American/imperial system is that it derives from folk use – convenient units in practice – rather than on attempts to impose logical mathematical order on the world, which can feel like a Religion of Progress project.

    So the spectrum of commonly-encountered temperatures gets divided into 100 degrees (F), and there are a lot of factors of 2 involved, which are easier to estimate/visualize than factors of 10. So we have a arbitrary-but-useful-sized unit like a “cup”, and then half-cups, quarter-cups, eighth-cups, and then another smaller arbitrary-but-useful-sized unit called a “teaspoon”, and then half-teaspoons, quarters, eighths, etc. This allows for much simpler estimation when cooking than milliliters – if all you have is a one-cup and and one-teaspoon measure you can get by pretty well, and it’s also really easy to double recipes or cut them in half.

  324. @Oilman2, JMG

    Regarding the Russians in space, one interesting fact that I learned from my professor long ago –

    The US too planned to put a satellite in space at around the same time as Sputnik-1. However, figuring out the stability and behaviour of the satellite was a bit tricky. The Americans assumed that the system of differential equations was linear (which it actually wasn’t), and solved it using Laplace Transforms. The Soviets, OTOH, had the mathematical tradition of Aleksandr Lyapunov and subsequent Russian (and other Soviet) mathematicians to draw from. They did not assume the system to be linear, and tackled it using tools like Lyapunov’s theorem. This allowed the Soviets to capture some of the nonlinear behaviour to an extent sufficient enough to resolve the issue. Thus, it was no surprise that the Americans lost the inaugural round of the Space Race. Although, to be fair, the US did catch up well later on.

    There could have been other reasons behind the Soviet victory in launching the first artificial satellite, but this, I believe, is one of the lesser-known ones.


    Related to rockets and satellites, I have one question – can sounding rockets and artificial satellites with electro-mechanical instruments (basically, late 50s – early 60s level tech) be viable for an ecotechnic society? Or are weather balloons the only economically feasible option?

  325. Re: male violence

    @Scotlyn, I consistently find that I resonate with your perspectives on nearly all topics. In the unlikely event that I ever find myself in Ireland, I’d like to grab a beer at a pub with you :-).

    I count myself fortunate to have been spared the sort of male violence that is often perpetrated by fathers and other men in positions of authority toward children. I think it is important to distinguish between directed violence (defending family or community or country, or establishing mating dominance as many other species do) and senseless violence that is simply deriving joy or satisfaction or self-esteem from causing harm.

    I agree with Scotlyn that the latter is a *twistedness* of a male attribute, in the same way that the Devouring Mother archetype is a twistedness of a female attribute. I don’t especially care whether there are animal examples of senseless violence, like raccoons or even chimpanzees. Clearly it exists as a potentiality within mammalian brains. I care more whether this is an attribute of all human cultures (it’s not, as far as I know), and what distinguishes cultures in which this sort of violence is common from those in which it is rare or nonexistent.

    For reasons of nature or nurture or both, I had essentially no inclination toward senseless violence as a child, but many of the other boys did. I was the target of unprovoked physical aggression plenty of times, and I remember hanging out behind the goalposts at a football game when a frog appeared and all the boys shouted “kill it!” before launching into an orgy of hitting and stomping that resulted in happy boys and one very dead frog. I was so put off by this attribute of adolescent maleness that I seriously considered changing my gender for a time.

    To the extent that this is more common in adolescents and most men “grow out” of it, I strongly suspect that it represents a societal imbalance more than an individual-level or community-level failing. It is something that arises naturally and then is actively repressed by most as they reach adulthood. This would probably be classed as an “ecofeminist” perspective, but to me it is connected to the fact that these violent boys were the children of industrial farmers. To their families, the land was subservient to them and would yield food and dollars if given the right inputs. The boys learned early on to use electric shock prods to move cattle and hogs in feedlots. In a world and worldview in which all that does not fight back is subservient – in which there is no respect or reciprocity toward the land and its creatures – causing harm reinforces the inherent dominance, the twistedness of masculinity. A boy that kills a frog or bullies a kid who refuses to fight is simply acting out the normalized masculine dimension of a society that says it is our role to bring the land and all of its creatures under our dominion, to rule over them, to value them only inasmuch as they provide food and cash.

    Clearly there is much more to the story of mass shootings than this, but I do feel strongly that senseless male violence is an outpouring of an imbalance that can be corrected – at least on a local or cultural level – rather than an inherent trait of humanity that we should accept as inevitable.

  326. @ Prizm #318, I’m seeing more local yards with their grass growing longer this spring. Do you have any hypotheses on why that might be? It could be just a coincidence caused by such things as the timing of suitable weather versus when the weekend days have fallen, or maybe a less-buttoned-up look has spread from lockdown attire to yard care.

    The tools people use don’t seem to have changed much, though. My reel mower (same model as yours) is still the only one in use in the neighborhood, and even electric mowers are rare; gas engines are still the norm here.

    For snow, though, snow blowers here are outnumbered by shovels on one hand, and pickup trucks with plow attachments on the other. This may be partly due to the local coastal climate. It’s New England but the southeastern corner of it, where the kind of deep soft snow that snow blowers are good at is less common than either slush, wet heavy discharge-chute-clogging snow, or ice. And when the snow is deep and soft, shovels work great too.

  327. @Jon #303 Instagram – the women you saw were dressed to take photos of themselves there and post them to their account. It’s as simple as that. The younger generation imo dresses much better than another other these days. My old kids are determined to make hats (decent wool felt classically styled ones – not the baseball cap) come back into style and wear them out often.

  328. Scotlyn,

    First, to account for the differences in our experiences I think Robert’s response at #339 does a good job of addressing the sorts of different worlds that females and males so often live in. Given that I have genuinely been accepted as one of the girls as well as one of the boys in my life, I can attest: men and women can live in totally different worlds and have ignorance of the inner dynamics of the other. From the perspective of primatology, I found Sarah Hrdy’s _The Woman that never Evolved_ very helpful in its discussion of the primate tendency to have two parallel hierarchies based on sex.

    I also will point to Robert’s #339 response regarding the discussion of “maleness” as an abstract, Platonic ideal that spans species. Here I agree with him, also. Personally, I have interest in abstract ideals. That said, abstract ideals don’t negate the brutal facts of existence of human life. I am no zoologist, and given that my survival has depended on my understanding of human beings, when I refer to “males” I refer to “human males” rather than the Platonic ideal of maleness. I have had times when the brutal facts of humans males have threatened my life whereas the Platonic ideal is of a totally different quality. For instance, once while trespassing accidently in the woods with my partner, a father and son opened fire on us. I have an interest in philosophy, but a philosophy is something abstract and distant when compared to being shot at!

    What’s more, the father and son shooting at my partner and I were hardly “warriors” — they were dorky suburbanites who after apparently trying to kill us, hurriedly drove away in their enormous SUV and _never_ returned! When you discuss “Mothers” as an abstract ideal and “Warriors” as an abstract ideal this seems to me as difficult to understand in terms of lived experience. For instance many, many years ago I knew a young, single, homeless mother who would beat her toddler and she often talked as if she were mentally ill. Now, on a biological level she was certainly a mother, and she wasn’t like the “devouring mother” so many discuss nowadays. That said, she did a poor job of fitting the abstract ideal of “Motherhood.” Those dorky suburbanites who opened fire on me certainly had firearms, but they also did a rather bad job of adhering to some abstract ideal of “Warriorhood.”

    when you write: “Something ELSE must also be at work here. Something that distorts and warps. Something that twists the male defender and protector into something darker.” I assume you mean demons whether that be some abstract ideal such as The System, or literal self-aware personal malignant disembodied intelligences. Doubtless there are demons in either sense, but I don’t think it takes demons to cause male violence of the sort that I have described. I don’t think demons whispered into the ears of the men who opened fire on me, I think that they were just being stupid human males who afterwards worried that maybe they had broke the law worse than I had and promptly left the scene! I have seen in rambunctious male spaces the same sorts of stupid behavior.

    Here I must take a page from the Beastie Boys who strike the exact right note on this sort of rambunctiousness. On the first song of their first album —“Rhymin’ & Stealin'” — they rap in their nasal and dorky voices about being pirates, chanting enthusiastically in unison things like:

    “Skirt chasing, free basing, killing every village
    We drink and rob and rhyme and pillage”

    Now, they were being very playful, rambunctious, self-consciously absurd and funny — the entire song cracks me up. I don’t need to posit any demons there, just as I don’t need to posit any demons for boys play fighting with sticks, and just as I don’t need to posit any demons on the father and son who opened fire on me. They too were being dorky and maybe even pretending that they were pirates, or more probably cowboys given where we were. That seems to me just silly, not evil in the spooky sense. Of course, had they landed a headshot, it would have been lights out, game over. That said, they didn’t, and at the end of the day, no harm no foul.

  329. @Prizm #318 I was going to post something about lawns two days ago! I live in a rural area and will walk the roads for a few miles a couple times a week. I have three neighbors who I know are home with grass that is almost knee high now. I can not figure out for the life of me what is going on. I have another neighbor whose mailbox was run over over two months ago now and he has yet to replace it. He took the box itself and put it on some weird set up. I’m like the pre-made posts at Lowes are $25, this isn’t a big expense to replace it, wth?

    When people talk about customer service declining and the Great Resignation of workers, its clearly not just a work issue, but something more systemic. I feel like its a sign of something far worse coming soon. A friend of mine moved out of NYC summer of 2021 partially because of the vax passports, but mostly because of the loud music being played on the subways. He said that kind of ant-social slightly aggressively behavior was a prelude to something way worse. And now look at NYC – people have have been pushed on the subway tracks and killed and there are attacks inside the cars regularly.

    Third world here we are!

  330. Chris Smith,

    I find it somewhat funny that I have on this month’s open post become a voice recognizing male violence as normal and healthy from personal experience given the fact I am a pretty poor representative of human maleness. After all, I am in the legal sense a woman named “Violet.” I do not have a male reproductive system and I do have breasts. Regardless of the metaphysics of the questions involved, I _do_ have my papers in order. My point is what you write may be true, but that is not what I have personally experienced. I loathed being anywhere near those sorts of male spaces growing up, and I still loathe proximity to those spaces, personally. I have no doubt that they do many individuals a lot of good and those individuals have my blessings. I take your word on what you write and am grateful to no longer have to endure those scenes.

  331. @ Psychedelic Puca – thanks for your reply. Domestic violence is a very vexed question, and I do not dispute at all that it exists in many forms.

    I would like to add in relation to your later comment, that lying about birth control would not have worked with my husband when I met him. He was fully determined to NOT be a father (he had a “past” in which he had neglected to be so careful) and this meant that he was a fierce and personal contraceptor on his own bat. We did not have a child until both of us agreed we would have a child.

    I would also add that this: “Human beings, all of us perhaps, struggle with the ugly/animal part of our nature.” is a good statement of exactly what I argue against here. It strikes me that it is the “ugly/human” part of our nature, and NOT the “ugly/animal” part that we struggle with. Like I’ve stated in a previous comment, I have yet to observe a male ANIMAL attack a female animal of its own species, or attack a helpless infant of its own species. Rams do not attack ewes, and if a lamb gets a head butt from an adult, it is going to be from a ewe telling it, “this udder is not for you”.

    The things we struggle with, the warped and twisted aspects of us, seem somehow to be more human than animal, at least, so it seems to me.

  332. CR Patiño – Agradecida! 🙂 I am not intending to “stand up for the human race” though, so much as I am intending to stand up for the evidence of what my own eyes see and tell me about the world. For sure, there are many pairs of eyes, and I am well aware that mine do not see everything. But likewise, if a statement intended to be a “generalisable truth” flatly contradicts what my eyes see, I must ask questions about it.

  333. Prizm – again, many thanks for engaging with the topic. I have to ask you this. Do you yourself feel that you carry a strong desire to hurt others for the sake of doing so? Do you yourself feel that the sight of weakness and defencelessness “stirs up” your male nature to go on the attack?

    Please know that I do distinguish between protectiveness and defense and attack upon the weak and defenceless purportedly driven by an *innate* and *biological* urge to inflict hurt and pain.

  334. @ Robert Matthiesen

    Fair enough, what is true for one species is not necessary true for another. This supports my view that what we are dealing with here is an “ugly/human” darkness and not necessarily an “ugly/animal” darkness.

    Also, when you say, “obviously, neither sex gets to determine what is normal and what abnormal for the other sex–much less, what should be normal–no matter what the survival of the species seems to require” I certainly cannot disagree with this. I do not dispute that there is much about male experience that must remain a mystery to me, as the body I inhabit is female.

    However, human (and also apparently chimpanzee) “violence” DOES include violence against women and violence against children, and this is where I *would* by definition HAVE to have acquired *some* personal experience in my 61 years on this planet IF male human violent attacks on women and on children were a universal feature of human maleness. My own experience of being one of the “three in four” who have NOT suffered such an attack, appears to give the lie to this last generalisation, at least.

  335. RE: Permacultre, etc…

    I get an icky feeling from Paul Wheaton, as others have said, but also as I have read an unpublished draft by him and it is very transparent and the way he describes handling people, and running social experiments on people. ipermies has very strange moderating too, if you read there do know that some of what is mentioned may not be viable others may and it might be hard to know the difference as no-one is allowed to comment on ideas that will not work — this is hard to describe — maybe a poor idea or plan will get a comment and you can decipher that is so, but maybe not. That said, his property does host others that may have things you want to learn. Just eyes open. I think the most important items done on his property are the rocket mass heaters. A short visit to see these in action may be quite valuable.

    I have a permaculture design certificate and have done teacher training too, both with a heavy component of work trade involved. As far as those who dont use it, well, maybe it was still better outlook for their time and money than a different vacation option for them.

    Quail Springs is a good one. And I know someone who was there for a couple years, including thru early COVID. They did get a “little” COVID scared at that place. Total California PMC type response to the COVID. Other than that, good permaculture goings on and lovely natural building

  336. Latest fluff reading, by an author who died in 1952 – Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey, 1950. As much a character study as a murder mystery, and a loving depiction of a horse-centered country district, with horse show entrants ranging from very small-time tenant farmers on up to solid middle-class; but the splendid homes of the aristocracy are one with Nineveh and Tyre. Her acid-sketched portrait of the expensive do-your-own-thing school operating out of the home of what used to be the area’s richest family is an exercise in comedy – I keep remembering Tey is a contemporary of the equally acid-tongued Dorothy Parker.

    A comment on gratituous violence in the animal kingdom – does anybody here have an indoor-outdoor cat? One who is also a mighty hunter and brings his prey home to play with some more? The late Dufus Claudius Felis, a very handsome and dignified black cat, long gone, used to me to birds of every size up to a pigeon, not to mention field mice and bugs; and I learned very quickly to open the door so he could take them outside. If it pleased him to do so.

  337. David, I think you’re spot on in your analysis of Joker. Jonathan Pageau has a fascinating take on the movie, which I consider to be the only remotely interesting mainstream movie since, well, I don’t remember. It’s available on Youtube here, and is worth watching or listening to:

  338. @JMG or others: Do you have a preferred translation of the Mabinogion? I’ve had Charlotte Guest’s translation for decades. i don’t find it very compelling.

  339. @Jeff, #319: Thanks a lot for your long reply! As someone who comes from the scientific side of things and did (and still does) a lot of math, the metric system is an obvious choice, as you already pointed out. The SI-system of measure has a lot of benefits in this regard.

    I however agree that units which have a relation to our ordinary everyday experience may be more comfortable in ordinary everyday situations. Personally, in those situations I don’t care about units at all. When it comes to drinking, you can have a large beer (0.5l) or a small one (0.33l). If I get a pint instead of a large one, I probably wouldn’t even notice. When I bake cake, I like metric units but when I cook, I just use cups and teaspoons which is much more straightforward or very frequently not even that. One slightly related tale: Just today, I baked a cheesecake, and the recipe said you should use 5 eggs for the cream and another 3 egg-white for a meringue-topping. The remaining three yolk had no use in that recipe. The SI-primed wannabe pastry-chef might stick to the recipe and due to a SI-induced in the past of creativity end up with three rotten egg-yolk in the fridge a few weeks later (in the past, this has happened in my fridge, too …). But why on earth don’t you just use 3 egg-yolk and 4 eggs for the cream and the remaining 3 egg-white for the meringue??? So I am all in favor for anything that might promote common sense and a natural attitude to things. From that perspective, the American system looks rather appealing, although I fear that sadly enough we might find many rotten egg-yolk in American fridges, too.

    All in all it’s probably just what you are used to, that you like best. But this one thing I can tell you: It’s an absolute disaster, a total mess and a ruined day, if you need lots of M6 screws and they are mixed with how-many-parts-of-an-inch-might-be-close-to-6 mm-screws in the box.

    Have a nice Sunday evening! Ours in Germany is now almost over.


  340. Listening to the evening news on NPR, May 29, the story is about how little money minor musical acts make when touring, in particular, when playing a South by Southwest Showcase. $100, for a solo; $250 for a band. The program host cuts to the chase: “Being a musician is a blue-collar job. Why should we care [if it’s hard]?” The guest responds that musicians who can afford to tour are actually from fairly wealthy circumstances. Musicians with blue-collar roots are too busy working their day jobs to go on tour. Is that an answer to the question? Are we supposed to care because they’re not of the blue-collar CLASS?

    Indeed. (sarcasm on) Why should any NPR host care about any person employed in a “blue-collar job”? Are they, really, even “persons”? (sarcasm off)

  341. Jeff- It looks to me as though the US system of measurement (a “metric” system, itself) was derived from the two-pan balance. If you just have one “standard pound” (a small brick, perhaps), you can weigh out a pint of water. You can find two equal masses that add up to a pound (8 oz each), and so on, down to the ounce (1/16 of a pound). You can mark the container at the level of a pound of water (a pint), half that much is a “cup”, two of them make a “quart” (1/4 gallon), so we have 16 cups per gallon.

    How do you divide a standard kilogram into 10ths?

    Also, a pound of wheat makes a one-day ration. So, when you look in the pantry, every pound of grain, beans, etc. is sufficient for a day’s worth of food. That might have been important to know.

    Having a reliable, calibrated system of weights and measures will always be important. That’s why I always put a paper towel between the (hand-washed) measuring cups in my kitchen, so the paint won’t get scratched off over the decades.

  342. The response to my offer to coordinate a bulk (discounted) purchase of the Humanure Handbook has been great so far. I’ve fielded a bit more than half of the required number of requests. There’s still time (and 14 books available) if anyone else is interested. Once this open post is closed, the offer still stands (and I may post updates on subsequent comment-sections).

    If anyone is interested but hasn’t yet emailed me, please do (my username at gmail)!

  343. Jbucks, yeah – I remember reading about a local actress who went to California to study permaculture back around the 2008 crisis. The actress and I are from Nova Scotia, and uh, the “New Scotland” moniker is pretty accurate.

  344. Jmg

    I didn’t think it would need much guidance, just aim it at your enemy and fire, just like we do with bazookas/rocket launchers. Although you could have some kind of mechanical “computer” that could alter its direction at preset times similar to how the ancient Greeks controlled their automatons.

    It occurs to me that a lot of rocket science and techniques that rocket hobbyist currently use could survive into the de-industrial future as military technology.

  345. Hmmm now I’m wondering if this disdain of the population is a partial explanation for high vaccination rates and vaccine passports. “Look at me! I’m one of The Good People (TM)! I know how much you dislike the people who live here because they don’t do want you want, but I have done everything you asked me to do.”

  346. Question about Retrotopia
    Hi JMG,
    First, thanks for your fiction. Twilights Last Gleaming is excellent and so is the Weird of Hali series. I have read them multiple times and continue to enjoy them. But I think my favorite fiction book of yours is Retrotopia. This month I started reading it aloud to my husband in the evenings, a chapter a day, and we are on chapter 10 today, having had a very enjoyable last week and a half. My 19 year old daughter listened in on some if it and now she can’t wait for us to finish the last two chapters so that she can read the book herself from the beginning.

    One question: Peter Carr notices on his way into the Lakeland Republic that there are no billboards/advertising. Does that mean he just noticed that there are no electronic signs or are there really no billboards, as in no equivalent to the signs on I-95, “South of the Border, 23 miles!” from my childhood driving from Virginia Beach to Miami, where my grandparents lived. Why no advertising? Is it because there are no big corporations/advertising budgets? It is one of those details that I noticed, reading the book again, aloud this time.

    Thanks again for your very entertaining and enlightening reads.

  347. Hi John Michael,

    Always possible that, and any evidence for such a possibility would be studiously ignored. And the belief that the current ways are the best and greatest is just asking for nemesis. Bizarrely such a stance is the very antithesis of an open mind and wasn’t that one of the goals of the scientific method?

    Hi jbucks,

    Thanks for taking on board my experience, although I have no idea what sort of climate you reside in. Whilst you are at it, I suggest the system is not a bad starting point, but it is just that – a beginning, and not an end point. As a good example, several years ago I created what I believed to be a rat proof, all weather, chicken enclosure (run and hen house). The chickens lead a delightful life in there. But the rats had foiled my plans, and over the past month or so I’ve made a dozen further modifications to the enclosure so as to exclude the rats based on observing their behaviour. Few plans survive contact with the enemy! As part of the observation of the rats, my dog and I have begun a cull and so far we’ve notched up sixteen. The dog and I work as a tag team, and we’re getting better at the job. They take a lot of feeding. Good luck, and may the observation be with you.



  348. Wolfstreet is reporting that most of the major tech companies are now doing hiring freezes and laying people off. Combined with the dropping stock value, I’m starting to think we may witnessing the collapse of the Second Dotcom Bubble. If so, hang on to your hats, the next few months and years may see much of the current commercial internet go bankrupt.

    If this is the case, I expect a lot of things we take for granted right now (ex: free email and search engines) will be going away in the very near future, and the shock to Western society from this, on top of everything else, is going to be intense.

  349. ” in what respect have gun owners been let down? What restrictions are there that they would like to lift? ”

    Most gun laws are state laws. The USA is very large and diverse. So far as current Federal law is concerned, the only onerous one is that you can only buy a gun in the state you reside in. That was done though to “keeo the peace” I think since some state laws can differ, and maybe it was made when we did not have computerized data bases to look up criminal history, so in that sense may be an outdated restriction but is kept since state have divergent laws.

    There are alot of proposed federal laws that are problematic of course. Certain states want to see their laws apply to the country. And so the fight is to keep that from happening, to not impose on the rest of the country that does not want those laws.

    I live in a state with laws that have let us down, so I can speak to that. (1) Most new handguns cannot be sold in this state as any new handgun added to the list must have “microstamped” information put on a shell when the gun is fired. SO, nwere designs, safer or more practical handguns cannot be sold here. The stamping requirement is non-sensical, no manufacturer makes it, and it would be so easy to disable that it would help solve no crimes. (2) It is federally illegal to have a gun registration, but my state does it anyways. They get around it initially by “saving” the information from the background check done when guns are sold or transferred. Now no-one seems to care or enforce that it realy is not legal. The registration is a problem as it has been used to take guns from people, and we can now see that it opens the door to more selective taking of guns by type, they know who owns which types. Other states are rightfully worried about this, so do not want it it spread (3) Red flag laws. On the surface these seem to make sense, except we already have laws that do a good job of it, the difference with a red flag law is that there is no legal proof required to take guns ( see problem (2) taking of guns) someone with a grudge can make an accusation that they are worried, a no-knock raid occurs, and gun owners have died during these, and guns are taken FIRST and then the owner must come up with money to hire a lawyer to sue to get them back and prove he is not a danger. And a fee for them being “stored” in the meantime ! The original, proper, way is to have a judge issue an order, and this can happen very quickly, just as quick, but evidence has to be presented. An emergency order can happen quickly, like we do for restraining orders, other police requested search and seizures (4) Cant buy ammo. More and more restrictions asked for on ammo. The PMC says this with GLEE — well, we cant stop the guns from being sold, but the 2nd amendment doesnt mention ammo, so they think. Right now I cannot mail order ammo or buy it in a store, but the stores have non on shelves in any case without paying money for a special permit to buy ammo ! ANd you have to apply for a new card every so often. Gun owners all over the country are worried for step 2 when the cross referrence what you are buying ammo for to what you have registered that you own. SO, gun owners DO NOT want to have ammo purchase tracked and to pay for the privledge. It is a mess, maybe you want to buy ammo for you husband who cant get to the store. Maybe you are going to bring it out of state to a hunt with friends. Maybe it is no-ones business as this is a constitutionally protected activity. So some people likely just buy out of state. There is likely more ammo smuggling. If they cant stop drugs, they sure aren’t stopping ammo. (5) cant buy certain configurations of rifle. There is a reason that certain black rifles are popular, it has to do with customization and adjustability and light weight. SO, adjustable means that a woman or teen can adjust the stock so they can use it safely without each family member having to buy a separate gun with stock lengths. It also saves alot on doing that with a growing child, it adjusts. You can stick on different sights, also meaning the rifle can be safer and more accurate for different peoples vision needs and uses. It is also lighter weight to carry hunting small game and small deer and can use a 3 point harness also making it easier to carry and sight when in the field hunting. This, again, is especially helpful for women, teens, children as they are not as strong. The restriction has no safety purpose, and this is known by all that bother to look into it, as these rifles have the same functionality of the ones allowed to be sold ! Same semi-automatic magazine feed, etc…. one has a wooden stock, allowed, the other black adjustable, not allowed. So the restriction serves no safety purpose (6) Magazine capacity. The restricted magazines that must be made for my state do not hamper criminals or mass shooters. With practice, it is extremely quick to swap a magazine. NO, it does not take time where the shooter could be tackled, it is much, much to quick to swap out. SO, there is no safety gotten from the restriction. On the contrary, if you were grabbing your gun for self defense ( meaning you do not have pockets of spare magazines at hand to swap out) you are going to be limited by what is in the gun. 10 rounds goes very quickly. The 50% reduction in rounds in your handgun could cost your life.

    and more….

  350. Viduraawakened, it depends very much on the ecotechnic society! It could be possible for a society of that kind to gather the resources to put up satellites — well, provided that low earth orbit isn’t full of flying shrapnel from a long-ago Kessler catastrophe — but it would be a big investment, and the returns might not be commensurate.

    Phutatorius, almost anything’s better than Guest, which is bowdlerized as well as rather stilted. I’ve read and enjoyed several. If you’re interested, here’s a literal scholarly translation of the Four Branches:

    Lathechuck, good heavens, that isn’t telling, now is it?

    J.L.Mc12, a bazooka is designed to go in a more or less straight line within line-of-sight distances. Strap wings on a rocket and it can cover much more territory — but then it’s out of sight, and how do you make it hit something of military value instead of making a crater in somebody’s pasture? Given wings, after all, it’s much more powerfully affected by wind and other atmospheric conditions than a wingless rocket, and a breeze could send it hundreds of feet off course…

    Denis, that seems very plausible to me.

    Jean, thank you! You’re not alone; last I heard, that’s the best-selling of my novels. When Peter Carr says there’s no display advertising, he means it: no billboards, no display ads on the sides of buses, none of that crap, and no, it’s not just a shortage of advertising budgets. I put that into the novel to get the reader thinking about just how pervasive commercial advertising is in today’s world; the point of Retrotopia, like all utopian fiction, is to get people thinking about the world they live in by contrasting it with something different. I don’t happen to know the details of how and why the Lakeland Republic slapped strict limits on advertising, but it’s a misdemeanor that’ll get businesses a hefty fine.

    Chris, there’s a lovely Greek word, enantiodroma, which means the process by which things turn into their opposites. Science started as an instrument to open minds and has turned, through enantiodroma, into an instrument to lock minds tightly shut.

    Liam, I’m also considering that possibility right now. If things move further in that direction, no question, it’ll be time to hang onto your hat.

  351. On the subject of music while things fall apart, aka The Nero Option, and also of ‘if you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself’…

    The worship team (music group at my church) fell apart at the end of last year, and we’ve been almost exclusively singing along to recorded music off the net. I just volunteered to try and get it going again. I’ve never run any kind of music group before, and I’m not sure how well I can do music designed for guitar on the harp, or if we’ll have any other instruments or just singers.

    I’m both a little scared and quite enthusiastic. Just had to share that.

    And it’s an awfully good thing I decided to buy that lighter harp. That will make things easier, and I bet I will use it near constantly. I want to try the ukulele again, too.

  352. Scotlyn,

    Those are worthwhile questions which I’ll try my best to answer. I do think you misunderstood my desire to protect.. I protected my loved ones by making sure that when I engaged in any sort of violent behavior, that they weren’t around.

    Engaging in violent behavior is not something I commonly do, nor something I find commonly that I desire. Often it involves drinking and hanging out with other male friends. I specifically recall twice getting into fights outside of bars in that sort of situation.

    There are certainly times when I sense weakness in people and it stirs aggression in me, almost a desire to “go in for the kill”, in a manner of speaking.

    Most often, when I have had desire to cause damage or inflict pain, it usually also involved having a lot of pent up anger about one issue or another. And most of that was when I’d been unable to find a suitable outlet, especially when I was living in densely populated China. There I noticed a large undercurrent of pent up male aggression.

    Since returning to the USA and my more rural lifestyle that I was accustomed to, I can’t say I’ve had violent desires, aside from sensing a weakness and getting aggressive. It’s as if that weakness is a cue that triggers attack mode, although I have not acted violently upon it, but perhaps used some physical intimidation.

  353. Re: Lawns with knee high grass. In my area “they” are promoting “No Mow May” as a way to help the bee population.

  354. Phutatorius #358

    My favourite English translation is the one by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones (Everyman, 1949). Some people might not appreciate the archaising approach, but, if you’d like a text that reads a bit like The Silmarillion, this might be the one for you.

    I’m not so familiar with the translations by Jeffrey Gantz (Penguin Classics, 1976) or Sioned Davies (Oxford World’s Classics, 2008), but you can assume that they’re both very reliable. If you’re interested in understanding more about the names in the text, Davies appears to have some very useful explanatory notes and indices.

  355. @batstrel #330 on dreaming, and others interested: funnily enough, I’ve just been listening to a really interesting podcast discussion of this. It’s Jungian Analyst Laura London’s “Speaking of Jung”. Episodes 103 and 104 with Dr. Art Funkhouser might be of interest to you:

    @Walt F. #346, Denis #349 and Prizm re: unkept gardens: here in the UK, ‘no-mow May’ has been quite a thing in horticultural circles, and the Guardian is, I believe, widely read in certain circles in the US. Perhaps that’s part of the reason?

  356. @ Mark L – Thank you, and IF you ever DO make it to Ireland, let’s have that beer! 🙂

    @ Violet – a few further thoughts in no particular order.

    I mention the archetypes to help me demonstrate that the word “violence” to me is a specific thing that does not include EVERY aspect of power, conflict, physicality, protectiveness, all of which also pertain to what one might call the “Martian” energy that maleness embodies, but the specific feature that involves an attack and deliberate act to destroy the weak and defenceless (ie the problematic feature of a school shooting which is the subject at the heart of this discussion). Of course I have witnessed men confronting perceived threats, protecting what they cherish, expressing their power in displays of physicality and prowess, and all of the rest of this, and all of that certainly strikes me as “normal and healthy” maleness, and not signs of “violence” in the sense that going into a school and shooting at and killing defenceless children who have offered no threat, and whose destruction cannot in any sense signal “prowess”, absolutely does. I offered the prospect of a dark side in order to help me make that distinction.

    What is the specific twist that I think is there? I think that Mark L nailed it when he spoke of “a world and worldview in which all that does not fight back is subservient – in which there is no respect or reciprocity toward the land and its creatures – causing harm reinforces the inherent dominance”… that is to say, the “twist” is the instrumental view of the world and of other creatures, including people. They are here for MY purposes and not for their own purposes. The twist (which CAN have both male and female expressions) is an I/it view of the world, its creatures and its people, rather than an I/you view.

    I have to say I was startled to see you say to another commenter, that you saw yourself as here to defend the idea that the male violence you have experienced and witnessed, and that is present in the school shooting event, is a “normal and healthy” thing. If this is how you see it, well then this is how you see it. But it seems to me that it cannot be either normal, or healthy, to believe that EVERY male I meet is burning with a desire to hurt and maim the weak and defenceless. And if I were to try to believe that, it would still be contradicted by the fact that I have never personally encountered a man who acted on a desire to hurt or maim ME (or who appeared to be actively suppressing such a desire) not as a child, and not as a woman less physically strong than they.

    Your experiences, and those described by Robert and other commenters, for sure, DO manifest as part of the potentiality and range of possibility of humanity (and also other species). But I cannot agree that they are a fundamental and basic UNIVERSAL fact of male manifestation in human society. If they were, how could we arrange society such that men could even be allowed to inhabit the same spaces as children? We couldn’t.

  357. Scotlyn,

    Thank you for your reply!

    Details, once filed somewhere in my brain, have a tendency to go fuzzy pretty quickly. I remember watching a nature documentary that featured orangutans. A male was chasing a female with an infant. She retreated to the highest branches of a tree to escape him. I think the narrator said that he would kill the infant so she would be available to mate with him but I cannot remember the source. So I did a quick internet search (“do male animals kill infants”) and this is the first thing that came up:

    Apparently it is a mating strategy and according to this article, females may kill babies too. I apologize for not being able to remember my sources but I think I also saw this behavior in bears and some kind of large sea mammal (walrus?) in documentaries. Where I live many people raise chickens. Roosters are often kept separately, or not kept at all, because their behavior toward the hens is so vicious. I’ve heard it’s hard to find a good rooster: protective of his flock, while not being overly mean to them. I think maybe the rams and sheep you mentioned have been bred for docility over many generations, and that is why they are so gentle.

    Violence is unfortunately part of animal life here. Some animal species commit acts of violence that aren’t even necessary for survival (to defend oneself or one’s family, for example) and ours is only one of them.

    I think keeping violent impulses under control is something that many humans struggle with. Perhaps it stems from living on a planet where constant competition and insecurity are the norm. The unhealthy aspects of American culture make these tendencies so much worse.

  358. @Denis:

    “neighbors who I know are home with grass that is almost knee high now”

    There is nothing, but nothing, I’d like to see more than an end to the 20th-century Culture of The Perfect Lawn.

    My grass is near knee-high right now and it’s because my lawn mower is broken. I ordered the part that it needs, and plan to fix it this week, but darn if I’m not thinking real hard about how expensive it’s getting just to mow the lawn.

    Recently we were in the next province over, where we used to live, and we said, “Hey, let’s drive by our old house, see what the new people have done with it.” My jaw dropped when I observed that the new owners have REMOVED THE VEGETABLE GARDEN in favour of more lawn.

  359. Hi JMG,

    What’s your thought on this year Conservative Convention CPAC, which was held in Hungary ? A bit further east and the war is raging in Ukraine. There seems to be a lot going on in such a narrow region.

    Thank you

  360. Liam J at #368

    I figured free-to-use internet services would go pay for service eventually. Google at the very least relies on ads for revenue, but if people are struggling to buy necessities, the ad market will collapse. The one I can’t figure out is how DuckDuckGo makes any money when their search is free and they claim not to be using or selling user information.

    Regardless, I am glad I remember how to do research from the pre-search engine days.

  361. Hi JMG,

    A gardening update:

    Our exponential tomato-plant growing last year has led to a rather huge crop of tomato seedlings that self seeded this year, so I’ve been giving them to neighbours by the half dozen or so. Everybody is very stoked, which has been cool, it even created a bridge to getting to know some new neighbours who I hadn’t had an opportunity to get to know yet, and the cost is nothing to me. It felt like a slight encouragement for the ones that aren’t growing food yet (or very little) to add that, but without actually putting any pressure that a person might resent because I just have tons of them coming up, so it wouldn’t matter to me in the least if people just threw them out. One of them is travelling to Italy for three months and wasn’t actually going to plant anything in his garden as a result because he wasn’t sure his kids would water them, but he was happy to plant these because maybe he’ll come back to some tomatoes, and worst case he has lost nothing if not.

    One of my neighbours joked that I was “Johnny Tomatoseed” which I thought you might appreciate. Also we got our first harvest of proper (non-weeds) greens this weekend which was great.


  362. atmospheric river (#369): You seem to be replying to my question at #231. I understand some US states have restrictions on guns that gun users find onerous. My actual question was (in response to an old comment of JMG’s): in what respect has the party that appeals to gun users also let them down?

  363. @Michael Martin and @Scotlyn, thanks for your kind words, also thanks to @Psychedelic jocular puca, for her conciliatory response. I still think I am not thinking straight about this issue and will refrain from participating in the ongoing discussion, but I am following it with keen interest. I would specially pay attention to @Robert Mathiesen’s comments.

    @Aldarion, #326.

    I checked your second link (murder rate by country) and found the coloring pattern highly deceptive. The story it tells at first sight is: Europe and Canada are blue/normal, US (and all US-like countries) are purple/bloody salvages, and everything above that is red/a hellhole we do not want to even look at. That might align with the values of many, but it is hardly a good way to understand what is going on in the global scene.

    If you hover the mouse over individual countries, you will find out interesting stuff. By example Argentina and Chile are purple and within range of US violence levels. Even if colonized by different powers, they all have a history of wiping out their native populations and replacing them with wave after wave of European immigrants of heterogeneous origins.

    But the thing that is hidden by the colors is this: The area of influence of the Incan Empire (which AFAIK did not share the same level of obsession with human sacrifice, but which they practiced nonetheless) is well bellow 2x as violent as US (base rate: 4.96): Peru (7.91), Bolivia (6.22), Ecuador (5.80), Paraguay (7.14). Compare that with Mexico (29.07) and Colombia (25.34), and remember the Aztec empire sent its Pochtecatl (mercants) all the way to Cuzco to trade with the Incas. This was not possible with some degree of military (and cultural) influence as well through the zones in between. The big unknown to me is Brazil (27.38), which I know little about. For reference, the worst case I could find in the old world was South Africa(36.40), which still falls behind our Venezuela(36.69) and Honduras(38.93).

    Now, it is possible that what we are seeing is not “ordinary” baseline violence for Latin American countries, but low heat warfare driven by the War Against Drugs. I recall what it was like one generation ago, when the bad place you really do not want to go is Colombia and you could expect to live your life peacefully here if you did not involve yourself with anything illegal. If the War on Drugs was called off and a way to integrate the cartels into civilian life was found (unlikely, for other reasons), I would expect the violence to fall back to Peruvian levels in due time.

  364. Scotlyn,

    In your last response to me I think that you engage with what I have written in manner intellectually disingenuous. From my perspective, you appear to have changed the working definition of “violence” to suit your argument and you have basically not responded to the points that I have raised in my responses to you. What’s more, I think you have badly twisted my words: I have never made claims of universality and have even multiple times in my comments made note of the diversity of human expression. As such, I’m sorry to write I will not engage in any further conversation with you regarding these topics on this month’s Open Post.

  365. Mary Bennett (no 279) I agree with Bei Dawei that the most likely scenario is that the PRC and the Tibetan exile government each identify a different child as the fifteenth Dalai Lama. I hope that the Tibetan government will have the sense to either find the Dalai Lama outside PRC-controlled territory or to smuggle their boy out of Tibet before they announce him.
    The situation with the two Karmapas is probably a better example.
    By the way, the Panchen Lama is important because the top reincarnate lineages have two reincarnates who time their rebirths so that when one is very young, the other is old enough to supervise his education. For a young Dalai Lama, that would be the Panchen Lama.
    My (European) Tibetan Buddhist lama said that neither of the current Panchen Lamas is the real one because the last one wasn’t either. The last Panchen Lama was chosen by the Chinese communists and imposed as part of the agreement between Lhasa and Beijing in 1950.

  366. Re: No Mow May

    Oh, what a lovely idea! Alas, not meant to be. I mowed around two weeks ago and the grass is already as tall as my dog. The weeds are even higher. If I went all of May without mowing I’d have to hire someone with much better equipment. I suppose that would lead to taxes being collected on the transaction and be good for the GDP too.

    FWIW the bees still have lplenty to eat even after I mow the lawn – lots of flowering trees and shrubs right now, as well as flowers along the edge of the yard.

  367. Just some data points. We moved into a truly bilingual (French/English) neighborhood where many other languages can also be heard on the street. While there is a lot of variation between streets, it is, I think, “middle class” in the way a statistician would define it. We are certainly very near the province-wide median household income, though it is surprising how little that will buy!

    On the way to a public park, our bus passes through what used to be the wealthiest municipality in Canada, and still ranks among the top few. It is legally a suburb, though actually an enclave surrounded by the city, so very obviously a kind of dodge to avoid sharing taxes. I have been to the richest parts of Rio de Janeiro (Gávea, Horto, São Conrado and so on). This being Canada, they don’t have the private security guards, vicious dogs, electrical fences etc. However, the sheer amount of wealth embodied in streets after streets after streets of castle-like, huge single-family homes built from masonry is simply shocking, even more than in Brazil. I now get an inkling of how a favela dweller may feel when passing through a middle or upper class neighborhood: “This is not my place. I shouldn’t be here”. It almost nauseates me every time I pass through, because it is obvious that this money is not earned in this neighborhood, it is pumped in from a huge area.

    The people who can be seen walking on the streets look exactly like in US movies and series set in the suburbs (implicitly, in well-to-do suburbs). Something about the fibres and colors of the clothes, the hair, the movements and voices. I always thought those movies were artificial, but now I recognize that they simply portray a social class I had never encountered in concentrated form in real life.

    I had never understood what so many commenters here on this blog refer to as the PMC, now I do. It certainly has very little to do with what a statistician would call “middle class”, though it is nearer what a movie-watcher might consider normal.

  368. @bofur We live in a rural area with no neighbors close by and are letting a good part of our lawn return to the forest that borders it. No mow forever!

    It is well past time to get rid of lawns. In the US, 600 million gallons of gas are used annually mowing lawns in addition to lots of herbicides, fertilizers and watering to assist its growth.

  369. DATA POINT FROM FLORIDA: “The best Presidential hopeful money can buy.” Ron DeSantis, the likeliest Orange Augustus now has one foot in the Populist canoe and the other being towed behind the investment class super-yacht – story courtesy of Sunday’s Gainesville Sun. “For an interactive map of his billionaire campaign contributors, visit The gist of it: he has 42 billionaire donors, some of them giving campaign contributions in the millions. Each.

    On a smaller note, in the “Rejoice! We’re shorting you; feel honored” department, for pure, unmitigated gall, the Sun’s A Note to Readers. “On honor of Memorial day, we will not be printing your Monday edition but will be providing it to you via the e-Edition. You can always find the latest news on our website, mobile app, newsletters, and social media.” Hip, hip, Huz
    insert razzberry here.

    JMG, since the story is from “USA Today network – Florida,” clipping will follow.

  370. Re: the Mabinogian, translated literally – the version you linked to makes it totally clear that this is high-medieval courtly literature, like the Nibelungenlied, rather than anything to do with early period Wales. This matches very nicely with what I learned in one of the rotating-visiting-professors classes in 400-level Medieval studies, in which we were handed scholarly articles and asked to evaluate them, in all the Northern literature from Finland to Wales to Greenland. The gist of the article was that the Mabinogian was a How To Be A Civilized Prince manual for young Welsh noblemen, ca… I forget which century, but certainly well post-1100 AD.

    The Evangeline Walton novelization was just that. And… in my copy of the Jeffrey Gantz translation, I keep wanting to take an editing program and put in the missing paragraph markers and quote marks. Talk about run-on sentences! I’m currently looking up the others.

  371. P.S. Have ordered the Gwyn Jones translation, but so far, my money’s on Sioned Davis’s plain language and courtly settings.

  372. @ Prizm – I truly appreciate you taking those questions seriously and answering thoughtfully and honestly.

    “Most often, when I have had desire to cause damage or inflict pain, it usually also involved having a lot of pent up anger about one issue or another. And most of that was when I’d been unable to find a suitable outlet,”

    This part is not difficult to understand. Pent up anger seeks an outlet, mainly because of the condition of being “pent up”.

    But, then, here you touch on the central point (to me) of a mystery.

    “There are certainly times when I sense weakness in people and it stirs aggression in me, almost a desire to “go in for the kill”, in a manner of speaking.”

    If you are agreeable, I would love to ask you more about what this “weakness” you sense entails. For example, is it physical weakness? Because in this case, it follows that every child you meet will be displaying “weakness” compared to your adult strength, and also (depending on your size, and shape and abilities), most or all women you meet will be displaying “weakness” compared to your male strength.

    But perhaps what you sense as “weakness” is not actually a physical trait, but something else?

    Might I venture a purely speculative question here? Might this “weakness” you sometimes sense in others, and which stirs you to aggression, be an evocation of a corresponding memory or occasion in which you may have felt yourSELF to be the weaker party?

    Again, I deeply appreciate your response and the care and consideration which you gave it.

  373. Brent crude hitting $120 a barrel and UK forecourt fuel prices breaking records again. An interesting Summer begins here even before government windfall taxes on producers kick in … :-/

  374. JMG, sorry for the late comment!

    Aldarion, #231

    In what ways have gun owners been let down? To explain fully would require 1000s of pages documenting all punative aspects of state and federal regulations on the regular Joe. However, the simplest is that if the US Constitution is understood as the social contract that binds us all together, as it should be IMHO, “keep and bear” and “shall not be infringed” are to be taken literally.

    For example…We frequently hear that we should treat guns like cars? I’ll take that one on. So I should be able to rent one in Jersey while visiting Ellis Island and carry on my person wherever I desire, right? If a place is deemed too sensitive, for example a courthouse, then “parking” or locked storage should be provided. Just the thought of this would send NYC politicians into cardiac arrest. How about “silencers” or what they really are, noise suppressors…Don’t cars have mufflers? Same technology and purpose. Btw, they don’t silence shale…just reduce the noise by 20 to 40db. Do cars have governors to prevent you from exceeding the speed limit? Of course not, so why should the law care about the firearms rate of fire (semi auto vs machine gun)?

    Most weapons (arms) laws are an infringement and there are more gun laws than any other topic I would imagine. All laws only regulate the behavior of the law biding and have no effects on criminal behavior. Only harsh and immediate consequences for the criminal do. The “wild west” was much safer in every way than any large city is now. Of course, there was no highly paid police departments, “violence taxes” etc.

    One happy side effect of things devolving is that most of those who always said “you don’t need that, just call the police” are finding out how out of touch with they really are. As the saying goes, when seconds matter, the police are minutes away.

    One unmentioned aspect of this is that prior to President Clinton, guns were frequently seen in school parking lots (hunting season) and some teachers even carried. Yes, this was usually a rural setting but the local decisions were made locally as they should be.

    And now please put on your tin foil hats ….since this what we talk about at the gun range….:-)

    One truly remarkable aspect of these incidents is that a significant number of them coincide with events in national gun politics. Las Vegas event a few years back occured the weekend prior to supressors and short barreled rifles/shotguns being debated by the US House. Of course, it was never discussed thanks to Speaker Ryan shelving it due to the tragedy. NYC’s “may issue” carry laws are on the docket now with the supremes.

    Almost all of these incidents feature young men under the care of mental health professionals with absent family ties. So all could be called vulnerable to outside influences, be it too much video games, drugs, TV, etc. Mind control techniques in advertisements are very common and if someone with substantial amounts of funds wanted to influence a debate, a few “unusual” commercials would be cheaper than campaign contributions. The MKUltra guys retired and some had to have become consultants eventually. Gun control efforts are funded at several orders of magnitude or more than the NRAs puny lobbying budget.

    There are also alot of unanswered questions in most of these incidents. In the latest, how does an 18 year old loser procure $10k in weapons? The local police just had active shooter training, so why did they do the exact opposite of what the training stated and actively prevented others from acting, including handcuffing one mom. Fog of war indeed but its so bad the police need protection from the community according to some accounts.

    The techniques are out there and gun control has official backing at the highest level of the American government so that these incidents are created is not out of the question.

    Thats the end of tin foil hat, but it does get discussed as these incidents occur.

    Lastly, yes young men are more likely to be violent, some more than others. However, the key is to channel this aggression to something constructive. My early 20s nephew suffered from this until the past couple of years. Sending him to a Thai Boxing studio gave him an outlet for his aggression and he also discovered he wasn’t half as tough as he thought.
    Bottling up his aggression was destroying him. Sometimes, yes the bully needs to be punched in the mouth hard. Better in the ring than on the street.

    This is also one of the reasons the military was a preferred option to prison until the all volenteer force. Sometimes tough love needs to be really tough.

  375. Hi JMG,

    To contribute to the permaculture discussion, I found the ideas interesting, but always found the process seemed too large scale or just very involved to set up – always appeared to be a multi levelled forest of some sort from my limited exposure. I’m impressed if people can make that work but it seemed too revolutionary for me. I read Fukuoka’s “One Straw Revolution” and found it quite inspirational, but use it more as a loose guideline for ways of looking at working with the garden I actually have, and just modify in that general direction. There are things I do that he would find very unnatural – like pruning, but maybe he wouldn’t hate everything. I owe very much to his thinking in my opinion, though. Other than that it has been a slow process of engaging with the situation as it is, navigating our needs against what the garden wants to do, and how best to unite the two. I also find Dion Fortune’s ideas very insightful, and find very often there is just a way of looking at a situation that can turn it from a problem into an asset.


  376. JMG, and all the rest of you that I have come to know here, even as I rarely write, I do listen, especially as the topics over the years often tweak my shadow senses and I wish to thank you all for opening me to the possibilities. I live in the Colorado River drainage, and it is dry all around and summer is coming. I try and think like Anasazi or Fremont peoples, but I doubt I will leave, but my grandson will probably move higher in the mountains. My compost always gets plastic, after 40 years, you take what is given you. I’m retired, from disabled by tinnitus, so I want to go in my head to fix the place screaming Danger! I vaguely remember a science fiction story of a rich man going into his head/body to fight cancer? maybe? I wanted to reread the story, but can’t remember who wrote it or the name. I found “I have no mouth and I must scream” which isn’t what I am searching for.