Open Post

November 2018 Open Post

As announced earlier, this blog will host an open space once a month (well, more or less!) to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers, and this is the week. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

Before we go on, though, I have some good news to pass on regarding writing projects associated with this blog. First of all, I’m delighted to report that Vintage Worlds, the anthology of Old Solar System SF edited by myself and Zendexor, is now available in both print and e-book formats. If I may risk tooting my own Barsoomian horn a bit, it’s a wowser of a collection, seventeen stories celebrating one of the great imaginative creations of our age — the nonexistent but endlessly wonderful solar system of classic SF, full of alien beings, inhabitable planets, spaceships that look like something other than random assortments of pipes and tanks, and two- (or more-) fisted adventure. Order your copies here.

Second, fans of squamous, rugose tentacles everywhere will be pleased to know that the second book in my Lovecraftian epic fantasy series The Weird of Hali is finally stirring from its aeonian slumber. The first volume, The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth, is already available in e-book format; the paperback edition will be out on December 17 of this year and can be preordered here. The second volume, The Weird of Hali: Kingsport, will be released the same day in both e-book and paperback formats — the paperback can be preordered here. Those readers who are fairly new to this blog may want to know that this is not your common or garden variety Lovecraftian fiction; it’s fantasy, not horror, and those vast tentacled critters and their human (and not quite human) cultists…well, let’s just say they get to tell their side of the story for a change.

The third volume in the series, The Weird of Hali: Chorazin, will be forthcoming early in the new year; volumes 4 and 5 are in the publisher’s hands as I speak, volume 6 is finished except for a final edit, and the seventh and last volume is about half done and will be in print by the end of 2019. (Those readers who are still waiting for the last volume of The Kingkiller Chronicle or A Song of Ice and Fire needn’t worry about having to put up with that sort of nonsense from me.) And before it ends, Great Cthulhu will rise at last from the sea…

With that said, have at it!

588 Comments

  1. Hi ADJMG,

    I saw this about a Mexican drug cartel using a mixture of Santa Muerte, and New Thought.

    “You will have whatever you desire, if you go for it without doubting, if you put your mind to it, if you visualize it”. Grillo recites his version of the Law of Attraction, the power of positive thinking hammered into him in crude indoctrination camps up on the cerro, an almost mystical place symbolizing the capos’ power. With New Age self-help mantras, La Familia Michoacana, the Michoacán Family, once the undisputed criminal powerhouse in Tierra Caliente, sought to fashion an army with a veneer of spirituality.

    http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2018/11/the-life-and-death-of-mexican-hitman.html#more

    All they need is mindfulness mediation and they would cover all the bases.

  2. Two questions first for JMG our esteemed host. Are there any events in history that from your standpoint we’re obviously influenced by magic like the kek wars stuff? Second for David by the lake. My dad was reading about flat to decreasing electricity use in England and he thought it must be more efficient appliances and such. I was going to tell all about it from the stuff you have written about here but I realized I didn’t have any of my facts straight. So could you give a summary of the facts and situation. Thanks JMG and David and everyone else

  3. Thanks John,
    Well I know what I’ll be reading this winter solstice vacation. The first Weird of Hali story was a triumph of tentacles. I wait with fishy baited breath for part 2 in paperback.
    So my question, in the UK we await the supposed chaos of a Brexit no deal. It’s amazing so few people seem to recall the UK functioning prior to 1975 when we joined the EEC (previous name of the EU). What is you take on Italy? Their newly elected anti EU government are trying to resist the forced austerity, which is an essential component of being tied to the external currency that is the Euro, to promote a government deficit funding recovery of their economy which breaks the EU rules. When Greece tried this, they caved in at the last minute and their supposedly left wing government enforced even more extreme austerity measures on their long suffering peoples. Unlike Greece though, Italy is big enough to bring done the Euro by itself. Will they capitulate and back down?

  4. John, what are your thoughts about the events playing out in the Sea of Azov? Do you see WWIII on the horizon? Or just more of the same?

  5. Hi,
    Do you think that Western countries (more specifically the UK, since I live here) will suffer a greater collapse than third world nations at least over the next few decades during the first round of catabolic collapse?
    Also, are we talking about things like blackouts and food rationing or outright civil war and anarchy where warlords rule like in Somalia. Finally, do you still think that the broad trajectory of history will follow the future you outlined in ‘A pink slip for the Progress Fairy’ in the old Archdruid Report (one of my favourite articles, by the way)?
    Your sagacious insight would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  6. The well circulated picture of the migrant mother and her children fleeing tear gas shows two diapered kids who look to be well over six years old. Does anyone else find this strange? Any parents on here want to comment? I thought that allowing kids to go delay potty training and to use diapers late was a first world problem of privileged parents. I would figure that disposable diapers are a luxury mothers in most developing countries could not afford, and, even if they could, cost would dictate much earlier potty training than the norm among privileged Western parents. Anyone else find the diapered, school age kids in the well circulated pic odd, to say the least?

  7. This bit of class snobbery caught my eye: in a recent article in the New Yorker (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/nearby-and-familiar-a-strategy-for-picking-restaurants), Calvin Trillin wrote, “Now and then, I’m excited to join an expedition to the outer boroughs to sample the food of one of those countries from which the current Administration is trying to discourage immigration. (For adventurous eaters, a minor irony of the current state of affairs is that a man who subsists on cheeseburgers and overdone steak is in charge of who can come to this country and open a restaurant.)”

    If this is representative of the thinking of more than a few on the Left, methinks it will be a good while before one of their own again occupies the Oval Office.

  8. Do you know any good strategies for ‘deradicalizing’ progressives? And in particular, books they could read that they wouldn’t reject out of hand?

  9. Maybe it’s high time Cthulhu did rise from the depths. I was surfing the Net a little while ago waiting for the Novocain from my dentist visit to wear off and not only did I find out Pepe the Frog is being killed off by his creator but there is now a new meme in the form of Gritty the Philadelphia flyers new mascot that the far-left and far-right are squabbling over as their new icon. The End is surely at hand…..

  10. More books! I could use some more, once I find space on my bookshelves…. 😉

    On the topic of the Green Wizard Magazine, I’m still planning to move forward with it. I’m not willing to break any laws on principle, which is slowing things down, and I also recently had some personal issues that have put quite a lot of what I was planning to get done on hold. Finally, I think I want to get payed services instead of free, which means I need to do some research for the email and site.

    If anyone has any suggestions for either, I’d love to hear it!

    Playing with the technology, and especially the hand-built press I made, I think if the knowledge to make it survives the coming crisis, a printing press would be one piece of technology that would make lots of lives better. It’s relatively easy to make, and although the one I made isn’t up for a full magazine, I can see how to make one that would be (I don’t think I’ll attempt it, though. I can see how to do it, but my skills aren’t there)

  11. JMG, appreciate the mundane astrology you talk about sometimes. One thing I’ve wondered about and not finding much on is the 36 year cycle that follows a “Chaldean sequence” — 1909-1945 was the cycle of Mars, with two world wars; 1946-1982, cycle of the Moon with many social changes; 1983-2018, cycle of the Sun with all its imperial goings-on. Next up is the cycle of Saturn, for contraction and karmic reckoning.
    Could you tell us more about this, particularly what the 36 years tracks in terms of planets or aspects? Thanks!

  12. Hi JMG,

    I bought a copy of The Power of Limits a while back but haven’t really buried myself in it yet, and it was quite interesting to see its contents referenced here. It reminds me of a textbook meant for students who have done a few preliminary courses that I haven’t taken. What specific sorts of work would you recommend I do to gain a better understanding of this specific book? I’ve been relearning mathematics from the beginning, and I’d like to steer my study in a direction that would allow me to use it in my design work more generally.

  13. John, et al.

    First, to fulfill my (soi-disant!) role of reporter of energy industry news, I’ve been gathering a few tidbits since last open post:

    Nuclear woes: TVA write-off of Bellefonte debt
    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/nov/18/tvamillidebt/483134/

    More nuclear woes: SCANA settlement with ratepayer lawsuit over cancelled SC plant
    https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article222150120.html

    Nuclear $ in politics: contributions to Public Service Commission election run-off in GA (where commissioners are apparently elected rather than appointed)
    https://politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/pro-nuclear-power-group-pumps-750-000-into-georgia-psc-runoff/CACvp32FDkohnn8TimbjtM/

    Reports on the downside of wind (granted, this is coming from OK…)
    https://newsok.com/article/5615884/recent-studies-show-flaws-of-wind-power

    Secondly, still related to energy, I got an email (as part of an industry list-serve) from our national advocacy organization re a carbon tax (and dividend!) bill that has been introduced in the current House. Co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), lead sponsor of the bill, joined by Reps. Francis Rooney (R-FL), John Delaney (D-MD), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Charlie Crist (D-FL).

    The email goes on to say that the in-coming House leadership has indicated that the House will NOT be taking this or any similar bill in the 116th Congress because “[s]uch legislation would not pass in the Senate and forcing Democrats to vote on such a controversial proposal could easily cost them control of the House in the 2020 elections.”

    The irony is that the proposed language, as I was able to glean from the description, would actually do it right: impose a carbon-tax stuff coming out of the ground and a carbon-equalizing fee on imported fuels, but then distribute those proceeds (less program admin fees) to all Americans as a “carbon dividend” via the IRS.

    I don’t have a link to the proposed legislation, but you might be able to find it on one of the co-sponsors websites. It may be called something like the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act”.

  14. Dear Mr Greer,

    Since I’m halfway through the process of moving I have been dealing with lots of ‘stuff’ lately. This made me wonder what your thoughts are on the concept and movement of Minimalism?

    I find that I’m often torn between wanting a clean empty ‘Minimal’ living space and aquiring ‘stuff’ that supports my interests or that I think carry some utility, like tools and books. Minimalism as a movement feels like something that can only be done because we can externalise and outsource so much of our lives.

    I’m super excited for Chorazin, and really looking forward to reading it!

    Marcu

  15. John–

    Re the publication news and updates

    Very excited all around! I’ve already recommended Vintage Worlds to my library. (And told my dad about it, which guarantees a purchase right there…) Looking forward to reading the other contributions 🙂

    And thank you for a time-frame for WoH #3…pins and needles, man, pins and needles!

  16. Hi JMG,

    I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the early-ization of Christmas. I feel like in my lifetime, the Christmas season has crept from primarily post-Thanksgiving to engulf all of November and even the Holloween runup. That’s a good chunk of the year. I expect this from the retailers as the normal course of modern marketing. When I was a kid, I think most people frowned upon Christmas decorations at stores in November, but I know it was done, and it’s understandible. These days it’s gotten a little extreme, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m talking more about entertainment and popular culture. Hallmark starts in with their Christmas movies a few weeks after they wrap up their Christmas in July run. And the radio stations near me start with carols well before Thanksgiving. Our generation seems intent on celebrating Christmas all year, which I can only think is a manifestation of some collective nostalgia. Our most vivid childhood recollections striving to hold the same oursized presense in our current lives as they do in our memories. Anyway, a facet of modern life I’m having trouble understanding. Happy holidays everyone!

    John

  17. JMG,

    I am wondering if you could talk a bit about the role and status of peak oil in today’s world.

    My understanding of it is somewhat limited.

    I am confused why oil prices would be as low as they are now. I would have thought with decreasing supply, prices would be higher than they are. Is it the oil from fracking that has delayed the effects of peak oil? Or is there some other factor here that I’m not seeing?

    Thanks,

    Jacques

  18. Hello,
    I have been wondering about one aspect of technology in use that has been rapidly declining in maintainability over the last decade : cars. Compare nowadays’ cars, laden with electronics, against the 70’s cars. Around that time any enthusiast could spend hours pulling apart an average car to learn how the mechanics worked, and then with enough passion, and often help from a knowledgeable person, become able at car maintenance and repair. Perhaps the parts were not standard, but it was mostly a matter of mechanically fitting or reshaping them.

    Take a new car you would buy now, and of course you can forget about all of that ! It’s like phones, except that a spare cellphone doesn’t take this much space and an entry level new phone is still affordable for a middle class person in the industrialised world.

    I believe the kind of local car manufacturing which produced perhaps less sophisticated cars, but at least that their owner can maintain themselves, that kind of business, would make a lot of money. The kind of people who would like to repair stuff themselves are the ones who are the most aware of the threat posed by digital (as opposed to analogous) electronics.

    Does such a business already exist ? Or does it have yet to be created?

  19. I guess technically this is a sales pitch , but I think it worth noting that numerous books authored by our illustrious host are on sale at Llewellyn (and a disconcerting number are on their way to my mailbox).

  20. Maybe others have commented on this, but just in case, I thought a little shout-out was needed. Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, wrongly (and later quite famously) convicted and sent to death row, and somewhat recently released after being given an Alford Plea, has a new book out called High Magick. In the acknowledgments section at the beginning of the book Echols says, “I walk in the footsteps of some of the great magicians in history.” He lists six names and says, “You filled my mind with vision, my heart with hope, and my soul with the thrill of knowing what is possible. Thank you.” One of those six names is none other than John Michael Greer. To me that is a big deal. Eckols, who if you believe him, manifested his way into freedom from death row, using the practices and knowledge of Greer to do just that. A congratulations is in order for you too John Michael Greer.

  21. @Monk,

    I know of nothing that will move the left toward the middle. However, I do know of someone that can move the kool-aid-drinking, Hillary-worshipping left outside of the corporate left sphere and back to a true (but more radical) left: Chris Hedges gives really great, really insughtful talks and he supports labor and is a pacifist, and he points out the hypocrisy in the establishment. He’s the type that empowers Bernie supporters not to settle for Hillary.

    Actually, I recommend him for anyone; paired with a good anti-establishment Libertarian, you can get a nice spectrum of views that offer alternatives to corporate and government control.

    Richard Wolf is another one, actually. He’s a true Socialist, in the “democratic syndicalist” category, I believe, emphasizing worker-owned co ops as the best way to run businesses. They both offer ideas you won’t see on FOX or MSNBC, and I think they offer the kind of common ground with the working people that will help return a leftist to their pacifist, union-loving senses.

    I know this wasn’t really what you were asking for, but I’m hoping it might be a good bridge between your views and their views (though I actually have no idea what your views are).

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  22. @Will O

    Re electricity usage trends

    The short (and unsatisfactory) answer is: it depends 🙂 Each “grid” has its own peculiarities. Certainly, energy efficiency is a player (particularly in lighting, which is a good bit of residential and small commercial load). Much of what I’ve been mentioning is from the wholesale (i.e. utility) perspective. The old baseline assumptions (2-5% growth forever) have definitely been falsified and utilities have begun to shift their strategies in order to adjust to flat-to-declining trends. Reduction in energy usage can come from a number of places: from people doing the same things but using less energy with more efficient machines to people doing different things that just use less power (like reading books instead of watching TV). Whatever the cause, the impact is quite visible.

    I see industry discussion shift toward investment in transmission assets (big power lines) and away from new power plants. More attention is being directed toward energy storage (e.g. utility-scale battery banks) and other “flexible” technologies. (As our host would observe, all of this still relies on an underlying “fossil fuel subsidy” to mine, process, and manufacture the materials for these devices.) One push seems to be to electrify other industries (such as transportation) in order to support usage.

    I hope that helps!

  23. First of all, so cool about the publishing news! Of course I have some skin in the game, and look forward to reading the other tales of Vintage Worlds!

    That said, I’ve been doing something that I thought I’d never do: reading Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and enjoying the stuffing out of it. Basically, for backstory, I read The Hobbit many times when I was young but always found myself repelled from the Lord of the Rings, that is, if there were a forcefield surrounding it. Instead I found myself drawn to authors like Steinbeck, Kerouac and Burroughs. This led me out towards Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Balzac, Flaubert, Chekhov and Dostoyevsky. For what it’s worth I love Herr Oswald Spengler for the exact same reasons I loved the beats; that is, his immense and romantic passion for historical studies! He writes of history like an impassioned lover, but I digress.

    What is odd now, looking back over the course of my life, is how obviously my life has been determined by the narratives I absorbed. Had I fallen in love with Tolkien in the time I fell in love with Beatnik literature I doubt that I would have ever lived as a full time drag queen, squatter punk, hitched hiked around the country, or spent hundreds of hours perched over a typewriter pretending to be some Lost Beat. Part of this I imagine hinges on identity, amongst other things I’m pretty evenly bisexual and so I could imagine myself having a dignified place in the Beatnik universe much more than Middle Earth. I also violently rejected Harry Potter, since, again, I could in no way see myself in that world, in some sort of essential way.

    So I guess that a good portion of my life consisted my in a deep Beatnik LARP. And this turned out to be useful in many ways. But it really does hip me, to the extreme powers of narratives, especially narratives absorbed doing certain critical portions of one’s life. Just as there is a certain time frame from Language acquisition, I imagine that there is a certain time frame for narrative acquisition.

    It also strikes me that Narratives can engage in pitched battle in people’s hearts. And that if one Narrative has been entrenched it may do battle against another, hence my earlier sense of repulsion from The Fellowship of the Rings, which I now find to be a thumpingly entertaining and well-written book!

    This also then points to a religious aspect to literature and myth. For the Beats, they followed the Muse, they followed Love, and seemed to be worshipping some Deity akin to Aphrodite. People seem to love to ridicule the Beats and other sell-out counter-cultural movements for their host of sins, but nonetheless the tapped into something powerful. Likewise Tolkien tapped into something powerful.

    To more flesh out and illustrate this idea I’ve made a tentative charting of these Imagined Continents of Genre on the tree of life:

    MALKUTH; Thrillers; Murder Mysteries; Suspense.

    YESOD: Romance, erotica, pornography.

    HOD: Science fiction, fantasy.

    NETZACH: Romantic poetry, picaresque novels, ‘Bohemian’ literature.

    TIPHARETH: Religious Allegory, stories of redemption, and all PLAYS (as Dionysus is the patron of Theatre).

    GEBURAH: Military thrillers, military stories, stories of someone being trained through discipline.

    CHESED: Epic works; religious works.

    BINAH: History.

    CHOKMAH: Myths.

    KETHER: the Imagination.

    I’m curious what others think of this schema, and also how others makes sense of the cauldron of battling narratives that one can find in the fiction section of any public library. People’s lives get lived along mythic lines, and these myths have inherent value systems that can be hostile to other values. So on a certain plane, fiction seems to represent a form of magical warfare. I’m very curious of other people’s thought on this, and so I post this comment!

  24. Oh, yeah, JMG, I wanted to ask you (plus any of our Brit readers), what do you think are May’s chances of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament?

  25. @Marcu, regarding minimalism:

    Any idea can be good or bad depending on how you use it. The core principle of minimalism is reducing unnecessary consumption of physical goods, and we could all benefit if this idea spread more widely.

    It can go wrong, though, if you take all that money you save and spend it on expensive, distant vacations, or keep buying the same things but then throw them out right away… or if you’re just using minimalism as the design scheme of the month, and will try “rustic country cabin” at your next scheduled remodel. Reusing things is almost anti-minimalist, but it’s a thousand times better for the environment to reuse that glass jar until it breaks AND THEN recycle it.

    If you have other visions of how to save the world, and you need to own equipment( for example, if you are a gardener or beekeeper) you absolutely can combine this with minimalism. I believe the rule is you can keep anything that you use regularly. If your veil and smoker are gathering dust, are you REALLY a beekeeper? Lol!

    Emptying your kitchen and outsourcing your cooking to restaurants is a terrible way to do minimalism. Returning to “the basics” for kitchen equipment and reducing packaging waste is a better way.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

    PS, I don’t buy the belief that minimalism is a luxury that only the upper classes can afford. Anyone can choose to have only 1 or no TV, no matter how many TVs they may have had in the past. People with zero TVs due to poverty can use minimalism to refocus their future goals and reduce the stress when poverty meets class-based consumption patterns. Lower classes would benefit even more than upper classes if they combine minimalist principles with frugality in general. The whole idea is to be more conscious of consumption and to simplify your life.

  26. @Jean-Vivien: Sort of, yes! There’s a project called wikispeed that has designed and built a modular car, the plans for which are available online. The car can be assembled from its constituent pieces with fairly simple tools and fasteners, and the fabrication of the chassis and other heavier components is meant to be done on a CNC machine – not nescessarily a cheap tool to buy new, but one that is available in certain makerspaces and that will probably become cheaper to buy as time goes on (up to a point, of course) and one that can potentially be hacked together in a garage by someone who knows how to code and fabricate. The car’s engine is meant to be easily replaceable – you could swap out the gasoline engine for a diesel or electric one if you wanted.

    However, that’s still a fairly high-tech solution. As the future unfolds I can see the easily shareable, standardized approach wikispeed has taken being combined with the sort of Jugaad design that uses recycled and scrap materials to build highly idiosyncratic but still very functional vehicles (and many other mechanical and electronic appliances) in East India. As long as the Internet and CNC tech is around we may as well take advantage of it, eh?

  27. JMG, you’ve mused quite a bit about the likely future of human affairs in America, the industrial West and the world at large. I’m curious, have you received or drawn any insight on these matters that isn’t rooted in rational analysis? Up to what point are your ideas and overall conclusions informed by occultism or spirituality?

  28. I was rereading your post on reincarnation and slugging around in the comments when something clicked for me. You said you practiced two musical instruments, even though you have no talent, in hopes that your hard work will give you some measure of talent in your next life. As soon as I read that, my own voice in my head said “Here you go. You’ll like this.”

    What clicked was that, if indeed these reincarnation views are true, in a previous life I have laid the groundwork for talent in a number of arts, so that I may find my way to one of them. I am one of those people that has a natural level of talent that most others do not have, but I also went through a difficult experience in each art form that encouraged me to abandon it.

    In elementary school, I won the school art contest, but then the prize was taken away from me because some of the teachers thought my mother had done my submission, or I had traced it. My mother arranged a meeting with the principal and had me draw the image in front of him, but he chose to still revoke the prize. I avoided visual art until an event at my dorm in college. Everyone was painting on canvases, and although I had no training, I was able to paint a landscape piece. This put all the attention on me and made me uncomfortable, so I threw it away and have not touched visual art since then.

    When I was twelve, I auditioned for band, which involved a meeting with my parents and the band director in a practice room with all of the beginner instruments. I could play all of them with ease, without instruction. I can sing, act, dance. I have strong hand-eye coordination, so I can easily pick up sports like basketball and baseball. The list goes on. I think in the past I was trying to do everything I could to save my future self. (Unless I’m totally wrong on all this.)

    However, one of the major lessons I am learning in this life is how to live with crippling anxiety. In the end, the art form I gravitated toward was one in which I do not have to give live performances in order to survive: writing. I can write completely privately. I can choose my beta readers, and write under a pen name. I hope I am never famous, and if I write my whole life and my only dedicated fan is my mother-in-law, I will still be happy.

    My question is this: if I give everything to this art form in which I have laughably little talent, and ignore my natural talents, am I sabotaging myself in a future life? I wonder whether I could give everything in this life to my writing, but then in my next life be illiterate. I know that my soul will always long for some kind of art form. It sounds cheesy, but it is my salvation. Sorry for the rant!

  29. @John Riley,
    too early X-mas: I think it’s purely a matter of economics. In this post-Great Recession landscape of retail apocalypse and vacant stores, retailers are desperate for sales, and they think that by pushing back the holiday shopping season even further, they can drum up sales, but there are good reasons (a declining economy) why most people’s pocketbooks are snapped shut, but that won’t stop retailers from trying.
    On that note, I hope everyone had an awesome Buy Nothing Day! (Nov. 23rd)

  30. Hi JMG,

    I have come to regard so called smartphones (along with the social media and convenience apps loaded onto them) as one of the most dangerous and insidiously damaging technological developments of our time. 75 – 80% of Americans own these devices and the amount of time spent interacting with them boggles the mind. In just ten years they have literally taken over most people’s lives to the point of actual addiction. Every member of Congress now works a Twitter feed for gods’ sake…we’ve become a nation of phonies and twits!

    There are obvious differences between addiction to an intoxicating substance and a smartphone. Or are there? To me, the addictive/compulsive behavior seems virtually identical. If someone cracks open a fifth of vodka at the start of the day and nips on it all through the day that bottle will be empty by bedtime, and they’ll be ‘under the influence’ every waking hour. If they do it all over again the next day and every other day that person is unequivocally addicted whether they admit it or not.

    In the recovery universe, a bedrock principle is admission of one’s addiction, of one’s powerlessness over it. We recognize the harm being done to ourselves and others. If we fail to realize this, if we remain locked in denial, the ‘disease’ will persist and most likely progress. Unfortunately, with respect to smartphones only a small percentage of users recognize their addiction, and an even smaller percentage want to recover.

    TV is bad, but this is exponentially more harmful. I am eager to hear your (and other members of this community’s) thoughts on the subject. Am I just a raving neo-Luddite?

    Jim

    PS I never had a chance to comment on This Flight From Failure but thought the post and commentary outstanding. Thanks to all.

  31. @Jacques,
    IDK what JMG will say, but a lot of it is demand destruction, where people who can’t afford a product don’t buy it. I’m sure that Trump’s tariffs and the counter-tariffs have eaten somewhat into global oil demand as fewer products are shipped around the world. We’re pretty impoverished here in the US!

  32. @Jean,
    yes, it is true that cars are less user-friendly to fix, but they ARE more reliable and break down less often. You don’t even need a tune-up now until 100,000 mi, and many people drive vehicles for 20 yrs and over 300,000 mi

  33. @Jean-Vivien

    It’s even worse when you get to the big push for “smart” and driverless cars. The cost of basic windshield replacements is jawdropping once you have to factor in the attached sensors:

    https://www.caranddriver.com/news/active-safety-repair-costs

    I predict an active backlash market, a few years hence, in basic no-frills budget vehicles like what Elio Motors is trying to do, rehabbed “vintage” cars (VW Rabbit, anyone?), and quasi-legal DIY “tech bypass” kits to make your car work without the more expensive computer components you’d rather not pay huge $$$ to replace. Add to that, possibly, a push to make imports of existing very basic vehicles (they still make them in other countries, but our emissions standards bar their import: EPA measures pollution based on emissions-per-gallon, instead of emissions-per-mile like the rest of the world, which keeps a lot of good cars and motorbikes out of the US market). Perhaps also a revival of interest in motorcycles, which tend to be much simpler machines and far more amenable to home repair.

  34. @Violet

    Re the Tree of Literature 😉

    I am fascinated with your proposed schema and need to spend much more time contemplating it. One thing that jumped out at me right off, however, was the implication of your supernal triad: Imagination begetting Myth begetting History. A powerful statement lay buried in that framing. Good stuff!!

  35. HI John Michael—have you been following the most recent Pantheacon kerflufful? Women’s history scholar Max Dashu and someone I am unfamiliar with called Witchdoctor Utu were accepted as presenters. Then certain people brought up the claim that Max is transphobic and therefore a danger to trans and gender questioning people (Gotta watch out for elderly dykes); and something unspecified (cultural appropriation, homophobia?) about Utu. The accusers are anonymous–well I know who one is, an arrogant little holder of a degree in gender studies who thinks that entitles him to lecture his elders (me) on feminism. But I digress. Glenn Turner’s announcement on the conference website just apologizes for the error of the original selection without any explanation of the reasons for withdrawing them. I think this approach is truly harmful since it leaves to the imagination of the reader the reason these people have been singled out. Max Dashu has both presented and vended in the past. I hate the term Social Justice Warrior since it can be turned against people who are trying to end actual injustice–but this seems to be the kind of thing that that term is intended to attack. Any other readers know anything about Utu? He is based in Canada and has a book coming our from Weiser, a respected occult press.

  36. To Violet, I think genre lines are the wrong lines here. The narratives within genre are by no means uniform or unopposed. I don’t know the characteristics of the Names by which you’ve mapped them, but I know there are two very strong contrary narratives in fantasy right now. One might humerously call them “humans suck” and “humans rock”. George R.R. Martin could be described as a practitioner of the first, Jim Butcher as a practitioner of the second, to go with famous fantasy writers whose work has spawned tv shows and whose fans are annoyed by being left waiting for years for sequels. In Martin’s works, all the interesting characters who try to do good suffer horrible things and die (or live) pointlessly. In Butcher’s works, all the interesting characters who try to do good suffer horrible things and die (or live) heroicly.

    I’m afraid I gave up on Martin long enough ago that the character names have left my brain, so I can’t offer direct comparisons, after the last character I was interested in died. I had been predisposed to like Martin, as my motto has long been “Winter is coming”, living in the region I do, and close to the land, and being a fan of BFF books, and thus stuck with the novels longer than I otherwise would have. But you can look at Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files’ character Susan Rodriguez for an example of interesting, tries to do good, suffers horrible things, dies heroicly saving untold numbers of lives.

  37. I’m curious if anyone else has noticed this, but since taking up occult practice I’ve become less of a slob (I think I’m still a messy person, but less so, and perhaps it’ll change once I finish the cleaning spree I’ve apparently started). Has anyone else noticed this, or is it one of those odd, possibly unique, effects?

  38. I have been lurking here (and on ADR for many years) and have two questions for you related to Druidry….

    1) What do you, personally, believe happens after death?
    2) Is this belief different than the teachings of your Druid order?

  39. Monk, could you elaborate what you mean by ‘progressives’? I consider myself a progressive, by which I mean I have an opportunity-seeking bias towards change where a conservative would have a threat-seeking bias. But I think the adjective has become synonymous with a particular subset of opportunity-biased folk, and I might be able to give an insider’s perspective if I could grok exactly where the boundaries of that subset are.

    On that note… I guess we have designer babies now eh? What’s that going to change?

  40. Shane W.:

    I think the photo is a staged event.

    Supposedly, everyone has trekked over 2,000 miles, throughout the length of Mexico. Don’t these kids seem altogether too “fresh” and well scrubbed to have just completed a 2000+ mile trek? One of the kids is wearing flip-flops, hardly long distance walking footwear.

    Then look beyond the central part of the photo to those parts further from the camera. There are some dozens of people in the photo, but none of them appear panicked and trying to flee. For the most part, they seem to be just standing and milling around. There are two or three people standing right at the border fence, neither trying to get over it or to run away.

    We have numerous examples of domestic disturbances, from the campus anti-war demonstration in the late ’60s to contemporary public disruptions that have been large enough for the authorities to use tear gas. Look at any archived footage of past such demonstrations, and you will see clouds of tear gas in the area. Dozens of tear gas canisters are thrown, not one, which is all that is seen here. There are no clouds in the air, nor is anyone in the background acting as if there was a tear gas event.

    There were absolutely zero US Border Patrol or other forces of US authority seen anywhere in the photo. Likewise with the tear gas, any news report of past demonstrations will also include shots/footage of the police or National Guard out in force. There was nothing of the kind here.

    So I think this was entirely contrived, and very poorly done at that.

    Antoinetta III

    To: The Archdruid:

    I’ve checked the little box below that says “Save my name, e-mail…”, but the info doesn’t save, I have to type it in each time I post. Any ideas of what’s wrong?

  41. Jim,

    I think there’s another point too: a large number of people get withdrawal symptoms if they go for long without their cell phone. It’s kinda freaky to see it happen.

  42. @ David, thank you! Honestly I just mapped it and didn’t consider any of the implications of it whatsoever! That’s a good point and one that I hadn’t notice at all.

    @ BoysMom, Thank you for your considered reply! for whatever it’s worth, I had the very keen sense while posting my above content that I would inevitably get details wrong, and I think you raise a very important point about genre lines. that is, they are human categories and so are somewhat arbitrary and also fail as useful tools for creating further categories. Also they don’t have a uniform narrative although they do have shared forms.

    To clarify, the Names are those from the Cabala, and they involve different states of consciousness, so Malkuth is Earthly consciousness, Yesod Etheric consciousness, Hod the realm of Thoughts, and Netzach the realm of Feelings. So within the realm of Thoughts, the Thoughts can be diametrically opposed to one another while still being thoughts. Thoughts though, are distinct from Feelings even if the Thoughts and Feelings are in accord. The point being the abstraction I’m playing with attempts to sense the ‘plane’ the genre tends to act as portal to, rather than the content of any given piece. In this sense both “humans suck” and “humans rock” scifi could be considered to be portals into the realm of Thoughts, and thus of Hod.

  43. So this is what your blog about the end of Industrial civilization was about all along. The summoning of Great Cthulhu from the depths! I should have known someone called an Archdruid would herald the end of an age! I… my fragile constitution… my faculties I… Ia…. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

    Anyways, onto question time.
    I was reading The Next Hundred Years by George Friedman (an thought provoking read until you get to the part about America’s coming Golden Age. Ho boy…) and he made a comparison of Mexico in 2009 being about where America was in 1930. Cartels, prohibition, corruption at every level, a decent case could be made for it. Eventually, he reasons, Mexicans will get fed up with the nonsense and elect crusaders with platforms of sweeping reforms to clean house as it were, thereby leading to the equivalent of their WWII and post war era. My question is: does this line up with the idea of national lifecycles given that two countries on the same continent have roughly equivalent stages in their development?
    Now, obviously Mexican/Spanish culture occupied the space for centuries before America came along, but the Modern nation of Mexico was born at the dawn of the 20th century so the comparison still jives.

    Secondary question: In the book, I came across a prediction centering more or less around the year 2100 which said that Mexico would become a powerful nation ready to step onto the world stage and that a border crisis with the US was inevitable. Judging by current events, does this prediction seem off by a century? Or are these events at the border merely a precursor of what is to come?

  44. Dashui, I wouldn’t assume that it’s a veneer of spirituality. Warrior spirituality is a real thing, and powerful.

    Will O., good heavens, yes. The rise of National Soclalism in Germany is one of the classic examples, but there are plenty of others.

    Averagejoe, thank you! I have no idea what the Italian government’s going to do. I remain baffled by the way that first Ireland, then Greece elected anti-austerity governments who then promptly crumpled and followed Brussels’ edicts. It really makes me wonder whether the EU has some way of enforcing its power that nobody’s talking about.

    Jason, I see it as more of the same. The Ukrainian government and the western neoconservative interests backing it are trying to goad the Russians, and the Russians are playing a long game, refusing to be goaded while still defending their national interests. In six months we’ll be on to something else and this whole business will have been all but forgotten.

    Jacob, decline isn’t a one size fits all process; it proceeds at different speeds and different degrees of severity depending on where you are. Some places in the industrial world will suffer drastic declines, other places will have much less extreme conditions. It’s like the end of the Roman world; on the one hand, you had places such as Britain, where cities were entirely abandoned, war and plague swept the island, and the population dropped to a few per cent of its Roman-era figures; on the other, you had places like southern France, where the Romans handed over the cities to half-Romanized barbarian kings and some semblance of ordinary life continued. As for the scenario in that post of mine, as I noted there, that’s not what I expect to happen, it’s a sketch of the kind of thing I expect to happen — and all things considered, I still think something like that is a likely way for the future to go.

    Jeff, a good point! Yes, exactly; what’s worse, the other side is really starting to make use of the class dynamic in the current political squabble, and it’s not something the left is prepared to deal with.

    Monk, nope. Every time I’ve tried, they just start shrieking some equivalent of “Orange Man Bad!”

    Jeanne, I’m suddenly imagining Pepe the Frog saying, in Alec Guinness’ voice, “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

    Tdyke47, I wish I had more data on that system! It seems to work quite well, but the only information I have on it are a couple of brief discussions in old books on astrology and occultism. It doesn’t seem to match any particular astrological cycle known to me, but then not all ways of occult timekeeping are astrological in nature.

    Succwc, I don’t know that I have any typical days. 😉

    Spicehammer, Matila Ghyka’s The Geometry of Art and Life and Theodor Schwenk’s Sensitive Chaos might be good places to start; beyond that and a lot of hands-on practice doing geometry, I’m not sure what to suggest.

    David, fascinating. Thanks for all of this!

    Marcu, the opposite of one bad idea is usually another bad idea, and the kind of Minimalism that gets most of the attention these days is simply the flipside of the cult of conspicuous consumption: you do the minimalist thing to show off the fact that you can afford not to have all these things. Somewhere in the middle, there’s a worthwhile place where you have the things you need and reasonably want, and let go of the rest.

    David, you’re welcome and thank you. I’m glad to be getting these in print at last!

    Yoyo, not really. I appreciate a lot of places, but I don’t have one that stands out.

    John, I think you’re on to something. One of the huge unstated themes of modern culture is the retreat of the baby boom generation into its second childhood; it’s not accidental that the movie industry is churning out films based on the five cent comic books boomers read when they were kids, nor that Russia-baiting has come back in fashion among those who were children and infants during the McCarthy years. The frantic attempt to make Christmas a year-round event is more of this, where it’s not simply the increasing desperation of the retail industry trying to shove ever higher volumes of useless crap on people who can[t afford to buy it.

    Jacques, the effects of peak oil aren’t linear. (That’s something the peak oil scene just would not learn, which is why there isn’t a peak oil scene any more.) We’re in the middle of round 3 of a cycle that we’ll all learn by heart in the years ahead. First you have the mismatch between rising demand and limited production, which drives up prices; then speculators pile into the oil market, driving it up faster; there’s a spike in prices; this causes people to cut back on their use, and it also makes marginal sources economically viable again; these drive the price back down; the speculators cash out and drive the price lower; then you have a period of low prices, followed by the return of the mismatch and around we go again. I expect another spike in oil prices within a couple of years,. which could reach $400 a barrel easily.

  45. Will J,
    I don’t think it’s just you…while nobody is going to step onto my property and accuse me of having OCD, I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in the fastidious side of my nature since I started paying more attention to the magical side of existence! I’m sure it has something to do with 1) realizing I have a soul, and 2) realizing that training that soul is what really matters in life! My soul doesn’t want to wade through a mess every day! Bad feng shui… 😉

  46. I wonder if the retreat into nostalgia combined with the myth of progress is causing some of the massive cognitive dissonance I see with the elder generation….

  47. @Jim W.,

    I’m with you with about the horror at the proliferation of smart phones. I teach high school English, and over the past decade have noticed among my students significant drops in attention spans as well as in the ability to read closely and carefully in a sustained way. I attribute a major chunk of this trend to the thousands of hours my students have spent in their formative years staring at screens.

    Please, JMG or someone else, tell me that sooner rather than later the infrastructure that supports such devices will go down so I won’t have to any longer deal with these accursed mind-destroyers popping out all over the place in my classroom!

    William

  48. If I mentioned the Mandela effect again, without any links could you offer a reply? (It’s not false memory)
    I still read hear even though I was upset that day.

  49. “the retreat of the baby boom generation into its second childhood”
    Sigh, the next Awakening generation can’t come fast enough, IMHO, to end this Boomer dystopia…

  50. “The frantic attempt to make Christmas a year-round event is more of this” Another good reason to shut off the TV (better yet, to not have one in the home at all) and limit one’s radio listening to stations NOT supported by advertising…

  51. Hi JMG and all. I have followed your blogs for 10 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you for all of your writings. After spending 5 decades in the Christian faith (evangelical branch), I have over the last few years left that way of viewing the world and the cosmos, and have ever so steadily been learning and discovering the way that you have laid down here in Ecosophia. I do have a couple of newbie questions that I have either not discerned or read answers to. So here goes.

    1. Since day dreaming and night dreaming are both journeys into the astral plane of existence where other beings live, move, and have their being, does one’s thoughts get picked up and “intercepted” in that plane, or any other plane? Are my thoughts not necessarily bound only to my awareness? In my evangelical past, my praying was always just “private” thoughts directed toward either the nameless “God” or his “son” Jesus. I always assumed he/she/they read my thoughts and they didn’t have to be voiced out loud to be heard. Is that the way it is in the spiritual world of the druid/polytheist, or is it perceived differently?

    2. Having asked question 1, is there a difference between merely having thoughts about this or that, and having directed thoughts (prayer) to some being as to whether or not those thoughts are perceived by another being? Hope my questions are clear enough for you to be able to answer.

    3. My wife is still very much entrenched in Evangelical ways of thinking, and every so often will tell me not to voice something out loud or the evil one (Satan) may hear and cause the situation to be otherwise. Now I no longer believe in the great duality war between God and his hosts vs. Satan and his hosts, but given the several planes of existence and our unawareness of much of what is “out there”, should we be careful of making statements out loud, revealing our intentions? Does she have a point?

    As always thank you for your voice of clarity and insight,

    David B
    (Not by the lake)

  52. I’ve found myself wrestling with the argument that immigrants should be given asylum because they are fleeing a dangerous crime-ridden country. That’s like me living in Compton and breaking into a Beverly Hills mansion because Compton is too dangerous. Honestly, these immigrants, if they are allow in, will end up in the crappy parts of US cities with high rates of crime anyway. Not perhaps like Honduras or Guatemala but still!
    For my part I’d love to get out of the US and live somewhere else. But I can’t, unless I find an international job and secure the visas for me and my family. If I am going to let these immigrants in, why shouldn’t I be allowed to board a plane to Australia or Norway and go apply for a job and get it whether I am a citizen or not. Let’s COMPLETELY liberalize international immigration laws if that’s what we are going to do.
    On the other hand, progressives talk ecology but ignore biophysical limits to our industrial economies which challenge the assumption that we can take every walk-in from every bad country in the world and provide a good standard of living for them. If we had endless economic growth, sure, bring them in. But they miss that we are approaching limits to growth, we are likely already in overshoot right now.

  53. JMG, there are some details of how vital bodies work that I seem to have gotten jumbled and am having some difficulty un-jumbling. Would you mind clarifying this a little?

    On one hand, you’ve described vital bodies cascading down from the spiritual. If I understand correctly, each vital body helps to shape the body below it, so the etheric body is shaped by the astral body and so on.
    On the other hand, you’ve described the formation of a full mental body from a mental sheath as a key task of reincarnation around the human level. This would seem to imply that incarnation in the lower levels helps to form the higher levels.

    My problem is trying to fit these together. How are we forming the mental body, if the mental body appears in manifestation prior to the bodies below it?

    Thank you.

  54. Seems peak oil is coming back into vogue in the form of a new book by a French chap called Matthieu Auzanneau.

    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-11-12/review-oil-power-and-war-by-matthieu-auzanneau/

    He doesnt give any credit to our much loved more esoteric peak oil writers who have not wavered while all around them fell. Greer Orlov Kunstler i am looking at you. He also seems to borrow liberally from William Engdahls work on the connections between the Anglo Zionist war machine and oil rich middle east countries,
    His ‘four seasons’ motif is eerily reminiscent of Jim Kunstlers novel motifs.
    Foreword by a journalist called Nafiz Ahmed who was recently spruiking a book on the ecological connections to the economy which was eerily written straight after JMGs book on the same topic ‘The Wealth of Nature’.
    Oh well i guess his flattery is of the sincerest kind. At least Heinberg made it in there.

    On the topic of the Ukrainian sabre rattling on the Sea of Azov, i guess it is the equivalent of a rogue Hawaii threatening to wage full scale war on the United States or New Zealand threatening to invade and occupy Australia. Just the act of a desperately corrupt US backed fruitcake desperate to consolidate shaky grip on power with elections looming. It seems he has declared Martial Law in the country, though i think its Saturn not Mars whose influence he is under.

  55. Re: Ireland and Greece, I think the main leverage that the EU had was the euro itself. Yves over at Naked Capitalism did a great series of posts on the sheer logistics required to shift Greece from the euro back to the drachma in a modern economy including ATMs and electronic banking; her people estimated it would take about three years if competently done and in the meantime the economy would depend heavily on a hostile Eurozone to keep ticking. Britain might be in better shape due to its refusal to give up the pound.

    Re: the caravan; I’m a bleeding-heart lefty from Australia and the whole thing has made me less sympathetic to refugees, not more. First ‘the caravan’ was a fiction and not a threat and months away, now it’s in Tijuana and the US are heartless sods for not just letting everyone in. First the idea that it was ‘organised’ was a conspiracy theory, now the Guardian is writing about ‘Pueblos son Fronteras’ as a humanitarian group whose efforts to organise this we are supposed to applaud. (On the Australian refugee issue, the official line is that people-smugglers are evil profiteers, but these guys are okay?) There are now more shelters where people can live while their asylum applications are processed, but apparently that’s not good enough either. The only conclusion I can reach is that everyone’s lying and any sympathy I extend to anyone is going to be used against me. Now I’m trying to find a middle ground between cynic and sucker.

  56. @ Shane W.

    As a parent and diaper duty veteran, I noticed the the advanced ages of the diapered children in that widely distributed photo. At first I was suspicious that it might have been a schtick to increase the odds of entrance, but in a second and third article I read that the asylum seekers were complaining of overflowing toilets at the stadium in TJ that they are being housed in. That further information, and the fact that parents living in those conditions must be constantly on high alert to the security of their children, leads me to believe that the kids may have been diapered to reduce bathroom trips for health and safety reasons.

  57. Hi There ArchDruid,

    Why do you suppose the apocalypse myth is not true? Having read your book, I certainly agree that it is not true, but it persists with ardent believers. Is there no god that is interested in making it true? Does it just not fit with how the cosmos actually are?

    Thanks for your musings,
    Matt

  58. Hi there,

    Who is a younger goddess, Ceridwen or Sul? I picture an old woman for Ceridwen and an adult woman for Sul, but Sul is the daughter of Beli. Just a bit of confusion for the sphere of protection.

    Thank you!
    Jennie

  59. JMG,
    do you think that we’ll ever see a return to Texas Railroad Commission style price controls as a way to control the disastrous boom/bust of the oil market, or will we just be condemned to this uncontrolled boom/bust cycle for as long as there is oil to burn?

  60. Archdruid

    If oil prices hit $400 per barrel, they won’t stay there. $100 oil seemed to correlate with roughly $5 gallon gasoline, at least here in California. $400 oil would indicate $15-$20 per gallon for gas. I think you would see immense demand destruction well before gas prices hit $15 per gallon.

    Antoinetta III

  61. WillJ
    Yes, having begun a practice in earnest about 15 months ago, all manner of improvements in cleanliness, organization, priorities, and patience just bubbled up. It’s been a great relief and gotten noticed by my family, friends and employers. Best of all, there’s more time for study and practice! Enjoy.

    Gawain

  62. Anybody else heard about the new impact crater discovered beneath the ice in Greenland, almost certainly from within the last 100,000 years and possibly dating to right at the onset of the Younger Dryas? This gives the less-weird versions of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis quite a boost.

    If this is the reason for the climactic gyrations of this climb out of an interglacial, what does that say about the reasons that this interglacial and not any of the last >5 during which there were people just as capable as we are agricultural civilization nucleated multiple times around the world? Is agriculture as we know it the hominid equivalent of a fern-spike, the human ecology’s temporary response to a denuded landscape?

  63. “I remain baffled by the way that first Ireland, then Greece elected anti-austerity governments who then promptly crumpled and followed Brussels’ edicts. It really makes me wonder whether the EU has some way of enforcing its power that nobody’s talking about.”

    My guess is EU criminal law. It sure would be a shame if influential backers of the party were arrested, wouldn’t it?

  64. So, I would like to hear your thoughts, if any, on Hillary Clinton planning on running for president again in 2020, despite the fact that most of the Democratic Party’s base wishes she would just shut up and go away.

  65. JMG, how do you reconcile your concern for the earth and the life upon it with the rightwing/alt right views of so many of your followers? I read so many disparagements of the the leftwingers, but they’re the ones who are fighting for the environment and the preservation of our world’s ecosystems. Are you hoping the ones who crow about how Hillary should be locked up will somehow realize the earth isn’t their larder, their storehouse, or their personal food bank?

  66. Hi JMG, If I am still around when the internet is not, reading your blogs and the comments section is the only thing I will miss. I have learned more from your work and the personal research it has generated than from any other medium. Above all, your spirit of generosity, I think that is what Kunstler called it, is an example for all. Just sayin’

    Thanks, again,

    Mac

  67. This is more of a Magic Monday question- I hope that’s okay!

    I’m currently working with your Natural Magic book, and as an budding herbalist, I wonder if alcohol tinctures can be used effectively in natural magic. Specifically, I made a room-temperature, macerated Solomon’s Seal tincture, and after reading about Solomon’s Seal’s abilities of fixing consecrations, I’m wondering if these qualities would transfer to a tincture.

    Perhaps they could be used similarly to an anointing oil? I’ve read of herbalist Jim McDonald recommending running drops of a tincture on your wrist to align energetically with the plant, and this strikes me as a natural magic practice.

    Thank you!

    -Anthony

  68. Looking forward to reading the rest of the stories in Vintage Worlds! Nice to see this project coming to fruition. I will have to put the Weird of Hali books on the to-read list as well.

    As a side note, some folks out there might also be interested in this short-short story of mine that was published online at Flash Fiction Magazine. This scenario being… a bit more on the Faustian side.

    https://flashfictionmagazine.com/blog/2018/09/21/as-above/

    plus my thoughts at

    https://canterburia.blogspot.com/2018/09/as-above.html

  69. Dion Fortune says this at the end of Chapter 13 of ‘The Mystical Qabalah’:

    “…divination by the uninitiated is apt to bring bad luck in its train, for it stirs the subtle forces by concentrating the mind upon them, without compensating that which is out of equilibrium by the appropriate magical effort.”

    Do you hold with this statement? I’ve been reading Tarot every day for more than a year without doing any ritual magic work. If that’s what is meant by ‘uninitiated’, am I risking getting out of balance?

  70. Shane, I do find it strange and I am also really looking askance at parents who take small children into harms way.

  71. @Jacques,

    For a detailed analysis of how peak oil can lead to low oil prices, I recommend Gail Tverberg’s blog, Our Finite World. She is an insurance actuary by trade and was known as Gail the Actuary at the oil drum. I’m not certain she’s entirely right either about the future of oil prices (could they go to $400 as JMG says? Will they top out much lower and cause an economic crash and deflationary spiral before then as Gail says? It’s difficult to say.) But she offers an interesting perspective, and it’s good to hear a lot of differing views about the future so as it unfolds you can recognize your trajectory more quickly.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  72. Regarding the Gritty meme: Gritty is a little different than Pepe – Gritty memes tend to be explicitly alt-right or ctrl-left. Pepe memes were mostly Trumpian – although there were a few featuring Pepe operating a gas chamber or whatnot – for the most part Pepe was harmless – an expression of pagan joy at the establishment`s hurt butts and visible incompetence. Pepe isn`t exactly a good Anglo-Saxon name either…

  73. Jane,

    It seems to me that what happened to you in elementary school was an injustice that came about because of the attention your piece received, and that is a trauma you have not worked through so it affected you when your painting in college drew a lot of attention.

    You did not say why you abandoned music.

  74. Hello jmg
    I was going to ask this on your last post.
    I often think about what things are going to survive the deindustrial future and one thing that I think is too often neglected is modern styles or construction techniques for furniture, art and architecture that were made in the 20th-21st century but can still be made with 17th-18th century technology.
    For example I can imagine a zig-zag chair still being possible to make, with a few modifications such as using dowels or nails instead of screws to fit it together, using tools simple enough that a new dark age artisan could fabricate one for some one, with same more decoration added perhaps.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zig-Zag_Chair

    Do you imagine the new dark age or the civilisation that comes after as something roughly medieval or 18th century but with odd modern influence of the style and construction of the art, furniture and architecture like I often do?
    Brutalist-style castles, feudal lords with medieval style furniture that has been given curves and painted white or coated in aluminium to make it look futuristic, commoners with ikea inspired artisanal furniture, artists with milk paint drawing Picasso style decorations on a wall or chest ect?

  75. Jane – perhaps you could try your hand at a graphic novel or story (or even a journal or technical manual of some sort) – this could exercise your natural artistic talent with one that you are working to develop – PatricaT.

  76. @J.LMc12 I have had similar thoughts about what might survive of popular culture 500 years from now. I could see the return of travelling magic lantern shows, but all the stories are heavily influenced by superheroes or spaceship adventuring stories like Star Trek or Doctor Who.

  77. Jeff S., Patricia — Please! Calvin Trillin is one of the great humorists of the late 20th century (and our current one). He’s one of a long line of Nyer writers who have practically invented American humour — like S.J. Perlman and James Thurber. He was making a joke! With all respect, perhaps your own snobbery is on display here.

    Btw, Trillin is from Kansas City, MO. His longtime shtick is “small town boy in the big city”, a classic American trope. He’s also a first class food writer with a nose for the best in local food. You could learn a lot from him, and enjoy the ride, too.

  78. Jean-Vivien, it would have to be created, and then it would have to get past the massive bureaucratic barricades the existing auto companies would put in its way using their pet politicians and bureaucrats as instruments. I don’t expect the private car to remain in existence for all that long anyway, but if that’s something that interests you, by all means.

    Dan, it’s very popular to accuse older writers of racism and other moral failings these days, of course. I tend to think of it as a means for inferior modern writers to get people to read their books — if all the classics are racist, what do you have left to read?

    RPC, true enough. Thank you for mentioning that!

    Joshua, good heavens. I had no idea he’d mentioned me in his book. I’ll have to find his contact info and drop him a thank you note.

    Violet, delighted to hear that you’ve given Tolkien a try. Yes, fiction is a vehicle for magic — you could as well say that magic is a kind of storytelling. You can draw your own conclusions about my novels… 😉

    Shane, you’ll want to ask the British readers here. I don’t claim to have any clear sense of the subtleties of British politics.

    Succwc, I consider historical research and strict logic to be two of the important tools of the operative mage. The Picatrix, that classic handbook of early medieval sorcery, insists that a mage in training should learn those thoroughly, among other things — for example, economics and agricultural science are among the studies it recommends! So it’s not a matter of magic is over here, and reason is over there, and I shuttle between them; it’s a matter of using the whole range of appropriate tools at every moment.

    Jane, it’s possible that the core challenge you face in this life is that of learning to overcome such discouragements and express a wider range of your creative potential than you’ve done heretofore. Remember that your past lives aren’t the only thing influencing this one. In Druid teaching we say that there are three forces at work in each life, and each moment of each life: fate, which is the sum total of the consequences of your previous lives (what the East calls karma); destiny, which is what your higher self is working toward, the expression of the unique spiritual potential at the core of yourself; and will, which is what you yourself choose to do. The secret is that any two of those can overpower the third — so if your higher self is working toward creativity, and you align your will with that, the negative consequences of past life experiences will not stand in your way.

    Jim, I don’t, and won’t, own even a basic cell phone, and the things you cite are among the reasons for that. No, you’re not a raving Luddite — you’re paying attention to the consequences of a toxic fad.

    Rita, fortunately not — I stopped attending Pantheacon after I left the west coast, and have distanced myself as far as possible from the Neopagan scene since then. It sounds like the usual sort of flustered cluck, though!

    Will, it’s actually fairly common. One of the standard effects of magical training is that it wakes you up out of the shallow doze that passes for waking consciousness among most human beings, and you notice things like how inconvenient it is to live surrounded by a mess.

    Nic, I remember close to a dozen of my previous lives — no, I wasn’t Cleopatra! — and so I have a fairly good idea of what to expect when this one ends and I go through the usual after-death experiences. Reincarnation has been a Druid tradition since ancient times, and one of the things that I found initially attractive about Druidry is that its teachings fit my own experiences so well.

    Kevin, that’s not late stage capitalism, that’s capitalism pure and simple — they were doing the same thing in 1700, you know. Absurd? Sure, but so is every other economic system (in practice, if not always in theory).

    Antoinetta, I’ll have to see if my IT guy can figure it out. I have only the vaguest of notions about how this stuff works!

    StarNinja, funny. I’ll put you down for a spot at the big fish and chip dinner at Miskatonic University the night the stars are right. 😉 As for Mexico, the two countries aren’t at the same stage of development by any means; Mexico won its independence almost forty years after we did, and then went through a prolonged period of internal chaos and repeated foreign invasions that didn’t end until 1867. Thus Mexico’s trajectory as a nation is most of a century behind ours, and Friedman’s prediction seems sensible to me. The current US administration’s efforts to find common ground and establish mutually agreeable treaties with Mexico are a sign of the future; over the centuries immediately ahead, I expect to see Mexico become a mature democracy and a significant continental power, not least because climate change will move the rain belts of central America north into the Valley of Mexico and the current climate of the Valley of Mexico north into the mostly desert states close to the US border. Thus it’ll become even more of an agricultural powerhouse than it is now, and exercise the kind of influence you’d expect it to have due to its crucial geopolitical position and abundant renewable resources.

  79. @Mister Nobody,
    no worse than Joe Biden running again. I think he’s been rejected more times over the years than Hillary. What was his first time? ’84? Geez. SAD, as our Commander in Chief would say.

  80. Hey JMG,

    First, I wanted to ask how you prefer to be addressed? As I typed JMG, I wondered if you preferred John Michael or didn’t care either way.

    Secondly, I’m trying to make my own wand for AODA work and came across this: https://www.eaglespiritministry.com/pd/howto/htmdw.htm

    I’m assuming that’s from you back in the day? It appears different from what you say elsewhere regarding adding colors or prescribing coelbren symbols. I know in CGD you suggest adding gold/silver metals to each end for the different currents.

    Could you explain why you suggest gold/silver for CGD and not for the AODA wand? How do these differ from the above link? I’m just trying to gather a better understanding of different approaches and the thought process behind those differences—I know how serious you are about not arbitrarily combining incompatible systems.

    Many thanks!

  81. Will, that may be part of it, yes.

    William, the infrastructure will go down, but it may be a while. The thing I expect is that prices will rise and service will slip, until it’s mostly an affectation of the privileged.

    Workdove, yes, I’m still familiar with the Mandela effect, and I still consider it to have been caused by the collective slippage of memory over time. Our species invented writing because our memories are quite literally remanufactured by our brains every time we remember something, and copying errors are inevitable!

    Shane, I think you’ve beaten that horse into a paste at this point…

    Other David, 1) of course. Your mind isn’t a little isolated bubble locked inside your skull; it’s part of the mental plane of being, which is as real as the material plane. Have you ever noticed the way that so often, several people independently come up with the same idea at the same time? That happens because ideas exist on the mental plane, too; we experience them there, and reflect them down into imagination and action.

    2) There’s a difference, and it’s more or less the difference between whispering something quietly to yourself and saying it in a clear voice for someone else to hear. If you’re going to talk to a deity, it’s only polite to speak clearly.

    3) She has a point. Traditional lore like that is always worth taking seriously; to say something aloud is to make it resonate at planes other than the mental, and thus increases the chance that disembodied beings (not all of whom are well-disposed to human beings, by the way) will notice it.

    DT, well, of course, but it’s not meant to go both ways, or to apply to you.

    The next time someone starts trotting out the usual rhetoric about how we should let all these poor people into our country, I’m going to be sorely tempted to say, “You need a new gardener, I see.” That’s what lies behind the whole rhetorical game: the desire to bring in as large a work force of illegal immigrants as possible, in order to drive down wages and provide the privileged with a labor force of gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, beauty salon workers, and other service workers who can be massively underpaid and exploited with impunity.

    Yucca, each plane shapes and informs the plane below it, but the process of forming a body on each plane is distinct from that. You exist as a cascade of energies that descend from the spiritual plane through all the intermediate planes to the material plane. The process of evolution is the process by which that cascade of energies establishes stable forms — bodies — on each plane, beginning with the lowest and working up from there.

    Drosophilic, attention to peak oil correlates directly with the price of oil; when it goes up again — and it will — I expect to see more books like the one you’ve mentioned. Of course people are going to write their own books in response to mine — after all, respectable people can’t be seen paying attention to some bearded oddball who calls himself a Druid! I don’t mind; they’re still responding to the ideas I’m putting into circulation.

    Kfish, interesting. I find the whole caravan thing very obviously staged — who paid for the buses that brought all these extras, excuse me, refugees the length of Mexico?

    Matt, we’ve had three thousand years of repeated confirmation that the apocalypse myth is nonsense. Would you care to offer me any evidence that it’s anything else? (“But you can’t absolutely prove that it’s impossible” won’t cut it.)

    Jennie, age among deities is always complex, but you can use their traditional appearance as a guide. Ceridwen is older, as she inevltably takes the form of an old woman, while Sul
    (as shown in the classic Roman-British statue) takes the form of an adult woman showing no signs of advanced age.

    Shane, we’re stuck with it. The Texas Railroad Commission system worked because there was an oversupply of oil, and any increase in prices could be met by more production; the problem now is that when prices go up, there’s no extra oil to be pumped.

    Antoinetta, well, of course. Did you read the rest of my comment? High prices lead to demand destruction and increased production, which drives prices down again.

    Tony, do we know for a fact that there was no agriculture and no civilization during previous interglacials? Not many traces of human settlement survive an ice age, you know.

    Will, I could see that.

    Mister N, I know that a lot of Trump supporters are praying for Hillary to be the Democratic nominee in 2020, since she’ll be easier for Trump to defeat than anyone else the Democrats could run.

    Bob, one of the great differences between the Left and the Right these days is that the Left goes around looking for heretics to chase off, while the Right goes around looking for allies to sit down and talk with. That’s one of the reasons the Right is succeeding while the Left is not. I don’t impose some kind of ideological test on readers of my books or my blogs, nor do I allow the kind of trial-by-shrieking-mob activity that’s so common on the leftward end of the internet; anyone, whatever their political, social, and religious beliefs, who is willing to behave in a civil fashion, is welcome to come here and join the conversation.

    As for the ecological sympathies of the Left, those are by and large rhetorical, not real. Back when I was doing talks and conferences on the peak oil circuit, I met any number of card-carrying Democrats who would wax rhapsodic about ecological issues at the drop of a hat. Care to guess how many of them actually did something really significant to cut their carbon footprint to, let’s say, European levels, by giving up air travel, or not owning or driving a car, or giving up some of the other extravagantly energy-wasting habits of the privileged middle classes? (Hint: precious few.) Most of the people I know who are actually living a low-carbon lifestyle either don’t do politics at all, or voted for Trump in 2016. But I’ve discussed this issue here if you’re interested.

    Mac, thank you.

    Tony, yep. The thing that makes mindfulness meditation dangerous is that it’s been pulled out of its context as one element in a system of spiritual development, stripped of its actually spiritual dimensions, and turned into a nonchemical tranquilizer for bored yuppies. I’m glad to see word finally getting out that it has fairly serious downsides.

    Anthony, yes, you can, and I know people who get very good results with that method. You can also take watercolor paper, put a few drops of an alcohol tincture on it, let it dry, and then use that as the material basis for a talisman, with excellent results.

    Grant, well, yours was to my taste one of the very best stories in the anthology, and I’m glad it’ll be getting at least some of the readership it deserves.

    Dylan, something really shifted culturally around the 1960s, and one consequence is that divination became much less problematic. That’s one of the good things about the rise of the psychological approach to divination — it encouraged people to use Tarot and the like to reflect on themselves and to look for choices and opportunities, rather than treating what they got from divination as inexorable fate. I know plenty of people who read Tarot daily and don’t have any other magical practice, and they seem to get by just fine.

    J.L.Mc12, I think you’ve got some very good ideas for a story! Whether things will work that way or not is anyone’s guess, but it would make for great deindustrial science fiction.

  82. @JMG – I am working on a novel set about 1400 years in the future, with most of the action taking place in North America, between the Rockies, the Ohio Valley and veering as far south as Mexico. I’m pretty much done with the world building, the broad story arc, and am writing every day, but I have found that fleshing out the technological possibilities a bit more of a challenge than the religious, political or social constructs of a future society. In short; the latter possibilities are limited only by my imagination, while the technologies are limited by, well, physical limits. I’ve got a suite of technologies in mind, mostly resembling what would have been in use around 1800, I’m just concerned that even that far back, fossil fuel inputs (mostly in the form of coal) were still significant, at least in the most ‘advanced’ societies. Steel making, for instance, might be too energy intense, for this future society.
    What are your thoughts on jumpstarting my thinking in this direction? Or, should I just press ahead with technologies I have in mind and worry about the details later?

    @ Monk – What do you mean by ‘deradicalize progressives’? Are you speaking of the over-zealous SJW types, or the broader movement seeking to put people into office that might actually enact policy that they support?

  83. David, I usually go by JMG online — it’s quick to type. 😉

    As for the essay — dear gods, what a hash. The people who run the website took a chunk of an article I wrote, left out the rest, got the wrong set of Coelbren letters, and then tacked on a consecration ritual that they clumsily rewrote to fit Wiccan symbolism. The article, please note, was written in 1996, when I’d been a Druid for all of two years — I was a Bard in the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids then — and it was a tool for divination, not a magical wand for general use.

    Magical wands for general use come in two broad types, one in which you always hold one end and work with the other, one in which you can use either end. The AODA/Druid Magic Handbook system uses the single-ended form, The Celtic Golden Dawn uses the other, and I encourage you to consider meditating on the reasons why…

    Ben, use the technologies you need to use to make the story work, and figure out any necessary excuses later. An 1800-level technology is well within the reach of purely renewable energy resources, provided that you’ve got some surviving knowledge of solar energy — concentrated sunlight makes a very good heat source for smelting metal, for example, and alchemists were already using copper mirrors to focus sunlight as a heat source in the 1600s.

  84. Call for linguistic help: We urgently need a way to denote “illiberal liberal”, so that we can stop misusing a once-honourable term.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if one’s heart sang, instead of sank, at hearing the word “liberal”?

    I’ve sneeringly misused it plenty of times, and it troubles my conscience that I must so often cause folk like Gladstone to spin in their graves, by my disparaging use of a label which used to denote support for constitutional government and religious freedom, but which now evokes compulsory rootless PC yuck.

    We need another term for our Kent University students who voted to forbid people dressing up as Tories at a fancy-dress party, etc etc.

    I have invented the term “libberoid” – is this any good?

  85. I’ve been saving up, so here are a few different items:

    1. Things in my life have been lining up to tell me that it’s probably time for me to start regularly practicing discursive meditation. I recall reading your instructions for it in an appendix to Atlantis as a preliminary to scrying, and there was some instruction you gave in a comment here recently, but I was wondering if there’s a place where you’d say you’ve written a complete start-to-finish guide to the kind of discursive meditation you’d do for a daily practice (rather than because you want to learn to scry – if there’s a difference).

    2. I’ve done a bit of mindfulness meditation in the past, and it seemed like it did do some positive things for me. In your experience, would you say that discursive meditation will give you everything the mindfulness kind would, and more, or would you say they bring different benefits? Do you think it would make sense to sustain a mixed practice (different kinds on different days, or something)?

    3. You mentioned a few months ago that you’ve often wondered if the recent drastic increase in transgender people is because people haven’t had as much time between incarnations as they need in order to really process the experience of living as one or the other. For what it’s anecdotally worth, a close friend of mine is trans and when I mentioned this, they said that’s what they’ve assumed too, from their own life’s/lives’ experience. They also said they had a memory of being very young with a different set of (ahem) downstairs furnishings, and thought it could be a past-life memory, but couldn’t be sure. A tentative data point for you, at any rate.

    4. Not too long ago I had a dream where I was an Indian servant woman, and told my master in no uncertain terms that I wanted to have a life of my own, not just be beholden to her (him?). I have lots of weird dreams, but I think that’s the first I’ve ever had where I was a different person – otherwise I’ve always been myself or a disembodied observer, but in this one I definitely had a sense of being her. With the usual caveats about how of course only the dreamer can interpret a dream properly, in your experience is this a way that past life memories show up and does that sound like the sort of thing to pay attention to?

    5. This one’s for Violet – just a quick hello to a fellow hitchhiking nomad. Sounds like you may have actually found your way where you were going? (I think I may be getting close.)

  86. @Tony – if there was agriculture of some form in previous interglacials (or even the glacial periods in the tropics) I would expect there to be some trace of previous plant or animal domestication in their genetics, or otherwise unexplained introductions to different areas.

    The following link (see Figs 2 and 4 particularly) has a review of estimated eustatic (local areas will vary particularly in and around glaciated areas) sea level and temperature Hansen et al. 2013

  87. Greetings all!

    There is quite a lot of talk about the supposed spiritual properties of the pineal gland, most of which seems unverifiable.
    What is your opinion on the matter?
    Thanks and regards

  88. @JMG

    You write:
    “I’m going to be sorely tempted to say, “You need a new gardener, I see.” That’s what lies behind the whole rhetorical game: the desire to bring in as large a work force of illegal immigrants as possible, in order to drive down wages and provide the privileged with a labor force of gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, beauty salon workers, and other service workers who can be massively underpaid and exploited with impunity.”

    Most people I know who favor opening the borders (I’m a European, and we have it currently way worse than you have it in the US) hold that belief out of compassion, not out of some kind of crazy scheme to bring down wages, you know (some elites do, yes, but that’s not my point). In other words, they put themselves in those people’s shoes. Leaving one’s country to beg another to let you in requires a sheer amount of desperation most of us cannot even begin to comprehend. Do you?

    It doesn’t mean opening the borders is a good thing (and I don’t think it is), but your argument strikes me as insulting and as a gross misrepresentation of most people’s motives.

  89. Hello Mr Greer

    Another data point for you.

    Today Thursday 29th November BBC Radio 4 Today programme at approx. 7.10 am, a very brief statement was given out; overall life expectancy in the USA has declined by a tenth of a year (0.1 years) over the last year. The reasons given for the decline were suicides and drug overdoses.

    Hopelessness is gathering pace, similar to the alcoholic epidemic that hit the Soviet Union near its end.

    On another note I have my parents staying for the week, and found this morning that my father had of his own volition taken my old paperback copy of “Limits to Growth” off the shelf for bed time reading!

    And a last note, I have now saved enough money to purchase my spinning wheel of choice, a “Little Gem” portable spinning wheel from Majacraft in New Zealand.

    Best regards Philip Hardy

  90. @Onething,

    That could be true. My departure from music happened more naturally. I needed dental implants, so I knew I would have to quit my instrument after my first year of college. I miss it, so maybe I’ll look into starting lessons on an instrument that doesn’t involve my teeth, like the piano.

    @PatriciaT,

    That’s a great idea. I think I would get a lot of joy out of painting my own book covers.

    @JMG,

    So are you saying if I combine the two factors of my longing for creativity and my will to work hard (with humility), I can overcome my lack of talent in writing? That is heartening. Maybe I’ll never rival an inherent genius, but that isn’t my goal anyways. I simply want to get to a place where I am producing quality work, that feeling where you finish the last page of a book and think “I am glad I read this.”

  91. Art Berman is a consultant who runs a blog that discusses oil and gas prices in the near term (i.e. next few months). His model is based on the amount of oil in storage compared to the historical average amount in storage at the same time of year. Currently there’s plenty of oil in storage compared to past Novembers, so he predicts prices to trend lower. http://www.artberman.com/

    But in the long term, who knows? I was a Peak Oiler, and if you asked me a couple of years ago I would have said the price would be $150-200 today. We are burning it faster than we are discovering it, so theory predicts the price must go up. (Max price would be the price at which it is economical to extract oil from oil shale, e.g. the Green River oil shale deposits, which hold vast amounts of kerogen, a sort of proto-oil.)

    So why is the price so low today? My theory is that Saudi Arabia has been ordered to pump more oil by the US to keep the price low, and the reason for doing that is mainly to hurt Russia, which is very dependent on oil income. It makes no sense otherwise. SA has said they don’t want to destroy demand by killing economies, and they have a point, but I think most economies could tolerate a higher oil price.

    Another theory is that Saudi Arabia wants to destroy the US shale oil industry by keeping prices too low to justify drilling, but I don’t buy it. There’s not enough oil in shale to be a serious rival to SA’s vast reserves, and the price will rise in the future in any case.

    Whatever the reason, I don’t believe the current low price is justified by economic fundamentals. It is a result of policy decisions by some very powerful players, and could go anywhere, very quickly.

  92. @DT, et al.

    Re the caravan specifically and borders generally

    FWIW, my view on the current issue is driven by my perspective on the broader issue of national sovereignty. One of the things that got me in trouble over on PoliticalWire was my insistence that self-determination, national sovereignty, borders, and citizenship actually meant something. I repeatedly argued that “a polity which does not control the flow of goods and people over its borders is not a functional nation-state.” And as I very much believe in the notion of the nation-state and the right of a national citizenry to choose their own course, borders are significant. (It was at this point that I was usually called a fascist.) The opposing view, very much globalist in nature, seeks to reduce (or even eliminate) the functionality of national borders. While that is a possible path, it is one with which I vehemently disagree. So I see these issues getting much thornier as our decline as a world power progresses.

  93. The thoughts Violet raised about the power of fiction to shape one’s narratives is really interesting, as is the thought about a formative time in which narratives have significant influence (for me, Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness has had to this day a lasting impact on me after reading it in my early 20s). I have commented and asked questions before how art-making is a sort of magical practice, specifically with music. Fiction seems to have a quite powerful, long lasting effect that perhaps takes longer to take hold in comparison. Music is somehow to me fire-like, it seems to have a quicker and more intense consciousness-changing effect, also because it works mainly in the emotional domain, but lacks direction and specificity without some kind of external focusing element. Which I guess is why music is so effective in say film soundtracks, or songs, where something else anchors it.

    In any case, this topic, the connection between consciousness-changing (magic) and music is one that through the years seems to have taken hold of me, and I always perk up attentively when you comment or post on these topics (last week’s post was of enormous interest and I’m reflecting on it still).

    Which leads me indirectly to my question: how can one find out what one is here to do? You responded to someone else above about destiny, fate, and will, so my question is aimed on those terms. I know that the topics I commented on above are greatly important to me, but I’ve had so many false starts through the years that I am very wary of my tendency to head down a direction and then abandon it. Music-making seems different, because it seems like a consistent thread through my life, even though I seem less interested in performance and more about the emotional effects music has on me, and the lovely act of making music where I seem to forget about myself.

    Another question: the other day when driving on the highway, I was behind another car for a great deal of the trip, when suddenly the thought emerged where I knew that this person ahead of me would turn down the same exit as I was going in. It wasn’t a matter of wondering whether they would do so, I KNEW it. This happens relatively often, yesterday I guessed my wife was going to call me a few minutes before it happened. Is this just something normal which happens to everyone? What’s behind that sort of phenomenon?

  94. Hi again,

    I’m sorry if my question was not clear. In no way do I believe that the apocalypse myth is true. I don’t think there is any evidence to support it at all. I suppose the myth continues to exist because it is easier on some people to believe it than not (that was a major thought I took from your book on the topic).

    I was just pondering the reason that the untruth of the myth is a fact. Maybe that is actually a question of why the universe is here and operate the way it does. Probably a question not answerable by us humans.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  95. JMG
    You wrote: “Tony, do we know for a fact that there was no agriculture and no civilization during previous interglacials? Not many traces of human settlement survive an ice age, you know.”

    We don’t know for sure. But it does occur to me that genetics of extant human populations and close relations and hybrid populations are worth study. I am not competent to do this. It seems a little akin to modeling past tectonic plate movements, (smile), although probably not nearly as complex. We do have quite a lot of genetic evidence of humans and animals (and plants) from at least halfway through the last glacial. Some of the cave evidence has long sequences of time strata. I guess also that isotope evidence might also show anomalies?

    Even if it would require a lot more in the way of scholarship to put the case properly, perhaps we have enough evidence from the distribution of crop plants and sequences of earlier forms to suggest that local early selections were evolved during the Holocene in separated world geographies. From what we know, however, hunter gather peoples in suitable places have long done bits of cultivation for selected food sources, so perhaps some of this evolved during the last inter-glacial, by whom and with what result it is hard to say.

    best
    Phil H

  96. Hi JMG,

    Just wanted to share this quote from Solzhenitsyn saying basically the same thing as you and Spengler about Russia’s moment in history: “Our history appears lost to us today, but with the proper efforts of our will perhaps it only *now* begins—as sensible, directed towards its inner health, within its borders, and without veering off into the interests of others (as we have plentifully seen [over the last four centuries]).” (The Russian Question, p. 107).

  97. “The next time someone starts trotting out the usual rhetoric about how we should let all these poor people into our country, I’m going to be sorely tempted to say, “You need a new gardener, I see.” That’s what lies behind the whole rhetorical game: the desire to bring in as large a work force of illegal immigrants as possible, in order to drive down wages and provide the privileged with a labor force of gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, beauty salon workers, and other service workers who can be massively underpaid and exploited with impunity.”

    This is exactly right. And it didn’t work too well the first time it was tried here, or anywhere else, for that matter. I’m surprised more people don’t get this, but then again, history and geography are probably more under taught than anything else besides phonics and handwriting in modern American public schools. 1860-65 becomes part of the increasingly vapid civil religion, and serious study of the underlying causes in order to understand and avoid is apparently beyond our ability. How many Americans calling for war with Russia could locate the Sea of Azov or the straits of Kerch? It’s astonishing how we do things here, utterly astounding. A world without borders sounds good superficially, but in Nature, things without borders usually die pretty quickly. I guess they think we are living on Mount Olympus, and none of the rules apply. Goes along with the increasingly Gnostic upgrades of Civil Religion 4.0.

  98. @Jim W
    A physiological basis for addiction to cell phone radiation has been elucidated, in stimulating endorphin release. I’ll see if I can round up a few references and get back to you later. So few people are interested to know about this that I just salt references away somewhere and forget in the intervening months or years where I put them.
    Even when they were just telephones, people were remarking on addictive behavior, with cell phones called “the new tobacco” by some observers. Biological reactivity of microwave radiation has been noted for as long as people have been using it. One mechanism at the cellular level is via the voltage-gated calcium channels, causing calcium efflux. Electrolyte imbalances can initiate a cascade of other effects. See Dr. Martin Pall’s research. Some people become sensitized in ways that make them particularly aware, but most don’t notice their body’s reaction, and if they are addicted, they couldn’t care less about the related health risks. Smartphones seem to be particularly reactive, with three antennas for different frequencies/modulations. With the addition of addictive games and social media, they are so addictive that some people have remarked that it is easier to help someone with a heroin addiction than with a smartphone addiction.
    Thus I disagree with our host’s previously stated view that they are a mere fad that will fade. In addition, they are so very very useful to a government trying to keep control over its people that I fear they may be mandated the way smart meters have, the radiation from which is even more harmful than that from smartphones.

  99. JMG and commentators, I’ve been waiting for an open post to say thank you to all of you here for the amazing thoughts and ideas and conversations. I don’t remember the exact time this year I found this blog, but I stumbled upon it a few months ago during one of the worst times of my life. I’ve shared some of it here, the extreme bullying and mental and emotional manipulation I experienced at the hands of my new (at the time) co-workers. I’m still convinced that I was the victim of one of the women’s “black magic” or whatever you guys would call it. It was so bad even my husband believes that was true. I’ve never in my life experienced anything like it, and I have had a tough life filled with unimaginable trauma to most Americans. But I’ve never experienced anything that made me feel so trapped, desperate, depressed and honestly made me feel like I was going insane. It also caused extreme physical pain and neurological symptoms that caused my doctor (of 15 years) to pull me out of work for a month.

    Through reading the blog posts, comments, a couple of JMGs books, trying to read the Cosmic Doctrine (haha) I was able to see something different and start to get my mind right. I was finally able to see and reach out to people in my life that could and would help. I don’t even know how to explain everything that happened, other than through opening my mind up to all sorts of thoughts and ideas I normally wouldn’t think about, I was able to see what I needed to see that would get me through it, which allowed me to do what I needed to do. Perhaps if it was dark magic that had gotten a hold of me, some other sort came to the rescue. I’m making all this up…I don’t have any idea how any of it is supposed to work. All I know is the turnaround my life made in such a short period of time is so amazing. Several angels appeared, and I now have a new job, new friendships (and greatly strengthened old ones), and a peace inside I have not felt in years. Seriously, I don’t know or why or what happened, but I do know that this place right here (and all of you regulars) was a big part of it. Thank you all so very much.

  100. @William,
    I teach English as a second language to various ages. I find that when my younger students (grade school and junior high) acquire phones, typically all at once as part of someone else’s curriculum, they start coming to my class later and later because they are hanging out together with their phones, then sit in gender-divided cliques in class gossiping quietly and paying less and less attention and finally quit altogether. Adults seem to be far less seriously affected. It doesn’t seem to result from years of staring at screens, but much more immediate effects and the addiction that Jim has noted. Adults seem addicted too, but when I ask them to put their phone (if they must remain in contact during class) in their bag at the back of the class or to use airplane mode if they want to refer to it in class, they take it completely in stride.

  101. Hi, I just wanted to mention that a conversation you had on the other blog about the tarot was illuminating, with regards to swords having more of a negative reading and the other suits being more positive. After your discussion about the excessive impact of the romantic scene on interpretation styles, it’s as if the suits balanced out in my mind – a little shift in perception. Swords became less menacing, but all of the other suits lost a little of their shine. Which is great, because I think it’s more accurate. For example, I recently received the 9 of cups as a card of the day and its monkey-paw aspect became much more clear, and a better way to frame the events of the day. I definitely had a wish come true that day but I spent much more time meditating on the Be Careful What You Wish For message.

  102. @ David by the lake. Thanks that straightened out my thinking.

    JMG the Nazis came about by magic. This magic stuff gets more serious the more I learn

  103. John, et alia

    Re the tendency of the left these days to hunt down heretics

    Another exhibit of that point can be seen in the reactions to posts such as the following.

    https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/28/another-democrat-comes-out-against-pelosi/

    As I noted previously, it has been interesting to watch the shrillification (is that a word?) of the rhetoric as the opposition to Pelosi’s Speakership has firmed up within the Democratic ranks. (Those darn plebeians just won’t do what they’re told, it seems!) I still think that the Dem leadership will find a way to arm-twist, bribe, cajole, threaten, or otherwise get the majority of floor-votes needed. If the Dem margin in the House had been narrower, perhaps the rebellion would have more of a chance; as things stand, there’s a fair amount of room for the forces of the establishment to divide-and-conquer.

    There are wholesale changes needed on the Dem side of things, but I just don’t see them occurring given the dynamics already set up. Between TDS (“Orange Man Bad” — gotta say, that’s catchy) and the alignment of the old status quo consensus within the Democratic party, it would be difficult for the party to make the needed changes. I still see the Dems as housing the global-centric worldview in opposition to the a rising economic nationalism in whatever the Republic party turns into.

  104. I have read your discussion about “pseudomorphosis” and decided that I wanted to learn more, so I got a copy of Oswald Spengler’s book, Decline of the West” out of the library. It’s a hard slog, but I am slowly making progress. If I hadn’t read your discussion first, it wold have been much harder. Do you have any other things I can read. I’d really like to understand the concept and how it applies to our current times. Thank you for your work.

  105. Bob “how do you reconcile your concern for the earth”?

    I’ll take that one up. It’s easy to reconcile, because, like so much political rhetoric, it’s a strawman, and it’s false. Who was the first political “environmentalist”. Teddy Roosevelt. Who passed BOTH the EPA and the Endangered Species Act? Nixon. What do they have in common? They are Republicans. So where are the world-sweeping ecological changes accomplished by Democrats? They owned the government from 1930, and again once under Clinton and Obama and … nothing. ‘Because “other side bad,” ‘natch. That’s not to say a lot, as both parties do the dead-opposite of what they say, in a WWF tag-team of lying mendacity, for who started the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam? Democrats, against the supposed “war party” Republicans. Who passed legislation savaging welfare and imprisoning blacks? Clinton, a Democrat. Who made peace in Korea or opened China? Eisenhower and Nixon, respectively. Not that it matters, since Republicans have their own long, long list of issues they lie and do the opposite of, I’m just point out that each party reliably does the OPPOSITE of what they claim, including yours.

    But let’s look back at today: who are the people who don’t “realize the earth isn’t their larder, their storehouse, or their personal food bank?” Overwhelmingly farmers, apparently, and rural people. Somehow they are furthest from the land and understand least how nature works. Meanwhile, beanies in Brooklyn and LA Times editors are tightest with the forest because they take a $35,000 Uber-car to the co-op and see a carrot, were born in the city, and haven’t been out in decades. Do you see how awkward it looks when phrased that way? Which group, which party, do you think has the savoir-faire about real forests and real environments?

    So question may be, WHY do the people who are obviously, measurably, overwhelmingly closer to the land feel the way they do? Why are their approaches and perceptions so different from those university and city folks who grow nothing, and know nothing about nature that wasn’t a photo in the Smithsonian? That is to say: do they have a point? Am I wrong in my assumptions?

    The answer is, they, the Republicans, even the Trump supporters DO care about the environment, but in a different way than you do, because unlike city people, their lives actually depend on nature and not money, as a matter of fact and not a theory. And they’ll tell you this, if you ask. They’ll tell you how the hunting tourism from CT billionaires in Montana is good money, but has to be balanced against logging, which is balanced against industry, which is balanced against pollution, because the existence of the town and their very family depends on it. “Vanity Fair” would just say: “Kill every town, every family, every state, every vote, but save the bears!” Which is both irresponsible and as aggressive and dismissive of the actual poor, the actual voiceless, the actual minority, the actual despised, the actual oppressed, as could possibly be believed. And don’t think they don’t feel it. I know I do.

    So get a $200 camper and a broken down truck and tour 100 towns where the average HOUSEHOLD income is under $30,000 and tell me what you learn about them and the environment they live in and depend on looks like. Do 14 hours hard labor in the snow for $80 in firewood, or a 20 hour day on a broken combine for $6/hour and expected bankruptcy, or an all-nighter hugging a freezing calf and tell me how the “land”, how the “environment” feels.

    Because they are the MOST environmental citizens in the whole U.S. and an envy to environmentalists everywhere: they own nothing, live in the woods, and are too poor to buy anything. Aren’t those the people ecological heroes? Aren’t those the people you want?

  106. Forgot to add, part 2: In case it wasn’t clear, the person ahead of me did actually turn down the same exit… mental note: always re-read three times before posting.

  107. JMG, Can you talk about you and Sarah’s experiences with the program to encourage artists to move into town by providing housing assistance? Is it useful, helpful, effective? What were the pluses and minuses. What are your opinions and advice both for communities thinking about such a program, and for artists? Thanks.

  108. Hi everyone,
    I didn’t get a chance to respond to last weeks post, but I would like to mention a good book I discovered that talks about failure in art. The book is Art and Fear, Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Personally I found it very helpful and it deals with practice and failure.

  109. With regards to cell phones, I’m going to get rid of mine come January. I figure making the announcement will help make sure I actually go through with it. I don’t actually like having it, but too many people get very, very freaky about anyone who wants to get rid of it. Even with people who envy those who live without them, there’s a risk that even saying you’re thinking of getting rid of it will trigger a full on meltdown.

    I’m done with it though. I really don’t care anymore, I want to live my life the way I want, and the way I want doesn’t include a cell phone, for exactly the reasons outlined here.

    JMG,

    If my experience is anything to go by, “Ah, you need a new gardener” gets a spluttering meltdown. Also, this seems to be an example of an idea popping into people’s heads at the same time.

    Also:

    “I encourage you to consider meditating on the reasons why…”

    Every week you give at least 8 themes to meditate on! 😉

  110. I’d like an invite to the dinner too! I love fish and chips! 😉

    Also, I assume then that people doing magical practices end up being healthier, for a similar reason to cleanliness? It’s certainly been my experience, although it’s still fairly subtle (the effort to get into better shape is still very much a work in progress)

  111. Hi JMG, I really like these AMA posts, and I always have questions come to me that I tell myself “Ay, I should ask JMG”. And ask I shall!

    1. What is your take on Jordan B Peterson?(apologies if you’ve already answered this)

    2. Do you think precious metals are worth holding? I have recently purchased approx. 2400Euro worth of silver, hoping to cash in at a later date.

    3. Do you think or have any idea about the role of large international sports matches(rugby in particular) between countries, how they play, the outcome of the match, and how it may give insights into the current state and traits of that nation. Ireland recently beat a full strength New Zealand All Black team in Dublin. Many commentators conceded that Ireland absolutely dominated them. NZ didn’t even score a try, which that in itself is rare enough for the All-Blacks. NZ also used a haka which is only used for big matches(although that in itself could have shown the Irish team they were a bit nervous), but still. Referencing back to some of your more recent posts(Carl Jung/Vine Deloria), I understand that the land has an effect on its inhabitants, and rugby, being the very physical, grounded(literally half the time!) sport that it is, I can’t help thinking that it could be a good indicator of the state of things, or a people, if looked at in the correct way…?
    Full Disclosure, I am Irish and I played rugby in Irish “high school” for 7 years up until the age of 19.

    Also, I watched your talk on secret societies from the October 2018 meeting at the Academy of Masonic Knowledge. I was thoroughly impressed. It had a great cleansing and clarifying quality to it.

    Thanks.

  112. @patricia o,
    IMHO, smartphones are worse than tobacco. At least your can think and function while smoking cigarettes. Some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century did their best work while smoking heavily. The same cannot be said of smartphones. I’ve noticed that the most heavily addicted smartphone users have a very dysfunctional, hollow, soulessness about them. It’s very odd. It’s kinda like you could say “boo” to them and they’d crumple.

  113. Hello to the three people who responded to my question about “deradicalizing progressives”:

    What I’m concerned with is not primarily political. I know people who basically deny reality because they believe so strongly in the omnipotence of progress. Basically, the question is inspired by a conversation I had with a progressive I know, which went something like this:

    Progressive: X is a political cause that ought to happen in the world.
    Me: Well, leaving aside whether X is good or not, it appears not to be happening: in fact, here are examples showing that in many different places the world is trending towards not-X.
    Progressive: OK, but X constitutes progress, therefore it is happening and will continue to happen until it takes over the world.

    I’ve written their response a little more self-awarely and clearly than they said it, but that was exactly their underlying point. And I was so surprised! They have true faith…

  114. Quos Ego,

    While there are people motivated by compassion, they seem to be the minority. How I know this is simple: people motivated by compassion wouldn’t react violently when someone suggests thinking about a different group. In my experience, most people who discuss open borders react very violently when told about what open borders do.

    I’ve had good discussions with some, but with most of them, there’s no real point: they aren’t arguing in good faith. The ones who I can discuss it with are usually motivated by compassion, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    I’ve also noted the irony that a lot of people are pushing the policies that force people to run to another country and beg are the ones calling for open borders. That doesn’t sound like someone motivated by compassion to me. Either that or they are among those who are sorely lacking in the brains department, which, given how much people on that side of the political spectrum like to accuse people who disagree with them of that flaw, I suppose would make a lot of sense, given shadow projection and all that.

  115. Hi JMG,

    What do you think of the relationship between psychedelic drugs and communication with non-corporeal entities?

  116. @Tude

    Re our community here

    I have always believed that reasoned, respectful discourse was the preferable course and that such was possible even in the presence of fundamental disagreement. This community of Ecosophians is testament to that fact and I’d like to thank our host for the refereeing that he does to keep the forum together. Having experienced (and withdrawn) from other on-line venues where rules of mutual respect are not enforced, I am greatly appreciative of what has gone into making this forum what it is, not only by John but also my fellow community-members who share their stories, thoughts, and assessments for discussion.

  117. Kfish, Averagejoe, JMG,

    the Italians appear to be already backing down. The fact that theirs is a coalition government -and quite an exceptional one, at that- doesn’t seem to be helping them. The junior coalition partner has overtaken the senior partner at the polls, and now is successfully maneuvering to allow the government to back down and looking tough at the same time. To me it looks like the Lega is realistically hoping to come out first in the country in the European Parliament elections of May next year, then force a general election which would allow them to form a coalition government with a party closer to them ideologically and as the senior partner.

    As for how does Brussels manage to make governments betray their mandates, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ account of his 5 month tenure, Adults in the Room, is very insightful in this regard. It amounts to using the economic sovereignty EU members give up to Brussels against them to force them into submission, coupled with an array of other factors like peer pressure, a wide gap in know-how between the Union’s bureaucrats and the member states’, and all the weaknesses that are almost inherent to career politicians that are faced with the choice of conforming to the overarching power structures or putting their head on the line.

  118. I don’t think it is merely, or even primarily, the failure to understand the complexities of the “bumpy plateau” cycle that has caused the credibility of the Peak Oil message to evaporate over the course of the second decade of the 21st century. A much bigger problem, in my opinion, has been the complete failure by Peak Oil advocates during the first decade of the 21st century to anticipate the results of the fracking revolution.

    However limited the results of this fracking revolution may be in the very-long-term, in the short-, medium-, and even long-term, the results of this revolution have been nothing short of spectacular. It has already delayed the imminent reckoning with the realities of a global fossil fuel peak by nearly 10 years, compared to what Peak Oil advocates of all ideological stripes otherwise expected. What’s more, it may very well further delay such an imminent reckoning by another 5 years or more – based on the detailed analysis of ongoing developments in the fracking industry published by such knowledgeable analysts as David Hughes and Art Berman.

    It is true that this revolution has only been possible on the basis of the fracking industry operating at immense financial losses, to the tunes of what I believe are on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars of ultimately unpayable debt obligations. However, unnaturally low interest rates in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, combined with increasingly savvy accounting and financial legerdemain, effectively make this debt non-existent for the time-being – and again, the onset of adverse effects on account of this debt may well still be further delayed by another 5 years or more at this stage by the continued operation of the afore-mentioned factors in the realm of finance.

    I have to say that, for me personally, as a formerly vocal advocate of the urgencies associated with the imminent arrival of Peak Oil (in a formal academic context, no less), I have been humbled, chastened, and chagrined by being proven wrong in my bold prognistications of 10 years ago by these unexpected fracking developments.

    Of course, none of this invalidates the Peak Oil narrative in the very-long-term. But advocates of this narrative need to face up squarely to the fact that the fracking revolution HAS invalidated the narrative even in the long-term, and thus rendered purveyors of the conventional wisdom correct in their views in important senses on an ongoing basis. Only on the basis of such an acknowledgement can the Peak Oil movement possibly regroup and become an effective organized influence in the public square once more.

  119. DT,

    It’s all emotion and no responsibility. People must solve the problems in their own countries. Nor have we solved the serious problems in ours.
    Then too – and I am against continuing affirmative action and don’t believe there is much serious racial bias left – it isn’t fair to bring in people who will compete with blacks and other poor people. We can’t even provide medical care at a reasonable price.

    The liberals have become almost childlike, and their ideas deserve about as much respect.

  120. @Will

    From my experience, those people become angry because you contradict them although they think the truth they hold is absolute. And because they don’t know how to argue without making it about themselves.
    Yet it doesn’t mean that their core belief on the matter is not originally motivated by compassion.

  121. Shane, that would only work here in the US if we produced all the petroleum we use. Since that’s not the case, speculators can simply do their thing in more pliable producing countries, which have nothing to lose by letting the price of oil zoom.

    Robert, that’s a good point. I’m going to suggest “liberoid” with one “b.” (To my eye, the extra “b” makes it look a little too obviously a putdown.) As every reader of classic science fiction knows, a humanoid is something that looks something like a human but isn’t one; in exactly the same sense, a liberoid is a person who acts a little like a liberal but doesn’t actually hold genuinely liberal views and values. For example, someone who claims to be a liberal but insists that free speech should only apply to people he agrees with is a liberoid, not a liberal.

    Chuck, (1) my book The Druidry Handbook has my most thorough discussion of discursive meditation. Down the road a bit I’m going to write a book entirely on that subject, but that won’t help you now, of course. (2) In my experience, discursive meditation gives you all the benefits of mindfulness meditation, and then adds on an additional layer of benefits. I’m biased, of course, but for most people in today’s Western industrial countries it seems like the best available option. (3) Thanks for the data point! (4) Could be that, could be the ordinary workings of dream. As you get to work on discursive meditation, you may have more memories surface; see what comes up.

    Karim, since I have no independent way to verify the occult lore on the subject, I tend to treat it the way I treat (say) detailed discussions of cosmology: that is, I accept it for working purposes without committing too heavily to its exact factual status.

    Quos Ego, I can’t speak to European attitudes. Here in the US, when you find somebody who makes a big fuss about how we should have open borders, you can bet good money that their attitude toward the impoverished working class people who already, legally live here amounts to “Who cares about them? They’re horrible, evil racists and the sooner they blow their brains out, the better.” That is to say, compassion is very selective over here, and it quite reliably gets applied only in ways that benefit the economic interests of the privileged middle classes. Again, I can’t speak to European attitudes, but I’d be quite surprised to find that things are completely different on your side of the pond…

  122. @Quos Ego,
    the stated motives of those supporting increased immigration don’t really matter, it’s the effect of increased migration. If the effect is a downward pressure on wages for the working class, then that’s all that really matters. The motive is not relevant. Besides, we talk enough here about the effects of the nonrational, and just how rickety humans’ logical and rational capabilities are that we should cast a wary eye on anyone’s stated motives and look beyond to get the real meaning. If upper classes benefit from having an underclass of migrant workers, that’s all that really matters. This is part of the necessary shift from 20th century values-based politics to 21st century interests-based politics.

  123. Will J., Shane W. and others, I am myself wondering what smartphone addiction will do to people and society in the long run. Among younger people, it is like a totalitarian system, which, among other things, is locking them into the costs of buying smartphones and the internet access costs for smartphones. I’m not sure how a young person would be able to abstain from WhatsApp, Facebook and the like and still be able to be part of modern society.

    JMG, do you know of an example that a country’s way towards empire was derailed by internal factors? I ask, because I have lately thought about what will be the longer-term consequences of China’s policy toward Xinjiang and the Uyghurs. I can’t imagine that to end well. And than there is the interesting question what will be the future of Taiwan.

    Regarding agriculture in the last interglacial, in this case I would expect the pollen record of the plants which grew then to show traces of domesticated cereals, but to my knowledge there are none. Furthermore, the records of animals like forest elephants and hippopotamuses in Europe during the last interglacial doesn’t make the impression that at this time there existed big civilizations in Europe, because of the environmental impacts of civilizations. That doesn’t necessary exclude agriculture, but I’m sure that at that time, there was no industrial civilization like our own, or all the oil in its reach would already have been depleted.

  124. @Will J,
    re: public announcement to quit the cellphone: congrats, you’re using a tried and true method that many smokers use to quit smoking. 😉

  125. David B,

    I like your questions. Basically what we’re talking about is ESP. I tend to be utterly practical when it comes to things like God’s omniscience, for example. I ask the question, how does it work? In the new plasma/electric universe models, I think we can get better answers. If God can read your thoughts, there has to be a mechanism. If God is everywhere, great, I think so too, but how exactly is it done?

    The thing about psychic gifts is that they are not equally distributed. Some people have been able to read thoughts, sometimes after a near death experience. They also report that on the other side that is the norm.

    My personal belief is that various astral beings may have at least some access to our minds. Getting us to pick up on what they might like to communicate to us is rather difficult. It is also my personal opinion that this is how Christian theology got so dismalized over time. It took a lot of work on people who were contemplating things to get them to slowly buy into certain horrid ideas and then create doctrine out of them

    Your question #2 is a good one. It seems to me that there would have to be some way to sort out the cacophony if it is true that people on the other side communicate telepathically. Somehow, one’s intention must give a signal in the right direction. A directed and intentional thought surely has more power since it has a target.

    On #3, your wife seems to think God can read your mind, whereas Satan requires it to be said out loud. But I find that I have a very instinctive agreement with her. One somehow worries about being jinxed if one speaks out loud of some future as a certainty. It seems a bit cheeky toward the universe. I guess that is why people have so often prefaced such comments with “God willing.” There’s definitely a time to remain silent.

    As you see, I don’t have the answers, but I do ponder such questions and find them fun.

  126. @JMG:
    You should remember wealth redistrubution is an important part of European society: the wealth gap between the working class and even the upper middle class is nowhere as high here as it is in the US. As a result, it becomes more difficult to dismiss people who are not that different from yourself in terms of lifestyle and beliefs.
    I am not saying that there is no divide, but I’ve yet to hear anybody say that the countryside bumpkins should blow their brains out.

  127. @Will J,
    immigration. Exactly–the reason why Canada can have such an oh-so-open attitude is b/c it is letting the US do its dirty work for them. Whenever there’s an issue of illegal immigration in Canada, like Roxham Rd., the Canadians react more harshly than the Americans. That’s why Trump should have the military escort the caravan straight to Roxham Rd, thereby putting the Canadians on notice that the US is no longer going to participate in their “good cop”/”bad cop” routine. Who’d start building a wall, then?

  128. Hi Jbucks,

    As a kid I knew when the car ahead was going to turn before it slowed or signaled, and also when the phone was going to ring. Both these abilities faded as I aged and were gone by age 20.

    Well, I do know when a computer named Ashley is going to call with “an important message about back, hip, and knee pain,” but that’s because Ashley seems programmed to call at about the same time every day.

    Does anyone else refuse to talk to computers? I figure if it’s that important, they can hire a human to make the call and answer any questions I may have.

  129. Tony,

    Something very big happened at the end of the time of the Younger Dryas. North America was a tropical paradise filled with elephants, camels, horses. We lost some 23 species, the world lost its megafauna. There were other disasters a bit later but that was the big one.

  130. About smartphones, I would like to add that I have made a curious obervation: Young women and female teenagers are the most heavy users of smartphones; they are seldom seen without them, constantly fiddling with messaging apps and with earbuds in their ears. Young males and young male teenagers are less heavy users; and older people partly possess smartphones, too, but aren’t as addicted to them as younger people. These are observation made in Germany; conditions in America may not be the exact same.

  131. Nancy Pelosi is back as Speaker. I just don’t understand how this helps move the Democrats forward into 2020 and beyond. Will change require taking over the Democratic party at the grassroots level in 2020 in the same way Trump did to the Republicans in 2016? Shouldn’t Trump’s endorsement of Pelosi been a huge red flag to Democrats? I think Trump was goading them into doing something stupid, and once again they obliged, but maybe I’m missing something.

  132. JMG and Matt,

    Here is an argument for why the Judeo-Christian apocalypse narrative is not simply to be dismissed as nonsense. A careful study of both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures makes the following clear:

    The prophesied circumstances surrounding the Messiah’s still-future return in glory manifestly presupposes the regathering of the Jewish people back into the land of Israel after a period of prolonged dispersion, as well as their reconstitution as a nation in that land. (This is especially clear in the prophecies of Zechariah Chs 12-14, Chs 33-39 of the prophecies of Ezekiel, and in Daniel Ch. 9. Paul’s letter to the Romans Chs 9-11, as well as Jesus’s words to His disciples in Acts Ch 1:6-7, at the time of His Ascension, are also of particular relevance in this regard.)

    These clearly prophesied circumstances preclude the unfolding of the traditional Judeo-Christian apocalypse narrative from even having been possible until 1948, when modern Israel was founded. Thus, at a stroke, this biblically indicated future circumstance explains why all the failed predictions of imminent apocalypse prior to this epoch in history cannot possibly have been correct in the first place.

    Nor were all the lines of interpretation of Judeo-Christian apocalyptic advanced prior to 1948 incorrect; a clear recognition of the prophesied circumstance mentioned above has been present among literalistically-oriented Protestant biblical scholars since at least the 17th century, and were indeed quite common in Protestantism from the early 19th century onwards.

    I do not claim that these considerations prove the truth of the traditional Judeo-Christian apocalypse narrative. But I do claim that these considerations are sufficient to render this narrative more than mere nonsense, and rather something worth seriously studying and considering.

  133. “Matt, we’ve had three thousand years of repeated confirmation that the apocalypse myth is nonsense.”

    Well, I don’t agree with this at all. I think it is past catastrophes which traumatized people and led to apocalyptic religions. I think of the Aztec mania for human sacrifice as another manifestation of that. People thought the gods were very angry and needed to be appeased or they might do it again.

    If our world has now stabilized, that’s great.

  134. Good afternoon JMG,

    I have been trying to condense my thoughts into a somewhat digestible form, but we’ll see. I’ve had a lot of things fermenting in my brain lately, but I’m not always good at drawing these out coherently.

    First, regarding the caravans and immigration. My husband and I have had a few talks about this. He is a carpenter, and there are a lot of places where he hasn’t been able to attempt to find work because speaking Spanish was a requirement and the pay was ridiculous. It is just “known” that this type of work in these areas is done by illegal labor. The work is shoddy and the homes are not going to last. Obviously, illegal immigration is not the only factor at play here, just as it’s not in any field where labor is done by migrants, like with meat-packing companies and farm harvesting. There’s also the consumer’s desire for cheap prices and labor – or sometimes the inability to pay a certain prices for things like food or a new roof – for whatever reason. This is probably both systemic and an issue of individual choice and how much these factors play in varies by situation, but yes, illegal immigrants do affect the work Americans can get – and as you mentioned, JMG, in a previous post, there are a lot of “thoughtstoppers” that are used, like “racist!” that stop this from being discussed at all. If skilled white illegal immigrants from Canada willing to work for terrible wages were competing for salaried-class work – which sounds absurd, but anyway, things would be a little different. It is possible to both feel compassion for the suffering of people in other countries—suffering that the US has contributed to, for sure–and to support enforcing immigration laws. Something you are talented at is making observations and distinguishing that from making judgements, although I don’t think everyone always picks up on this, and this would be an important thing to allow for in this discussion.

    Second, I’ve been thinking a lot about your ideas regarding reincarnation and spirituality and relating these to my own anxiety. For background, I started to have panic attacks and anxiety after being nearly electrocuted in the bathtub after an outlet exploded while I was taking a bath. My anxiety has been intense when not controlled by medication, and relates to a couple of different things: harm to myself and also this idea that I took in when I was a Christian in my youth, that God was always going to punish me or make me suffer to teach me a lesson. You wrote about the death of the Christian God and how he has failed to answer people, and the idea came into my mind that perhaps the God that I was relating to really was not good – but I really do want to think that there is good out there – a good God who wants good things for me – and even talking about this is really difficult because I feel like I’m being blasphemous by even considering any alternate spiritual ideas, even though I haven’t believed anything Christian in around 13 years. I worry about delving into the type of spiritual practices that you discuss—even doing tarot or thinking about astrology–because I worry I will get told terrible things about myself and my future. I’m not sure if that’s purely my anxiety, if that’s a hangover from my Christian days, or what—but even talking about this is a little distressing. I don’t feel like I absolutely have to do any certain spiritual path at the expense of my own sanity, but I also don’t want to remain in the “doze that passes for consciousness” among most Americans, and would like to find a spiritual path with depth and peace. As a former Archdruid, have you seen others deal with this type of situation with any success before?

    I always enjoy reading, even when I don’t feel I have anything to add. Thank you for all you do.

  135. @All

    A bit of more positive news (though we’ll see what comes of it). Some of the ideas we’ve discussed on this blog and its predecessor(s) might actually be gaining traction. Apparently, as part of the most recent biennial budget legislation, the WI Dept of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of all professional licenses and reporting recommendations for maintenance, alteration or elimination of those licensing requirements. Perhaps we’ve hit peak credentialing…

  136. For Davis by the Lake: “Fact becomes history, history becomes legend, legend becomes myth, and myth turns right around again to become fact….time is not an arrow. it is a serpent.”

    S.M. Stirling, in his Emberverse novel “The Scourge of God. The character speaking is an old one-eyed mountain man with a wolf-sized dog and a pair of pet ravens.

  137. I’ll add that David BTL is right that Orange Man Bad (OMB) is catchy. It may even be better than TDS because of how closely it resembles OMG.

  138. Bob,

    Rhetoric aside, what has the political left actually done to address environmental concerns? If you can truthfully provide an answer, then we can talk. Until then, I prefer the political right, because at least they’re honest.*

    *on this topic at least

  139. Shane,

    That’s where I got the idea 😉

    Seriously though, I think internet and cell phones are addictive, and so I’m going to view them as such. I fully expect to get withdrawal symptoms, but then I think things will get better going forward.

  140. @Shane

    I don’t necessarily disagree (even though I also think the stories we tell each other matter tremendously), but that’s an easy position to have when you’re not the one begging entrance in front of a fence. Especially considering the mess the US made in central America.

  141. Philip H, yes, I saw that! This is no surprise to anyone who’s been outside of the bicoastal bubble any time recently.

    Jane, talent is overrated. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received when it comes to writing was from legendary SF editor George Scithers, who said that every writer has a couple of million words of bad writing stuck inside, and the only way to get past that is to write it out. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get down to the good stuff. He was right, too — my early writing is astonishingly bad. Keep at it and you can replace talent with a far more useful thing — skill.

    Martin, well, obviously I disagree. The current low price of crude oil is driven by the same straightforward cyclical economic process that brought down the price of oil in the 1980s and 1990s, and will end for the same reasons — the same combination of depletion and extravagance that gave us the last two oil price spikes is already lining up to give us another.

    Jbucks, don’t treat figuring out “what you’re here to do” as something you have to do with your conscious mind. Your higher self will guide you into the situations you need to encounter, and the results don’t have to make sense from the standpoint of your conscious mind, you know. As for the bit of precognition you had, that’s fairly common — it’s anyone’s guess whether you sensed the other driver’s intention, on the one hand, or slipped a little in the timestream, on the other.

    Matt, define “fact” strictly enough and nothing is a fact. Since everybody who’s proclaimed the apocalypse for the last three thousand years has been dead wrong, it’s reasonable to treat the whole thing as nonsense.

    Phil H., that would be interesting to see!

    Monk, thanks for this.

    Argus, it’s exactly the “Mount Olympus complex” that’s at work here; especially but not only in America, the privileged have convinced themselves that nothing can actually affect them in any way they don’t want. That attitude pretty much guarantees a quick trip to disaster, but it’s very common among the more sheltered kind of aristocracies.

    Tude, you’re welcome and thank you. I’m glad this virtue living room has become a pleasant place for you to hang out!

    Aron, very glad to hear it. I should probably post something about that more generally.

    Will, pick up a copy of Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s book The Occult Roots of Nazism sometime. It’s a very solidly researched work of history.

    David BTL, it’ll be interesting to see what actually happens once the new Congress goes in. Pelosi’s far from the first Congressional leader to cling to power long after losing the last scrap of effectiveness, and the consequences usually amount to grand theater.

    Katherine, Spengler’s the one who applied that concept to history, and I don’t recall anyone else really making use of it. I know Spengler can be kind of a slog, but keep going — there are a lot of useful insights in there.

    Glenn, it didn’t really amount to much more than a friendly handshake and introductions to some helpful people, but then writers are very portable. If you’re interested in working with some such program, contact several cities that offer one and see what they’re willing to offer you.

    Will, I’ll let the Esoteric Order of Dagon know you should be on the guest list. As for magic, yes, if you’re doing it right, some degree of improved health should be expected. It won’t cancel out the effects of problematic genetics, environment, or lifestyle issues, but it should help. If you see someone who claims to be deep into magical work who constantly talks about how sick and depressed they are, something’s wrong.

    Himself, (1) I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Peterson; there are a lot of pundits out there, and I mostly read books by dead people anyway. I know a lot of young men seem to be getting some very useful ideas from him. (2) I have no idea. My idea of a good investment is investing in learning practical skills, which will be worth plenty no matter what the money system is. (3) Here also, I have no idea — the dyspraxia that comes with my Aspergers system made sports a reliable source of misery and failure all through my childhood, and one consequence of that is that I’ve never been able to work up any real interest in them. On first principles, though, it seems likely that you’ve got a workable idea. Glad you liked the talk!

    Monk, okay, I misunderstood — but the answer’s still the same. In my experience, faith in progress is a religion, and trying to tell a believer in progress that the Star Trek future of their dreams ain’t gonna happen is like trying to tell a medieval peasant that Heaven, with God and all his saints and angels, isn’t there any more.

    Alex, I don’t recommend mixing the two. If you go into a job interview, let’s say, ripped out of your gourd on hallucinogens, you’re going to make a mess of it; the same would apply just as much to interacting with spirits in the same condition. (It’s been tried, too — people in the cultural avant-garde have been using that gimmick since the 18th century, and the results aren’t good.)

    Succwc, well, we’ll see.

    Nestorian, as I’ve noted over and over again, it’s not a bumpy plateau, it’s a cycle, with big swings in price driven by economic factors. The “fracking miracle” is just the current temporary bandaid — the last time it was oil from the North Slope and the North Sea. I freely grant that the simplistic version of peak oil theory fell flat on its nose, but if you recall the days when you were first commenting on The Archdruid Report, I was critiquing the simplistic version of peak oil theory back then, too.

  142. Looking for suggestions on how to edit this writing on education I produced. I saw a tip on NaNoWriMo site to just set it aside for awhile, and so I’m doing that now. My goal is to have people leave the public school system and homeschool (I’m using homeschool as a stand in for any kind of education that occurs outside of a classroom setting).

    I’ve been pondering doing fiction works now on the same theme. Often while walking I’ll be thinking of Retrotopia and what it is like there this time of year and wanting to hang out there with those folks for a bit. So I get the pull of stories as a way for people to imagine a different life. The only fiction books I saw on modern homeschooling theme (so not Amish or back in 1800’s) was a mother-daughter hapless comedy(?) with the mom is clueless and the teen is snarky thing going.

    My daughter is finishing up her first semester at college and finding her peers are having a really hard time doing the basics like turning in papers on time. They do peer reviews in class of rough drafts and she is one of a couple students who do a rough draft and wants to share her work with others. Her fellow students feel that their work is horrible and say that all the time. Her response is “what you did is good!” and she is left discouraged a bit that people aren’t interested in playing along and handing in work.

    This is certainly how I did college, the lack of effort way, and what a waste of time and money. I hope my daughter gets more out of it. Certainly her Aspergers has not been a detriment at all. She proudly announce at Thanksgiving that she figured out how to make small talk and actually enjoys it, to a small degree. 😉

    Anyway, it feels like the more people we have in the future that have learned outside the school system, the more nimble we’ll be in what faces us.

  143. @Bob

    Perhaps you should get to know a few more “righties”? The people I know, and know of, of who are making the biggest effort to reduce energy usage, work toward a more sustainable future, and generally live lower on the hog and not squander limited resources… are overwhelmingly people who’d be shelved (sometimes against their wills) on the “right” side of the political spectrum by your average righteous Democrat. If you have the time, maybe look up some of my heroes: Joel Salatin, Greg Judy, Gene Logsdon, and Allan Savory, who are pioneering regenerative agriculturists: i.e. using careful livestock managment to build topsoil (instead of losing it), stop erosion, recharge natural water supplies, sequester carbon, and increase biodiversity, and sustain more wildlife, without agricultural chemicals. Extreme urban lefties tend to disparage them, because they don’t take the vegetarian approach, and they actually want people to make a living doing what they do. But they’ve made amazing strides in actual, workable, environmental restoration.

    Meanwhile, many regular “right-leaning” folks like me… we are turning off our air conditioners, ditching our smartphones, consciously reducing our trash output, composting our kitchen waste, recycling our greywater, buying less and buying secondhand, and while we haven’t yet been able to give up driving (that would involve living in town, which we ironically can’t afford– living car-free is expensive!), we minimize it wherever possible, and we drive old cars and repair them (most of a vehicle’s pollution happens during the manufacturing process, so driving and carefully maintaining an older car is often less polluting than driving a newer car, however efficient). The profligate waste of modern living isn’t compatible with Conservative or Christian values.

    Why would you think that only the left cares about the environment?

  144. To Kevin James: “Let them die, and decrease the surplus population.” Ebenezer Scrooge.
    {Actually, Marie Stopes did more than brutality can, to alleviate the lot of the working (wo/man.)

    To Tude – Dion Fortune had an experience exactly like yours. It’s the very first article in her book Psychic Self-Defense. A friend of mine also had a boss like that. She burned candles to St. Michael at home and wore bracelet of Turkish blue and white anti-evil-eye beads at work, and because very very nice to all her co-workers, even the hostile ones. The boss got pregnant and has been happy and nice to everyone since.

  145. Booklover, happens all the time. At any given time, several powers are trying to become the next dominant hegemon, and only one is going to succeed; internal factors are one of the things that settle who that’s going to be. With regard to agriculture during the interglacials, you’re assuming that the same plants would have been involved, and that seems simplistic to me; quite the contrary, I’d expect each interglacial to develop its own suite of food crops by domesticating various wild plants, and when the ice age comes back and you get another 100,000 years or so in the deep freeze, the cultivated plants die out because a hunter-gatherer lifestyle is the only one that’s really viable under those conditions. You’d want to watch for the unexpected spread of pollen from edible plants, showing that they’d been taken up and cultivated in environments where they previously weren’t found.

    Quos Ego, that’s very good to hear. What do you think is motivating the Europe-wide resurgence in nationalist populism?

    Ryan, nah, she just won the nomination. She still has to be voted in by the House as a whole, and that’s still up in the air.

    Nestorian, every purveyor of apocalyptic beliefs has some set of earnest arguments explaining why their version of the apocalypse myth is true when every other version is false. Do you remember back when Jason Godesky was posting 10-screen diatribes in support of his neoprimitivist version of the myth? His arguments, like yours, and like those of all the other purveyors of the apocalypse myth, are all circular, as they all presuppose the truth of the ideology that supports whichever version of the myth is on offer. I don’t see any point in getting into it over such arguments; I’m perfectly content to sit back and watch your prediction fail, just like all the others.

    Onething, we’re not talking about the same thing. Have disasters happened in the past? Sure — but that’s not what the apocalypse myth is about. The apocalypse myth is the claim that history is about to end once and for all, and in the new world on the other side of it, everything will work out the way some ideology or other claims things are supposed to work out.

    Jess, thank you for this. I’ve seen the same sort of situation relevant to immigration over and over again, and heard from a vast number of people who’ve seen the same thing too. That’s much of what informs my take on things.

    With regard to your anxieties about religion, yes, this is fairly common these days. Too many Christian denominations set out to terrorize children into accepting their ideologies, and while it doesn’t necessarily keep them in the churches, it leaves real scars. It can take a very long time and a lot of inner work to realize that the universe really isn’t out to get you after all, that the divine powers who guide and shape the universe have other things to do with their time than stare down at you from the clouds waiting for you to do something that will offend them, and that you really do have the freedom to choose which deity or deities you want to work with. I’d encourage you to see if you can find some religious group in your area that worships more than one deity — that could be a Neopagan group, a Hindu temple, a Shinto shrine, or what have you — and attend some ceremonies; a lot of people who grew up being pumped full of fear and self-hatred by dysfunctional Christian denominations find this a source of surprise and delight, because they discover that religion doesn’t have to be about having some pompous blowhard in a funny collar ranting about how awful you are — it can be a celebration of a community in which deities and humans both partake.

    David BTL, woohoo! Thank you; that’s excellent news.

    Bob, if the best argument you can offer amounts to “Look! Look! The mainstream media disagrees with you!” — well, let’s just say I’m not going to be particularly rattled by that.

  146. Denys, get out there and write those stories! Fiction’s powerful stuff; some good fiction about homeschooling could get some necessary ideas a lot of traction.

    A thought — do you by any chance enjoy romance novels of the old-fashioned sort that aren’t all about cheap sex? That’s a booming market these days, especially but not only among Christian readers, and a romance of that kind that had a homeschooling frame story could find a large and appreciative market. Just saying…

  147. Senator Toomey did an online town hall yesterday for his PA constituents. Toomey is Republican and not adamantly never Trump, but he isn’t for Trump either. PA has a history of electing a senator from each party and both try to be centrists.

    Anyway, someone asked if the Republicans are going to take away social security, and btw its not fair because he paid into it (I’m think how about you get back exactly what you paid in, not the 80x amount paid out due to congressional mandate). Toomey said that they have been working on legislation for some time to fundamentally change social security for anyone under 30. The thinking is that if you have 35 years left until retirement you have time to figure it out. They are bringing it for a vote in the new Congress. He didn’t specify what exactly, but sounded like eliminating or privatizing it completely.

    Since those under age 30 don’t vote in as high a percentage as those over 60, I’m guessing social security is a goner. What do you think?

  148. In regards to Taiwan, Booklover, there is some very interesting news! The recent election over there has seen a blue wave, with the pro-China KMT party scoring a devastating landslide victory over the pro-American, pro-independence DPP.

  149. @Monk,
    your example regarding X: I’ve had the same thing happen, yet I’ve noticed that “true believers” are getting pretty bitter and angry b/c “X” is not happening.

  150. Shane W, yup, I like to tell holier-than-thou fellow Canadians that they already live in a country with four big, beautiful walls – the Pacific, the Arctic, the Atlantic and the USA. Some of the very best walls, believe me!

    Nearly every “look at this sad thing that happened now we can’t have laws or borders” photo that has made the rounds is to some extent, staged. In the uncropped version there are multiple cameramen with tripods and what looks like a mixture of people walking or standing around, and people posing as if they are desperately fleeing.

  151. @Quos Ego,
    mess in Central America: that’s why the US needs to cease to exist ASAP, and why I fully support secession and the breakup of the US into smaller, more cohesive, coherent, manageable nations, starting w/Calexit. Empire destruction begins at home.

  152. @Will J,
    IDK, “reach for a Lucky instead of a phone?” IMHO, cigarettes have fewer side effects, more advantages and are more glamorous than smartphones.

  153. I have been far happier and somewhat more tidy since I took up the study of Druidry. I was headed towards the minimalist track anyways, and still have aspirations to pare down more of my possessions, with the sole exception of books. Three Druid things that have helped me tremendously: 1. Discursive meditation, which has shown me how to feel an emotion without being swallowed whole by it. 2. Chillin’ with trees, meaning that thing where you go out and exchange energy with the tree. 3. Perspective, which means I have a better understanding of why I’m here and what I can and cannot change. I wouldn’t trade Druidry for a gazillion dollars because money doesn’t compare to happiness.

    As an ex-major depressive whose family had far more money back in the old days, I am perfectly aware that having plenty of money means absolutely nothing when you live in a pit of constant despair. This is the same pit that my rich, liberal friends seem to dwell in. Speaking of those pals, I don’t think most of them consciously realize they’re fighting to maintain cheap nannies and salon stylists. I see the average salary class liberal as a clinically depressed, married woman between the ages of 30 – 60 with family money and a husband with a 100K plus job. Overall, she’s a decent, kind person. She believes everything fed to her via Ctrl-Left mainstream media. Since her favorite movie stars/talk show hosts tell her the Orange Man supporters are out to destroy immigrant children, she believes them and makes it her personal crusade to try to “save” them. She’s naive in this fashion, and she honestly can’t see her own privilege even though she occasionally publicly acknowledges it. Hope this makes sense.

  154. @Will J,
    and cigarettes have the added benefit of infuriating biophobic Boomers, which is why I full expect the next Awakening generation to start lightening them up inside buildings once they come of age.

  155. @Jess,

    As an ex-Christian I was in the same boat. Even to this day I think it would be nice to have a god who cares.
    But here’s the thing. If a friend starts hurting you or ignoring you, they are not a friend anymore. If god stops behaving like god, he can’t be god anymore.
    God supposedly sent his son to save us from hell and that is supposed to show us he loves us. But this salvation wouldn’t be a show of love if we didn’t have fear of hell in the first place. If there is no hell to be afraid of, there is no god to love for his salvation. Christian love is supposed to be based on Christ’s love for us, but that love is rooted in fear of hell, otherwise what did Christ die for.
    Remember, the bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear, and Christianity does everything but.
    A belief in a personal god has the effect of putting your locus of control outside of yourself. The bible says to wait upon the lord, a codification of the idea that ultimate control comes from above. It is freeing to take back that locus of control and put it inside of you. It makes you a more capable, more responsible person, and unlocks your creativity. Of course it takes a while to fully grow into this understanding and take full advantage of it. Whereas before your life was heavily dependent on what god does, now you understand it as dependent on what you do.
    I don’t know if you pray but one of my first conscious moves after deconverting was to stop praying. It was hard, because I had become accustomed to on-the-go, silent prayer whenever I felt anxious about something. It was a way of soothing myself, and as I worked to break the habit, it only became more evident how many prayers were going unanswered. I prayed so much I was unaware of the volume of my prayers until I stopped.
    At that point I had more or less put myself in a position of agnosticism. I think most people struggling to get away from Christianity go through agnosticism/atheism, at least for a time. It is a clearing of the plate. If you do not positively identify as something non-Christian (the easiest of which is agnostic) now is the time. This self-identification will go a long way towards your psychological well-being. You’ve got to choose something other than Christianity or Christianity will continue to choose you.
    It has taken 6 years of flat out agnosticism and the discovery of JMG for me to entertain some of the spiritual concepts JMG discusses. The one that has helped me most is the concept that all gods have a limited span of time in which they are active, then they become old, then pass away. Not that I believe in gods, but I think what we call gods are simply the contours of human civilization and cultural ideals that eventually, given enough time, become ineffective and unrecognizable as new cultural structures come on the scene.
    All spirituality is just a way of the describing the natural influence of the cyclic nature of our universe. The concept of deities is just an anthropomorphization of this phenomena.
    Anyway, it is a journey. I wish you luck on yours.

  156. Quos Ego

    Re country bumpkins and the blowing out of brains

    FWIW I have indeed seen comments to that effect (yes, on the infamous PoliticalWire). Many a comment could be summarized as “Why won’t they just die off already?” and then there is, of course, the comment I relayed on an earlier week’s post (I don’t recall offhand which one it was): “Farmers and Christians can go [frack] themselves.”

    Disdain for country-dwellers is quite apparent and concern for their well-being is quite absent in certain circles on the left. This is yet another reason (among many) that I no longer consider myself a Democrat, which I very much was (unofficially) up through the 2016 primaries, and now describe myself as “unaffiliated”.

  157. JMG,

    Yes, I agreed in my comment that the “bumpy plateau” dynamic is real, and also that it is cyclic – and I also stipulate that this dynamic is manifestly discernable now, and has been since the first iteration of that cycle began in late 2004. We are probably in the final phase of the third iteration of that cycle since late 2004 now – if I am counting correctly – and this will give way to the fourth iteration of the cycle once the next price spike commences.

    But the underlying effects of fracking in mitigating and dampening this “bumpy plateau” dynamic amount to more than just a bandaid. Over the past 10 years, going both backward and perhaps even forward, the effects of this revolution have been sufficient both to postpone the actual liquid fuels peak by perhaps as much as two decades from what it would have been without it, and therefore also to create a basic liquid fuels and natural gas supply situation that has really not been so different from that which prevailed prior to 2005. It will probably do a lot to dampen the next oil price spike too.

    The effects of the fracking revolution in this regard have been sufficient to leave the Peak Oil movement with egg on its face, and I think that this is best honestly acknowledged, rather than denied on the basis of a minimization of the difference that fracking actually has made and is continuing to make since the “conventional” oil peak in 2005.

  158. It seems to me that a masterful chess game is being played against the US. Perhaps it is just Russia, but probably not. The Khashoggi situation has been played to help Congress and the Senate vote against further assistance in the Saudi vs Yemen war. This is a great opportunity to further weaken the ruling body of Saudi Arabia, as you predicted might be ousted a few years ago, which in turn gives more opportunity for Iran to gain control in the region, who has been supported by Russia and China.

    The situation in the Sea of Azov has been played out masterfully as well. Last night, BBC reports from Kyiv showed even Ukranians (although that is a mixed amount) believing that their leader was using this opportunity to remain in control of Ukraine. The idea of divide and conquer is being played out on multiple levels.

    What are the odds we’ll retain knowledge of these experiences for a long enough time to actually learn something culturally?

  159. I mean, if I were a member of the next Awakening generation, I could think of no more provocative act that lighting up a smoke in a building, which is precisely why I think they will. It’s part of why I started smoking @ 15, though my time had not yet come.

  160. @Quos ego,
    don’t you all have your own issues w/working class Eastern Germans? Chemnitz sounds as bad, if not worse, than, Mississippi. Not to mention Brexit.

  161. @ Bob

    In my mind it depends how the environmental issue is framed. Regulations use coercion to force compliance. Many of the people (usually on the left side of the political divide) who applaud the use of coercion to change the conduct of others seem to do precious little to reduce their own environmental impact. Regulating others is much easier than making meaningful personal changes. Their obvious hypocrisy is what gives people on the right a chance to dismiss them wholesale, even when they make valid points.

    We don’t need more coercion. We need more people willing to lead by example in the conduct of their daily lives. If examples of this exist, the left will do well to publicize them more widely. Just yesterday my left-leaning wife mentioned a pledge she saw online to avoid flying for a year due to the environmental impact and has been actively advocating we reduce our own flying. Those are the activities the political left should embrace and adhere to if they want to be taken seriously on environmental issues.

  162. Open Post, perfect! Hello Y’all, It’s been quite awhile since I was last in this company on the old ADR. A lot has changed for me, back in the USA now in a different life, (a different incarnation?) It is nice to reach out and read thoughts and ideas from you all again and I have a lot of reading to catch up with that I have missed. And a not a few books to acquire to do that with too. This the round, I suspect I will just be reading more and commenting less as the main focus of this blog is well out of my comfort or familiarity zone. I did read a few of the previous essays. Sadly missed the discussion on abstract art again, but I think we hashed that through fairly thoroughly on an essay in the ADR, so just as well.

    Just wanted to pop in and say hello, from sunny (and sinking) Florida.

  163. JMG,

    My argument about the necessary role of the nation of Israel in the unfolding of Judeo-Christian apocalyptic would be circular only if I claimed that I was presenting it to prove my position. I am not claiming that; I am merely claiming that recognizing this role establishes a certain prima facie plausibility for Judeo-Christian apocalyptic that puts further discussion of it well within the realm of rational discourse.

    No one is obligated to seriously investigate Judeo-Christian apocalyptic as the possible keystone to a correct interpretation of history just because it is intellectually plausible, but perhaps someone reading this will choose to take up the investigation regardless just because it is plausible and interesting.

    Also, it is probably true that any attempt to definitively prove my beliefs about Judeo-Christian apocalyptic involve circularity, but the circularity argument cuts both ways. I have pointed out in the past that the evolutionary paradigm is riddled to the core with logical circularities – proving that evolution is ultimately not scientific, but just another faith-based belief system. And referring to a discussion we had in this space about a month ago, I believe it is also demonstrably the case that the position that the current state of the Old Testament is the product of substantial post-exilic priestly redaction is circular as well.

    It seems that what we are left with is a stalemate of circularly-proven belief systems, which means that one is always left, in the end, with having to take a leap of faith of one sort or another.

  164. A propos of Europe vs US and the attitudes of the left leaning well payed frequent flyer nature protection lovers and climate believers towards the gillets jaunes massive demonstrations in France, I could read tweets calling them boeufs and abroutits, meaning ox and morons, this was a member of the parliament tweeting! The problem you see is that, the working poor don’t want to be the only ones paying to save the planet, while their betters can keep flying for the weekend without any extra tax on the plane fuel. So I wouldn’t say hate not yet, but the contempt is unbearable!

  165. Hi all, I have a question for JMG. You were on the “Down at the Crossroads” podcast a few years ago and in referring to the apparent decline of neopaganism as a pop spirituality, you noted that one of the reasons was that it was no longer a “mom shocking” thing. You also said that there were several possible religious movements on the horizon that might fill the bill. Can you tell me what movements you were thinking of? I’ve been wondering about that since listening to the podcast and haven’t been able to think of any. Thanks!

  166. JMG, that’s good, it gives the Democrats time to come to their senses (in my opinion). However, since she was nominated with 203 votes, more than 200 Republican members, does anyone else have a chance? I don’t see the rebels lining up with the Republicans to stop her and she already has more votes than any Republican can muster. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out over the next month.

  167. In re: smartphones: On the one hand, I don’t disagree with the addiction thing, and certainly forcing myself to leave it elsewhere when I can is useful.

    On the other, as someone who regularly takes public transit and spends some time sitting and waiting for others in restaurants, and who reads quickly, the reading apps are a darn sight easier on the shoulder, and to manage while holding a pole/strap with the other hand, than physical books–and it’s easy to get another book if the T breaks down and I unexpectedly finish the first one.

    Also, in college, I really didn’t pay attention in many classes (Robert Mathiesen’s and maybe two other professors’)–either it was discussion groups, which are the bane of the modern age*, or the prof/TA was just going over things that were right there in the textbook. I just discovered that as long as I was taking notes, I could be taking notes on anything, so I plotted two novels and wrote a bunch of D&D session plans. Can’t say I regret it, or feel that I missed anything. 😛

    *Seriously. If I want to hear what a bunch of my fellow gormless underclassmen have to say about a subject, I’ll buy my actual friends some cocktails Wednesday night and chat about it then. But I’m not paying for the opinions of a bunch of people who I know good and well are just as ill-prepared and hungover as I am, if not more, and I’m sure not wasting time listening to ’em.

  168. Oh, dear, dear Jess,

    It breaks my heart to see this lasting damage done by negative teachings. I’m asking myself, what is the antidote? Perhaps this: To understand that God is good and must be good by it’s very nature. It doesn’t make arbitrary rules like a despot. That which is good is aligned with life and existence itself. Existence itself is the fundamental before which anything else can be considered, and this existence is the primal mystery. From God flows existence in which we all partake. It is the ultimate good.

    The nature of evil is that it preys upon something and therefore does not exist as a fundament of reality.

    What I would like to share with you comes from a Biblical perspective, although I also no longer identify as Christian. I found it very profound in Isaiah where he says, Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put light for darkness and darkness for light, who don’t know which is bitter and which is sweet.
    I thought, how true this is! People actually promote that which is bitter and call it sweet.

    Pinnk Floyd was also speaking of the same problem in this song:
    So, so you think you can tell
    Heaven from hell
    Blue skies from pain
    Can you tell a green field
    From a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?

    Now if it is true that a rose by another name would smell just as sweet, then what about a demon who is called God? Who would be the author of fear and suffering? If God, what is left for Satan to do? Are they in cahoots?

    If you are told that a being who frightens you, who holds terrible threats over you, who inflicts suffering on you out of anger, and who does this to many other people as well, is a good being, haven’t you been lied to? If a tyrant would be expected to behave like that, then how can it be that the supremely good being behaves just like a tyrant?

    Is it really so hard to distinguish a green field from a cold steel rail?

    If there were a Satan and he wanted separate people from God, wouldn’t it be a grand plan to slander the good character of God, wouldn’t he project his own miserable character onto God and wouldn’t that drive people away from God? Shouldn’t you be suspicious about this?

    Suppose we were to draw up a chart and list a bunch of adjectives. Jealous, angry, loving, forgiving, magnanimous, murderous, punishing, wisdom, pain-inflicting, majestic…

    Consider “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (Jn 1:5)

    We don’t really have any trouble deciding which of those belong to light and which to darkness. No trouble at all.

    What if you thought (as I do!!) that while one ought to have a healthy fear and concern over one’s own faults (karma) that one need never fear God any more than one fears to take the next breath? That you need never fear God any more than an infant should fear its mother’s breasts?
    Anxiety and danger are an integral part of life for physical bodies on this planet. So it is easy I suppose to twist that and project that onto God but it isn’t likely at all that a being like God would have petty emotions when there is no possible threat that God could ever experience and all things emanate from this source of all being.

    I really can’t stress enough that the kind of being that you are afraid of is rather demonic in its attributes and it is a mind prison to use fear to prevent someone from seeing this.

    The big difference between good and evil in this context is freedom versus oppression. Love is always free, it never says “or else!”

  169. To fit all my books in one bookcase, I sort them by size and put the shelves at specific heights. You have many more books, which leads me to wonder do you sort them by size, subject, or author, and do you build or buy your shelves.

  170. @Will J,
    public declarations:
    let me declare publicly here that when the next Awakening generation takes up indoor public smoking, aka “smoke ins” as a provocative cause celebre, I will gladly join in. I’m sure I’ll be old by that time, so it won’t really matter from a health perspective, and knowing how much Boomers value smoke-free air, I feel it’s the least I could do.

  171. I have a magic related question, is this a good place to ask? 😉

    Some background:
    So my grandfather grew up in Colombia before making his way stateside. As a teenager he delved into the arts of the curandero, or as my Catholic ancestors called it, Magia Negra! (That’s black magic for the gringos out there). He had his own shack at the edge of town where he would do his workings and studies. He was reportedly so skilled at his work that he even brought my great great aunt back to life during her wake! (Or perhaps woke her from a deathlike sleep. Impressive, either way.)

    My great grandmother feared for his immortal soul and when one of his legs turned black and started to shrivel up, she went straight to his little shack in the jungle and burned it to the ground. His leg cleared up and he never touched the black arts again. As far as anyone knows.

    Growing up, I always took it as one of those apocryphal tales, with details embellished for flavor, that families pass down. Lately, though, I’ve wondered what details were changed and what was left out completely.

    I’ve been told my whole life that I have “magic hands” or that “magic touch”. Sometimes my parents will joke and say I inherited that from my grandfather.
    So now my question. Can something like magic (or sensitivity to or talent with or an otherworldly mystical air) be inherited? As silly as it sounds, it’s not something I’ve found definitive answers to and I was hoping an expert could point me in the right direction.
    Follow up question: if I were inclined to give this magic stuff a go, would I have better luck looking to Western traditions, the folk practices of my grandfather and the home country, or some combination of the two? Neither?
    Obviously, no two paths are alike and everyone’s mileage will vary, but any guidance would be appreciated.

  172. @JMG

    I’d say two main factors :
    – immigration, which is tearing the welfare state apart and challenges the cultural fabric of European democracies, which is total integration (the American idea of identity politics makes no sense to Europeans and is seen as the root of all evil).
    – and what is often overlooked, and probably makes no sense to most Americans: the loss of public services. Europeans don’t want less government: quite the opposite, actually. We pay high taxes, and we expect good value for them. Problem is, our governments are increasingly failing to deliver, which leads to a feeling of abandonment.

  173. If there was a previous civilisation before 10000 years ago, it wouldn’t necessarily have been in an interglacial, if it was in the tropics, rather than in the mid-latitudes. This would also have the effect of the sea level sites of that period now being underwater.

  174. “If you see someone who claims to be deep into magical work who constantly talks about how sick and depressed they are, something’s wrong.” Same thing goes for someone who’s depressed and a chronic alcoholic?

  175. @David BTL, others,
    actually, I think suicide and substance abuse are LOW and due to increase dramatically, taking life expectancy down with them. The reason? A lot of people are in total denial about decline and the end of progress, and unwilling to even contemplate it. As decline and the end of progress becomes unavoidable and undeniable, I expect even more people to take the usual outs.
    I’d like to know yours and others’ takes on the Democrats. I just read a column by Matt Bai where he said the Dems are split among three factions, the Third Way/New Democrats (who I didn’t know were still a thing), the compromisers who want to work w/Trump (Problem Solvers), and the socialist left (Berniecrats) whose most notable figure is Ocasio-Cortez. Anyway, what I found most interesting is that Pelosi’s strongest, most powerful opposition came not from the Berniecrats, but the Third Way’ers. Honestly, considering just how little influence the progressive Berniecrat wing has, and how divided the Dem coalition is, I don’t expect much from them but a lot of infighting and self destruction. I don’t see how this will end well for the Dems and how they can put forth a credible alternative to Trump in 2020.

  176. JMG, I guess you can cross nomophobia (no mobile phone) off the list of disorders to which you might become afflicted! I’ll have to take exception to your calling the cell phone/social media phenomena a fad however. Fads are pretty short lived but these things are still going strong and picking up steam. It’s going to take some pretty harsh collapse-like shocks for the infrastructure to go down (which realistically could happen at any time). I don’t think we’re at peak smartphone yet, and its damaging effects may well be permanent for many (a la PTSD) even after it’s on the wane.

    With respect to peak oil, I’m not sure I agree we’ll get to $400/barrel so easily in the near future. If we do we’d probably be looking at a dire collapse scenario accompanying it. I’m sure you’ve noticed the recent mayhem in France over the far from extreme increase in gas prices due to a new tax. $300-$400/barrel might lead to gas prices here of $12-15/gallon! Happy Motoring Americans will not respond well to that. I’ll second Jessi T’s recommendation to check out Gail Tverberg’s most recent post at
    theautomaticearth.com. I know you’ve been critical of Gail’s tendency to forecast fast-collapse scenarios but I think she’s on to some important ideas related to the issue of affordability, not just for oil but other commodities as well. Without a doubt though, the ragged road of decline looms before us. As you so often say, we’ll see!

    With respect to the Luddites, the word has taken on a completely derogatory meaning in our progress obsessed era but the Luddites weren’t opposed to all technology. They were opposed to technology taking over their lives, and that was 200 years ago. Now the technosphere is swallowing us whole!

    @ patriciaormsby
    Thanks for the many fascinating data points.

    @ Robert Gibson
    Over on this side of the pond our alt-right is fond of libtard…sounds like libberoid is a close cousin.

    @ William
    You have my sincere sympathy in trying to teach young people utterly enthralled with their smartphones. I often think of them as prosthetic brains, and pretty crappy ones at that. So smart they make you dumb!

    Thanks to everyone for the lively commentary.

  177. JMG said: “Your higher self will guide you into the situations you need to encounter”

    I was just writing in my journal about that earlier today. 4 or 5 years ago I mentioned, and a few random times since, that I had a run-in with a genuine psycho (someone I now believe to be right on track for demonhood) and how it scared the bejesus out of me. It was quite literally and by far the very worst thing that has ever happened to me.

    But then, sorting it out on paper, 5 years later, I realized that this guy marked the beginning of my spiritual path. Before that I didn’t believe in evil, and therefore I didnt believe in the good guys either. I was agnostic, and this guy was the reason I left that behind.

    It was a terrible experience, absolutely awful, and also exactly what I needed.

  178. Pogonip,
    I don’t talk to computers either. Have a person call me if you really want to talk. Of course, plenty of real humans on the phone get to talk to my 8 y.o. about dragons and tall ships if they don’t come up with something important in a hurry! 🙂

  179. JMG,

    1) You once asked a commenter about, IIRC, whether his natal combustion was moving away from the Sun or toward it. What’s the significance there for the analyst?

    2) We never got to this question on MM last week, and I’d like to resubmit it. If action on one plane has an effect on the plane just below, and demons occupy the plane just below the material, is that why we use material objects like horseshoes, garlic, and hematite to “ward away evil?” I like having logical reasons for why we engage in such seemingly superstitious practices!

    Thanks a bunch!
    Tripp

  180. Dear Shane W,

    You stated above:

    a ban on oil speculation as well as regulated pricing could go a long way…

    Would you be willing to see the same principle applied to agriculture? Specifically, would you think it a good thing to revive commodity price supports, which didn’t cost the taxpayer a dime, and price ceilings, to keep irresponsible speculators out of the commodity markets?

    Dear Martin Beck, (if you are a US resident) when was the last time you saw teenagers cruising in Dad’s car? Not for a generation at least have the young been car crazy like they used to be. That is demand destruction. I think both might be true, Americans deliberately driving less–remember, we don’t have anything like the discretionary income we used to enjoy–and the manipulations you describe.

    Dear Tony, do you mean to say or imply that there is a factual basis for the novel Smila’s Sense of Snow?

  181. Jane says:

    I’m done with Sergio.
    He treats me like a rag doll.
    She hates the television.
    See, I don’t owe him nothin’.

    But if he comes back again,
    Tell him to wait right here for me.
    Or, try again tomorrow!

    Jane says:

    I ain’t never been in love.
    I don’t know what it is.
    She only knows when someone wants her!

    Aaaand cut.
    Thanks. I’ve been wanting to do that ever since I saw your screen name pop up the first time!
    Cheers,
    Tripp

  182. Tude,
    I for one have thoroughly enjoyed your presence around here! Glad you get something like what the rest of us seem to get from this place. It’s indeed a rare gem on the ol’ intertubes…
    Tripp

  183. @David BTL,
    The borderless folk are actually just the extreme end of the notion of the US as a creedal nation, not rooted in any essence of the land or its people, like other nations. It was exactly this sort of rootlessness and lack of identity or essence that the South was fighting during the Civil War, and that was so eloquently defended in I’ll Take My Stand. The borderless folk are just the logical extrapolation of having a creedal nation based strictly on abstract notions, w/no foundation in the land or its people

  184. About caravans and compassion:

    The annual homeless report, issued last Dec., revealed that between 500,000 and 600,000 people were homeless on one night in January of 2017.

    https://nlihc.org/article/hud-annual-homeless-assessment-shows-increase-homelessness

    So when do they get to be important? Where are the tents and supplies and help with jobs for them?

    It is very true that the USA has been meddling in Central America for at least the last century. The best recompense would be to pay compensation in situ., and not, for example, nominate for president people responsible for such destabilization, and maybe even bring some indictments for crimes against humanity committed by our own politicians and business people.

    The principle of sauce for the goose is relevant here also. If I conveyed or sent minor children across an international border without money, passport or arrangement for them to be met by responsible adults, I would be declared an unfit parent by a family court. Furthermore, I don’t get to simply plop myself down in some country with a better standard of living than the USA–Luxembourg looks rather nice–and demand to be accommodated whether the locals like it or not.

    People who claim that the nation is “obsolete” are awfully cagey about what they think has replaced it.

  185. Hi Monk, thanks for clarifying! I call that the ‘they’ll think of something ‘ crowd. If my certifications make me the equivalent of minor clergy in the church of progress, the people you’re referring to are like the sort of fundamentalist laity that never lets their zeal be tempered by grappling with the actual writ. If you find them annoying, imagine how you’d feel if they represented your group to the world at large. They’re lucky the church of progress doesn’t call inquisitions >.<*

    If you don't want to give them up as lost causes, it might help to point out that nobody who works in a lab says "they'll think of something". Everyone who's actually made progress a field knows that it's hard work and doesn't just happen. So their attitude is very much at odds with what any luminary from the church thinks. Furthermore, by encouraging laziness on the part of other True Believers they are in fact Impeding Progress!**

    Beyond that I think it depends on how far out you want to try and lead them. I'll feel very accomplished if I ever get someone like that to adopt 'we'll think of something ' as their new mantra, but that's probably a modest goal by the standards of this community. I could share my fantasy of how that conversation would go if you want ideas… but I should confess I don't know if I'd have the patience to recognize the opportunity for such a conversation if it arose. Any time I hear that stupid mantra it's like all the hours of frustration I spent actually trying to think of something erupt at once.

    *Joking. Mostly.

    **Sedition! Cardinal, read the charges!

  186. himself said

    “3. Do you think or have any idea about the role of large international sports matches(rugby in particular) between countries, how they play, the outcome of the match, and how it may give insights into the current state and traits of that nation. Ireland recently beat a full strength New Zealand All Black team in Dublin. Many commentators conceded that Ireland absolutely dominated them. NZ didn’t even score a try, which that in itself is rare enough for the All-Blacks. NZ also used a haka which is only used for big matches(although that in itself could have shown the Irish team they were a bit nervous), but still.”

    Well Rugby is definitely slowly losing its prestigious place as our national sport here in NZ. I have no idea what Ireland’s victory might say about the Irish. I tend to see Ireland winning as something that had to happen eventually…

    As for the the border implications of sport… if the all blacks start to slide back in the world, it will be because soccer is actually played by more kids than rugby in NZ these days. back when we were the wannabe Britain of the south seas (in some ways we still are, but the tide is definitely receding)., thus ruby will matter less to us as we are no longer trying to consciously imitate the British upper classes.
    I remember time where the all blacks losing to Ireland would have prompted calls for public executions. (well not quite, but you get my meaning)…

  187. Continuing some thoughts from last week, it seems to me that there’s something of a fear of engaging with the other in postmodern thought. If none of the signifiers I create carry meaning beyond what I intend for them to mean, then you can’t pin me down on a position or prove me wrong, and that’s very useful for playing word games (among other things); but it also precludes the possibility of reaching a common place and building anything with another based on shared understanding.

  188. Separately, I’ll wonder aloud here how many of the folks expressing non-lefty opinions in this space placed themselves somewhere on the moderate to far left, say, five or ten years ago.

    I’ll be the first to raise my hand.

  189. Thanks as always for great discussions, and the forum to have them! Has anyone tried the concentration exercise that was posted on the dreamwidth account? I’ve done it daily for about a week now, and I’ve noticed that when I started, what felt like concentrating on the hand dial, was really me just straining. I could look at the hand moving quite intently, but there were always thoughts in the background while I made funny strained faces at the watch. It was either total distraction or focus battling wayward thoughts. It felt like concentration simply because it took effort. But after a few times, I had an experience where it felt like a window between me and the watch opened, and it was a singular focus on the watch, with no background chatter in my mind. The funny thing was, that feeling came totally effortlessly, and only lasts a few seconds at a time. Yep, around 8 for me. Very humbling and fascinating.

  190. JMG, thanks for all the answers. Time to look for a copy of The Druid Handbook, sounds like.

    As to the conversation on smartphones: it seems like you could view them as a novel pathogen. Here’s what I mean: My parents grew up without any exposure to smartphonitis. Once they were exposed, their fragile willpowers were devastated. My mom has all but lost any independent selfhood. Any piece of information that enters her brain, she runs it through Wikipedia on the phone, and when not confronted with external stimuli, she spends all her time reading news about babies and little children. The theme of that news-hunt is the only vestige of herself noticeable on a lot of days. For my dad it’s even worse – he surrounds himself with a haze of podcasts at every waking moment, even when he’s having conversations with family, for fear, it seems, of falling behind in his information absorption. And he’s gone from skeptical, rational science teacher to wingnut credulous QAnon believer, since the unfamiliar way that information arrives over smartphones presenting itself as credible was something he had no antigens for.

    Young people are infected just as deeply or deeper but have learned ways to cope with it, since they’ve had to make sense, through that filter, of whatever does filter through to them of the outside world. So you have kids who are fluent in the language of irony and can readily tell when something’s sarcastic, meta-sarcastic, a lie, or crackpottery – they understand the matryoshka-like true-false-and-other-ness that memes converse in. But who knows what they’d be like if you took away that phone and they had to confront the world directly – it’s become almost symbiotic with them, and without it they might crumple.

    Don’t know how and in what way this lens might be useful, but I’ve been spending time with my parents lately and it’s on my mind.

    Shane, on the Baby Boomer dystopia… my parents are late- to post-Boomers, and I have no hope of them or their peers being the next Awakening generation. If you have any read on who might, I’d appreciate it. I’m not sure I can judge my own generation (millennials) but from where I see it we seem like a little of a long shot too.

  191. JMG,

    “The apocalypse myth is the claim that history is about to end once and for all…”

    Yes, but the idea came from catastrophes so extreme, that for all practical purposes, the world that then was ceased, and a new one took its place. The details in the New Testament are just that, details and embellishments, but my point is that a racial memory is behind it, and if history moves in cycles, it could happen again.

    The NT even says that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. That has already happened.

  192. Archdruid and Folk,

    I have to agree with Quos Ego that a not insignificant portion of the support for illegal immigration is rooted in compassion. The people I’ve talked to about the issue are generally not from the middle class that can afford maids, gardeners, or any of the other services that have been named here (trades being the exception, but people here tend to hire the blue collar boys from the countryside). Others I’ve talked to are from the service sector (retail, garden services, and etc…) and those too are generally supportive of amnesty for illegals. Keep in mind that I’m in WI and we don’t exactly have a large influx of people from south of the border. However what I find most curious about this situation is that there’s a weird ignorance about the issue. Compassion for the suffering of immigrants is fully on the mind of the people I’ve talked to, and while recognition of the suffering within our own borders is also a priority, the two subjects aren’t allowed to mix. People compartmentalize the problems.

    One of the spells that an empire casts upon its own people is a spell to disallow them from recognizing the interconnectedness of problems. What I mean by this is that these well meaning people literally haven’t contemplated that we have a significant number of people suffering within our own borders who need help, and that we have to put our own house in order before we can invite people in. The well meaning people take it for granted that we will be able to help the suffering immigrants and the suffering natives. I’ve pointed out to them, with some success, that if we were well meaning AND wise, then we would seek to help the natives first – because if we aren’t successful in alleviating their suffering, then we certainly aren’t going to be able to alleviating the suffering of the immigrants.

    You’ve often said that it is important to try to understand issues from other people’s perspectives. Perhaps it would be worth contemplating how deeply rooted the need to feel like a compassionate and well meaning person is to the identity of many people in this country. Because there are a fair number of people who aren’t rich, don’t belong the aristocracy, and will never join the aristocracy who are trapped by the needs of their identity.

    Regards,

    Varun

  193. @ monk – I’m going to sound self-important, and maybe a little pompous, but when you say “progressives” in American English to a primarily American audience, most of us think of the political movement beginning to pick up steam on the leftward quadrants of the political compass.
    As for the religion of progress, well, imho, that church has adherents from across parties and ideologies. I can’t speak for others, but that was the source of my confusion.

    @JMG – I’ve been writing without too much worry about technology. It’s a bit funny that the tools people will use in the story seem to me to be the point where (id imagine) a modern reader saying; “you can’t use concentrated solar energy in metallurgy”, but that they would just blow past the future society with no ray guns, an almost paranoid fear of the scientific method, and gender relations that are both genuinely equitable AND involve fertility rites and an open embrace or the sexual aspect of human existence.

  194. @Patricia Ormsby

    In the mid 1990s I was bothered by the EMFs from telephone handsets. I could feel it inside my head.

    My solution is to replace the electromagnetic speaker with a piezo (crystal) speaker.

    This would probably only help with land line phones and similar and it won’t work with all of them.

    The head from a tape recorder will detect this type of EMFs in very small areas. Use it with an amplifier and headphone or meter or oscilloscope.

  195. @Chuck,
    generations are given names based on where they fall. It’s based on The Fourth Turning. The Boomers are already an Awakening generation who brought drastic social changes w/them in the 60s and 70s. Millennials cannot be an Awakening generation. I’m expecting the next Awakening generation to toss out Boomer values w/extreme prejudice when they come on the scene. One of the things they’ll push back against is biophobia, fear of dying, and the desire to live forever, which is why I think they’ll embrace indoor smoking. They may even make smokes w/Santissima Muerte right on the pack.

  196. Denys, good question. We’ll see what happens once the new Congress convenes.

    Kimberly, fair enough; thank you for this.

    Nestorian, my take is that you’re overestimating the likely duration of the fracking phenomenon. Still, we’ll both have to wait and see how things actually play out.

    Prizm, it’s a helluva poker game just now, with an undetermined number of players and some large but unpredictable number of jokers in the deck!

    Caryn, good to hear from you again!

    Nestorian, fair enough! You’re right that in the final analysis no set of beliefs, however logical, can prove its own presuppositions, and I’m certainly not trying to tell you to stop believing what you believe. From an outsider’s perspective such as mine, your particular form of apocalyptic prophecy is indistinguishable from all the others, but that needn’t affect your beliefs, of course.

    Elodie, many thanks for the data points.

    Lenn, the two broad movements I’m thinking of as likely replacements for Neopaganism, due to their high mom-shocking value, are, first, African diaspora religions such as Vodoun and Santeria; and second, Islam. Both have a significant presence here in the US, both are open to converts, and both would shock the bejesus out of your average suburban mom, which is what made Wicca so attractive to young people back in the day.

    Ryan, if she only gets 203 votes when crunch time comes, down she goes, and the Dems then have to come up with somebody else. My guess is that that’s one very real possibility. Another is that the GOP may quietly cut a deal with her — they’ll give her just enough votes to get the office, on condition that she take a less confrontational approach to the Trump administration; she’s sufficiently greedy for power that I think she’d go for that. One way or another, it’s going to be a lively January!

    Isabel, I wrote most of my first novel in high school classes while teachers were serenely convinced I was taking notes, so you’re not alone there.

    Bitke, I buy my shelves — I’m not that good at carpentry — and I normally arrange them by subject, and within that, alphabetically by author.

    StarNinja, that sort of thing can certainly be inherited. Certain magical gifts seem to run in either the father’s or the mother’s line — my wife’s family has an example of the latter, a talent for clairvoyance that runs pretty consistently from mother to daughter. As for what you might choose to do with it, I don’t recommend anything that might make your leg shrivel and turn black! Beyond that, there’s a vast range of possibilities, and if you decide to take up magical study, it’s okay to take your time and explore different things before you settle on a specific tradition to master.

    Quos Ego, thanks for this. The latter makes perfect sense to me; I’m not interested in more government services, but I know that’s a culturally dependent attitude, and Spengler was pointing out a century ago that the welfare state is the natural end state of Faustian culture.

    Shane, “virtual” is not “virtuous”! I’ve sometimes considered starting to talk about “vicial reality” — vicial is to virtual as vice is to virtue…

    MawKernewek, that’s true enough. The interglacials are comparable to our present era of civilization, thus might be expected to pup civilizations like those we’ve seen over the last eight thousand years or so, while I suspect Ice Age civilizations would be rather different. I’m still brooding over a potential post on this.

    Shane, I’d be unwilling to study with such a person unless there was some very good reason to do so. If your magical work can’t at least help you get your life in order, there’s something wrong.

  197. @JMG, @Averagejoe and @Kfish,

    The Euro itself is most certainly the EU’s way of forcing austerity upon the likes of Greece and Ireland. Aside from the sheer logistics of moving back to their own currency, they would probably be locked out of the international bond markets, Argentina-style. The main reason why they came into the Euro in the first place was the prospects of artificially cheap money. Basically, this is the dilemma that they are facing:

    1. Stay in the Euro, and have austerity measures imposed from Brussels and Frankfurt.
    2. Get out of the Euro, and sell bonds directly to international markets with exorbirant interest rates.
    3. Get out of the Euro, and print currency.

    None of these options will allow for the anti-austerity populists to deliver on their promises to expand services and benefits. Their countries have a dysfunctional codependent relationship with the EU by way of the Euro, and the UK was very wise to stay out of it.

    That said, this does not make the Euro any more sustainable. It just means it’s going to blow up later, harder.

  198. @Nastarana,
    yes, most definitely. Here in KY, one of the worst things is the elimination of the federal tobacco program, whereby the burley (tobacco) market was controlled and the farmers got a fair price for their tobacco. The
    “growing directly for the tobacco companies” that replaced it put more money in the tobacco companies pockets, less in the farmers, and opened the door to a lot more imported tobacco.

  199. Peter, if you start dreaming about seaweed-draped ruins rising from the deeps, do let me know. Iâ! Iâ! Cthulhu fhtagn!

    Jim, some fads are longer-lasting than others. 😉

    Tripp, exactly — the experiences that we need are not necessarily the experiences that we want. The placement of a combust planet has implications when you start doing progressed charts — since a progressed chart treats one day after birth as the equivalent of one year, the length of time a planet takes to move out from combustion tells you how old you are when the part of yourself indicated by the planet detaches itself from your ego and manifests itself in a form you can use. As for your last question, well, no, because a lot of exorcistic and protective workings don’t have that kind of anchor on the material plane; it’s a more complex situation.

    Nastarana, I ain’t arguing.

    Escher, that’s an important point. If one’s academic discipline has run out of useful things to do but its practitioners still want to stay employed — and this is a fairly widespread state in contemporary scholarship — word games are also a useful form of busywork to produce the illusion of productivity.

    BB, no, I somehow manage to miss that, probably by being a middle-aged fuddy-duddy when it came out. I bet Kek’s faithful followers would love it, though.

    Escher, I’d be interested to know that, too. In my case it was a little further back; my five years in Ashland, OR — the northernmost suburb of San Francisco, as it’s jokingly or wearily called — cured me of my waning infatuation with the leftward end of politics; that was in 2004-2009.

    JMA, excellent. Are you continuing with the exercise? Regular practice will make that easier and longer-lasting.

    Chuck, I’m sorry to hear about your parents. That’s got to be ghastly to watch.

    Onething, that’s one theory. I’m far from convinced that it’s the most accurate one.

    Varun, fair enough. Thank you for this.

  200. @JMG: So I just found this blog last week and I’ll admit, as a social scientist and a firm believer in progress, I find your ideas absolutely fascinating. I’m not entirely convinced that your prediction of a Long Decline will come to pass, but you’ve convinced me that it’s a very real possibility, as frightening as that possibility is. Mostly, I find myself deeply hoping that you’re wrong. I think the reason Faustians tend to react to such claims with Magian apocalypticism is because from their point of view, the idea that humans might fall back into a dark age of social barbarism and technological primitivism is a fate worse than death for the species. On some level, they’d prefer humanity to be wiped out altogether in some grand cataclysm than for humans to spend the next ten million years in a world with the technology level of Bronze Age Mesopotamia and the social dynamics of modern Somalia. Certainly the idea of humanity losing all the social and technological progress of the last two hundreds years – and never being able to get it back! – is absolutely terrifying to me.

    Yet it seems to me that history does have a forward momentum, as evidenced by the fact that we exist at all and aren’t still single-celled organisms floating around in a primordial soup of chemicals. It’s very much cyclical, yes, but there’s also a sense in which cycle is beyond the last; the fall of the Apollonian civilization may have mirrored the fall of even older civilizations, yet it was still geographically larger, more socially complex, and more technologically advanced than its predecessors, just as our civilization is vastly larger and more complex and more advanced than it was. So while I think Faustian civilization may very well collapse within the next few decades or centuries, I don’t think that will necessarily mean that modern technology will go down with it, at least not permanently. Going by history, I find it more likely that when the cycle inevitably repeats again, it will happen on an even greater scale than before. Of course, there are hard physical limits on technological capability, but I’m not as sure as you that we’re anywhere near approaching those limits. My view of history is neither a straight line nor a circle, but a spiral, expanding outward even as it loops around.

    I had some thoughts on your concepts of Sobornost and Tamanous too, but I think I’m rambled on enough for the time being. I’m grateful for your unique insights, even if I disagree with many of them!

  201. My #walkaway moment from the left began w/the election of Barack Obama and a Democratic supermajority in both Houses. When they failed to deliver on EFCA and other promises, I knew I was done.

  202. Re the Apocalypse: if you entertain the idea of a one-off universal catastrophe in linear time (which is not the way I think about it) you have to admit that it has always never happened until it happens. So the only predictions that can be tested are the failed ones. So, no wonder they all fail. And since the tested ones are the failed ones, prediction has to have a 100-per-cent failure record so far, whether the idea is false or true. Moreover it’s as well to note that the Good Book explicitly says it’s no good trying to predict the end – nobody is supposed to know when it will happen.

    Personally, I suspect that each person’s death is his own private Apocalypse, and they all come together because, at death, we all come together – i.e. all deaths occur at the same trans-time. We’re wiggles crawling from left to right across a time-graph while we’re alive, and, although our wiggles are all at different points on the time-line, nevertheless as each wiggle’s rightward crawl expires it undergoes (metaphorically speaking) a rotation into the third dimension and starts wiggling upwards instead… from the same apocalyptic zero z-co-ordinate as all the others. Hope I’m making myself clear…

    I tend to employ the same interpretation at the other end of history, the Fall. We all have our own personal Fall in being born.

    The claim that Christianity is based on a historical event is, in my opinion, true only for the central event, the Incarnation – not for the peripheries. To me it’s like a focused image seen through a lens with accuracy in the middle and fuzz at the edges. Why that should be so, is not something I feel able to put into words, but again I have my suspicions: here, suspecting there’s plausibility in sharpness in the middle of an idea combined with fuzz at the edges. Something feels inevitable about it, something to do with the way we receive big truths.

  203. “BB, no, I somehow manage to miss that, probably by being a middle-aged fuddy-duddy when it came out. I bet Kek’s faithful followers would love it, though.”

    Oh man how I envy you! that song was aaaaaal over the place…

  204. @JMG:
    Government involvement is not necessarily a bad thing. To give you an idea: I live in a little town of 3000 people, and yet I’ve been able to choose not to own a car because there’s a train that stops here every hour or so. This train line is subsidized at 60% by the state.
    I have full health coverage, costing me a sizable chunk of my income (and yet I probably pay much less than the average American), but which I would not lose if I suddenly became unemployed.

    All in all, to understand Europe, there’s a critical thing to take into account: we might not (andd we don’t) trust our politicians and the governments that come and go, but we trust the state and our institutions.

    @Shane:
    Esatern Germany is really unusual in Western Europe, because it only became part of it around 25 years ago. As a result, it couldn’t really benefit from the expansion of the welfare state following the end of WWII, and was actually a privileged witness of its decline. That said, no, it’s not that bad. It’s just poorer.

    As for Brexit, you should remember that the UK was skeptical of the EU even as it chose to become a member. I read very harsh comments about the EU here, some well deserved, but they overlook one critical factor: We Europeans very well remember how we killed each other for centuries and how the EU was thought as a bulwark against war. As a result, a lot of us hate what the EU is doing and yet give it a pass.

  205. Regarding agriculture during the last interglacial, maybe there simply weren’t enough humans with weapons around to establish local dominance over the large carnivores and herbivores that existed then.

    If there were too many carnivores, it wouldn’t be safe to go out into the fields for tilling and harvesting, and you couldn’t keep a herd of domestic animals safe, either.

    Large herbivores are devastating to crops. I’ve seen a date palm plantation in Namibia trashed by elephants despite being surrounded by fencing made of reinforced concrete pillars with steel cables for wire. It was on an elephant migration route and the pachyderms destroyed the fence. In parts of Africa the approach of elephants means the entire village turns out and bangs drums and waves arms to scare them away.

  206. Since the subject of minimalism was mentioned here, I, too, see it as something which is not very practicable in the literal sense. Our society is too complex that we could completely cease to have much stuff. For access to the internet, for example, one needs a computer. The problem here is, that laptops and notebooks are, although smaller, on the other hand more expensive and less easy to repair or modify.

    I have a question about this: if I have something which I don’t need anymore, would it make sense to sell it although the selling price is much lower than the buying price? It has become more and more difficult to sell something on Ebay for a good price or sell it at all.

    Regarding ice age civilizations, a while ago I have researched about the climate and vegetation zones of the last glacial. The result was, that here are a few places in the tropics and subtropics where civilizations might have been possible, but they are few and far between. But I would like to point out that not all of the places with an equitable climate during the ice age are today under water.

  207. Glad to read Varun’s comments re. immigration and, although I don’t agree with Jess, I appreciate the even-handedness and civility of the discourse. Responding to Shane re. the veracity of the caravan photos: flip-flops are commonly used by the poor, including those who walk long distances. When I was in Nepal, I saw them on natives who were transporting heavy loads throughout the Himalayas. Strange to blame people for their own immiseration. And re. the comment that people in the background were walking calmly around while others were fleeing, this is common in some group situations. I almost got trampled to death at a religious festival in India when a crowd was surging out of control, but only a few feet away from me, people were walking calmly down a sidewalk without a care in the world.

    I guess we’re dealing with confirmation bias here–the tendency we all have to be predisposed positively or negatively on an issue depending on pre-existing biases and life experiences. I was raised largely by immigrants from Europe who were either fleeing war or terror or recovering from wars they had been caught in, so when I see immigrants from Central America fleeing government dysfunction and gang violence, I do identify with them. Not everyone who champions the caravaners from the south want a gardener–it is more that some are the sons and daughters of gardeners, maids and other domestic workers who were able to make their life here. Around where I live, this kind of work is about evenly split between Latino immigrants and the white working class and/or working poor. These people, no matter their origin, routinely work 2 or 3 jobs totaling 60 to 80 hours a week just to get by. It is no wonder they are ripe for rebellion, although why they don’t rise up in common cause is a question for the ages.

  208. @nastarana
    When your non-driving teenagers get jobs they’ll have to drive to work. It’s a consequence of “the greatest misallocation of resources” as Kunstler calls the building of spread-out suburbs. So a certain minimum of oil consumption is baked into the American cake. Not to mention oil needed for air travel, predicted to grow fast, and ocean-going freight.

    And of course the US isn’t the only oil-consuming nation. I’m South African, and worked in Namibia for three years (that’s near the bottom on the left of Africa). The Namibians produced a graph of car ownership versus wages, and you could see that once wages rose above subsistence, car ownership grew exponentially. Poor people want to own motor cars. It frees them from the tyranny of third-world public transport. And there are billions of poor people getting a little bit richer each year, eager to buy the clapped-out cast-off vehicles of the slightly richer.

  209. Hi John Michael,

    Hope you are enjoying your late autumn weather? A lot of the country here is in serious drought, the city of Sydney had over 100mm (4 inches) of rain fall on it yesterday (after also being in drought). Far out! But so far in this little corner of the continent, things have been OK climate wise (for now anyway, all subject to change at short notice and without warning). Well I guess that is if you ignore the earlier continual frosts that knocked out my apricot and most (but not all) of my other stone fruit crop for the season. I can see why apples are a revered fruit and the quinces brushed off such weather with aplomb. Had the first of the seasons cherries today and they were ripe straight from the tree! Woo Hoo!

    The climate is slowly going askew. I visited the ocean today, as I feel the need to do every now and then. I noticed that the high water mark looked much higher than I’d previously noted it, and the erosion of the dunes had been bad over the winter. I don’t travel much these days, but I have a very soft spot for that part of the world. One of the things that I notice is that there has been a huge upswing in tourism to that part of the world. It was quite shocking to see.

    Are you hearing any reports that ocean levels are rising in your part of the world?

    Cheers

    Chris

  210. @Ben Johnson
    Well, your readers would be wrong there! Check out these guys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drE54ctrHBY if you want to give a visual description of what it might look like (with an apprentice in place of the servomotors of course). If you’re worried about reader disbelief, you could always have the residents of your setting not quite believe it themselves – I’d imagine the people who make and use these sorts of tools to have a very mystical tradition, with lots of sacred geometry and weather-watching in addition to the hours spent making and remaking moulds.

  211. @JMG: Excellent!

    I did a fair bit in high school, too, especially until they cracked down on writing implements etc during the mandatory all-school meeting thing on Wednesdays, because apparently we were supposed to give our full attention to bad student poetry and “inspiring” speeches. Ugh.

    There was also the middle-school effort, which happened largely during math class and involved one of those five-color pens with neon pink/purple/turquoise ink that were available in the nineties. (I don’t entirely remember the other two colors, but I suspect one of them was lime green.) Good times.

    I always feel sort of like the prototypical old grump when the subject of smartphones and class (or of avoiding socialization in public) comes up: kids today don’t know how easy they have it! In my day, when we didn’t want to pay attention in class, we had to do it by hand! In the snow! Uphill, both ways!

  212. @escher, JMG, et al.

    Re “rightward” views and leftward identification

    I feel that I fall within that group, given my two years’ experience on PW. Thing is, I still consider myself generally left, though off at some orthogonal vector that the standard linear framework doesn’t recognize. (The two-axis Political Compass places me in the middle of the lower left quadrant: economically left and socially libertarian. I think the Democrats would be described as economically centered and moderately authoritarian.) I think my belief in limited government and decentralized power generally (along with a certain support for national sovereignty and non-interference with the broader world) are the key sticking-points.

    I was a reliable Democratic voter from the casting of my first ballot in 1992, though I would occasionally support a modest Republican in a Congressional or state-level race. For me, the change began around 2010-11, as I began to really question the standard framing of experience and started looking for alternative understandings. It was about that time that I began to sense the divergence between my views and those of the Democratic party, which I still generally supported out of a lack of other options, but the discontent was there. It was also about that time that I discovered folks like Ched Myers, Shane Claiborne, and a whole “Christian Left”, which induced me to dig deeper and set off on that quest for a direct, authentic experience with the desert god Yahweh (which resulted in a direct, authentic experience with an earth goddess instead). And, of course, it was about that time that I stumbled across the ADR.

    The final straw for me was the nomination of Clinton over Sanders in 2016. Here, finally, the Democrats had a strong and compelling candidate that embodied the fundamental change and break with the neoliberal consensus so desperately needed–and they went with the establishment, status quo candidate instead. That showed me where their values lay in contrast to mine and the gap was sufficiently wide for me to step away.

  213. @Jess I just wanted to tell you that you are for sure not alone. My own religious upbringing had some very scary incidents and I underwent certain heavy spiritual experiences before I was ready to understand them. That, with the fire and brimstone, meant that I was constantly looking for punishment from the gods even when it became quite clear that they were not interested, as JMG notes.

    The first time I picked up a tarot deck 20 years ago I was half sure the walls were going to bleed but my desire for experience and a certain amount of inherent contrariness were enough to get me started – Don’t ever tell me what NOT to do 😉 Also, fear is the enemy, unless a lion is chasing you.

    But those feelings are deep, and I just wanted to say that I understand. It has taken a lot of mental and emotional energy to work on my wholeness and we all have to play our hand, but I know that if I hadn’t had to untangle all those knots they put in me I could have been doing other things. Anyway, that’s the wind I’ve been bending against all these years. Sounds like it’s been blowing for you, too.

  214. @escher

    From my birth in 1970 until sometime in late 2016 I have been considered faaaaaaaaaaar radical left. And I would like to point out I have lived more than 40 of my 48 years in California (half in the LA area, half in the Bay Area).

    What I have experienced here in the Bay Area since Trump is not “left” or “right”, it’s more a sort of insanity IMO.

    One of the people I have befriended at work is na African American/Native American originally from the mid-west who wears cowboy attire, is a Republican and wears a confederate flag belt buckle (you can see why a normal person would want to get to know him, at least in my world of curious humans). He is wonderful and wicked smart and just a super cool human. He recently told me he’s afraid to speak at work, and has lost the majority of his friends since Trump was elected. On campus he has been attacked. He regularly overhears conversations about what morons people are from the mid-west, or people that are Republicans. He has endured incredible abuse, but it’s all considered ok here, because…Trump. He’s actually the person who taught me that the Cherokee owned African slaves (he is the product of that), but of course that history is not mentioned. He also told me he has experienced more overt discrimination and bullying here in the Bay Area than in the mid-West. Does this sound like a place full of peace loving “leftists” concerned with human rights?

    I really wish he would write a essay for the student newspaper, but he needs his job and is nearing retirement.

  215. My #walkaway: I should let you all know that I was VERY active. I phone banked for Gavin Newsom’s lieutenant governor bid, phone banked for Obama, phone banked for Kerry, campaigned in person for Obama in Vegas.

  216. Re: Escher’s question about political swings

    (Hand goes up)

    I’ve always been a 3rd path/party sort, but until ’16 it was a Green Party lean…

  217. JMA,
    Ive done the exercise a few times and now I’m wondering if I need to go back to it. I was able to focus for 2:40 the first time before my mind was swamped with other thoughts, 3:10 the second, and 3:25 the 3rd. I just assumed my will power was stronger than average, and it generally is, I quit smoking cold turkey years ago, I fast successfully at will these days, and so on. My very Leo nature may have something to do with that. But now I’m wondering if there’s another level of focus I need to go back and attempt to discover!
    Cheers.

  218. @Caryn!!!! Welcome back! I was just thinking of you right before Thanksgiving and wondering how you were. You popped into my head and I won’t even try to understand why and how. Maybe while you are in Florida you can coach them on how to vote and tally up election results in time for the 2020 election. ha-ha

  219. Romance stories? Omg I’m laughing so hard. Not because of the suggestion because of my history of those kind of suggestions.

    When I was in my 20’s I declared I was either going to get married or have kids. Not both. By 31 had done both.
    When I had kids, I declared I was never going to stay home with them because that was for women who had no goals in life. Aside from part-time jobs, I’ve been home.
    When they left for school, I said good because I was never going to homeschool. And I’ve been homeschooling 10 years now. Then I said I’d never homeschool high school, and high school has been my favorite part of homeschooling.

    When I wrote this book, I saw quite a number of women in NaNoWriMo were writing romance, and I said “yuck, I would never write romance stories”.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha

    So, yeah, I’ll be writing some fiction now, probably romance.

  220. For Patricia Ormsby who wrote, “…the way smart meters have, the radiation from which is even more harmful than that from smartphones.” Hi Patricia. I was a radar tech in the USAF and worked for the telephone co. for many years, and I have followed the “microwave debate” over the years. I use a flip phone for emergencies only, since finding a payphone if you need help when on the road is nearly impossible. I advocate prudent avoidance, but I question your statement on smart meters. Certainly, the radiation is non-ionizing (a good thing). But I find info on duty cycle, and power output to be quite scarce. The amount of data being sent must be very tiny, and thus I’d guess the duty cycle to be correspondingly tiny. What might concern me more is where the central polling devices are located. Those would have to operate more constantly than the device attached to your home, and I’d like to know if one were in my neighborhood. For the record, my bedroom is on the opposite end of my house from where the utilities come in and are metered, which is comforting.

  221. I think our “compassion” for the caravan is tied to our endless need to buy things. Here’s the line of thinking – We can’t say no to the thousands of people who want to enter the country and claim asylum. We are a rich country and can support them. They deserve a better life.

    To admit that we can’t support them, essentially buy/spend more money on more people because these are people who don’t have employment so we will have to supply food and housing and medical care for them, then we would have to admit we are a poorer country than we think.

    JMG has said that nothing terrifies Americans more than looking like they are poor.

    Half the country loves to spend money it doesn’t have on people the other half didn’t ask to be here. I had an uncle that would go to the bank and withdraw money in $100 bills because he would like to be seen as a big spender although he worked a low paying job. It’s the same thing. It’s kinda the height of faux rich.

  222. Twitter – there is an upside to it.

    Journalists from the major publications are regularly disputed by regular people bringing up previous articles that argues against what the journalist wrote or fills in information the journalist left out.

    Take something simple like the use of tear gas at the border. The major media all the run the story with exact same photo (you can only refer to and talk of this story with the image of the woman running with two children in diapers as a reference point) and someone points out – hey the LA Times did a story back a couple years ago on the use of tear gas a record number of times in one year. Then someone else pulls up the data from the Border Patrol’s website on the number of times they used tear gas for the past 6 years and shows its been less the last two years than any year under Obama. Oops! Narrative broken. Orange man not bad? Does not compute!

    And then you get the takes like this from liberal twitter “today I learned that the use of tear gas was frequent at the border for years so it’s not a Trump problem, its an American problem.”

    So they start with Trump and Republicans are terrible and they are back to declaring American terrible and this country is awful. In the process they are destroying the major media publications and journalists because this fact-checking happens every day for every story.

    This is my problem with the the left/progressives/Democrats/liberals for the past decade or more – and I did identify with this group at one point – is this – if you say the country is horrible over and over again, it makes people give up wanting to do anything to improve the country. They stop trying and they don’t work together because what is the point? Its a horrible place, might as well just stop thinking about it and go do something else.

    Plus – It’s just an endless stream of criticism from the left on the right colors of people weren’t there, or not enough women, or someone said something I didn’t approve of. I don’t know when it is going to stop or how.

  223. I don’t know the specifics of which regulations Trump has gotten rid of and that is of utmost importance. Voluntary ain’t gonna work with the big corporates. There does have to be regulation. But lots of regulations are nonsense and actually put there by the big guys to outlaw the competition.

  224. @Will J, good for you! It can be a challenge going phoneless (payphones are probably nonexistent in the US now), but where there is a Will (had to), there is a Way!

    @Shane again, for me as a total outsider to the cell phone phenomenon, the freakiest thing has been watching people’s personality change after they first acquired one. I couldn’t even talk about it with anyone, because of course it was totally subjective and I was highly biased, and it could have been the liberating aspect of having the ability to call for help right at your fingertips, because it was mostly women, including grown women in whom I noticed the changes the most. Broadly speaking, they became less compassionate and more aggressive. In one extreme case, a kind-hearted school teacher I’d known for years, as we flew hang gliders together, turned around and become a super b*tch, marrying for money, then having affairs openly, ordering people around until they just stopped tolerating her, then skipping Japan entirely, going off to Australia, where they last I heard she was living with her new boyfriend, and her doctor husband was all alone in Japan, wringing his hands in total stupefaction. In most cases, they became a little less pleasant and then dropped their friendship with me after a while, especially as I didn’t like it when they used their phone too close to me.

  225. On whether the liberals consciously understand that illegal immigrants give them access to cheap labor, I tend to think most don’t, nor do most actually use such labor.

    Instead, the elites who own the media and the congress and pay the lobbyists have learned how to manipulate people in their group affiliations. They play upon certain emotions and give them some images, and all their pawns fall in line, doing there work for them.

    The utter lack of suspicion about the narratives they are fed constantly amazes me, and if anything this is what most annoys me as I feel the dots are all there.

  226. I had commented several open posts ago that the DOD audit was squashed by Congress. Apparently not! Wasn’t sure if you saw this but the first ever audit of the DoD was completed. Trump said two weeks ago he would never forgive Obama for what he did to the military and I wonder if this audit and that statement are connected. Obviously we are getting the bs of the audit and much more was uncovered. Sometimes in my darker thoughts I wondered if we were intentionally being spread around the globe and weakened with awful equipment so we could be taken over by China or another country. It feels like the powerful have given away all the good patents and inventions we create here to China, including for military equipment.

    https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/afr/fy2018/DoD_FY18_Agency_Financial_Report.pdf

    Here’s the official statement –
    More than 1,200 auditors conducted over 900 site visits at over 600 locations across the DOD and examined hundreds of thousands of items.

    Auditors evaluated data for accuracy and completeness to verify counts, location and condition of military equipment, real property and inventory. Auditors also tested for security vulnerabilities in DOD business systems and validated the accuracy of personnel records and actions, such as promotions and separations.

    “The release of the first-ever Department of Defense audit is a historic accomplishment and indicates our commitment to accountability and reform. We conducted the audit to facilitate transparency with Congress and the American taxpayer and to determine corrective actions to instill long-term discipline,” Patrick M. Shanahan, deputy secretary of defense, said.

    Multiple DOD organizations received the highest rating of unmodified or “clean” audit opinions, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Civil Works; the Military Retirement Fund; Defense Health Agency – Contract Resource Management; Defense Contract Audit Agency; and the Defense Finance and Accounting Services Working Capital Fund. The Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Fund and the Defense Commissary Agency received modified opinions, which means they do not comply with generally accepted accounting principles but financial statements are fairly presented.

    With a department-wide audit, some organizations are new to the audit process. These organizations received a disclaimer, meaning multiple issues need to be fixed. The auditors provided favorable feedback that Army, Navy and Air Force properly accounted for major military equipment and military and civilian pay. Auditors found no evidence of fraud. They identified issues the department needs to address, including inventory, real property and information technology security.

    The department started the audit in December 2017 in order to find problems and fix them. DOD is committed to fixing these issues and continuing to improve the ability to defend the nation while being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.

  227. Oh gosh, great new vocabulary items this week! “Liberoid” and “shrillification,” which I shall use to help express my observations, probably forgetting where I got them from. So a big thank you to all for this lovely conversation!

  228. Quos ego,

    “and what is often overlooked, and probably makes no sense to most Americans: the loss of public services. Europeans don’t want less government: quite the opposite, actually. We pay high taxes, and we expect good value for them. ”

    Right. What you get is college education and medical care. What we get are wars.

  229. People have images in their minds about ice ages, in which large megafauna are roaming through snowy steppes. The glaciation affects mostly the northern hemisphere but leaves most of the land mass of the earth in temperate and tropical climates. It might even be more pleasant there at those times, as they tend to be too hot. Furthermore, once the glaciers have built up, huge areas open up along all coastlines, which is where people prefer to live. If you look at maps of the land masses during a glaciation you’ll see how much bigger all the land masses are and how much more closely connected the island areas are.

  230. @Nestorian Christian:

    You said “proving that evolution is ultimately not scientific, but just another faith-based belief system”

    I wasn’t around to see your earlier comments, but you incorrect here.
    You are conflating philosophy and religion.
    All religion is built on philosophy but philosophy doesn’t demand religion.
    Your philosophy may be theist or deist or atheist but that is not faith. Philosophical conclusions are not faith, they are reasoned conclusions from the evidence afforded by your epistemology.
    Religion builds upon a philosophy that allows for a god by telling us about that god. THAT is where faith comes in.
    If I am an atheist that holds to evolution, my philosophy doesn’t allow for a god, I have no religion, and therefore no faith. My further commitment to evolution is merely consistent with that, in recognizing a theory of origins that does not include a creator.

  231. Yep, I plan on keeping up with it. I’ve just been laid off for the winter, so its something I hope to build on in the months ahead. Sustaining this exercise in addition to a daily Ogham reading over the next month is my goal. Pretty modest, but it’s what I can honestly manage.

    Also, wrt people’s attitudes toward the left, I also feel really disillusioned. For what it’s worth, I’m under 30, and I spent a number of years in graduate school at a fairly liberal institution. At the time, I didn’t really have the ability to criticize what bothered me about the culture. Since leaving school and having some space to reflect, and get other perspectives, I think there’s no question that at it’s worst, the left can be really stifling, intolerant of anything that doesn’t conform to a rigid but ephemeral set of opinions, and super nitpicky about every tiny detail in a discussion. Moreover, in virtue of some people on the left being young and really emotional, they can come off as reactionary, lacking nuance, condescending and a bit like know-it-alls. And of course, this portrayal is what garners media attention, and de-legitimizes their cause. On the other hand, I believe in the leftist vision of eliminating and alleviating unjust hierarchies in society, and that this project is the American spirit at its best. I really think this is something that lots of people believe in and I hope can happen within the existing mechanisms of US government. It’s just a shame that a great cause can be derailed so easily, not least of all by its proponents.

    That’s a long-winded way of saying, I can what both sides are getting at! 🙂

  232. “Separately, I’ll wonder aloud here how many of the folks expressing non-lefty opinions in this space placed themselves somewhere on the moderate to far left, say, five or ten years ago.”

    Yup.

  233. Over the past few years, reading the posts and comments here, particularly the rants about liberals, make me feel like I’ve stepped through the looking glass. They are so much different than my day-to-day experience in the part of the country where I live.
    I tend to lean a little toward the liberal side, particularly on social issues, while also being a fiscal conservative. I live in what is usually considered the “reddest” county of the “reddest” state in the country. Having an “R” after your name on a ballot usually garners you at least 80 % of the vote in a race between a Republican and a Democrat. As a result, the Democrats don’t usually bother to field a candidate in most political races. Most of the political debates consist of Republicans accusing each other of being RINOs or of not supporting Trump enough.
    We are a rural state so we don’t have a local TV station for the news. The TV station that the FCC considers to be our “local” station for news is located 250 miles away in another state. Most people get their news from the radio or newspaper and almost all of the news stations get their news feeds from Fox. The talk radio stations carry right-wing shows exclusively, with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity getting the prime spots. The local newspaper is careful to only carry conservative columns on the opinion page and is subject to vituperative letters to the editor if anything that might be considered a liberal viewpoint ends up in the paper. In other words, it’s a conservative paradise and, in fact, I know several people who have moved to our area from other states because they can, without too much effort, avoid ever being exposed to a liberal viewpoint.
    Because the Republicans have such complete control, most of the abuses that the rants about liberals on this site identify occur here, but are on the conservative side. For example, a few years ago, the Governor and state legislature were able to prevent a speaker on the left from appearing at the only university in the state by threatening to defund the school if he was allowed to speak.
    JMG mentioned in a recent post that Trump opponents are still having a tantrum 20 months after his election. People here are still having a tantrum about Obama being elected ten years later. Very rarely does a day go by when I don’t have at least one post on my Facebook feed saying that Obama wasn’t a legitimate President. The two most common are Obama’s face pasted on an ape’s body or a photo of Obama stuck into some picture purporting to show him doing something illegal or immoral with the caption of “Not My President” or “Worst President Ever”. The most popular one this summer, even before he began to speak out in the campaigns, was of a guy squatting with his pants pulled down and defecating on Obama’s face with the caption “Share if You Hate Obama”.
    A few weeks ago, someone mentioned that they were going to drop their Facebook account because the posts were mostly liberal. My account is exactly the opposite – approximately 95 percent of the posts are conservative and pro-Trump. The pro-Trump posts are generally a type that would make a North Korean dictator blush. They generally consist of a photograph of Trump, Trump and Melania, or Trump and his family taken from a low angle as you would see them if you were fittingly on your knees and is either backlit with a golden glow or is shown with just barely visible halos above Trump and his families’ heads. The caption is usually along the lines of “Thank God that President Trump is here to save us” or “Share if you love President Trump”. There were also some earlier in his presidency in the style of the old soviet workers posters. They usually showed an oversized muscular Trump striding along with some kind of weapon in his hand and various black, brown, red or yellow people cowering in front of him with a caption something similar to “Help President Trump take our country back”.
    Before things became so hyper-partisan, the voters often elected a Democrat as governor to keep an eye on the legislature which is overwhelmingly Republican. Recently, however, we have had Republican governors, also. As a result, it has recently come to light that, even though the state is supposedly broke, there have been at least upper tens and probably hundreds of millions of dollars of secret contracts and payments made to Republican donors. The Republican State Auditor has also been unable to find a way to make public information on where State monies are going.
    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the entire US isn’t totally stacked against conservatives as the rants about liberals seem to imply and that corruption exists whenever Republicans have total power, also.

  234. RE: immigration,
    people’s attitudes about the political issue of immigration don’t extrapolate to xenophobia or anti-immigrant sentiment anymore. 20 years ago, yes, but now, not so much. Among the working class in the red states, intermarriage and cultural acceptance of Latin American immigrants is at an all time high, but I think people are able to separate their personal attitudes about Latin American immigrants from their political views of immigration. Most working class people realize that Latin American immigrants are fellow working class people just like them, yet they also realize that they don’t benefit from uncontrolled immigration, either.

  235. @Nastarana,
    I don’t have the source to quote, but I read where under the “growing for the tobacco companies” program after the Federal tobacco program ended, the Feds ended up giving MORE money to the tobacco companies than under the Federal tobacco program, which just set prices and quotas and did NOT involved direct subsidies. Maybe someone more knowledgeable could help here…

  236. Sigh, I was just thinking of how many friends I’ve lost to smartphones and their attendant pop culture bubble over the years. Friends I used to have meaningful relationships and intelligent conversations. Gone. After a while of constantly saying “no” to “have you seen (program, movie, social media meme)?” and showing a complete lack of interest, you just lose touch. IMHO, it’s like a death, I mean, they might as well be dead.

  237. Could you please upgrade your website to feature a Reddit-like commenting section, so that discussion threads are organized in the comments.

  238. JMG,

    1. Can you explain what is meant by the term Cultural Marxism in America to you (and maybe other Anglosphere countries)? I see that term thrown around a lot but am not certain I understand what is meant by the people using it. I vaguely get it seems to be akin to authoritarianism (which word itself seems to be an evilly eeeevil word among anyone whom self-identifies as ‘not-a-low-brow’).

    on a separate note:

    2. I’m currently reading Michelle Gelfland’s book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World [isbn: 1501152939 ] and its giving me a new way of seeing cultures and civilizations and even career professions. Rule breaking-leaning individuals and parenting (ie leniency toward rule-breaking in their kids) occurs when there’s a preponderance of financial and food/drink/shelter stability, low crime, free speech, low rates of environmental disasters, etc. Rule adherence occurs when the predisposition for the opposite is more dominant. Apparently this holds true from the research she and fellow researchers have done in countries as culturally divergent and ethnically varied as the U.S. and Singapore – to give one example.

    If her and fellow researchers research continues to hold up then increasing cultural tightening (punishing anyone seen as a rule breaker – a tendency she says self-described left-leaners and elites both score higher on than most general populations in the countries they’ve studied) is about to become more common everywhere. The EU and Asia too (EU overall scores loose, China scores tight). History weighs heavily on the tight-loose scale. Regions with higher incidences of war, crime, food instability, high population loads to affordable food availability and most surprisingly – mother nature’s disasters = cultural tightness. Cultural tightening is labeled by elites as ‘authoritarianism’ whom have a tendency in their own lives and with their own kids to act out the rule-breaking looseness they value.

    I’ve considered it is possible that the appearance of Liberoids – though they don’t even recognize it in themselves – are a manifestation of this increasing cultural tightening that occurs whenever instability upticks. If so then my hope for the decline of the Liberoid might not happen as swiftly as I would wish. In fact…continued upticks in instability could simply re-enforce the insistence that conditions no longer allow unfettered free speech for the population they are a part of.

  239. @JMG, thank you for your advice.

    @Tripp, nice song! I liked the steel drums : )

    @Denys, I like JMG’s idea of a romance. Maybe the mother has to hire a specialized tutor for one of the subjects, and is enamored by how well the instructor gets along with her child.

    @David BTL, thank you for your comments on last month’s open thread.

  240. I had a bit of a concept synthesis this morning over coffee with my wife that I’d like to share.

    It’s based on our host’s repeated admonition to let solutions come slowly from the subconscious instead of trying to force the answer out consciously, but it starts with a permaculture concept. I’m paraphrasing here, but the idea is to make small inexpensive changes instead of implementing some grand design all at once. That way if it doesn’t work the way you expected you haven’t wasted a lot of time, money, and energy on it, and don’t have to suffer much from Kunstler’s “psychology of previous investment.”

    It’s that whole concept that the spiral represents, and the spiral is in fact the primary symbolic gesture of permaculture.

    It’s not a very sexy idea from the perspective of today’s pervasive “go big or don’t bother” approach, but it may go some way toward addressing the consternation over why the resident commentariat here is as right-leaning as it as.

    We really didn’t like Ellijay, GA when we first moved here 7 years ago. All we saw was what it didn’t have. There was no hip coffee shop. No brewpub. No Progressive ideals. But there was plenty of quaint – a cobbler, antique shops galore, feed stores with wood floors, and way too many soon-to-be Trump voters.

    We came in fired up, ready to “build community,” ready to open that hip coffee shop and later the brewpub if need be. I mentioned my run-in with the demon-guy upthread, and that was also a product of this “go big” attitude. He had lots of land and natural resources in a prominent place close to town, and we were desperate for a way to show Ellijay what we could do, what it should be doing. As I also mentioned, it was an unqualified disaster, and a huge setback for us psychologically.

    So we did it again 3 years later…same story (not as close to town and the guy was just a smarmy douchebag, not a psycho). We just couldn’t allow life to work the way it needed to work – organically, incrementally, subconsciously. We had to CHANGE things in this backward hellhole. The sooner the better.

    So after spinning our wheels for 5 years, doing the good work that nobody was appreciating the way we thought it should be appreciated, we decided to sell out and try somewhere else. Thank the gods that 4 months later, when we had a full price offer for our house on the table (representing a healthy profit for us), we had come to our senses.

    So many locals expressed their displeasure at the idea of us moving away and taking our business with us. It was very touching. What had we ever done to deserve their love? Our kids were invested in jiu jitsu with a great coach. Our business was having a really good year. It’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and we had started to make contact with the spirits of the place. (Some of those more noun-like than we had ever thought possible.)

    And here we were staring at more money than we’d ever seen at one time and a chance to move away from Trumpland. And we turned it down. Flat out refused it and took our house off the market.

    Since then we’ve seen several young Ctrl-lefties move into our town fired up about “building community” and getting people moving on Progressive issues. Now we just roll our eyes patiently, thinking, they’ll figure it out. Or they’ll move away. We already HAVE community here. A very strong one, that is better than average when it comes to getting out and doing things together. This place is amazing. We were recently voted the 2nd “nicest” town in the USA, for heaven’s sake! And it wasn’t because of us, or any other newcomers. That spirit was already here.

    It’s just not the sort of community lefties have in mind when they move in. WE had to change our attitude in order to see it. WE had to get to know those dastardly Trump voters first-hand. And it took TIME. It took EFFORT. We had to open ourselves to the spirit of the place and not try to steamroll it with our own.

    And we’re so glad we did. I would much rather spend time with Trump-voting hunters, mechanics, and plumbers these days than with just about ANYBODY the Left can offer up. I’m really disappointed with what my people are doing. It’s so ugly and you just can’t see it. THOSE people are mostly GOOD people. And I don’t know how to help except to share my story and hope that it touches somebody out there.

    One of our best friends is about to leave Ellijay FOREVER, because she can’t make the mental adjustment. And I know she would be so happy here if she could just get past her hangups about what her forever community is supposed to be. We’re so sad to lose her, and so saddened by the general state of affairs on the leftward end of American politics. It really is you folks who need to reconsider.

    (Soapbox now safely stowed in the upright and locked position)
    Tripp

  241. If anything, I’ve noticed more of a change in attitude from immigrants. 20 years ago in KY, if you were a güero who spoke Spanish, you could count on a bright smile and a lively conversation. Now, KY has become more like California–they simply will not engage w/you in Spanish, and, a lot of times, you get a dirty look. IDK if this is just SJW toxicity about “cultural appropriation”, but the wall sure has seemed to go up around culture and language.

  242. @Shane W.
    Re: Next Awakening generation.

    Michael comments that the first wave of the next Awakening generation started being born in 2016. If history repeats, which it has a tendency to do, they’ll start making their influence felt sometime around 2034, when they’re 18. There’s also a comment to the effect that they may make their influence felt earlier.

    As far as tobacco use? By that time the accumulated catastrophes and their aftermath due to our overpopulation and abuse of the land and ourselves will make things like tobacco and other habit-forming drugs very rare except in medical and ritual settings. We simply will not have the resources to spend on growing things that have no practical use.

    @all
    Re: frequent flyers, etc.

    Michael comments that eventually virtual reality (the grown-up form of teleconferencing) will replace a lot of travel, not just for conferences but also for sight-seeing. This is not, of course, the direction that JMG sees.

    @Onething, etc.
    Re: Apocalypse

    JMG seems quite specific that what he calls “apocalyptic thinking” involves the idea that after the apocalypse, all problems will be solved and we’ll live happily ever after in a state of perfect something-or-other.

    Yes, major changes do happen. Sometimes they have far-reaching and unforeseeable consequences, like agriculture. But they have never resulted in a state of perpetual bliss, where there are no major problems and every day is simply perfect. It’s that concept that leads to the frequent comment that Heaven sounds as boring as Heck.

  243. [I’m afraid this is much longer than I intended although I’ve tried to gloss over as much detail as possible while remaining true to events. Even worse it’s not even reached the tumultuous period of the last 5 days. I’m submitting it here in any case on the off chance that you’ll think it interesting for your audience despite the absence of concision. No hard feelings either way – it was good to get this bit out of my system.]

    Brexit – how we got here.

    JMG suggested @Shane ask British readers about what’s going on in this area, and there have been several interesting (to me) developments in the last few weeks. I thought I’d wait until the weekend to write a little on this subject because it’s a bit involved. Unfortunately just describing the political events of the last two years in minimal detail is slightly over eleven hundred words. If our host allows, I’ll describe the situation up until a week ago with the announcement of a final deal in this piece and then if JMG allows, what has happened since in another comment next week.

    There is one aspect that is directly relevant to this blog because of the Mundane Astrological analysis that was published here in August. At the time, the prediction of a ‘No deal’ Brexit, also known as a ‘crashing out’ Brexit, or ‘trading under WTO rules’ Brexit seemed improbable. As I write, on the last day of November, there now seems to be a plausible sequence of events that could lead to this situation, and I’d give it give odds of better 50-50. I’m expecting those odds to change on the 10th of December when Parliament will debate the current offer from the EU and in all likelihood reject it. That will be significant moment.

    What is particularly ironic is that the history of events that have led to this juncture have arisen almost exclusively from the actions of very rich and well connected individuals who I’d judge as fairly ardent Remainers. That’s speculation of course because the referendum was a secret ballot, but most of them have made no secret of their dismay at the original result.

    The first event in this sequence was shortly after the news of the result was announced, the Remain supporting Prime Minister – David Cameron resigned, and after a short political campaign was replaced by a new Remain supporting Prime Minister – Theresa May. A ‘Department for Exiting the EU’ was established, headed up by a Leave supporting minister called David Davis. Theresa May had previously been in charge up the Home Office – one of the great offices of state in the Uk for the past several years. She is driven, competent, but is not great at public speaking, or with people; she lacks the common touch. It’s a fair comment to say that she would be a better civil servant than politician.

    Then two very important things happened. An expensive court case was launched by one of the wealthy and well connected individuals I mentioned earlier called Gina Miller. The case was ostensibly to give Members of Parliament a meaningful vote on any deal that the government might negotiate with the EU. I’ve used ‘ostensibly’ here as there was a widespread view that the case was about putting a Parliament (of well connected and wealthy MPs) in a better position to overturn such a deal. She won that case.

    The second event was that the Conservatives were riding high in the polls and Theresa May then launched an entirely optional general election that, lacking the ability to make speeches and connect with people and their concerns, considerably reduced the number of Conservative MPs although they were still the largest party.

    There was a period of haggling and eventually a deal was done with a very small Northern Irish party called the DUP. The U here stands for Union and their main policy is that the chunk of the island of Ireland called “Northern Ireland” in the UK must always remain part of the UK. There is a lot of very grim history there, much of it within living memory so this is not a mere detail. The DUP promised to support the Conservatives in Parliament and with their 10 Mps that was enough for the Conservatives to be able to propose and push through legislation. To be able to form a government in other words.

    At this point things went fairly quiet on the official front for a while although there was an endless flood of stories in the news and on about how the UK will be destroyed economically in the forthcoming departure. Then in July this year ‘Chequers’ happened.

    Chequers is the name of the large country house where the Prime Minister goes at weekends; it’s an official residence, it doesn’t belong to her personally. She suddenly announced that a meeting of all Ministers would be held there and a proposal was announced that was going to be the deal that the UK would put to the EU. The proposal was a very weak form of departure, and many thought it to be almost ‘Brexit In Name Only’. BRINO, protecting the economic interests of the wealthy and well connected while giving very little of what is currently understood as a departure. David Davis, who was nominally in charge of negotiating this very proposal resigned almost at once and was followed by one or two other more minor characters. It has since emerged that neither he nor his department had been much involved in the proposal that was finally put to the EU. Another Leave supporting MP, Dominic Raab was put in charge of the Department for Exiting the EU.

    There was another period of official silence which ended a few weeks ago when the Prime Minister announced a new, even more Remain friendly deal had been agreed by both sets of negotiators. This involved the UK being part of a temporary customs union with the EU which makes it follow all the rules but have no say in them. It pretty much prevents the signing of free trade deals with other parts of the world during this period. The UK will also temporarily follow all the trade standards thus remaining part of the single market, but Northern Island will be treated as a special case having to follow even more rules in order to avoid a customs border between the state of Ireland and the bit of the island of Ireland that is Northern Ireland. For this privilege, the Uk will pay 39 billion Pounds to the EU to cover outstanding liabilities? a divorce bill? Danegeld? Finally, if no free trade agreement is negotiated between the UK and EU then exit from the customs union must be agreed jointly by the EU and the UK (this bit has an odd name – the backstop). The minister in charge of the Department of Exiting the EU (Dominic Raab – remember him?) more or less resigned on the spot, and as before it turned out that neither he nor his department had been involved in the negotiation.

    This takes us up to 25th of November 2018; the cast is in place, and now the curtain rises on a piece of theatre that could very easily lead to No Deal. Grab your popcorn.

  244. If I might clarify, I’m thinking the next Awakening generation will do a full frontal assault on the pursuit of longevity and make the bold assertion that the fact that smoking and other things shorten one’s lifespan is irrelevant.

  245. @pat o,
    there are still a lot of payphones in Canada, I’m assuming b/c government regulations don’t allow them to be removed like they were in the US

  246. @John Roth,
    IDK, that seems neoprohibitionist to me. Considering that tobacco and alcohol, among other things, have always had cultural roles to play in society ever since they were discovered, I’m suspicious of the idea that resources in the future won’t be spent on them. They are, after all, social lubricants…

  247. @Honyocker,
    well, seeing as I don’t use social media or watch TV, I’m never exposed to that and only hear about it secondhand. Makes me even more committed to not use social media or watch TV.

  248. Hi JMG,

    Two questions for you if you don’t mind.

    1. Over the past few months that I’ve been following your blogs and reading your books, the idea of the Higher Self has come up many times. I find the idea to make sense of a lot of my experiences in life, and also fits with how I naturally have conceptualized my spiritual experiences in my life. The interesting thing from my perspective having grown up evangelical Christian is the connection between the Higher Self and the evangelical conception of God. The more you have talked about the Higher Self and how it works in a person’s life, I can’t help but think, “That’s how I and many of my evangelical friends used to (or still do) think about God.” I think it is possible that many Christians with less orthodox and rigid views of the divine are really praying to and experiencing their Higher Selves. Do you think this is possible?

    2. You have mentioned recently that usually people studying magic are drawn to some type of mysticism to balance out the magic practice. I have definitely felt this urge as well. Would the AODA druidry curriculum count as a mystical practice to balance the magical practice of Celtic Golden Dawn work? Obviously the two seem to complement each other well.

  249. Re: Oil Price
    I think a factor I haven’t heard mentioned is the effect of Iran/Venezuela supply on the price of oil. Currently this low cost oil is being kept off the market by a regulation/sanctions “dam”. As the price of oil increases over the marginal cost of production in these countries it put more pressure on this “dam”. Since the USA is the one committed to this “dam” the burden of keeping it up will fall to them. High oil prices will hurt the US far more than Russia. This is going to be an issue for the foreseeable future. Last time the pressure got too high oil/gas from Iran was “sold” to Turkey using gold.

    This is a question I have been wanting to hear JMG opinion o9n. What are yours thoughts on the Iran/Venezuela issue (however far reaching) and any ideas on how to mitigate it?

  250. JMG and Escher,

    My hand is raised, too. Since moving to Boise, Idaho, from Seattle in early 2001, my former vegetarian/vegan, strongly left-leaning life is much changed.

    My Seattle job was as well-paid office fauna at a successful biotech company. Still, that nice paycheck was not enough to offset the cost of living in a city on steroids. When a salesperson in a clothing store showed me a shirt and commented on how “Pacific Northwest” its pattern was, I was quietly horrified. My city was gone, replaced by a stereotype, or a “brand”. (The same phenomenon is in early stages here in Idaho. Sigh.)

    I now have a much lower-paid office fauna job with a state agency, and have seen over these many years, up close and personal, the struggles my office buddies face when family gets laid off from formerly profitable lumber mills; whose kids and grandkids have a tough time making ends meet on call center and construction jobs; hard-working people who cannot afford to buy a house; people whose aged mothers are most unhappy about the new immigrant family next door who will not turn down the mariachi music gone midnight; the list goes on.

    Once, long ago, I would’ve likely thought gee, that’s sad. Get an education, get a better job, move if you must.

    Life is complicated. One size does not fit all. No longer on my lofty urban coastal perch, I see that much more clearly.

  251. Denys, I never understood where this idea that Obama was soft on China came from. Obama was the one who began the disastrous “Pivot to Asia” strategy that saw massive buildup of American naval assets to China’s neighborhood. You’ll never see this in western media, but the truth is that China didn’t begin its island fortification campaigns in the Pacific until after Obama began this aggressive strategy, just as Russia didn’t have a problem with the west until they began building up military bases along their western border. As for the poor state of the American military, this probably has more to do with a corrupt military industrial complex that is perfectly happy to build fighter jets that decapitate its own pilots on using the ejection seat, so long as they get their money in the end, rather than any sort of foreign interference.

  252. i’m curious what your thoughts are about abrupt climate change, arctic blue ocean event, permafrost melt, and the methane bomb. the work of peter wadhams and natalia shakhova and a permian level mass extinction come to mind. we’re already seeing early effects, along with crop failures. additionally i’m curious about the fate of nuclear facilities and attendant waste storage when it all comes apart.

  253. Very interesting post from the Independent, found at American Conservative. It turns out that support among Dems for HRC VS Bernie strongly correlates with their tendency for authoritarianism. This is a stronger correlation than the well known one between Rep and Dems.
    “Results were similar in the YouGov sample and the student sample, the latter of which was even more dramatic—“the probability of voting Clinton increases dramatically from 0.18 to 0.867 as young Democrats shift from the lower end of authoritarianism to its maximum value.”

    I used to post a lot at Kevin Drum’s site, but lately it has become an echo chamber policed by a nest of vipers. Anyone questioning the Wonderfulness of Obama or Clinton, or pointing out that DJT is just doing something Obama used to do, is relentlessly ad hom’d. No counter argument even offered.

    In other words, an authoritarian grouping.

    Fascinating.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/hillary-clinton-voters-are-tilting-authoritarian/

  254. @Roberta,
    I did not take note of the flip flops, that was someone else. Flip flops, I understand. It was the disposable diaper on the school age kid that I took issue with. Disposable diapers and late potty training are first world problems that I wouldn’t imagine people in developing countries could afford–even if they could afford disposable diapers, cost would dictate much earlier toilet training than among privileged Westerners, who can afford to let their kids stay in diapers until the kid decides to stop using them.

  255. Dear John Michael Greer,

    Pogonip asks if anyone else refuses to talk to computers. https://www.ecosophia.net/november-2018-open-post/#comment-27552

    When I can, I refuse. I find being addressed by a machine– most especially with robocalls– insulting. But this is an interesting point, talking to computers. Not everyone minds it. Amazon seems to selling Echo machines (the voice “Alexa”) by the truckload.

    My own sense is, for humanity this is a Rubicon crossed.

    As always, Mr. Greer, I would be very interested to read what you have to say on the subject.

    Kind regards,

    MILLICENTLY LURKING

  256. Escher,

    Go back two or three years and I was starting to get involved in activism on the political left. Then the complete refusal of most of the left to take Trump seriously, the collective meltdown in response to his victory in 2016, and finding out a lot of people on the left felt a man accused of sexual abuse is automatically guilty, since “women never lie” all pushed me to the right.

    Patricia,

    Thank you for the support! I’m not planning to use pay phones, but I have access to a landline, which I suspect will see a lot more use in the near future.

  257. Dear Jess, Might I respectfully suggest that there could be a market among gardeners and farmers for well crafted and well designed greenhouses and maybe barns as well? State of the art greenhouses come from Germany and cost in the high 5 figures. If your husband could produce something of comparable quality locally for less, but still a good price, I think he might find buyers. Some carpenters are making livings in restoration of historic buildings, a process which requires care and attention, and for that reason can’t use the fast fast illegals. I can’t afford a greenhouse, alas, but I would be very interested in a well made and easy to operate cold frame, not something I want to attempt myself, if it were produced by a local crafter, I did not have to pay shipping charges and no plastic were included. No plastic is my personal prejudice because I simply don’t like the stuff, and I put up with it only where I have to, as in computers and freezer boxes.

  258. @Tripp,
    Thanks for replying. Fascinating! I do wonder what, if any, consistent results show up for people that do it regularly, and how it starts to impact behavior. The ‘open window’ mode of concentration was a noticeably different than my ordinary mode of thought. I’ve notice that there is a bell curve in my attempts. When I first start, ‘open window’ mode lasts a few seconds, then upwards of a minute, then it drops off again. I think it’ll end up being good medicine, and when I’m that looking back on current entries a month from now, my journal will start to reflect more clarity in thinking, and consistency in efforts. As for the astrological connection to willpower… I’m a solar Aquarius, Pisces rising, lunar Scorpio, and absolutely no planets in a fire sign; Suffice to say I’m a fickle pickle 😉

  259. @happypandatao–Michelle Gelfland’s observation as you describe it seems pretty obvious to me, but I took a few undergraduate social anthropology courses and like to read history. Traditional cultures become very hidebound if and when they have pushed up to the limits of the resources they can extract from their environment with the technology and social organization they have. If they don’t have a surplus to waste, they don’t have a margin for error. People have to do their socially assigned roles, preferably without complaint.

    Hunter-gatherer groups in biologically rich and diverse areas have more flexibility in how they feed and shelter themselves. Nomads frequently have as a part of their culture raiding the sedentary farmers or other groups of nomads; they take other people’s stuff and that allows them some flexibility in the rules that members of the group follow amongst themselves, as long as they maintain solidarity against outsiders. 18th century pirate ships were the most democratically run crews on the high seas–they elected their captains. Barbarians are like this too; individual exploits are encouraged in barbarian cultures because they are beneficial, not dangerous, to the community. Western culture gets a lot of the stories about heroic individualism from the sagas of northern barbarian peoples like the Vikings.

    Tribal cultures vary a lot in how much conformity they enforce on members of the tribe. Some are very relaxed and some are stifling. It depends on what they have to do to make a living. Americans were able to encourage individualism because they conquered half of a continent that had been radically depopulated by disease, forced most of the remaining native inhabitants off the richest areas, used a lot of slave labor*, and when they had mined the soil, trapped most of the furry animals and overfished the oceans, they were able to exploit a new source of concentrated energy to build an industrial economy. The two periods in American history I’m most familiar with when social rules got relaxed in a big way were the nineteen twenties and the nineteen sixties-seventies. Both of these were economic boom times.

    *Slave labor’s effects are more complicated. One of the most socially conservative and rule bound parts of the US was the area most economically dependent on slave labor. Other civilizations that made heavy use of slave labor were not like this. I think the reason is that in those cultures, the slaves were not a racial caste.

  260. @ Millicently Lurking

    Re Alexa and talking to computers

    My wife has Alexa in her art studio b/c she likes having access to the music selection while she’s working. (It was a gift from her son, who is a tech worker.) I have demurred at the notion of having one at home.

    At Christmas last year, hosted by my step-son and his now-wife, their Alexa was a mini-sensation for the rest of the family. The grandkids, in particular, discovered her rather impressive collection of flatulence noises…

    Such is the trajectory of Progress!

  261. Christopher Henningsen – Impressive video.

    Shane (and obliquely JMG) – Yeah, it feels that way to me too sometimes. Like, even when I’m spending time with my parents, I’m not really, because they’re no longer in this world.

    John Roth – If I have children the time is nigh and they’ll be right in that time bracket, so that’s encouraging in a vicarious sort of way. If I can’t change the zeitgeist, maybe I can raise the generation that does. I’ve already got ideas…

    As for tobacco, Native Americans all over this continent, not known for living an energy-intensive lifestyle or having lots of luxury items, had been cultivating it for thousands of years before Europeans ever discovered it. I read once that it’s thought to be the earliest-cultivated plant on the continent. ‘Course, you did mention medical and ritual uses. I’m not knowledgeable enough on particulars to say to what extent tobacco use may have spilled the banks of that qualification before colonization. But based on how much of their scarce resources smokers I’ve known are willing to put toward tobacco, I do think there’ll be enough interest in it to sustain smoking habits for some time to come.

  262. Ashara, of course it’s a massive emotional challenge to think outside the box of the progressivist myth. Progress quite literally fills the place of religion in our culture, and even to contemplate the possibility that it might not be hardwired into the shape of time is deeply traumatizing to many people — just as traumatic as it would be, say, for a devout Christian to suddenly come to the conclusion that God isn’t there any more.

    One measure of the emotional difficulty of that concept is the way that people who’ve just been introduced to it consistently misunderstand it. Consider this comment of yours: ” for humans to spend the next ten million years in a world with the technology level of Bronze Age Mesopotamia and the social dynamics of modern Somalia.” I invite you to try to find a single place in my writing where I predict that, or anything like it. That flight to extreme scenarios is typical; that there might be some middle ground between perpetual progress and a stereotyped vision of the past based on its worst characteristics is even more unthinkable than the idea that progress might not be perpetual.

    I’d like to encourage you to consider a different possibility: that dark ages, like civilizations, come and go; that each civilization explores and develops its own styles of technology and culture; that there’s a certain amount of cumulative buildup of technique — for example, irrigation was invented in Mesopotamia, logic in Greece, and so on — but that each dark age represents a winnowing process where the less useful creations of each culture are discarded and the more useful ones kept; and, crucially, that there’s no one line of development that counts as “progress,” like the axis along which your spiral of history advances — that instead, each civilization explores some part of the notional space of possibility open to human beings, and that over the next ten million years or so countless human civilizations will each “progress” in their own way, along different lines of development, toward goals that in many cases will make no sense to our very narrow notion of human progress at all. That, not some comic-book contrast between modern progress and a caricature of the past, is what I’m talking about.

    Robert, that seems very sensible to me!

    BB, I escape a lot of noise by being an old fuddy-duddy. 😉

    Quos Ego, er, where did I say that government involvement is a bad thing? I’m simply pointing out an important cultural difference between Europe and the less Europeanized parts of the US, which is that a big paternalistic government presence is (as Spengler points out) the natural end point of European social evolution, while North America has its own trajectory and doesn’t share that end point.

    Martin, and of course in such a setting, eating the large herbivores may be the most effective way of getting by. We know from several examples — the Northwest Coast Native American peoples are one of the more famous ones — that you can have complex societies with most of the features of civilization in the absence of agriculture, given an adequate food supply from other sources; it may be that modes of human ecology we’ve never seen, in which (say) mastodon hunting was an abundant source of food, gave rise to complex societies in the glacial or interglacial past.

    Booklover, I suppose it depends on how much you value the empty space where the thing was… 😉

    Chris, it’s a little warmer than usual here; we’ve had one snowfall of any size, and it melted promptly, while a couple of storms that would probably have been snow a decade or two back were rain instead. (I don’t complain; you don’t have to shovel rain off the sidewalk.) Our sea levels are rising faster than in most of the world, because the Gulf Stream current is slowing down and so water is piling up instead of flowing past at the usual rate. Here, it’s not much of a problem yet; further south, they’re getting sea water all over the streets in low-lying areas when a high tide combines with an onshore wind.

    Isabel, oh dear gods, yes. School assemblies! I used to compare them to government rallies in the Communist world, with the student government playing the role of, say, the “elected” government of Bulgaria or Poland, doing what it was told by the ones who had the real power. This was not popular, which was of course why I did it.

    Shane, of course! It’s always popular for elites to insist that democracy doesn’t work because the people won’t do as they’re told by their betters.

    Denys, funny! Still, do you enjoy reading them? if so, that’s a good choice for something to write. As for your point about compassion, that makes a lot of sense.

    Honyocker, I won’t argue a bit. One-party rule always turns corrupt in short order; equally, when there are two parties pushing minor variations on the same policies, the results aren’t good. That’s one of the difficulties with democracy.

    MK, this is the way I do things. if you’d rather have the features you get on Reddit, by all means go there instead.

    Happypandatao, (1) I have no idea what “cultural Marxism” might be. It’s not a term I use, and my few encounters with it suggest that it’s a buzzword without a clear definition. (2) That’s an interesting hypothesis, and makes intuitive sense. I’m not too worried that the liberoids will become the dominant voice in a new, more restrictive social climate, though, because their basic rule is that they get to do whatever they want while everyone else has to follow the rules they lay down. The increasing rate at which they’re turning on their own — I understand, for example, that liberoid icon Neal deGrasse Tyson has now been accused of sexual assault — is typical for a failing movement; I expect to see a populist center as the emerging majority, and while it’ll have its own serious problems, of course, they won’t be the same.

    Jane, you’re most welcome.

    Tripp, thanks for this!

    Andy, many thanks for this — a good concise summary of the increasingly tangled situation on your side of the pond. It’ll definitely be time for popcorn…

    Shane, I bet. The thing is, if you’re going to study something that’s going to have profound effects on your life, do you want to study it from someone whose life works, or from a chronically depressed alcoholic? There’s always the risk, a big one, that what the chronically depressed alcoholic has to teach has some role to play in why he’s stuck in the rut he’s in…

    Kwo, (1) yes, in at least some cases, I suspect that that’s going on. One of the downsides of monotheism is that it really doesn’t give you a lot of options for understanding the complexities of the spiritual world. (2) Actually, the AODA work and the Celtic Golden Dawn work aren’t really complementary — if you’re doing the AODA work you’d be better off practicing the magical system in my book The Druid Magic Handbook, which uses the same symbolism. The mystical dimension of the Celtic Golden Dawn work is still very much under development.

    Matt, that’s something I’m going to have to research — the state of the oil market hasn’t been a central interest of mine for years now — and then discuss later on.

    Methane, the short form is that it’s yet another rehash of the same overdone “we’re all going to diiiiiiieee!” rhetoric we’ve been hearing for the last three thousand years. Climate change is real; it’s almost certainly going to stomp industrial civilization flat, if something else doesn’t get there first; but the myth of apocalypse functions as a “strange attractor” in our collective imagination, twisting things completely out of shape. My book Dark Age America covers the points you’ve raised in great detail.

    Marku52, that doesn’t surprise me at all!

    Millicently, I respond to robots on the phone by saying, “DIE, ROBOT, DIE!” and hanging up, so I think I’m on your side of the question! 😉

  263. Hi Shane W:

    With the cell phone crowd, I have the reverse problem: I say “Did you read…” or “Did you see that news story about…” and get a blank stare. This may be more because they’re Americans than because of cell phones, though. Americans are notorious for having no idea of what’s going on beyond their shores. In my age group (55-65) I think most COULD give up cell phones; after all, these are the same women who, 20 years ago, couldn’t live without Myspace—and they’re still here. Not sure about the younger crowd.

    On the Spanish, try an apologetic smile and something like “I’m sorry, I’m just learning Spanish…” even if you’ve spoken it fluently for 20 years. Seems to help. Maybe the gabachos were unusually rude that day, or maybe the person just finished that Stephen King book with the annoying gabacho who tosses random Spanish words (from different countries, yet) into his conversation.

    One time I got lost and the only person around was a tattooed Latino who looked like a gang member. I tried I’m-sorry-but. Not only was the guy polite, he was positively courtly. He’s the only person outside a restaurant who ever said “En que puedo servirle?” 😄

    I second the request that JMG get a system that allows comments to refer back to each other.

  264. JMG, any sort of response will only confirm to the computer that it has reached a live number, and it will keep calling. And calling. And calling. We let the answering machine get calls from any number we don’t recognize. Except for Ashley, who makes the Mary Kay lady look shy and standoffish, this works.

    Do any ladies of a certain age recall the Mary Kay ladies hovering about the doors of malls, looking for women wearing a lot of makeup and pouncing on same? 😄. I had thought Mary Kay was no longer in business, malls being pretty well extinct, but the other day someone left a catalog, so I guess they’ve switched to the Avon sales methods.

  265. @All (well, Duos Ego, but everyone else as well)

    Re government involvement and limited government generally

    I might be an oddity, but for me, it is not so much about government involvement versus no government involvement–which I see as a false dichotomy, because “government” is not an undifferentiated monolithic thing. Here in the US, at least, we have clear delineations between various levels of government: local, state, and federal. So, it is about government involvement at the appropriate level.

    Our federal charter (the US Constitution) was premised on the notion that the federal government was granted certain, specific, and limited powers–those powers stated within the various Articles. This is the notion of federalism, where the states are semi-sovereign entities unto themselves and not merely administrative districts subdividing the nation. We are (or were) a federal republic of states.

    I am firmly of the opinion that programs, taxes, and decisions should be made at the level of government closest to the people (i.e. the “lowest” level of government) as feasible. Most things should be local decisions, the bulk of what remains should be dealt with at the state level. The federal government should only be dealing with those things which involve its specifically-granted authority (defense, treaties, international trade, etc.). We have, in our march to empire, generally inverted this concept, where the federal government becomes the default for everything. (This was one of my areas of disagreement with Sanders.)

    To my mind, the federal government, being the least accountable and the most dangerous, should be kept on the tightest leash possible.

    By keeping power closer to the people, the people have more of an opportunity to influence the decisions and decision-makers. I have much more access to my city and county government than I do my state representatives and more at the state level than the federal. (Actually, I have direct access to my city government since I sit on city council.) But at the local level, I favor the city doing what it can to promote planning and effective use of property while simultaneously respecting private property rights, which I hold in high regard — my (thus far unsuccessful) attempts to legalize front-yard vegetable gardening being one example.

    Centralization of power and highly-integrated interdependence are dangerous things generally and in particular with respect to the future we face. The consequences of our nation’s decisions will be long-lasting as we follow this trajectory of decline. I maintain that our best possible path forward lay in decentralizing ourselves significantly, seeking local and regional robustness, national self-reliance, and generally allowing different areas to take different paths based on those people’s preferences, capabilities, and resources.

    I don’t know how this makes me right-wing or left-wing, as it doesn’t really fit on the one-dimension spectrum at all. But there you go.

  266. I understand, for example, that liberoid icon Neal deGrasse Tyson has now been accused of sexual assault”

    You misspelled his name! Racist! 😉

    More seriously, from a few women I know, this doesn’t surprise me: I’ve heard a few people who decided I was safe once I started talking politics and they found I was on the right: apparently, from their experience, people on the political left are much more likely to engage in sexual harassment.

    Now that I think about, this may explain why so many woman on the left think it’s a big issue, while so many on the right think it’s less of a problem: they’re generalizing from their own experience, and since they are different in systematic ways, they both have systematic errors.

  267. Hi again: I will take on he Spengler tomes again, but one thing I wanted to add is the part I read about early Christianity, and how the Pauline/Greek/urban version won the day. And that’s what most of us were raised on. But he states more than once that Jesus, as far as we can know, did not have a social reform attitude, and was not preaching it. He was through and through preaching an apocalyptic view of the world. That really surprised me. I still have to ponder what the means to me. Also, I was interested in his description of the world that Jesus was born into, with a very really split, and very real hostility between the peasants living in Judea and the Pharisees, living in the city of Jerusalem. It sounded familiar.

  268. Shane says:
    ” 20 years ago in KY, if you were a güero who spoke Spanish, you could count on a bright smile and a lively conversation. Now, KY has become more like California–they simply will not engage w/you in Spanish, and, a lot of times, you get a dirty look. IDK if this is just SJW toxicity about “cultural appropriation”, but the wall sure has seemed to go up around culture and language.”

    Same thing here, bro. Im working on my Spanish alongside my kids in homeschool and would like to practice with the native speakers.
    Nada…

    Sucks.

  269. John–

    I had an interesting experience last night (well, an interesting time reflecting on that experience anyway) when my wife and I were out to dinner at a local restaurant. Two elements to the experience, one involving our server and the other a busser.

    To take the second one first, we were at the end of our meal and our server had left our bill. A member of the staffer (the aforementioned busser) came up to our table as my wife and I were talking and quietly began collecting our dishes. My wife, being the extravert she is, made a light joke to the woman, who looked up startled-like before smiling quickly and saying “I not speak English” before quickly taking our dishes away. Our server came by a minute later to see if there was anything else we needed and we explained what had happened. I was caught off-guard by an encounter so incredibly vulnerable within this environment (I mean, we’re in Wisconsin, not the Southwest).

    The second aspect involved our server, who was another young-ish woman, late twenties (maybe early thirties — I’m a bad judge of women’s ages). The thing was that she was missing several teeth, not all in one place but three or so scattered across the top. I noticed but focused on politely “not noticing” and having very pleasant conversation with her while we were ordering. (I saw that she tended to use a close-lipped smile.) But I found myself mentally observing my reactions to that image and the cultural assumptions that sprang up in its wake. It was a fascinating, yet very disturbing experience to take several steps back and observe those reactions (and the reactions to those reactions, and the reactions to those reactions to the reactions, ad infinitum). I was challenged by the notion that I was still caught within certain class perspectives.

    Of course, as one great sci-fi author wrote, “Knowing there is a trap is the first step in evading it.”

    The work continues!

  270. #MeToo! David by the Lake said “The two-axis Political Compass places me in the middle of the lower left quadrant: economically left and socially libertarian. ” That’s how I’ve always come out. Thanks – glad to know there’s a few more of us out there.

    @ Tude – Your Cherokee Freedmen’s g-g-grandson sounds like a really neat person! I found out about then through long listening to Native America Calling on NPR. Fascinating and very informative program. (11am-12noon, 89.9 here in Albuquerque.) And shame on the Bay Area. It has gone nastily downhill in the past decade – I’m so glad my daughter and her family moved to Gainesville, FL for much better offers and respect rather than rat’s nest (apologies to the rodents) corporate/academic culture.

    @everyone re: cell phones – I have a fliptop dumb phone of the Star Trek Communicator design. I find it invaluable for simple communication in daily life, such as telling the woman dong my driving for me now that I’m ready to be picked up. Let alone when traveling, and in emergencies! Also, so if someone calls me on the landline and leaves a phone number I have to replay 15 times to decipher, it’s a lot easier to get a text and read it right off. Plus the text stays in the phone forever without any special procedures needed to retrieve it. But the salient point is – * I take in information in print a lot more easily than by ear.*

    Different strokes for different folks. This fliptop phone is a tool, and one I would have a hard time doing without.

    Now, if you want to talk about addiction, turn me loose in a library or bookstore….

    @Shane W – the one thing certain to make the next Awakening Generation indifferent to risks like smoking would be the realization that we will all die of something, sooner or later. I note that in Star’s Reach, this was a minor but ever-present background attitude.

  271. Shane – I’m not a fan of social media or television, either. I am a small farmer who sells directly to my customers, however, and I live in a dead area for cell phone coverage. I have a flip phone for road emergencies, but I can’t use it at my farm. The cheapest way I’ve found to keep in touch with my smartphone addicted customers is through a satellite internet connection and Facebook so I unintentionally get exposed to what they and others are posting there.

  272. @Robert Gibson:
    Thank you for both visual metaphors, the apocalyptic z-coordinate and the fuzzy-edged image!

  273. I don’t identify as a “Trump supporter” and my reaction to Trump hagiography is the same “eww” that I respond to any hagiography (again, thank the gods I avoid Faceplant and all other social media). I voted narrowly based on tariffs, retreat from empire, and detente w/Russia. So far, Trump’s delivered on the tariffs–international relations are a strange kabuki theater right now, so I’m not really sure what’s going on w/the last two. I’m an avid secessionist and would like to see the US dissolved post haste, and on this front, I’m pleased w/Trump. To those who exclaim, “He will tear the country apart!”, my reply is, “and not a moment too soon!” I have a bad habit of laughing hysterically at all of Trump’s outrageous outbursts–this earns me the opprobrium of progressives, for whom any outrageous outburst of Trump is supposed to be taken w/the Utmost Seriousness and the Utmost Disapproval. Again, I’m glad that I don’t have social media and avoid TV, so I’m not constantly bombarded by Trump’s outrageousness and don’t have TDS/OMB on steroids due to overexposure to every outrageous thing Trump supposedly does

  274. My take on how a no-deal (or “hard”) Brexit is most likely to occur is a follows:

    1. Parliament votes down Withdrawal Agreement.
    2. Labour table vote of no confidence vote in the Government.
    3. DUP tell Conservatives that they will only vote for the Government if Theresa May resigns.
    4. Theresa May resigns.
    5. Government wins vote of no confidence.
    6. Conservatives either:
    a) anoint a caretaker leader who will most likely be a Brexiter, or
    b) elect a new leader who will most likely be a Brexiter.
    7. New leader announces new policy of “leaving responsibly on WTO terms.”
    8. Media go nuts.
    9. Hard Brexit

  275. @Tripp,
    thanks for your post on Ellijay. I must say, I think the problem w/central KY now is the wealthy progressives aka “carpetbaggers”–I think they’re the major cause of the class divide and division. I think we’re just too close to Lexington, and Lexington is just too attractive to progressives, though Eastern KY seems to be full of pathos and unresolved problems.

  276. The US/China Policy……its not just an Obama issue, although Republicans certainly try to make it one since he didn’t do much about it. Yes he parked the naval fleet there but he didn’t stop them from expanding their reach. It was more like shouting of insults rather than standing ground. Obama pretty much gave Taiwan over to the Chinese, and yes I know it wasn’t ours to give, but we should stick up for working democracies in the world.

    My concern with China is the constant stealing of what is ours. The Justice Dept under Trump has finally been prosecuting Chinese citizens here. If you go to the DOJ site and type Chinese in the search box you’ll get a list of all the prosecutions including fentanyl, exam cheating etc. These are the stories the media shared on espionage – all charges filed in 2018 for theft going back to 2010

    Military weapons stolen 2016
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/justice-department-charges-chinese-national-aiding-espionage-n913101

    Aviation tech 2012
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/chinese-spy-charged-with-stealing-us-military-secrets-and-extradited-for-prosecution/2018/10/10/b2a7325c-cc97-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html?utm_term=.3b207d3ec38d

    More aviation stolen 2010-1015
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/10/30/chinese-intel-officers-and-hackers-charged-stealing-jet-secrets/1824901002/

    GE – started in 2014
    https://phys.org/news/2018-08-chinese-american-ge-technology.html

    Rice tech started 2013
    https://www.thecabin.net/news/20180804/chinese-nationals-charged-with-conspiracy-to-steal-rice-technology

  277. Ashara,
    If it helps, nearly everyone here came from a mental place similar to where you are now and arrived at a very different one, with varying degrees of mental/emotional/psychological breakdown in the space between. The advantage you have access to, should you choose to accept it, is this incredibly nourishing place in which to work your way through said breakdown. Most of us spent our formative years in far less mature and bracing environments (cough, cough, CFN, cough, cough). Welcome to the fold. 🙂

  278. Just a quick thanks from me to ‘Juan Pablo’ and ‘Michael’ who in September’s open post recommended King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. After that recommendation I listened to some of their material and immediately loved it. Last week I saw them perform in a small venue and the performance was magical. No big egos, just an open and genuine connection with the audience. There was a palpable love of playing together and deft and effortless demonstration of the skill of their craft. Lovely to experience. Thanks for the tip!

  279. Jane,
    Yes, my Gen X is showing, I guess…

    I figured your username was meant for that end. Sort of like Simon’s. That’s good magic to me. Simon says…(and everyone waits on bated breath for instructions.) Don’t be playing mind games with me now, Simon. You know I’m suggestible!

    Glad you appreciated my little joke.

  280. Re: “Desert God” (both JMG and David)

    David, I find your personal spiritual journey very impressive and see no reason at all to doubt the veracity of your encounter with what you describe as an earth goddess. Please don’t take it personal if I use your mentioning Yahveh the Desert God as the occasion to criticize this expression, which I have often seen used on this blog and the ADR, by JMG and others.

    The biblical God has several names, and God’s interactions with humans described in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures extend over much more than a thousand years. Only a small fraction of these interactions occur in the desert. Now of course, the events described in Exodus and Numeri are crucial to the biblical narrative, and I suppose you reference them particularly because it is in the desert that the name Yahveh is introduced.

    However, in that same episode the God who speaks to Moses insists on being “the God of your forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, not a new God. Now Ur, Harran, Mamre, Jerusalem and Nazareth are all fertile places, and in fact you can easily verify that Harran, Jerusalem and Nazareth receive at least as much rainfall as, say, Athens (Nazareth much more), yet Athena is never referred to as a desert goddess.

    For people living in the fertile parts of Southwest Asia, the desert was the place to go if you had to or wanted to flee other people, and that is what Moses, the Hebrews and later Elijah did, just like Irish monks took to craggy islets or the open ocean, and Thoreau took to the woods. And of course some divine experiences occur more easily in solitude.

    My point being: from the perspective of Wisconsin or RI, Jerusalem is hardly much more distant than Athens, and it isn’t any drier! Speaking of the biblical God as a desert God, and of Christianity as a Middle Eastern religion, seems to be a way to distance oneself from that God and that religion, not an evenhanded description. Has anybody called Greek polytheism a Southeastern European religion?

    On a completely different and yet related note, I have just begun to re-read Kristin Lavransdatter. It is the best historical novel I know (to my taste, it is better than War and Peace) and one of my all-time favorites in any genre. I have now quite possibly passed the half-way mark of my life, and I still feel there is psychological complexity in there that I haven’t grasped completely, and at the same time it is utterly spell-binding. Please do read it! Kristin’s life takes place in a cold, green and well-watered country 🙂

  281. Shane, thanks for your correction re. who said that, I have been scrolling through so many comments that I got them mixed up.

    My guess is that the kids have been walking so long without regular access to bathrooms that the parents put diapers on them, as even older children can have trouble holding in their urine if they are out in public for a while. I have been reading first-hand reports from people visiting or accompanying the caravan. The migrants have been receiving food and other supplies from donors, as well as rides on trucks–so no, they have not been walking the whole 2,000 miles. Like it or not, this is a thing.

    What kind of thing? A Syria kind of thing, is what I’d say. Large masses of people moving in response to a crisis is what happens in our day and age, and it won’t stop. People brutalized by a failed state and vicious drug cartels don’t have a lot to lose, they are already getting starved and raped and mutilated, they have heard it is better up north, so they pick up and leave. Given that our country has meddled in the four Central American countries these people are coming from–while lucky Costa Rica musters along remarkably well with its middle-class democratic infrastructure–I feel it’s only fair to let the victims of these failed states have their say and their day in court. I’m a pretty big fan of democratic infrastructure myself and do not at all favor unlimited immigration or open borders, rather a competent vetting process.

    On another note, I am relieved and even thrilled to hear anti-smartphone and -social media comments, perhaps the main brain-rotters of our time. Perhaps the high level of civility, innovation and intelligence here is because it attracts people who are actually able to finish their thoughts.

  282. @Pogonip, Millicently, David, et al (hi Al) regarding talking to computers: I read recently, I don’t remember where, the observation that people will talk to computers if (and, generally speaking, only if) the voice is female and deferential.

    Whenever I hear people addressing “Alexa” or “Siri,” I imagine them saying “Mom” instead. “Mom, will it rain tomorrow?” “Mom, how do you hard-boil eggs?” “Mom, order me a pizza.”

    Which reminds me of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman,” from decades ago:

    Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice.
    And when justice is gone, there’s always force.
    And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom!

    So hold me, Mom, in your long arms…
    In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
    In your arms…
    In your electronic arms.

  283. @Deborah Bender

    Thanks for the additional info. Your examples are in alignment with Gefland et. al. research. Her research so far shows where exceptions on the loose-tight scale exist its because its advantageous for the individuals, families and job/industry-professions to do so. She and her fellow colleague’s research shows this tight-loose propensity to adhere to or break a society’s culturally-approved norms rules shows up (worldwide!) as young as age 3. By age 3 a Singapore toddler is already *very* tight (Singapore is among the far-end tight cultures tested as is India) against rule-breakers. Specific tests of 3 year old toddlers of business and creative elites already laughed and realized that rules for winning games (the kinds of tests given) didn’t always apply to them. Creative elites author and publish books extolling the virtues of ‘thinking-outside-the-box’, etc. which is a Society-Rule-Breaker mindset that is most heavily found in upper-middle-class to upper class individuals.

    When the power to extract advantage from looseness shrinks or disappears a formerly loose-leaning group begins to break up and restrict and often become a defacto cultural tightness police upon everyone around them whom continues to flout societal rules (hence my earlier comment about Liberoids to JMG).

    One interesting thing she mentions is that her research showed most Latin American citizens are more loose-leaning oriented than the average American. Looser cultures tend to show higher crime rates even when controlled for gun ownership. This holds true worldwide (so far). The U.S. has a huge gun-owning populace but shows much lower uban/suburban gun crime rates than Latin American countries do than should be expected.

    In fact her research suggests that looseness of a culture or society on the tight-loose scale is a much better and far more accurate predictor of gun violence than simple rate of gun ownership. The U.S. should be an outright warband / gangland gun violence fest in suburbs everywhere given the sky-high levels of personal gun ownership but because its a tighter culture than most Latin American cultures it has a tiny level of gun violence (give the violence-to-gun-ownership ratio) compared to much more gun-controlled Latin American countries’ gun violence. Though Latin America generally has far more restrictive gun ownership prohibition laws its gun violence is on a disproportionately higher-scale for such a tiny gun-owning ratio.

    So while Latin Americans are generally seen as being poorer than the average American their populations and immigrants came from looser cultures and they haven’t experienced so much personal pain its been enough to shift them from loose-leaning to tight. History weighs heavy in Gefland’s research – where a region’s ancestors came from and what those ancestors experienced has a heavier-than-would-be-expected weight on a culture’s tight-loose scale if one just sticks to current factors.

  284. @Tripp,

    What an interesting, timely, and inspiring story. If what you posted were a summary of a book, I’d put that book right at the front of my reading list.

  285. Thank you, JMG, for the recommendation. I sat down and looked for any of the multi-deity spiritual practices you’ve recommended, and sadly haven’t found anything nearby yet-but I’m going to keep looking. I take your recommendations seriously! It sounds like you’re not recommending I permanently join these groups but instead that I should attend to get a feel for what the differences are in this type of practice and as a first step to the inner work of dismantling the negativity, is that correct? And go from there? 

    The funny thing is that I never experienced any strict teachings or fire-and-brimstone preachers (at least not fire for me, anyway) 
    … the church I attended focused on God as a source of love and comfort. So it is truly curious that I internalized the massive amounts of fear and unease. I will have to think about that. Even thinking has been rough for the last 6 or 7 years. I don’t know how to explain it … But it’s like my mind has to have something “safe” occupying it all the time for fear that a bad thought will enter. Once it enters it takes hold and doesn’t leave. This has been very tiring. 

  286. WRT writing romance fiction for Denys and anyone else

    I’ll second that thought. I write romance (I self-published my first novel in August!) and joined the RWA (Romance Writers of America).

    Romance is a HUGE field and you can write on just about any subject in any era in any universe. You can be funny, you can be thrilling, you can be mysterious, you can have monsters, you can have hot firemen, you can be sweet and gentle or you can write incandescent porn involving were-bears or tentacles or seven-foot-tall blue-furred ice planet barbarians.

    There is only one constant: a ‘happy ever after’ for your two (or more!) leads or a ‘happy for now’ ending for your two (or more!) leads.

    Two or more lead characters is also known as our heroine and her reverse harem.

    You do not have to use a female/male central pairing either. M/M is acceptable as well, along with plenty of other variations. What makes a romance is the central relationship that has a happy ending.

    If you want to write romance set on a terraformed Mars where serfs toil on the steppes and everything has to be done by hand because there are no fossil fuels and you’re at the end of a 300,000,000 mile long supply line, you can.

    Have fun.

    I love this site and all its commenters and thank you, Mr. Greer. Reading you for the last ten years has greatly influenced my own world-building. It’s far more realistic in terms of what ‘might’ could happen than it otherwise would be.

    Teresa from Hershey

  287. Many thanks to everyone who has taken their time to write in response to my comment. It is appreciated. This is a really wonderful community of individuals. I have a limited amount of time due to my work schedule but wanted to respond quickly.

    @DT, thank you. I found it interesting for you to describe what sounds like regained freedom when the “locust of control” is in you. Funny thing is that is the height of sinfulness for Christians. I am going to spend some time trying to process my thoughts about that and what about it can make it so freeing. I really thought your point about choosing something else,  or Christianity continuing to choose you,  made so much sense! All kinds of vestigial things are there still. I am going to think more about this for sure. With my anxiety I’ve spent about 7 years not knowing how to process thoughts effectively or learn so this will be good practice. 

    @Onething, thank you. This has been the focus of my thoughts lately- That I need to understand that my anxiety concerning spirituality isn’t reflective of the reality. I know anxiety and fear have their uses typically but it’s supremely exaggerated in the way my mental illness has manifested, resulting in trips to the emergency room,  job loss and so on. One of the terrible things about our is even when I “know” something isn’t true, i am unable to really act on that and believe it. I totally understand the mind prison. A lot of my recent development is trying to force myself to really understand the kinds of things about what you say about goodness. 

    @Aron blue, your experience sounds similar. I wanted to ask what you found after reading Tarot. My anxiety would tell me if I look at tarot-or anything like that-  I’m going to be told something terrible about my fate, like only bad things are in store for me. So the anxiety isn’t related directly to the activity but i suppose to fears about my “fate.” This kind of thinking certainly halts any kind of spiritual growth! 

    @Nastarana, thank you! Matt is actually currently very happily employed and learning about historic wooden window restoration and other aspects of historical renovation– thanks to the feedback a very long time ago from JMG who recommended the trades for him.  I am hoping to encourage him to learn more about building things on their own too like you suggest. He took a class on Japanese timberframing and I always thought he could make greenhouses with that skill. 

  288. No offense Denys, but going around telling the rest of the world how to live their lives has been one of the main reasons that you Americans have found yourself in a bunch of endless, expensive wars in the middle east. American suicide rates are skyrocketing, life expectancy is as low as it was during WWI, your infrastructure is falling apart. Maybe it’s time to step back and admit that there are only two choices left for you people: try to contain a rising China (which will fail) while watching your country fall apart, or stepping back from empire while you have enough resources to cushion the worst of the decline.

    Peace and love, Gay Paris

  289. Patricia Mathews,

    If they were legal, I’d just downgrade to a dumb phone for a bit, then get rid of my smart phone. Unfortunately, all cell phones sold in Canada have to be able to receive alerts, which are sent via the internet. That’s actually the main reason I’m finally ditching them: the alerts are annoying, can’t be disabled, and so I’d rather not have a phone. Period, full stop.

    JMG,

    Have you ever come across http://www.shadowstats.com/? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I’m reading some of Dmitri Orlov’s blog, and he’s referenced it as being good, but I’m curious if you ever looked at it, and if so, your thoughts.

  290. @Kimberly Steele, I have had somewhat similar thoughts. I wonder if people living in a post-petroleum society will look at us and think, “yeah they split the atom and walked on the moon and sent robots to Mars, but they lived in a society that was almost intentionally designed to blow itself up.”

  291. Greer said: “The next time someone starts trotting out the usual rhetoric about how we should let all these poor people into our country, I’m going to be sorely tempted to say, “You need a new gardener, I see.” That’s what lies behind the whole rhetorical game: the desire to bring in as large a work force of illegal immigrants as possible, in order to drive down wages and provide the privileged with a labor force of gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, beauty salon workers, and other service workers who can be massively underpaid and exploited with impunity.”

    Funny, seems that Mexico might have found its own source of cheap labor. I caught a NPR piece today that said Mexico is offering the migrants in Tijuana a temporary 1 year work visa if they get jobs in the factories along the US/Mexico border that so many US companies moved their production to and use to save money. There are something like 10-15 thousand unfilled job openings there and the companies were holding a job fair to promote the visas.

    Not sure what the work is but it seems even Mexicans don’t want jobs that pay just $1.80 an hour.

    I could see this as the beginning of a win/win for both the US and Mexico. Trump gets to brag he secured the borders and didn’t let “those” people in and Mexico’s new president gets to brag he is protecting poor migrants from that “loco gringo” in the North, while powerful business interests get a ready supply of cheap labor. I expect that a few migrants will get their application for US asylum will get granted that, that the other 99% will stay at the border working in those factory jobs.

    Greer replied: “Tony, do we know for a fact that there was no agriculture and no civilization during previous interglacials? Not many traces of human settlement survive an ice age, you know.”

    What always struck me about the argument that we see no ruins or archaeology evidence of advanced civilizations during the last ice age, is that simple fact that the ocean levels are estimated to be 120 meters (nearly 400 feet) lower than they are now. Any early civilization would have developed along the shoreline, as have almost all of the historical ones. Britain was connected to Europe, the Mediterranean was an inland sea. Any ruins or structures would be under a few hundred feet of water and now silt.

    Its more of the arrogance of the Myth of Progress, to me, after all everyone knows that this civilization is the pinnacle of historical development and everything before it was just fur covered cave people eating raw meat taken down by wooden spears.

  292. Hi Roberta.

    According to our local fishwrap, old people are in demand as employees because we can do things like converse and make change.

  293. Archdruid and Denys,

    I think Denys is close to something about compassion being related to consumerism. I think there’s another angle that ties it in with the fear of failure.

    Denys, you are correct when you say compassion as it exists in the well meaning class (WMC), which includes members of all economic classes, is a characteristic produced by the imperial system for the purpose of convincing its own population of the rightness of the system. We have to maintain the pretense of wealth, and more than that we have to maintain the pretense of success. Not just monetary success, but success in administration as well. By refusing to deny entry to the “tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of teeming foreign shores,” the WMC can convince themselves of the administrative success of the empire.

    When I suffered from the fear of failure, I would jump wildly from one project to another. Never actually finishing what I started for fear of facing my lack of progress. The immigrants aren’t just a second chance, they’re proof that the administrative class is doing something right!

    Regards,

    Varun

  294. David (btL): When we talk about “local government being more responsive to local people”, I’d love to agree with you, but then I read things about how local governments are more responsive to particular people – the elite. For example, Amazon’s contest for the new HQ(s) played cities, counties, and states against each other in a way that has people talking (on NPR this morning) about the need for national-level regulation to prevent local subsidies. The “company town” phenomenon describes even a modest-sized business’s dominance over local politicians and policies. A coal company in West Virginia can get the environmental-deregulation it wants from the local government, until the national-level EPA steps in. (Scratch the paint off of anyone outraged by oppressive EPA regulation, and you’ll probably find someone who’s eager to release a little more pollution to get a commercial advantage over those who are content to release less.)

    Looking at the world through the filter of “government” vs “corporation” struggle, we’ve let the corporations get so big that even nations can be manipulated.

    And the Brexit discussion is relevant here, too. One perspective that I’ve heard (though I have no way to evaluate it) is that hidden forces behind “Leave” are looking forward to escaping the EU’s human-rights regulations, looking for a commercial advantage by undercutting them with “deregulation” in a UK-only battlespace. The British voter may be insulted at losing sovereignty to Brussels, but will he/she actually be more free when Parliament surrenders to Bayer/Monsanto?

  295. Walt F – I’ve read that a great number of “tech startup innovations” are inspired by engineers just trying to replace the services provided by Mom. (Thanks for the reference to Laurie Anderson! My late ex-wife gave me the album on which that song appeared, and I haven’t listened to it in decades. I still have it, though.)

  296. Ben Johnson said: “I am working on a novel set about 1400 years in the future, with most of the action taking place in North America, between the Rockies, the Ohio Valley and veering as far south as Mexico. I’m pretty much done with the world building, the broad story arc, and am writing every day, but I have found that fleshing out the technological possibilities a bit more of a challenge than the religious, political or social constructs of a future society.”

    Ben, may I suggest the “Ring of Fire” series written by Eric Flint as a template for just what kind of tech you can have. Get copies of the first two books, “1632” and “1633”. The later books are a bit all over the place so don’t get those. The stories involve a modern West Virginia rural town being temporally transported to Europe of 1632. Which was a continent in the middle of the Thirty Years War. The townspeople must use their advanced knowledge to make a place for themselves. And they aren’t gods, alot of the tech that “we” have today, is made in big factories. No small city can replicate computers or electronics. They can “gear down”, using their knowledge of advanced technology to create equipment more like the 1800s.

    Also I think you would be surprise at just how much modern tech can be retrofitted to a more simple manufacturing base. Remember not only did steel get forged quite easily in wooden forges but I expect that we will still have coal mines and trade in the Future. The economy will collapse before we burn it all.

    Its a common beginning writers worry that you must explain everything. As John recommends write the story for the characters and let the tech take care of itself. Unless its some sort of “silver bullet” miracle (which you shouldn’t use anyway), most readers will forgive or gloss over a few tech details.

    If you want to have further more detail discussion, stop by the “Story Circle” at the Green Wizard’s forum.

    GW Story Circle

    I’m working on my own future universe set in the same location, Middle America, that involve St Louis being the center of the rediscovery of flight, several centuries from now, as the “Air Lords of Saint Louis” begin their dominance of the surrounding country side, so I’d enjoy swapping ideas about what tech survives the next Dark Age.

  297. Dear John Roth, tobacco, in small amounts, is quite useful as an insecticide and I think it might become part of homemade rat poisons. Some tobaccos are lovely ornamentals and very fragrant.

    Dear Shane
    W and Tripp, Twenty years ago it was a lot easier for the newly arrived to make a living than it is now. What I feel like asking leftist activists is: What part of broke do you not understand? What work do you imagine your caravan clients are going to be doing?

    Dear Denys, is Trump’s DOJ also going to go after gaming our immigration laws, paper relatives and such?

  298. happypandatao – This axis of tight vs loose social regulation resonates with me, and I also see it as a divergence between Protestant and Catholic culture. I associate Protestantism (which I practice) with Scandinavia, Germany, and the US mid-west; Catholicism with Southern Europe, Latin America, and my current state of residence, Maryland. (That should be obvious, right? Maryland. Not overtly named for the Blessed Virgin, but for an early colonial resident possibly named so.)

    As it happens, my Lutheran church is adjacent to a Catholic church, and both worship at the same times on Sunday morning. The Catholic church has never invested in the parking lot it needs for its attendance (perhaps a sign of “loosely” expecting that it’ll work out somehow), while our congregation is still struggling to pay off a mortgage which included a major parking upgrade. And so, hardly a week goes by that one of our staff doesn’t firmly request that those who will not worship with us, also not park their cars with us. They must assuming that their trespassing will be forgiven, even before they commit it!

    Loose vs tight culture, in a microcosm.

  299. Rob – When it comes to environmentalism, where do you see the green energy projects being built? Wind farms are spreading across the Red States, while the Blue State liberoids are still forbidding off-shore wind projects from spoiling their view.

    Al Gore, in particular, flying around the world to share his message of climate change, diminishes his credibility by his actions. I’m struggling to find a good analogy, but it’s something like a man coming to town preaching that “that there mountain is a volcano, and it’s going to blow! … And I’ll pay good money for your soon to be worthless real-estate.” The action doesn’t support the message, and so skepticism abounds.

    He’s not unique in that regard, of course. I think the same thing whenever some smooth-talking salesman offers to sell me some gold. “Owning gold will be really important for your future wealth and security! (Now as it happens, I’ve got some gold, I’d rather have your dollars than my gold.) Would you like to buy gold?” Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

  300. David, by the lake mentioned front yard vegetable gardens again. Could someone here who has some insight into what I guess I could call conservative (or maybe liberal as well, I really don’t know) mindsets please explain what, exactly, is the problem with the front yard veges? Appearance, some say, but I sure don’t see or hear similar outrage about over grown weeds, front yards turned into car lots, broken down couches on porches and so on.

    The impression I get is that some folks are all about freedom and independence for themselves but not for their neighbors. As for property values, my thinking is that your property values are your own responsibility, not mine.

  301. Among my replies to other comments, I have an open post question for you John.

    For some time now I wanted to buy a copy of your translation of the Picatrix, I did tonight from Lulu.com when I saw its on sale for a 30% discount ($42 instead of $60)

    Buy JMG’s “The Illustrated Picatrix” at Lulu.com

    My magicianal training has been primarily in the area of Shamanism, but as a Green Wizard I find that a magic grimorie that recommends learning agriculture, siege craft and politics as well as astrology is something I definitely want to read. It helps I’m a bit of a history buff anyway.

    The book gets a solid 5 star rating at Amazon BUT the one complaint from people is that the book is very heavy on the astrological side without much beginner’s instruction. My question then is what books would you recommend as introduction to the astrological teachings of the Picatrix?

  302. @JMG: Ha! Exactly. Of course, it looks good on a college application if you were class president or whatever, so I can understand why people did it; like most organized extracurriculars and half of the actual classes, that sort of thing always seemed like way too much work for me. (And fortunately I never had the Harvard At All Costs type of parents.)

    @Patricia Matthews: Yep, exactly–books or ridiculous clothing. Or pastries.

    On politics: I don’t think my political views per se have shifted much in the last few years; if anything, they’ve moved somewhat more leftwards economically, and they were already pretty far that way. Reading this blog *has* shown me that there are reasons to vote GOP that aren’t tied to the Puritan/Dickens villain/Ayn Rand “hero” sorts I see on the news and among my more middle-to-upper-class right-wing acquaintances, and that it’s just a matter of different priorities a lot of the time, where I can disagree but basically like someone in a way that would not be possible with the Falwell/Gingrich type.

    Also, a lot of the sexual misconduct/policing stuff on the left has gotten a bit much. I’m all for believing women, and even being predisposed to believe them given the relative rates of false reporting, and I think Louis C.K. and Bill Cosby are horrible people–but there’s a move toward the idea that you shouldn’t have to be in the same vicinity as sexual conduct between *other people* unless you explicitly sign on for it, for instance. (And yes, it’s likely in bad taste to start getting it on at Applebees, but I think it wouldn’t put me off my dinner more than being around people who use baby talk to their SOs.) Likewise, I find a lot of the thinking around power dynamics/age of consent way too black-and-white on the left: Polanski and Moore are at one vile end of the spectrum, sure, but I’ve heard condemnations of a guy who slept with a teenager (who feels great about the experience now) when he was in his early twenties, and it was the eighties, and yeah, it probably wasn’t a great idea and I wouldn’t recommend it*, but I don’t think it was a moral black mark. Likewise that poor guy who made a scientific announcement wearing a shirt with hula dancers on it and got mobbed because blah blah male gaze blah blah.

    Like, I am stridently feminist, very pro-consent-for-everything, but there really has to be a line where we stop being traumatized by everything under the darn sun.

    Similarly: while I think a lot of police departments are corrupt and unnecessarily militarized, and while I have massive problems with the prison-industrial complex, I’ve read way too much true crime to think that abolishing either is a good idea. A lot of people are unjustly imprisoned or killed for nonviolent offenses, and that’s awful and needs to stop, but a lot of people are also domestic abusers, or rapists, or murderers, and I’m really okay with them being locked in small rooms with lousy food for the rest of their lives. This is not a super-popular opinion on the left. (The latest is encouraging people not to call the police unless our lives are in danger, and, sorry, while I have no intention of being the person who reports black people for being black in a Starbucks, I have absolutely called the cops on the guy screaming on the T and the couple in the apartment below me making a lot of noise at non-noise-making hours, and I’d do it again.)

    …and apparently I’m ranty tonight, which is a sure sign that I need to go make tea.

    *If for no other reason than that teenagers are stupid–I was stupid when I was a teenager–and even the most consensual encounter with same has a seventy-five percent chance of needless drama and really loud emo music.

  303. @JMG: That’s a unique way to look at it, particularly the idea that future cultures may have terminal goals that are perpendicular to ours. Would you reject the notion that there are certain values that are innate to most humans?

    I suppose I always viewed the goals of Faustian culture as being the goals that all humans would be inclined to pursue, if they believed it would be possible to achieve them: a world where everyone had access to basic necessities like food and water and shelter, where everyone could live comfortably due to amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, where everyone could have long and healthy lives free from disease and disability, where crime and war and violence were a thing of the past. I’m aware that there are people even today who have different terminal values, who come from different cultures and have different priorities, but I always had this notion that our culture’s goals were more true to human nature, in the sense that they sought to satisfy some of our fundamental wants and needs. The values of other cultures seem more instrumental, like they developed as a response to specific conditions or to serve specific purposes that increased the group’s chances of survival.

    Basically, I agreed with Scott Alexander’s claim that what he called Universal culture is “(in a certain specific sense) what everybody would select if given a free choice.” It’s the idea that, if someone existed in a void-state where they didn’t have any preconceived cultural notions or expectations about what their place in a society would be (something like the Veil of Ignorance posited by Rawls), they would find goals like “ensure that everyone is safe, healthy, and comfortable” and values like “help others when you can, and never cause harm” preferable to something like “live a strictly regimented life in accord with the dictates of this holy book.” But I’m also not sure how much that’s my own Faustian bias talking and how much it’s actually true.

    @Tripp: Thanks for the welcome! I’m always interested in hearing about other people’s perspectives and listening to different points of view, even when I don’t agree with them.

  304. I was going through my Poetry & Quotes book and found the following from a few years back: “Today’s conservatives have forgotten how to conserve as thoroughly as today’s liberals have forgotten how to liberate.” John Michael Greer.

    How very civilized in comparison to today’s search for nasty epithets like “liberoid” … and “Shrillification.” Quite on the same level as the epithets the bicoastal professional classes have for the Trump voters! Sigh … things are going downhill on all fronts, are they not?

  305. @Shane
    Re: Generations

    I don’t know of a detailed projection. Supposedly Neil Howe was working on a book to be titled “the First Turning” a couple of years ago, but I haven’t heard anything since.

    I get most of my non-Michael information about the 80-year cycle from John Xenakais’ web site: http://www.generationaldynamics.com/ . He does a daily post about events in the lead-up to World War III (the Clash of Civilizations). He’s the person I learned about China’s “Belt and Roads” initiative and the debt traps in their development contracts with developing nations, for example.

    I don’t agree with where he’s going, but he’s pretty reliable with keeping me in touch with events outside of the US, at least ones that are likely to lead to trouble.

    He extended Strauss and Howe’s model globally to all nations and did significant corrections to it. He’s got generational information on most nations. Many of his daily posts have generational comments that show a much more developed theory than is in either Strauss and Howe’s books or in his own “Generational Dynamics.” The latter is a free download from his site.

    The first thing to note is that there are examples of “80 year cycles” shorter than 60 years and longer than 120 years. Just projecting using 20 years for each historical period isn’t going to be very accurate. However, if your only measuring stick is the King’s arm, then everything is going to reflect that.

    So. Fourthturning.com says the last Awakening started in 1964, and the following Unraveling started in 1984. I can personally verify 1964 – I was in college then, and in retrospect it was really obvious. Financial crises happen during a Crisis, so 2008 is actually in the Crisis period a few years before the Crisis War, not the start of it. So we can say the Crisis started in 2004. The Recovery/High/Stability/Austerity and probably a few other names would then start in 2024, and the Awakening start in 2044.

    Take those dates with the appropriately large grain of salt. The validation is that Michael has said that 2024 is when we’d actually start addressing certain problems, so take that as you would.

  306. @Tripp The Spanish speakers where I am don’t speak actual Spanish, nor can they read Spanish. I’ve been told by county employees that they speak Splangish – a combo of slang, Spanish and English. When the county provides the required interpreters, they stare at the interpreters not understanding what they are saying.

    @David by the lake – I nominate you for President 2020 any party you like. Agreed the federal gov is least accountable to the people and it can’t control itself.

  307. Escher,

    One more ex-leftie here. In my case it was indoctrination to the far left from my quite expensive private schooling, with cracks in the brainwashing beginning at university. Complete disavowal followed by a more libertarian and environmentally conscious journey came later when it became obvious that people like me had been chosen by the left to be the next target. Further, the ‘progressive’ idea of progress has diverged significantly from what I thought of as progress. Now, hiding my power level among my ctrl-left peers feels a lot like secretly being a werewolf.

  308. @Lathechuck

    Re government responsiveness

    Certainly “more responsive” doesn’t necessarily mean responsive in an overall sense! And certainly local governments (and their constituents) can choose poorly just like anyone else. The Amazon contest was a fool’s game from the beginning; the kind you win only by not playing. Regulation doesn’t stop foolishness. If the government of State A wants to give away the store, it has certain rights to do so and other folks in others states (and the feds) should have no say in the matter. Much of our problem comes from one part of the country minding the business of another part rather than its own. To the extent a locality or a state makes poor choices, then it has to deal with the consequences of those choices. Self-governance carries responsibility.

    Foxconn was just as poor a decision here, but the conventional “wisdom” very much favors these deals. Personally, I’m looking for locally or regionally owned businesses, not large corporations which have neither ties nor loyalty to a community.

    There are no silver bullets, but I’d still prefer more freedom to less, less centralization to more, and a more tightly constrained federal government to a more powerful one. Particularly given the post-imperial trajectory coming at us. We’re going to have to learn to manage on our own to a much greater degree, so we might as well start learning how.

    @Nastarana

    Re front yard vegetable gardens

    It is very much about appearance, property values, and what a front yard is “supposed” to look like. More than any other argument I heard: “But my neighbor might grow corn!”

  309. Hi JMG and Everyone,
    I am just reading Chris hedges’ “America, the farewell Tour.” He writes that Americans are consuming 80% of the world’s opiates and that a vast number of people of an age for military service are dropping dead of Fentanol poisoning. This synthetic opiate come from China where I can only presume the Government has a hand in its production and shipping.

    Why are your political classes worrying about Russian tinkering with elections when you are clearly under a very dangerous attack from a foreign power?
    Maxine

  310. JMG wrote: “I expect another spike in oil prices within a couple of years,. which could reach $400 a barrel easily.”

    I agree with your description, but I doubt that oil prices could ever reach $400. I made calculations for Mauritius, we can afford oil up to $120 barrel (on average over the year), though with a reduced economic growth. Above that level, especially around $130 – $ 150 level, economic growth stalls to zero and can even contract and decline. Now the Mauritian economy is not representative of other countries, but I suspect very much so that similar thresholds exist for the rest of the world.

    My guess is that as oil prices rise above $ 100 or $120 per barrel the world economy begins to slow down, above $ 130 – $ 150 economic decline sets in, that would crash oil prices. Then a second round starts all over again.

    In short, in terms of real prices of oil averaged out over a given year, I suspect oil prices cannot breach US 150 to US 200 per barrel. Economic systems just bleed to death at this level.

    Of course, these thresholds move up and down year by year. I have been computing these thresholds for Mauritius since 2007 – 2008. As I see things, it appears that these thresholds are dropping a little bit, meaning that economic systems are being fragilised and less resilient to high oil prices.

    On a side note: I have tried to get economists to have a look at my figures. To no avail. They simply are not interested….

  311. Mimi and Eunice having an Ecosophic moment: http://mimiandeunice.com/2010/07/28/imbalance/ . (Warning: “spiritual but atheist”, *other* strips contain “profanity”.)

    Also Ecosophic (and important): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/7331688/pistachio-wars-killing-california-for-a-snack-food/community .

    Generational Dynamics – there’s enough relevant information there that taking it as *one* source of news seems very defensible to me, but regarding *trusting* it: “Evidence grows of Assad’s ‘final solution’, extermination of Arab Sunnis in Syria”, “Al-Assad and Russia ally with ISIS against Arab Sunnis”, and “Iran wants to be the master of the Mideast. It’s threatening war with Saudi Arabia. It’s supporting wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”. (If I need to explain: Saudi Arabia is the main worldwide exporter of terrorism, [reminder: also committing genocide in Yemen with Trump’s help] and Syria/Iran/Russia are fighting it.)

    On Shadowstats: https://azizonomics.com/2013/06/01/the-trouble-with-shadowstats/ .

  312. Thanks, JMG, for your funny answer! I had the same idea, but nevertheless had to ask. It is not in every case easy to decide whether to keep or to give away or sell something.

    Regarding gun control, Happypandatao forgot to mention Europe, where gun ownership is not as big as in the United States and at the same time gun violence is markedly lower. The fact that there is much crime in South America despite stricter gun laws might have to do something with corruption in the law enforcing system, or that the gun laws aren’t effectively enforced.

    About civilizations prior to the Holocene, there were historically societies which had many properties, but not all properties, of civilizations. The archeological record shows that in the last glacial, there were in Eastern Europe and Ukraine semi-sedentary mammoth hunter societies which built sturdy houses out of mammoth bones. The societies of late Ice Age southwestern Europe seem to have been relatively complex, too. The climate and ecosystem of Middle Europe during the last glacial was something which has no contemporary analog, except partly in the mountains of Central Asia. So, the human ecologies which the archeological record show are human ecologies which don’t have contemporary or recent analogues. An example, about which I read in an archeological paper was an Ice Age society in Middle Europe where there was a base camp which was inhabited the whole year, from which hunting parties did travel extendedly in their territory..

  313. Here is a visualisation of Indonesia, Papua and Australia during the last 100,000 years: http://sahultime.monash.edu.au

    For most of the glacial period, the sea level fluctuated between around 30 and 80 metres below present day levels, with a low point of -135m during the last glacial maximum. This visualisation shows the LGM (~ 30kyr – 15kyr) and the post-glacial epoch having unusually stable sea levels.

    Even at the lowest stand of sea level, it would still have been necessary for the first people to inhabit Australia and Papua to cross a stretch of open water. A recent paper suggests this was about 65kyr ago: An early colonisation pathway into northwest Australia 70-60,000
    years ago

  314. Lathechuck says:
    “(Scratch the paint off of anyone outraged by oppressive EPA regulation, and you’ll probably find someone who’s eager to release a little more pollution to get a commercial advantage over those who are content to release less.)”

    Not in our case. We own a tiny herbal products company and the essential oil bug spray we make is regulated by the EPA as an insecticide.

    The spray is quite effective. I would put it up against any other bug spray on the market, convemotional or alternative, and expect it to compete favorably. But according to the EPA it’s illegal. Or rather, 2 of the ingredients in it are not on the preapproved list, and therefore would require institutional approval before it could ever go very big.

    That approval would cost us 100k just to get started, and who knows how much by the time it’s all said and done. Not exactly in our financial wheelhouse at this point…

    Know what those 2 evil ingredients are? Witch hazel solution and lavender essential oil. Oh the horrors we’re foisting on the unsuspecting public! What sort of a taste do you think this arbitrary and capricious prohibition has left in our mouths about the relevence and usefulness of the venerable EPA?

    Certainly makes me question what other nonsense they might be purveying. Cheers.

  315. JMG,
    So I’ve been working on the entry for Pine in my expanding natural magic encyclopedia and here’s what Ive come up with so far:

    Description: A common evergreen tree the world over, Pine spills its seed across the planet in the form of yellow to gold pollen in prodigious quantities every Spring (much to the annoyance of automobile- and homeowners). Typically quite tall and straight as an arrow Pines visually emerge from the forest as the deciduous trees around them drop their leaves in autumn.

    Temperature: Fiery – warm in the ? degree, dry in the ?. (No idea how to gauge degrees.)

    Astrology: Sun in Sagittarius

    Lore: Havent gotten here yet.

    Safety issues: Use of and even ambient exposure to the aforementioned pollen mass can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

    Parts used: Needles, pollen, bark, cones, resin, seed, wood.

    How used: A genuine unsung hero, pine’s uses are legion. (I will want to do some proper discursive meditation on this category before I try to get more detailed, but I use it in a salve for muscle and joint pain relief and sinus congestion, in a decoction for dental care – nothing busts up tarter deposits like pine tea, and as a GI antibiotic synergist, just as practical examples.)

    Magical uses: Not sure yet. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    JMG, what’s your take on this so far?

  316. @Ben Johnson – I second David T’s suggestion of the 1632 series as a source for ecotech adjustments. Even better is Steve Stirling’s Emberverse series, in which an industrial society has become physically impossible. I know – his McGuffin is Alien Space Bats or the supernatural equivalent, and his post-Change Dark Age is too short by a factor of 2. Even so…. as his characters note, even the people who have adopted medieval forms and not medieval people. They understand modern medicine – no more armies dying of disease on the siege lines, for all their joking about “rectifying the humours” of some jerk by a little blood-letting. [In fact, “humours” has become post-Change parlance for “didn’t they used to call that “hormones?”]

    Give it a try! Though Steve’s commitment to a society of Master and Man, complete with kings, is as hard-core as Flint’s commitment to progressive democracy.

  317. Denys et ali’all,

    In all fairness, the Mexicans I have spent some actual time with – I.E. the wait staff and bartenders at my favorite watering hole – are perfectly comfortable helping me learn Spanish when I ask them to up front. Sometimes more aggressive with their corrections than I’d like actually! They correct my pronunciation and all I can think is, hey lady, don’t get me started on yours! (That’s “yes” with a ‘y’ not “Jess”, like my wife.)

    It’s the kids, parents, and coaches on the soccer field that seem to strenuously avoid conversing in Spanish. (I’m the head referee for our local soccer club.) I will say something in Spanish to them and they’ll repeat it back to me in English. I can’t figure it out.

    I doubt what they speak is high Spanish, but since I’m only interested in the language in order to converse with the locals, especially across the table when I’m doing business, I don’t really care either. We also have a sub-sub-population of Mayans here that speak Mexican Spanish about as well as they speak English. Which is to say, not very well at all.

    Cheers.

  318. > Averagejoe, thank you! I have no idea what the Italian government’s going to do. I remain baffled by the way that first Ireland, then Greece elected anti-austerity governments who then promptly crumpled and followed Brussels’ edicts. It really makes me wonder whether the EU has some way of enforcing its power that nobody’s talking about.

    Sure it does. Backroom diplomacy, threats, etc. Most politicians made their careers with distributing EU money, or getting paid by big interests in one or more of EU’s top dogs (Germany, France, etc).

    Big private interests are enforced by each country’s state (e.g. Germany stands behind Siemens, DB, DT, WV, and so on), similar to how in the US gov pushes for its own companies abroad (including in a total Banana Republic) style.

    When it comes to EU “voting”, top dog countries use their influence on the European Central Bank, and their economic deals with satellite countries to vote as a block. If e.g. Ireland or Greece asks for X, Germany can push and bribe several satellite countries to vote for its own preference in different matters and use that to push back Ireland or Greece, etc.

    Here’s a story which involved both major parties (alternating in power), big foreign private interests paying them off, and Germany protecting them:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens_Greek_bribery_scandal

    For a comprehensive breakdown on how the “EU has some way of enforcing its power that nobody’s talking about”, you can read one ex-finance ministers account of how this exactly happened. He was not a career politician (and he quit after EU imposed its will democratically), so he afforded to be quite frank:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adults-Room-Battle-Europes-Establishment/dp/184792445X

    Here’s a review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/03/yanis-varoufakis-greece-greatest-political-memoir

  319. @Quos Ego

    > Leaving one’s country to beg another to let you in requires a sheer amount of desperation
    most of us cannot even begin to comprehend. Do you?

    The poor, unemployed, and disenfranchised in your own European countries not only comprehend that desperation, but feel it themselves. But the cushy middle and upper middle class that call for more immigration could not care less (see how people talk about their own poor classes in UK, France, Italy, Greece, and so on).

    It’s easier to “care” for some people abroad (for which you don’t have to do anything, just ask the politicians to open the gates), than to actually do something for your poor neighbors.

    And when those poor neighbors are victims of the increased immigration (because the masses of unskilled immigrants are not going to take your middle class job, nor are they gonna live in a posh neighborhood and increase crime etc there), you brand them as bad people, racists, etc.

  320. @Ashara

    > I suppose I always viewed the goals of Faustian culture as being the goals that all humans would be inclined to pursue, if they believed it would be possible to achieve them: a world where everyone had access to basic necessities like food and water and shelter, where everyone could live comfortably due to amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, where everyone could have long and healthy lives free from disease and disability, where crime and war and violence were a thing of the past.

    Those are the lip-service goals of Faustian culture. Meanwhile it causes endless pain, wars, and possible a wide catastrophe with its actual goals and practices (basically, making money and de-spiritualizing the world).

    As for the lip-service goals, they aren’t tied to “Faustian culture” at all, and in many ways (minus the advances in technology) other much older cultures had them as well.

    The only reason you e.g. associate indoor plumbing (which has existed in the Roman times, and even at Minoan times) with modern Faustian culture, is because advances in technology made it possible to extend it cheaply to everybody (and even that gradually — billions of people still don’t have it because they can’t afford it, e.g. in Somalia, not out of some religion or cultural reason).

    Japanese and South Korean, which have a totally different culture, would put your “indoor plumbing” in the US to shame (at least the toilets part).

    And there were empires much freer of crime than some modern western cities (heck, present day Japan you could even drop your iPhone on a busy street and go back and get it 2 hours later) — with no opiod crises, and no mass shootings either.

  321. “a world where everyone had access to basic necessities like food and water and shelter, where everyone could live comfortably due to amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, where everyone could have long and healthy lives free from disease and disability, where crime and war and violence were a thing of the past.” What people who long for this fail to recognize is how reliably providing for everyone’s material needs brings out the absolute worst in people and leads to dystopia–the modern West is the best example of this. Also, you mention how people “void of culture” would respond–there’s no such thing as a person void of culture, culture is as ingrained in humans as language. It’s one of our primary evolutionary adaptations.

  322. @John Roth,
    IIRC, a major crisis like a major war resets or changes the generational dynamics according to Strauss and Howe, and we’re way overdue for that here in North America. IIRC, the 80 year cycle has been so continuous here in North America precisely b/c the last “interruption” of the cycle was the Civil War. Personally, I think they’re overemphasizing the Great Recession as a crisis–the Great Recession was a crisis delayed–we’re still basically in “purgatory” right now.

  323. @ Denys

    Re 2020 nomination for President

    I gladly accept, though I fear that I am wholly unelectable for anything above local office. Besides, the system wouldn’t know what to do with me 😉

  324. Neither a leftie nor a rightie here, not ever! As far back as boyhood, I’ve felt a very, very deep distrust of all idealistic and/or charismatic politicians. They all seem to me to be con-artists and snake-oil salesmen: it’s nearly impossible for a power-hungry person to resist that temptation if he has either personal charisma or a passion for ideals. I voted against John F. Kennedy and against Ronald Reagan for that very reason.

    Basically, I don’t ever want “leaders” in any political or institutional office; I want competent, knowledgeable work-people who are able to tinkerer a little behind the scenes with complex systems, who will do just enough to keep the most necessary parts of the machinery creaking along. What I particularly like about the United States Constitution is that it provides for a system of government which makes it almost impossible to implement any fundamental, radical change whatever throughout the country.

    That said, I’m not really a centrist, either, but something of a radical by temperament–but I want my radicalism to ferment in the people around me, the people whom I know: bottom-up rather than top-down. I’ve been using the label “radical moderate” for decades, even though that confuses people.

  325. @Will,

    I agree with Bob that current day Republicans are an environmental disaster. While the Democrats are not as enviro-friendly as say the Greens at least they didn’t shrink our national monuments and open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

  326. @ Lathechuck (& @ Denys)

    Just to follow-up re corporations, etc.

    One of the things that would make me unelectable (per my comment to Denys) would be my support for the striking-down of corporate personhood. If there was any one thing that we could do to reign in corporate power, that would be it. Of course, this would require an amendment to the Constitution, a process in which the President has no direct role — although the bully pulpit could be used to some effect!

    @ Patricia Mathews

    Re Political Compass

    Likewise! We should start a party of whatever-the-heck-it-is-we-are 🙂

  327. Thank you again for hosting this forum. There’s always so much I want to get my two cents in on! I hope you’ll tell us all to chill out if managing this community ever becomes too much like a chore ;).

    You responded to Averagejoe, “It really makes me wonder whether the EU has some way of enforcing its power that nobody’s talking about.”. I have a possibly relevant data point to bring up here – I came across an interview with Yannis Varoufakis, the finance minister of Greece during the Grexit negotiations and the only one to come away looking like he had any integrity. He related that during the most stressful part of his short tenure, he spent hours every day walking the streets of Athens despite his other responsibilities, finding that this grounded him and put him in touch with the people who had placed him in office. His head of state, who had no such practice and spent that time in meetings instead, eventually tried to convince him that they’d both just been pretending to disagree with the EU consensus. Varoufakis resigned shortly after.

    You also said to Ashara, “I’d like to encourage you to consider a different possibility: that dark ages, like civilizations, come and go; that each civilization explores and develops its own styles of technology and culture; that there’s a certain amount of cumulative buildup of technique — for example, irrigation was invented in Mesopotamia, logic in Greece, and so on — but that each dark age represents a winnowing process where the less useful creations of each culture are discarded and the more useful ones kept; and, crucially, that there’s no one line of development that counts as “progress,””. I think this is the first time I’ve seen your counterargument to the myth of progress actually laid out. If I may, I’d like to try and restate what I think you said in my own terms and get your opinion on whether I did a fair job. So if I were to make the same argument, I might say:

    “History consists of civilizations which build ever greater complexity and power until they enter periods of decline where the less useful complexity is screened out. Only the most important or cost-effective innovations of a civilization survive these winnowing times, and of those that do only some are adopted by subsequent civilizations. Both a visionary creating new works in a building time and a knowledge-seeder deciding what is worth preserving in a winnowing time rightly view their work as meaningful. However, what is seen as ‘better’ by a winnowing society is always orthogonal to and often runs counter to how ‘better’ was imagined in the building society before it. Though both the visionary and the winnower are making improvements, to view them as part of a continuous narrative of improvement risks conflating what the building society imagined ‘better’ to be with how the winnowing society needs to imagine ‘better’. A naive belief in progress can therefore mislead an aspiring knowledge-seeder try and preserve what mattered most to the building age, rather than what will most help the next civilization get a head start”.

    Is that a fair representation?

    Happypandatao, Cultural Marxism is the basic Marxist prophecy of the oppressed overthrowing the oppressing with the ‘class warfare’ element replaced by an ‘anything goes warfare’ element in its stead. It replaces the proletariat of Marx’s writing with any underprivileged identity group but keeps the rest of the narrative roughly in place. At least, that’s what it was intended to describe when Jordan Peterson popularised the term. In practice it’s very much like the word ‘fascist’ – a descriptor with a specific meaning that rarely applies to the people it’s levelled at.

  328. @Isabel,
    what I find fascinating is that almost 30 years after Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, the same old thing is getting uncovered. The whole elevated awareness of sexual harassment hasn’t really changed things much…

  329. JMG,

    To the extent that you have interest, I would encourage you to consult the detailed studies of David Hughes concerning the “fracking patch” that are to be found at the Post-Carbon Institute website. The data they contain is sufficiently detailed to admit of fairly precise predictions concerning the likely future of fracking in the US.

    Based on my own cursory review, it appears we may be a few years away yet from the time that the US as a whole attains “Peak Fracking.” That allows for perhaps a few years beyond said peak for the fracking revolution to continue to 1) contribute to a postponement of the global liquids peak; and 2) for the fracking revolution to continue to contribute to a global supply cushion allowing the approximation of “business as usual” in the economic sphere.

    A wildcard here, of course, is the effect that any imminent dislocation in the world of finance might have in the nearer term in significantly disruption ongoing extraction operations in the “fracking patch.” Possibly, the ongoing work of Art Berman might provide the basis for some more detailed insight in this regard.

  330. I’ve noticed that most of the country, save California, has a price threshold of around $2.50/gal. for gas. My guess is that this is the maximum most Americans can afford to pay before demand destruction sets in. Whenever gas shoots up over this threshold for whatever reason (trouble in Iran, Russian, refinery fire, hurricane, etc.), it quickly drops back down. This is in contrast to when I was growing up, when something like the First Gulf War could raise prices and leave them there for quite a while.

  331. Peter,

    You didn’t address my question. You merely asserted that Republicans are worse. Even if I grant that (which I’m far from sure is the case), that doesn’t mean the Democrats are doing anything for the environment. Merely not making things worse is not actually doing anything.

    Since you provided two examples though, I have a few issues with arguing those are actually going to make the environmental issues worse.

    So they’re changing where the oil comes from. So what? Is there a reason why Alaskan oil is worse than tar sands? Is there a reason it’s worse than offshore drilling and the resulting spills?

    As for the monuments, as I understand it, this is returning power to the states. We can discuss the merits of the environmental impacts, but if it’s a case of sending power back to the states, then that needs to be taken into account as part of any moral calculus. Of course you can think the environmental impact more important, but I personally disagree: the states ought to control their own land.

    More importantly, as long as our lifestyles continue to require fossil fuels, we’re going to get them. It’s nice to set aside land and say we will never exploit it, but unless and until we change our lives so that we don’t need to exploit it, we will sooner or later. Since the left refuses to address the underlying issues, I don’t take them seriously on environmental issues.

  332. @Synthase

    “Now, hiding my power level among my ctrl-left peers feels a lot like secretly being a werewolf.”
    That has to be the most succinct way of putting how it feels I have ever heard! Imagine being in the literal eye of the storm. A werewolf huh? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling nowadays. You just gave me a new secret power to help me survive my days. Thanks!

  333. Before I get into responses, a note relevant to all: I’ve had several people now fly off the handle and either launch into personal insults or start ranting in terms better reserved for propaganda. Those attempted comments have been deleted with extreme prejudice. You know the rules, folks; please abide by them if you want your comments to get through.

  334. JMG, I’m surprised to see your warning. This site is usually so civilized!

    You don’t have to worry about me. I have no prejudices. I am equally hostile towards everyone. 😉

  335. Regarding Ice Age civilizations, one could have an entire post devoted to the question of what constitutes a “civilization”.

    There are many different definitions, of which dictionary.com is typical: “an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached”.

    I think a less demanding definition is required for Ice Age civilizations, but it’s not easy to formulate.

    My best effort so far is “an enduring set of rules, customs, and techniques designed to regulate interpersonal relationships and ensure the survival of the group”.

    Enduring in the sense that they persist beyond the memory of the oldest member, and have been proved to work with experience over time.

    Rules would be designed to ensure hygiene, preservation of game and vegetation, taboo poisonous plants etc.

    Customs would regulate social life such as marriages, hierarchies, alliances, sharing of food, etc.

    Techniques would be weaponry, food processing, construction of shelters etc.

    It is quite possible that a group meeting this definition would leave no trace. Mud and grass dwellings, wood and bone tools and weapons, animal skin clothing and containers, all decay rapidly.

    Conversely, the existence of artifacts such as stone tools doesn’t necessarily mean they are produced by a civilization, no more than a monkey using a twig to dig out a grub is part of a civilization.

  336. It doesn’t seem right to touch off a wave of #walkaway posts without sharing my own thoughts a bit more, so I gave it a try. The result got too long to meet the house rule that comments be concise, and so I posted it at https://thoughtcellar.dreamwidth.org/292.html.

    Executive summary:
    * The Democrats have become the party of the upper class and the economic status quo (read: neoliberalism)
    * The left lost me by mobilizing a disingenuous, authoritarian version of identity politics to defend the status quo
    * Trump beat both his own party and the Democrats by challenging neoliberalism, which most people oppose
    * The left can thrive if it can get past demonizing Trump and his supporters, and start talking to them about how they can work together

  337. @Will

    If the GOP wants to send power back to the states then why do they want to crackdown on sanctuary cities in California – and BTW I agree with the GOP on that issue.

    And yes you’re absolutely right about lifestyles, we all need to consume less…much less but I don’t see the Right promoting that idea either. If they did they would not be forever talking about economic growth in each election campaign. I remember when the second President Bush promoted consumerism as being patriotic. And look at Trump’s lifestyle….

  338. In light of JMG’s recent comment on deleted posts: I didn’t mean to start a holy war or help one along, and I’m sorry to JMG and all if that’s happened! I was mainly hoping to suggest that (1) there don’t really seem to be that many lifelong, dyed-in-the-wool Repubs here (though nothing against it from me if you happen to be one!) and (2) the voices here are pretty unique (idiosyncratic, even, and happily so!), whatever the labels they happen to go by at the moment.

  339. Pogonip, it doesn’t seem to matter what we do or don’t do — letting the answering machine get it doesn’t slow up the pace, and saying “DIE, GRAVY-SUCKING ROBOT!” doesn’t seem to increase it. That being the case, I’m planning to move on to lines from a comic book of my insufficiently misspent youth, Magnus: Robot Fighter, as a source of personal amusement…

    Will, that’s fascinating. Ladies, have you found this to be the case in your experience?

    Katherine, the question of what Jesus of Nazareth actually said and did during his lifetime is a perennial hot potato, and has been, to judge by the various alternative gospels out there, since about fifteen minutes after the Crucifixion. Spengler was responding to what was then cutting-edge scholarship; nowadays his view is fairly old-fashioned.

    David, excellent. It’s precisely from the capacity to reflect on such things that real change becomes possible.

    Shane, that doesn’t surprise me. I don’t know how general this is, but everyone I know who’s had chronic trouble with serious depression is bottling up a great deal of unacknowledged rage, and everyone I know who’s deeply into pacifism and nonviolence can be described in exactly the same terms. I wonder what the mage in question would thinnk of the Picatrix, the most famous magician’s manual of the early Middle Ages, which includes a great deal of magic well suited to war and conflict…

    Phil K, that seems like a very plausible scenario to me just now!

    Denys, that is to say, the Chinese are doing exactly what any other rising superpower with a technological disadvantage does. Of course the US needs to try to prevent it, but it’s not anything particularly unusual.

    Phil K, and that’s a very sensible exploration of the EU’s fate. Thanks for both of these.

    Kimberly, my guess is that people in the future will think of this era the way we think of Nazi Germany, but that’s just a guess.

    Jess, exactly. It sometimes happens that a group of the sort I’ve described provides an ex-Christian reader with a new spiritual home, but that’s not the point of the exercise — the point is to experience a concrete example of a very different kind of religion. Interesting that your church experience didn’t have the fire and brimstone routine; it would be interesting to do a survey of ex-Christians and find out how many have the same experience you’ve had.

    J.L.Mc12, I think we’ve just seen another great example of scientific grandstanding. The geneticists I’ve read have very dubious opinions about the claim in question.

    Teresa, congratulations on getting into print! Let’s see, that makes two romance writers I know of among the regular commentariat here. Do you think there would be a market for an anthology of deindustrial romance stories? 😉

    Will, I consider it one of the few sources of accurate economic statistics out there, as it (unlike the US government) applies the same statistical formulae to economics over the long term, without tinkering to make the numbers come out as desired.

    David, my guess is that most of the people in the caravans will end up going back home, as they can probably get jobs paying as much as a maquiladora factory does, back in Honduras or Guatemala. As for the role of rising sea levels in making archeology a real challenge for sites before 8000 BCE or so, bingo.

    Varun, interesting. I could see that.

    David, start by spending some time at https://renaissanceastrology.com, which is the site run by my co-translator Chris Warnock. He covers most of the basics of astrological magic there. After that, the books Secrets of Planetary Magic and Secrets of Planetary Ritual (for sale on Chris’ site) would be useful, and I’d also encourage reading Frances Yates’ Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition to get some background on the system. The Picatrix is heavy going, and it’s wise to get some solid background in astrology before venturing into it!

    Isabel, me too. Mind you, I grew up on the bottom end of the middle class, and the basic idea was that getting into college as such was what I should aspire to.

    Ashara, notice how you’ve gone immediately to issues of terminal values, without considering the possibility that the highly peculiar Faustian versions of technology, economics, politics, and culture might not be the only way to get those. Nor, of course, are the values you’ve suggested anything like a complete set of Faustian values. The goals you’ve named, for example, don’t explain network television, space travel, nuclear weapons, the rigid materialism of Faustian science, or the ideology of “Man’s conquest of Nature,” just to name a tiny handful of typical products of our culture. Notice also how precisely your attempted refocusing of the discussion matches the usual rhetoric of religion; monotheist faiths, for example, like to talk about salvation and God’s redeeming love, not holy wars and heresy trials, though the latter are standard features of monotheist religions once they get a grip on political power.

    What makes modern industrial culture distinctive isn’t that it pursues the goals you’ve outlined while other cultures don’t; nor is it that it pursues those goals more successfully than others do — if you think a significant fraction of the world’s population lives in the conditions you’ve described, you really need to get out more. What makes modern industrial culture distinctive are the specific ideas embodied in its ideologies, sciences, society, and built environment, which are only self-evident to those who are wholly submerged in the mindset of the culture in question, and which have only a partial relationship, if any, to the goals you’ve outlined. Those are the things I expect to become as quaint and antique, in the eyes of future civilizations, as chariot races and dining on stuffed dormice seem to us today.

    Oh, and my way of looking at history isn’t unique at all — it’s just unfashionable at the moment. I’d encourage you to make time sometime to read at least the one-volume abridged edition of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West, which sets out this same perspective in much more detail. For that matter, are you familiar with Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions? He applies the same logic to the narrower field of the history of science, and reaches conclusions that still reliably drive true believers in progress into a simmering rage.

    Patricia M, did you think I meant “liberoid” as a mere epithet? Not so; the point made by Robert Gibson, with which I agree heartily, is that there needs to be a convenient word for “liberals who have forgotten how to liberate,” so that the word “liberal” can actually get around to meaning again what it once meant. In the same way, I propose the new word “unservative” for the conservatives who have forgotten how to conserve, so that the grand old word “conservative” can reclaim its meaning. Word magic is useful stuff; once you have a name for something, it becomes easier to perceive it, and harder to ignore it.

    Maxine, that strikes me as a very good question — and I’d point out that a glance back into Chinese history (cough, cough, the Opium Wars, cough, cough) might have given the current Chinese government the idea of doing to us what the British did to them…

    Karim, we’ll see. I recall with some clarity the time when people were saying, on the basis of detailed numbers, that if the price of oil ever reached $100 a barrel it would bring industrial society crashing down. I don’t claim to know how high the next price spike will go; I’m sure it will go high enough to cause real pain, but how much higher it will go is a question I don’t think anyone can answer just now.

    Booklover, the issue of environments with no present-day analogy is a big one. Not that many million years ago, the Arctic coast of Canada was semitropical in terms of climate and vegetation, and yet it got nearly all its sunlight over a six month period and then spent a period in effective darkness — we have literally no idea how that worked out ecologically. What conditions were like on the vast tracts of once-dry land between Ireland and Spain, equally, is a complete unknown — and thus the human communities that lived there will have built on conditions we can’t yet imagine.

    MawKernewek, thanks for this!

    Tripp, good. You judge the degrees of heat and dryness by their effect on the human body; the first degree is slight, the second moderate, the third strong but not harmful, the fourth strong enough to do damage.

    Fkarian, thanks for this. That’s about what I expected.

  340. A few weeks ago, there was a discussion of what’s the most Faustian thing ever, and while launching worms into space to figure out how to stop aging is up there, I’d like to submit that the most Faustian thing in existence is widespread electric lighting.

    First, it burns energy, which seems core to Faustian technology. Second, the main point behind it is to allow us to banish night. In other words, we took an aspect of the natural world we don’t like, and got rid of it. And finally, like so many Faustian things, in so doing we have created numerous problems, which we recognize as being due to what we’ve done, but which we seem powerless to stop.

  341. I’m not sure, JMG, but he’s a big fan of your work and (is? was?) a lurker on your blogs. (He might’ve disappeared like Ahavah due to TDS caused by OMB…

  342. Does anyone care to define the term “neoliberalism”? I’m seeing it get tossed around pretty freely.

  343. The biggest thing for me, at the time i #walkedaway, was that Congress did not pick up and pass EFCA, “card check”–I was heavily involved in organized labor @ the time, and knowing how vital labor was to the New Deal Coalition, I could not understand why Democrats dropped the ball. I was also disillusioned w/Obamacare and the lack of a public alternative (Medicare for all). It was at this time that I realized that the Dems were the party of failure, and would always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and would always be the party of “GOP-lite”–that this was a feature and not merely an effect of the Democratic party.

  344. JMG,

    Well, if shadowstats is accurate, then things are getting pretty bad in the US. I knew it on an intellectual level, but somehow, seeing a chart of real GDP growth that’s been negative for most of my life, and reading the justification of it, made the reality feel more real.

    I’m also a little worried about the fact that the statistics seem to show conditions still not improving, which seems to promise an interesting next few years.

    Peter,

    They don’t like sanctuary cities because some maters need to be decided at a federal level. Also, you will get no argument from me that conservatives are hypocrites on other issues, which probably plays a role here.

    But on this issue, the the right is honest, while the left seems less so. Look at Al Gore, and I challenge you to be able to truthfully say that man is a paragon of conservation. The fact of the matter is that next to no one on the left is taking the environmental crisis seriously enough to change their own lifestyle, and so that’s why I don’t take it very seriously.

  345. Also, when YOU call a company and have to talk to a computer, start talking in a foreign language and you’ll get switched to a person. Doesn’t matter what language or what you say. The old Anglo-Saxon words also work but we are sometimes in situations where we can’t use those!

  346. Hi Pogonyp, regarding your comment about making change, I’ve noticed in recent decades that beginning employees are given little or know training in how properly to make change. It’s like management assumes they’ll figure it out or the cash register’s computer will handle it. Though these days they don’t have cash registers, but POS or Point of Sale devices, for which I can think of an alternative meaning to the acronym that is more descriptive. Regardless, the very little time I worked retail early in my career, managers wouldn’t let someone anywhere near a cash register unless they were trained and knew the proper way to make change. Sorry for the rant, but I just had to get it out there. So, I can see how older people would be in demand for such jobs.

  347. @Peter and @Will (if I may)

    Re Dems and Reps

    With respect to power to the feds or power to the states, it isn’t all or nothing. The point of our federal charter is that certain, specific, limited powers were granted to the federal government: rules for naturalization and commerce with foreign nations being among those. But where we have gone astray is in the expanding of the federal role well beyond those boundaries—consider how much is shoehorned under the heading of interstate commerce, for example, in order to provide the fig-leaf for federal jurisdiction. It is that progression which needs to be reigned in, and hard.

    With respect to establishment Dems, establishment Reps and Trump, I’d say that the red and blue flavored establishment koolaid are not significantly different in the end. Trump, for all his (numerous) faults however, does indeed represent a break from the neoliberal bipartisan consensus. I’ll point out again: the Democrats had the opportunity to run a similar change-agent candidate in 2016 and chose not to do so. So the fact that the catalyst for needed change manifested itself in a huuuge orange halo of blustering pomposity is, quite frankly, the Democrats’ own d—— fault. There are many, many things I’d rather he not be doing, and I certainly don’t care for the man personally, but the fact remains that some of the things Trump has done were things that needed doing and that others would not do. Trump ran against the Republican orthodoxy and essentially staged a hostile takeover of the party. He deep-sixed the TPP; he’s curtailed the ISDS provisions of our trade arrangements with Canada and Mexico; he has re-introduced tariffs as a tool for asserting national sovereignty. These are all necessary things.

    Give me a leftward populist candidate willing to reject the neoliberal consensus, erect tariffs to protect American workers, and exert the sovereignty of the nation to control the flow of goods and people over its borders and I’ll vote for him or her over Trump hands down. Give me a standard neoliberal Democrat bent on attempting to preserve the (failing) American empire and I’ll have to consider my other options.

  348. It’s baffling to me how Democrats blame everything on Russia, Republicans blame everything on China, but Occam’s Razor dictates that the most obvious answer is that both Russia and China are working against American interests, just in very different ways.

  349. @JMG and anyone else who wants to respond,
    First, let me ask the question: How do you function in society? Now, let me embellish. We’ve all discussed what an insane minefield modern society is. Right now, I feel totally isolated and drained. I have my personal nonnegotiable standards: no TV, no social media, no smartphone, extremely limited pop culture. By nonnegotiable, I mean, these are things I REFUSE to engage with. I’m thinking, “well, with those conditions in place, certainly there are other ways I can connect with others.” Yet, I’m finding it very lonely, indeed. I feel totally drained. I feel like a lot of the posters on here, JMG included, are a lot more independent than I am and need less companionship and connection with others. Yet I refuse to engage with something I find to be toxic and damaging (social media, pop culture) simply to make a connection. I’ve done this in the past, and it’s been a violation of who I am and not good for my soul. I feel like there should be people out there outside the connected pop culture bubble, but I have no idea where they are or how I would reach them. I mean, I know a lot of you all exist, but you all aren’t in my immediate community. I mean, as I’ve told JMG, I feel like a lost puppy dog.

  350. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Yes, I think there would be a market for deindustrial romance stories. Romance is, in the end, all about the relationships between people. Frequently, these relationships lead to children and setting up families and then interactions between families. Whether you’re in middle ages Scotland or five hundred years from now in some future version of the Ohio valley, people will meet, marry, and raise families. That’s romance!

    Teresa from Hershey

  351. Hi JMG,
    Yes, that was my first thought about where the Chinese got the idea.

    I was meditating last night of the Greek philosophical concept of the unmoved mover. I had an insight that this central creative Deity might just be an almost unconscious life force and all the complexity of biology, souls and the like was spontaneously generated from raw life force, sleeting into the universe. What do you think?
    Maxine

  352. Phutatorious: since “neoliberalism” had only been used twice in these comments since you posted, and both times in a single comment by me, that must be what you mean by “tossed around pretty freely.” I laid out a definition in the second sentence of the full post I linked.

  353. JMG, others,
    follow-up to “how do you function in society” What are your “cocktail party rules”, if I might ask? I mean, here on this blog, you say all kinds of “offensive” things that stomp all over conventional wisdom and raise all kinds of hackles, but I wonder what your rules are for engaging w/people in the mundane, day-to-day encounters of life. As a Southerner, I’m really good at doing a “isn’t that lovely!” and biting my tongue when someone spits out some bit of conventional progress-believing orthodoxy, but, at the end of the day, I find myself very alienated from everyone. I’ve avoided an argument and stepping on toes, but I’m still alienated and alone.

  354. Christopher, yes, that’s a pretty fair summary.

    Nestorian, I trust we both remember the days when plenty of people had plenty of good numbers that predicted things that didn’t happen, and missed things that did. I’ll certainly check out what Hughes has to say — but have you checked out some of his earlier predictions and seen how they measured up?

    Pogonip, I have to screen things out fairly often. Sometimes it’s people who get into personal arguments and get too overheated to be polite, sometimes it’s people who don’t get the answer they wanted from me and get abusive, sometimes it’s trolls of the common or garden variety. There are people whose rants bored me enough that I IP-banned them, and they got a different IP address so they could keep on sending me rants that I delete as soon as I see their name on them. So much of the internet is so wide open to bullies and drama royalty that it takes pretty much constant vigilance to keep a space like this free of them.

    Martin, I tend to use a much simpler definition, based on the meaning of the word, which comes from civitas, “city.” A civilization is a form of human society that has urban centers. I freely grant that there are many kinds of human society that don’t do this, and they’re also interesting, complex, and worth study…but it’s when you get urban centers that you get the economic diversification that makes complex technology possible and opens the doors to literacy and its consequences, such as philosophy and science.

    Escher, no, it wasn’t you at all. You’re fine, and I’ve appreciated the conversation.

    Will, I’m good with that. I sometimes think that the real reason for outdoor lighting at night is that it keeps us from seeing the stars and realizing how insignificant we are by comparison…

    Shane, then how the ring-tailed rambling whatsit did he get the idea that magic is inherently pacifist and nonviolent? That just makes me shake my head. Magic is traditionally used, among other things, to kill; if anyone doubts that, I recommend a close reading of this page.

    Will, things are pretty bad, and they’re not improving overall — what’s happening is that there’s a modest amount of wealth transfer from the bicoastal bubble to the flyover states, which is why real estate prices in coastal markets are softening while working class people in Georgia and Wisconsin can get jobs again. The basic theme of economic policy for the last forty years has been the attempt to cover over the ongoing decline by pushing off all the costs onto the working classes; I suspect one of the factors behind Trump Derangement Syndrome is that a lot of people in the middle classes are at least subliminally aware of this, and realize that the policies Trump proposes will throw them under the bus instead.

    Pogonip, thank you! I’ll try Latin one of these days.

    MawKernewek, thanks for both of these.

    Gay Paris, and that they’re only the two largest of, oh, a hundred other countries that are also working against US interests, each in their own interests and in their own way. That’s absolutely normal; when France had a big empire, how many countries were working against French interests?

  355. Shane, I’m probably not the right person to ask! One of the side effects of having Aspergers syndrome is that my need for human companionship is pretty small, and is mostly satisfied by being married. I deal with other people when I choose to, and it’s mostly either with friends who can deal with my oddities, on the one hand, or in shallow interactions such as buying groceries, checking out books at the library, et al. So basically I don’t do society when I can help it, and I can usually help it.

    Teresa, fair enough! Now I’m wondering if any of our authors here want to contribute a deindustrial romance short story…

    Maxine, you’ve basically just invented the central concept of Schopenhauer’s philosophy! Well done — and I’m rather fond of Schopenhauer, too.

    Shane, I keep my mouth shut and feel alienated, unless there’s some very good reason to do otherwise. But your mileage may vary, of course.

  356. @Phutatorius

    Re “neoliberalism”

    I can take a stab at that. One working definition of mine, summarized in bullet-points:

    1) The free flow of people and goods over borders
    2) Supremacy of markets as the determiners of value
    3) Homo economicus
    4) The narrative of Progress
    5) “Let them eat retraining”

  357. I’m going to turn the tables a bit and toss a question to my readers — specifically to those who are in western Europe right now. I’ve been reading for the last couple of weeks about the “yellow vests” (gilets jaunes) protests in Paris, and now in Brussels as well. From this side of the Atlantic, it all looks unnervingly like the opening stages of a standard regime-change operation — think the “color revolutions” of a couple of decades ago for examples. Is that what it looks like on the ground? Let me know.

  358. @ JMG, if I may, I’d be delighted to contribute a deindustrial romance short story! That sounds like great fun indeed.

  359. On “neoliberalism.” I like the wikipedia article pretty well. I like Phillip Mirowski’s work, especially, but that’s just me. The pithy summary from the wikipedia article is this. “Scholars now tended to associate it [neoliberalism] with the theories of Mont Pelerin Society economists Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and James M. Buchanan, along with politicians and policy-makers such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan.” My point is that “neoliberalism” is not “liberal” in the common sense. To the extent that Mr. Trump opposes it, I’m sympathetic.

  360. JMG, I’m not in Europe, but yeah – it looks like a colour revolution – but Macron seems like a perfect pawn of The Powers That Be (meaning the US-NATO-Israel axis and the financial empire headquartered in New York and London). I’m pretty confused by it too – but very interesting nonetheless.

    Footage came out of a French sniper and spotter team on a rooftop overlooking the gilets jaunes protest at Champs-Elysées – of course it probably means nothing, but snipers firing into crowds are a critical part of a colour revolution….

    Like our gracious host I look forward to any information about the protests…

  361. @Quos Ego and Varun: I’d just like to say thanks for your posts on people’s motivations around defaulting to the compassion argument on immigration. This is something I’ve been trying to figure out, and I think there is truth in what you say. I think a lot of people of all classes simply hear the news of people in trouble and take what they think (wrongly or not) is the only decent attitude to it, without connecting it to any economic effect it has for them or others. Compartmentalisation is a big part of it. That doesn’t mean they ARE more compassionate, but I think that’s what’s going on in many cases.

    @JMG; Thank you for continuing to play a blinder in your weekly posting and hosting. If I may I would like to check something re: your discussion with Katherine on Spengler’s account of the world Jesus grew up in. I recall being gripped by these same passages when I read the Decline; I am also planning to read the KJV gospels followed by Nietzche’s The Antichrist shortly, so this has been on my mind. When you say that Spengler’s view of Jesus’s world is considered old-fashioned, can I ask do you mean that more accurate accounts/scholarship exist in your view or just that it’s a view that has gone out of fashion (like Spengler himself)? What do you make of his account of the early Magian world and of Jesus’ world?

    Many thanks,

    Jack.

  362. IDK, he freaked out over my excitement for a Depression (he thought the Great Recession was a Depression) and I never heard from him again…

  363. Re: your response to @Nic — one of those dozen-odd past lives you recall wouldn’t happen to include this fellow? Born: May 29, 1880, Blankenburg, Germany, died: May 8, 1936, Munich, Germany. Certainly seems an excellent fit, though I would certainly understand if you don’t post or respond to this. Even a passing resemblance in some of his photos.

  364. Hello,
    Just thanks for not commenting on the Saturday riots here in Ecnarf. It’s just hard to make much of it yet, since at the moment its discourse is mostly negative, without any clear positive proposition.

    But this echoes our society’s own lack of such propositions. It is also true that in the hinterlands people are starting to feel their standards of living materially threatened. France has a habit of rioting deeply rooted as well, usually more for the sake of complaining and channeling out our collective bad temper than to actually just work together on some common goal. This habit has however enabled us to resist a lot of changes, good or bad, which is not a bad thing in itself.

    It looks like a torn page of one of the peak oil sphere’s books about the likely future.
    And yet I suspect that this time what makes the violence and its perception more acute is that, collectively, with all the feces that have occurred over the last decade, we have all gone through a ragged and difficult process of acknowledging that this industrial civilization would no longer provide us with the material (food scandals, pollution scandals…) and existential security (automation of jobs, loss of contact with nature, loss of meaning) we needed. It’s not just the price of fuel, which has been higher in the past without causing such riots.

    These riots are a confusion of opposite demands, but I mostly see them as a spasm on the way of a long and difficult birth process for new social and economic arrangements, though noone can imagine yet what the baby will look like. Probably like the postman or milk delivery guy, which is bound offend the putative fathers!

    And it’s baffling how Peak Oil has gone from, ‘we are gonna be scraping mud because any arrangements of daily life will stop when one day the oil stops coming’… to ‘when is my job going to be automated away ?’, ‘when is the meaning of my existence going to be taken away as well, when are the things we value going to be stripped from under our feet by this crazy profit-seeking economy?.’ there is so much tension lately in our society, I can see it in my daily life as well, and I am far from sure we ever believed in progress for that long anyway.

    There might be a void, a gaping hole in our mental structures, and it is being exposed to the open just now. Ouch…

  365. @JMG,
    by whom? The Russians? I can’t imagine the Americans doing a color revolution against one of their client states. Man, if it is the Russians, and Trump doesn’t stop it, the Dems will go hysterical.

  366. RE:
    suicide, heroin, narcotics, and other substance abuse. I tend to be very empathetic. We have a very sick, dysfunctional society, but it is totally verboten to acknowledge the fact, so substance abuse and suicide are made out to be totally personal failings, even though 80% of the cause is societal–a natural result of living in such a sick society. Secondly, people in the US use an outsize share of resources just to stay alive. In an age of limits, when the pie is shrinking and not growing, if people who have lost the will to live decide to check out via the usual means and free up resources for others, I don’t think that should be judged negatively. Heck, lately I think the oversized resources used to keep me above ground might be better allocated…

  367. Umm, climate change alert: we’re experiencing a thunderstorm in KY, on Dec. 1st. Sigh, that NEVER happened growing up, rain, yes, thunderstorm, NEVER.

  368. @JMG

    About the Gilets Jaunes. Writing from France.

    It’s significant, but a regime change? I doubt it: today’s events involved barely 150 000 people (and France has seen MUCH worse), and the demonstrations have been pretty peaceful in most of the country (except in Paris, of course). They’re basically blocking rotaries and slowing traffic down.

    The government’s handling of the crisis has been terrible, though. The Minister of the Interior has gone out of his way to paint the demonstrators as dangerous extremists, and it hasn’t worked so far. At all. As for Macron, he’s doubling down on his rhetoric and stubbornly sticks to his mantra: people are upset because the governement hasn’t explained well what it’s trying to achieve.

    This movement is fascinating, however, for many reasons. First, even though every party has been trying to claim it as its own, it’s remained apolitical, and many of the participants are actually people who didn’t vote in the last presidential election. Furthermore, its sociological composition is striking: it’s an unlikely alliance of the middle class, the working class, and retirees, who all feel that the social benefits handed by the welfare state are meant for everyone but them. They don’t mind paying taxes, but they want to get something in return, and they don’t feel they do anymore.

    I don’t have time to develop more, sorry, but in a nutshell: I don’t see a regime change out of this, but we’ll see. But on the ground here, life goes on as usual. As I said, we’re used to mass demonstrations in France, and even though this one is very unusual because of its very nature, we’ve seen much worse (1995 comes to mind), with way more participants.

  369. On #walkaway, I always voted green if possible unless a major democratic candidate had a chance. My real walkaway moment came roughly four or five years ago, when the Democratic Party came dunning me for money, I’ve forgotten what the deal was, but I wrote back that they no longer represented me and never to contact me again. Perhaps it was Ukraine, perhaps the NDAA. It was the death of a thousand cuts.

    @John Kincaid,
    Thank you for the information! I must spend less than two minutes on the phone in the average month, including the time it takes to dial and wait for an answer. Even when forced to listen and listen to a particular relative’s sob stories for nearly an hour, I’ve not noticed any problems, so it is probably a type of radiation to which I have not been overexposed, but speakerphone is another option I have here. What I really need to do is find ways of disabling antennas, because our phone with an answering machine is old and any recent phone comes with an antenna that radiates 24/7. I have an old bakelite rotary phone too, but it doesn’t have an answering machine, which we need since we are out in the field so much.
    A really big problem is that after receiving a dental implant I now react notably to this computer and have to minimize my time on it, but I use it for work. I have finally found a dentist willing to help me remove the implant, and I hope I can become more active here again after that.

  370. Sure, I’ll give deindustrial romance a shot. My most successful deindustrial story came from a self-dare to attempt deindustrial physical comedy. (I was already tired of somber history lessons and all-talk-no-action climaxes.) So it seems the genre is pretty adaptable.

    The main difficulty is I’m mostly familiar with romance novels, which have a standardized plot structure and cadence, and hence a characteristic length. Might a short story romance come across like a five-meter horse race? I guess I’ll have to try and see.

    Old-school gothic in a deindustrial setting might be fun. I just hope the dark secret hidden in the locked gallery of Lord Broodington’s crumbling steel castle doesn’t turn out to be a preserved piece of forbidden technology, any more than once per anthology. 😀

  371. JMG,

    You’re now the second person who I’ve seen voice the concern about “les gilets jaunes” (the other has voiced the fear to me personally). Certainly, the way the media’s covering it looks a lot like one, but it would be bizarre for the US political establishment to target France, or the EU, like this.

    As for the reality of things in the US, one of the things that strikes me is that given the inflation rate Shadowstats provides, its not just the US: it looks like the world has shrinking economic output, and has for years.

    I figured we were still a few years away from that, but I may have been wrong.

  372. I was just thinking of something. I’m beginning to think the problem w/Central KY is that it is just the kind of place that attracts the brewpubs and coffee shops and “community” that Tripp was so unsuccessful in creating in Ellijay…

  373. I just don’t know about the utility of the concept of “left” as it’s being used by many here. According to Political Compass I’m even further “left” and more libertarian than David BTL (deeper into the lower left quadrant) and most of the attitudes and behaviors being described here as “left” (open borders, ID politics, etc.) are repulsive to me. As far is I’m concerned there is no left, left in this country.

    Another thing: The concepts of left, right, liberal, conservative democrat, republican are not immovable objects. Would how we’re defining these terms today not be unrecognizable from the viewpoint of 100 years ago?

    I think the current political consensus in DC would look upon this conversation and declare: “look how we have them all bickering about the differences between left and right, mission accomplished!”

    As is oft mentioned, Nixon and Ted Roosevelt were republicans, and nobody has ever done more good for the environment in this country than those two, as far as I know. These terms just don’t mean anything anymore. Seems like it should be all about individual issues, not labels.

    Liberoids is good, lets all use that, and retire “left” to the dustbin, unless you’re talking about someone like me…a true leftie or maybe paleo-leftie?

  374. @ Jess, DT, Onething, and Aron Blue

    My experience with Christianity in many ways mirrors Jess’s, except it had a much more fire and brimstone bent. After usually attending church three times a week growing up, I stopped going when I left for college 30 years ago. It was regularly pointed out when I was a child that the Bible mentions hell more than heaven. I have no idea if that is true, but it had an impact. I remember seeing a movie about the rapture in which the parents were taken and a teen child left behind. I spent a significant part of my youth wishing I had never been born because nonexistence seemed preferable to eternal suffering. I’m still trying to figure out where I stand spiritually and I found all of your comments insightful and helpful in my personal journey. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Knowing you’re not alone brings its own form of peace.

    @JMG

    I also appreciated your thoughtful reply to Jess and the advice you gave her. If you ever do that poll of ex-Christians, you can count me as having the same experience.

  375. I have a data point:

    Climate change related losses have started mounting up in many places in India. Droughts are killing crops, new pests are wreaking havoc, and frequent hurricanes cause flooding and damage basic infrastructure like roads, water and power services.

    All these are happening with more frequency and severity than a decade or so earlier. Governments — which had promptly repaired damages and compensated losses to houses, livestock and crops in the past — are finding it difficult to restore the infrastructure, because of the high losses and constrained economic situation. Twin jaws of resource depletion and climate change indeed.

    And public anger against governments is raising fast. The people have got used to having their losses compensated, fully and quickly. Now they are demanding it as a matter of right. Now it is not coming so fast, so they are angry at the political establishment. It is going to be a rough awakening when they realise that their losses may never get compensated.

  376. @Jess, that doesn’t surprise me at all. I have many friends who have anxiety often combined with depression from all sorts of different spiritual backgrounds and present situations. Some were born and raised agnostic or atheistic, while others are practicing or former Christian (both fire and brimstone and love & comfort varieties), or come from a different background. Spores of anxiety are everywhere and your fear is its expression for you.

    All of them have had better and worse periods of their lives. What seems to work generally is a social network of good friendships and regular close but not necessarily intimate positive human contact such as activities, clubs, or just chewing the fat along with good therapy. Unfortunately suggestions beyond that vary based on the individual.

    I know what I’ve been doing to keep anxiety back and make sure it doesn’t take root, but I don’t know how much it’ll do for you especially as we are coming at different sides of the issue.

    @Ashara, the problem with the Universal Culture is that things rapidly crumble apart once you get into the everyday weeds of reality. For example while I agree with you that most humans over time will agree that people should be “safe, healthy, and comfortable”, but when you get into specifics of what that means they will be at best askew and at worst incompatible. For some living a safe, healthy, comfortable life is following their holy texts and living for the glory of their god, others require being micromanaged by a technocratic elite, or others having whim as long as it’s safe to others indulged. US politics today is heavily based on people trying to do what’s best for the US and you can see the disagreements there and we’re more alike to each other than those from non-Faustian or Faustian influenced cultures.

    Scott Alexander ducks this issue with postulating the Archipelago where everyone has their own island to live how they want to live. That might work in theory if everyone was an island, but we are all stuck here together in a world of limits. He also sometimes off-loads the heavy work to various gods and goddesses such as superintelligences, the Goddess of Everything Else, and more recently the Gods of the Straight Line.

  377. I’m on the same side of the Atlantic as JMG, and the “yellow vests (gilets jaunes) struck me very much as they struck him.

    Even if the movement began as a wholly French, spontaneous protest over increased taxes on automobile fuel, it may now also be supported by US covert operations as part of the US’s response to President Macron’s recent public proposal “that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia.” The timing is suggestive: Macron aired his proposal on French radio on (IIRC) November 5th, and really extensive “yellow vest” demonstrations began only twelve days later, on November 17th. And now something similar has begun in Italy–and, significantly, in Brussels.

    But this is just an outsider’s ignorant take on the whole situation. I, too, would very much welcome input from the Europeans here.

  378. Shane – How do I act “in society”? I have collegial co-workers, and we function reasonably well as a team when we need to, and as individual contributors (engineering). I have my church, the members of which appreciate my willingness to mow grass, trim shrubs, shovel snow, attend to the HVAC (etc): mostly solitary actions in support of the whole, but also reasons to engage others. I have a weekly shopping routine which meshes with the schedules of the store clerks so we recognize each other week after week. I have a marvelous wife and two adult sons. I have fellow members of my ham radio hobby to engage with. To a large extent, these relationships are independent (orthogonal); any one set could be destroyed without harming the others. (I would, of course, feel substantial loss, but it’s not a “house of cards”.) I, too, have no interest in TV, smart-phones, Facebook, etc. You and I both, though, DO use “social media”. Isn’t that what we’re doing right here?

  379. Tripp – I appreciate your difficulties, and grant that your case contracts my oversimplified view.

    Maybe you could get around the EPA by offering your products not as “insecticides”, but as “herbal supplements for plants”. Patent medicines sold as herbal supplements (“not intended for the treatment of any specific disease”) seem to dodge around the regulation of medicine.

  380. David (btL) – I agree that the interstate commerce clause has been fraudulently interpreted to justify all manner of federal government over-reach. (“Department of Education” for example? I’m not saying that it’s a Very Bad Thing (as some do), but it’s just not required by the Constitution.) I don’t recall the details, but my vague memory is that instances of Federal over-reach have been prompted by corporate interests that find it more economical to pay off one legislature than fifty (or whatever the relevant number was at the time). Maybe you’re right. Maybe people at the local level can carve out exemptions from big corporate pressures. I certainly don’t intend to try to stop you from trying!

  381. @Shane W

    I struggle with the very issue that you are facing but I am doing alright for myself, mostly. The first thing is compromise. I will take social media as an example, I use facebook. Now, before you go and judge, consider. I turned off the feeds, so for me it is just a text message page, and a way to try planning things with friends on it. Also, I try to prioritize friends who don’t use social media at all, often using email for correspondence, or by posting letters to distant friends. There are two Ecosophia buddies I have corresponded with by postal service, and both have been quite rewarding to know outside the digital! Wouldn’t mind more, stamps ain’t going to bust my budget, know what I mean?

    Another compromise, two days ago I bought a smart phone… but without service. In a couple of weeks I am traveling to New Orleans to visit a lovely friend who recently barged into my life. In order to do so with the shaky bus and train system I need a way of updating allies on the way in Albuquerque and New Orleans about the train schedules, and my computer won’t do. I thought of buying a second hand laptop, but realized that with wifi all the features I need are on a sim-less smart phone. Bought a used but good as new phone off a buddy for $30. Its an interesting drug to allow into the house, but it serves my ends.

    Pop culture, there are tastes of it I enjoy, but I not enough to share any of my pop with that of my friends. I make up for this by being charming and interesting, a card, a character. So few people who are young learn how to be more than a lump on a log, so if you can act ham you can easily become interesting enough to drag people out of their haze. Then I haunt the farmer’s markets and, without being asked, help people (oldest first) set up or take down their wares and booths. After helping a few people, where everybody can see, then folks are accustomed to it, and I can watch a booth for a week or two, and know how to walk up and help like I work there. Boom, easy supply of casual friends.

    Close friends and, ahem, companionship is more difficult by far. Put most of the summer into pursuing a wonderful woman whose world view and taboos are so close to mine it all seemed like a dream. Didn’t so happen to workout, so it goes. Not too terrible long after that a New Orleans dame from a very different wavelength made a very impressive bid for my attention, and before you can say ‘Louis Prima’ I got holiday plans near the gulf.

    Here is the thing, right now people are not neatly braided together by a shared culture, so when it comes to anything at all near the surface folks are all over the place, you constantly have to deal with folks who are coming from radically different perspectives, they account for almost everyone. This is a lived experience for almost everyone. Pop culture tapes over it, but lots of intense interpersonal work is required to do the work others do with mass produced tape. It is useful to foster being able to look past that surface at deep character traits; honesty is the biggest marker I look for. An honest person who shares not value one with me otherwise I will bend and stretch greatly to get to know. But lots of other folks are in your boat, needful of rich human connection, if you fill that need for somebody else, you fill it for yourself.

    I have a modest number of really dear friends, and very few of them are on my wave length about what parts of progress I avoid or doubt, excepting maybe a couple niche issues. But, they are folks who are curious about me, and willing to reflect about themselves. Look for reflectivity, even if the person runs an instagram, or a myspace, or whatever. It exists. Heck, you are a habitual blog poster, which could be put in the same category! Just a different venue.

    The most difficult thing I face is that not having a truly mobile phone or driving, and living in a rural area, I am living at a really slow pace compared to my friends, especially my young friends. So I fall behind, and because of my own quirks I isolate. Also I sometimes feel like it is hard to get really close to certain people I might like to be very close to, knowing there is real differences at work.

    Right now I am doing alot of inner questioning about what issues I want to hold hardline on, what I am willing to flex on, and what kinds of flex I would need to sense from another person for me to feel right about that… be this in the domain of sustainable values, seperation from the madness, or other parts of life.

  382. Will J wrote:

    “More importantly, as long as our lifestyles continue to require fossil fuels, we’re going to get them. It’s nice to set aside land and say we will never exploit it, but unless and until we change our lives so that we don’t need to exploit it, we will sooner or later.”

    For some reason, this confident prediction reminded me of James Tiptree Jr.’s short science-fiction story, “The Last Flight of Dr. Ain” (1969). In her story, all it took to upset that inevitable future was one brilliant rogue biologist who had fallen in love with Gaia. He created a mutant leukemia virus that was highly contagious, and also invariably lethal to all higher primates (including humans). Then he spread it around the globe by a long flight through many of the world’s major airports. In the story, that was all it took to save the world.

    As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

  383. On left-right and sexual harassment: good question. I’ve not actually experienced a lot of it myself, at least not in a serious way–a number of idiotic passes, sure, but very little where I felt trapped or threatened–but the guy who did was pretty left-wing in ideology (and likely still is, but we don’t associate any more, for obvious reasons). On the other hand, outside this board, I don’t hang out much with people on the right wing, so anyone who was around me enough to try anything would pretty much have to be center to left. (The unsolicited pictures of genitals and/or gender-based insults I got back in my online dating days covered most of the political spectrum, as far as I was aware from anyone’s profile; the people I’ve seen making rape threats to women who have opinions online have *tended* right as far as it’s possible to tell from Twitter profiles, but that’s not much.)

    My speculative guess is that a number of liberal men can justify behavior anywhere from creeping to assault to themselves by some convoluted mind tricks that start with “but I’m such a nice guy and I’m a feminist so clearly I’m not doing anything wrong here,” and often involve the notion that other men are so much worse. I vaguely recall reading secondhand drama from atheist boards some years ago involving a woman who had an unfortunate experience at a convention saying “Er, guys, maybe don’t hit on women *in elevators at 3 AM*” and Richard Dawkins (of course) responding with an angry screed about how dare she complain that some atheist guys were creepy when women under the Taliban couldn’t get educations, or similar.

    @Shane W, re: Clarence Thomas and so forth: Very true. And that, for me, goes to show that, even with what I said above re: self-justification, a lot of the really gross modern group knew darn well, somewhere, that what they pull is not okay or wanted, and they mostly just thought they’d get away with it. Because Thomas’s argument was that he didn’t do it, IIRC, not that it wouldn’t have been wrong if he had–so for someone to look at that and think, hey, there’s no ethical problem with me whipping it out in front of someone I barely know, whose career I could definitely influence…like, it’s been a good twenty years since anyone could honestly claim to have misunderstood that, in my opinion.

    On meeting/connecting with people: I am, I’m afraid, of very little help here (I’m even more introverted than JMG, I suspect–I couldn’t even stand sharing most of my life with an SO on a regular basis–and most of my friends are people I met in college or through other college friends.) But the one suggestion I have is mutual hobbies or interests. The friends I have made post-college have either been LARPers or fellow occultists. I don’t know where you’re at or what your hobbies are, but maybe there’s a choral group/community theater/softball team/book club you could join? Then there’s the thing you all do together to talk about rather than pop culture or social media. (If it’s not too close to social media per se, meetup.com can be useful in that regard: it’s planning specific trips and outings rather than discussions, and lets you know what sort of groups are near you.) Charity work can also be good in that regard.

    @JMG: I think that helps a lot, yeah. My mom was the first in her family to go to college at all, I believe, and they’d both been working in high schools for years, so there was some very helpful perspective there.

    As far as romance goes, I’d be glad to work up a deindustrial short story! Does it need to be modern and can it involve magic?

    I second what Teresa said, although my books do have a fair amount of (moderately priced) sex, and my impression is that’s necessary if you want a non-indie, non-Christian publisher. Indies and self-pub have some major advantages, though, including being able to write triads or more, HFN rather than HEA (I could not write a modern romance with the leads making a serious commitment after the length of time an average storyline covers, and even historical feels like stretching it sometimes, though “we could all die tomorrow so let’s do this” covers a lot*), and more varieties of supernatural being.

    I’m increasingly seeing people in romance sell the more mainstream stuff to standard publishers and bring out personal projects as self-published or indie books. That’s likely the way I’ll be going in the future, for some definition of “mainstream” that includes both shapeshifting dragons and…I don’t even know, original-world romance where the hero’s dead ex-lover is stuck in the heroine’s sword for the first book.**

    * Among my same-generation friends, even considering moving in together before six months is generally a Bad Idea–up until then, you’re both still fresh and shiny to each other, and God forbid you sign a lease, have the new relationship energy wear off, and discover that the other person has a habit of trying to make small talk while you’re in the middle of a book. For example. And breaking out “I love you” before you’ve been sleeping together for at least three months is definitely rushing things.
    ** It’s all very amicable. To the point where I had an awkward phone call with my agent, when the second part was done, where she was like “I mean, I will definitely fight for you if you want to write a triad, but this is the first book in the series…” and I reassured her that, while I’ll likely write some variety of poly at some point, all the participants will have bodies made of meat.

  384. Tripp in regards to kids not speaking Spanish back to you. It is primarily that Mexican kids raised in the states view Spanish as a language of poor illiterate peasants. They will use it if they have to (they don’t have to use it with you) but they don’t like it. It is a very common think. It drives my Mexican wife nuts. We have taught our daughter to view Spanish as equal to English but that view is not common

  385. Robert Mathiesen,

    I think though, dying counts as a change of lifestyle. I challenge you to find someone who maintains the same standard of living after death! 😉

  386. I’m suddenly wondering how much the economic statistics are being fudged for Canada. Judging from the way our dollar hasn’t skyrocketed in value yet, we can’t be doing much better than the US….

    Also, for anyone interested, I strongly recommend the shadowstats site. In addition to the statistics, there are lots of reports, which I’m busy digging through, which explain what’s happening. I’m now wondering if economic theory isn’t so much flawed as the data being used is, since he’s using economic theories and getting good results.

    The other thing I like is that he looks at his predictions, and checks them against objective reality. If he makes predictions that don’t pan out, then there’s an attempt to figure out what went wrong, and what could be done to make better predictions in the future.

  387. Violet, you’re on. I’ll put together a formal announcement for next week, but I’ll give everyone here a heads up. I’m calling for submissions for Love in the Ruins, the first (and probably only) book of deindustrial romance short stories. (My first thought was to title it Love After Oil, but that just calls up all the wrong connotations…)

    I’ll be accepting submissions in the usual manner — you know the drill, post the story on a free website of your choice and then post a link here. Minimum length 2500 words, maximum length 8500 words, except that I’ll accept one, count ’em one, novella of up to 15,000 words, and up to six poems of no more than 1000 words. (Hint to poets: I like formal verse — you know, things that rhyme and scan — and have rather less patience with vague shapeless free verse. Give me a well-written sonnet or villanelle, say, and your chance of getting in goes way up.)

    All stories should be romances of the classic variety, in other words, two characters fall in love and end up happily ever after; the gender and/or species of your romantic leads, on the other hand, are up to you. Sex is fine, but pornographic squish-squish-spurt is not; all stories must also be set in a realistic future — that is, one in which human choices are constrained by declining energy supplies, depleted natural resources, and the other unwelcome consequences of industrial society’s idiotic neglect of the planet on which it lives. (I.e., no space travel, no gosh-wow limitless technology, that’s not going to happen and it’s also been done to death and then some). It can be set ten years from now or ten thousand years from now. More details to come!

    Justin, I’m not assuming the existing (fraying) global hegemony is the only source of potential color revolutions. it does seem to bear watching.

    Morfran, I haven’t really studied Jesus scholarship, so don’t know if Spengler’s view is outmoded or just unfashionable. His account is a brilliant work of poetry if nothing else!

    Kris, nope. During most of that time, if my memories are anything to go by, I was a middle-class Englishman, born in a small town in the Midlands, spent most of that life in London, worked as what was then called a corn-chandler and we’d call a commodities trader today, and was heavily involved in Freemasonry and in a variety of related lodges, including one of the Druid orders active at that time. I moved to New York City as a widower just after the First World War and died there in the very early 1920s. I didn’t even have the chance to read Spengler in that life, though I got to it the next time around.

    Shane, ironically, I talk in one of my books about how that’s not an option.

    Jean-Vivien, many thanks for this. I appreciate the perspective — and yeah, it’s interesting to watch just how quickly peak oil has been consigned to the memory hole and replaced by a far more progress-centered set of fears and fantasies.

    Shane, by all means keep using your share of resources. The world would be a less entertaining place without you.

    Quos Ego, many thanks for this! It’s always hard to tell what’s being filtered out, or put in, by the media.

    Walt, I’ll look forward to your submission!

    Will, my working guess is that the global economy has been contracting since the 1970s, and that’s been covered up by statistical gamesmanship.

    Copeland, I use the labels “left” and “right” purely because a lot of the people involved use them of themselves. You’re right that they’ve gotten fairly vacuous of late.

    Ramaraj, many thanks for this. That’s important to know, and of course it’s not the kind of news that’s easy to get in the US.

    Robert, I hadn’t heard about the Italian end of things. My, my, this could get interesting!

    Isabel, glad to hear it. As deindustrial fiction, it needs to be set in our future, but it can be set at any point in our future — ten thousand years from now in some distant neofeudal society on the tropical archipelago that was once the Berkshire Hills, hey. I’m good with that. Magic — that depends on what you have in mind. I’d prefer not to see anything with Harry Potteresque pseudomagic, but if you want to do something with folkloric magic, say, I’m good with that.

  388. I can think of three possibilities for the yellow vests protests: First, it’s targeting Europe to keep a rival force from emerging. Second, it’s Russia. Third, it’s a false flag being done by the US/Europe, which will be blamed on Russia as cover to strengthen NATO.

    I’m sure there are others, but those three seem plausible to me based on the facts I currently have.

  389. I just heard from a friend of mine that there are apparently also protests planned in Germany for today. No idea how true it is, but it seems worth checking the news later. If true, things may be about to get very interesting.

    Also, for the global economy, using the shadowstats analysis, it looks like global GDP growth turned negative sometime in the 1980s or 1990s. This also means I’ve never lived in an expanding economy, which makes perfect sense.

  390. I wonder now if the rising tensions between world powers is related to the economic issues. It’s the same principle as in a society: if there’s more to go around with each passing year, then people are more willing to be cooperative. If there’s less, then everyone will struggle harder to make sure that it’s someone else who loses out.

    It would explain why there’s been so much tension since the Financial Crisis, when global GDP growth seems to have done a nose-dive.

  391. I guess things are about to get exciting in France: it looks like the claims of tear gas and police brutality are coming out:

    “Many demonstrators in Paris said they felt the police provoked much of the fighting. “I came peacefully, but even I’m ready to fight given how I’ve seen the riot police behave,” said Claude Metayer, a 67-year-old retired army commander, who came to Paris from Pau in the country’s southwest with his 62-year-old wife Eve, a retired teacher. They said they’d seen police allow protesters into confined areas and then not let them out after firing tear gas, and threatening to fire rubber bullets on peaceful protesters.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-01/macron-says-violence-in-paris-not-reflecting-legitimate-anger

    Then there are the BBC articles as well:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46411699

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46328439

    By the gods, I think it might be a real attempt at a color revolution. Also, the phrase “peaceful demonstrators”, and the insistence that they are peaceful and the police are violent, is raising tons of red flags for me.

  392. Recently I have been doing research for a talk about ‘Limits’, based in part by your writings.

    An area that you haven’t really touched on is the future of computers in society; I assume is because of focusing on the much more important issues. Considering everyone reading your blog and this comment are using a computer, this is something that will impact everyone here even if in a non-vital role.

    I will try to keep this brief.

    I am of the firm belief that there will be very few remaining computers in a centuries time and even then they will be the property of the rich classes/the deeply dedicated that can still scrap together the usable parts and an energy source to keep them running.

    Silicon chip production is astoundingly energy intense relative to total output, it is orders of magnitude beyond most materials and needs astoundingly precise conditions to be executed, something that is wildly unsustainable. While these issues will come to pass, there are some more near term interesting factors in terms of limitations and more interestingly how people are reacting to these issues.

    The limits of Silicon; A brief base summary. Computer chips are made of transistors, the more you can pack into a space the more potential computing power you can get out of a chip for a given amount of energy. The more energy you pump in the hotter the chip gets and the slower it will eventually run once it exceeds the thermal limits. The goal is to put more transistors into a given space to reduce the resistance and thus use less energy per unit of work done.

    This is measured in Nano Meters (nm for short). The theoretical limit on how small we can make transistors is estimated at between 2nm and 5nm, we cannot go any lower because it is at the scale of singular atoms! Any smaller and the electrical signals will start jumping the gaps and destroy the integrity of a binary based system. We are starting to see chips that are 7nm on the market also the smaller 3nm/4nm chips already being planned for the next few years. After that, it is the end of the road for computer hardware performance increases. Considering that year over year performance increases has been declining since the late 90’s this should come as no surprise to those keeping a close eye on it.

    Here is a brief article on it if anyone wants more details. – https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1323507

    The really interesting part is that if you bring this up with folks, the kind that like to talk about ‘the singularity’, you will see the usual hand waving and the so familiar ‘thought stopper’… “they will think of something”. The idea that we are hitting the physical limits of the very universe itself means little to them and that we are smart enough to over come this issue in next to no time. Big billion dollar companies have be trying to find the solution for decades, there is nothing come any time soon, if ever.

    This leads us to the moon shot solutions.

    The usual answer is similar to what we see from the futurologist fans, a far flung technology that will promise us everything and all for a low price, low fat and in three easy payments – in this case the ‘quantum computer’. A computer that doesn’t use physical switches but a bizarre quirk of physics that can theoretically be millions of times faster, provided you ignore all the major problems that are conveniently ignored by all mainstream references and academics trying to get funding to work on these machines and keep their jobs. The whole realm personally has all the same hall marks of ‘string theory’ in the late 90’s early 2000’s. It was big in academia for a few decades, the convinced a few with money to throw a few million dollars at it but ultimately produces little or nothing of substance.

    I would write more about it but a wonderful 5 minutes read from Mikhail Dyakonov was published recently. He has been working in the field of quantum mechanics/computing for about 40 years and in this article he gets at the very heart of this technology and how it will likely never amount to anything of practical use. The hype and the business of these machines and how they will almost definitely be flung on the trash heap of failed technologies.

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/the-case-against-quantum-computing­

  393. re: #walkaway

    FWIW, I’ll share my experience since I’ve apparently gone the opposite direction of most people here. As a life long Republican, I only changed my registration to “Decline to State” 4 months ago. The first presidential election I could vote in, 1988, I voted for George H.W. Bush (RIP). I actually met him very briefly after his debate with Dukakis at UCLA when I was a freshman there. I’ve always been socially libertarian (I don’t like being told what to do, and doubt anyone else does either) and fiscally conservative.

    The reason I’ve moved to the left is that I grew up solidly working class. My single father was a cement truck driver the final 28 years of his working career. I had daily chores at the age of 5 and was always taught that life revolved around working hard and going to church. Everything else would take care of itself.

    I knew going to college meant paying for college. In 1988 UCLA only cost $1,500/yr for tuition. Because college was affordable, I was able to work a union job in a grocery store and pay my way through school. In that role, I was on the receiving end of upper class condescension several times as described here by JMG. However, the primary lesson I took away from paying for college myself was that everything needed to be paid for by someone. Since I viewed Democrats as favoring redistribution from those who worked to those who didn’t, I still identified as Republican.

    As I’ve grown older, I realize how much I benefited from the old system where decent paying jobs and inexpensive college were relatively accessible. In a very real sense, I now realize affordable college was a form of redistribution from which I benefitted. I went on to join the professional class and benefitted further from the economic changes that have worked in favor of that class the last 3 decades.

    Looking back, I just don’t think kids from my background have anything close to the opportunities I had. I came of age at the tail end of affordable college, and then benefitted from changes in the economy that squeezed the working class. At this point, I think the best way to maintain societal peace and cohesion is for the wealth of society to be more evenly distributed. I’m still not a fan of redistribution, but I think we as a society need to provide meaningful work and educational opportunities to as many people as possible.

    I would have voted for Sanders in 2016. The first time I would have voted for a Democrat, and he’s a Democratic-Socialist no less. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton as the Clintons, in my mind, take politics for personal gain to obscene levels. I know they all do it, but why be so blatant about it? I voted libertarian.

    I find all of the comments here, even when I don’t agree, engaging and insightful. Thanks everyone!

  394. JMG, in Germany, there are no yellow vest protests, as far as I know. It seems to be mostly a French thing.

    As for social relations, your answer to Shane was interesting, because I have come to acknowledge that the social needs of people vary markedly; a thing that is not mentioned in modern society. Me, for example, I don’t need many friends, instead rather a very few close friends, and the occasional social occasion otherwise.

    Shane, I know that feeling of isolation only too well! There isn’t much overlap between modern society and my own interests. So there aren’t many people with whom I have meaningful conversations. Partly it has to do with a lowest-denominator approach that modern society prefers.

  395. Spicehammer, methylethyl,
    Thank you for responding to my first comment.
    For wikispeed, it looks way too sophisticated for anything but the wealthy enthusiast in our current time, though I am not qualified at all to judge further. They have started the first page of a wiki for their design, with nothing behind it yet.
    For Elio Motors, I haven’t understood if the car would have electronics or not. It could very well have it inside, since the specifications on their official website mention a USB something. Amazing that they haven’t started producing their car after 9 years…
    I was thinking of the sort of knowledge that was in use in the early 20th century. It wouldn’t produce a car adapted to nowadays’ standards, but motorized vehicles will be useful in the future, perhaps not always for transportation but for tasks requiring a lot of mechanical power during a very short timespan.

    As for a more progress-oriented set of fantasies replacing the fears about Peak Oil, I was thinking of the link posted by Tripp. Right now the ‘rich world’ is pushing for a lot of automation, and the fact is, it works. We routinely use Google Maps, for instance, which has all but replaced the need to carry a map in your handbag.
    That is not a fantasy (though Google has stopped maintaining one of its services called Picasa because it was truly obsolete).
    It keeps on bringing more fragility to an arrangement that didn’t really need it just now, but the fact is, a lot of jobs keep on being destroyed. So far the alternatives to a growth-based economy are only starting to be thought of, while a great number of people are going to land into poverty. That is not a fantasy.
    A lot of accounting jobs have been outsourced to Eastern Europe, and that has not been a fantasy either.

    I wonder if the next election here could offer to an anti-globalization candidate, not just a road but a highway to power.

  396. JMG wrote: ” I recall the time when people were saying that if the price of oil ever reached $100 a barrel it would bring industrial society crashing down.”

    I think I should not have said that economic system bleed to death, it may mislead readers in thinking that I am saying that economic system just belly up at this point. My mistake, wrong imagery.

    What I meant is that as oil prices increase they act as a brake on economic growth which slows down. At a certain level of oil prices economic growth ceases (that does not mean economic collapse at all, only that growth stops, but there still is economic activity, of course!)

    Higher price levels begin to trigger decline in economic activity (negative growth). And reduced economic activity reduces demand and hence oil prices drop. In effect oil prices have an inherent self limiting effect. Of course, real economic pain is experienced and it is that pain which reduces economic activity. Negative feed back effect of oil prices so to speak.

    For the mauritian economy I have been able to compute the braking effect of oil prices on economic growth and the price threshold which would stop growth if reached. With this model it is possible to compute economic growth by using the average oil price for the year. Up till now, the predictions have been fairly good.

    On that basis, I tend to believe that similar oil price thresholds exist for net oil importing countries and for the whole world too. Hence it becomes possible to have a pretty good idea of the upper limits oil prices may reach. Note: I am not predicting future oil prices, only how high they could reach before reduced demand acts as a brake on higher oil prices.

    I strongly suspect that thresholds for the world economy would be broadly similar to the mauritian levels. The GDP per capita for Mauritius is US $10,500 and that of the world is US $ 17,300. If for Mauritius the upper threshold is (approx) US $ 120, as computed using 2017 figures, by simple proportion the upper threshold for the world would be: 120/10,500 X 17,300 = US 200 (approx). Gross approximation, but I guess it’s a kind of ball park figure, as Americans say!

    Note that (1) I am referring to yearly oil prices averages, not a spot price on one of the exchanges and (2) that these thresholds must be recomputed yearly using the latest economic statistics. (3) I am assuming that economic statistics are broadly representative of the real economic systems of the exchange of goods and services (!).

    Thanks.

  397. @Gay Paris A large part of the US has been trying to reign in our government for decades. And every time it comes up under this president, those who support it under nationalism, American First, MAGA, etc are called…….racists!! Then the conversation stops. Don’t worry we are all still trying.

    If your comment was about China taking what we developed and stealing it, and my not liking it…..well, why don’t you start in your country by not buying any American developed products. No iPhones, music, movies, television. clothes, no chain restaurants, etc.

    China could pay a licensing fee for what it wants from us, or buy the patent, etc. But they don’t. They just take it. As JMG said this is to be expected, and sure, people take things that aren’t theirs all the time. And I expect our government to actually do something about it. Otherwise, what is the point of developing anything? And if you think we are awful to deal with, what do you think it will be like living in a world dominated by China?

  398. @David by the Lake So funny you brought up corporate personhood as you unelectable offense. That issue is the one that my husband and I bring up all the time. We would vote for whoever promised to end it, especially as it relates to the first amendment

    Run for local office! I was asked to run for township commissioner. Petitions start circulating in January to get on the primary ballots. We could compare notes! I plan to flip a coin to pick a party to get on the ballot and then run a write-in campaign for the other party. Seems to be the way people do it here, run both parties at the same time.

  399. Hi JMG

    Re: yellow-vests riots

    Recently our government (in Spain) is preparing a law that by 2040 you will not be alowed to buy a fossil fuel powered car (nor even hybrid, only H2 + electric), and by 2050 all the fossil fuel cars will be forbidden from the roads, the same law, even in advance, have been approved in some other nations of the UE.
    For the moment, in Spain, there is no subsidies, nor capillary infraestructure investment for a massive electric car usage, nothing; the law only force gas stations to have minimum 1 (ludicrous) electric charge point 22KW power (almost 3 hour to charge a 60 KWh required for a 300 Km autonomy)

    Can you imagine the kind of protest that there will be when people start to realize that their own cars are not worth anything if they try to sell them in the second hand market?, and the inmense problems and inconveniences with the electrical structure of cities and suburban life, cost of electricity and cars, depletion of batteries, etc…?

    I think the yellow-vest protest are the kind of protest you will have when a governments try to adapt to a energy decline & ecological damage, trying to reduce the oil consumption by law (taxes), and collides with the reality of a society build around the oil & car, that people need just to live.
    We are a society hooked-up on oil from the cradle to the grave, and this change, in a massive scale, IMHO cannot be made by democratic means, so the change will be Easter Island style.

    We will see the rise of Oil-Populism (or Oil-Cesarianism) in the future (Trump and Bolsonaro are, in certain ways, oil-populists, erasing any regulation that could decrease the extraction or usage of fossil fuels that maintains the party of growth alive).

    Second Principle of Energy Descent = the people democratically will elect those leaders that will maximize the extraction of oil and minimize its usage costs (for them)

    I do not see any US “regime change” operation here but the rising energy conflicts we will see in the future in many different scales (riots, coups d´état, wars, etc…)

    Cheers
    David

  400. It’s possible, too, that some women on the right see sexual harassment as the fault of the woman (if we’re assuming a male harassing a female) … for dressing provocatively or what have you … and so see the whole issue differently. I think you might find this more among the fundamentalist religious right.

    I didn’t know the identity of the only person who physically molested me, and I just assume jerks can come from anywhere.

    JMG, I just pulled out a book I’d forgotten I have, the Path of Druidry by Penny Billington with a quote by you on the front, so it must be good!

  401. @Varun I like how you layered looking/being successful with taking in refugees/migrants/illegal immigrants. I have another layer to add to it…..

    People keep saying that if only liberal/progressives talked to Trump supporters they could see they agree on some issues and move the country forward, kumbaya happy singing and dancing would ensue.

    I now see that the liberal/progressive left as well as the Never Trumpers on the right will never do anything other than completely tear down Trump supporters. The tearing apart of Trump supporters – calling them racists/sexual assaulters, getting them fired from their jobs, making them move out of their homes – is done as a social signal to the elites that they are one of them.

    “Hey, look at me! I’m one of you – I hate this guy and all his supporters and look what I did to save the progressive movement! I’ll do your dirty work for you. Now you can give me recognition through a well-paying job and a high status job title!!”

    They rationalize this behavior instantly after they do it, but the behavior itself is wired into the biology from our ape days clearly. And it’s why if anyone who has this hatred of Trump gets even a whiff of Trump support in their space, they go ape you-know-what.

  402. We discussed this once, but the “liberalism” of “neoliberalism” hearkens back to the older meaning of “liberal” as favoring the business/merchant class, as opposed to the landed/gentry class, which were the true conservatives. The “liberal” meaning to “liberate the market” of restriction and allow Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” to work.

  403. @Nastarana (Sigh) Immigration laws…..were you surprised like I was when Trump announced that unless people declared asylum at a port of entry it would denied? I had no idea that people could enter the country anywhere, get caught, then say, “I’m claiming asylum” and go about their life for years while it worked its way through our courts.

    I had seen the reporting for decades on women coming into the country to have babies and so that child has US citizenship and then leave. People got outraged and nothing happened.

    The laws on the books have loopholes to say the least. There’s a lot of “rules” that DHS and DOJ implement, but not a lot of laws that Congress passes. It’s disgusting.

    I said to someone the other week, if we had immigration set up on local basis and each locality could say how many immigrants they would like for certain jobs, etc, we’d have a lot less conflict. But then it was pointed out to me that a similar system was set up like that called slavery where people came to specific regions to do work. Ouch.

    The irony is also not lost on me that if I were to leave the country with my US Passport, I have to wait in hours long lines to get back in and could be detained by Customs & Immigration, and in fact was for questioning last time I did so. That was awesome (not). They are ready to bring the hammer down on their own citizens for the most minor infractions. Meanwhile illegal aliens stopped for traffic violations or in a car accident without a drivers license can be let go by local police departments because their mayor said so. So frustrating.

    But I’m preaching to the choir here….

  404. RE: Color revolution. Is it possible that the Russians are using this technique in France? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. We already discussed that about the Chinese.

  405. JMG
    Re Prior civilization; farming in the Eemian and re-invention of crop breeding in the Holocene.

    I responded earlier to your ‘loss of evidence of any previous inter-glacial civilization in the intervening ice Age ” (I paraphrase you slightly), and have now seen your reply to me, and to ‘Booklover’ re ‘crops’.
    Sure, more than 100,000 years would be a long time to maintain continuity of previous crop selections, but it occurred to me that rather than argue that one, I could look to see if there were ‘global signals’ of the presence of agriculture in the stratigraphic records. Indeed there does appear to be a case for such a signal in the Holocene; at least such a signal is claimed by this author https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1029/2006RG000207 .

    [A description at the next link of crops 2000 BC (Holocene) as they start to appear in the historical records in my opinion is worth reading in its own right. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep38817#article-comments ]

    Could there be global signals of agriculture in the Eemian? Here, when I looked closely, it started to get complicated. I have a good number of notes and fascinating links to records of vegetation and global and regional signals both during the Eemian and in the following Ice Age and Holocene. If anybody else is interested and would like to carry this forward, please let me know (philsharris2002 usual yahoo uk); it needs more work.

    Ice Ages did not cover all the global land surfaces during glacial times. See this splendid interactive visual: http://sahultime.monash.edu.au/explore.html

    I can report as an interim summary that there are increasingly valuable records revealed in the sediments, such as widely distributed pollen, carbon etc. which begin to paint fascinating pictures both globally and regionally. Additionally there are the recorded detailed changes in atmospheric carbon (CH4 and CO2) which also calibrate with land vegetation. Over much of the earth there is much more continuity from one inter-glacial to the next than I had imagined.

    Evidence, however, for or against prior humanoid civilization is not likely to be sufficient to satisfy everybody, even while the evidence base is becoming more extensive and refined. I mentioned in my first comment that hunter/forager peoples are known to have often done bits of cultivation, but I think we need to see evidence of ‘agriculture’ if we want to think in terms of prior civilizations. Certainly the swelling numbers of humans at any location that we normally associate with the rise and then fall of ‘civilizations’ would require the existence of something more akin to what we call ‘agriculture’.

    To my mind the more interesting question is how many people are needed for a ‘civilization’ and from what antecedents and with what legacy must they come? This seems pertinent to the next several thousand years. More than anything else, though, looking at the past and our humanoid origins, my guess is that the earlier humans such as Neanderthal and Denisovian (Neanderthal genetics suggests an older species than ourselves reaching back two Ice Ages) would not have survived the Eemian if anything like ‘us’ had been around as a ‘civilization’ during that time.

    best
    Phil H

  406. About the damage from digital addiction, I’m afraid iGen is toast, unless you’re an iGen’er who’s been living under a rock somewhere, hopefully due to conscientious, homeschooling parents who saw to it that you were living under a rock somewhere. And a great big shout out to those conscientious Gen X homeschooling parents who raised their iGen kids under a rock–congratulations, your kids will be the ones who survive and thrive the tech bubble bursting and all the other assorted problems that are coming home to roost in the near future. I’m not the only one who has been downright horrified by the fragility of iGen. Speaking of suicide and substance abuse, I really don’t see how most of them don’t crumple when the tech bubble bursts and other headwinds pick up. What else could they do, really?

  407. @Maxine Agree with you that the opiates are an attack on our country. The military already can not recruit enough able bodied people to meet its target numbers, due to diabetes, obesity, and mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Now we have people addicted to drugs and our closest city wants safe injection sites. People are fighting it because no one wants it literally in their own back yard, but the chattering classes have said it works in Europe so we should do it here.

    I’ve said for years we are so screwed if we actually had to fight a war here. People are breaking down mentally and physically from regular life and “can’t handle it”. I’m following the JMG advice and doing the equivalent of brewing beer so any invading hoards will find me valuable enough to keep.

  408. @Denys,
    all the old people forget that Social Security and Medicare are “pay it forward” systems and not “pay it back” systems. Actually, working people could demand an immediate end to the programs, and recipients would be unable to stop it. It’s just a measure of young, working class people’s inability to discover their own political clout as well as old people’s continued political clout that keeps the whole mess going.

  409. @Lathechuck

    Re federal overreach and corporate pressure

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the root cause of many of those instances was indeed corporate in nature, although I think we’ve also reached a point where it has become assumed that the federal government ought to have a role in everything. And the Dept of Ed is a classic example of that, yes. If you think about it, the federal government operates in many ways like a drug pusher: it gets you dependent on it for funding, then starts telling you what to do…

    I’ll tell you though, re corporate appeal, even at the local level the mindset is well-entrenched. Many folks around here keep looking for what big business we might attract to supply jobs for everyone and I keep arguing that you can’t trust people who see your community as a line-item on an expense report. When I ran for council, one of my arguments was that if we were adding 100 jobs, I’d want 20 jobs from five small companies, not 100 jobs from one big one. Our recent experiences with national/international corporations walking away from our city ought to have taught people something, but the “standard” narrative is very powerful yet. We’re making some progress (sic), but it is a slog. (Compounded by the fact that we’re a smaller city with a larger, more attractive neighbor right next door.) The strategy I’m pursuing is trying to get us to create conditions which best support the creation and gestation of locally owned businesses run by people who live here and who have a vested interest in the community’s success.

  410. @Robert,
    geez, this could get ugly quick, b/c in a tit-for-tat world, if the US tries a color revolution in France, you know Russia is going to take counter measures to protect their interests and access…

  411. JMG,

    Somehow, in my apparent infinite ability to become forgetful, I’ve managed to order two copies of The Journal of the New Alchemists #6. It’s in good, though not perfect, condition. If you would like to offer it as a prize for some contest or other, I’ll be happy to donate it. Just let me know, so I can dispose of it otherwise, if you’re not interested.

  412. Regarding the Gilets Jaunes, the thought of a color revolution has briefly crossed my mind as well.
    Especially when seeing it spread to Belgium and neighboring countries who are quite ready for a change of economic allegiances.

    It is weird because the first staged protest scored more than twice as many protesters as the second one did. And the third one was a little bigger, but nowhere as much as the first.

    Yet that one was the most violent.
    But the violence didn’t kill anyone, was very acute and geographically well contained, it took more than twelve hours for the police to dissipate the protests. It looks almost professional for sure.
    The official media story is that extremist elements from both ends of the spectrum are using these protests to wreck havoc.

    I find that entirely plausible, just like I find it quite possible that foreign services are secretly fanning the violence.
    If you look at what happened around the airport project in the west of France, object of decades long occupations and protests, you’ll see that the French don’t require help from abroad to create mayhem.
    And cui Bono ? France is a big economy consuming a lot of American products, and its banks own many financial assets intertwined with the US economy. It would be a very stupid move from the US, which is bound to accelerate what it was meant to prevent. Do you think Macron’s successor wouldn’t support the project of an independent European army ?

    But ultimately does it really matter? The notion that the current way of leaving is unsustainable has been so deeply planted in the collective imagination… and the taxes are affecting people’s transportation for daily life while nothing is being done (or publicly communicated at least) about air travel which is the privilege of the richest.

    It was a just a ticking timebomb, if it hadn’t been the USA’s secret services it would have been the French themselves. This people is it’s own agency, usually for the worse…
    Such riots might even help the United States create their own, just like the USA’s president is a great inspiration for the next would-be populist who could grab the power here. The American war of Independence from Great Britain did occur only a few years before the French Revolution so there is a long history of cultural exchanges across the Atlantic.

    These are just my opinions, though the timing is indeed pretty weird and it smells a lot like a color revolution. Appearances can be deceiving, or it could be the very stupid move of an aging global power…

  413. @JMG “From this side of the Atlantic, it all looks unnervingly like the opening stages of a standard regime-change operation — think the “color revolutions” of a couple of decades ago for examples. Is that what it looks like on the ground?”

    I haven’t yet had time to read any of the responses to your question, having just landed in an unseasonably warm Harbin (8 degrees C, though I’m told it’s due to fall to a more normal -11 tomorrow). Also, of course, I’m in China, not France, but even so this doesn’t smell like a colour revolution to me.

    The French have always been far more willing to take to the streets than their Anglo-Saxon neighbours, and for as long as I can remember French farmers have been blockading motorways, dumping tractor-loads of manure, and so on. The recent mainstream protests seem to have been generally on this tradition. Separately, the dispossessed in the banlieues (sp?) have a rich tradition of more violent protest, car-burning, and so on. Neither is particularly unusual on its own, but if these two streams of French protest are unifying, then that is something new – but I would not see any reason to look for foreign funding or provocateurs. In any case, there’s no more US-friendly alternative waiting in the wings in the manner of Saashkavili or Poroshenko.

    My gut feeling is that these are the birth pangs of the Long Descent: resource depletion and rising energy costs “fracking” the political fault lines of Europe. The French protests have, after all, been sparked by Macron’s attempt to move France to a zero-carbon economy, running straight into the interests of the working poor whose lifestyle depends on cheap energy…

    On the other side of the Channel, I remain somewhat more half-convinced that Brexit is a distraction engineered by the political Establishment. As supplies of North Sea oil and gas dry up, and with Westminster not having made any contingency plans, energy in the UK was due in any case to become much, much more expensive (since the UK would have to buy on world markets). This, of course, would and will lead to huge economic and social disruption and unrest. Brexit was perhaps intended by the political classes to divert the anger towards the EU rather than themselves, though I suspect they have failed in this. The UK’s urgent and desperate need to acquire new sources of cheap energy might also explain the leading role the Brits have played in manufacturing Russophobia.

    It’s all part of the same process, in my view: the end of the age of cheap energy is starting to bite in Europe…

    Or perhaps I just mislaid my tin foil hat somewhere…

  414. @Will, Yes Al Gore is certainly not a model of sustainable living. None of them are. 99% of Congress care more about their own fortunes than the state of the nation/ world but I still think the Dems are the lesser of two evils. Some of the Western tea-party-ers would auction the national parks system off to the highest bidder if they could.

    If we have to wait for Americans to change their lifestyles in order to get political change then that will never happen. Most people I know and I’m sure that you know don’t care at all and won’t until it is way too late for all of us.

    @David by the Lake, I agree. I voted for Sanders in my state’s primary election but Jill Stein in the November election. After the disaster Clinton created in the Middle East as Secretary of State and her coziness with Wall Street, I could never in a million years vote for her or any Neo-Liberal.

  415. @Robert,
    I’m trying to process all of this. Okay, so Trump has gone against the post-War NATO consensus and demanded that other countries pay their fair share–that the US will no longer foot the bill. Macron up and says that Europe should defend itself, now he’s looking at a color revolution. Is this just another example of the Deep State acting at cross purposes to Trump?

  416. Violet,
    You’re welcome! And thank YOU! I will add that to the list. Can’t be messing up our jing, now can we? I might also add a note on above-average flammability, particularly with resin-soaked specimens. I threw a chunk of densely-saturated resinous pine in the wood stove the other night just for kicks, and it was pretty exciting!! Raised the house temp 3 degrees all by itself. Then when I went to build a fire the next morning…I discovered it was mostly still intact! Just looked charred. Wild.

    I’ll give your link a good look too. For what it’s worth, my best medicinal experiences with pine have come from Virginia pine – the species everybody loves to hate…

    Cheers!

  417. Will Overton,
    That’s sorta what I was thinking too. Maybe they are picking up on our ideas of Progress? Maybe they consider their native tongue to be backward or primitive? Too bad. I think Spanish is a beautiful and very logical language.

  418. IDK, I’m just dealing w/the loss of a lot of people to insanity post-Trump, a personal version of when so many of the non-magical Green Wizards decamped from here due to TDS.

  419. Lathechuck,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve seen that tactic used with the FDA of course. Everything else we make would be regulated by them without such a disclaimer (and FDA approval starts around 10M instead of 100k, so…) But I’ve never seen that approach used with the EPA, and insect repellents definitely fall within their jurisdiction.

    So far we’ve just sold it as is, because we’re not big enough to matter, and it just doesn’t work as well without those 2 ingredients, but we are getting bigger every year so it may wind up mattering at some point! (And of course I hope it does.)

    Cheers.

  420. @Shane W, I very much appreciate you and your comments…I also really identify with your way of thinking. Explaining how I “cope” would be a very long essay, just know you’re not alone. Just the fact that so many millions of people in this country are medicating themselves every day should show you that.

    Perhaps it’s time for a trip or change of scenery? That’s typically my first step.

  421. Pogonip,
    Not intentionally, but peppermint is despised by rats and mice so you might start there? It also repels roaches and most arachnids (we have lots of scorpions around here) which is one of the reasons you’ll find it in the insect repellent we make.

  422. There’s probably some dystunction in my approach, but I’ve kinda been fixated on “creating a safe nest” to call home, and then working outward from there, which I haven’t been successful. So many people where I’m from use their homes as fortresses where they w/draw from the world that I was concerned that living on my own would be even more isolating that I’ve tolerated less than healthy relationships w/others for companionship.

  423. Rather, I was needing home as a place to create safe space and convalesce. As for hobbies and interests, I haven’t really had a chance to develop those and don’t know what they are.

  424. Tripp,
    if I might reiterate, I’m beginning to think that the brewpubs and coffee shops you were wanting to create in Ellijay are warning signs and not assets, so I’m glad that you were unsuccessful in your efforts, and I hope you are, too. 🙂

  425. @JMG

    Re post-industrial romance

    As amazed as I am to say this, I’m in. I’ve had an idea for a romance story (always framed as a novel) for a long time—in fact, I’ve had the ending paragraph for a quarter century now. And I believe it would fit very nicely in a deindustrial setting. It is, of course, a bit odd, as I can never do anything the normal way.

    Time to get writing!

    And Love After Oil…I have no words, no words at all 🙂

  426. Nastarana,
    I think you nailed it. They go out of their way to avoid noticing the poor that are already here, or actively despise them for not taking advantage of the wealth of opportunities around them that they are obviously too dense to appreciate. But then posture as the great philanthropists for letting in anybody else who wants a crack at it (further impoverishing the people they already despise). I kind of get where they’re coming from, but I’m so tired of the Rescue Game…

    And of course it’s also a problem of progress, where they simply fail to recognize that the planet can’t afford the current level of affluence much less a few billion more people living this way. It SOUNDS great and all…but our lifestyles are far more likely to reach parity on our downslope than by their elevation.

    Thats what folks like Bob, and Ashara, and the entire Green Party aren’t getting yet. Middle class American lifestyles for all! Makes you sound like the good guy when it would really just wipe out the planet a lot faster.

  427. JMG,
    Thanks for the vote of confidence in my ENM entry! I admit I was beaming when I read your response. So outside my comfort zone.

    Thanks for clarifying the approach to parsing out degrees of qualities, too. I’ll get right on that. I assume one could work through a classification from the starting point of, for example, “moderately moist, slightly cold” as well? And use those qualities to winnow the astrological possibilities?

    Thanks so much for your help with this.

  428. @Will J,
    FWIW,
    Canada’s standard of living will be better than the US, but still much lower than it is today. There’s a big difference in the standard of living between being the US’ number one client state vs. being a client state of India or China…

  429. What was so weird to me about the Green Wizards we lost to TDS was that I kept thinking, “these people need to tend to the spiritual side of collapse as well as the material,” and, then, sure enough, down the rabbit hole of TDS they went…

  430. I once had a reiki reading done, and she said I had a noticeable loss of sacral energy, or some such, and I wonder if that’s where my spiritual exhaustion stems from…

  431. @Denys,
    sure, Social Security and Medicare recipients could engage in “strenuous aerobic exercise” in response to ending Social Security and Medicare, but, as JMG noted w/the pussyhatters, “strenuous aerobic exercise” doesn’t necessarily accomplish anything politically. The biggest thing I see is that most young people don’t really understand that we’re in an age of limits–I mean, they’re supporting folks like Ocasio-Cortez who are promising to EXPAND the welfare state, so they don’t really understand that we’re broke and can’t afford anything, and that there won’t be any Social Security or Medicare for them

  432. Re: Oil Price

    First a thanks for providing this blog and forum it is truly unlike anything I have found on the internet (or anywhere for that matter). I got pointed to a blog from you on Trump and your insights were unique so I went back and read more from your back catalog(?) and was first introduced to Peak Oil. I had heard about it before but only in the we’re going to run out oil form but since your political insights matched so well with what I was seeing and learned the implications of PO, running out of oil I could see no evidence of but the the consequences of it I could see everywhere.

    After a lot reading I concluded both sides were right, we were running out of economically productive oil, but we will never run out of oil. Well I suppose we could try just to prove a point but I think people would mutiny well before you ever came close. So when you say there is nothing left to pump, it bothers me because this why i missed PO for so long.

    Back to oil markets, I would refrain from making any speculation on future oil prices because oil prices will always be what they need to be to make everything politically and economically feasible. Maybe palatable is a better word. As supplies decline and we tap smaller and smaller reserves more and more people will be displaced. It is much easier to have access this land if they voluntarily leave. This is where we get to illegal immigration. If you can get a populace willing to accept these people then the benefits will be accrued by the wealthy and the costs by the poor.

  433. Shane: I can sympathise with your feelings of a need for socializing but not any kind of socializing: One idea I put into practice myself is to volunteer in associations whose ideas you agree with.

  434. Ah, that is indeed an important danger, though I hope it’s not beyond the reach of a well articulated reformist effort. I think what the discussion around progress lacks is a compelling name and description of the viewpoint that rests between faith in Progress and faith in Decline. The best I could come up with is ‘Evolutionary values creation’ but that hardly rolls off the tongue. Does anyone have a suggestion?

  435. JMG, About paris riots, that’s what I get from someone in Paris:

    “The initiating motive was fuel taxes raising fuel prices. The thing is, the Yellow Vests are not a centralized movement and have no direct party affiliation or clear leader. People post manifestos and call to protests and try to gather as many as they can. As a result there is no list of demand or specific ideological core to the movement, and inevitably the complaints it expresses have broadened and become more vague.

    “Purchasing power” in general is now the most commonly cited complaint; this a term that is more common in mainstream French discourse than in the Anglosphere. The terms was commonly used as a rallying cry by the lower classes, middle classes, or both, protesting the diminishing ability to well, buy stuff – but with a general implication of the daily cost of living, not poverty in general. It’s not about whether you can own a house it’s how much it costs you to drive to work and stock the fridge, and so on.”

    Or in other words, French people start to noticing that ~2% growth in GDP number, plenty of money printed by spinning press since 2008 and all the promises of generous welfare state don’t translate into better life, or even into keeping what they suposed to get by modern society. It seems to upset them to no end and perhaps make them suspicious that they’ve been lay to and aim their anger at Macron.

    So it’s appear to be rather predictible occurence on the fractal path of Long Descent.

    Ps. Polish government is planning to hike the taxes on electricitiy next year.

  436. Peter,

    “If we have to wait for Americans to change their lifestyles in order to get political change then that will never happen. Most people I know and I’m sure that you know don’t care at all and won’t until it is way too late for all of us.”

    This is why I don’t expect to see anything done. Once things start getting bad enough, I fully expect to see environmentalists talking about how we can strip mine the national parks in an eco-friendly manner. Either that or they’ll be horribly marginalized, or more likely, both.

    Shane,

    I’m not even thinking future, I’m wondering if our economic statistics are being fudged right now. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me much if that were the case….

  437. Just to complete my comment about the modern “Oil-Caesarism”, the parallel with Julius Caesar is clear, in the Roman times the energy (wealth) was provided by the slaves, and what make Caesar so beloved by the roman plebs was not only his fight against oligarcs, but also the huge amount of slaves he brought to Rome after the Gallic Wars (he made around a million slaves in this campaign).

    Now the “slaves” are barrels of oil, and when the energy depletion bites, the people will understand who can help them more

    Cheers
    David

  438. Re: Oil-caesarism

    Thanks for your analysis, David, it sound very plausible, though I have no personal information on the protests in France. In last year’s election in Germany, the AfD did well not only in poor Eastern regions, but also e.g. in the rich areas surrounding Heilbronn, where many car components are made. It seems a substantial part of its voters wants things to “go back” to when car-industry jobs were safe and used cars were valuable. People shout that electric cars are a fool’s dream and won’t ever replace most fossil fuel-driven cars, which is quite correct. They can’t admit that there will be neither.

    With regard to Bolsonaro, I don’t think his election has a lot to do with keeping gasoline prices low, since his general line, as far as it can be discerned, is to privatize all, or some parts of, or all, or some parts of Petrobras, which would tend to remove the brakes on price hikes. The cost of fuel in Brasil is determined more by the lack of refineries than by changes in crude oil price.

  439. Micheal V said: “An area that you haven’t really touched on is the future of computers in society; I assume is because of focusing on the much more important issues. Considering everyone reading your blog and this comment are using a computer, this is something that will impact everyone here even if in a non-vital role….I will try to keep this brief….I am of the firm belief that there will be very few remaining computers in a centuries time and even then they will be the property of the rich classes/the deeply dedicated that can still scrap together the usable parts and an energy source to keep them running.”

    Michael aren’t you making the classic mistake when considering how technology will progress in the Future? That is assuming that processors will keep getting faster and faster, until they won’t be able to be made.

    More likely, as resource depletion and economic contraction happens, computer manufacturers will downsize and retro tech their product. We did have computers in the 1980s didn’t we? Thinking back to one of my first desktops, a Tandy (Radio Shack) TSR-80, it could probably handle everything I do on this HP desktop I have now. Except a color that is, but that tech is even older. Its only the bandwidth hogging of advertising that requires a faster computer unless you are doing something like complex graphics, or online gaming.

    For that matter I still have laptops in my basement from 1999, that run. I don’t use them because the software people have quite updating the operating system (points finger at Microsoft). This last PC I bought will be the last Windows based computer I own since there is a good chance Microsoft is headed towards Windows being a “service” not a product, aka you won’t own the operating system of your computer, you will rent it with an annual subscription. Before that happens, I’m converting to Liniux.

    For simple social media posting and comments like on this blog, reading news and doing searches, as well as most simple mathematical programs like accounting and inventory control, I suspect an re-introduced retro computer would be easily made in downsized world. JMG’s love of the slide rule not withstanding, computers are just too frakin’ useful.

    Now whether most family households could afford it, or have the electricity to run it? Probably not. Small to mid size companies, possibly. I suspect that for our grand children’s generation, going to the local library will be their exposure to computers and perhaps a local Internet.

    The plus side of all of this, they will get to relearn the joy of having a letter arrive by post.

  440. @Peter

    Re 2016 voting and neoliberals

    I voted that same way (Sanders primary, Stein election). I’m a bit less enthused by the Greens at this point, however, as I was turned off by Stein’s rather disingenuous post-election money grab. Not to mention some of the hyper-identity politics or that party generally. On the other hand, they were the strongest de-imperialist party on the ballot.

    I keep hoping that the Democrat party will be the vehicle for change, but nothing I’ve seen thus far gives me any hope. We’ll just see who ends up the nominee in ‘20. More of the same? Or an actual change-agent?

  441. @Denys,
    is it any wonder that the generations who never paid anything forward are having such trouble w/the concept RE: Social Security & Medicare?

  442. Re mobile phone screens, mentioned in many comments, the rapt, distant, bent over faces of their users, always put me in mind of this:

    “Pippin sat with his knees drawn up and the ball between them. He bent low over it, looking like a greedy child stooping over a bowl of food, in a corner away from others. He drew his cloak aside and gazed at it. The air seemed still and tense about him. At first the globe was dark, black as jet, with the moonlight gleaming on its surface. Then there came a faint glow and stir in the heart of it, and it held his eyes, so that now he could not look away. Soon all the inside seemed on fire; the ball was spinning, or the lights within were revolving. Suddenly the lights went out. He gave a gasp and struggled; b