Open Post

November 2019 Open Post

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

While we’re at it, I’m also delighted to announce that the first volume of The Dolmen Arch is now available for preorder from Miskatonic Books. This is my reconstruction of an early 20th century correspondence course in Druid occultism, available to students for several years as a private study course and now in book form. This first of two volumes contains the four grades of the Lesser Mysteries — the Gradd y Newyddian (Grade of the Novice), Gradd y Damcaniwr (Grade of the Theoretician), Gradd yr Ymarferiwr (Grade of the Practitioner), and Gradd yr Athroniwr (Grade of the Philosophizer).

The first volume will be released in February of next year. The second volume, containing the three grades of the Greater Mysteries and a great deal of additional Druid teaching and practical instruction, is currently scheduled to appear about six months after that.  There are two editions of this book; the signed limited hardback edition may be preordered here for US$65.00; the oh my god over-the-top signed leatherbound fine edition with leather traycase may be preordered here for US$395.00. There are 550 copies of the first and only 35 copies of the second; first come, first served…

With that said, have at it!

386 Comments

  1. Dear Archdruid,

    Thank you for hosting another Open Post, and for taking the time to answer all our questions every month (and mondays every week)! It is much appreciated.

    The Dolmen Arch was based on scraps of an early 20th century Druid correspondence course.

    Do you know of (scraps of) any other (correspondence) courses like it? The available material on (Welsh) (Revival) Druidry is really rather limited, all in all, and any leads would be much worth having!

    Kind regards,
    Brigyn

  2. John–

    In The Blood of the Earth, you cautioned against political magic. In re-reading The Kabylion, however, the introduction speaks of mental alchemy and transmutation and how Initiates can manifest change in the world indirectly in this manner. Politics leaps instantly to mind.

    However, I sense there is a distinction between the kind of political magic I believe you were referring (forcible, direct magic in the manner of The Resistance) and the kind of magic that is, more or less, effective politics. I think that Trump is a good example of the latter: he observed the untapped power of the masses and created simple but powerful images (MAGA, The Wall) on which those masses could focus their energy of their own free will. He then took that focused energy, harnessed it, and rode it to the White House. (Of course, using a tool effectively and using a tool wisely are completely different things…)

    So if we were to distinguish between “poor” use of political magic (again, The Resistance trying to “bring down” it opposition) and “effective” use of political magic (e.g. MAGA), would your warning still apply to the latter? Would the creation of suitable images, focusing the power of the populace and transforming the mental state of the people (or more appropriately, aiding the people in transforming their own mental states), not be a “proper” use? Revitalizing the image of the American Republic as it once was, for example, in contrast to the empire we became?

    It occurs to me, too, as I write this, that one might also illustrate these two kinds of political magic with the Nazis and Dione Fortune during WWII, with The Resistance being the former and Trump (however counter-intuitive it might appear) being the latter…

  3. A question for the commentariat! Can anyone recommend a good, natural treatment for eczema? Asking for a friend 🙂

    Happy thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and abundance to all!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to all in the US! This forum is something for which I am very, very thankful, now and all the time. My deep gratitude to JMG for hosting us, and to all who participate.

    I want to shout out to Violet, please – my elecampane grew like a wild thing this year, and at least one of the walking onions survived transplant and the jungle that was my garden. Thank you!!

  5. I will start with some low hanging fruit in the ongoing religion of progress front. Elon Musk’s new cyber truck. The Tesla fan boys are in a froth over what is possibly the dumbest vehicle on the planet. Battery powered vehicles for the purpose of hauling loads over a distance are especially stupid because most of the load capacity is taken up by the weight of the batteries. In the case of the Cyber Truck this is made worse by the decision to use 3 mm, thick low grade, stainless steel ( 301 is the cheapest of the stainless grades) to make the body out of. This is so heavy compared to the normal thickness of stamped sheet metal normally used on cars and trucks that will will add hundreds ( if not over a thousand) lbs to the weight of the truck. This style of construction will never be cost effective. It is clearly just hype intended to harvest deposits from gullible buyers and raise more money from gullible investors to keep Elon’s Ponzi scheme going a bit longer.

  6. John, am halfway through ADR 2016-2017, “The Politics of Decline”. Wonderful insights…

    When associates continue to mindlessly hammer on the “Trump Bad!” message, it’s refreshing to bring up some of the real issues possibly behind his support. “Outside The Hall Of Mirrors” (June 29, 2016) talks of whose benefiting from current policies, and who bears the brunt.

    Rising real estate, cutting social benefits, unrestricted immigration and offspring of industrial jobs are discussed.

    One might also add rising stock market, low interest rates, high-tech healthcare research (when so many simply need basic care), autonomous vehicles and this push to require advanced degrees.

    When I bring these points up, no one seems willing to take any actions for change, much easier to yell “Trump Bad!”.

    Friends will call me when they see certain actions by the elites (pulling student newspapers from the racks at Radford University, e.g.), laugh and say, “So how many Trump voters did these administrators just create?!”

    You have any further thoughts on the advancing senility of our elites?

  7. for a while now I have been periodically checking to see if you are translation of on the shadows of the ideas have been published. But apparently it was already published and I missed it! Are there any plans to do a second print run?

  8. South Dakota’s been making waves lately with their “Meth. We’re On It” campaign. From a magical/affirmation standpoint, though, I find myself just shaking my head at the whole thing. Attention grabbing? Sure. But the impact on people’s subconscious? Oh my.

  9. Currently, I’m rereading Catton’s centennial Civil War trilogy. Something that came forcefully to mind is the degree to which the Confederacy had all of of the classic signs of a revitalization movement: a proud people facing the end of their way of life; the determination to live a script, that of Southern chivalry, honor, etc.; and the whole thing being more or less strategically, a Lost Cause from the beginning. Even the dazed giddiness with which people joined the Confederacy seems like, to a certain extent, they had lost their minds. the image of planters’ sons who had never worked a day in their lives building the fortifications around Ft Sumter with their slaves under the tactful orders of General Beauregard comes forcefully to mind.

    War, then, seems like it can be an excellent outlet for a revitalization movement, especially when the mythos that possess the people call for it. Honor calls for war, and so it was easy to channel the energies of the southern people into war.

    All that said, Catton seems convinced that the system of plantation slavery was ultimately doomed by the economic forces at hand at that time. and, likewise, the whole emphasis on “states rights” that were so emphasized in the Confederate Constitution made the ultimate cohesion of the confederacy questionably in the extreme, especially with France and Britain watching the whole war so eagerly.

    the Confederacy seems like the fruit, then, of a revitalization movement. This causes me to wonder the obvious, whither the current revitalization movement?

    Gratefully, the current folks have been anti-firearm for awhile and have few military members within their ranks. So the situation isn’t a military powder keg, at least immediately. Perhaps the real folks to watch are antifa, who embody militant progress so well?

    There are certainly very compelling parallels between the radical left and Confederacy, the same sense of thwarted aristocracy, the same dependance on slaves be they flesh and bone or energy in composition, the same shrieking as a way of life comes unglued, the same highly rigorous sense of honor — for what is the whole business around microaggressions, preferred pronouns, and the minutiae of correct speech but proof of good breeding?

    While the rank and file of the radical left may be absurd, are they any more absurd then the pampered planters’ sons who fortified Ft. Sumter?

    The other thing to watch is which, if any, folks throw their lot with the radical left as things get increasingly crazed. A major reason the Confederacy attracted so much talent — I am convinced — is it allowed for social mobility. Nathan Bedford Forrest would probably never have become a general on his own, but in the chaos his military genius was given a chance to express itself in the world of actuality. it is compelling that so many of the most skilled, talented and passionate Confederates originally harbored Unionist sympathies, including Robert E. Lee! Furthermore, the Union caused was radicalized to the point the Lincoln behaved like a radical abolitionists.

    I wonder, then, at what point is the current revitalization movement at the point of radicalization? To what degree have sides been chosen and the sides began to exert secret pressure on the plant-wise nature of men?

    I’m very curious your thoughts JMG and those of the commentariat on these consideration.

  10. Now, for our regular energy news…

    It’s only $60 billion…
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-18/poland-moves-ahead-with-60-billion-nuclear-power-project

    One step closer to infinite free energy!
    https://newatlas.com/energy/worlds-largest-tokamak-fusion-reactor-iter-building/

    Even hydropower is bad for climate change
    http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2019/11/15/long-considered-a-clean-energy-source-hydropower-can-actually-be-bad-for-climate/

    Troubling brewing on the financing front
    https://www.euci.com/equity-and-bond-money-for-drillers-dries-up-in-q3-as-investors-are-wary/?x=40618x242282Sy&utm_campaign=110619_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    Just keep the old ones around longer
    https://www.utilitydive.com/news/as-nuclear-plants-look-to-digitize-controls-and-enhance-performance-cyber/566478/

    ***

    This next news item is likely waaaaay too much information for most folks, but for the ultra-mega-nerdy nerds out there, here’s the direct link. I’ll summarize for everyone else in what is hopefully an understandable synopsis:

    https://www.nerc.com/comm/PC_Reliability_Guidelines_DL/Reliability_Guideline_DER_A_Parameterization.pdf

    Okay, so NERC is the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Originally formed as an industry council in 1968, it was reorganized and re-missioned after the 2003 Northeast Blackout, which brought about the Energy Policy Act of 2005, mandatory industry reliability standards, and a whole lot of bureaucracy.

    So this paper is a set of recommendations for grid modeling, specifically with regard to the growing issue of DERs, or distributed energy resources (think solar panels on rooftops, in contrast to central power plants). The paper distinguishes between utility-scale DERs and retail DERs (so, a utility-owned solar farm that connects to its own distribution system versus a customer’s rooftop solar set-up). The gem buried in this paper is on page vii under R-DER Modeling where is says “The threshold for R-DER should be 0 MVA*, meaning that all forms of DERs be accounted for (not netted with load) to the extent possible.”

    What this is saying is the the system operator should be able to model every DER, regardless of size and regardless of whether or not it is connected behind a customer’s retail meter. Every roof-top installation, every battery pack, every home-brew wind turbine. And what gets modeled eventually gets monitored and what gets monitored eventually gets controlled. The ideal for which the central planners are striving is full control of everything on the system, because reliability.

    Practical issues aside, this runs headlong into issues of state-federal jurisdiction. It has other, less savory aspects as well, which I’m sure my fellow Ecosophians can supply from their own imaginations. Not good. Not good at all.

    * MVA stands for megavolt-amp, similar to a megawatt (MW) but including both real and reactive power (think, real and imaginary components of a complex number). A MW is, of course, 1000 kW. Your household usage is measured generally in kWh or kilowatt-hours.

  11. JMG: My question is about population. Life expectancy in the US has been in a decline for the past few years, while fertility rates have been falling for a decade and are now well below replacement levels. Do you see this trend continuing for a long time as part of the civilizational decline that Spengler predicted would happen in the twenty-first century, or do you think it’s part of a short-term, generational pattern? And at what point do you imagine the graying of America would make the welfare-state untenable?

  12. Greetings JMG & all Ecosophians,

    I have completed a few Negativland related things this past month and am sharing them here for any and all who are interested. I will also be doing a Folk-Punk themed radio show this weekend, more below…

    Two weeks ago I did a 40th anniversary episode celebrating the work of Negativland. Set list and audio file are avaiable for download at my dreamwidth site here: https://sothismedias.dreamwidth.org/2695.html

    My dreamwidth spot is also generally the place where you can find any of the broadcast radio stuff I’ve been up to: shortwave transmissions with Free Radio Skybird or filling in on Trash Flow Radio at WAIF, Cincinnati. I have air checks and other recordings over there.

    Also my article on the late Negativland member Don Joyce and his radio show Over the Edge on KPFA can be found in the most recent issue of my ham clubs newsletter here. It would be of interest to anyone who is interested in a really different type of free form radio show not beholden to format or commercial interests.
    http://qfiver.ohkyin.org/2019/December/QFiver_Dec_2019.pdf

    (I’ll be crossposting that shortly on my main website sothismedias.com)

    Also, coming up this weekend I will be doing a Folk-Punk special on the radio and will be featuring an excellent tune from Ecosophia reader Isaac Hill’s group The Hills and the Rivers among many others. This show is a musical tie in to the “Down Home Punk” project I’m slowly working on.

    If you want to tune in you can listen live between 3-5 PM EST on Saturday the 30th via the stream here: http://waif883.org/ I will post a link to a recording later.

    Thanks to any and all who check any of this stuff out.

    I hope all of you in the U.S. have a happy Thanksgiving -or otherwise a happy Thursday- tomorrow.

  13. Dear Mr Greer

    I have been thinking about the speed with which civilisations collapse. When I first read your view that collapse is a slow process that will take 100 to 300 years, with periods of crisis followed by partial recovery, it did give me some grounds for hope. I thought this would give us plenty of time to take measures to cushion our descent and maybe make the move to an ecotechnic society. From a more selfish point of view it meant I got to hold on to my middle class lifestyle for longer. However I am beginning to think that it is the very slowness of collapse that makes it inevitable, because it makes it difficult to see the direction we are going and allows us to cling to the notion that there is nothing wrong and we can just continue doing the same thing. When a crisis comes along we take measures to prevent our society collapsing, but these are only partial jerry rigged measures that will not change the trajectory we are on. For a good example of this look at the measures that were taken in 2008.

    I am beginning to think it would be easier to deal with a fast collapse as that would force us to see the trajectory that we were on and force us to take measures proportionate to the crisis we faced. Would love to hear your view.

    Thank you.

  14. Brigyn, I wish I did. One of the reasons I reconstructed this one is that so little seems to have survived.

    David BTL, good. Dion Fortune’s work during the Second World War is in fact a first-rate template for constructive and successful political magic: focus on ends rather than means, build up what you want to succeed rather than trying to tear down what you want to fail, and focus on providing a channel for collective forces already in motion rather than trying to force something to happen just because you want it. It’s because such an approach is all but unthinkable to most people these days — yeah, the Resistance comes to mind — that I tend to discourage political magic in general. (Not to mention the way that so many people want to use political magic to evade the necessity for personal change!)

    Clay, he had to do something — his enterprises are not doing very well. I’m a bit surprised the truck wasn’t made of cardboard and tinfoil.

    Chicken Rancher, keep in mind that all these things that hurt working Americans benefit the comfortable classes. That’s why they yell “Orange Man Bad!” at the top of their lungs — they’re trying to distract attention from the way that they spent forty years cashing in on the destruction of the American working class. Kleptocracy is not the same thing as senility.

    Steve, it came out a year ago, and yes, it sold out quite promptly. I’ll be checking with the publisher shortly to find out if he wants to bring out a trade paperback edition, or if it’ll have to wait until the contract runs out.

  15. November 27th 2019

    Dear JMG,

    Happy Thanksgiving!!! I have been tossing over thankfulness as a chapter in a book I have been writing about sustainability. Here is a little section about needs that I feel needs revision, as a fellow writer I’d be curious to get your feed back as well as the communities.

    Being thankful stands between death and life. Knowing how precious life is, is a concept few people in the industrial world have to grapple with on a daily basis. If they actually did, they would realize what is really important. I think this is why many people who have near death experiences suddenly attempt to reform their affairs in the wake of it. Our willful blindness at this point goes beyond even knowing how precious life is, we fail to even understand the human life cycle, setting up our society in a way where it is impossible to come to terms with the realities of aging past the teenage years; things such as the age people are biologically best able to have kids, is now a moral argument not a physical one. (Younger the better from the kid’s DNA’s point of view.) We don’t grapple with mortality today until we are old; most of us have kids that live into adult hood. Those of us who have lost a child, have suffered something so unspeakable that it is almost a taboo to talk about with other people today. While healing is important, losing a child scars the soul in a way that will never truly heal. But deep scars like that, open a grand canyon into the soul where seeds may easily fall. Such a wound is unnecessary for the realization of life’s value happen, developing a meaningful spiritual life is all that is required.

    Earlier in this book I touched on the topic of sustainable relationships. Now it is time to attack an economist’s notion that people have “unlimited wants.” Knowing the value of life, inherently puts a cap on what a sane person would want. Economists would coldly call this price discovery. At the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, is food, water and shelter. The very top of Maslow’s Hierarchy is self-actualization, a term that is so vague and godlike in it’s implications that many psychologists agree very few people ever achieve it. The term self-actualization is the state for which most left leaning activist movements aim. It is the epitome of “progressing.” Telling people to divorce their spouses in the name of self-actualization, runs counter to the lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs because maintaining healthy human relationships comes before self-actualization.

    Facsimiles of emotional wellbeing and a sense of belonging, can be churned out of printing presses on demand. Potatoes, homes and ancient aquifers know no such alchemy. In the United States today, the physical needs of food, water, shelter, and security should be in ample supply, yet fewer and fewer US citizens enjoy them. These are the human wants that cannot be manufactured by mere words of politicians or central banks.

    The disconnect between availability of physical needs and propped up emotional wellbeing is itself an unsustainable situation. Maslow talks about self-actualization as though it is only a good thing. I think we can all agree Adolf Hitler met most of the criteria for self actualization for the last decade of his life; he achieved all he could, leader of his country, military success, mass murder etc. and thank god he failed. If you forget about self-actualization the next layer down on Maslow’s pyramid is filled with most cliches people would spat at you, when describing what they perceive to be a meaningful life. So what actually is self-actualization? Put in the context of industrial society, self actualization is merely doing what society expects you to do and doing it the best you can.

    As a writer and artist, I realize there is a counter argument that art, poetry and music exist at the level of self-actualization. I say no to that. All art exists at the level of meaningful relationships, itself a tool to sustain them. It does not transcend those and get a level unto itself. People talk about being in love with the idea of love, as if it were a bad thing. Being in love with love, is essential; it requires we learn to accept the muse of love into our life and make ourselves agreeable to it. Unlimited wants is thus destroyed by quality over quantity, while embracing mortality.

    Sincerely,

    Doll on a Windowsill

  16. I’m reading about Brexit, following the election, and considering resorting to necomancy. Maybe Tony Benn could get us out of this nightmare. 🙂

    What I really wanted was a No Deal Brexit and for Corbyn to be PM. But thanks to spectacular Labour misjudgement, this no longer seems possible. Does anybody have thoughts on any ways this combination could still happen?

  17. @David BTL & JMG: re-political magic…

    What would happen if the Resistance started calling themselves the Acceptance? Then they might be willing to do some things to change themselves first before trying to change the rest of us.

    However, I Accept that the Resistance might be resistant to actual acceptance.

  18. What is Art? I saw some vague and nonsensical definitions when I was an art student, such as “Art is what artists make.” None of those definitions mentioned the ease of going to a store and buying all the materials we need, or what that ease does to the quantity and quality of art.

    Was Art more sharply or clearly defined when the artists spent more of their lives making or trading for their materials?

  19. JMA, here’s what works best for my eczema: https://www.tuftwoolens.com/product/knitters-hand-balm-with-lanolin

    Really anything with lanolin and beeswax is good, and no alcohol (it’s in most lotions to make the excess evaporate and therefore not feel “greasy,” but ends up just drying out your skin and continuing the cycle). Taking evening primrose oil internally seems to be helpful as well. Also try to find gentler soaps that are sulfate free if possible (sulfates are unnecessarily harsh), or cut down on your washing with soap. And good luck! Am commiserating with you!

  20. John–

    Delving back into politics, something I saw earlier today stuck with me. It was just one random entry in a comment feed broadly discussing the current slate of Democratic contenders, but its point (and the point is misses) really stood out.

    The specific context of the comment was with respect to Tulsi and her (in the commenter’s opinion) disqualifying approach to foreign policy. To quote (from memory): “Isolationalism results in the world being conquered and leaves you standing alone against your rivals.”

    First, I would correct the first part of the statement to “…the world being conquered by someone else…” as the intent of the speaker is very much to have the US in control. Second, the statement uses the old technique of false dichotomy: one either conquers or is conquered; there is no third possibility. Which, of course, is not true: a self-reliant republic, fully capable of defense but otherwise unconcerned and uninvolved with the goings-on in other regions, is a viable option, but not one which is acceptable to the current American worldview (or at least the worldview of the American comfortable classes). Defense has a natural advantage over offense — survival is victory and, as our host has pointed out in his various narratives, one only has to make the price of winning greater than an attacker is willing to pay in order to effectively deter attack. We could (have) take(n) a different path.

  21. Mr Greer, I have a question about climate change. I’ve heard that due to unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide in the air (along with other greenhouse gases) that rainstorms and droughts will make agriculture untenable within a generation. Do you think this is a reasonable prediction? Thank you.

  22. (Apologies if a version of this was in your queue; I kept getting an “Invalid security token” error when I tried to submit.)

    I’ve been thinking for a while about the issue of moral realism vs. its competitors, and I thought I’d submit my thoughts here since we have some differing perspectives (e.g. JMG, Onething, Nestorian if he’s still here).

    Moral realism says (contra non-cognitivism and error theory) that some non-trivial moral propositions are true, that (contra trivialism) some others false, and that (contra subjectivism) their truth-value is not arbitrary. On the other hand, it does not require that always be one right action, or even any right action in some cases (e.g. tragic dilemmas). A realist can also reject the “unity of the virtues” doctrine and hold that there are conflicting incommensurable values.

    What separates realism from relativism is that realism rejects the notion that there are multiple valid standards that each assign truth-values to moral propositions. This can mean there is one and only one such standard, but another possibility, which I favor, is to accuse relativism of misplaced concreteness with regard to standards.

    Moral standards (such as professional codes of ethics) are tools to guide practice, produced by communities and individuals as they grapple with moral issues; they don’t make moral propositions true or false any more than a scientific theory makes its predictions true or false. (Side note: for precisely this reason the concept of an “unbreakable scientific law” is nonsense I wish we’d give up.)

    So here’s a question, especially to Onething and Nestorian: does a genuine realist position require that there be at least one categorical imperative (e.g. “Cultivate the virtues.”)? Or can a realist position be purely hypothetical-imperative (e.g. “If you want to be happy, then cultivate the virtues.”)? I personally reject categorical imperatives because I have difficulty imagining any reasonable categorical imperative that cannot be recast as a hypothetical.

    Another question, aimed more generally: I find the is-ought and fact-value dichotomies dubious as usually stated, but it seems intuitively correct to say, “The moral cannot be reduced to the nonmoral.” What, if anything, is the difference?

    P.S. Thank you, JMG, for hosting these threads.

  23. Regarding the Tesla Truck “strength test”: the fact that the Tesla truck pulled the competition backwards proved only that it could overcome the friction of the competitor’s tires, not the strength of the competitor’s engine/transmission. And friction depends on the weight of the load; which is why many pickup truck owners carry a few bags of sand in the box during the winter: it increases the friction (traction). Did Tesla prep the competition with a loaded box? (The Tesla was loaded, at least with just its battery pack.)

    The Tesla truck, though, will be the perfect vehicle for those who might otherwise commute to their office park cubicle “farm” in a Ford F-350 Turbo Diesel, but find it insufficiently ridiculous.

    But, so we have just another auto-maker selling expensive fantasies. Nothing new here.

    Another recent auto ad featured a weird blend of transportation, information technology, extortion, and the supernatural. The supernatural: Santa Claus is bending away from the camera as he places gifts under the Christmas tree. Technology: tween-ager with a smart-phone snaps a photo of Santa’s big butt. Extortion: “Hey, Santa, you wouldn’t want this picture to go viral, would you?” Transportation: said tween-age extortionist is happily sitting behind the wheel of his new luxury automobile, as parents look on in surprise. Where’s Krampus, when you need him?

  24. Alice, depends on the intent and the degree of concentration and ritual focus. If the emblems are just trashed to the accompaniment of a burst of self-satisfaction at the trashers’ virtue signaling, it’s empty. If it’s done by people who know what they’re doing, it can have a modest but real effect on the energetics of the egregor.

    Bipeninsular, it reminds me of the old Doritos ads where the slogan was “Doritos Knows Jack About Cheese!” (I figure the company must have really annoyed the ad agency.)

    Wesley, the ones on this planet were powered by electricity generated by Stirling engines driven by the heat from sealed containers of vitrified high-level nuclear waste — that’s hinted at in the book. The ones on other planets? You’d have to ask the Cetans et al.

    Violet, that’s an interesting question. Have you compared the Civil War example to the shrill but futile resistance to FDR after 1932? That latter might actually be a closer fit.

    David BTL, thanks for this!

    Nathan, I see it as continuing for the next five centuries or so. As for the welfare state, it’s already a walking corpse; a lot of my age cohort at the end of the Boomer generation already know they’re never going to be able to afford to retire, and once the dollar loses its reserve status internationally and it’s no longer possible for the US to pay its deficits via IOUs, I expect the welfare state to unravel fairly quickly. When? Anybody’s guess.

    Justin, thanks for the heads up!

    Jasmine, and that’s why fast collapses don’t happen but slow collapses do. If you get a situation that would cause a fast collapse, governments and individuals take action, and the collapse is averted. Meanwhile the slow collapse unfolds unnoticed.

    Doll, it seems very clear and well written to me.

    Yorkshire, Corbyn’s political career is over. Once he agreed to an election, he was doomed, because his waffling over Brexit satisfies nobody; Labour is heading toward a stinging defeat. At this point BoJo’s going to get a solid majority, a negotiated Brexit will happen in January, and away we go. It’s unfortunate, really; I think Corbyn could have been a good PM, and if he’d stuck to his guns and stayed pro-Brexit he’d probably be looking at moving to No. 10 shortly.

  25. Hello JMG,

    Recently, I have been thinking about how to relate the “three cauldrons” in Druidry to four levels (bodies) of microcosm in Neoplatonism. I thought that these energy centers might be connection points between consecutive bodies in their hierarchical representation. More precisely:
    – Moon cauldron: Connection point between Higher Self and mind (nous).
    – Sun cauldron: Connection point between mind and astral body.
    – Earth cauldron: Connection point between astral body and material body.

    Is this a valid interpretation? If not, how would you relate the three cauldrons to Neoplatonist view of microcosm (if such a relation is possible)?

    Thanks,
    M.

  26. An open post week. Hmm..
    I just now read this lecture:
    “https://policyscotland.gla.ac.uk/ghost-of-christmas-yet-to-come-brexit-lecture-full-text/”.
    Reading it reinforced my notion that this is the ABC election.
    “Anyone But Corybn|Conservatives”.
    What consequences might be forthcoming?

  27. JMG, I would also like to express my thanks to you for hosting this discussion space. I learn something new every week.

    FYI, Kurt Cobb had another interesting blog post this week that builds on the one I brought to your attention a couple of weeks ago.

    http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2019/11/imagination-stem-and-reading-lolita-in.html

    Also, Fred Reed had a blog post a few weeks ago in which he comes to some of the same conclusions you have about the US military.

    http://www.unz.com/freed/unused-militaries/

  28. @JMG:

    Long ago, you wrote this:

    https://www.ecosophia.net/blogs-and-essays/the-well-of-galabes/the-sources-of-magical-power-part-two/#comment-1375

    […] The introductory books on Jung’s work I’ve read are basically sales brochures meant to convince you to hire a Jungian therapist — rather like all those old-fashioned occult books that were basically sales brochures for this or that magical order. The serious works are a plunge into the deep end of the pool. One of these days I’d like to write an introduction to Jung as an occultist, for other occultists, but it’s a monumental job and would require a good publisher and a decent advance.

    Colin Wilson wrote a book called C.G. Jung: Lord of the Underworld; would that one be adequate?

  29. More spittle flying in the comment threads over Trump…well, Trump doing anything:

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/11/27/trump-to-cut-financial-contribution-to-nato/

    “Trump as Putin lackey” seems to be a theme…

    NATO as an organ of US hegemony doesn’t enter the discussion, probably because it is one of those unmentionable realities that attention is supposed to be directed away from. Likewise our interventionism (per my earlier comment re isolationalism).

    It would be interesting to see people discuss the actual issues–the elephants in the room, as it were–rather the proxy-issues which take up so much space. Perhaps the 2020 general election campaigns will see some of that–here’s hoping, at least.

  30. @Justin Patrick Moore thanks for sharing everything you’re up to! Along with playing the banjolele, getting HAM radio licensed is one of those things I want to do, and never get to. There’s quite an active club in my area, and the University club offers free training and coaching, and I just need to make the time. But, I really appreciate reading about your projects, so thanks for the updates.

    @JMG I have a quick question for you, and apologies if you’ve already written about this, but I was noticing your orphan “hero’s” in the Weird of Hali books, and being an orphan, always loving (and relating to) orphan characters, and recently researching just how many famous literary orphans there have been through the years, were your orphans on purpose?

  31. It’s been said on here that nuclear energy is a net energy sink. Could someone please supply a few links for evidence to support this and perhaps expound upon it some more? I haven’t been able to find any. Thanks.

    Dave T.

  32. Since you are fairly conversant with Moby-Dick, I thought I’d open a discussion of a couple of what I see as Melville’s religion chapters in Moby-Dick, disguised as cetology First is ch. 89, “Fast Fish and Loose Fish.” Notwithstanding Melville’s very raunchy joke at the end of the chapter, I can’t help but feel that it refers to folks like me, whose early training left them “allergic” to Jesus, but who can’t quite commit to something in its/His place. Those of us who are “loose fish” may fare poorly in the period between incarnations, if I don’t mistake his multi-leveled meaning. The other religion chapter is ch. 103, “Measurement of the Whale’s Skeleton.” I am reminded of various “esoteric” books with titles like “Anatomy of the Body of God” or “Measurement of the Body of God” and have long suspected that Melville was doing some kind of parody in that chapter. Ch. 98, “Stowing Down & Clearing Up” pretty much speaks for itself.

  33. JMG and everyone,

    I hope a bit of self-promotion is acceptable on Open Post Day, and a request for support.

    I’ve been part of this community since 2007, and have promoted these ideas in places like the American Conservative, Mother Earth News, and Irish newspapers and magazines. Now – if you won’t mind a bit of self-promotion — I’ve created a web site to put them all in one place, called Old School School – http://www.oldschoolschool.org. It’s still only lightly filled out, but I’ll be adding a few articles a week.

    I’ve also been interviewing elderly Irish about their pre-fossil-fuel way of life, and making how-to videos based on what they teach me, and I plan on doing a long video series going through the work of Oswald Spengler a few pages at a time. You can see that here:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3y2KFrPtDRvkYLnlvLkKrQ

    These projects are intended to take the ideas that people talk about here and bring them to a wider audience, and since I know many of the people here – at least digitally — I’m asking for a bit of support. I would appreciate it anyone reading this would take a few seconds to:

    1.) Bookmark the web site and check in occasionally,

    2.) Like and subscribe to the video channel, and leave comments,

    3.) Send me suggestions for people to feature and talk to, including yourself. I’m looking to interview people who are homesteading, simplifying their lives, and organising with their neighbours to make their corner of the world better. Send e-mails to oldschoolschool@protonmail.

    4.) Send your friends links to these sites.

    Thank you for everything.

  34. James Jensen,

    I’m flattered that you asked my opinion, but that sort of sophisticated philosophical banter leaves me in the dust, puzzled.

    I think I missed the class in which all those abstract propositions were fleshed out a bit.

    Perhaps if you rephrase it.

  35. Coming up to the end of another year I just wanted to say to all JMG and especially to the folks that comment on here, thank you!

    One of the best things I do in life is when I get interested in something I end up finding places were I am way out of my depth. By that I mean that when I walk into the room, I know I am the dumbest person there. Every time on these comments I feel like that. Every reference, idea and concept that comes across leads me down another avenue of learning. That feeling of mental strain that you get when something is just out of your mental grasp, that is a great thing. I am learning so much every week through here. It is something that should be cherished by all if you get into that groove. So again, thank you!

    Now to do a bit of David, by the lakes work – Ford government spending $231M to cancel renewable energy projects. Cases of them actively paying out to remove wind turbines. Never thought I would see this happen.

    https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/11/19/ford-government-spending-231m-to-cancel-renewable-energy-projects/

  36. The Cybertruck isn’t a truck in the traditional sense of the term, it’s an overhyped battery powered SUV aimed at the artsy-fartsy crowd and other “Privileged Progressives” with too much money. The backward sloping roof in the rear means that ergonomics for passengers is going to suck. That same feature will also limit it’s cargo capacity. But then again, one buys a Cybertruck for the same reason one buys a Prius, as a means of virtue signaling and showing off ones affluence to fellow members of the liberal overclass.

  37. Hi JMG and all

    Re: Musk Cybertruck

    I would call it “The Pitchfork-Ready Truck”, because, what is the reason to make an expensive car, for rich people, resistant to be hammered or having bulletproof glass?, what kind of future “landscape” he thinks rich people should be prepping for?
    This is the same guy who wants to build a civilization in Mars because the Earth y “doomed”; it seems to me that he is not very “optimistic” in his assessment of the future.

    In any case seeing the “armored” glass test he performed on the Cybertruck, I think he should have much more problems to find volunteers for future manned Space X flight test.

    Better do not talk about the design, it is ugly and also dystopian in the Mad-Maxian sense, but OK, it is “green” and “sustainable”, and if you have massive rooftop solar panels, may be you can drive it in the after-oil collapse

    Poor Elon, he seems so scared…

    Also I suppose if had to pay royalties to Minecraft for the design

    Cheers
    David

  38. @John M, I would recommend the first half of JMG’s Dark Age America in regards to climate change and how it will impact crops/living conditions. I recommend the whole book, especially chapters 6 and 7 they lay out the predicaments of technology so clearly as well. It is difficult to make progress if you are trying to prop up an every increasing maintenance burden.

    @JMG in regards to Corbyn and being anti-brexit. I find it so interesting that people are still yelling the streets over Brexit as though it is the end of their entire country. Look similar to those protests once Trump came into power. They are so desperate to simply hold onto their current way of life that any other option is non-negotiable. I like Corbyn to some degree but he seems to making the same mistakes as all the other failed candidates of years gone by, lots of soft talk but not much to inspire folks.

    Personally, while I wouldn’t say Brexit is a great thing I would say long term it could be a good thing to distance themselves from the EU. It just takes the collapse of things like Deutsche bank and a flood of climate refugees with EU passports to make the whole idea of being a part of the EU look very unappealing.

  39. Hey JMG, excited to hear about The Dolmen Arch! I’ve preordered my copy today!

    I wanted to ask your advice regarding training. I’m working through the standard AODA sequence, with your Druid Magic Handbook, in addition to the usual SoP and grove rituals, since I’m very interested in the ritual aspects of practice. What would you suggest in terms of timing regarding The Dolmen Arch? Can I work through DMH and DA at the same time? If so, do you have a suggested sequence (e.g. wait until you finish DMH before progressing to grade 3 in DA, etc.)?

    I’m unsure how the material in the grades overlap, but I know you’ve said in your Q&A that they are compatible with one another. In any case, I want to be thoughtful about the process, rather than just running headlong into things before their own time.

    Thanks for your help!
    David

  40. Reply to JMA
    I have seen oatmeal and cornstarch work wonders on eczema. The oatmeal was cooked up and patted on the skin which returned to normal in a few hours. The corn starch was mixed with water and put on the eczema with similar results.
    Best of luck with that..

  41. Peak Oil and Climate Change brought me to John Michael Greer
    John Michael Greer brought me to Donald Trump
    Donald Trump brought me to Kanye West
    Kanye West brought me to God…
    The Second Religiosity is here folks
    People are returning to Church

  42. JMG- a few weeks ago in Magic Monday, you recommended that people who have a working knowledge of a world language might investigate books on magic in that language. I’m reasonably fluent in Spanish, but I wasn’t sure where to begin. A little voice said, “what about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera?” and sure enough, as I started to dig, I found that Rivera was one of the founders of the Mexico City Rosicrucian lodge. As I have time, I’ll keep digging. There should be some interesting stuff to read.
    Apparently, the Communist party wanted to prevent Rivera from re-joining it, and cited his involvement with the Rosicrucians as a reason. He was like, “C’mon, back then, everybody in Mexico was doing magic….”
    The primary objection of the Communists was that Rosicrucians were too close to being masons.

  43. What do people think of the concept of entity or spirit attachments, and how to remove them? Most of the New Age things I see don’t really match my own experiences all that well.

  44. @Maurice

    “Peak Oil and Climate Change brought me to John Michael Greer
    John Michael Greer brought me to Donald Trump
    Donald Trump brought me to Kanye West
    Kanye West brought me to God…
    The Second Religiosity is here folks
    People are returning to Church”

    This, yes, wow. Well for me, not quite in this order exactly, I took a brief Kanye detour between Environmentalism and JMG/DT (during Katrina).

  45. John Michael:

    Just finished all of the Weird of Hali and the Shoggoth Concerto and was delighted. When I do my reading, I try to balance fun with serious. Your series was as fun as I could have hoped for.

    Got me thinking though, and now I am having fun with rereading the original Lovecraft and, having been introduced by your story, reading the other writers in the Cthulhu canon and having a blast with that.

    Having heaped sufficient praise on your efforts (at least in my mind) I have been thinking about your past writing contests and the other “universe” sets of fan fiction like Eric Flint’s “1632” universe over at Baen Books. Have you considered letting us fanboys have a go at your alternate universe of an alternate universe?

    In reading your series, I can see a whole bunch of plot points that would be fun to explore. I have a sneaking hunch that there are others in this group that might find such a thing entertaining.

  46. Regarding Tesla’s pickup truck:

    I’ll be a little bit of a contrarian here and say that I consider it the coolest new vehicle since the Mazda Miata. Sure, Musk is a fraud, but he’s a fraud with panache. If I had 50,000 USD + tax to piss away, a Cybertruck would be high on the list.

  47. Justin, if they’d simply formulate a positive ideal and pursue that, instead of pouring all their energy into hatred and rage, they might well accomplish something. I ain’t holding my breath, but it would be nice.

    Lunchbox, I don’t think access to materials is the issue. I think the problem is the definition you cited — which translates out as “art is whatever someone with a MFA degree says it is.” What is art? The act of manifesting beauty in a form that can be perceived by the senses. What is beauty? The thing that’s present in Renaissance painting and classical music, and absent in their modern pseudo-equivalents. See? That wasn’t hard, was it?

    David BTL, exactly. Watching the Democratic party eagerly embrace militarism and US global hegemony — you know, the things they claimed they were against not that long ago — has been quite the entertaining spectacle.

    John M, nope. Increased carbon dioxide increases plant growth, thus making agriculture more productive; changes in precipitation simply mean that you need to adjust which crops you grow in any given area, and expand on standard dryland ways to stockpile water in reservoirs for dry seasons. People are already working out the details.

    James, if you want to argue a pragmatically based moral realism — “accepting these values leads to better results, in terms of a specific sense of the word ‘better’, than accepting their negations” — I can’t quibble. That’s what Nietzsche was talking about, after all. I’m curious, though, why you find the fact-value distinction dubious; perhaps you’d care to explain.

    Lathechuck, we definitely need Krampus this holiday season, so here he is!
    Krampus

  48. While we’re laughing at the Cyber Truck,am I the only one thinking Elon missed a trick on the styling by going with the traditional round wheels?
    Square ones would have been a much better fit…

  49. Onething,

    Sorry about that! My initial draft was a sprawling mire of text so I kept trimming it; I was worried that I’d trimmed too much out.

    Moral realism is more-or-less just the commonsense position that morality really exists: some actions are bad/wrong, some are good/right, and that you can’t just change your standards when you feel like it so that you’re always in the right.

    For the first question, a categorical imperative is an injunction like “Don’t be cruel.” No, I don’t care if you want to be cruel. I don’t care if it would benefit you to be cruel or hurt you to not be cruel. Just don’t be cruel. (This is somewhat crude, but you get the point.)

    A hypothetical imperative has an “if-then” form: if you want X, then you should do Y. The classical example is “If you want to be happy, then you should cultivate the virtues.” Well, but what if I don’t want to be happy? Well… then don’t I guess?

    The problem with categorical imperatives is why anyone would be motivated to follow them; the problem with hypothetical imperatives is they would seem to condone otherwise-immoral behavior if you’re willing to take the consequences. To take an extreme case that’s problematic for both, what if murdering people made me happy, and not murdering people made me miserable?

    The categoricalist wants to say, “It’s still wrong to murder people,” but would seem to have no way to argue the point with them. A hypotheticalist would seem to have to say, “I mean, you’re a weird outside case, so I guess have at it? (But we’re going to restrain and/or kill you to stop you from committing murder, so there’s that.)” Both seem vaguely unsatisfactory.

    For the second question, the “is-ought” distinction is the idea that you can’t validly reason from a state of affairs, such as (to use a classic example) “He is a sea captain,” to a moral injunction, such as “Therefore, he ought to do such-and-such.” The problem with that is that “Therefore, he ought to do whatever a sea captain ought to do,” is a valid inference, although a trivial one.

    The “fact-value” dichotomy holds that evaluations such as “Doing X is wrong” are not facts, and cannot be true or false; they simply reflect someone’s preferences. The problem I have is that “Doing X is wrong” is stated as a fact, and is generally treated as a fact in the sense of being correct or incorrect.

    But… “Morality cannot be entirely reduced to something other than morality,” strikes me as obviously correct, despite being similar in many ways to “You cannot derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is.'”

    I hope that helps clear up what I’m getting at.

  50. The Radiance’s name reminds me of the New Atheist movement’s short-lived attempt, a decade or more ago, to rebrand itself as the “Brights”. Did you have that in mind when coming up with the name Radiance or is it a coincidence?

  51. Good Evening Mr. Greer, thank you for another monthly open post.

    My questions for the most part revolve around the Iliad. To start, I have strained feelings towards it. It’s an exciting read and I can never deny that, but I can’t help but feel like I’m dragging myself through glass reading it. In fact it’s my least favorite epic and in many ways it’s accurate to my feelings to say I despise it in some ways but meditating on it it’s illustrated some things that have weighed on me.

    I had another question but reading it today I had an experience, one that I remember having had before that I wanted to ask about. I’m at the point before Achilles rejoins the fight and I was feeling the kind of feeling you get before something unpleasant when I just paused to think and for some reason my thoughts went to the idea that the gods were they so petty as in the Iliad were cast out by the Christian God and how amusing it was to me.

    Almost instantly I felt something of regret followed by a feeling on my face like having been in the sun for just a little to long. I’ve had this feeling before in similar circumstances which makes me wonder. Part of me just thinks it’s more a personal distaste for disrespecting any sort of god, but I was also wondering if there may be some old connection to them that may cause it and since it’s open post I may as well ask your opinion.

    Another question outside of my Iliad questions, do you suppose getting eye surgery would impede learning magic in anyway? I have terrible vision I was thinking about getting corrected and I know about the rings of light, but was wondering about spiritual effects.

  52. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I have noticed in your earlier commentaries on the economy you seemed VERY critical of the metrics being used to measure the health of the economy, whether that be the DOW Jones Industrial Average, the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, or just about any other piece of data given by mainstream media to support a strong economy. Now that Trump is in office and supporting tariffs and limits to immigration you have become much more optimistic about economics. With that said, I was wondering what you now think about the metrics used. Do you think the data being given is more trustworthy now? Or is there a particular minority view economist(s) whose data you trust more? I’m personally trying to get a sense of whether we should be expecting a recession any year now, or whether we have entered an extended period of stagflation that could last decades the way it has in Japan and Australia. Any light you could shed on the topic would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  53. JMG,

    Yes, a pragmatically-based moral realism is basically what I’m getting at. Every moral judgment is of the form, “Doing X is better than Y because it leads to Z.” What I would add to that is that the choice of Z is not wholly arbitrary: perhaps Z depends on valuing W, and W on valuing V, but at some point you’re going run into a value that any sane person would hold.

    As for the fact-value dichotomy, to expand on what I said in my response to Onething, the fact-value dichotomy strikes me as relying on a misplaced concreteness in regard to the border between the two categories. When evaluating composers, the border is probably quite sharp: whether Beethoven is better than Bach is down to taste. On the flip side you have justice, where the border seems quite blurry: it would be more than a little odd to say that whether something is just or not, or whether justice is desirable or not, is debatable in the way that Beethoven vs. Bach is.

  54. Musk’s new pickup resembles a Delorean, does it not? I wonder, was it deliberate? Perhaps the Delorean pickup will become a collector’s item, maybe star in a movie or two.

  55. Minervaphilos, good. Keep meditating on it, and practicing!

    Pip61, my take at this point is that the Tories will end up with a solid majority, and that Scottish independence will follow within two years. Still, we’ll see!

    Honyocker, you’re most welcome, and thanks for both of these.

    Packshaud, I don’t know — I haven’t read it. Wilson’s usually pretty good, though, so it’s worth trying.

    David BTL, if it follows the usual pattern, no, nobody’s going to talk about the real issues. It’ll all be “Orange Man Bad!” versus “MAGA, baby!” in public; meanwhile the end of US hegemony will proceed apace.

    Tude, thank you! I don’t invent my characters, I meet them, and they generally come with their backstories already in place. I’m not an orphan — as far as I know, both my birth parents are still alive — but the sense of isolation, of being cut off from the ordinary ties of family, is one that I know for other reasons, and it’s probably not accidental that so many of my viewpoint characters have lost one or both parents.

    Dtroxelten, net energy calculations are fiendishly complex and there’s a lot of room for fudging. That’s why I tend to use the less fiddly measure of economic profitability as a good proxy for net energy profit. Nuclear power is always a massive subsidy dumpster — no nation on Earth has been able to establish or maintain a nuclear power industry without massive subsidies. Yes, I know that other energy resources also get subsidies; the difference is that with petroleum, say, the subsidies add to already substantial profits; with nuclear power, the subsidies just barely make things break even. Show me a nuclear power technology that offers decent returns on investment and I’ll be willing to consider the claim that that technology yields noticeable net energy.

    Steve, it’s 6th house as a healing modality.

    Phutatorius, fascinating. Do you happen to know if Melville was reading Cabalistic literature? You’re right that Ch. 103 reads like a parody of the Iggeret ha-Qodesh, the classic Cabalistic account of the symbolic measurements of the body of God.

    Brian, delighted to hear it! I’ll check it out.

    David BTL, I’ve heard some good things about it and a lot less good. All things considered, it’s not an organization I’d recommend.

    MichaelV, you’re welcome — and thank you for the link. Interesting. As for Brexit, yes, it’s very much the UK’s equivalent of MAGA, and fielding exactly the same sort of reactions weirdly detached from reality…

    David, they’re completely compatible, but I don’t know that I’d recommend trying to do both at once unless you have no other calls on your time! If you’re working your way through the DMH, great — finish that, and then begin integrating the Dolmen Arch work into your practices.

    Maurice, congratulations; I hope your religion brings you as much joy and meaning as mine brings to me. As for the Second Religiosity, granted; I give it six months before one of the loud angry atheists publicly announces that he’s found Jesus.

    Katsmama, good heavens. I had no idea. Do you happen to know which Rosicrucian order that was? (There are lots of them.)

    Confused, it certainly happens, as any tribal shaman can tell you. Are you having problems with something of the kind?

    Degringolade, thank you! As for fan fiction — hmm. I’ll have to think about that, as the Haliverse and its characters are very close to my heart — and of course I’m not quite done writing in that universe yet; The Nyogtha Variations is in press, but there are two more novels to write before I have things wrapped up. But I’ll consider it. Question to the commentariat — is this something that would be of interest to others?

  56. Graeme, ha! I have the best readers…

    James, I didn’t have that consciously in mind — I was actually riffing off Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, in which the good guys are The Light and the bad guys are The Dark — no Gnostic dualism there, no sirree! But it’s not a bad fit to the Brights.

    Mr. Hubbs, the Iliad’s a very challenging tale, and I think that’s precisely why the Greeks made it so central to their culture and their religious thought. It has the same spirit you see in Greek tragedy; the gods are what they are, they do what they do, and you don’t have to like it but you have to deal with it. You may have some kind of past connection to that way of thinking about the gods; a fair number of people around these days do. As for eye surgery, I know of no reason to think that it would interfere with magical training.

    Stephen, the economic metrics we have suck. I discussed that in quite a bit of detail at one point in my blogging, when I was working on the blog posts that became my book The Wealth of Nature; I haven’t continued to harp on the point, as I thought I’d made it tolerably well. Sucky as they are, the metrics we have are what we have, I know of no reason to think that they’ve become markedly less honest since Trump took office than they were beforehand, and when they shift significantly — for example, the large increase in unskilled and semiskilled jobs and the decrease in joblessness among minority communities since 2017 — my take is that there’s some fire underneath the smoke.

    With regard to the risk of recession, the problem as I see it is that the economy is shifting in ways that make hash of most current models. As money flows back into the working class and the flyover states, a lot of high-end retail is losing its shorts, and so are a lot of other things that depend on having lots of excess cash in the hands of the comfortable classes. So you can have all the signs of a recession in New York City and all the signs of expansion in Omaha. Making predictions in such a fog is a real challenge!

    James, fair enough. I’d say in response that some values appear to be personal, some are cultural, and some are innate to our species. In each case those values have been adopted because they produce good results, for some value of the word “good;” the question is whether a given value was adopted by me in the course of my life, by my culture in the course of its history, or by my species in the course of its evolution. With regard to justice, though, however straightforward it may seem in the abstract, in actual application it’s often very much on the Beethoven vs. Bach level; for example, the idea of justice sketched out by Plato in The Republic would be rejected by most people in our culture as profoundly unjust. Recognizing it as a value judgment about which people can honestly disagree — one person saying “x is just” and another saying “no, x is unjust” — makes it easier to deal productively with questions of justice than insisting that one account of justice is objectively true and anyone who disagrees with it simply hasn’t studied the matter, as so often happens these days!

    Jacurutu, that’s a real possibility, as impeachment is playing very poorly in the swing states.

  57. With regards to the Cybertruck, I saw an interesting discussion on SNAFU recently. One of the guys pointed out that traditionally, truck drivers have tended to be politically incorrect, often defiantly so. By contrast, he noted that Tesla customers tend to be almost without exception to be politically correct.

    So the Cybertruck could be seen in part as another signaling mechanism for affluent urban liberals to show they aren’t among those evilly evil Deplorables they so love to hate.

  58. Meet Scherie Murray, a black woman and Jamaican immigrant who is running against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.

    She is a former Obama supporter who is now backing Trump. She argues that Trump has done far more for African Americans than Obama ever did, especially when it comes to prison sentencing reform. She also points out that Trump is pushing for an even more ambitious sentencing reform bill that would help ex-cons who have served their time to reintegrate back into society.

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/ocasio-cortez-scherie-murray-socialism-tomi-lahren.amp

    To paraphrase Bob Dylan, times they are a-changing…

  59. @Justin Patrick Moore

    Hi again…totally not a stalker (I promise, I’m a nearly 50 year old extremely happily married person living a boring life of work, work, work and gardening…) but needed to post yet again and say thank you for “The Hills and the Rivers”. You really are a great source of amazing music I’d never find. Have you ever posted a list of your favorites somewhere? Anyway, Thank you!

    And @JMG I have to say, so many of your regulars have sent me in directions that have enriched my life so much in so many ways. This space really is one of those special places in our cyber-world .

  60. Happy Thanksgiving, 🦃 Americans! Upon considering how busy the local restaurant was last year, we decided to go to a local pancake house near a freeway exit, always open, and then do the local crowded place on the next day it has turkey (usually Sunday).

    American football 🏈 fans, may the point spread be with you.

    Aspiring writers, did anybody get the 50K words done in November? I was knocked out of contention early on by the flu shot.

  61. Hey jmg

    Have you by any chance heard about the massive bushfires that are happening in Australia right now?

    A combination of budget cuts to fire management in NSW, arsonists and a heat wave have caused more than a hundred fires through out Australia, in spring.

  62. JMG: I have the massive two volume Hershel Parker bio of Melville. I’ve read the all of the first volume (about 900 pages) and used the 2nd (similar length) for reference. I know that Melville had pretty esoteric reading tastes and was mostly an autodidact.. He purchased a used copy of Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy” only to find that the previous owner was his own deceased father! Anyone who can read Burton’s “Anatomy” is pretty “hard core” in my opinion. Some critics think Burton’s
    “Anatomy” influenced Melville’s novel “The Confidence Man.” (I’ve only managed to get through the final section of Burton, which is titled “Religious Melancholy.”) In all of my reading about Melville, I have not come across any indication that he’d read cabalistic lore, other than the “portentous hints” that he loved seeding into his fiction from about the time of “Mardi” and “White Jacket” (mid-late 1840s I think) and thereafter. Are you familiar with Bayles’ “Dictionary”? Bayles’ “Historical and Critical Dictionary” gets mentioned a lot, as something Melville had read. I don’t know if cabala is discussed there, but it’s possible. But the question I posed about “Fast Fish and Loose Fish” is not an idle one on my part; it’s really a question that concerns me.

  63. About Elon Musk,

    I think that just saying he’s a fraud is too simplistic. Considering what he’s actually accomplished, it seems more like he’s a genius inventor who, in keeping with a lot of the popular ideas of our time, has put a lot of his resources into some very questionable ventures.

    The new electric truck that looks like something that fell out of the sky in a ’50s movie? The comparison to the Delorean has already been noted – if it finds buyers, it won’t be the first time that rich people have bought something outlandish to drive. As for electric vehicles in general, the reason that they depend so much on subsidies now is because there’s still oil left in the ground to compete with. Once the oil’s gone, that will change, and it’s anyone’s guess whether Tesla or one of the other automakers will be left on top when the personal automobile is once again a status symbol for the rich, and the rest of us have to go back to getting around by bicycle, train, streetcar, bus, and the occasional (electric) taxi.

    But notwithstanding all the hype and shoddy financials, Musk still has an important invention to his credit: reusable rockets. Even if manned spaceflight is a dead-end technology, being able to use the same rocket over and over again to launch robotic satellites (which is all that Elon Musk has launched so far anyway) is a big improvement in efficiency.

    But then look at Dragon V2, the spacecraft that was supposed to take people to LEO in 2015, but still hasn’t flown four years later. If reprising what NASA did in the 1960s takes twice as long as it was supposed to, then what sort of wishful thinking to you have to indulge in to believe that SpaceX will, in less than a decade, have a spaceship that can send 100 people to Mars and back – a task that’s orders of magnitude more complicated?

    And then you have to deal with the fact that no improvements in the technology of flying people through space or keeping them alive in space is going to make Mars have the sort of resource base that would be needed to pay for the million-person colony that Musk wants to build.

    I think the sad thing in all this is that, if Musk had chosen to put his wealth and design talents into the more modest goal of sending a scientific expedition to Mars – i.e. a dozen or so people go for one orbital cycle, with no expectation of setting up a permanent base or making any sort of profit – he probably could have done it.

  64. JMG- In 1926 Diego Rivera was a founding member of the Mexico City Lodge of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, (AMORC) and painted a Quetzalcoatl mural which still exists in the lodge today. It is a fascinating internet rabbithole, which I plan to drop into as time allows.

  65. Happy Thanksgivings giving to everyone.

    Someone last week on the Cosmic Doctrine thread asked our gracious host what he thought about Vatican II and he said we could discuss it this week. No one has said anything yet so I guess I will ask. JMG what do think of the second Vatican counsel? Give us as much detail as you like. Any one else feel free to jump in Catholic or not.

  66. Jacurutu, the times are indeed changing. Trump’s people have figured out the core vulnerability of the Democrats — their dependence, come election time, on captive constituencies who can be talked into voting for Democratic candidates in exchange for crumbs from the tables of power. The African-American community is among the most important of those, and Trump has clearly recognized that doing things that matter for that community — sentencing reform, changes in trade policy to reduce African-American joblessness, and sharp cuts in the regulatory burden on new businesses to increase business creation in the African-American community — has the potential to pay off mightily come 2020.

    Tude, in the immortal words of Justin Martense, “I get that.”

    J.L.Mc12, thanks for the heads up. I wonder what summer is going to be like…

    Phutatorius, fascinating. As for “Fast Fish and Loose Fish,” I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Each of us has a unique road to walk, and belief is not necessarily part of that road for everyone.

    Wesley, I don’t think of Musk as primarily a fraud. He’s a con man, but like most of the truly great con men, he conned himself before he conned anyone else; he’s got remarkable talents, he’s just unable to recognize the reality of limits and, in particular, the limits of his own genius. I expect to see him crash and burn messily at some point, but that’s a tragedy, not simply a farce.

    Katsmama, fascinating. AMORC seems to have gone remarkable places in the Latin countries — the French branch of the order also became a significant cultural force.

  67. Will, okay, let’s talk about that.

    As I noted last week, I’m not a Catholic, or even a Christian; I was never baptized and grew up in what was then the least churchgoing part of the US; so my view is that of an interested outsider with a background in Western esoteric spirituality. From that standpoint, the second Vatican council was a total disaster. They replaced the Tridentine Mass, at that time a well-designed ritual of what I would call positive magic, with the Novus Ordo Mass, which basically discarded the features that made the Mass effective and turned a tremendous rite of sacrifice and consecration into “a community meal” with less power than a six-year-old’s play Mass with Necco wafers, and framed it in a faux-relevant context that privileged political virtue signaling over spiritual efficacy. About the only positive result was that old-fashioned Satanism of the sort discussed in J.-K. Huysman’s novel La-Bas collapsed completely, and it did so because a post-Vatican II guitar mass parodied the liturgy far more effectively than any devil worshiper ever could.

    If you want a snapshot of what happened to the Catholic church after Vatican II, look at what happened to church architecture. Michael Rose’s fine book Ugly as Sin documents the way that post-Vatican II church architects quite literally went out of their way to erase every possibility of religious experience from Catholic religious spaces, turning them into dowdy meeting halls. In particular, note what happened to the tabernacle, the place where the consecrated Host is kept. In pre-Vatican II churches it was by definition behind the altar, on the centerline of the church, in a location made meaningful by the sacred geometry of the church’s layout and the energetics of the ritual, and well placed to be the focus of reverence. In many post-Vatican II churches it was relegated to a glorified broom closet somewhere off to one side.

    There were plenty of changes that could have been made at the second Vatican council. Permitting married clergy was the obvious one — the Orthodox and Anglican communions have been doing this for centuries with excellent results, and it would solved an enormous number of problems. Stepping back from the Papal autocracy created by Pius IX and Pius XII toward a more conciliar structure, with the Bishop of Rome as first among equals, could have solved a great many more. Instead, the council left those problems (and the church’s toxic culture of institutional cruelty) untouched, and gutted its spiritual dimension instead. Not a good move…

  68. Jmg, in my town we are already getting sporadic days of 36-39 degree Celsius heat along with smoke filled atmosphere from nearby fires.
    My town has never suffered a serious bushfire but I fear the towns luck will run out, especially in summer.

  69. Lately I’ve been swinging by James Kunstler’s blog, as an antidote to the Impeach-a-rama on my parents’ TV.

    Kunstler think there’s a slew of indictments coming down against the people pushing the impeachment inquiry. Do you know if there’s anything to this, or is it wishful thinking on Kunstler’s part?

    Also, I’m reading The Culture of Contentment by John Kenneth Galbraith. It explains quite a bit of our society, but it’s interesting comparing the situation back in 1992 with today.

    It’s clear to me that the Democrats, by and large, currently represent the contented classes – thus all the panicked squawking about tariffs and tax cuts and so on. However, their “brand” is that they represent the downtrodden and underprivileged. So they have to do an ongoing, elaborate stage play to present the appearance of addressing problems like poverty and climate change, because actually addressing these problems means impacting the lifestyle of the contented.

    Maybe this need for theatricality has always been there, or maybe it’s a recent development. My guess is the latter. But my big political realization of the past few months is this: The stage play has become all-important to the Democrats, while actual change is unthinkable.

    I know I’m late to the party with all of this, but I suppose I had to see it play out in real life.

  70. JMG, are there any books you’ve been looking for but haven’t found and that we should keep an eye out for when we’re at our local second-hand shops and garage sales?

    A few weeks ago, Onething mentioned that it had been a while since we’d heard from John Roth (of the Michael Teachings). So, count this as another “halloooo!” from a hilltop to check on goings-on.

    Are we missing anyone else? Has anyone not been heard from for a while? (I know that’s how the internet is, folks come and go, still, it’s nice to consider those who’ve spent time here and wish them well or welcome them back).

    Today I thought of Dylan Siebert (was that his username here?), who hasn’t been here for a while, after rereading his essay on Spengler, which i appreciated it again. (https://awizardofearth.blogspot.com/2018/10/a-map-of-futures-past.html?m=1 )

  71. @James M. Jensen II

    In studying law we learned that every legal system needs to balance a three-way trade-off between justice, fairness and efficiency in deciding and managing each case – excessive ‘justice’ means too little flexibility for special circumstances (fairness) and court dockets clogged with minutiae (inefficiency), which eventually leads the masses to question the legal system. So, yes, as well as the question of different definitions of justice raised by JMG there is also the question of whether justice is a good thing (or at least whether there might be ‘too much’ justice in a particular system).

    More generally, if I understand your first question – my observation is that many deists consider that they have a categorical moral imperative to follow their god/s’ laws, full stop. That is, following their god/s’ laws is inextricably part of the worship of their god/s. The laws are ‘real’ and ‘moral’ since they have been received from the god/s which is/are have ultimate power and moral authority. Sincere worshippers of this sort need no further motivation to follow these categorical imperatives. I suppose there is still room for debate where laws or interpretations conflict but there is no question but of attempted obedience if one wants to worship that god.

    Other deists (even nominally of the same religion) seem to preach a different interpretation of religious laws more consistent with the second example in your question. I’ll give the example I’m most familiar with: the version of Catholicism I learned as a child (not totally consistent with mainstream Catholicism, I think). What I was taught was that God very much offers a choice: ‘If you want to go to heaven, then follow all my laws. Or not, and go to hell. Your choice.’ Yes, this meant that, provided you were willing to accept the risk and post-death consequences of hitting the critical hidden trapdoor of unredeemability, otherwise-immoral behaviour seems to be condoned.

  72. On a bit of a random note, have you ever noticed that the seven traditional Christian sacraments line up perfectly with the seven planets?

    Baptism – Moon
    Confession – Mercury
    Communion – Sun
    Confirmation – Mars
    Marriage – Venus
    Holy Orders – Jupiter
    Extreme Unction – Saturn

    My understanding is that the Lutheran and Anglican churches kept Baptism and Communion– so, the Lunar and Solar sacraments. Meanwhile, the other Protestant churches have kept, as far as I know, only Baptism, the Lunar sacrament– and their members are far more likely to be found among the common people (Moon) than in the (Solar) elite.

  73. Hi John, thank you for this opportunity. I have 2 questions I’ve been wanted to ask , which are somewhat related. I’m left handed and live in Australia. Being a lefty, it feels obvious that’s left hand is active and right hand is passive/receptive. So when I do the qabbalistic cross I use my left hand. And I trace pentagrams with my left. It just seems obvious for my natural energetic make up. Do you have any thoughts on how far I should take this reversal of traditional functions in ritual? I wonder if every action should be mirrored. And secondly, I have been wondering if I should reverse the attribution of fire/south and earth/north in the pentagram and other rituals. Since the traditional attributions are based on being in the northern hemisphere. It seems like a similar reversal is done in Wicca and pagan practices in the Southern Hemisphere and I’m interested to know if I should make the same change in Hermetic ritual. Would love any thoughts on these.
    Thanks 🙏 Nathan

  74. I saw a link on Magic Monday to an occult forum called “Become a Living God”.

    As far as I can tell from glancing around for 15 minutes, it seems to be a forum for clueless newbies to dabble in (often) black magic.

    There is literally an entire sub-forum talking about summoning demons. This is a pretty typical thread:

    https://forum.becomealivinggod.com/t/amy-or-auns-from-the-goetia-is-very-reliable/49409/7

    This is the Wikipedia entry for the demon they are discussing (copied from the thread):

    “Amy or Amii (also Auns, Hanar, Hanni) is a Goetic demon described in the Lesser Key of Solomon (as the fifty-eighth spirit), the Dictionnaire Infernal, in Thomas Rudd’s version (as Auns, again fifty-eighth), the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (the sixtieth spirit), and (as Hanni) in the Munich Manual of Demonic Magic as a President, appearing initially as a flame before turning to a human form. He is claimed to teach astronomy and liberal arts, give familiars, incite positive reactions from rulers, and (according to all sources except the Munich Manual) reveal treasures. According to all sources, he rules over thirty six legions of demons. According to Johann Weyer, he was of both the order of angels and potestates (powers), and holds the futile hope of returning to the seventh heaven after twelve centuries. According to Rudd, Amii is opposed by the Shem HaMephorash angel Ieialel.”

    I guess I’m posting this as a kind of online “shaking my head” in a “What are they thinking, doing this??” kind of way.

    I have nothing against clueless newbies (I am one myself – all I know about the occult and magic I’ve pretty much learned by reading Magic Monday and the Well of Galabes for a couple of years and I’ve never done any rituals). But I *DO* understand that in any field or activity, you start small and build up your skills to doing more advanced stuff as you understand the risks and rewards better. What kind of newbie starts up messing with this?

    I mean, look – there are only two possibilities right? Either

    a) All of this occult stuff is nonsense (if you’re a materialist/rationalist) and nothing is real except what we can see and touch, in which case none of these rituals and summoning will do anything or have any effect (in which case why are they wasting time and energy doing things that have no effect?)

    OR

    b) It IS real and TSW, in which case they are messing with some seriously dark and powerful forces that these people – who are pretty clearly clueless novices from the writing – (if anyone is familiar with computer hackers, they sound like occult “script kiddies” to me – running pre-designed push-button hacking programs without understanding any of the principles involved and lacking any ability to do the underlying work themselves) – clearly can’t control or understand.

    It kind of feels like driving on a freeway, closing your eyes, hitting the gas hard, taking hands off the wheel and going “Whee!”. It’s a real rush – until it isn’t. Or juggling a lit firework in your hands – it’s great – until it isn’t.

    There is basically no good outcome here.

    There’s another post on that forum where some girl is talking about how the demon she summoned in college a few years ago is in a relationship with her, and helped her get a better job out of college etc. Really??? You think the demon is in love with you??

    I can kind of understand truly desperate people turning to any avenue for help when they are at rock bottom in life (even then I would imagine they could do a LOT more work and research to understand and learn before summoning demons), but most of these people on the forums don’t come across as desperate or hitting rock bottom – it sounds more like “summoning demons” is an extracurricular activity for fun and profit – like there are people summoning demons to teach them music or teach them programming etc..REALLY??

  75. “Yorkshire, Corbyn’s political career is over. Once he agreed to an election, he was doomed, because his waffling over Brexit satisfies nobody; Labour is heading toward a stinging defeat. At this point BoJo’s going to get a solid majority, a negotiated Brexit will happen in January, and away we go. It’s unfortunate, really; I think Corbyn could have been a good PM, and if he’d stuck to his guns and stayed pro-Brexit he’d probably be looking at moving to No. 10 shortly.”

    From where I’m standing I’m not so sure. Because of how the electorate has polarised on Brexit, going out and out for Brexit might have put him in an even worse position (Most Labour voters want a second refferendum). He’ll satisfy neither the hardline reminders nor the the no dealers. At least by promising a second referendum he’ll keep the remain voters onside, and then have to hope his economic message cuts through enough for the softer brexiteers.(when push comes to shove, what will they care more about? ending austerity or brexit?). I will go out on a limb here and predict a Labour minority government with the SNP. (I also predict Labour – if they get into government revoking their second referendum pledge in favour of simply leaving with a softish Norway style Brexit)- we’ll see I guess!

    Whatever happens to Corbyn, He’s had quite a substantial impact on politics (in the UK and around the world…)

  76. Lunchbox Bike

    “Was Art more sharply or clearly defined when the artists spent more of their lives making or trading for their materials?”

    As an old time f stop and shutter, paper, enlarger and tray photographer, I ask myself a similar question regarding digital photography. I haven’t shot a frame of film since 2003. And although I think in many ways digital enabled me to produce better images, it did the same for everybody else, so no net gain, if one wishes to stand above the crowd (and what artist doesn’t?).

    Digital photography has flooded the land with images ( a land that was already over-supplied), to where photography is a hyper-inflated artistic currency. I’ve given it up. Let somebody else do it.

  77. “Bipeninsular, it reminds me of the old Doritos ads where the slogan was “Doritos Knows Jack About Cheese!” (I figure the company must have really annoyed the ad agency.)”

    That’s right up there with “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

  78. Dear JMG,

    I am curious about the long-term implications of the government system in your utopian Lakeland Republic.

    In my view, as long as the neighboring countries are radically more centralized, the system can probably provide enough cohesion. However, what happens if the model becomes wide-spread, so the neighbors use it, too? It seems to me that the transfer of border counties from one state to another is something that can be done quite easily. There would be no coercion to keep countries together nor to tear them apart. My hunch in this case is that borders would eventually converge to geographical obstacles (mountain ranges, large rivers, seas, deserts, etc.). The configuration of political units would determined mostly by the land itself and not (or less) by the arbitrary decision of human beings. Do you agree? Is this something that you have considered?

  79. to Darkest Yorkshire and JMG

    The UK Labour Party has overwhelming Remain majority in its ranks. Corbyn cannot be their leader if he comes out as a hard Brexiteer. It would lead to the break-up of the party and a landslide Tory government. I am not happy to say this but there wasn’t and there isn’t real chance for this.

    In strategic sense, we see the clever division of the discontent plebeian masses. Roughly half of them protests with Brexit and half of them protests with Corbyn’s socialism. Who will decide in the end? The old elite. And it seems that they fear Corbyn much more. The campaign is still underway but the best Labour can hope for is another hung parliament.

    The elite thinks Brexit can be diluted or hijacked. They are probably right. The only problem is that a diluted or hijacked Brexit won’t calm down the masses. in the long run

  80. A slightly less serious point than many, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the Weird of Hali series at the moment, apart from the fact that a character drinking an IPA is the sign of a wrong ‘un. Granted, many modern (and sorry about this) US IPAs are overly hoppy, too strong, headaches-in-a-glass, but good examples of the style are excellent. If the awakening of Great Cthulhu will deprive me of Thornbridge Jaipur I might need to reconsider my membership of Starry Wisdom. This stuff is too good for the Radiance.

  81. Hello again John, congrats on the new book.

    I’ll be getting back to the same subject we discussed the past month, since you didn’t answer my last question, we were talking about the process of a magi proclaiming a new Word in the Thelemic tradition, which you don’t agree with from what I understood and referred to it as a “misunderstanding of something much more subtle”, can you elaborate and explain?

    Moving to other subjects…

    Lately I’ve been interested in fairies, what are the most trusted and authentic texts on fairy magic you could recommend, if you happen to know any?

    About robes, Fortune in one of her books recommended wearing a black silk robe when doing meditation and rituals, do you think there’s a certain significance related to her emphasizing the color black or not? I thought it might be related to the lower Golden Dawn grades that use the same color, but then again I read somewhere else that using black color attract rather than repel negative energy and entities.

  82. Hey, JMG – care to say anything about Saturn conjunct Pluto coming up pretty soon now in early 2020? Or what it might portend for how the rest of the 2020s might go?

  83. Hi JMG,

    I’ve mentioned permaculture before in comments and you had a negative response to it. You said the ideas were fine but the people were the problem. I’m part of the NW CT permaculture community, a small informal group of permaculture enthusiasts in NW CT. I’m trying to help promote permaculture. You obviously had negative experiences which some people in permaculture. Would you elaborate on the attitudes of the people that turned you off? Many of the people in our group are hard core liberals but NW CT is not a liberal area (lots of TRUMP signs in 2016) so I try to point out to the group that they can’t successfully promote permaculture using liberal speak (i.e. climate change). I push mentioning the permaculture prime directive which is “The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our existence and that of our children.”. That taking personal responsibility is part of permaculture. Also to use the real third permaculture ethic, “SETTING LIMITS TO POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION.” instead of saying “fair share” which a lot of people substitute for it. Lastly, I try to get people to talk about the practical advantages of permaculture such as lower cost and healthier food with less work.

    I love to get more of your thoughts about permaculture and how best to promote it. I think there is a lot of benefit to getting more people developing perennial based food producing permaculture systems.

    Thanks,

    Bob

  84. re: Tesla

    There’s so many things you can say about them just from a strict nuts and bolts car guy perspective. I’ll start with this. Forget electric, forget computer. Their build quality in general is ABYSMAL. I mean, FCA is legendary for slapped together pieces of junk but beyond FCA, lies Tesla. Shoddy, flimsy, overengineered – that’s how I would sum them up. Their latest vehicle offering is just more of what they’ve been putting out.

    But here’s the depressing thing. Once you meet some minimum level of technical excellence, it just doesn’t matter. Sales and marketing matter more. And hoo boy, is Tesla ever so good at that. You can call it hype or whatever – they’re good at it.

    But you can’t just run on spinning dreams and hype forever. Or can you? The status quo has been able to keep spinning dreams since the 2008 banking collapse for instance. If Tesla crashes and the illusion gets shattered, it’ll be one of the history books. If there are history books.

    I wouldn’t ever buy a Tesla and I don’t feel jealous over anyone who does. Just like when I see someone driving a BMW, I don’t feel jealous either. Because I know what flimsy pieces of junk it is they’re driving.

  85. I’m just wondering…does the fact that the Federal Reserve is refusing to call its latest round of Quantitative Easing by that name give you a sneaking suspicion that something has gone very, very wrong in the banking/financial system that they don’t want anybody to know about? It just reeks of being a classic example of the infamous Streisand Effect.

  86. Today is the eve of the holiest day in the modern United States calendar – the official beginning of Salesmas Season. As shown by the great wads of waste paper tucked into today’s daily newspaper. To those who celebrate it, have fun. To those who don’t, Happy Thanksgiving Day (U.S.)

  87. >So you can have all the signs of a recession in New York City and all the signs of expansion in Omaha..

    Kind of like how the Texan elites were doing very well in the ’70s, at the expense of the coastal elites?

  88. Hi James,

    Ah, that’s a bit better. as you probably surmised, I don’t follow moral relativism. I’m sure there are many cases in which it holds.

    The basis of morality in my view is God. Because, as I explained up above to Lady Lolcat, it is illogical to ignore the need for an existent principle. That means something like scientism/atheism is logically untenable. I call this existent principle God as it solves the most obvious mystery which presents itself to the human mind in this bizarre place in which we find ourselves.
    With God as the source of all existence, that becomes The Good. Existence itself, our existence, is the fundamental good.
    Therefore, to detract from that good is a transgression. Such a transgression is almost always done TO someone else.
    When you take away from another being’s store of good, whether it be material, emotional or even psychic or spiritual, that is a theft and an intimidation or even a disruption of their life.

    If all of our lives are lived within the being of God and if the mystics are right that we all share our Being, a kind of overlapping of individuality with unity, then that is also the basis of morality. We learn that other beings feel as we feel and that is compassion, but even deeper is love because there is no one and nothing that is not self.

    I find myself scratching my head at such abstruse questions as whether this requires a categorical imperative or whether said imperative could be phrased as a hypothetical. So for a categorical imperative, I guess I would say something like, don’t trick or steal or hurt other beings selfishly. I’m not talking about nature and killing to eat. It’s the act of illegitimately taking from another being’s store of goodness that is the transgression. It probably could be recast as a hypothetical – does that make it illegitimate?

    Continuing down your post, you seem a bit stuck on subjectivity (what if I like to kill). That subjectivity is probably coming from moral relativism. In that sort of subjectivity lies chaos. I also like things to be completely explained. I am not satisfied being told not to be cruel; I want to know why.
    You have said that no one would be motivated to follow a moral imperative. I don’t see why. Seeing that evil consists of hurting or stealing from others, and that I don’t want to be a perpetrator, why would I not follow that simple guide? The rest of that question sort of doesn’t compute. Are these questions serious? What if only hurting others makes me happy? Why, then you’re a sociopath, a defective specimen, and probably will need to be eliminated.

    “The categoricalist wants to say, “It’s still wrong to murder people,” but would seem to have no way to argue the point with them. ”

    Really? No way to argue the point? Is this what goes on at university now?
    What about my system? Do you see why it is wrong to murder people?

    On the is-ought distinction. Hmm, you said you can’t validly argue it but then you did and you said it is valid. A sea captain ought to behave as his culture expects of him. I say that is fair enough. But perhaps more trivial. And not every moral or ethical question is a fundamental one and therefore can be one which does not have a right answer.

    It looks like I disagree with the fact-value dichotomy. I think it is factual to say wanton killing is wrong. It isn’t my preference. I am not the emperor of my reality. That would be delusional. If other beings are facts, i.e., they exist, then what one does to them matters.

    As to what is fact, perhaps that word is a problem if one expects some scientific experiment to validate a moral position.

  89. Planning for future (30 years)… I’m 60 and could live in Northern France (Tours pop. 300,000), or Scotland (Glasgow pop. 500,000). In view of upcoming challenges which do you think best and why. My heart says France, but I’m a bit worried about temperatures. Scotland attached to England IMO will be a disaster, but I’m expecting that link to change. Bit of a cheeky question, and I know you think the last thing the world needs is another American pontificating… but there are some people always worth hearing, regardless of where they come from. Any thoughts will be most welcome, and may help other Europeans in their planning. (I’m seeing a gay friend in Paris tomorrow who first came to Europe to check it out, he was so terrified of what was happening under Reagan, and have many friends who left Britain because of Thatcher, sadly we seem to be back there… although, clearly, ours is a “first world problem”).

  90. I watched a bit of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from NYC. I was struck by that almost frantic perkiness of the hosts. All the inane chatter about all the same old stuff they haul out every year. Interspaced with thumping, noisy commercials exhorting us to BUYBUYBUY! Then talking about former things, and why can’t we bring back this that or the other? Since there were worries about the wind, they are invoking the Parade Balloon Gods by saying the balloons, calling them by name, will be all right. As the winds build. I also saw an online poll, where 76% of respondents were not travelling. But “we” have full employment. And a “prosperous economy” while the TV “personalities” grin in an imitation of reality.

  91. Dear JLMc12, Arsonists? Would those be just for fun let’s have a big blaze so we can be Important kind of arsonists, or is something more sinister going on, such as if we burn folks out, we can grab their properties for pennies on the AU dollar.

    Jacurutu, I followed your link about the AOC challenge. Thank you for the heads up. She sounded not unreasonable right up until she started talking about loosing the Amazon deal. A relative who lives in NYC says the residents of Long Is. City, the neighborhood where Amazon was planning to settle, did not want Amazon and organized to not have it imposed on them. I don’t think NIMBY is necessarily a bad thing, although I do believe that every neighborhood, no matter how affluent, should take in and provide for a fair share of down and outers. I doubt that those who sneer and complain about NIMBYism have something like that in mind. Then there was the late night show and twitter jab at AOC. Remind me, whom is it we all know who makes very effective use of twitter? I expect this young and attractive striver has been promised quite a lot to shill for corporate interests.

  92. @JMA

    re: eczema: A couple of people I know treat theirs semi-successfully by sunbathing. I have a couple of patches on my face that flare up now and then, and have had good results applying argan oil in the morning, and a frankincense-and-jojoba oil mix at night. I’ve never seen anything specific to eczema for either of those, but they’re both anti-inflammatory, and that seems to be enough. Note: you can pay a ton of money for grade-A argan oil. For me, it doesn’t seem necessary. I use the cooking-grade stuff that smells like toasted nuts and is diluted with coconut oil. Still works great. Costs a lot less.

  93. Greetings ADjMG!

    Would u b so kind as to give an esoteric interpretation of Genesis, the serpent, forbidden fruit, garden of eden and all that? It seems muddled to me.

    Thanks so much.

  94. A few questions about the Second Religiosity:
    Do you think that the Social Justice Warriors will be the ones who turn to Christianity? And if they do, will they continue to be annoying and insist on telling everyone what to think? Most importantly, how would Rod Dreher handle it if all of the SJWs suddenly found Jesus?

  95. “Facsimiles of emotional wellbeing and a sense of belonging, can be churned out of printing presses on demand. Potatoes, homes and ancient aquifers know no such alchemy. In the United States today, the physical needs of food, water, shelter, and security should be in ample supply, yet fewer and fewer US citizens enjoy them. These are the human wants that cannot be manufactured by mere words of politicians or central banks.”

    Good points! I’ve had the thought, lately, that a lot of the environmental degradation we see around us is actually a function of the technosphere, almost exclusively: if you get into the poor back country, human habitation assumes a much more natural relationship to land. In fact, it’s convinced me that the land and a people are always symbiotic. The weird psychology of the upper classes is a backdoor manifestation of the suppression they feel, of this fact, given that they are expanding their enclaves into areas that are traditionally far more…traditional. Some areas of land really don’t want them or their kind anywhere near them. It’s more complicated than that, at higher levels, but at that level, at least, it seems pretty clear that (for example) Appalachia type country just doesn’t want them anywhere close, unless they are willing to show respect. The same is presumably true of the plains and prairie and desert country. River port areas are probably the best place for progressives to gather in their reservations, as that seems more forgiving, perhaps because of the cosmopolitan nature of the river-sea cycle. But with lots of money, people are tempted to move to secluded beautiful areas that have more delicately tuned local balance, bringing with them a whole set of religious practice (man is inherently religious) that is tone deaf, except in rare instances, because they always want to subsume what is local or unique under the cosmopolitan experience of their own past. I’ll have to think about this some more…

  96. JMA: As with all other ailments, the best treatment is to isolate and eradicate the cause. I myself was plagued with chronic eczema for decades, and nothing ever worked for very long to treat it – natural or otherwise. Then one day about 12 years ago a naturopath tested me for a variety of food allergies/intolerances, and in so doing discovered my allergy to something found only in sugarcane. I promptly eliminated all cane derivatives from everything in my diet and the eczema vanished, never to return again.

    Get tested immediately – but by a naturopath, not a conventional doctor. Mainstream medicine is all about signing the patient on as a steady repeat customer: the last thing on earth they want is to see you get cured!

  97. JMG

    Reading your take on the Catholic Church, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I was raised a Catholic (post Vatican 2) and the Mass always seemed to be incredibly vacuous and vapid to me. I was made to go to Mass until I rebelled as a teenager and I always found it incredibly boring. My mother still goes – she is quite elderly and she sees it as guaranteeing her place in heaven (even though she is not crass enough to put it like that).
    I was told by a teenaged classmate (not that she would have known what the original Mass was like) that Vatican II was much better because the priest wasn’t speaking in Latin and was facing forward not back! I think even being born again Christian would have been better than what I was exposed to – at least there was something to chew on there with the Biblical emphasis but in Catholicism the Bible is treated as something you outgrow when you leave elementary school. So out went the ‘kid’s stories’ – Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the whale, etc, and in came ‘Doctrine’ all the nonsense about the Liturgy that had nothing to do with any kind of spirituality.

    So the other thing I noticed about the Catholic Church (in Ireland) was how much money the clergy have. It was common for people back in the day to leave some (or all) their money to the Church (guaranteeing their place in heaven again!) and so the Church ended up with incredible assets and a lot of prime real estate. My Catholic school sold off the sports grounds for a housing development and made a killing – I joked that each of the nuns were millionaires now, which my mother didn’t appreciate. I knew someone who had an uncle who was a parish priest – he automatically got a new car every two years. When a scandal about the Bishop of Galway broke (a love child, but at least the mother was a consenting adult) it emerged that he lived like a king – handmade shoes from Paris etc, etc.

    Anyhow, suffice it to say Ireland (the Republic) is mostly atheist now apart from those in God’s waiting room but even I was surprised that abortion was legalized recently. I was assured by the same teenage classmate that it was murder (parroting the party line of course) from back in the day.

    So all of this has lead me to believe that demons are effectively running the Catholic Church. The vows of celibacy and poverty are an obvious joke and they can’t even provide a decent ritual in the Mass anymore. I feel that the atheism is as hollow as the Church is, and some people are now looking for alternatives, like Druidry for example, so there is hope that something can emerge from the ashes. There is the same crisis in Catholicism in America and I’m sure you have discussed this with Sara, at length. It is sad in a way, as the Catholic Church didn’t have to doom itself, but the wrong decisions were made with Vatican II which is why I believe there was some demonic influence there.

  98. Hello John. Thank you for the open post.

    In a recent post on climate change you speculated that the Little Ice Age period may have been caused by the depopulation of the americas through smallpox and the consequent emergence of large forests. This could possibly be used to mitigate climate change. I found it to be really inspiring. There are lots reasons, even without climate change, to plant trees on a large scale.

    Is there more information on this available? On the web especially?

    Cheers.

  99. JMG, I would just like to quickly share this small experience with you. I started following your work from the Hermitix podcast early this year and have read several of your books on collapse and the occult since then. Recently I’ve began meditating daily and have already made great progress in learning how to filter out some of the neurotic noise in my brain, but of course it’s not always perfect.

    Monday morning I was laying on my bed around 20 minutes into my daily 30. I was struggling focusing on my breathing and suddenly heard a distinct cackle coming from beside me. Didn’t think much of it, as I’ve been dealing with intense hypnagogia for the last several months. A moment of silence passed, and then abruptly on my chest sat a ventriloquist’s puppet William Burroughs who lifted his head and screeched “Can you hear me, Greer?” and the scene promptly vanished. Keeping in mind my eyes were closed of course.

    I was not troubled at all by this, just fascinated by how strange it was.

  100. Eczema,

    for me was the soap : cold saponification extra-virgin olive oil, preferably from olives grown herbicide free. No oil or creams, while the eczema is peeling (a couple of days). I don’t know how hard is to find this kind of product where you live, but you can do it yourself if you cand find the olive oil. Just be sure never to allow the saponification to exceed 104 F, so it keeps most of the natural glycerin in the soap. Best wishes!

  101. I was curious if you ever read Erich Fromm’s ‘To have or to be’? I re-read it recently and some ideas sounded familiar to what you’ve covered on this blog and ADR.

  102. I’ve been trying to think of one number that would indicate the state of a civilization like the DOW indicates the state of the stock market. Wealth? Energy consumption? Natural resource consumption? Area over which police and courts hold sway? So many possibilities!

    Finally, I think I have found it: population density.

    Think about it: the denser your population, the more organized your administration has to be, the more transport of goods and waste your engineering has to handle, the more powerful your social control has to be, the more people have to agree on a basic set of rules in order to live together, etc etc.

    I’m not saying densely-populated Nairobi is more civilized than Montana, to take two names at random. You have to compare each with itself over time.

    For instance, the denser Nairobi gets the better it has to work as a unit, which encompasses all the items in the first paragraph like wealth, engineering, administration, etc, even if the standard of living per capita drops. If the centre cannot hold and things fall apart, people will leave, and the population density will drop. This would be be an indicator that things are in decline.

    It’s certainly not a perfect measure, but I can’t think of anything more representative of the state of a civilization at the moment.

  103. Yes, I too am interested to hear more about Vatican II and the pope. I read the article linked by LL, but it shed no real light on my question.

  104. @JMA, I’ve had pretty persistent eczema (but only peripheral, on fingers and until my teens, toes) all my life. Over the decades I’ve tried creams, pills, moisturizers, diets, lotions, sunlight, and lots of other things, and with two exceptions it seems to come and go as it pleases regardless.

    One exception is halobetasol 0.05% ointment, a strong topical steroid that doctors seem reluctant to prescribe. “Oh, that works, you say? Well, let’s try [some other thing] instead.” (To be fair, it likely has significant risks or side effects.)

    The other, I’ve only figured out recently. When I’m doing work or activities that involve plenty of scrapes, cuts, blisters, burns, sunburn, or poison ivy exposure, my eczema subsides. Perhaps those insults keep my immune system otherwise occupied, or something of that nature. I haven’t gone so far as to deliberately injure myself to test this, but I’ve taken note of it through my last three cycles of eczema spreading and then subsiding so far. Of course this is only my own personal anecdote and may or may not be more than coincidence, or apply to anyone else. But I’d be interested in any other reports of similar experiences.

  105. @Owen: If something significant happens with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, I’m guessing we’ll see it during the window from roughly New Years Eve to the 25th of January, because that is when the conjunction will be closest. That said, I do tend to think that the extended conjunction (during which these two bodies will be within seven degrees) will color the upcoming election in a way that will probably bode ill. But with the Democrats thinking it’s a good idea to give the nomination to a Silly Sam like Joe Biden, you don’t really need astrology to make that prediction.

  106. Kevin L. Cooke, I have done digital photography for ten years, and occasionally did film photography, too. The difference between these two modes of photographing is quite obvious: film photography is more artistic, digital photography is more technological, especially with the recent devlopments in camera models. The Long Descent is, by the way, already visible there, as the camera industry neglects consumer cameras in favor of higher-end interchangeable-lens camera systems on the one hand, and smartphones on the other hand. In this way, the prices of digital cameras, after shrinking since 2000, are in the process of rising again.

    The question about the many photos taken day by day by so many people has led me to the conclusion that photography is one of the art forms of the Faustian culture which reached its stage of diminishing returns unusually fast, because there is only so much real-world stuff to photograph. At the moment, I don’t do much photography anymore, but it remains an useful technology.

  107. @ Wesley

    You said: “Musk still has an important invention to his credit: reusable rockets.”

    Nope, rocket recovery is as old as space projects (it was used in Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects), , but you know, this “backward” parachute rocket recovery system is so outdated for Elon Musk that he calls for a much more sophisticated but less efficient (risky) recovery system. but the Space X system made very impressive YouTube videos (a descending parachute sells nothing to investors or “true believers” in Musk)

    Space X has used only a few recovered rockets in a flight again and also after an expensive overhaul process, because, you know, re-entry into the atmosphere damages the materials and it is risky to use them without full inspection and long repair, in many case the savings do not justify the risks, of course not in manned space flights.

    The Space Shuttle was the most lethal space system used in human history, it killed scores of astronauts in a short number of flights, compare it, for example, with the reliability of the Soyuz system; and the “dream”, was the Space Shuttle would be like a plane (or a Star Wars spacecraft), take off, go to space, return to landing, quickly fill the tank with fuel, take a new load of astronauts and in a few hours again in space, which is the basic idea of ​​the Musk’s Mars Project , which could be many times more lethal than the Space Shuttle because the spacecraft is larger, with more people inside and without long and costly inspections and repair between two consecutive flights. Good luck with that!

    I do not think Elon Musk is a genius, I think is a brilliant businessman with a clear intuition for what the believers in “progress” want to see and how to build a “sect” of believers, including in the investor’s class; and, at the same timea man with a quite sad face and a dismal view of the future.

    For example he is so brilliant that has convinced almost all the people I know that he “invented” the reusable rockets…

    Cheers
    David

  108. Hi John

    I agree with you that Boris is heading towards a majority, quite possibly a big one, on 12th December.

    I have written about this in my blog recently – https://forecastingintelligence.org/2019/11/24/uk-general-election-forecast-update/

    The Scotland story is very interesting. I don’t share the mainstream view that the SNP will see a sharp increase in their seat tally in this election as the electorate is deeply divided between those who wish to stay in the union and those who prefer independence.

    I think the Scottish Tories, who are strongly unionist, will win seats in this election.

    Regarding a 2nd referendum poll, I agree that it looks very likely at some point next decade but any majority Conservative government is unlikely to agree to it. The 2021 Scottish elections look like a key moment, so if the SNP win a huge majority, that could be the moment where momentum for a 2nd referendum becomes overwhelming.

    It will likely be after Brexit is done and Britain has legally left the EU and agreed a free trade deal with the EU. Will be interesting to see how that shapes the Scottish debate – will Scotland be able to join the EU? How will they bring down their deficit should they become indy? What will be the Scottish currency?

    None of these issues have been confirmed by the SNP so I don’t quite share your confidence that the Scots will march towards independence. It could happen but the reality is that the Scots economically benefit from the Bartlett formula – paid by English taxpayers.

  109. Pakshaud wrote, “Maybe Vatican II was a consequence, not a causal factor. Something odd must have happened, before, for God to abandon his church.”

    Could the church having inexplicably abandoned its God be that odd preceding event? Nietzsche summed up the abandonment quite succinctly with his “God is dead.” A dead god is unlikely to continue dwelling in or protecting his church forever and ever, world without end.

  110. J.L.Mc12, interesting. Do you happen to know what Australia was like during the last interglacial (the period between the last ice age and the one before that)?

    Jacurutu, about fracking time. Thank you for this!

    Cliff, the Department of Justice has done an efficient job of cracking down on leakers, so we won’t know what’s going down until Horowitz and Durham finish their investigations. The one thing that’s been made public is that Durham’s probe has become a criminal investigation, so there’s probable cause for at least one indictment — but will it be a low-level flunky or two, or will they go after the people actually responsible? I don’t know, and neither does Jim Kunstler. As for Galbraith’s book, excellent! Yes, exactly.

    Jacurutu, I’m pretty sure we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Trump’s people are very canny political strategists, and they’ll be doing everything they can to save the most lurid charges for later in the election cycle. (Though the recent stuff about Hunter Biden’s, er, preferred entertainment is pretty lurid…)

  111. Greetings JMG and all,

    Not a question but again something to share on the order of more TSW 🙂

    I went into the studio to do the usual morning ritual and meditation. As I was preparing the incense and water, I heard an intermittent beep coming from the basement. It was faint, and I didn’t register what exactly it might be (it was one of our smoke alarms down there giving the “low battery” signal). I thought about just going ahead and doing the work and then investigating, but I also knew the beep would be poking my ears every two minutes through the whole thing, however quietly. So I went downstairs to investigate….

    Well. In addition to discovering the unit’s need for a new battery, I also discovered that the water heater had burst! There was about an inch of water on the floor all around it, and the sound of rushing water. GREAT. My partner and I figured out how to shut the water to the heater off, and shut the electrical breaker. I called the property manager who, even though it is Thanksgiving, called me right back. I sent him some pictures, and he said he’d arrange for a new one to be installed tomorrow morning.

    I’m greatly relieved to have been “poked” into investigating by a battery that -just happened to- run down and beep at me this morning. Even though I changed the battery out to a fresh one in January.

    We both had just done all our laundry in the previous day, so we’d have no pressing reason to go down to the basement for about another week. Eventually we’d notice the lack of hot water (we both had plenty of hot water this morning for our showers, though) The water could have gone on and on and on and flooded over to the new gas furnace that was just installed last week.

    After all that, I returned to the altar, upon which the candle was still burning and gave prompt and heartfelt thanks to my Patron, and/ or all the other Ones (I’m engaging in friendly corespondence with a variety of deities these days) who were looking out for us and poked me until I went down to check things out. I’ll be making a more formal offering of whisky and wine and pie later, and doing the practices once my stomach is a little emptier.

    It’s not how I wanted to begin my only day off in a 60-70 hour workweek, but I’m really really thankful to have caught that, and that aid came so quickly.

    Thanks to all the Gods and Spirits of this Place, the Mighty Ones and the Ancestors- TSW!
    Bonnie

    Addendum- Just right this moment, as I was finishing up this posting, one of our neighbors that we haven’t really gotten to know well just brought us a gift of hand towels she made, thanking us for talking about some noise issues in a congenial way last summer instead of calling noise control on them. We’re kind of hermit-ey and don’t have a lot of close contact with any of our neighbors. I’m flabbergasted.
    It’s been an eventful morning!

  112. Nastarana

    Mostly children and teens, funnily enough some kids did start a small grassfire in my town this year while trying to smoke something, it wasn’t a serious fire luckily.

  113. @JMG,
    you said “Trump’s people have figured out the core vulnerability of the Democrats — their dependence, come election time, on captive constituencies who can be talked into voting for Democratic candidates in exchange for crumbs from the tables of power. The African-American community is among the most important of those, and Trump has clearly recognized that doing things that matter for that community…”

    Warren Beatty’s 1998 movie “Bulworth” (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118798/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0) has a classic and very funny send-up of the above in the scene where Congressman Bulworth visits a black church in L.A.

  114. With respect to the UK election, there does now seem to be a very faint hint of hint of panic emerging from both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party. The Liberals appear to have rowed back from their “Revoke article 50” position, that is, to cancel Brexit completely if they come to power. Representatives now say are now willing to accept a second referendum.
    Labour announced this morning that they were going to emphasis that some of their MPs up to cabinet level supported leave although their actual policy still appears to be that they will negotiate a better deal than the Boris Johnson deal and then put that to a second referendum.
    Both these changes have been presented as a minor tweak to their manifesto positions but they smack a little of bargaining with the electorate. It seems that despite trying to aim the narrative at any other subject except Brexit, by and large the electorate are having none of it, and Brexit is the only subject that canvassers are being allowed to discuss.
    The actual changes may have been sparked by an MRP analysis by one of the polling organisations (YouGov) that was published yesterday evening. The MR stands for multilevel regression and it is a form of statistical analysis that notably predicted the outcome of the 2017 election to within a few seats. This time it is suggesting a comfortable Tory majority.
    For the past 3 or 4 months, whenever anyone has asked me to predict what might happen with Brexit, or the election, or any of the UK’s continuing political turmoil I’ve shrugged and told them that they might as well use astrology to predict the future. So far, none of them have seen the joke.

    I remain a SubscribeStar subscriber.

  115. More speculation on the Cybertruck’s intended market:
    It’s clearly trying to evoke cyberpunk… which is a genre which often features nation states having faded into irrelevance and big corporations running the world. Not so great for the little people, but if you’re someone in the upper echelons of a big corporation, maybe that sounds like a good deal; the downtrodden get dystopia, after all, but _you_ get lots of high-tech toys and a home in the nice districts where the private security no longer have to worry about laws even ostensibly offering equal protection to the poor.

  116. @JMA

    For eczema, jojoba oil or jojoba and frankincense both can clear flare ups. For myself though I found stress reduction to be the permanent solution. Specifically it was my exercise program that was the trigger. I replaced hard runs with long slow walks in Nature and that put an end to eczema forever.

  117. @Tude: The ham radio license will be there waiting for you when you want to take that step, but I’ve found it a very welcoming community and have had a lot of fun with it since I got my ticket four years ago. I like all different forms of alternative communication and ham is one of them -in fact it is a whole suite of RF related communication techniques -though I’d say broadcast radio is still my first love in radio world. Thanks for the positive feedback, and I’m very grateful to be able to share things with the community here, and make friends, due to the graciousness of our host. The banjolele sounds fun too…

    …as far as a list of my favorite music is concerned, I have so many favorites I think it would be a challenge. Music is one of the things I like to write about though, and I’ll take it up as a good challenge to try and put together a list I can link to on a future open post. I will also see about posting some of my favorite radio shows I’ve done -which by default include some of my favorite music- up on my dreamwidth site as I have time. It’s also the end of another decade, and there are lots of “Best albums of the 2010’s coming out. Maybe I’ll make my own. But if you like folk music, as a Banjolele player might, my favorite folk singer is Shirley Collins.

    Here is a track by Shirley Collins that R.J. Stewart also happens to play on…

  118. I just gave Ecosophia a shout out on my most recent blog entry. It was the least I could do: JMG’s work has been an enormous influence on my political thought. There are very few blogs I read religiously but Ecosophia (and before that the Archdruid Report) have always been on that short list.

    I’ve been trying hard to steer people away from the Mad Max/Star Trek dichotomy and toward a future where a crumbling government (or rapid series of governments) tries to maintain hold on its territory. My big model for this would be the Byzantines, who convinced themselves they were Rome for centuries even as their territories shrink. Things don’t fall to anarchy overnight: Byzantium’s trade routes kept the wealthy distracted and the small folk fed and entertained for a very long time. I don’t think the American experiment will hold out for centuries but I could definitely see it holding on for several generations before it finally ends. (The Western Roman Empire officially fell in 476, but I’d say she was clinically dead by 410 if not earlier).

    Piece with shout-out to JMG:
    https://europaschildren.com/2019/11/23/all-tomorrows-blueprints/

    I also owe JMG a debt of gratitude for introducing me to some unjustly forgotten mid-20th century philosophers and scholars. I was very impressed by SI Hayakawa’s work and did a piece analyzing current events in the light of his “snarl words” and am presently greatly enjoying Claude Steiner’s work on scripts. One thing jumped out at me about TA: the division of roles into Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim. It strikes me that this dysfunctional setup is at the heart of a lot of our modern political discourse on all sides. And a friend also noted that this closely mirrors the Villain/Hero/Victim dichotomy which is a hallmark of Borderline Personality Disorder.

    My Hayakawa Piece:
    https://europaschildren.com/2019/11/23/all-tomorrows-blueprints/

  119. JMA:
    Take this, as you should all online advice, with a pinch of epsom salts.

    I was diagnosed with nummular eczema, primarily on the legs and arms, over two years ago and treated by an old school dermatologist who insisted that I limit my exposure to water!
    Suffice to say that he didn’t receive any return visits from me, and it led me down my own path of exploration.

    My belief is that most, if not all inflammatory skin conditions, are a manifestation of a deeper underlying problem; namely the digestive system. Traditional allopathic doctors tend to roll their eyes if there is any mention of “leaky gut syndrome” but, regardless, I self treated myself with, amongst other things, a spoonful of slippery elm powder diluted in water (apparently it lines the intestines). Anyhow, my digestive issues improved considerably and the eczema became a lot more manageable too (after an initial application of steroid cream I never again used anything except a sparing application of your garden variety, off the shelf, moisturizer)

    Step two – and this may be controversial – I’m a big advocate of regularly taking cold showers – and the colder the better! Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but in my experience a few moments of discomfort are well worth the benefits received.

    Anyhow, good luck and good health!!

  120. @DFC

    You said, in response to my listing reusable rockets as Elon Musk’s one real accomplishment: “Nope, rocket recovery is as old as space projects (it was used in Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects)…”

    You don’t seem to have much of a grasp of the history here; parachute recovery may have been on the drawing board in the 1960s, but no booster from Mercury, Gemini or Apollo was actually recovered and reused. Also, the Space Shuttle didn’t kill “scores” of astronauts, it killed 14.

    As for the Falcon 9 reuse, 19 out of the last 30 launches of that rocket have used a previously flown booster, and there have been no launch failures. Record turnaround time is by now less than three months, and SpaceX’s rockets are much cheaper than those of its competitors.

    Obviously, this isn’t going to make the Musk and Bezos dream of “millions of people living and working in space” any closer to a reality, but it’s a major improvement in the efficiency of satellite launchers, and things like this will be important in an age of increasing scarcity.

  121. Temporaryreality, hmm! About the only thing that really comes to mind at the moment are old occult correspondence courses — from 1890 or so straight through to the 1960s, those were extremely common, but very few have survived to make their way to the handful of online archives of such things. If anything of that sort were to surface I’d be most pleased to get either the course or a scan of it.

    Steve, indeed they do. There’s a vast amount of that kind of esoteric symbolism in traditional Christianity — much of it got swept under the rug in a hurry by all sides after the Reformation, and what survived got hidden away with the coming of Modernism in the late 19th century, but it’s still there if you go looking for it.

    Nathan, I’m also left-handed but use my right hand for the ritual; relying on the less used hand actually helps me concentrate. As for the pentagram ritual attributions, they aren’t based on terrestrial details — if that was the case I’d have to have water in the east, since what’s east of me is the Atlantic — and the Golden Dawn temple in New Zealand, Whare Ra, used the standard attributions with perfect success. It’s very tempting to want to tinker with things when you’re a beginner, but I really do recommend learning it the standard way first, and making changes only when you’ve mastered the system and know what matters and what doesn’t.

    BXN, that’s what happens when pop occultism meets an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. It literally has never entered the minds of these overgrown infants that the universe isn’t set up to give them whatever they think they want, and the thought of having to take negative consequences for their actions — oh, no, that’s for other people, not us! You’re right; there’s no good outcome to this.

    BB, well, we’ll see!

    Sleiszadam, no, I hadn’t taken it that far. It might well be the case that counties could move from nation to nation, but there’s no reason why the counties would have to be contiguous, or form geographically meaningful units. You might end up with a situation where there were five or six decentralized republics across eastern North America which completely overlapped with one another, so that of three adjacent counties in what’s now Tennessee, one belongs to the Lakeland Republic, one to the Confederacy, and one to New England — the latter purely because they like a couple of New England policies! But again, that’s further than I took it; the contrast between the Lakeland Republic and the Atlantic Republic was after all the mainspring of the novel.

    With regard to Brexit, a lot of Labour strongholds in the Midlands and North voted heavily for Brexit, so I’m not sure the Labour Party is as solidly Remainer as you suggest. My take is that that’s what forced Corbyn into the middle ground; the party establishment is hardcore Remainer, but if he went full-on Remainer he’d guarantee a bad loss at the next election because a lot of normally Labour voters in the strongholds just named would sit out the election or vote for someone else.

    Andrew, nah, it’s that it was a bland commercial IPA. A homebrew or microbrew IPA is well within the drinking style of the people of the Great Old Ones — it’s those insanely tasteless pseudobeers from the big national breweries that you’ll find negation team members gulping down. In fact, one of the things that inspired that bit of story business was something I read about Budweiser — a flack of theirs talking earnestly about how important it was to make sure that every single bottle of Budweiser tastes exactly like every other, and is exactly what their marketing experts and focus groups have identified as the average taste in beer. Right there you have the philosophy of the Radiance — and of the nightmare of crazed rationalism that has our society in its grip — in a single bottle of bland yellow fluid.

    Aziz, sure thing. An Aeon is not a period of time. The Gnostics, who originated the concept, recognized the Aeons as eternal spiritual possibilities; being eternal, they are all always present. So the Aeons of Isis, Osiris, and Horus that Crowley talked about aren’t periods of time, and a new Aeon didn’t begin in 1904 — again the Aeons are eternal, they don’t begin and they don’t end, and they’re all present at this very moment. What happens when an occultist reaches the degree of Magus is that he or she proclaims the word of an Aeon — that is to say, he or she becomes conscious of which of the Aeons is his or her own essential spiritual source and allegiance, and expresses that in a uniquely personal way; more precisely still, realizes that he or she has always been speaking the word of that Aeon, in life after life. So did Crowley speak the word of an Aeon? Sure. So did lots of other mages in his time. Dion Fortune spoke the word Polarity; that was the word of her Aeon. (It was also the word of Gerald Gardner’s Aeon, though he pronounced it a little differently.)

    With regard to faery magic, I highly recommend RJ Stewart’s books on the subject. As far as black robes, those are standard wear in the lowest grade of Fortune’s magical order and the orders descended from it; you start with a black robe and graduate to a white robe in higher degrees. I’ve never noticed any issues with negative energies.

    Owen, I consider Pluto to be a minor body on the order of Ceres and Chiron, not one of the planets, and I don’t put a lot of effort into tracking it; I did for a while early on, and then noticed that even supposedly major Pluto transits to my natal chart didn’t have much effect. I haven’t found it to be any more useful in mundane astrology — though I’d use it specifically if I were casting charts for organized crime, nuclear power, or any of the other fairly narrow range of things that it does in fact seem to rule. (In the same way Ceres is useful if you’re interested in the astrology of agriculture, and Chiron if you’re practicing psychology.) The event that I’m watching very closely is the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in December 2020, a Grand Mutation in the cycle of great conjunctions, and the beginning of a new 199-year cycle of history ruled by the Air element — that’s going to shake things up good and proper, and I’ve already begun to post discussions of it for my Patreon and SubscribeStar readers.

    Investingwithnature, that’s a fair question. The first thing that turned me off about the Permaculture people I met is that they were pushing Permaculture the way that hardcore Southern Baptists push Jesus — an endless barrage of dogmatic in-your-face proselytizing for Permaculture as the One True Way for everybody. (That’s guaranteed to raise my hackles, not least because I had my training in a different end of organic gardening and got very good results with it.) The second was the way that Permaculture in the US turned into a pyramid scheme, with people getting the training so they could become trainers and give other people the training — and of course that helped feed the first, since high-pressure sales tactics are necessary in pyramid schemes. The third was watching most of the people who talked permaculture up one side and down the other never actually doing much about it, other than talking about it and recruiting people for the training. The fourth was watching the rise and fall of the Transition Towns business, which was largely a Permaculture franchise, which was promoted with a degree of hard-sell that would have made a used car salesman blush, and which wasted an enormous amount of time and energy that might have gone somewhere useful. All in all, it reminded me of the cultish group est — do you recall that by any chance? — and since that’s what I saw, I rolled my eyes and walked away from it. Mind you, I’m still perfectly willing to be proved wrong, but that’s going to take actual results, you know.

  122. JMG.

    Please let us know your thoughts on the Extinction Rebellion phenomena, and if this mirrors the rise of other “death cults’ during previous civilization’s collapse.

  123. Thanksgiving thoughts today. I’m very thankful for this community and the many ideas and insights I get from all of you. And particularly, of course, for JMG’s dedicated and patient efforts.

    Also for hot running water, which I have again after a week and a half without. (Not that that was any great privation; my wife and I heated all the water we needed for baths and dish washing on our stove.) After a previous adventure in my crawl space dealing with an underground water leak (noted, in part, during some recent Magic Mondays) I found I also had to replace my hot water heater. This involved not only dusting off my old copper sweating skills, and yet more digging in very confined space, but also my very first foray into masonry to prepare a more suitable placement for the appliance. I’m pathetic at masonry (as any beginner would be) but I’m quite at home working under a three foot high ceiling now.

    It occurs to me that spending a lot of time in a crawl space, encountering, understanding, improving, and where needed repairing the perilous yet vulnerable infrastructure that one relies on but might not think about very often, seems a pretty good metaphor for some of the esoteric subject matter that gets discussed on both Ecosophia blogs.

    @Bonnie, I have to say I laughed at the synchronicity here.

  124. Hello JMG. Thank you for keeping the conversation going, both here and on your other blog!

    1) What is your opinion of AOC’s Green New Deal?
    2) Two weeks ago, Patricia Mathews posted a link to a NY Times article about Red and Blue states. I was reading the comments and people seem to agree that life is so much better in the Blue states. Thoughts?
    3) What do you make of the conspiracy theories that climate change is just globalist propoganda to impose worldwide marxism (or something to that effect)?

  125. Mister N, that seems at least possible, and I might even go so far as to say “likely”…

    Patricia M, and a happy Buy Nothing Day tomorrow for those who celebrate it, as I do.

    Owen, exactly.

    Michael, that’s a tough one! I expect Scotland to be on its way to independence within a couple of years, and to rejoin the EU as soon as possible thereafter, so I’m not sure there’s a huge difference, all things considered.

    Marlena13, yep. The entire retail sectory of the economy is weakening as money flows out of the hands of the comfortable classes and into the hands of those who plan on using it to get out of debt and pay the heat bill on time. A world is ending, and I think the talking heads know it.

    Eowyn, I’m delighted to hear that. Regular performance of the Tridentine Mass (or any of the other old liturgies) coupled with a return to traditional devotional practices could do a lot to help pull Catholicism out of its current death spiral.

    Packshaud, possibly, but the Old Testament has a lot to say about what happened when the Jews abandoned their god; the same principle could be at work here.

    Dashui, what we have in the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis is a very brief outline or summary of a long and complex sequence of events — as though you were to summarize the history of the United States in two or three paragraphs. That’s why it seems muddled — it needs about 100 pages. Neither “Adam” nor “Eve” are individual persons — nor, for that matter, is the serpent a snake. Max Heindel’s Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception unpacks the narrative tolerably well, though Georg von Welling’s Opus Mago-Cabalisticum et Theosophicum is more complete.

    Waffles, my guess is that Rod is in for a shock, because yes, I suspect a lot of current social justice activists will end up making a beeline for conservative Christianity once their current scene folds out from under them. The craving for opportunities to virtue signal and tell everyone else what to do can be very addictive. The one thing that may save him is that they’re unlikely to head for the Orthodox church — the social justice scene has always struck me as a kind of secular Pentecostalism, complete with speaking in tongues.

    Scotlyn, fun times! Fifty million years from now there may be quite the fireworks display northwest of us. The mighty beetle civilization that Lovecraft said would rise after humanity’s extinction will have to watch out…

    Bridge, it’s quite possible that malign spirits are involved in there somehow — that would certainly explain the pervasiveness of the cruelty and abuse (Magdalen Laundries, the orphanages where most of the children die, etc., etc.).

    Lordyburd, here’s the article with the research. Yes, there are other things of the same kind — and yes, serious reforestation could do an immense amount of good. It won’t make the massive profits of carbon credit trading, though, so don’t expect to see it discussed by the corporate media…

    Reid, hmm! Fascinating; thanks for letting me know.

    OneOfManyDennis, I read a bunch of Erich Fromm back in the day, though to the best of my recollection that wasn’t one of them. You’re right that some of his ideas shaped my thinking. I’m not an original thinker by any means; I do my best work assembling and synthesizing ideas that others have originated.

    Martin, interesting. I prefer Lynn White’s measure, as embodied in White’s Law: the level of development of a society correlates precisely to its energy consumption per capita.

    Forecastingintelligence, thanks for this. All the most recent polls show the SNP picking up around ten more seats in the new Parliament, with around 40% of the Scottish vote; the Tories have jumped 5% or so there in the last week, but that’s because the Brexit party’s voters have all fallen in line behind BoJo. I don’t think the process of Scottish independence is going to be smooth, but I also don’t think that the Scots are going to listen to purely financial arguments — and I also suspect the Tories will be secretly glad to see them go. (If England becomes independent, Labour becomes a permanent minority party, after all — without Scotland and Wales, it just doesn’t have the numbers.) But of course we’ll see.

    Christophe, and of course that’s also a factor. Jesus said, “Behold, I am with you always, even unto the ending of the age” (Matthew 28:20); if that age was the Piscean age, and (as I believe) it ended in late 1887, it’s at least conceivable that he’s no longer with them.

    Bonnie, delighted to hear that a very troublesome situation turned out well! TS does indeed W.

    Sandy, hmm! Life imitates art — or at least pop culture.

    Andy, funny! Many thanks for the data point — I’d noticed that the BBC has toned down its hitherto shrill anti-BoJo rhetoric, too. It looks very much as though they’ve realized that he’s going to win, and are frantically trying to trim their sails to the new wind.

    Kenaz, welcome to the blog! I’m glad my ideas have been useful to you.

    Wade, nah, Extinction Rebellion is a dressup game played by mostly middle-aged members of the comfortable classes who want to pretend that they can change the world so that they don’t have to change their own lives. They do the death-cult schtick in very much the same spirit in which a six-year-old clips one end of a bath towel around his neck with a clothes pin and says, “Look at me! I’m Superman!”

  126. They’re making a movie of “Color Out Of Space.”

    “Color Out of Space is a 2019 horror film directed by Richard Stanley, based on the short story “The Colour Out of Space” by H. P. Lovecraft. It stars Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Q’orianka Kilcher and Tommy Chong. Wikipedia
    Release date: January 24, 2020 (USA)”

  127. Walt, glad it worked out — and taught a useful lesson or two!

    Shivadas, thanks for this.

    Rationalist, (1) the “Green New Deal” is a masterpiece of political cynicism — unaffordable and unworkable, but packed with empty promises meant to appeal to a galaxy of Democratic pressure groups. It’s not meant to be put into effect, just to buy votes. (2) People who live in blue states do in fact prefer to live in blue states — otherwise they’d move. People who live in red states are shut out of the media conversation. (3) Not true at all, though I understand why some people have come to believe it. Anthropogenic climate change is real, and various groups have been using it as an excuse to push various usually unstated agendas; I’m not sure why so many people have so hard a time keeping both those thoughts in their heads at the same time.

    Patricia M, hmm. That doesn’t surprise me, but pretty much all the movies that have been made from Lovecraft stories have been — well, unspeakably horrible, but not in the sense Lovecraft had in mind!

  128. In Weird of Hali Dreamlands: A random comment about the the past decade gave me a timeline to run. Conditions seem so close to the ones in our own timeline, it must be May or June of either 2020 or 2030. The only argument for 2020 (or earlier) is that an impoverished Jenny could earlier score a real cardigan sweater with pockets and a real quilt at thrift stores, rather than what’s on offer now. And maybe even a best dress that wasn’t polyester. But my inner time sense says 2030.

    Since it’s graduation time, and Jenny took five and a half years to get her PhD, that puts Innsmouth in November, 2024, and Kingsport a month later. Since Asenath is 3 when Miriam meets her, that puts Chorazin at around 2027, and the economic crash we see in Providence at 2032 or 2033 depending on when her birthday is. So the climax comes in 2044.

    However, that it’s a different timeline entirely is proven by the fact that we see no sign of the Surveillance State with its cameras on every corner and trigger-happy cops. Or is that just because the narrative takes place in places where that’s not the rule? (Chorazin, for one thing, is not suffering from over-policing.)

    Anyway, looking forward to the other novels, especially the Nygotha Variations; and I hope, one about the Greenland expedition. And Owen in New Orleans would be fun.

  129. > I suspect a lot of current social justice activists will end up making a beeline for conservative Christianity

    My prediction is we’ll see a Jonestown-class event near the end of their time. That will mark their last hurrah. I can’t see them ever going fundie though. They might snap to Islam, especially death cult Islam. Shiite? Definitely not sufi or sunni.

  130. Lon Duquette mentions a magical working to “improve his estate and condition,” and I’ve heard similar things from others, where magicians discuss the importance of increasing one’s sphere of influence rather than trying to create specific changes like a new house, etc. The idea, as I understand it, is that, for better things to materialize in one’s life, one needs to elevate his/her general condition before these things can manifest.

    What are your thoughts on this? Is the intention “to elevate my estate and condition” a useful one?

  131. Walt F,

    I am glad your water heater adventures have resulted in new perspectives and new skills!

    All this time I have been thinking (through the furnace failure about 3 weeks ago, through today’s water heater thing) “were I the homeowner, how would I deal with this? In the repair and replacement, how might I improve things for future functioning?” and am realizing that there’s a whole lot more I willneed to know should I achieve home ownership.

    My hat’s off to you for sharing your experiences, and tacking the challenges in the way you did.

    Be well, and may all the water flowing through your home be happily contained in appropriate vessels, and harmony betwixt you prevail 🙂
    Bonnie

  132. @JMG,

    I know that in several of your essays, you’ve criticized Victorian-age attitudes toward human sexuality, while hinting that medieval Christians had a more healthy/balanced outlook in that regard. Since the medieval church had pretty-much the same basic set of rules (i.e. all forms of fornication and adultery are off-limits) I am curious to know what, if anything, you think the points of superiority were in medieval sexual ethics?

  133. I hope everyone had as restful a day as we did.

    I always thought The Color Out Of Space cried out (shrieked out into the senseless void?) to be made into a movie. That’s one of the scariest stories I’ve ever read. In this uncertain world, radiation poisoning could happen to the Gardners, you…or me. Brrrr.

    I wish all you Christians a good Advent and the rest of you a good [insert your holiday here]! See all of you Saturday if I don’t get back tomorrow.

  134. Just a bit more on Brexit..

    As Niall Ferguson Points out in this interview https://johnanderson.net.au/conversations-niall-ferguson-part-iii/ the slow decay of the pan European institutions is already underway with nation states in the EU quietly or not so quietly doing their own thing, restoring powers back to a national government level etc. I’m sure this process would continue even if the hardcore remain establishment somehow managed to get the referendum result overturned. So actually in a way the Brexiteers have already won the war, even if they lose the battle- which they probably won’t. (like I said, even if labour somehow manage to form a government I’m certain they’ll have to find some way to respect the original result).

    anyway, just a few more thoughts…

  135. “The Expanse” is basically “Colour Out Of Space” meets “Mobile Suit Gundam”, and isn’t terrible though it doesn’t have quite the punch of either of those.

  136. @Jacurutu

    re: leaked info regarding Bidens and Ukraine: sibling reports that when trying to post a link to the source article (from tass) on FacePlant, it was immediately flagged as “false”. So… suppression efforts already underway on that one.

  137. In regards to Elons reusable rockets… I love wally’s! Wally being an endearing term for a geek/nerd. Specifically in this case Space Wally’s, the ones that are cataloging and recording every little detail of these rockets as a hobby.

    Have they reused rockets? yes. Have they reused any of them more that once? No. It turns out that once you launch them twice, the amount of damage done to them becomes a major overhead where it is potentially just cheaper to build a new rocket than fix the old ones. It is like reusing a lead bullet, it is just cheaper to buy new ones than try and recover and re cast the old ones.

    It is a big improvement over all other rockets but it is still a giant luxury for a civilization to do this stuff that has some vague reasonable functionality at best. The lesser of two evils is still evil. There are other big issues with Space X in terms of what they promise but I don’t think this is the space to start that heated debate.

  138. A few thoughts on Russian Orthodox Christianity, based on my limited firsthand experiences:

    My wife’s family lives in Russia. When we visit there, we often tour magnificently ornate traditional Russian Orthodox Christian cathedrals — many of which date back centuries. We sometimes attend services, which seem to be held frequently. (Either that or we synchronistically happen to be there at the right times.) There were no lectures or sermons. Minimal benches, pews, places to sit. Most of the attendees stand & interact with the priest, sometimes in a call & response fashion. Ritualistic attire, exquisite singing, chanting of Scripture, ringing of bells, wafting incense, blessings & magic overflowing! It felt closer to my experiences in Hindu temples, ashrams & Bhakti (devotional) Yoga than to American churches.

    Not bad for a country that was officially atheist a few decades ago. Decades prior, during the early days of socialism, cathedrals were often used as storage warehouses, when they weren’t destroyed altogether.

    “Old Church Slavonic was used as the liturgical language of the Russian Orthodox church between the 9th and 12th centuries. A more modern form of the language, known as Church Slavonic, appeared during the 14th century and is still used in the Russian Orthodox church.”

    I couldn’t understand a word being uttered during those ceremonies. However the sense of magic & connection to the Divine was richly palpable indeed & has remained closely with me!

  139. Regarding Haliverse fan fiction, your Dreamwidth posts about the RPG had me considering taking a crack at a fanfiction story set in the Southwest. If I were to do so, I’d leave your characters well alone.

  140. JMG,

    I’m glad I asked, your answer was different than what I might have guessed. I guess I’ve been lucky not to have that same exposure. I only learned about permaculture maybe 6 years ago, I suspect your exposure was earlier. I don’t see anyone making a lot of money teaching the PDCs and in our small group here in NW CT there are some people who have done impressive things, no lawn but food producing trees and shrubs all around in addition to their annual organic gardens. I’m very impressed by the young people in the group who are walking the walk so to speak with food systems they are building on their own property or on land trust properties. I’ve replaced some of my lawn with a food forest and got a good crop of hazelnuts this year.

    It seems that you felt your method of garden conflicted with permaculture. I’ve read about gardening in your books and it would seem to fit in with permaculture just fine. Though I’m not a gardener at this point. I was attracted to the idea of perennial food systems and started first with learning and trying that. Will start learning more about annual gardening in the next few years.

    Thanks,

    Bob

  141. I found this video to be very interesting (my transcripts):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRXb4bJhSSw
    Limits to Growth After 45 Years – Dennis Meadows at Ulm University

    15:40 – “We put into the model many different technological assumptions. What we found was, technology doesn’t eliminate limits to growth, it shifts the burden from one limit to another. And may push back a little bit the period until things start to go down. But of course technology itself doesn’t change the problem. Techology is a tool. It’s used by people and institutions, and you can’t understand the future unless you understand the goals of those institutions.

    “In order to get attractive results we had to go outside of technology and look at social and even economic changes. And we came to understand that the problems we talk about today — climate change, pollution of the oceans, and so on — they are not problems, they are symptoms. They are symptoms that the globe is starting to mount pressure to stop growth. In one way or another, population and material and energy growth have to stop on a finite planet.

    “And so comes the question — what are the pressures which will stop that growth? If they come from us, they will be fairly attractive, like birth control. If they come from the planet they will be fairly unattractive, like famine, or war, or disease. But one way or the other these problems are going to come. And when we talk now about solving the problem of climate and so on, we aren’t actually addressing the problem. The problem is growth in a finite world.”

    [So far the real world data are in fairly good agreement with the assumptions of the standard run. And we are getting close to the predicted overshoot peak followed by collapse.]

    20:50 “I actually wouldn’t make many changes, because we still don’t have good theories and good data. For all of the research which has been done, and all the numbers which are available, the underlying wisdom that we have about humanity hasn’t improved very much.”

  142. @JMG and J.L.Mc12

    re last interglacial in Australia: there were definitely huge inland lakes in what are now desert areas, in the Lake Frome and Lake Eyre basins (1/6 of Australia). This had knock on effects to the East (similar to what happens now when Lake Eyre and Lake Frome fill every few decades) – the prevailing hot dry winds coming from Western Australia suck up enough moisture from those lakes that there is a rolling series of massive rain events heading East which lasts several years until the lakes dry up again. Except back then the lake basins stayed full, fed by inland rivers supplied by a stronger monsoon and possibly stronger winds from the Southern Ocean carrying moisture further inland.

    Naturally, with all this extra moisture, forest species dominated everything East of the lakes, although the extreme climate variability favoured evergreen eucalypts rather than deciduous species (reinforced by the eucalypts’ symbiosis with fire).

    If global weirding eventually ends up flooding central Australia either with fresh water or due to sea level rise it would mean a massive increase in carrying capacity, assuming temperatures don’t rise so high the humidity becomes unliveable.

  143. Patricia, good! The entire series is set over a timeline of precisely 20 years, beginning in the autumn of an approximate “now.” It’s not quite the world we live in, of course, since you’ll have a hard time finding Arkham, or many of the other places, or for that matter an Essex County bus system in that end of Massachusetts. If we define “now” as 2020, then, the first two books take place in the late autumn of that year, Kingsport spilling over slightly into 2021; Chorazin takes place in the spring of 2023 — Jenny’s still Miriam’s assistant then, remember, and mentions that Miriam’s health’s been bad; The Shoggoth Concerto takes place over the 2025-2026 school year; Dreamlands takes place in the late spring and early summer of 2026, when Asenath is three years old, and overlaps slightly with the first of Brecken’s books; The Nyogtha Variations takes place over the 2029.2030 school year; Providence takes place in the summer of 2030, beginning about two months after The Nyogtha Variations ends; Red Hook is set in the summer of 2034; and Arkham is set in the autumn of 2040. I worked it all out in a chart while the series was in process.

    Owen, nobody thought the hippies would go conservative Christian either, but a lot of them did — the Jesus People were the necessary transitional stage. Hang on…

    J.L.Mc12, well, there you are.

    Conner, it might be, but you’d have to be clear on what you meant by it, or you might simply find yourself moving to an upper floor apartment! I find it best to use journaling and meditation to figure out how I’m failing to make best use of the opportunities I have, and then put affirmations and magic to work to change that.

    Wesley, in the Middle Ages, if I understand correctly, many sexual sins were identified as venial sins, not mortal. That was the change I had in mind — the unhealthy Victorian obsession with sex is the problem, not least because it led inevitably to our equally unhealthy if oppositely-polarized obsession with sex.

    Your Kittenship, it’s the one Lovecraft story I actually find scary. The others are endearing.

    BB, I think he’s quite correct.

    Shivadas, thanks for this. It sounds very impressive.

    Cliff, fair enough; I’m going to put some serious thought into this and post something on Dreamwidth when I’ve come to a decision.

    Investingwithnature, that’s good to hear. As for the mode of organic gardening I trained in, I don’t happen to know whether or not intensive biodynamic gardening is compatible with Permaculture™; the point was that I was already doing something that works and works well, and getting told over and over again that I should drop everything I was doing and go plant a perennial food forest made me roll my eyes and go back to double-digging a garden bed for the mix of annuals and perennials I prefer.

  144. @BXN

    I’ve followed E.O. Kettering off and on for the past several years out of sheer curiosity. It’s clear to me that Kettering has genuine drive to invest time, money and effort into his own occult practices. I’m even convinced he actually IS having genuine occult experiences. His intent is good – he seems to genuinely want to help people. But in my opinion he’s teaching things for which .001% of people who are ordering his books and courses are prepared for. I’m not even certain that he himself is really ready for the kind of things he’s teaching but I admit that’s just my own suspicion.

    Most people find two things helpful before getting into high-end in occult studies which is the kind of dazzling stuff Kettering is peddling.

    1. having a sweetness of joyful emotion that stays rock-steady no matter what surrounding circumstances or awful surprises life throws at you

    and

    2. rock solid discernment of intellect

    Both of which take a long time to train in for most people. Normal schooling (especially of 2) doesn’t count although it could be a first step.

    It’s also helpful to have a steady mind that can stay single-focused on something when you tell your mind to stay focused on that one thing no matter what your thoughts or emotions are doing inside you otherwise (again this can take decades of practice).

    These provide a stable foundation for higher occult/yogic studies which the majority of people on this planet don’t have. Any guru worth his/her salt will insist someone master these basics before moving on to things like “summoning demons” or any of the other siddhis (occult powers) that people find attractive.

    To hear a better explanation check out the following link on youtube and listen to it all the way to the end. In particular he explains all the scary things to your health and mind that can go wrong if one isn’t ready for the kind of stuff E.O. Kettering is teaching (can we say “permanent resident of a psychiatric ward”?).

  145. Just a quick report on Thanksgiving. It was nice, hope yours was too. My cousin, an Iraq war veteran, said that Trump has been “the best president for the US armed forces since Lyndon B. Johnson” and that his VA benefits increased far more than they did under Obama, which was when his tour of duty started. I had a lively conversation with him and his wife. We talked about the challenges of being lower middle class and how difficult it is to get by these days if your household is not making 75K and over per year. My anti-Trump brother, who has always aspired to the golf & leisure set, had a heated discussion with my husband, who like me, is a Trump supporter. My support for Trump is still largely closeted as I don’t relish the thought of trying to convince a TDS sufferer that I’m not the Antichrist. I didn’t get involved in my husband’s and brother’s conversation. Maybe next time. One thing I can say is that I’d like to ask the next TDS sufferer I meet two questions, and they are:

    Question 1: What are you projecting?

    Question 2: Who are you throwing under the bus?

    On Question 1: From my observations so far, what the anti-Trump people fulminate, they imitate. Often their only argument is “children in cages”, which seems legit until the point where they realize Obama started the kiddie cage trend to the point where we have photographs of it.

    On Question 2: Short answer is: the working class.

    Anyway, I love the comments. They are great food for thought, especially the stuff about the Catholic Church. Have a beautiful Buy-nothing Friday, JMG and everyone!

  146. Thank you John. God bless.

    I wasn’t interested in the corporate media take on it anyway. As a guru I admire said, you plant trees in people’s hearts…because that is the most difficult terrain. After that it’s relatively easy.

  147. Regarding eczema, applying coconut oil and raw apple cider vinegar is recommended. I had a student with atopic dermatitis, on steroids, having a miserable time and I did some hunting around about that about ten years ago. She found some relief applying salt water. I rolled some mugwort leaves into a paste and that also provided some relief. I also encouraged her to get more sunshine on her skin. She went on a school trip to an island one spring and swam in the sea there, found it to make the difference between night and day. She seemed to recover from her dermatitis after that. As this involved the immune system, some people might find it helpful to get a corded landline telephone and wired Internet connection, and use a cell phone for emergencies only

  148. @JMG:

    Thank for your response! It is an interesting thought that completely noncontiguous countries may result in this hypothetical situation. I haven’t really thought of that.

    As for UK politics, you are certainly right that Labour has (or had) a substantial minority of Leave voters. However, the members and activists of the party – not to mention the higher level such as MPs – are mostly ardent Remainers. Very difficult situation. Corbyn struggles to keep it in check, he is on the defensive all the time.

    His intention is to pull away attention from Brexit during the campaign. The irony is that he may be succeeding but it is not guaranteed to help at all.

  149. John – ever hear of a book called “Randi’s Prize” by Robert McLuhan?

    It’s about the authors investigation of psi and debunkers. The title is from James Randi’s offer of a million bucks to anyone who can demonstrate psi.

    Amazon link for easy access to preview, my preference is to support local booksellers.
    https://www.amazon.com/Randis-Prize-Sceptics-Paranormal-Matters/dp/1786770970

    updated version from 2019.

    Turns out Robert McLuhan is also editor of the Society for Psychical Research’s online encyclopedia.
    https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/

    A good article in there about all the scientists and other eminent people who have been into the subject:
    https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/articles/eminent-people-interested-psi

  150. Late, but -Thanks for the site, thanks for the comments! One minor quibble – once upon a time I did some nuclear stuff. The overwhelming costs of nuclear installations are regulatory. As is the case with so many activities today, the government imposed overheads far exceed any revenue stream. With minimum federal, state, county, and city/town involvement, I could put in a failsafe (air or liquid coolant) buried Sr-90 heat source to heat and power my house for pennies per watt. It would have a useful life in excess of 30 years and, as a solid, shielded concrete block, could be safely removed and safely stored/disposed. Built from scratch, my 1990’s capital cost would have been on the order of 25k, and operating costs about 0.2 k/yr. Zip green house gases etc.. The Sr-90 cost would be minimal since, at that time DOE had a bunch of oxide. I know most folks don’t accept this argument.

    But consider; the current government apparatus would not approve aspirin for human use and no company would attempt to receive approval!!! I closed my small retail store because it became too costly (my time and business money) to comply with the various regulations. projects.The ensuing paralysis is evidenced by the decayed infrastructure and the inability to construct or complete major projects.

    Rant off – Thanks, JMG.

  151. A couple of comments, some sort of based on what has been written here.
    I have a book by Charles Eisenstein called “Climate a new story”. It takes a much broader approach than we normally read.
    I have never seen such dry conditions and raging fires in Queensland in my life. However the Aborigines are reputed never to have put out fires so there would not have been the abundance of fuel that we now see. European farmers also used to burn off at the beginning of summer. They could never have contended with these large fires with a wet hessian bag as they did. They also backburned when there was a fire. Not allowed now.
    There are also stories of a terrible drought in about 1893 and also a depression at that time. Maybe everything old is new again.The worst flood since European settlement in the Brisbane River also happened at about that time.
    Talking about the more relaxed sexual mores of the Middle Ages compared with Victorian times, I have always felt that we are in fact still living in Victorian times.
    Cheers to all. Is it Black Friday or only here? In some shops it is going to last all week. Can’t wait!

  152. That’s an interesting idea: how can the U.S. collapse in 100 years if it’s only been around for 200? That does not match cycles or Seneca’s cliff at all. Let’s say, as likely, the U.S. is around for 300. That would still make the collapse relatively fast. Again, as we rose fast, it makes all the more sense. Can we fall back to hand pumps and horses quickly? No. So it would make sense that collapse could likewise increase. If your second part is correct, this would be fast enough to inspire an “emergency” of some sort, or more frequent peaks, and make positive, active adjustments instead of a slow decay back to 1801.

    For Novus Ordo, for the remaining Catholics, who are coming to believe the present man is not even a legitimate Pope (the old one lives), the whole POINT was to destroy the very magic that made Catholicism and Christianity work. And they succeeded perfectly without a whimper, and see what changes the world’s seen since then. …But when no one – none of us smart, seminary-trained people — actually BELIEVES in that sort of thing, you know, rites and magic and secret worlds, resurrections and afterlives (Who am I to say?) what difference does it make? They can put up a picture of Mickey Mouse and eat Twizzlers for the Mass, can’t they? …Can’t they? Or maybe it DOES matter? And magic, religion, and Gods are real?

    And if so, then the utter collapse of their magic, and therefore the prayers, was the collapse of a Christian values and their push to charity, love, and order in the world. …But none of us have seen that since 1968, have we?

    There is (now) a secret underground of Catholics doing the old rites, the secret magic, because, what happens to the congregation when you have a pretend spell that no longer connects you to God?

  153. I found this on FB and I quote it because it encapsulates the typical well-heeled Boomer mentality that is so dominant but which is also losing ground.

    ““This populism thing is a fad that will eventually be swept away. People will come to realise that we are all humans living on a planet together. Borders will not stop the development of the digital age, borders will not stop a climate catastrophe. Borders are irrelevant to Google, Amazon, Facebook and the large corporations. We live in a world where we are more and more interconnected. The genie is out of the bottle and as much as idiots like Trump, Johnson and the rest try to spout this one nation rubbish, the more the rest of us in the real world will embrace our fellow citizens on earth. Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto are all heading for Aquarius and Pisces, the signs of the collective, and the collective will take control in years to come…….”

    How will these Boomers in their twilight years deal with the fact that their domination is waning and they are viewed as out-of-touch elitists? The “collective” is them apparently. Will they double down or re-evaluate their legacy?

  154. I was told the Russians threatened my interests because they were godless and communist. M,ok, made sense. No church and no car, two of the most Murican things in the world. Or at least used to be anyway.

    Then they stopped being godless or at least tolerated Christianity again. Their old orthodox christianity is back and growing? And they started being capitalist and not communist or at least as capitalist as anyone else these days. They run regular crop surpluses from their privately run farms? Their privately run stores are full of food? They can afford to buy cars now and without political connections?

    But they still tell me Russians are the bad guys and threaten my interests. Maybe they threaten someone else’s interests but not mine anymore.

  155. Lastly, I have mused about the fact that the Christmas season, as it is now practiced, involves much mass-consuming, as well as New Year involves big fireworks, and the question arised how Christmas, and all the associated activities like Black Friday will fare in the next 200 years when industrial civilization ends and the resource base will be much lower than today. JMG, do you have any ideas what might happen to Christmas and New Year?

  156. JMG,

    If it is not too; late a question came to mind last night as I slept the sleep of one filled with Tryptophan. In your study of past collapsing empire/civilizations is their any record of individuals such as yourself? Have their been those who predicted the decline? What happened to them? What happened to those who listened to them?

    AV

  157. I got my timeline on the Weird of Hali series. The internal timeline was pretty clear, but not where they were with respect to our own universe. Which is close enough that Owen could be an Iraq veteran and be at Miskatonic after getting his 4-year degree elsewhere.

    Backtracking from Miriam’s “wrenching changes of the last decade,” which gives us a year ending in zero, and knowing the troops pulled out of Iraq in 2011, but not when Owen came home, here we go:

    Innsmouth: backtracking from “Five and a half years” gives us November, 2014. Owen’s had time to get his B.A. with a little time off to get back into civilian life etc. Left the army in 2009 or 2010, then.

    Kingsport: Xmas, 2014.
    Chorazin: Late April, 2017
    Dreamlands: Late May or early June, 2020
    Providence: 2025
    Red Hook: 2027
    Arkham: 2034.

    Lending credence to the 20-teens as a starting date: Jenny could still find quilts, cardigans with pockets and buttons, and a best dress that may not even have been polyester, at thrift shops in the bad part of town. The Surveillance State and trigger-happy police were in their infancy and derailed by the accelerating economic decline. Or perhaps by trends in the government we don’t see because they’re not part of the story, and because a lot of it takes place in the backwoods Chorazin was certainly not suffering from over-policing!

  158. Oops! Okay – I contradict myself, but the Iraq thing nagged at me until I checked the dates thereof. And set my timeline back a decade.

    And now I’ve contradicted the author’s timeline. Oh, well, it was a fun intellectual exercise. Looking forward to the rest of the stories.

  159. Saying that rising CO2 leads to greater plant growth is an over-simplification. You have to consider rising temperatures as well.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-11-forests-climate-war.html
    “In a world of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, plants should be happy, right? Experiments have shown that, yes, increased carbon dioxide does allow plants to photosynthesize more and use less water.

    “But the other side of the coin is that warmer temperatures drive plants to use more water and photosynthesize less. So, which force, CO2 fertilization or heat stress, wins this climate tug of war?

    “…The model results, Sperry says, suggest that the winner of the tug of war doesn’t depend on the absolute amount of CO2 rise or warming — just the ratio between the two.”

  160. Martin Back – Rather than population density as a “figure of merit” for civilization, how about life expectancy, or some combination of the two? High population density, when sustainable, is not a bad measure, but when it moves from sustainable to unsustainable you get dramatic changes in life expectancy which are hardly civil. Think Rwandan genocide, for example. Rwanda’s high population density (according to Jared Diamond’s analysis) led directly to the polarization of society and the perception that there would not be enough food for all (due to poor harvests due to poor weather).

    I take as an axiom that longer lives are better than shorter lives (which is not to say that heroic means should be used to torture those near death). Hence, falling life expectancy was taken as a marker of civil decline in the former Soviet Union, and now in the United States.

  161. DFC, Wesley – Re: re-usable rockets. Consider two options: an industry that cranks out dozens of single-use rockets, and one that makes a small number of multi-use rockets. The former has multiple-use factories; the latter has single-use factories. The former has dozens of opportunities to improve its designs, processes, and workforce, while the latter tries to get everything right the first time, and has to re-invent, re-equip, and re-train when it’s time for new production. The former can tweak the design for new requirements; the latter has to design for anticipated future requirements, or reject them when they appear.

    Russia followed the first path, the US followed the second. Which one is still flying crews, with a smaller national population and a much smaller industrial base?

  162. Well, it’s an extremely long shot that (m)any of us would ever come across such correspondence course materials, but weirder things have happened.

  163. Hi JMG,

    What do you think of the Degrowth movement? I’ve just heard about it myself, so I don’t know enough to opine on it intelligently, but it seems like something that I at least want to research and would like to get your thoughts on it.

    Thanks!

  164. JMG – Re: Transition Towns. I don’t know much about the organization, but a local group “Transition Howard County” (Maryland) describes itself as “the 144th officially recognized Transition Initiative in the United States”. It has held quarterly repair cafe events for about three years. I went to one a couple of weeks ago, and got patches sewn into the seat of my gardening jeans, while I dropped in on an appliance repair guy and checked the brushes on the motor of a broken blender.

    If I accounted for my time at my employed rate, it would have been cheaper to just buy a new pair. I probably could have gotten my sewing machine out and patched them myself in about the same time, but that would have been a solitary afternoon. It would have been much faster to drop them off at a local dry cleaner that also does alterations. However, as a social event, I was able to take home a newly useful item, a couple of new email contacts, and memories of good conversation during the trip.

    The “fixers” at the event all appeared to be of post-retirement age, so this is a way for them to socialize, exercise their skills, and demonstrate that they can still be productive. There was an ecosystem of fixers, clients, and administration (who managed the expectations of the clients (e.g., “no payment, no tipping, no guarantees”) and organized the queues). So, all in all, I’m really happy about the way it turned out!

  165. Dear JMG,

    I’m a Neoplatonist, and I tend to identify the Demiurge with the One Life, by which I mean as a positive term describing the most encompassing “thing” that exists in Becoming.

    These days, there are some pretty cool Gnostics around (the AJC, for example) who have views that, to me, seem far more in accordance with Neoplatonism than historical Gnosticism. The name aside, I have a certain interest in attending some of their rituals.

    But I’m wondering if that term “Demiurge” might be an issue. Most of the groups do borrow liturgy from older Gnostics and that includes some negative descriptions of the Demiurge. As far as I can tell, when they talk about “resisting the Demiurge” they mean resisting material obsessions that pull one away from spiritual work, NOT resisting recognition of their unity with the rest of creation (and if fact, most of them readily assent to the latter as a spiritual goal in other contexts).

    As far as I can tell, we agree in intent but disagree in vocabulary. Do you think this would be a problem if I were to attend such a ritual?

    Thank you!

  166. @Bonnie, thank you!

    I know plenty of homeowners, of all ages and generations, who know nothing about their home’s plumbing, heating, or electrical systems. Some are proud of that, in the snooty “I don’t get my hands dirty with such things” way. Others have been put off by decades of scare-mongering. Has there ever been a scene in a movie or TV show, where a homeowner (who wasn’t a professional tradesperson, affable rural handyman, or highly-trained expert-in-everything super spy) attempts to repair their own kitchen sink, and the result wasn’t a comical spray of water in their face, and their spouse rolling their eyes and calling a plumber? Not to mention all those action movie fight scenes where the invincible bad guy accidentally backs up into an ordinary electrical panel and gets instantly electrocuted.

    Finding the shut-off valve and the correct breaker and knowing what to do with them puts you, I would estimate, already above average in hands-on knowledge for the present day. It also appears to me that your Patron, in sparing you the potentially much worse damage, also got you involved and thinking about what-ifs.

    Maintaining present systems is a bit different from preparing less-fragile backup systems, but the skills overlap somewhat. The DIY world has some interesting subcultural corners, including off-grid households, preppers, growers, moonshiners, and alternative-energy users (and green wizards) whose skill-sets are more in line with the latter. I learned how to attach a hose bib to the side of a five-gallon plastic bucket from a grower video (it makes a basic component of a homemade “dutch bucket” hydroponic watering system). I needed it to help drain the flood water from the leak, then also used it as an improvised kitchen faucet while the water was shut off entirely during the repair. I’m planning another use for it in the garden come spring. And with the tap closed, it still functions perfectly well as an ordinary water bucket.

    The other strange aspect of present-day DIY is that tools of all kinds, including power tools, are incredibly cheap. So cheap that it almost always costs much less to buy the tools you need for a DIY project than to hire a pro, even if you never expect to use them again afterward. But if you do need them again you’ll have them; or you can donate them instead.

    There are many good books on DIY topics, as well as countless videos. Also, things like water heaters come with detailed installation and operating instructions. (If your landlord didn’t leave your new one’s manual behind, you can probably find it as a pdf online, at either the manufacturer’s site or the site of a big store chain that sells it.) You might volunteer to carry out the recommended periodic testing and maintenance on it yourself (but don’t be surprised if the landlord is reluctant to agree to that, for liability reasons).

    Oops, I have run on, so I’ll stop. If it’s permissible, please express my regards and admiration to your Patron.

  167. To clear up a couple of misapprehensions:

    The only re-usable rocket boosters in history so far have been the Space Shuttle side boosters (which were recovered via parachute), and the Falcon 9 (and Falcon Heavy) first stage (which lands propulsively): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reusable_launch_system All other boosters (as opposed to crew capsules that descended on parachutes, and the Shuttle which landed horizontally) have been expended.

    And Falcon 9 first stage re-use is going pretty well — SpaceX recently launched and recovered one for the fourth time, and turnaround is getting faster: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2019/11/spacex-cape-return-first-operational-starlink-mission/

  168. @JMG and @here

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m up in Salem, Oregon for the holiday. A few very random thoughts that I have no other venue for (so grateful for these open posts!):

    – The big local news was the possibility of snow in the Williamette Valley. Instead the storm tracked south and hit the Siskiyou Pass, crippling the trucks bringing goods from California and vice versa. The Grapevine in SoCal had similar problems. Our dependence on I-5 trucking is scary.
    – Oregon is a beautiful state. It’s green, clean and the infrastructure is good. But it’s just as car/truck dependent, if not more so, than other places. It doesn’t have a major port to supplement local production (well Astoria I guess). Do the hippies in Corvallis, Eugene and Ashland ever discuss this paradox? That theoretically more sustainable cities in the long term are actually more fragile within the current paradigm?
    – My dad likes to put together crystal radios (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_radio). Maybe I’m naive, but I think it’d be fun to be part of a return to simpler more decentralized technologies like that.
    – Health care dominated the holiday conversation. Do conservatives even have an alternative to something like Medicare for All? I think it’s their Achilles heel.
    – On the positive side, I’m grateful to live in the U.S. and have the family that I do. As Americans, we have many faults but we’re still at the core a very pragmatic and can do populace within a vast and resource rich continent. That’s gonna be really important for what lies ahead.

  169. Dear Wesley, about the Middle Ages, about which I am no expert but an amateur student: there are generally held to be seven mortal sins, that is, the sins which if left unconfessed at death can exclude you from Purgatory. Those are lust, sloth, wrath, gluttony, what one might call the sins of weakness, which can be overcome and forgiven, and the cold sins, envy, avarice and pride, the sins which lead to great crimes and which tend to destroy both heart and soul of the person who gives way to them. The Seven Sins are held to be deadly not only because of the effect they have on the sinner, but also because of the pain and devastation they can inflict on families and even on all of society. Priests who ministered to the poorest and most remote districts made a circuit among the villages and settlements in their spiritual care, attempting to reach each about twice a year, where they would hear confessions, celebrate mass, baptize babies and perform marriages of couples who were almost certainly already cohabiting. Better a couple set up their own household and feed themselves than continue to eat at their parents’ scanty boards. I know even less about the Victorian era, but it does seem to me that the sins of pride and avarice must have been almost deliberately excused and overlooked in pursuit of empire.

    I would like to ask posters here, and Mr. Greer, about the Epstein case, more particularly why has not Ms. Maxwell not been indicted? It is possible to indict in absentia. I don’t know the reason, that is why I am asking. What this looks like, in contrast to whatever might be the real reason, is yet more regular guy conservative favoritism for the Rich and the Beautiful. Welfare cheats go to jail and Ms. Maxwell gets off without even having to defend herself in court??? She’s cute, she’s fun, likes to have a good time, let’s give her a break?? Really??? Will someone please explain how this makes any sense at all. Do I need to remind folks that us American women who are neither rich nor beautiful also do vote?

  170. @ Scotlyn

    The ‘news’ about the supervolcano under New England is more than a little
    exaggerated.
    https://www.iflscience.com/environment/no-there-isnt-a-supervolcano-appearing-in-new-england-heres-whats-really-happening/

    FWIW though I can recall having a number of dreams several years ago in which
    everyone in the area I was living (northern New Hampshire) were fleeing volcanic
    eruptions though it was not apparent in the dreams why it was all happening. Those
    seemed to have stopped.

    I think it’s actually just New England’s little way of making more granite for the next
    species that comes after us and tries to farm here. Maybe JMG’s corvids?

  171. I just thought I would make plain to the commentariat where I stand WRT the upcoming election: In my heart, I’m the “bro-iest” of Bernie Bros, and that’s who I’m supporting for 2020 all the way. But if Elizabeth Warren gets the nomination, I would be willing to vote for her as my single chosen “alternate” to Senator Sanders, and that’s because people such as myself who are living with Type 2 Diabetes desperately need some kind of healthcare reform that represents something better than Obamacare (I’m telling you, Hillary Clinton would be president right now if it weren’t for that particular boondoggle and how much the working class hates it).

    I’m still doing just fine on oral medication a decade after being diagnosed (thank you, Spirit, for this resilient Taurean physiology), but one day, assuming collapse doesn’t turn me into some kind of helpless internal refugee, I will probably have to rely on a bolus-insulin to stay alive, and a lot of diabetics are literally dying because of the way big pharma price-gouging insulin is forcing them to stringently ration their insulin. But if the DNC intervenes and puts who they want on the ticket such as Joe “Grandpa Simpson” Biden or “Mayo Pete” (and they almost certainly will), I will vote straight ticket Libertarian again next November as I did in 2016, and I will probably never vote for another Democrat again after that.

    And I will probably also let my MSNBC-brainwashed mother and older brother continue to think I still agree with them and to think I’m still voting “blue no matter who” even though I discarded that mindset many years ago. If it weren’t for the fact that the Wisconsin Democratic Party now supports marijuana-legalization and was able to leverage this in the 2018 Election to oust Scott Walker from the governorship, I would be just plain old done with the Democrats at this late date. I feel as though I’m only pretending to care, the way I do when I talk to my immediate family-members. Such jading, sad-making times in which we now live.

  172. Booklover,
    Our Christmas is really quite scaled down already. All the family who live locally get together. Sometimes the more distant ones come too. We have a nice lunch or dinner on Christmas Eve. Each adult buys for one other and now we are doing this with the children. We take turns to open our presents so it feels like a lot. No compulsion to overeat. It is an opportunity for the family to get together and particularly for the cousins to grow up knowing each other. Unfortunately the away cousins now outnumber the home cousins so they are slowly losing touch. I can only do what I can.

  173. Re “Randi’s Prize”: I think he threw away any chance of being taken seriously when he was the one who decided if the prize was awarded or not. He should have enlisted another magician to set up and administer the tests and that guy should have decided who passed.

    I was living in Columbus, Ohio at the time of the Tina Resch case. She was caught on camera yanking a lamp cord. Nothing else ever happened when she was being directly filmed. (If I remember right, filming her yanking the lamp cord was accidental.). She’d have never fooled Mike Royko, but by the ‘80’s reporters were eddicated and gullible. By now the situation has reached the point that a public figure—I wish I could remember who—has said the typical reporter is “27 years old and knows nothing.”

    Getting back to Tina, her story was very sad. In the ‘90’s, her boyfriend was babysitting and beat her 2-year-old daughter to death. Both of them were charged, even though Tina wasn’t home at the time. She copped an Alford plea on the advice of her lawyer. The boyfriend was paroled a few years ago—Tina remains in prison! I always thought her real crime was showing the world how stupid and gullible the salary class can be (Big Name Mike Harden fell for the poltergeist hook, line, and sinker).

  174. JMG–

    This is getting into maybe off the wall category, but I’ve noticed that when that number 7 turns up, it means what it means, regardless of anybody’s supposed intentions. A few years ago I read that historians consider there to have been 7 key founding fathers–

    Hamilton/the Moon; Frankling/Mercury; John Adams/Venus; Washington/the Sun; Madison/Mars; Jefferson/Jupiter; and John Jay/Saturn.

    That leads to the topic of civil religion in America, which I’m convinced is going to morph into a “real” religion over the course of the dark age. We already have a pantheon of secular saints and non-human powers (Lady Liberty, Columbia, Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle, and so on), rituals, sacred texts, holidays, and a founding mythology that is not unlike the Matter of Britain (and will be even more so when the United States collapses into competing polities and the days of national unity are [mis?]remembered as a Golden Age), and so on.

    And that leads me to consider the following–

    1. The Pledge of Allegiance. Facing east (or Washington), visualize a column of light descending like the blessing of God into the center of the space. Reach up your right hand and draw the light into your heart. Leave the hand on your heart while you repeat the words “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America.”

    2. Go to the eastern quarter. With the first two fingers draw a pentagram in flaming blue light, filled with white in the center. Point to the center of the pentagram and vibrate THOM[as Jefferson].***

    3. Draw a red, or red and white, line to the southern quarter. Vibrate JOHN [Adams].

    4. Repeat the same in the Western and Northern quarters. Here the words are ALEX[ander Hamilton] and JOHN [Jay].

    5. Say the words “Before me, the spacious skies; behind me, the shining sea. To my right hand, the southern desert, and to my left hand, the purple mountains majesty.” (Possibly: Before me, the Great Eagle, and the spacious skies; behind me, Lady Liberty, and the Shining Sea; to my Right Hand, Uncle Sam, and the Great Desert; and to my left hand, Columbia, and the Purple Mountains Majesty OR and the Fruited Plane.) (Also possibly: as the term “Great Desert” doesn’t occur in any patriotic song, substitute “Dixeland.”) Visualize the Powers and landscapes as clearly as possible.

    6. Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance, perhaps adding the rest of the words “and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Visualize the Blessing of God descending into the space, through the various landscapes

    ***Given Jefferson’s, um, “complicated” relationship with several of the other Founders, it might be better not to have him here. In which case perhaps the name WASH, understood as an abbreviation for Washington, could be used.

    …Use in banishing form to drive out anti-Americanism, or in invoking form to strengthen national unity.

    What do you think?

  175. Bridge —

    “Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto are all heading for Aquarius and Pisces, the signs of the collective, and the collective will take control in years to come.”

    In what universe, or Boomerverse, is Aquarius the sign of the collective? And did the Boomer in question forget that there are planets besides these three, and that Jupiter and Saturn will enter Aries in 2022 and 2025 respectively?

    FWIW, I continue to hold that the true symbol of the Age of Aquarius is none other than Great Cthulhu himself. The Water-Bearer, rising from the Sea when the stars are right…

  176. Kimberly, glad to hear it! Those two questions are worth asking when anybody makes a political statement — but yeah, they’re particularly apropros when TDS is involved.

    Lordyburd, you’re most welcome.

    Sleiszadam, no, I don’t think it’s going to help him, not least because Brexit has been the big issue for so long that I’m pretty sure a vast number of people just want to get it over with one way or the other!

    Sunnnv, no; I did encounter the Unamazing Randi’s public admission that “he always had an out” and that he was never going to give the prize away anyway. No question, the guy was a capable showman.

    Stonecutter, that doesn’t explain why no other country’s been able to make nuclear power make a profit either.

    JillN, fascinating. Thank you for this.

    Jasper, if you look back over history, you’ll find that nations have no fixed lifespan; some last for a century, some for a millennium, some for a few years and then crash and burn. The civilization we’re part of started in Europe around 1000 AD, and so it’s finished its millennium of growth and will settle into as much of a stable form as it can manage, while shedding at least some of its peripheral regions. As for Catholicism, I’m glad to hear there’s an underground of the sort you’ve described; some of you might want to sit down over some beers with those of us who follow the Western occult tradition — another spirituality that’s had to be underground for much of its history — and compare notes.

    Bridge, the funny thing is that people of the same classes were spouting the same rhetoric in the late 19th and early 20th century, too, when it was the telegraph and the steamship that was supposed to make borders irrelevant. Anyone who thinks that Aquarius is the sign of the collective, furthermore, is displaying an embarrassing ignorance of astrology!

    Owen, I honestly think the Democrats are sinking into senility as a party, and babbling the things they heard in the youth of their aging boomer leaders. I expect to hear them chanting “Duck and cover! Duck and cover!” any day now.

    Booklover, I hope it turns back into a big family dinner and a very few, mostly homemade gifts.

    Anthony, in China as far back as Lao Tsu’s time there’s a recognition that history cycles, and much of early Taoism is a set of tools for recognizing when it’s moving toward dark times and heading for a mountain hermitage or the like so you can stay out of the way of tyranny and war. It remained an East Asian insight for a very long time, as you need a clear sense of historical cycles before you can start making predictions. In the West, that only arrived with Vico in the 18th century, so we don’t have a lot of experience with such things.

    Patricia, by all means calculate! The thing is, the thrift stores here in New England still have cardigans with buttons and tolerably nice clothing, and I don’t live in the good part of town. I think there may be regional variations…

    Martin, yes, but you need to factor in the fact that we’re not facing linear warming — rather, weather is becoming more extreme on all ends of the spectrum. This is borne out by the many observations that CO2-driven increases in vegetative cover are actually taking place in many ecosystems — I’ll see if I can find some of the papers I’ve read that demonstrate that.

    Temporaryreality, not at all. Right now estate sales are getting a lot of things from people who were born in the 1930s and 1940s, who thus came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, and so will have had the chance to study occult correspondence courses when they were still extremely common. Last year I was able to score an extremely rare Rosicrucian symbolic chart via that effect, so I figure it’s possible that other things might surface.

    Chronojourner, it seems very sensible to me, though I don’t know how much of a chance it has of getting any traction. By all means look into it!

    Lathechuck, glad to hear that some good came out of the grandiose flop of the Transition Town movement!

    Yucca, I don’t think there’d be any problem at all. Yes, it’s basically just a difference in choice of words.

    Brian, the people I knew when I lived in Ashland had wildly unrealistic notions of what actual sustainability involved — typical for what amounted to an upper middle class ghetto in the middle of the mountains. That was all the weirder in that Siskiyou Pass tended to get blocked by snow every couple of winters!

    Nastarana, it’s entirely possible that she’s cooperating with the prosecution and will make a plea bargain on a reduced charge once the main charges are brought against others. That’s business as usual in a big case like this one.

    Mister N, thanks for this.

  177. Hi JMG,

    Do you have a citation for Randi’s admission he never intended to give the $ away? I’d like to show it to the local “skeptic.”

    Was anyone acquainted with big-name atheist Frank Zindler? I met him at the atheist yard sale. I have rarely encountered a mind so tightly shut. He was the epitome of the educated fool. The poor slob must have got quite a shock when he died.

  178. Regarding the Magical Pledge of Allegiance discussed:

    I personally will express worry over such political magic gaining any currency unless overwhelming numbers of folks are able to join in.

    The reason for this is “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” it’s just as easy to see southern patriots making a similar working for the Confederacy, or Cascadian patriots doing so for the as of now only dreamed of nation of Cascadia.

    The issue, as I see it, of the mixing of politics and magic is that politics is always tinged with warfare, in which the only thing that matters are the tangible results. Any mixing of the two are extremely dangerous, then. Both practically and spiritually

    the military genius Nathan Bedford Forrest expressed an important strategic point for winning as “I got there first with the most men.” If you can get there first with the most in warfare, you will likely win, otherwise the high ground *will already be taken.*

    And so the same is true I imagine for magical warfare or magical politics. And the greater problem is the great question of what passions move through the crawlspaces of the self? Who’s a Loyalist and who hates the federal government *in their secret hearts?* What contingents and pressure groups would be supportive of such workings and which ones would appropriate the structures to their own secret ends? And within these questions we must ask, in which sides are the talented people who bring more of the numinous to bear? Where’s the talent and where are the sheer numbers?

    For this reason, I think that these sorts of rituals are extremely dangerous, if not in and of themselves, through their very easily apprehended implications and opportunities given by those who oppose them. There are tactical and strategic vulnerabilities built right into the whole arrangement. Furthermore, politics is a blood sport and to angle to play you open yourself up to the hardscrabble fighting of actuality.

    Perhaps most pertinently, I seriously doubt that the civil religion of Americanism will move folks in the secret crawlspaces of passion in the coming years. Rather I feel the presence of an inchoate animism with an as of now murky understanding-feeling of an unarticulated weltanshauung of the Mighty Dead, Plant Medicine Powers, Spirit Animals, Fairies, and a vast pantheon of syncretized Gods. That is, I imagine a syncretism drawing upon folk Catholicism, the African syncretic faiths, Heathenry, and the auto-chthonic Genius of North America. While some of the founding fathers and other personages of US history may be venerated, I imagine that they will be worshipped as the Mighty Dead. Thoreau might be invoked before a vision quest, Euell Gibbons before foraging wild roots and herbs, and William T. Sherman before declaring total war on one’s enemies. I doubt that in five hundred years time people will be able to think of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Jesus Christ as separate in terms of their spiritual essence, and that their myths will have merged, just as I imagine that Euell Gibbons will be considered one of the ‘avatars’ of Bear Medicine.

    Hitch-hiking through the United States, rambling, working menial jobs, and the like I’ve found that this inchoate weltanshauung cuts through all other identities. The grand symbol of The Path that leads to the encounters with the Vision Quest that initiates one into Medicine Powers that live *in and through the initiate and vice versa*. This murky understanding was in my experience widely experienced as the inner shape of things all over this country and all across social, cultural and economic lines. In Mississippi as in Maine, as in Washington State and Washington DC, in the suburbs, the great cities and the deep sticks, this sort of strange brew of religious sensibility appears to me to be the active ferment in folks’ imaginations, something so incoherent, so raw, and so formless as of now as to seem a negation rather than something in its own right. But I am convinced that this is The Path that the future Great Religions of North America will take.

  179. Dear Michele,

    Many thanks for this and you are so welcome — quite literally nothing delights me more than to hear that an Elecampane plant is thriving!

    Dear JMG,

    An excellent point; I’ve not studied the opponents of the New Deal whatsoever — do you have a book that you would particularly recommend on the matter?

  180. One thing to consider when reading medieval writings on sex, marriage and sexual morality: they were invariably written by clergy for a clerical audience. This is to say that they were intended to inspire sermons on what the laity were and were not supposed to be doing in the sack. Chaucer’s *Canterbury Tales* give you a better idea of what was actually going on in medieval England than some frustrated monk’s fantasies.

  181. In the latest Cos.Doc post you mentioned Lords of Mind being able to cause virgin births. Would the resulting baby be a separate entity from the relevant Lord of Mind, or would they be in essence the same entity? Or are both an option?

    Also, when a male human + female Lord of Mind do this, how does this work? Would the latter need to start out incarnated for the baby to have a material body?

  182. Your Kittenship, Randi was a stage magician, not a scientist, and I always treated his antics as a performance rather than anything more serious.

    Steve, I’d be careful with that. Treating the Founders as deities or angels doesn’t strike me as helpful or, for that matter, safe.

    Your Kittenship, Dennis Rawlings cited it in an article; Randi insisted that he was misquoted, though, so it probably won’t do much to your local pseudoskeptic.

    Violet, there’s a study of Roosevelt titled A Traitor To His Class that might be a good starting point.

    Kenaz, fair enough — but we were talking about the attitudes of the Christian church, thus hearing what clerics had to say is probably relevant. 😉

    SpiceIsNice, it would be the Lord of Mind himself or herself. As for what happens when it’s a male human and a female Lord of Mind, well, in the example that comes to mind — the birth of Aeneas in Greek and Roman mythology, with the mortal Anchises as father and the goddess Venus as mother — the divine mother apparently carried the infant to term. I’m not sure how that worked, but that’s what the myths say!

  183. @ Mr. Nobody (if I may)

    Re 2020

    I voted for Bernie in the 2016 primary and likely will do so again next April, particularly if, as I expect, Tulsi is no longer in the running at that point. If he were the nominee (which I expect to occur about the time the netherworld freezes over), I’d be tempted. I fully expect Biden or a similar establishment figure to win the nom, in which case I will be voting for Trump—instead of staring at his name for a long minute and ultimately voting third party like I did last time.

    @ Steve (also, if I may)

    Re your invocation with the Pledge

    Ah, but what if one doesn’t agree that the nation stands “under God” or that it is indivisible? A union of the states can be unmade by those same states, can it not? That clause, in fact, is why I do not recite the Pledge these days, even though it begins each of our formal city council meetings. We are a republic of the willing, not a republic of the compelled, I would argue.

    Interesting conception, though, however much I disagree with it!

    @ JMG

    I’m working through Merrill-Wolff’s Pathways Through to Space and I find myself struggling a bit with some of his, well, descriptions. At one point, he talks about having all power at his command, but seeing that nothing requires changing and thus does nothing to affect any change. It is hard not so see this as either a cop-out or charlatanism. “I could make you change but I’m choosing not to” is indistinguishable from not having the power to cause change in the first place. Similarly, when we talk about sacred syllables, for example, containing all knowledge—how can that be, if that knowledge is not actionable? I believe M-W makes a similar comment as well, about being in a state of having all knowledge, but it being of such a form that it doesn’t translate into anything of use in the “world-manifold,” as he terms it. The set of “all knowledge” necessarily includes “all actionable knowledge,” which would be a subset, so not having actionable knowledge would suggest that one’s grasp of knowledge is less than universal. Or am I missing something here?

  184. Fresh from the posting…

    Moderates (re)taking control
    https://politicalwire.com/2019/11/29/moderates-on-the-rise-in-2020-race/

    Trump dooming the GOP with the loss of the suburban vote
    https://politicalwire.com/2019/11/29/trump-has-turned-the-suburbs-into-a-gop-disaster-zone/

    Finally, John, with regard to actual issues versus proxy issues, will there ever be a time when the actual issues get discussed, or are we forever doomed to pretend they’re not there while we spin our energy uselessly into vacuous nothingness?

  185. Mister Nobody,

    People seem to think the natural progression is eventually to injected insulin, but I’ve also read that insulin is a two-edged sword, the kiss of death even. See, high insulin levels lead to weight gain and more insulin resistance. It becomes a circle.

    Stay on your oral meds if you can, especially metformin, and control your diabetes by cutting way back on foods that raise glucose.

    And while I’m at it, the solution is not to have medicare for all but to install or begin to prosecute all the illegal and anticapitalist shenanigans of the hospitals, clinics and pharmaceutical companies. The kind of pricing scams that occur make medicine unaffordable no matter who is responsible for the bill.
    Trump is trying to do something about it. I just signed a petition demanding price transparency. This is huge and if he pulls it off it will be the best thing a president has done for the people for over 50 years.

  186. @ investingwithnature and @JMG re permaculture:

    Something that bothers me about permaculture that I haven’t seen discussed in PC books and magazines or on the internet is that permaculture’s goal of a resilient ecosystem-like mix of food producing perennials isn’t well matched ecologically to major disturbances. Since the decline that we are already enduring is, ecologically speaking, a major disturbance, disturbance-adapted plants like annuals and biennials will have the edge during the time period of the decline. Among the ways I think this will play out are people being forced to move off their land within a few years after starting their food forests, before the shrubs and trees grow enough to be productive, and the next occupants ripping out the perennials to plant traditional vegetable gardens so they have something to eat ASAP. Similarly, refugees can easily carry seeds of annual and biennial plants with them as economic and climate changes force them to migrate from place to place. When they stop for awhile they can convert the seeds into food and more seeds within a growing season or two, while it would be very difficult if not impossible to carry cuttings of good perennial plants. Seeds of such plants may take multiple months to more than a year to germinate and much longer to grow large enough to produce. (JMG, you mentioned this briefly in your book on Atlantis, but I haven’t seen it elsewhere and thought it was worth bringing into the conversation.)

  187. I wanted to respond to the poster who was talking about presidential candidate Andrew Yang two weeks ago. From what I could find on wiki and the website, superficial, I know, he seems a bright, engaging fellow. But, $84 x 12 = $1008. The same benefits he claims for his GAI could be obtained simply by reducing everyone’s rent or house payment $84. per month. No new nomenklatura to enforce it, and the money comes from landlords, ie, parasitic rent seekers, rather than from productive taxpayers. No, I do not think it “evil” for governments. to set and enforce rent and price controls. Many governments. have done just that throughout history.

    If you say so, Mr. Greer. Me, I doubt it, but I suppose it is possible.

  188. Commenting again on eczema, I just received a paper from a Japanese researcher for editing that found a significant relationship between use of parabens or triclosan (antimicrobials) and allergies, including atopic dermatitis (i.e., eczema). This can occur in babies of mothers using these antimicrobials too, and is thought to be due to perturbations of the gut microbiome. The latter has received a lot of attention recently. I find natto essential for restoring mine after antibiotics, but everyone is different, and you have to search around to find what works for you.

  189. Steve: you said as the term “Great Desert” doesn’t occur in any patriotic song, substitute “Dixeland.”) Visualize the Powers and landscapes as clearly as possible….What do you think?”

    I think the term “…and her painted deserts…” occurs in Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” now considered a modern patriotic classic.

  190. In my comment above I forgot that in the early 1890s bushfires in Victoria were so bad that virtually the whole of Victoria burnt and the northerly winds were so strong that embers were blown out to sea and the sails of ships up to 200 mls away caught fire. Sounds absolutely dreadful.

  191. Thanks, Walt F

    All good points. I am happy to say that our neighborhood, and several others here in Portland (OR) have tool libraries. I also have a fair collection of tools, albeit mostly very specific to small scale metalworking and carving 🙂

    I’m learning to consider looking at a whole household the way I look at projects in the studio, and learning a new medium. A whole new territory to explore, for sure! And I do love learning new things, so that’s helping to mitigate feeling intimidated by the whole prospect of being responsible for the mechanics (and the resulting expenses)of the home.

    I’ll be sure to communicate your fond regards to my Patron and the spirits of the Place 🙂
    A pleasant evening to you and yours!
    Bonnie

  192. @Owen,
    Good observations on Russia. I think a person has to be incredibly gullible not to look behind the curtain this time and see who’s pulling the levers and why. Still from what I can tell from way over here in Japan, it is wall-to-wall propaganda in the States and anyone who dares contradict it is vociferously denounced as a Russian tool. I admit to having been there (more than 15 years ago) and talked to the people, and oh well, that is just proof that I’m a traitor, isn’t it.

  193. David BTL, no, you’re not missing anything. One of the great problems with mysticism is that human language is very poorly suited to mystical experiences, and very often the nearest approximate metaphor to those experiences really does sound like balderdash. When M-W (or any other mystic) talks about “having all knowledge” that should be taken as a necessarily flawed attempt to describe the apparent nature of an experience, and nothing more. To use a metaphor from another school of mysticism, it’s as though you were the first person in the world to witness fire and you were trying to describe it by saying “Well, it’s kind of like a flower and kind of like the sun, but not really…” and your listeners as likely as not roll their eyes.

    Mister N, thanks for this.

    David BTL, I’ve tried discussing the real issues as I see them, and you’ll notice how far that’s gotten!

    SLClaire, that’s a really good point, and it’s one of the reasons I tend to recommend things like biodynamic intensive gardening — much easier to change your plantings with the climate, or to pick up and move if you have to.

  194. So, JMG, I have a question to ask that might be a little too late, but I think I should ask it anyway: are the Master Conserver pamphlets still available to download somewhere, or are they gone forever from the internet? I’m reading through the books of your collected essays, and I’m interested in trying out some of the energy-saving projects that they mention, but the link in the book is replaced by “[a defunct website]”. Will I have to make do with the other resources mentioned in your book, or can I still get these handouts somewhere?

  195. John—

    Re mystical experience and its description

    My struggle comes back to what to do with such descriptions. Let’s say you have such an experience, but can’t communicate it clearly. You try anyway and you write something as best you can. I read that writing. How am I supposed to make heads or tails of it if words and concepts don’t mean what they’re supposed to mean? (It’s the same problem one has with allegorical interpretation: I can make anything mean anything, given suitable symbolism. How can anything mean anything if nothing means anything in particular?) So, if that’s where we end up, at a dead-end due to the limitations of language, what use is there to the mystical path?

    If mysticism is to bring solutions, those solutions have to be communicated. If not, what is the point of the exercise? I might obtain power or knowledge through mystical illumination, but if I can’t do anything with it, what good does it do me, or the world, or anyone? I *want* such an experience (preferably, an ongoing sequence of them), of course, but then I’d want to be able to utilize what I’d learned to actually *do* something, to affect some kind of (positive) change. Otherwise, one is just a man with a hoard of gold who’s trapped on a desert island: wealthy beyond belief but without any power to translate that wealth into anything useful.

    I suppose that all depends on what one means by “useful,” however. And I’m guessing the answer I’d get from a mystic is that what one sees as useful before the experience and after the experience are radically different.

  196. @Onething: I follow both Sanders and Warren on Twitter, and putting government controls on big-pharma gouging are part of their plans, and if that’s socialism, too bad. I would support the actual nationalization of insulin production and distribution at this point. As for watching what I eat and sticking with oral meds, I intend to for as long as I can, of course. Relying on bolus insulin would feel an awful lot like being a short leash. Basal insulin (which is different from bolus insulin in that you just take it once a day to supplement your oral meds) was actually very good to me. The rest it gave my tired pancreas allowed me to eventually go off of not just it but also one of my oral meds once the beta cells recovered some of their former vigor.

  197. @David By the Lake (if I may),

    >>if, as I expect, Tulsi is no longer in the running at that point
    >>I will be voting for Trump—instead of staring at his name for a long minute and ultimately voting third party like I did last time.

    Are you me? That’s exactly the experience I had–of lingering over Trump before tossing a vote to a third party–and exactly what I’m planning this time: Actually voting for Trump for real unless Tulsi’s on the ticket somehow.

    Actually, I’ve been suspecting for a while that there may be quite a few Bernie supporters who weren’t willing to sell out to Clinton but didn’t quite make peace with Trump in time for the last election, but who have since decided that they’d much rather have Trump than a return to the old status quo. I don’t think the democratic establishment is prepared for that . . . .

    Also, is it too early to mention that Coconut Milk Mommy–er, I mean, Rep. Gabbard has been getting quite a bit of love from certain small but uncommonly influential internet communities recently? I’m looking forward to watching the mainstream media try to keep up when the internet’s most notorious racists throw their weight behind an Indian woman in 2024.

  198. The earth is a closed system. You can’t throw stuff away, you can just move it around. So somewhere, there is more and more garbage piling up. And somewhere else, there is less and less of the resources used to make the garbage, like fossil fuels, concentrated ores, and deep topsoil.

    Eventually a point will be reached where the resources will be so poor that the garbage looks attractive as a resource. Then we will be in the same position as the POWs on the Russian front in WWII who survived by scratching through feces to pick out the undigested bits of grain. Not a pretty prospect.

    Incidentally, the high-value garbage is the metal waste, which is relatively easy to recycle into pure metal. And where is it? In China. The Chinese have been buying it off the West for decades. Smart guys. They have the long view.

    In the West, it is ‘profit now, repent later’.

  199. >>an Indian woman
    In b4, “Tulsi Gabbard is part Samoan, not part Indian.”

    I know, right? It would be super racist to assume she was Indian based on her name and skin tone. You’d have to be some kind of evil Nazi to think that while . . . wanting her to be your president.

    (Sorry to post twice, JMG. I meant to tack this onto the bottom of the last one.)

  200. @JMG

    A hearty (and somewhat belated) thank you! I don’t remember which site you posted your bone broth parameters on, but this past couple of weeks, a lingering respiratory illness had my whole family down. No stranger to making bone broth, I had a bag of bones waiting in the freezer. I had never before thought to add seaweed to the mix. Anyway, I threw in a couple of strips of seaweed this time, the broth was magnificent, and perhaps coincidentally (but perhaps not), we were well on the road to recovery the day after drinking it. Needs an “able to raise the mostly-dead” tag added to the recipe 😉

    This combox is the best history/politics/household-hints discussion on the internet!

  201. Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. We forgot about Buy Nothing Day and went to the grocery. 😯

  202. On the Tesla truck, I suggest interested parties should read Jack Rickard’s analysis before predicting disaster. He has deep technical insights based on building electric vehicles himself. Myself, I just don’t know. Musk continues to produce the goods. It might be late and over budget, but he does eventually pull the rabbit out of the hat.

    Tesla Kristallnacht – The CyberTruck Wardrobe Malfunction
    http://evtv.me/2019/11/tesla-kristallnacht-the-cybertruck-wardrobe-malfunction/

    “we feel relatively safe in pronouncing CyberTruck the most brilliant thing Musk has ever done and the most brilliant design Holfhausen has ever issued. We think it will be ASTONISHINGLY successful. And we think so because the Tesloids have so accurately went for the jugular – hitting ALL the things that actually drive the desire to own a pickup – an almost entirely male sport.

    We can enumerate this:

    1. Toughness/durablity.
    2. Power/Towing
    3. Large spacious interior.
    4. Off Road Capability.
    6. Price”

  203. Mythos question: I’ve been digesting Dancers at the end of time, and wondering if there is some kind of summary somewhere of the narratives that seem to have a grip on people’s minds. In 2015 when you told an outline of the story of the people that would end up as Trump’s base, I wondered why hardly anybody had strung those obvious facts together to tell their story. Would the narrative be Victoria and Albert’s vision of an interconnected world that would be made prosperous from trade and would not want to fight?

  204. @Justin: hey cool, glad you liked our music and I’ll share the link tomorrow! Thank you for spreading it around.

    @Tude: also glad you are enjoying my music. 🙂

    @ the permaculture discussion: I got involved in it almost a decade ago and I can certainly see the downsides to it, but it has given me a lot too. Many people, when finding out about it, have a eureka type experience where they are sort of initiated into an ecological/whole systems consciousness and they understandably get very excited and want to share it with everybody… at least that’s how it was for me. It’s a nice conceptual tool shed in which to fit lots of subjects. Most permaculture practitioners that I know grow lots of annuals also. It’s all about using what works, and kitchen gardens are a very important part of any permaculturally inspired food production system. Also, I found JMG’s blog from a permie forums (I won’t name names but I wasn’t on that forum all that long due to the obnoxiousness of the host.)

    I personally love the forest gardening concept, and have been experimenting with it first hand since ’11. It has provided me with much food, medicine, fiber, fodder, financial opportunities, beauty and pleasure over the years. Of course I also grow lots of annuals (garlic and parsnips are two indispensables) and I know that others will prefer other types of gardens. There’s such a wonderful diversity of ways to garden out there, depending on preferences, climate, goals… like JMG says, disent!

  205. @Justin: I love Shirley Collins! Her album with Davey Graham “Folk Roots New Routes” is an all time fav

  206. Putting the issues of the Novus Ordo to one side – and I would point out that the issues people raise with it are not a result of Vatican II, but rather its implementation – I’d argue that Vatican II achieved a monumental amount of good. Embracing of religious tolerance, removing the prayer for the conversion of the Jews, and so on. The doctrines of the pre-Vatican II Church would hold that pretty much everyone in this thread is going to Hell, whereas the post-Vatican II Church is much more ecumenical in its approach.

  207. @JMG
    I’m aware that the earth is currently greener than before as a result of increased CO2.My point is one needs to be a bit cautious about extrapolating this into the future.

  208. Hello Mr. Greer,

    A post directly addressing the topic of socialism would appear to be a very relevant sequel to your excellent “Dancers at the End of Time” series. Many election platforms are based upon this mythical mode of thinking, and their inexplicable popularity can’t help but be as alarming as the other flights from reason.

  209. @Owen @patriciaormsby

    I was in Russia in 2014-15, just as everything was kicking off in Ukraine. I discussed it with my students, many whom had family there, and a number of whom were born in Ukraine. What they told me was completely different to the MSM narrative in the Anglosphere. My attempts in subsequent years to explain the Russian perspective, and to raise the possibility that the Western media and politicians may not be telling the truth has usually been met with nothing less that barely-controlled rage, and the fact that I’ve actually lived Russia and discussed these things with ordinary working Russians has been given no weight whatsoever. It’s things like this that convince me that powerful magic is being worked somewhere in the bellies of London and Washington.

  210. > The same benefits he claims for his GAI could be obtained simply by reducing everyone’s rent or house payment $84. per month.

    Someone (can’t remember who) made a remark that the real problem the Murican economy has is “the cost basis is too high”. That’s what you just proposed – lowering the cost basis. My comment on that is absolutely yes – it’s a great idea BUT – too many vested politically connected interests absolutely do not want to see that happen, even if it would get things moving again. Status quo wants to status quo.

    I would propose a half and half solution myself – do some modest things to lower the cost basis for the populace and do some modest things to bump up wages. But there’s no point. Change and reform will be imposed upon Murica from the outside and on terms that will be very painful. Until then, keep on status quoing the status quo, I guess.

  211. On Elon Musk–

    I may have said this before, but I really, really think he’s genuine. I’ve worked in Tech, and Musk is very much of a type. His enthusiasms, his mannerisms, his odd semi-detachment from reality — I’ve seen it! The only difference between Elon Musk and a passel of younger tech bros I’ve known is that Mr. Musk got fabulously rich in the dot-com era a lucky break these guys were too young to catch. I know true believers who, if they had them, would be using hypothetical millions exactly as Musk is– if, perhaps, not nearly as effectively. He’s very talented at hucksterism, attracting subsidies, and the like, but I really, truly believe he’s got the wool as far down over his own eyes as anybody else’s. That’s what makes him such a powerful motivator for true believers in progress. He’s revered. If there is a Holy Trinity of Progress, right now I’d say its Tesla the Father, Sagan the Spirit, and Musk the Son.

    That said– the ‘bulletproof’ cybertruck speaks to a degree of awareness I hadn’t quite expected. What I’ve been wanting to do since the announcement is find some way to get Musk in touch with Barnaby Wainfain– the world could use a stainless steel, electric airplane, I think. (See link: http://www.facetmobile.com/ )

  212. There are lots of things and nuances to ponder over this subject on the Aeons, and I’m not sure if comments here will be sufficient and fair enough to discuss them, so hopefully if I had the chance to write a full blog entry (or a mail message if you’d like), I can go on with my ideas and questions. Which of Fortune’s books did she mention about her experience in receiving a Word though?

    I’ve been wondering lately about our individual relation to the Rays, do you believe a person is assigned to a single Ray in each life? I’m sure a magician can move through and work on different rays, but I meant the predominant characteristics. If yes, are there methods to know which Ray is yours?

    Have a good day.

  213. In the words of one traditionalist Catholic :
    “Current events make a lot more sense once you accept that demons literally exist & are actively roaming the Earth.”
    From a traditionalist Catholic perspective, what would look different in 2019 if the Church actually was taken over by the Adversary?

    Isn’t that what the Leonine prayer to St. Michael was all about? Didn’t work.

    I think it’s a real possibility, and a real pity. Sure I’m the bizzare pony pagan guy, but like all Westerners I am culturally a product of more than a thousand years Catholicism and I feel strongly attracted to that heritage.

  214. Permaculture methods appear to work well in tropical areas, where perennial plants do grow rapidly, I believe, and there are many useful fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Mollison had good ideas and his big book, the one with the serpent eating it’s tail on the cover, is fascinating, but one has to pick and choose what can work in one’s own climate and yard. In a small yard in a cold climate, an annual garden plus maybe a few fruit trees might be all that is possible, especially in places where the front yard is required to be maintained as either lawn or ornamental garden (where herbs can be sneaked in).

  215. JMG and JillN, I suspected that some such thing may happen – but the wild card in this whole thing is how the Second Religiosity plays itself out; new religious movements may treat current holidays differently than they were treated in the pre-industrial past. In my family, at least, Christmas is more of a family come-together with presents and eating, but we don’t do it over-the-top.

    Black Friday was more prominent this year in Germany than last year; in the city, where I live, the inner parts of the city was full of shoppers, the people behaved like crazy, and at midday time, there was a demonstration of Fridays for Future. The stark juxtaposition of these two movements made the absurdity and hypocrisy of the situation standing out more starkly than ever. That all was in addition to the Christmas market in the center of the city. But the cheesy Christmas music, which was prominent a few years ago, has mostly gotten out of fashion, except for a blinking Christmas tree.

    Another remark about the Grand Mutation of late 2020: It seems to me that the political centralization hinted at by it is an instance of the political cycles of government, where a dysfunctional government structure with distended power structures gives way to a structure where more power is concentrated in the hands of fewer people; at the same time, the trend reminds me of the way Caesarism works: i. e. populist strongmen who break through a cake of dysfunction and establishing more functional, possibly more authoritarian, governments.

  216. John–

    Re positive political magic

    Despite my disagreement with the particulars of Steve’s construct (largely derived from my disagreements with the Pledge, as noted), I would like to believe that *something* useful could be done. If rituals like that are not a good tool, what sorts of things could a magus (of whatever level of ability) proactively do to build up the needed aspects of this nation to avoid the worst of the paths which lay before us? Or is that just an ineffective approach altogether? (That is, trying to do something to affect change in the system.)

  217. SLClaire,

    Wow. I’ve never heard anyone articulate that concern about permaculture and major disturbance before. It’s totally obvious–now that you’ve pointed it out!

    Put another way, perhaps: as it’s commonly taught and practiced, permaculture assumes a kind of stability, both in terms of human settlement patterns, and in terms of wider climate and ecological factors. But as students of natural and human history, we know that things will not always keep on going as they are, and that resilience requires adaptability to such unstable circumstances.

    Thank you!

  218. Dear Owen, I once posted on a forum populated by a large and vocal contingent of movement conservatives that housing prices need to come down by about half. OMG! The angry responses I got from said conservatives were enough to make your average SJW sound like a teenager having a hissy fit.

    Food stamps, which are literally keeping people alive in some areas and neighborhoods are a subsidy to retail grocers. Welfare checks are a subsidy to property owners.

    We are beginning to hear calls for across the nation rent control from some of the self-styled progressives running for office this year, and, guess what, along comes Mr. Yang–nice, smart guy, no argument from me there, and I am sure he means well–with his proposals. I am afraid I got it wrong about the proposed stipend, $1000 per month rather than per anum, but my point remains. We need to lower costs of at least essential you need to live, utilities and shelter, to be affordable for all. I define essential utilities as those amenities you need to make a credible job application and keep your family alive. Heat and running water are essential, cable TV is not.

  219. Dear David,

    If I may, regarding the utility of mystical experiences;

    Mysticism isn’t done for some sake separate from itself. It is done because it is of itself an experience that is joyous to the extreme. Mysticism allows one to taste the Divine, to come into contact with the Divine, to touch and be touched by the Divine. To ask what if their is a “utility” of that is, from a mystical standpoint, inconceivable. What is the utility of _Love_? Serious question — love doesn’t pay the bills, after all, love communicates nothing but itself. The mystical writing is the same sort as love poetry, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” What use are Shakespeare’s sonnets?

    Beauty, then, can exist for its own sake without a need to communicate any thing more than itself, and Evelyn Underhill points out in her tome _Mysticism_ that mystics tend to have the temperaments of artists.

    In mysticism there is an overwhelming maddening frenzied Love, a rushing torrent of Love, a terrifying abyss of Love, the Heavens sing with Love and the world is lit by Love and this strange roaring silence descends and it is…indescribable.

    A mystical experience is about this immense love, not about taking something from the experience that can be brought to bear in the world of actuality. The mystical experience *is* about the experience itself of the divine order, of the deity, of the beloved. The mystical experience is of having Divine Grace poured over into one’s soul, sweet as honey.

    The thing is, the world of actuality is a barbed and tricky thing of constant human conflict, scrambling, politics and warfare. When you describe “utility” I read “actuality” and when I see actuality I see humans working to destroy, enslave, exploit and trick one another by hook and by crook. What is Knowledge but a weapon? A weapon that can be used to get the higher ground in the incessant conflict that defines human political life? What is a “solution” but a solution to a human problem in actuality, an essentially military solution of subjects and objects in the historical field?

    In no way do I think Knowledge is bad — I read books on warfare and play chess because I see the immense value of Knowledge, the value of Knowledge to avoid the real threat on all sides of subjugation. But mysticism is the furthest thing from a chess problem! Borges in his story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” describes the appeal of a world made by chessmasters rather than angels and here is the rub — the virtue of the chessmaster and the virtue of the mystic are at odds. In chess — as in warfare — there *are* solutions kingside attack, queenside attack and the fight over the center, pawn formations, strategy and tactical maneuvering. In mysticism there is a blindingly bright impulsion towards union with the divine. The two speak no common language; actuality says “checkmate!” and the divine order vibrates with the myriad wings of angels! When mystical writing is effective it is because it conveys the buzz of the divine order, the sweetness of Grace, and reflects some of the immense blinding light.

  220. @David BTL: From one seeker to another, I can see how M-W might be hard to swallow at first, I’d been introduced to him some years before I picked up “Pathways…” He does address all these issues in the book, and of course part of the point is to wrestle with these thoughts. Having just finished it, I think something like reading it once the whole way through, marking passages to come back to, and then meditating on those might be a good strategy. Of course that’s just an idea, take it or leave it.

    I’ve been around a number of people that I feel are genuine mystics, and one of the common things that they (and M-W) say is that they don’t have much desire to change anything in the relative world, and one of the only things worthwhile to do (besides just letting the personality do it’s thing, take care of it’s responsibilities and such, if that is even “doing”) is to help others (especially along the path.) When it comes down to it, from the relative (subject-object consciousness) perspective, their perspective is incomprehensible, hence why many prefer to be silent… except that they might be able to help some people along the path.

    Also, if I may, it seems to me like the desire to make political magic is coming from the same place as the question about M-W… inquiry into that kind of stuff is what makes for really meaty meditation in my experience.

  221. Ethan L., I can send you (and anyone else who wants them) a PDF of the Master Conserver materials. Please send an email to the gmail address that is preceded by my username (all lowercase, if it matters).

    Last time I offered the file, I got over 20 requests!

  222. Ethan L., I think the Green Wizards forum has a copy; let me talk to my internet person and see if I can arrange to host them here. The papers themselves are public domain — they were created by a state agency and deliberately not made copyright — so anyone who wants to host them on a website is welcome to do so.

    Your Kittenship, thanks for this.

    David BTL, this is why most mystical traditions tend to say that the experiences you get are not the point of mysticism. At most, it’s a confirmation that you’re doing things the right way. It’s the effect of the practices on the rest of you that’s a source of practical results, if that’s what concerns you. Zen is a great example; the samurai practiced zazen relentlessly, and it made them superlative warriors (and in many cases, remarkably good artists as well — few warrior castes anywhere are as distinguished for their contributions to the arts). That a good many of them had mystical experiences was a pleasant confirmation that they weren’t wasting their time, but that wasn’t where the rubber (or the straw sandal) met the road.

    Martin, yep. That’s hardwired into our culture: up with the rocket, down with the stick.

    Methylethyl, you’re most welcome. I don’t call it “bone broth,” though, because that phrase has become so relentlessly marketed for overpriced yuppie products. “Soup stock” is my preferred label — and yes, Sara and I always keep one freezer container in the freezer for scraps and peelings from suitable vegetables, and another for bones and gristle from suitable animals. I’ll be serving a couple of bowls of hot and sour soup in a few minutes, and that’s where the broth came from!

  223. @David, by the lake, about mystical experiences:

    I’ve had a number of them, the longest (about 6 hours) and strongest of which happened one day back around 1955 when I was just 13 and a know-it-all, atheist young ‘teen. What I perceived was so unlike anything in the mundane world, and also so unlike anything I had (or have) ever experienced through any or all of my mundane senses, that I have no ability even to begin to half-way describe it either in my native English or in any other language I have since studied. Fortunately, I neither think nor remember primarily in words, so I do have some non-verbal memories of the experience. It seemed more “real” (whatever that means) at the time than mundane reality itself ever could, or ever has proven to be since then.

    It is a little easier to say what it was not: it was completely free any emotion, even of wonder or awe or love. It was almost completely impersonal. I perceived it not through my mundane senses, but through what seemed like thousands of new and wholly unknown senses that pervaded my whole flesh, bone and blood. It conveyed to me no new information that could be expressed in words, or deliberately used to deal with my mundane concerns, either then or now. The power of that experience reminds me of a person’s attempt to take a small drink from a fire-hose in full blast without getting his lips torn off in the attempt. Nor did the experience change in any way my then current intellectual comprehension of the world in which I lived.

    And yet: even now, about 65 years later, it remains the single most important and influential experience that I have ever had in my life. It has shaped me as a person, and shaped my life and work in this world as well as my interactions with my fellows. It also turned out to have been a necessary experience for me to have had: once I had turned 50, I began to encounter in my work as a teacher a surprisingly high number of undergraduates who had had similar experiences (which as a rule they had never mentioned to anyone before). I was able to help them put their own experiences into context, to assure them that they were not going mad, and to show by my own example that there was a reason for them that would probably become apparent only years or decades down the road as they lived their own lives. Many of them turned out to be interested in magic, and I was able to help them start to break their own personal trails through the vast forest of real magics (plural).

    There is more, too: very rarely I have encountered situations where someone–never myself–needed help with something very badly, something that otherwise would do permanent harm, and I felt an overwhelming compulsion to help. And then something within me would open up, and I would somehow be aware once again, through senses I could no longer consciously use, what I might do to help the situation by some action within that ineffable reality which I had once perceived so dimly and so powerfully back around 1955. And some unknown “limb” (as it were) of mine could reach out and tug just a little on some relevant tiny thread in the great web that joins all things together in a realm wholly outside time and space, matter and energy. I would tug on it almost unconsciously, and that other person would no longer be in harm’s way–or maybe, after the small change which I was used to make happen, would no longer ever have been in harm’s way.

    None of these tiny magical/mystical successes have really been my doing at all. I am certain that I am just a tiny “pawn,” so to speak, on a vast multi-dimensional and extra-dimensional game board. The game has been going on for aeons in this universe, and it is also being played in immunerable other universes–also elsewhere than within universes at all–by a multitude of players beyond any human comprehension. They were, are and shall be playing that game far beyond every limitation I can comprehend.

    And that suffices me: to be even the slightest pawn in such a game, far beyond all human games, is an enormous delight, and more than enough reward for all “this my earthly pilgrimage and warfare.”

    So: I may have been too long-winded here. I am only trying to say that mystical experiences don’t make you wiser or more powerful; nor do they provide real-world solutions to mundane problems. But mundane problems are all interconnected with everything else both in the world of time and space, of energy and matter, and also outside of that world. And that “outside” is what one may perceive in a mystical experience.

  224. Regards the cybertruck, it looks like it comes from the 1980s for the same reason, technical limitations in the manufacturing processes.
    In the early 1980s the car industry was moving over to industrial robots these early robots could not easily deal with curves so car designs got very boxy. VW golf etc. It was an aesthetic driven by manufacturing processes.
    Elon musk’s design is like this because the material he is building the truck from thick stainless steel does at present not have mass manufacturing processes which can bend it easily so again boxy aesthetics.
    The more interesting question is; why does elon want to build a truck from stainless steel?
    And why extra strength glass?
    People have pointed out that these materials eliminate many safety features.
    My take is he is testing out simplified off world manufacturing or building for off world use where neither collision nor rain should be a problem. But repairs and maintenance would be a major headache.

  225. “We need to lower costs of at least essential you need to live, utilities and shelter, to be affordable for all.”

    Nastarana,

    It’s precisely due to excessive government involvement that they are unaffordable. All of the sectors where government has interjected itself — housing, healthcare & education are leading examples — are those that have experienced skyrocketing costs.

  226. Dear JMG,

    If I may,

    your response to David BTL is fascinating, and I’m very curious about the mystic/warrior connection as — influenced by Spengler as I am — I tend to see the two impulses as extremely opposed which is, as your example points out, not always the case.

    My perspective is, of course, heavily informed also by Evelyn Underhill’s writing which, to my reading at least, does stress the mystical experiences themselves as important. this is what gives dryness its horror, at least to my reading — one has based one’s inner life to a certain experience which withdraws.

    Is this an East/West distinction, have I misunderstood Underhill? In her description of various mystics many of them are very much engaged in the world, but in a manner that they ascribe as dictated by spirit. Others are less so, and in the West it strikes me that while there have certainly been knightly castes a la the samurai, their aren’t so much mystical castes. Rather, mysticism has been, for better or worse, more of a meritocracy. Here I think of the career Catherine of Siena especially.

    Might this be a distinction, then, as well between what I term devotional and monist mysticisms? Many of the great western and Christian mystics had a specific relationship with a specific deity who they endeavor to personally serve, whereas — to the best of my limited understanding — Zen Buddhism could be closer understood as monist in nature? I confess I don’t have the least personal understanding of the inner dimension of monist mysticism, and it doesn’t make sense to me on an intuitive level.

    That said, even the devotional mysticism of which I’m familiar seems to have certain attributes that can be considered useful in the world of actuality. It improves concentration and focus, and helps to dispel illusion and fog, and can even help one to see things as whole. the inner light also illuminates the inner world, after all. I’ve never considered that these attributes might be useful on the ground, but now I see that concentration, focus, right appraisal of a whole situation, self-knowledge, self-mastery, self-sacrifice, and commitment to an ideal higher than oneself are indeed extraordinarily useful even in battle situations, perhaps especially in battle situations. Rereading Catton’s centennial Civil War trilogy, it is clear that many of the most prominent generals were really fighting battles…within their own natures. Had they mastered their nature, they would have inevitably blundered much, much less. Here I can’t help but think of the ease with which Lee was able to fool McClellan and the degree to which McClellan fooled himself.

    It seems then, that while the mystical experience is one of the divine order, the virtues that mystical practices yield are actually useful in the world of actuality in the extreme. So perhaps Spengler was a bit unhelpfully dualistic in his thinking? He does mention knightly mystical classes in passing at one point, which certainly the Samurai belong. And it is interesting to think that the many of the same virtues that make a Samurai warrior effective are what makes the Hermit meditating in the mountain cave able to live out such a brutally ascetic life….

  227. Brian Kaller, great looking site and concept. It reminds me a bit of the Foxfire project, adapted to your locale.

  228. On the Catholicism thred

    You have to keep in mind, the private revelation to Pope Leon XIII, and somewhat confirmed by Marian Aparitions at Fatima and elsewhere. I am going to recall the story as heard from my family, you may see some other sources here: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=leo+xiii+god+devil+wager&t=ffsb&atb=v140-1&ia=web

    The summary is that Satan made a wager with Jesus, where he got himself 100 years to take off his gloves and go no-holds-barred after the Church. Most popular starting dates are 1900 (the wager extends through the 20th century), 1914 (the wager started with WWI) and 1917 (the wager starts with the triumph of the Bolshevic Party and establishment of the first Communist government).

    Assuming that was the case, the Vatican II council would be about halfway through the time period. Our host has already pointed out what are the main issues of gutting the traditional liturgy while leaving aside the multiple problems that the Church has admitedly dragged since its late Roman Empire days. The opinion of some tradicionalist sources I have read are of the opinion that many cardinals during this time were Atheist cynics, more concerned with politics than with anything else. Therefore the reforms focused on (and ultimately failing at) making Catholiscism more appealing to the modern masses. If I understand correctly, the goal was to move Catholiscism halfway towards Lutheranism. Not to say Lutherans are bad people, but the end result was to debase the powerful ancient rituals Catholics had honed and inherited from centuries ago.

    Incidentally, some traditionalist argue that this results is proof that God has not abandoned us. Given that the architects of the Vatican II reform made their level best to change everything for the sake of change, the fact that some rituals have remained with a canonically legit form, – making those merely innefficient instead of inneffective, – is proof enough that the Holy Spirit was guiding their ignorant efforts towards the best (or rather less worse) possible outcome.

    Another issue I have, which is not shared with the traditionalist literature. The Vatican I council was when the doctrine of Pope´s infalibility was made official and mandatory. IMHO, this was a hughe mistake. Even if truly every Pope had a direct line to Jesus office in heaven, there’s the fact that any Antipope (and there have been dozens of those documented through the centuries) can LIE about what was said through that line. From a security point of view, this is a terrible design flaw. Surely any SANE institution needs some way to tell when their lidership is no longer pursuing the goals of said organization, instead of their own selfish goals.

    I kind of understand where the wish for some final authority to set their foot down and effectively terminate any dissagreement comes from. Europe, after all, had come from a couple of centuries of holy warfare between different factions or denominations, so it as tempting to be able to shut the opposition down and force them to abide to the Big Honcho authority before they got a chance to gather a of well armed and resourceful secular following…

  229. Your Kittenship, no doubt some equivalent of Friar Tetzel can sell you an indulgence!

    Bradley, I’ve been trying to work my way toward that for most of two years now. The problem is that the media-manufactured narratives that dominate the cultural mainstream in the US are so incoherent that trying to draw them together into a single narrative is like trying to stack masses of smoke. When investigating a presidential candidate on charges of foreign collusion is good when Obama does it but evil when Trump does it, when it’s transphobic to dispute a biological male’s claim to be female but it’s racist to agree with Rachel Dolezal’s claim to be black, and so on, what we’re talking about is not so much a narrative as a word salad of the sort you normally encounter from people in the midst of a serious psychotic break.

    Strda221, fair enough, but the implementation is also part of the project!

    Martin, since the linear extrapolations of temperature increase haven’t held up very well in practice, I’m going to go with the evidence on the ground.

    TJ, the challenge there is getting people to agree to apply some actual meaning to the word “socialism.” Most of the people who praise socialism don’t seem to have any idea what it is, other than a verbal noise anchored to warm feelings. Some time ago I defined it in passing as the system of political economy where the means of production are owned by the state — which is of course what the word means — and I fielded a flurry of squawks and protests insisting that they didn’t mean that kind of socialism, and I was erasing all the other kinds of soclaiism out there!

    But I’ll consider posting something about that.

    Aziz, Fortune didn’t discuss it in print. Most mages aren’t as obsessed with parading themselves in public as Crowley was, and so don’t talk about matters that personal. As for the Rays, that’s not a system I use and so it’s not one I’ve studied in any depth.

    Booklover, well, of course — and to some extent it’ll vary from family to family, not to mention from region to region. I’m glad to hear the cheesy Christmas music has run its course; I hope that happens here someday.

    David BTL, of course there are things that can be done, and I recommend Dion Fortune’s war letters in The Magical Battle of Britain as a good outline of how to do it.

    Violet, Spengler wasn’t a mystic, and he was also rather too fond of neat binary divisions. Underhill, excellent as her book is, focuses inevitably on the particular mode of mostly emotional mysticism that was her own forte; the more cognitive approach of Zen casts a very different light on things. Partly, of course, it’s another bit of evidence that all these paths aren’t going up the same mountain, and that the word “mysticism” is like the word “mountain climbing” rather than the phrase “climbing Everest.” That said, of course there are practical benefits to doing the work; my sense tends to be, though, that these come more from regular practice than from the experiences that occasionally happen as a result of regular practice.

  230. Just a few things.

    I thought you might be interested in this comparison of web traffic to alt-right sites vs alt-left ones:
    (its an alt-right site, just a heads up)
    https://national-justice.com/traffic-alt-right-websites-continues-rise-now-surpassing-left-wing-equivalents

    If you’re still planning to do a post about the existence of race, you might be interested in this 2019 paper by Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, summarizing the recent research:
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337429197_Race_Differences_A_Very_Brief_Review

    Regarding a potential Trump impeachment, I’m not sure how familiar you are with the work of Martin Van Creveld or William S. Lind but your perspective is pretty well aligned with the saner military thinkers of our time:
    http://www.martin-van-creveld.com/guest-article-the-view-from-olympus-a-4gw-impeachment/

  231. Well, to all the Bernie supporters who say they are going to vote for Trump, here’s my deal: The reason for my admittedly gradual abandonment of the Democratic Party is on account of the Democratic Party increasingly abandoning the values that I was raised to believe were the reason I should always vote for Democrats. If the mainstream parties are only going to give me two Republicans to vote for, or a Republican and a Democrat who is such a milquetoast non-entity that you have to wonder why they even bother, then I reserve the right to cast a “no-confidence” vote in the system. Indeed, my growing disenchantment with the Democratic Party is of a piece with my crumbling respect for the society that the professional and managerial class has made. And I am aware that this is taking place in the context of a society that has ever less available energy per capita to continue on in its decadent ways.

    So if the consequence of my rejection of the Democrats really is somehow detrimental to the stability of society as the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd shrilly insists, then I can be sure that I am only helping the inevitable to happen sooner rather than later. Until that inevitable happens, my vote will reflect whatever confused hodgepodge of my values and interests I have determined by weighing and balancing everything that is happening with how I think and feel about it. But I am certainly done voting for anything or anybody “because I’m supposed to”. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s online defenders can be thanked in a very major way for motivating me to arrive at this decision! Truly a job well-done. 😀

  232. > [cybertruck] repairs and maintenance would be a major headache.

    Which is something I think Musk missed when he started courting the truck driving market segment. Light trucks to a large degree are still pretty much open platforms. Their design is still all body on frame. That’s ancient, old school. The engines they put into trucks tend to be simpler and bigger relative to what they put into other classes of vehicles. The engine layout is the old school front longitudinal, rear wheel drive layout. You’ve seen one truck, you’ve essentially seen them all. Working on a truck compared to a car is EASY. You don’t even need to jack it up in some cases, just shimmy underneath it and the ground clearance will take care of the rest.

    Trucks invite some of their owners to overly customize them. The truck says “I’m open, I’m easy to understand and work on, go ahead, change me, bolt stuff on me, make me yours”. There is a word for that, it’s called “brodozer”, look it up for examples. For others, the truck says, “I’m simple and rugged and you can handle me by yourself without needing too much fancy equipment”.

    I don’t get that out of Tesla. They do not understand the truck driving segment at all. I guarantee you, the moment the average truck buyer figures out they have to take it to the dealer for everything that goes wrong is the moment they all go “nope”.

  233. Re the Latin Mass – “positive magic” as you said, is it possible that the priests who did it back in the day where less likely to behave badly, as they had to perform this type of Mass regularly? Does the practice of positive magic help you to stay on the straight and narrow? Could the avalanche of child sex abuse committed by priests have been partly caused by dropping the Latin Mass?

  234. https://orthodoxartsjournal.org/most-of-the-time-the-earth-is-flat/?fbclid=IwAR2QhYkPNwvhEZwAlbRQ0jj6DHVPopYfl5vVHPz54N_w0Ay6PxTAcQ-zXW0

    Somebody posted this article to an Orthodox discussion group on Facebook for the purposes of mocking it (apparently, they thought the author was literally saying the Earth is flat). Now if you read the article, he’s not quite saying that, but rather (If I’m reading him correctly) saying that the modern Copernican view of the universe conflicts with Christianity and therefore we ought to just act like its invalid. It almost seems to me like the type of thinking that produced the Ghost Dance movement discussed a few posts ago. At any rate, its a rather intriguing article, and runs close to subjects this blog covers, so I thought I’d leave it here.

  235. Dear TJandTheBear , The verbal formulation ‘government regulation’ is a conservative thought stopper, which has about as much use and accuracy as does ‘diversity’ when intoned by a multicultural leftist, and your formulation “excessive government involvement” has no significant difference. Government regulation can have good, bad or no effect on the general welfare of all our citizens.

    My basic stance is that it is not the responsibility of my government to increase business profits. For anyone. Not for General Motors, not for Amazon, and not for the vegetable stand down the street. I do not care for seeing governments at any level used to support the pretensions of folks who think they are too good to punch a time clock, and, funny thing, most of those persons seem to be unable to stay in business without government intervening heavily in their favor.

    Real estate in particular is a non productive enterprise, and therefore tends not to attract honest and diligent people who take pride in good workmanship. Rulers and their staffs have understood throughout history that if they did not control markets, the markets would ruin their realms. Prices were set, quality standards were determined and not infrequently the ruler had a representative on site to enforce the royal decrees.

  236. In regard to the “Unused militaries” article. This about the Navy is true; “Most of its ships are thin-skinned, unarmored. One hit by an antiship missile would remove them from the war.”

    However it is also inaccurate in that missiles with shaped charge warheads mean that armored ships can no longer survive either. The Yamato and the Musashi were both done in by by simple gravity bombs and assorted torpedoes. A couple of dozen Harpoons would have done them in quicker and with no need for the aircraft to get close.

    In WWII, a hand-held Panzerfaust with 400 grams of explosive could get through 5 1/2″ of steel. The harpoon carries 488 lbs of better explosive. No amount of armor consistent with floating is useful.

    Carriers are doomed in WWIII. You don’t have to sink them, a few holes in the flight deck and they are out of action, hiding in port somewhere. The scenario in “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” could be pretty accurate, (except that the carriers have four shafts, not two. The Nimitz class does have two reactors though, so substitute reactors for shafts and the story still works. One reactor goes down during the initial attack, and the fires eventually trip off the control system for the second, causing a complete loss of power, and then it drifts over the sand bar. That I would believe.)

  237. @ JMG, Isaac, Violet

    Re mysticism

    Thank you for the thoughtful responses. I suppose one of my issues is that I keep trying to find ways to fix the world (& myself) and I keep getting told that isn’t the point of it all. I’ve always seem Illumination as Knowledge and our blundering about in this world as a consequence of ignorance, which Knowledge ought to solve, or at least alleviate. But that doesn’t appear to be the answer.

  238. Regarding permaculture, one thing I never see discussed is its inputs. To start a permaculture garden typically requires a large input of organic material from somewhere else. Less is required over time, but permacultural gardeners are forever getting organic material from non-permaculture gardens, gardens with fossil fuel inputs.

    Which is to say that apparently-sustainable permaculture as currently-practiced relies on non-renewable resources and energy just as renewable energy does.

    Now, in both cases it need not be so, but that’s how it is right now. Relying on fossil fuel inputs and depleting resources makes it a lot quicker to set things up, and is probably necessary. But neither renewable electricity nor permaculture gardens will be anywhere as productive without fossil fuel and other depleting resource inputs.

    That renewable energy and permaculture gardens rely on fossil fuel inputs is used by their detractors to argue against them (though nobody seems to have noticed with permaculture), and is passionately denied by their advocates. “No fossil fuels!” says the wind turbine engineer as his bulldozer belching diesel trundles around the worksite, and says the permaculturist under their tree as neighbours drive their diesel trucks up to dump scraps from their kitchen, scraps produced by buying food from shops, food grown with artificial fertilisers &c.

    A more balanced view is that we’re using these resources as a bridge.

  239. >I once posted on a forum populated by a large and vocal contingent of movement conservatives that housing prices need to come down by about half. OMG! The angry responses I got from said conservatives were enough to make your average SJW sound like a teenager having a hissy fit.

    It’s that but more than that too. Regulations, soo many regulations about the kind of house you can build and how big it must be and like with homelessness in *theory* cheap affordable housing is legal to build but in *practice* it is very much illegal. And it is a method of social control and a way to force people into debt. I suppose it all worked as long as people had jobs good enough to make the monthly nut. That era is gone though.

    Soo many vested interests, soo very antagonistic towards any fix on something that obviously no longer works.

    Even if you were to suggest to them that maybe those people buying those cheap small houses might one day trade up and be a buyer of their big expensive house later on – nope, can’t have that. When the changes and reforms are imposed from the outside, I’m just going to shrug.

  240. JMG et al–

    I feel the need to note that I wasn’t being 100% serious with the USA LBRP… Actually I’m not sure I was being as much as 50% serious.

    It’s just always struck me how the US is really far more a religion than a nation. And I I’m fascinated to think how it will be regarded 500-1000 years from now. A footnote, like the kingdom of Acre? A legend, like the kingdom of King Arthur? An actual religion, perhaps adhered to by descendants of Americans living on the other side of the world in very primitive conditions, who tell stories about the mythical Land of the Free, ruled over by the Blessed Lady Liberty and her mortal husband, the man called Washington who was unable to speak a falsehood?

  241. JMG – This has probably already been explained here, though not recently, but “Socialism is when the people who run the government also run the businesses, and fascism is just the opposite: the people who run the businesses also run the government.” 😉

  242. @ CR Patiño–

    Re. Leo XIII, in the versions I’ve read, Satan asked for “75-100 years, and more power over those who will do my bidding.” It’s worth noting that the authenticity of this story is disputed. Assuming it’s true, though, my thought has always been that Vatican II accomplished the work of destroying the Catholic Church. There was, however, a silver lining– And that was the promise by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima that Russia would be converted provided it was consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. This was done in 1984; the Soviet Union fell within a decade, and the Orthodox Church began its resurgence. Of course, this version of events is galling to both Catholics (who view the Russian Orthodox as schismatics) and Orthodox (who have the same view of Catholics, and get unusually mad about Fatima, in my experience).

  243. Mister Nobody,

    Controlling big pharma is an important step, but there’s a lot more going on. As for Bernie and Warren, I think I’m through with both of them.

  244. Bogatyr,

    I agree with you that the inexplicable rage that people are expressing when someone tries to talk with them about other possible views to things is downright suspicious. Did they figure out new forms of propaganda? Have they found ways to increase the subliminal aspect? Are they using black magic?

  245. On mystical experience, in addition to Violet’s inspiring comments, the best solution is for as many people as possible to experience them for themselves. And this is notoriously difficult. After a mystical experience, the person wants more than anything to help transmit it to others. The problem with talking about a mystical experience, and I do think it is profitable, is that it can weakly inspire, but you have to have the experience yourself to really ‘get it.’

    I recall thinking about myself, that if everyone, or even just a lot of people, could experience what I did, there would never be another war.

    But people do talk of mystical things, and while it can be very difficult to describe, there is nonetheless some useful description and it can very much inspire others. Usually, it is seekers who are open to being inspired. But I and many others have been greatly uplifted and assisted by such writings.

    There have been societies that listened to their mystics and respected them. Ours is not such a society. But I have come to accept over the years that it really is true that the place to begin making changes is with yourself. You would present differently to other people and perhaps have an inspiring influence in a political group. But lots of people aren’t actually showing up to conduct themselves with integrity and seek rational and reasonable solutions. You can’t influence them until they have basic integrity.

  246. There’s something that’s been bothering me for a while, and I’d love to get your take on it.

    I believe you have said before that you believe there was a fairly high chance of a domestic insurgency throughout the South and Mountain West had Hillary Clinton won in 2016 – either soon after it or as an event that would deepen the trend towards violence so that it would boil over sometime in the 2020s.

    I was afraid of the same thing in 2016, and I spent a while reading on modern civil wars in case of that possibility. Although I didn’t support him, voting third party instead, I will admit I breathed a sigh of relief when the narrow win went his way largely because I thought we might have avoided the timeline where organized violence breaks out sooner rather than later.

    Suppose, though, that the 2020 election goes the other way by a similar margin. Perhaps there’s a stock market slump or something in September and October, bringing the Dem candidate across the finish line by a margin of c. 0.5% in the state that clinches them at least 270 electoral votes.

    In your view, what happens next? How do Trump and his supporters respond, and does the risk of insurgency in the 2020s shoot back up? Would you imagine the odds would be higher or lower than if Clinton won in 2016?

    I know there’s no way to be very certain on such an unpredictable turn of events, but I’d appreciate any light you might be able to shed on this.

  247. @JMG

    Are you familiar with the work of Vinay Gupta (http://re.silience.com/)? He’s probably too techno-optimist (co-founder of Ethereum) for your taste and mine however… I like that his thoughts are big enough to encompass both blockchain technology and yurts (http://hexayurt.com/). I also find these “threat maps” – http://resiliencemaps.org/files/Dealing_in_Security.July2010.en.pdf – a useful tool to assess my own resilience without any specific ideology (e.g. permaculture, Transition Towns, American Redoubt) attached.

  248. Jason, thanks for these. As for Lind and van Creveld, I read their works closely while doing research for my novel Twilight’s Last Gleaming, so it’s not too surprising that there should be some parallels!

    Bridge, that’s a fascinating question. I’d have to see some hard numbers about the rate of sex crimes by Catholic priests before and after the Novus Ordo mass became mandatory to hazard a guess, though.

    Tolkienguy, oh dear gods. Yes, we’re getting into serious Ghost Dance territory here. That’s not how the Second Religiosity goes about things, btw — you know the Second Religiosity has arrived when churches refocus from belief (i.e., adherence to an ideology) to faith (i.e., trust in an incomprehensible but lovable Deity).

    Siliconguy, thanks for this. I’m entirely convinced that large surface ships of all kinds are an anachronism at this point; the Russian Navy’s guided missile corvettes and very silent submarines are the wave of the future on the waves.

    David, nah, it’s just a matter of figuring out what can be fixed and what can’t. The samurai did a lot of world-fixing; so, to insert a contemporary reference, did two very brave men yesterday on London Bridge, who took on a murderous knife-wielding fanatic, while armed respectively with a fire extinguisher and a five-foot-long narwhal tusk. (If I made that up and put it in a novel nobody, but nobody, would believe it.) They didn’t fix the entire world, but in all probability there are a number of people who would be stone cold dead today if they hadn’t acted as they did. Zen helped the samurai do the same sort of thing.

    Steve, fair enough! No question, the United States is an imaginary country, as fabulous as Oz and rather less realistic.

    Lathechuck, funny. That’s reminiscent of a joke in common circulation in the Soviet Union back in the day. “Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under socialism, it’s exactly the other way around!”

    Grebulocities, it would depend entirely on the details, but the possibility’s not small.

    Brian, interesting. No, I’m not familiar with either of them.

  249. And what if Trump has a heart attack and drops dead? Accusations of assassination will be flying around among his supporters. How they react could be highly problematic. And what if he really is assassinated by someone afflicted by TDS? I would expect some highly explosive blowback if that happens

    Antoinetta III

  250. Hi Nastarana,

    Regulation in and of itself is a proper governmental activity… when conducive of a transparent and competitive marketplace and — I totally agree — definitely “not to increase business profits”. Wage and price controls are not regulation, nor is redistribution. Those simply inhibit the free market from addressing the glaring imbalances in our economy.

    Wall Street bought DC a few decades back and now we have “regulation” that protects established monied interests and enables state-sponsored rackets to the detriment of us all. Giving the current governing corporatists (in either party) even more power would only result in more of the same.

  251. Hello Mr. Nobody,

    It’s my personal belief that very few people truly vote *for* anyone these days, instead holding their noses while casting their ballot for what they perceive to be the lesser evil. The 45% that don’t vote altogether just aren’t sufficiently inspired either way.

  252. A Christian friend of mine – who’s been surprisingly receptive to Druid ideas about reincarnation – and I were talking theology in his kitchen yesterday. I was talking about how adapting to that new view had been such a boon for my life, had made me more serious about some things, and less concerned about others – my rejection of eternal hellfire among the latter. And he piped up and said “I’m just glad I don’t have to be a dung beetle anymore!”

    And I joked back, “yeah, right? Been there, done that, got the exoskeleton!”

    Had a good laugh…

    Tripp

  253. I’m curious and interested then to know how you concluded that about Fortune and her Word?

    Thanks for the RJ Stewart recommendation btw, I just realized I had his debut psaltry album which was released by the name ‘Bob’ Stewart, nice music.

    Another bit ‘out of the blue’ subject…

    Did you read or are you interested in any way about the so-called US secret space program? Lots of theories and information, but really don’t know where to start and find a trusted/pragmatic source.

  254. > getting people to agree to apply some actual meaning to the word “socialism.”

    Cynically:

    1. socialism/communism – access to valuable finished scarce goods matter. If you’re a butcher, you’re king, as long as you fly under the radar and cut in whatever government bureaucrats are watching. Professional politicians love this system.

    2. capitalism – access to money and money flows matter. If you’re a moron with the right connections, you can make millions, just because you’re sitting next to massive money flows and cheap credit.

    3. nazism – access to the Americans mattered. West Germany recovered and was left alone to a large degree. Not so for East Germany. This time around, it’ll be the Russians and the Chinese and access to the Russians will matter.

    4. feudalism – access to arable land matters. You may be a moron but you are good at holding onto land by force. So nobody calls you a moron to your face. Landless anyone are looked upon with pity.

  255. I read the Van Creveld artlcle and thought of sending the link to a friend. Then I realized I simply can not: Anything I sent saying these things would be automatically dismissed as “a right-wing website.” Or “an alt-right website.” Not just her – everyone I know on the left.

    In fact, during a discussion Friday over leftover turkey, when the talk came around to how the Democrats could win, someone mentioned the need for a positive program. I mentioned the issues we should address – the economic situaltion, the plight of the working people, the interests of “flyover country”, and taking them seriously, giving them respect.

    Then I was fool enough to say I’d vote for anyone offering that. And mentioned that the impeachment was a mistake that was distracting us from getting a positive program. Heads turned. “Then you’d accept Trump?” Soft dangerous voice. I said, quite truthfully, “I’m a lot less afraid of the Clown Prince than I am of Mister Handmaid’s Tale. Trump is a weasel, not a hawk.” And spent the next five minutes defending the position that a hard-core ideologue who thought he was doing God’s will was far scarier than a common con artist. Nope. Voices raised about corruption etc.. but at least the discussion was diverted off TDS. Somewhat.

    They have wax in their ears. Wax and cotton wads. Or today, those acrylic fiber (?) wads that come in the necks of the medicine bottles now. On the left, ain’t nobody listening.

    However, there was an article on a Trump supporter and a left-winger making friends and discussing things rationally – in the latest AARP Magazine.

  256. @ Rohan, Mister Nobody (& anyone else I missed)

    Re voting for Trump

    My experience was that I found myself shocked to realize that some of the points he was arguing out on the campaign trail were points with which I agreed, and not only that, points which were heavily-weighted in my priority list: opposition to TPP, the need for tariffs, pulling out of our forever-wars. But I was unconvinced that he would follow through, being such an unknown and unpredictable factor. So while I stared at his name for a long minute as I stood in that voting booth, I ultimately filled in the bubble next to Stein.

    However, looking back and knowing then what I know now, I’d have voted for him. He *did* deep-six TPP, and he *did* invoke the use of tariffs, and he *has* made efforts (albeit unsuccessful ones to date) to withdraw our forces from these useless quagmires. There’s a whole lot about him I don’t like and he sets an extremely low bar, but the Democrats keep failing to clear that threshold and he’s the only one I can see who’s even remotely taking us in something resembling the direction we need to go.

    Given that the Dems are almost certainly going to put forth a status quo ante candidate of one form or another with regard to foreign policy and trade, I fully expect to be casting my (Wisconsin) vote for the Orange One come November.

  257. Nastarana: “Food stamps, which are literally keeping people alive in some areas and neighborhoods are a subsidy to retail grocers. Welfare checks are a subsidy to property owners.”

    Haha! Exactly right. On a forum where I (used to) post, a woman once wrote about her son who lives somewhere in CA, makes about 70K per year, lives with his PhD student partner (no kids), and gets housing assistance (sorry, I forgot the exact term, but basically, a few hundred dollars of taxpayers’ money to help with rent). Because rent is so outrageously high, you see. My jaw dropped. For some reason, people seem find a wealth transfer from taxpayers to the rentier class preferable to rent control. Nope, I do not get it, and I do not pretend to get it. Anyway, without some sort of rent control, UBI would just lead to the same thing on steroids.

  258. As far as ironies go, ‘ex-convict stabs people at prisoner rehabilitation conference’ is going to be hard to top.

    In an unusual segue, I was already familiar with Fishmongers’ Hall, where the attack started, from reading about the London livery companies. They seem to be an interesting combination of fraternal association and gentlemen’s club, but for the artisan class. Have you ever come across them while researching Freemasonry or similar organisations?

  259. JMG, a semi-personal question, if I may. Are you still an archdruid? I’ve seen people refer to you as a “former archdruid,” and I was wondering what that was all about.

  260. Dear David,

    My take is that if one is to make an honest appraisal of the living actuality that humans are capable of apprehending there are no Answers, only Expedients. Outside of living actuality, there may be firmer ground than the sort provided by the travails of exigency and expediency, but, as you note, the ability to communicate the robustness of that experience with human language appears to be mathematically impossible.

  261. Haha! Exactly right.

    Irena,

    Exactly wrong. The people paying for the food or shelter are making their *own* choices with that money (regardless of the source). That’s the essence of freedom & liberty — people spending their money as they see fit. If your rent is high it’s because someone else is willing to pay as much or more than you do. If you don’t like it then you can take *your* money elsewhere, but you don’t have a right to possess other’s property at below market rates any more than they do yours.

  262. Violet, on book that has views critical of The New Deal (and views that laud it too) is Studs Terkel’s “Hard Times.” It’s a collection of oral histories about the depression – so not rigorous in a scholastic sense, but a kind of “on the ground, back in my memory” take.

  263. David by the Lake

    Your comment in response to the various responses you received from Violet, JMG and others made me think of the good old Serenity Prayer:

    God(or Deity of your choice) grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I can not change,
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    Good luck.

  264. Re 2020 and the coming Dem primaries

    It is early yet and I may be reading way too much into things at this point, but the constant posting, chanting, invocation of “ Vote blue no matter who” has an increasingly desperate tone to my ear. Perhaps I’m seeing something that isn’t there (yet) but there seems to be a shrill undercurrent in the discourse within the Dem camp. Not to say that they couldn’t rally around an effective charismatic leader, but I’m not seeing much evidence of one emerging from the fray.

    It’s a long way to summer, though, and a lot can happen. But that said, I think I sense cracks in the facade.

  265. I have two questions, if I may: What do you think will happen in the pre-university education sector in the next few decades (up to and including high school) given the long descent?

    Second question: you wrote a couple weeks ago to a question I had about the right’s seeming hostility to environmental conservation that you were baffled by it, considering that many conservation policies in the US originally came from the right. Could you elaborate on that, or perhaps consider a post on the topic should it strike your muse’s fancy?

  266. I can’t help thinking that ‘free market’ is a dangerous obsession of our own civilization, unshared by other societies. From what I know, the Sons of Heaven in China, the maharajahs in India, the King of Kings in Persia and the Commanders of the Faithful would not have dreamed of allowing buying and selling to proceed without the close and personal attention of their designated officials, some of whom, I do believe, were empowered to lop off heads on the spot. The ruler could not allow his artisans to be ruined by outside competition, nor could he permit shoddy goods to be sold. Medieval guilds performed a similar policing function, restricting access to their trades to those who had been properly trained and enforcing quality standards.

    Owen, I will suppose you do know about burdensome regulations, but that point, however justified, does not excuse the greed and sloth of property owners.

    I have noticed for years that government and business office fauna are equally a burden on the rest of us. An insult is an insult, whether delivered by the snippy lady, I use the term advisedly, to whom one pays a parking ticket, or the cutesy, a term for which I refuse to apologize, young thing at the insurance office who won’t take payment in cash–presumably because she can’t count. ( I said, fine, I will be going with another company.)

    I continue to hope, I know, I should live so long, for an alliance between the responsible right and the principled left.

  267. Hi John Michael,

    Hope you and Sara are well and had a nice Thanksgiving.

    Several commenters have discussed the ongoing drought down here, and it’s pretty bad, however history suggests that things could always get worse. The Federation Drought comes to mind as far as being worse, it ran for almost six years. Such an example should worry folks that think that a ‘Big Australia’ is a wise move, merely on the basis thati if it’s happened once, it’ll happen again. And I say that knowing full well that the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires ripped through my property.

    I also wanted to chime in and add that I agree with your criticisims in relation to Permaculture. If the methodology is not open to discussing its flaws then, well that’s not a good sign. And secondly I also agree with Claire, in that at some point in the future there will be an intersection of poor soils, lack of water, reduced access to resources and energy, and then annual plants will have their day in the sun – and it is not lost on me that they are the higher maintenance plants. As Claire rightly points out a fruit and/or nut tree can take upwards of a decade to become productive.

    Incidentally as a side note I was rather taken with the concept of a food forest. The reality in cold temperate environments is that the additional humidity around the trunks of the fruit trees allows for plant diseases to proliferate. Also I discovered that the rats, mice and rabbits are able to get a toe-hold in such thick plantings and their predators were present but unable to consume the unwanted critters. I’ve long since thinned such plant growth.

    Cheers

    Chris

  268. @Antoinetta III,

    If Trump passes in office, it would be virtually impossible to convince many of us that it was of natural causes. (It’d be easier to prove that Epstein killed himself.)

    What that turns into revolves entirely around Mike Pence, who would, constitutionally, become POTUS the moment DJT hit the floor. If he’s allowed to take office… people will watch, and wait. If congress or otherwise try and interfere in that, well, out come the torches, pitchforks and IEDs. A diffuse insurgency against the ‘deep state’ in support of President Pence is entirely possible. (I suspect, in this scenario, Pence could pull off a counter-coup with the support of the US military, and the insurgency fizzles before it gets off the ground).

    OK, so, one way or another– President Pence. Now it depends on the man. If he goes along with “Oh, yes, natural causes, nothing to see here” and/or “lone gunman, pity he died”… and then lets business as usual come back– that is, if he’s percieved to be working with the “Deep State”– well, again, out come the torches, pitchforks and IEDs for a diffuse insurgency against the ‘deep state’ AND President Pence.

    If Trump dies in office– of natural causes or otherwise– about the only way I don’t see it ending badly is if the newly-promoted VP uses the death to ‘clean house’. A visible purge of the Deep State. To quote a tweet, “Fast trial, death penalty.” The mob won’t be worried about justice at that point; we’ll just be out for blood. If Pence doesn’t slake that thirst, then things get ugly.

    All of the above, but in italics, if Trump is obviously assassinated.

    @JMG, et al.

    Speaking of Epstein, have y’all heard about his plastic surgeon? Of all people, I don’t know why he was targeted– but they took down his private plane by putting jet fuel in the tanks. Tragic accident. Could happen to anyone, right? It’s such an easy mistake… just like putting diesel in your gas-burning car.

    Well, except for the fact that everyone in aviation is very carefully trained to avoid that.
    Oh, and the little detail that a Jet-A nozzle won’t fit in an avgas fuel tank. (see here: https://www.husky.com/hewitt/aviation-fueling-nozzles/falcon/)
    The fill hole is about half the size. Half! You’d have to jam the jet fuel nozzle in hard enough to burst through the aluminum, get a funnel (without realizing something was up, in spite of your training, and not being seen by anyone smarter) or just spill half a tank’s worth of jet fuel all over and pretend you did not notice. All after ignoring the placard in big red letters that say “100LL ONLY”.

    Mm hmmm. Sure. OK, it has happened; here’s an NTSB circular about it the misfueling issue. https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-alerts/Documents/SA_050.pdf
    It’s just… no. If it had been anyone else’s surgeon, I’d only be suspicious.The Epstein connection makes me pretty certain. This wasn’t an accident.

    Especially since the Epstein connection was noted in initial reports of the crash… but omitted in every story I’ve seen that describes why the plane crashed. And of course those initial reports appear to have been scrubbed; I can’t find anything in mainstream sources to connect Dr. Daniel P. Greenwald to Jeffery Epstein.

  269. Antoinetta, yes indeed. Especially if President Pence reverses Trump’s core policies immediately after taking office, I’d expect to see serious insurgencies within weeks.

    Tripp, funny! Thank you.

    Aziz, close reading of her writings, including quite a bit that wasn’t originally meant for public distribution. As for the secret space program, no, that’s not an interest of mine.

    Owen, I look forward to seeing the results if you try to get the people who are praising socialism just now to agree to that!

    Patricia M, I’m glad you told them that! It may take a while for the message to get through, but sooner or later…

    Yorkshire, of course! The Fishmongers are one of the few surviving medieval guilds, and so are the Freemasons, so the similarities aren’t accidental.

    Irena, for 12 years — from 2003 to 2015 — I was Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). My official title now is Archdruid Emeritus, but “former archdruid” will certainly do.

    Your Kittenship, thanks for this.

    David BTL, I’ve heard some of the same tone. It’ll be interesting to see how things fall out from here.

    Jbucks, the US public school system is a mess, ranging from substandard down to appalling, and it’s been getting worse for a good many years. Exactly what will happen to it, though, is a complex question I can’t yet answer. As for the post on conservative conservation, it’s one I’m considering.

    Chris, thank you! I’ve heard endless chatter about food forests, and a small number of people who’ve claimed they were planting one on a small scale. I have yet to hear of anybody who’s actually getting a significant part of their nourishment from one here in the US. All in all, I suspect it’s yet another of those daydreams that stock the imaginations of so many Walter Mittys these days.

    Dusk Shine, yes, I heard about that. It would be interesting to know how many other people with close ties to Epstein, and potential access to awkward information about him, either have suddenly died in odd accidents or are about to…

  270. @Tude & @Isaac & all Ecosophians,

    I now have an archived mp3 recording of the Kid Krusty Comeback Special of folk punk music up on my dreamwidth site here: https://sothismedias.dreamwidth.org/2983.html . It is available for your download or streaming pleasure. A full set list and links to the bands I played is also on that page.

    I really like the “Folk Roots, New Routes” album too… but I think my favorite is still “No Roses” which she did with the Albion Country Band. Yet, really, all the stuff Shirley did with her sister Dolly is amazing.

    I hope everyone here has a great first week of December. Hail Krampus!

  271. https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/newspolitics/impeachment-shows-unelected-government-employees-are-heart-of-democracy-opinion/ar-BBXxRec

    I was really hoping this was satire, but as I read it, my heart sank when I realized that he was serious. How the ever-living frack is it possible for unelected officials to be the heart of a democracy?

    Also, a few days ago I was part of a conversation which ties two themes here together: someone was talking about electric trucks, and someone else said that Musk really should work on self-driving trucks. The reason being that then truck drivers would either starve, or be forced to get jobs which expose them to the communities they hurt by supporting Trump.

    “It’s not like truckers do much travelling, after all,” was probably not the brightest thing to say, but the explosion was quite entertaining…..

  272. Mr. Greer:

    It seems I have forgotten to order “Hali: Red Hook”, so reading my new copy of “Hali: Arkham” will have to wait a bit!

    My plan from this spring to finish lots of handcrafts/sewing/knitting seems to have come to an almost complete halt sometime in July… I can either blame unfavorable astrological alignments, or the fact that I finished the easy projects first, and ended up with just the half-knit sweaters left in the list. I think I’ll see if I can sew a few things and get a few more done by the end of the year.

    A question: I think that I could have a clean, organized house if I gave up either paid employment, or one or more of my hobbies. Suppose I swapped one of my hobbies for the study of magic, and attempted to cast spells related to successful housekeeping? Would casting spells be more or less effective than just spending the same amount of time doing the cleaning? (this is really a metaphor related to “conservation of energy”, which is part of my mental toolkit.)

    Does anyone have ideas of Krampus themed decorations I can add to my office environment? I suppose small burlap sacks with legs sticking out might get the point across?

  273. Hi Nastarana,

    I can’t help thinking that ‘free market’ is a dangerous obsession of our own civilization.

    So freedom is dangerous…

    the greed and sloth of property owners

    … and private property is greedy and slothful?

    You engage in free market transactions daily and have almost certainly owned and later sold property of some kind. Would you describe your own actions as dangerous, greedy and slothful? If not, why, and where’s the critical distinction? I’m truly curious.

  274. About planting trees and food forests. I started with this long before I ever heard of permaculture. I planted Japanese walnuts and some other nuts trees. They are more than 10 years old. I have not gotten any nuts. Fruit trees here don’t do well. You can grow apples, and a few people have a little bit of success with peaches or plums, but that’s about it. I never thought of them as providing more than a little bit of food. We have paw paw trees, and plenty of wild black walnuts. There is a kind of hazelnut, but very small and hard to shell. We have lots of domestic and wild berries. Blueberries, blackberries and wonderful wild black raspberries. But I have planted many fruit trees with no success.

    About planting trees. They grow here like weeds. The young trees come up in my vegetable garden every year and I have to get them out. It seems that most of the world is forested if left alone, and most places without trees had them removed for buildings and such. I guess there is still lots of space left for the deliberate planting of trees, but not here where I live.

  275. @Nastarana:
    David Graeber’s “Debt” documents how Adam Smith’s free-market rhetoric was copied from Islamic tracts, up to the exact metaphors used, such as the nail factory. The irony is that in Islamic states the rulers and the merchants usually either maintained their distance or were distinctly hostile to each other, while European capitalism took off with the state-guaranteed monopolies of the East India and West India Companies.That means Islamic societies were nearer to the ideal “free market” than Western ones have ever been. A popular maxim was that Allah established the equilibrium between supply and demand, and that in case of famine the ruler should be charitable but not regulate the price of food.

    Remember also that Islam maintained the prohibition of usury that Christianity gradually gave up. The population therefore had less reason to hate merchants and less reason to desire interference by rulers into the market. Limited companies, shell companies, trusts and so forth all flourish because of interest payment.

    Another interesting comparison is that the most developed region of China on the eve of the Industrial Revolution, the Yangtse delta, had a much more perfect market economy than England: millions of small farmers, hundreds of thousands of small middlemen and nobody accumulating enough profit to build a capitalistic society.

  276. Hi Justin Patrick Moore,

    “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

    Sorry. Given the season, and given that you’re in Cincinnati, I couldn’t resist. 😄🦃

  277. JMG and Investingwithnature,

    My experience with the permaculture community suggests that biodynamic philosophy isn’t actually compatible with mainstream Permaculture (TM). Its dependence on astrological timing alone would disqualify it from being taken seriously by permaculture’s more materially-minded spokesmen and women.

    And heaven help you if you mention anything about grinding up crystals to add to the compost…

    Just my .02 though.

  278. Walt F.:
    There can be such a thing as too much DIY. 😉

    My husband is incredibly handy; he’s an electrician by trade, but working in construction allows him to watch plumbers, carpenters, roofers, etc. do their jobs and ask lots of questions. As a result, he can fix/build/install almost anything and do it correctly. The problem is that, like everyone else, he only has 24 hours in a day and hates hiring anyone to do a job that he knows how to do. Result: we are awash in not-quite-done and not-yet-started projects; some will never be done as long as he insists on doing the whole thing himself. I’m really pushing to hire someone (or better, several someones) to rebuild our back porch – not because John can’t do it (he can), but because we can’t afford to have the back door, our primary exit/entrance, unusable for the amount of time it would take him to finish.

    The discussion here of the Catholic church is really, really interesting. A few short years ago I would never have considered darkening the door of any church, but over the past year I have felt a tremendous pull towards traditional Catholicism and will probably end up there.

  279. At Kay Robison

    In re: Serenity Prayer:

    One problem I’ve always had with this couplet, is that it implies that one should change whatever they could. No mention of wisdom also including the idea that even if I can change something, maybe I shouldn’t. The concept of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is entirely absent.

    I’ve personally seen this is places I worked at and where I live. Somebody new in management is hired, and they soon start upending longstanding ways various things are done. The result was considerably increased dysfunction, and when asked why the changes were made, I was simply told: “Well, we just wanted to try something new.” Obviously no attempt at any analysis or critical thinking, just a sappy optimism that says: This looks good! Let’s try it.”

    And when things don’t work as well as they were before, no one wants to admit that the change or experiment had failed, so one remains with a degraded operation.

    Antoinetta III

  280. I thought you might like this article:
    https://oregonpuc.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=406&meta_id=20877
    Last I heard, 18000 MW of thermal generation is scheduled to come off line in the Western Interconnect in the next decade or so. Maybe it is more now. It seems like too much too fast to me. All fossil generation, and nuclear, is unpopular politically. We really do use the Natural Gas, along with lots of Hydro, to firm the renewables. The next decade may get interesting.

  281. Isaac Salamander Hill,

    Thank you for standing up for permaculture and talking about the associated initiatory experience that often accompanies its discovery. My own experience of it nearly 11 years ago was very much like that. And I was an ecologist before that discovery! It was life-changing, and that sort of experience often produces zealots, of which I was also one when I first arrived in these hallowed halls.

    (And like plenty of other sincere permies I never bothered with the whole official certification thing…)

    Like yours and others’, my gardening is as annual as it is perennial. In fact I haven’t thought in terms of one or the other since the very beginning. In my first garden after catching the permaculture bug I planted garlic, tomatoes, and calendula in the middle just as enthusiastically as I planted the hazelnut hedge along the northern border to block the Chinook winds hurtling down at their tender shoots.

    That’s the actual difference in permaculture thinking of course: stacking functions, not perennial vs. annual. As those hazelnut bushes grew large enough to make a caloric contribution to our diet they also grew thick enough to shelter our garden from damaging north winds, and block the view of it from the dissenting neighbor next door.

    That’s what makes permacultural approaches different from trad organic et al. It’s the consideration of each element’s *relationship* to a larger body of needs, most of which are probably NOT caloric, that makes it so energizing and revolutionary to suddenly get your head wrapped around.

    Cheers.

  282. At Dusk Shine

    Should Pence come to power in a counter-coup with the help of the military as you suggest, what is the likelihood that he will use the opportunity to declare himself as President for Life, and/or dissolving Congress and the courts, etc.

    Lots of room for mischief and monkey-business if Trump prematurely departs the scene.

    Antoinetta III

  283. JMG, I can’t afford an indulgence after our big monthly trip to the store; however, if you’d like to buy in on league formation for housebreaking-as-a-sport, I’d put the $ to bad use and go indulgence shopping…🐶

  284. Dear Matthias Gralle , thank you for your most enlightening post. I wonder where did Adam Smith get Islamic tracts? Did he read Arabic?

    TJ, I wonder how exactly do you define ‘freedom’? To me the word has nothing to do with people can get rich, but with equality under the law–honored in the breach, but still, in principle– and government of, by and for the people. Does ‘freedom’ for you include allowing foreign business persons to own American real estate? What about an estimated 500,000 homeless in the USA? Is that part of freedom?

    The right loves, lately, to point to the homeless problem in CA, naming Dem. office holders as responsible parties, but the “free market’ can solve that? And, speaking of CA Democratic office holders, maybe someone can explain how come Feinstein gets a pass? I guess if you sit on Important committees like Intelligence, you are no longer responsible for problems back home?

  285. Regarding The Color Out of Space – my rule of thumb is, if Nicholas Cage is in it, the movie is going to be terrible. The January release date also bodes ill – that’s the time of year where movies get sent to die.

  286. Onething,

    Sorry for my delay in responding; Thanksgiving gave way to a trip to the other side of the state.

    My point re: not being able to argue with such a person really has to do with motivation. My sense is that someone cannot be reasoned into a motivation except by tying into some other motivation they already have (e.g. “You don’t particularly want to go to the park, but your kids would enjoy it.”). Your system provides such a motivation: being good is good for you.

    This is the stated or unstated assumption of every reasonable ethical system I’ve ever seen, except maybe Kantian ethics (but even he smuggles it in the back door). It seems to me that the appeal to blunt “You should/should not do X” imperatives starts a slippery slope from (a) shorthand for “X is good/bad [for a reason you already know]”, to (b) superstitious taboos (when the original reason has been forgotten), to (c) morality as justification for bullying.

    For example: “Don’t drink alcohol; it clouds your judgment,” becomes “Don’t drink alcohol (you know why not),” to “Don’t drink alcohol (we just don’t do that here),” to “Anyone who drinks alcohol is scum.”

    I didn’t get my ideas on moral motivation from university, but from C.S. Lewis. In Mere Christianity, he conceded that any argument for why someone should be, e.g., kind is bound to be circular: “You should be kind?” “Why should I be kind?” “Because it would be good for others?” “Why should I care about others?” “Because you should be kind.”

    (This is not my view: I personally think Lewis only got stuck in that circle because he temporarily got stuck at the “superstitious taboos” stage. And also because he had a different answer later in the book.)

  287. Have any of you seen this latest piece of agitprop from Rolling Stone magazine, complete with the usual mix of paranoid conspiracy theories and Russophobic fearmongering that used to be associated with far right wingnuts and has now beem appropriated by mainstream liberal Democrats?

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/russia-troll-2020-election-interference-twitter-916482/amp/

    The Dems, the MSM and the rest of the liberal establishment really are running scared, aren’t they?

  288. JMG,

    Out of curiosity, what’s your view on the debate over IQ?

    The two main positions seem to be “IQ is a fundamentally flawed measure, as evidenced by the fact that it tends to rank white people and Asians higher than other groups,” and “IQ is a fundamentally sound measure, and white people and Asians really are just smarter.”

    Then there’s Nassim Taleb’s position, which is, “IQ measures something real, but it’s almost completely irrelevant outside academia.”

    Then there’s Hotel Concierge, who puts it down to The Desire To Pass Tests (TDTPT), a value held much more strongly by white and Asian cultures than most others. (Years ago, I noticed something like TDTPT as a component of the New Atheism: they stopped believing in the Test-Giver but somehow kept believing in the Test.)

    My own view tends toward the last two, with a nod to Clare W. Graves: a group develops the sort of values that best fit its social and physical environment, and groups where immediate survival is an ongoing concern aren’t going to foster the sort of cognitive capacities that are good for taking IQ tests.

    (There’s also the morphic resonance angle. One thing I’ve never seen mentioned in this debate is that the tests are periodically renormalized, I think every year. If Sheldrake’s ideas are correct, then the better a group does on the test, the better their descendants will do just by building up the group resonance.)

  289. Beekeeper, welcome aboard; right now traditional Catholicism needs all the help we can get!

  290. @JMG,

    Since you’ve mentioned the Book of Genesis, I’m curious to know what your thoughts are about the passage where man is given dominion “over all the Earth.” This attitude of man as overlord of nature has come in for quite a bit of criticism in your blogs, though it seems to always be in the context of Francis Bacon and “man’s conquest of nature,” or the temporary illusions of power borne of mankind’s current fossil fuel high.

    Obviously, the Genesis passage is much older than this, and the sort of power over the elements that some human beings currently have was quite beyond the imaginations of that book’s original audience. So what do you think was actually going through the minds of the Jewish priests or elders who first put pen to paper to declare man the overlord of all creation?

  291. TJ, I wonder how exactly do you define ‘freedom’?

    noun:the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

    Hi Nastarana,

    The standard definition is a good one. As with Liberty, It’s simply the ability to do as you please as long as it does no harm to anyone, any creature, or any property that doesn’t belong to you.

    Equal opportunity and equal justice — both of which we strive for but do not (and may ultimately never) have — are meant to prevent anyone or anything from inhibiting you from fully exercising your freedom. Who owns what, how rich they are (or are not) and where or how they live is up to individuals and their efforts.

    Homelessness itself isn’t at all an issue of freedom, although it’s a valid choice if one is so inclined. I sincerely doubt many have made that choice, more that our “progressive” society has made it for them.

  292. I understand if you weren’t interested and didn’t take it seriously, as it’s rather a tired and comical thing in American mainstream culture, but it’s quite a fascinating subject for me (the space program in general) since I believe it should venture eventually to the spiritual, even though I doubt our current leaders are evolved and initiated enough to make such contact, but there might be exceptions, I dream of the day when mundane and spiritual technology is conjoined! If you know what I mean.

    BTW, since you love storytelling, I’ve been meaning to tell you about this awesome cognitive scientist named Ted Goranson, not sure if you’re familiar with him. He wrote hundreds of film reviews on IMDb based on his interesting background and theories, he have been working on projects about the dynamics and patterns of films and their direct relation and influence on our reality, he even use and quote the Qabalah, and has special interest for Shakespeare, Carrol’s Alice and the Beatles, claiming all are connected by a singular thread if I understood him correctly.

    The links below are to his site and reviews:
    http://filmsfolded.tedgoranson.com/key_ideas/cinematic_machines.html
    https://www.imdb.com/user/ur0643062/?ref_=ur_urv

  293. @JMG

    What’s your thoughts on demonic possession and the apparent positive effects of exorcism. Of course after a proper psychiatric and health checkout to confirm

    Why does exorcisms work in many cases? Many people turn their lives around and are no longer bothered by such spirits.

  294. @James Jensen, if I may:

    I know you asked JMG, but I can’t resist chipping in a bit. 10 years ago I watched a colleague doing experiments to pinpoint the genetic base of docility vs. aggressiveness in Russian foxes (the greater idea was that maybe humans have self-selected for the same docility genes). Groups of foxes had been selected over decades, that is several tens of generations, for either high aggressiveness or high docility. For my colleague’s experiments (since published), 10 of the most aggressive and 10 of the least aggressive foxes were interbred, each male with each female; that first offspring generation was again exhaustively interbred, and all members of the second offspring generation were tested for their first reaction towards a human hand (protected by a metal glove!) and had their genome sequenced.

    As long as you can’t, or won’t, force humans to interbreed according to a research programme, your estimates of heritability for any human trait like intelligence will stand on very shaky feet. I think it would be foolhardy both to claim it is 0% or that it is higher than 0%. Moreover, it should be ground for suspicion when people claim intelligence is 80% heritable. Traits like milk-giving or weight gain in cows, which have been measured very reliably for obvious reasons, are much less heritable than that.

    You will note I haven’t even entered the discussion what intelligence means and what an IQ test actually measures.

    Finally, I still look forward to JMG’s post about “races”. Suffice it to say that “white” and “Asian”, much less “African”, don’t exist from a genetic point of view. There might be some validity in testing Okinawans vs. Togolese vs. Icelanders vs. Yamomami vs. Tasmanians, or whatever.

  295. I came across a random bit of silly russiaphobia on the internet this morning. “The Republicans have sold out our contry to the Russians.”

    Got my gears turning. This sort of derangement felt failure…. oh I remember! It reminds me of the Neo-Conservative Islamophobia right after 9/11. The sort of paranoid thinking and all.

    Got be thinking on parallels. The first is the way that when one political group tries to vilify a group an equal and opposite political force will find sympathies. I am still amused by the way that the radical left became protective of Islamic culture, even though there seems to be some cognitive back flips required. Similar a lot of folks are beginning to find begrudging or enthusiastic admiration for Russia. And in a sweet irony I have witnessed alot of the adoration come from yellow flag libertarians, which is just as funny as a SJW’s adoration of Islamic Law. I think the group that falls for either scapegoat does so for projective reasons. One fundamentalist religious group vilifying another, one statist ideology vilifying another.

    Second even though the push to find an external enemy has switched parties, by my sight the push is coming from the same faction, which having switched parties had to find another target for shadow projection.

    Finally it shows how much of current political though come about from what I call negation of the self. Each faction defining itself as a rejection of some facet of American culture, and when vilifying another group prompting a knee jerk imitation of that group in another American faction. This implies to me that there is no American belief in its own National identity except at the most cynical and naive ears of the bell curve.

  296. JMG,
    What are your thoughts about business regulations? What set of regulations, you think, can make sure that businesses don’t exploit people or dump the externalities on the public on one hand; and also make sure that bureaucratic intermediaries don’t insert themselves into the process and demand their share of the pie (legally or illegally) on the other hand. Obviously, utopia would be the only place where such perfect things exist. But what about Retrotopia? I vaguely remember reading about share trading restrictions, but what about stuff like zoning, licensing, taxes, minimum wages and insurance?

  297. I was made aware that there are severely abridged versions of the Bible available. So abridged that they have 2-3 lines from each book, ignoring over 90% of the text. Because the full Bible is “so difficult to understand” Yes, that’s the actual reason given. I made post on Facebook saying this and mentioning that so many fundamentalists and evangelicals seem to be using a totally different version of the Bible. This immediately set of the usual replies of “Bible Bad!! “and “Science Good!” None of them grasping that billions of people do indeed believe the Bible is in many ways, the word of god. I mentioned nothing about the validity of the book itself but got replies attacking the validity. Talk about button pushing and triggering! I removed the post, because I got tired of pointing out to them that the post had nothing at all to do with validity, and everything to do with the severely restricted text. *sighs*

  298. @Nastarana:
    I am not an intellectual historian myself; the transmission may have been indirect, but Graeber also cites a study by Hosseini (1998) who noted that “Smith’s personal library contained the Latin translations of some of the works of Persion (and Arab) scholars of the medieval period”. That is not too surprising, since most of medieval European philosophy had been based on Arab translations or on Islamic philosophers themselves, such as Avicenna and Averroes.

    Re-reading Graeber’s chapter, I was struck by the interesting discussion of how the medieval philosophers regarded money as virtual (“gold and silver are like prepositions in a sentence, they have no value in themselves”) and how they regarded free market interactions as not necessarily competitive. Truly a great deal of profound reflections was abandoned at the beginning of the modern period!

  299. Mr Greer, I was going through Dark Age America again recently and you mention towards the end of chapter 6 that there are a few areas of modern science that you find questionable. I have always been intrigued by what those are. Thank you.

  300. JMG: “Irena, for 12 years — from 2003 to 2015 — I was Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). My official title now is Archdruid Emeritus, but “former archdruid” will certainly do.”

    Archdruid Emeritus it is then! Thanks for the reply.

    @James M. Jensen II (and anyone else interested in IQ)

    Here’s my favorite article about population level IQ differences:

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/race-iq-and-wealth/

    I recommend reading the whole thing, but in a nutshell, he argues that an increase in national wealth causes an increase in average IQ (no, not the other way around).

    Personally, I suspect that IQ tests do measure something real, but (a) that something is only partly innate, and (b) be very, very careful when comparing results for people from different cultures.

  301. JMG,

    Rereading – again… 🙂
    In Chorazin, Owen at one point wonders what the Europeans did at Elk Hill and why the killings in Greenland. The first gets an answer. Will the second?

  302. A joke passed between Russian workers during their bygone days of socialism:

    “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us!” 😉

  303. @Walt F

    We have an “on demand” system hooked up to our oil burner, and that is our “hot water.” It can be quite uncomfortable in the winter. Can you share more detail of how you coped without hot running water? We have a pretty ordinary old house whose one bath is upstairs and of course the stove is downstairs. Were you carrying pans of hot water up stairs? Were you bathing in dishpans? Do you just have a one-story house?

    @Everyone

    Can anyone help me / point me somewhere I can learn more about solar water heaters? I’ve been interested in them for a long time (thanks, JMG) but I’m overwhelmed at all the claims out there…and worried about Legionnaires’ disease. Also, I’m decrepit and can’t DIY it, so I’d need to hire someone and we’d need to be on the same page…any tips on how to find such a person? I’m in RI if anyone knows of anyone.

    @JMG

    You mentioned your published writing on the Axial Age–was that the article that’s included in /The Task of Philosophy in the Anthropocene/? Is there more? I’d like to read the article, but that book is super expensive (treated as a textbook)–is it published anywhere else?

  304. Dear John et al,

    I was wondering, what product do you use for washing your enviable hair and luxuriant beard? 😀
    I presume it’s something organic instead of synthetic shampoo. And also what about organic alternatives to toothpaste, and dishwashing liquid?
    Anyone welcome to respond.

  305. The following article clearly demonstrates one of the ways the leftist movement has it totally backwards: https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-12-03/catabolism-capitalisms-frightening-future/. The grim future, which the author describes, is rather already a reality in Western countries, but not in all of them to the same degree. And then he goes on to blame populists like Trump, Boris Johnson and the like for policies which their predecessors pursued and which the populists are beginning to reverse. Particularly revealing is the railing against nationalism (“pompous, authoritarian nationalism”). The solutions proposed by the author are, of course, the usual solutions promoted by professional leftist activists.

  306. @kiashu

    re: glyphosate resistance: Thanks for that! Most news about glyphosate is so depressing… that’s the first hopeful thing I’ve read about the stuff in years. In my imagination, that farmer starts raising his barnyard grass as a commercial crop and selling the seeds as a remediation tool for contaminated fields 😉

  307. What happened in Greenland? I never had any doubt. “All put to the sword” is The Radiance covering its collective rear end by eliminating all the possible witnesses to the bit of sorcery they did at Elk Hill. Probably sent a boat full of men-at-arms to Greenland as soon as the first fleet was out of sight to do the deed.

  308. Thank you Tripp for your thanks! Yes! Permaculture is about relationships, whole systems, and that kind of seeing is very valuable… there are other ways to get there obviously, and there’s not really anything new about permaculture, except making all these connections explicit maybe. But it’s been very helpful for me and a lot of other people.

    Permaculture is like occultism. Many people get excited about it, but few are really willing to do the work and stick with it. That’s what it always comes down to it seems.

    As for large scale food forests, Mark Shepard at New Forest Farm is a great example of large scale forest gardening that produces a large amount of calories in a regenerative ecosystem. Obviously forest gardens are not suitable for every situation, but it it a great tool in the tool belt. It’s usually just one element within a larger system too.

  309. Regarding IQ, if I may;

    Certainly IQ measures something, but I think that the issue is that people conflate whatever it measures with something a little more close to home: human worth.

    It’s a very tempting option, especially to intellectuals, “this number equals how much you’re worth!” If I remember correctly, Jordan Peterson took this to its rather crass conclusion, and explained in one of his videos that IQ determines how much money you can make over your lifetime if you apply yourself!

    And so you have a number that people with a weak sense of self can hold on to to give them a sense of specific worth and even rank. Of course, it is, to my mind at least, as utterly arbitrary as one’s shoe size. That said, a shoe size is something very real, and knowing that one is a lady’s 5 or a men’s 13 or what have you may actually be more useful than knowing one’s IQ.

    Because with a knowledge of shoe size you can accurately purchase shoes. With a knowledge of IQ, what does that get you? As far as I can see it, a big IQ may, ultimately, help one pick up big college debt. As Robert Mathiesen has pointed out, someone with a highly developed intellect can be a sucker, in fact, con artists may specifically target those with big IQs since they may be especially blind to their own weaknesses.

    While it may be a comforting idea to scientifically define human worth, I’m heavily and deeply skeptical and see the emotional-froth around IQ as legacy of the whole eugenics hang-up.

    A big IQ seems to me such an abstract place to rest one’s laurels. It’s one thing to be a mathematician, an engineer, or a chessmaster. It’s quite another to simply have a number on which prop up one’s identity. To the best of my knowledge being tested and found to have an unusually high IQ gives one the opportunity to join MENSA in which you have the privilege of rubbing elbows with other people who have taken tests to determine they have unusually high IQs. I confess I’ve shuddered at the thought of being a fly on the wall of a MENSA gathering in which everyone brags about their number: “Ha! I’m a 180! Top quarter of a percent!” “Nice to meet you! I’m a 160 — but it doesn’t slow me down any!” This, to my mind, is at the realm of Quixotic parody — I imagine that for the big MENSA galas, the name tags have a printed IQ score in place of the name!

    The deeper issue to my mind is that North Americans tend to lack the correct tools for constructing meaningful identities. The land has a certain genius which it instills into its inhabitants. The genius of the Vision Quest, Medicine Powers, etc. IQ seems to me to something like a poor approximation or crude parody of a Medicine Power, or this is, at least, how North Americans seem to identify it. The thing is, to my understanding, a Medicine Power isn’t something that you use to prop up identity, it’s something that you _live in and through and within_ and something that _lives in and through and within you_. It’s a transcendent relationship, essentially, not a mere social club.

  310. My ecumenical Xmas cactus has a nice yellow flower on every branch feel free to apply them to your holiday!

  311. Hi JMG,

    This is an I Forgot About Magic Monday question, hoping to get it in here under the wire.

    This is about Geomancy questions with multiple terms, of the “If I do X, how will it affect Y?”

    For example:

    If I begin working with this course in Occult Philosophy, how will it affect my marriage?

    Or

    If I start practicing the SOP, how will it affect my health?

    If I marry this person, how will it affect my career?

    My questions are:

    1. Given a question structure like this, which of the following would you do?

    Option A: Multiple Charts.

    So, Chart 1: What will be the result if I start this course in Occult Philosophy? House 1=Me, House 9=the Course, answer determined by the figures in the houses and their relationship. Other houses ignored except where indicated by conjunction, translation, mutation and company of houses.

    Chart 2: If I start this course in Occult Philosophy, how will it affect my marriage? In this chart, House 1=Me taking the course, House 7=my marriage, other houses ignored except where indicated by conjunction, translation, mutation or company of houses.

    Option B: One Chart, Multiple Significators

    In this chart, House 1 is me, House 9 is the course in Occult Philosophy, House 7 is the marriage, and the relationships between the figures and houses are read accordingly.

    Option C: Something Else.

    2. Does the answer change if there are multiple terms involved? If, for example, I want to see how practicing the SOP would affect my home life (4), my children (5), my health (6), my marriage (7), and my career (10), would you (Option A) cast one chart, with House 1 being me, House 8 being the SOP, and the other houses read accordingly?

    Or, (Option B) would you cast one overall chart for the SOP, and then individual charts for each of the particular terms?

    And, if the answer is Option B, does House 1 in that chart mean “Me, practicing the SOP,” with the 8th house ignored, OR would you use a series of 3-significator charts– so, Chart 1: House 1 is Me, House 8 is the SOP, House 4 is my home life; Chart 2: House 1 is Me, House 8 is the SOP, House 6 is my career?” and so on.

    Thanks in advance.

  312. Will J, remember that all this centers on maintaining the power of the managerial class, of which government bureaucrats are charter members. Since “democracy” in the current Newspeak means “the system of government that gives the managerial class whatever it wants,” it all makes perfect sense…

    Your Kittenship, thanks for this!

    Sylvia, nope. If you want a clean house, you need to do housework. Magic won’t substitute. In the same way, people who want to get rich by practicing magic are barking up the wrong tree; you get rich by putting all your efforts into making lots of money and spending as little as possible. That’s why so few mages are rich — although competent mages are always able to pay their bills.

    Tripp, fair enough! For my part, if people want to practice Permaculture, by all means — it’s not a concern of mine, and if it works for them, wonderful. I simply got tired of people pushing it at me with the enthusiasm of a newly born-again Pentecostalist who wants to tell me all about Jesus — and that happened way too often for my tastes. (And, as already noted, I get good results with double-dug beds and planting by the Moon…)

    BCV, oof! Thanks for this. Yes, things may get very interesting indeed; I wonder how many people will be as enthusiastic for renewables when they get told that they’re only getting six hours of electricity today because there’s not a lot of wind just now.

    Your Kittenship, funny. “Competitive Housebreaking” sounds like the title of an album by Snakefinger or the Residents!

    Cliff, so noted! I don’t plan on watching it anyway. If you really need a bad movie fix, the 1965 Boris Karloff vehicle Die, Monster, Die! was also (loosely) based on “The Color Out Of Space,” and stinks on ice.

    Jacurutu, yes, but there’s more going on than that. The Democratic establishment has basically turned into the John Birch Society at this point, finding evil Russians under every bed. Expect a similar reversal to affect the GOP — and how that’s going to play out will be fascinating in the extreme.

    James, nobody has yet been able to come up with a generally acceptable definition of intelligence, other than “whatever it is that IQ tests measure.” There are interesting correlations between IQ score and a range of social and psychological factors, but to some extent it’s a statistic floating in midair, a number that measures something or other, and relates to some other numbers, some of which measure things we can identify.

    Wesley, I have no idea. It seems to me to represent the most insane sort of hubris — and it’s one of the core reasons I’m not and will never be a member of any religion that considers the Bible to be literally true.

  313. I know this is a little late in the week to be noticed most likely, but just caught this article in passing and thought it related to the discussion of the Second Religiosity and turn towards more inward, less dogmatic ways of religion.

    https://forge.medium.com/the-self-help-movement-that-is-upending-american-christianity-9ce381e10d4f

    I’ve seen this phenomenon coming slowly from the fringes with my Christian friends, but since I have been out of that sphere of influence for a few years now, I was surprised to read how much of a big deal the Enneagram has become in evangelical circles, particularly with Millennials and Gen Z. I read a few Enneagram books in my transition out of Christianity to more direct occult philosophy. I thought it was helpful in many ways, but ultimately it left me unsatisfied and I tread into deeper territory, but my perspective is that the Enneagram is providing a safe way and acceptable path to more “occult” ways of thinking for Christians who have for so long felt stuck in dogmatic and unsatisfying religious dogmatism.

  314. @Lordyburd:

    For the care and cleansing of luxuriant locks: I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, followed by a diluted vinegar rinse (in lieu of conditioner).

    For teeth: I brushed with plain old baking soda for some time: effective and cheap as dirt, but not pleasant. Thanks to a discussion of tooth powder a couple of open posts ago, I have upgraded to a mix of baking soda, bentonite, and calcium carbonate (basically chalk dust). Still works great, but without the salt burn feeling 🙂 Some people further goose this recipe with xylitol and flavorings, but I have not found it necessary.

    Haven’t got a good dishwashing recommendation, but will check back to see if anyone else does!

  315. Hi JMG,

    So far in his, and the pup’s, training, Fastleft has lost 4 pounds and one sock. It’s the sport of the future, I tell ya!

    Invest now, get in on the ground floor!

    One good side of global warming: fewer Xmas puppy owners will be standing outside in their pajamas, shivering as snow works its way into their slippers at oh-dark-thirty. 🐶😄

  316. Re: bacteria that eat herbicide – I passed the link on to a friend,who answered “We had a quince bush that positively *loved* Round up. We had to dig it out by hand.”

    Re: affirmations, TSW: Starting a program to get back my leg strength and flexibility and endurance after having the in wraps and boots all October to cure the long-standing lymphedema – I went into the supermarket with the idea “My legs and feet will hold up to this,” and fairly soon during the shopping it turned into a chant – in an Irish accent which gave me a forced rhyme – “My legs and feet are doing great!” Which worked so well said legs went into a rather wobbly high-stepping strut. I suffered a lot less than on any other shopping trip for a long time!

  317. With regards to Russia, I recently came across a comment by a Russian blogger. He said that with the Russian Army and Aerospace Force modernization programs under way, Putin announced emphasis will shift to the Russian Navy starting in 2020. Among the highlights:

    – The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile will go into full scale production and deployment starting next year. In addition, a larger and more powerful version of the Kalibr long range cruise missile is under development, with a 4500 km maximum range and a 1000 kg warhead.

    – The Lavina class amphibious assault ships are a top priority. Two will start construction next year in Sevastopol and a total of six are currently planned. Production of the Ivan Gren class tank landing ships is also being restarted.

    – Next generation cruisers and destroyers are another top priority. There are two classes planned; the Leader class nuclear powered guided missile cruisers, intended as a replacement for the Kirov and Slava classes, and the Project 22350M Super Gorshkov class destroyers, which are based on the Admiral Gorshkov class frigates but are bigger and carry a much larger load of missiles. The Russian Navy wants 12 Leaders and a minimum of 15 Super Gorshkov’s.

    – Production of new submarines is also being accelerated, as is development of next generation desigms like the Husky class nuclear attack submarines and Kalina class AIP boats. Many older subs like the Oscar class SSGN’s are being modernized as well.

  318. Kiashu, it was inevitable. Nature does that sort of thing.

    Aziz, no, I hadn’t heard of him. I’ll put him on the take-a-look list.

    Info, demons exist, and exorcism is one effective way to chase them off. It seems very straightforward to me! As for the video, thanks, but I don’t do visual media — little jerky images on a glass screen just don’t hold my interest. If you can find something in print, though, I’ll give it a look.

    Ray, it’s fascinating to watch the moderate Left turn into the extreme Right — now let’s see if the extreme Right turns into the moderate Left!

    Ramaraj, there’s no simple formula. The right balance of regulation and liberty is always something that has to be worked out on the basis of trial and error. No regulation produces bad results — we saw that in the Gilded Age here in the US. Too much regulation also produces bad results — we saw that much more recently. Somewhere between the two is the point of balance that produces good results.

    Marlena13, dear gods, that’s insane. It’s also specifically forbidden in the Bible; the last chapter of the Book of Revelations has a very specific warning about abridging the text.

    Michelle, thanks for this. About time! 😉

    MichaelV, I have serious doubts about a good deal of contemporary physics and cosmology — the proliferation of complex gimmickry meant to make something work reminds me far too much of the epicycles that were used to keep the creaking mechanism of Ptolemaic astronomy working long after it was clear it needed to be chucked. My guess is that in the next century or so scientists will conclude that the Big Bang never happened, the red shift is due to something other than movement, and an enormous amount of what passes for basic physics will have been chucked. That’s one example.

    Coop Janitor, in the series as originally sketched out, book 6 would have taken place in Greenland and would have included that information. As it is, the answer will be divided between two future books. Stay tuned!

    Cary, that’s the article. It hasn’t yet been published elsewhere, but it will be coming out next year in an anthology of my essays.

    Lordyburd, I use Dr. Bronner’s organic bar soap, and follow it with a vinegar rinse. I generally use organic soaps for cleaning purposes.

    Booklover, notice that what they’re saying amounts to “In that horrible future, we’ll be treated the way we treat the working class! Oh, woe!” Understandable, I suppose.

    David BTL, too funny. I hear a whistling sound near the graveyard of Democratic hopes…

    Geomancer, I do one chart with multiple significators for an “if I do X, what about Y” questions. So, yes, you look at the figures in the first, ninth, and seventh houses, and consider their meanings and relationships; you also notice if they pass to any other house, and bring that into the reading. If it’s more than two factors besides myself, though, I do multiple readings.

    MichaelV, thanks for this.

    Kwo, fascinating. I wonder how many of them will go on from enneagram studies to Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way…

    Patricia, delighted to hear it.

    Jacurutu, no surprises there — and you’ll note that he’s not making the same mistake as the Chinese and going long on aircraft carriers. I’m surprised not to see more attention being paid to guided missile corvettes — and what’s your take on the focus on amphibious attack? What’s the target?

  319. Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact, but it does seem that everything that dies does, indeed, someday come back. 30 years or so after Malachi Martin warned his readers to stay away from it, the Enneagram pops up again. Who’d have thought? 😄

    Disclosure: I don’t share the ubiquitous American female fondness for personality tests, so I never messed with the Enneagram myself, but believe me, if there was one guy who was an expert on Things Christians Shouldn’t Do, it was Martin. If you know what I mean. 😉. He researched Things We Shouldn’t Do so tirelessly that even the Jesuits finally kicked him to the curb. (Today they’d probably make him Pope.)

  320. Violet,

    The deeper issue for North Americans is the lack of meaningful tools to construct identities. I see it as the core issue for countless youth mental health cases I work with. This is good wording, and if I may, will use this phrase in group therapy.

  321. Hi John,

    Its my understanding the Russians are still building large numbers of corvettes and have a new class going imto production.. I have read that the emphasis on amphibious warfare is based on lessons learned from the military campaigns in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine.

  322. MichealV and Mr. Greer,

    Just thought I’d share a memory from a couple of decades ago…

    When I was an undergraduate taking General Chemistry, my chemistry professor (who also taught the History of Chemistry class every other year), told us that maybe 2/3 of what he was teaching us will be considered wrong 100 years from now.

  323. Lordyburd, I wash my hair with besan (chickpea, garbanzo) flour, two heaped teaspoons mixed to a paste with water, then scrubbed on scalp as per shampoo. Rinse then condition with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a litre of water. I have shoulder length hair and this works just as well as commercial shampoo without any of the downsides, including cost..

  324. @JMG, that is a very interesting take on contemporary physics and I don’t disagree. It is one of those mistakes of man kind to think that we think that we only just now, by mere chance, in the last few decades managed to have the entire rule book in front of us. That is seems so short sighted as I’m sure Issac Newton and Johannes Kepler probably thought the same thing to some degree. At least their quest was to know the workings of God, not to dictate to others their ideas.

    The Big Bang idea is interesting and I do not disagree. Yes, we have tested these theories of the Big Bang and they work fairly well but that is not proof that we have it correct. Relativity works and so does quantum mechanics and yet they are incompatible with each other. We can study both and and the theories make wonderful predictions and yet we know at a fundamental level, neither can be correct.

    The more research that is done into the Big Bang and distant interstellar objects the more questions that are raised and less answers are found. I mean we didn’t even know about other Galaxies until the 1920’s, we are still grappling with how they spin by evoking Dark Matter/Energy. These are the things that make me wish I could live a thousand years just to see how wrong we have it today.

    A gorgeous, wonderful beautiful well thought out theory can be crushed by a single ugly truth.

  325. TamHob,

    I’m very sorry I missed your comment until now. Thank you for the food for thought. Since I reject the “unity of the virtues” doctrine and believe there are genuine conflicts between different values — including between ethical values and other values — the notion of “too much justice” makes quite a bit of sense to me.

    On the subject of categorical imperatives, any time the argument “You should do X because God said so,” is made, what I want to ask is, “OK, but why should I do what God says?” I know that sounds absurd to someone raised in a deontological divine command ethics, but my point is that any persuasive answer to the question (ex: “Because otherwise you’ll be damned to hell”) turns it into a hypothetical imperative!

    I’m not surprised that the Catholic Church gets this right: they officially teach a virtue ethics derived from Aristotle and revised by Aquinas, not a deontological ethics.

  326. @Beekeeper, no doubt! Good reasons for DIY include saving money, practicing skills, applying craft techniques that might not be widely available (such as, if you want real coped corners on your trim molding), and as I hinted before, sidestepping functionaries who want to tell you what you can and cannot build, install, or make. Saving time is not among those benefits, except perhaps in rare circumstances when all the pros in the area are too busy (such as, after a regional disaster). A deck might be okay as a solo DIY project if it can be completed at leisure without the incomplete thing being too much in the way, but not a porch that’s your home’s main entrance.

    I’ve had my share of those not-quite-done projects, and in my experience there’s almost always a reason, a quite specific (but likely not apparent) reason for it other than lack of time. It could be as simple as putting off a step that’s physically uncomfortable (such as getting into some narrow space to hook something up) or something more subtle such as fear of failure or rejection (such as getting work inspected) or indecision (what shade of stain to put on the new shelves). To get through those, concentrate on one project at a time. Prioritize which to attack first not by how long it’s been unfinished, or how close to being finished it seems, but rather, which one’s benefits you’d most appreciate having.

    @Cary, my house is just one story, and it’s also small. In fact, all the plumbed fixtures (kitchen, bath, and laundry closet) are within a ten foot by ten foot area. The stove is actually adjacent to the bathtub/shower, but on the other side of a wall, so the hot bathwater had to be carried about forty feet around four corners.

    I used a five-gallon two-handled stock pot to heat and carry the water in, filling it only four gallons full. Carrying big pots of piping hot water is hella dangerous, the kind of thing you can get away with for a week or two, but if it became routine then over the years someone would be almost guaranteed to get badly hurt sooner or later. I made a little ceremony of it, inspecting the route beforehand each time for any obstacles, warning everyone else present (usually just my wife) to keep clear, and being fully clothed and shod even when I was the one about to bathe.

    I did think about alternative what-if scenarios. If heating water on the stove became the only option permanently, I’d put an insulated five-gallon container next to the stove, with a pipe or hose from its base going directly through the wall to the tub.

    If the tub were in an upstairs room, that would be a much tougher problem. At first I thought about a lid that could clamp down tightly onto the pot, so that if it got dropped on the stairs at least no one would be scalded. But a container and lid strong enough for that would be heavy, and the water itself (staying at four gallons because that’s just enough for a nice, though not luxurious, bathtub bath when mixed with cold water) already weighs over 30 pounds, so the chance for accidents and injury would still be high. Then I thought of a hand pump and a pipe up to the tub, but any simple hand pump pumping very hot water would get too hot to handle (and as a result, also not last long). Then I thought of combining the two: a vessel with a tight-sealed lid, like a pressure cooker, with a pipe connected at its base to carry the water upstairs to the tub, and a hand-operated air pump to pressurize the air in the top of the container to force the water up. But that would be an expensive thing to make or to have made. The most workable idea I can think of would be to rig up a dumbwaiter to lift the pot of water to the upper floor inside a hollow column through a hole in the ceiling via rope and pulleys.

  327. Been a lot of links this week. Sorry for what seems like spamming this comment section this month. Will tone it down next month.

    But it turns out lil Greta Thunberg is at it again and I think that either she has finally jumped the shark or somebody close to her is putting words in your mouth/keyboard.

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/climate-strikes-un-conference-madrid-by-greta-thunberg-et-al-2019-11

    “That action must be powerful and wide-ranging. After all, the climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all. Our political leaders can no longer shirk their responsibilities.”

    Oh dear…

  328. Also, thanks to everyone for the input re: IQ. I won’t have time to read all of the articles and respond before the next post is up, but I’ll try to get to all of them and maybe post a comment on the next open post.

    Irena, I want to thank you especially: I’m about halfway through the article you posted and it meshes well with Taleb’s point that if IQ worked the way race realists think, then by their own standards most of them are “barbarian supremacists” for idealizing the Nordic peoples instead of Mediterraneans.

  329. Dear Mr Greer,

    My question might have already been answered in some recent posts, yet as a recent visitor, I was able to read only a few dozen discussions as of now. If you could point me at relevant posts instead of answering here, it would also be appreciated.

    What are your thoughts on modern trend of sharing, going for arenda instead of buying and generally not-owning stuff? The model ‘one family, one house, two cars and plentora of stuff’ seems to be much less popular with newer generations. I can’t speak for all, but I notice more and more young people both in real life and on internet using resources of others instead of buying those themselves. Cars, houses, pricey things and even mundane items they won’t need later. With trend on the rise, won’t it make emissions and energy usage more limited with time, keeping on par with decline of foccil fuels? Consumerism culture seems to decline slightly more rapidly than our ability to afford it.

    On second note. Energy storage, portable batteries and better capacity. This is one of the major limiting factors preventing renewable energy from becoming a new grid even in consistently sunny areas. While no grand breakthoughs occured recently, batteries keep improving and lithium-ion ones are relatively recent addition (I am young and still remember using different ones in my childhood phone). Do you think there would be more improvement down the road that would make even less efficient renewables much more usable and allow, for example, creation of solar panels on renewable energy only?

  330. Cary, with solar water heating we went with the evacuated tube collectors with a mirror underneath. I don’t think there’s any advantage to flat panel collectors. Solar thermal doesn’t work with combi boilers, as they need a hot water cylinder. Ours is a 200 litre twin coil, with the solar thermal connected to the lower coil. In summer that heats the whole tank. In winter it pre-heats the water before the gas boiler connected to the upper coil takes it the rest of the way up. Because it’s on a thermostat, the boiler will never let the upper part of the cylinder drop below the safe temperature for Legionnaires. If you wanted to combine solar thermal with a heat pump and use it for central heating as well as hot water, you’d probably need a 1000 litre tank. The good designs use antifreeze as fluid so you don’t have to worry about drainback. It also doesn’t have to face south. Ours faces almost due west and after nine years, even without any subsidies, has probably paid for itself. Carbon emissions have certainly reduced and the boiler will likely last longer because it’s not having to work as hard. It’s difficult to say how much it cost as we had the roof relaid at the same time, but £4000-£5000 is usual in Britain.

  331. JMG: ” — it’s not a concern of mine, and if it works for them, wonderful. I simply got tired of people pushing it at me with the enthusiasm of a newly born-again Pentecostalist who wants to tell me all about Jesus —”

    I totally understand that, and regret that I added to an already unpleasant situation for you when I first arrived here 8 years ago. For what it’s worth, I eventually found you – and therefore my Golden Dawn practice, my love of geomancy, discursive meditation, serious journaling, a new and voracious reading habit, affirmation crafting, and this fine commentariat – through permaculture. If that was its only purpose – and of course it wasn’t – it was worth the hype. For me at least.

    Thanks for bearing with me/us.
    Cheers.

  332. Speaking of the wonders of discursive meditation, I was rewarded with a wonderful lucid vision yesterday morning while settling into the spiritus mundi on the way into meditation. I was wrapping up an intense week of detailed examination, attempting to synthesize what I’d learned from the Strength trump, in my bedroom, displaced from my normal practice space by my visiting in-laws. All week.

    This card represents my own sun sign, Leo, of course, and I had just “verbally” committed to deepening my geomantic practice over at Magic Monday the day before, and then worked through a thoroughly shocking divination sequence following that. As I started my breath cycling a landscape suddenly coalesced out of the mist – a sweeping forested mountain valley, peaks rising on both sides, and a cold, clear rushing river flowing out of it right at me, sharp as a photograph.

    Clearly an image of Fortuna Major! What a sight!

    I spent the rest of the day in reverie and awe at what I’d seen. Which was timely, considering I spent 6 hours yesterday afternoon picking my way through nightmare traffic in Atlanta and its northern suburbs, getting my wife’s parents to the airport and then meeting a guy to purchase a Craigslist item well east of home. It was a Winter Solstice gift for my son, and by the time I picked my wife up from the library, an hour and a half late, I was mumbling “I love my son. I love my son. I love my son.”

    But how blessed I felt, despite the insanity of the rest of the day.

    Roar! And now on to the Hermit…

    😊

  333. I read up on the Enneagram once. It seemed like another personality test like the types-and-temperament people; shrugged and dismissed it. Is there more?

    About abridged Bibles – we used to have Bible Stories for Children. Dark Ages missionary monks often had the Psalms and the Gospels in a breviary, IIRC. I think King Alfred would have loved to have had an entire Bible in English, but settled for the basics, again IIRC. But to publish such things as the entire Bible is downright fraud.

    But then, weighing the size of a Bible with print that’s easy on my eyes – eyes. or arms, which to accommodate? – I can actually see the attraction. But – no. Just – no.

  334. MichaelV and JMG,

    There is an amazing book by Eric J. Lerner with title “The Big Bang Never Happened”. The book demonstrates the fallacies and blind alleys of mainstream cosmology, it provides detailed information about the historical development of different cosmological models and their relation to social conditions of their time, and it contains a not-too-technical introduction to Plasma Cosmology Model and its social implications. I highly recommend it. You can download it from here: https://fusion4freedom.com/science/lerner-nobigbang.pdf

  335. To Phutatorius, on Melville: not Moby-Dick but Clarel. You’d need to go to _Clarel._
    After digesting that, you can find Hershel Parker’s blog (fragmentsfromawritingdesk.blogspot.com) and ask.

  336. @John Michael Greer

    Okay. Although I am still curious as to this recent trend of uglification in the past 1-2 centuries. Why was it happening?

  337. JMG, I just had a chance to view the video that commenter Info posted a link to, about the barbarism of modern architecture and how the author thinks it came about. There’s no transcript, but the lecture appears to be essentially a summary of the lecturer’s book, “Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism” by James Stevens Curl. Based on the lecture, I think the book might be well worth a look.

    Imagine Brecken of The Shoggoth Concerto being, instead of a music student, an architecture student who wants to design buildings in traditional styles that harmonize with the landscape, the built surroundings, gravity, and their own materials.

    Curl discusses not only the poverty of the “progressive” architectural styles themselves, but also the dehumanizing and power-hungry forces that have made them practically mandatory for so long, and the damage done as a result.

  338. Hi JMG,

    Long time lurker, first time commenter.

    @Temporaryreality had brought up John Roth’s absence here. I have been friends with John for about six years now and can tell you that a few months ago he entered into hospice care due to a tumor. It’s been over a month since I last heard from him so I can’t speak to his current condition. I know he was a frequent visitor here and obviously people are noticing his absence so I thought I would send an update. I did not necessarily intend for this to be a public comment. However, share with your audience as you see fit.

    Thank you,

    Aaron

  339. > I am still curious as to this recent trend of uglification in the past 1-2 centuries. Why was it happening?

    At some point the inner world is expressed in the outer world. If you’re ugly on the inside, eventually you have to let it – shine – on the outside. If you’re cluttered and disorganized on the inside, you’ll reflect that in a front yard full of junk and broken machinery. You can judge a book by its cover to a certain extent. Not always, but to an extent. If you’re a 3rd world country on the inside, eventually you will look like a broken down dysfunctional 3rd world country for all to see and point at.

    I could say something about all the many regulations that basically forbid you to build anything of beauty, but really, if beauty was something people thought was important, they’d push back to get the regs rewritten so that beautiful things could once again get built. I guess the first step is to seek more beauty and get other people to enjoy it when you find it. That’s where it starts anyway.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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