Open Post

October 2020 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…

Well, with one exception. I’m sure everyone on the planet is well aware that the US is having a presidential election next week. I’m just as sure that everyone has made up their mind what they think of the two contenders. There are many other things going on in the world just now, and quite a few of them are more interesting than which elderly politician is going to preside over the next four years of this one nation’s trajectory through time. So I’m going to ask readers to take discussions about the election somewhere else, and talk about other things this week.

With that said, have at it!

589 Comments

  1. Will Retrotopia have espresso? A post that isn’t about politics.

    I’ve had the distinct pleasure of re-reading Retrotopia recently, the description of daily life in the Lakeland Republic struck a chord as the last few months have furnished me with an example of appropriate technology and diminishing returns.

    I was in the process of moving house as the leading edge of the pandemic hit the UK, and the large shed at the top of my new garden got repurposed as a temporary office with power and internet. Unfortunately it didn’t have a coffee machine. I borrowed the family Nespresso while I researched what I really wanted; and so I fell down the rabbit hole.

    I’ve been drinking espresso for over thirty years without ever looking into the subject very deeply and it came as something of a surprise to discover a community of people (mostly men to be honest) who absolutely obsess over the subject. I spent a few weeks trying to understand what I could but then I was given a gift certificate by the people I work for, good at a large UK department store for various appliances. I ended up with a low end Breville (Sage in the UK) brand machine. There’s a couple of boilers, a switch operated pump, a steam wand, and the various electronic bits inside do the rest. Unfortunately they don’t do a brilliant job. Coffee beans are a natural product with a natural amount of variation and I found it a very hit and miss affair. It was also complicated enough internally that it would probably have to be returned to the manufacturer for repairs. Even on 2 shots a day there was some obvious wear so I could see that happening sooner rather than later.

    More research from the various blogs, youtube channels etc. from the espresso focussed and it seemed to me that in order to get consistently caffeinated in the morning I’d have to get some kind of PID controlled – a PID is essentially a thermostat on steroids – variable pressure, semi-pro espresso machine. These things are wildly expensive starting at around 1200 GBP, and along with coffee grinders they go up to whatever you can afford to pay. Certainly into decent second hand car territory. Nevertheless I started a small jam jar fund that would allow me to get something a bit more capable in a few years time.

    While this was all going on I came across the La Pavoni manual lever espresso machine. Here’s a 40 second clip of one in action in a ’73 James Bond film, and if you can stand video it’s worth watching to the end because it’s funny.

    https://youtu.be/J3UQmKiVH9E

    This design was over ten years old when the film was made, and it’s is still available today with only minor changes. I sold my Breville and obtained one of these instead. That’s when the differences really became apparent.

    First of all, it is an extremely simple design with very little in the way of electronics. The most advanced piece is a pressure sensor that keeps the single boiler at twice atmospheric pressure. It’s electric rather than electronic, but I suspect it could easily be replaced by the kind of weighted vent you find on old pressure cookers. There’s no pump at all. You need about nine times atmospheric pressure to make a real espresso, it all comes from the lever. So they are a fraction of the price of the ‘real’ machines I mentioned.

    Secondly, it’s built like a tank of heavy, chromed brass. It’s quite obviously going to last several decades if it’s treated right and regularly descaled. It will have to be because the water round here is very hard indeed. I live on the South Downs so what comes out of the tap is basically runny chalk. You can buy working pre-owned models on Ebay that are decades old, and I’ve heard stories of them being given away as they are ‘too much work’!

    Thirdly, the design is simple enough that even quite advanced servicing can be done at home and I should think a moderately well equipped machine shop could reproduce the entire machine. One consequence of this is that there’s a small but lively aftermarket of independent suppliers of gauges, temperature strips, wooden handles, and other geegaws, that allow these machines to be extensively customised. I think this design is well within the capabilities of the Lakeland Republic, particularly if they were to power it with the chafing dish burners mentioned in the Weird of Hali series rather than electricity.

    It makes pretty good espresso and the lever allows you to get some kind of feel for the state of the coffee puck itself. I’m hoping that with a bit of practice and some tweaks I may be able to reach excellent espresso on a regular basis. There’s no denying the utterly trivial nature of this particular quest, but decent coffee, like decent beer, is one of those small things that smooths life’s stoney path. Also, this is one of the few things I’ve bought in the last twenty years that I could imagine passing as an heirloom onto my son.

    That’s likely to happen rather sooner than I’d like if my wife finds out how much I spent on the coffee grinder.

    Andy

  2. Happy Halloween, 🎃 everybody!

    Hey, Walt! How’s BitLife work? I know I’m missing something because I hardly ever win the “challenges.”

  3. Today I was standing in an outdoor line at a coffee shop in Portland. Behind me ( socially distanced) were two 30 something woke looking women discussing the virus. As I listened to them it dawned on me why I have seen much more active compliance with approved virus containment measures among the younger and “hipper” members of the population even though they are at least risk for infection or complication. The virus had joined the pantheon of things to be fashionably avoided like gluten, BHP, Synthetic Hormones, Fructose, etc. I am sure there are other reasons, but this one perfectly explains why the restaurants and bars that cater to 30 somethings are empty and the suburban chain restaurants that cater to boomers are full.

  4. John,
    Got any email from Aeon Books this morning saying that “Beyond the Narratives: Essays on Occultism and the Future” and “The UFO Chronicles: How Science Fiction, Shamanic Experiences, and Secret Air Force Projects Created the UFO Myth”.

    Did Dr Whipple decide which books would be removed from the Special Collections that November night?

    John – NJ0C

  5. Dear JMG,

    This may perhaps be a rather obtuse observation and question, but one depressing social factor that really stands out to me in recent years, in US society if not worldwide, is the glaring decline in elementary logical thought, and in critical thinking in general. I find it increasingly impossible to hold almost any sort of debate or argument with most people in recent years, due to the apparent petrification of opinions and biases which are resistant to any and all facts or reason. With so many people nowadays, trying to argue logically and open-mindedly is as futile as trying to teach algebra to a coconut.

    Is this phenomenon just an inevitable part of the “Long Decline”, or is something else possibly at work here?

  6. I’m working with the DMH, and have been working with the deities outlined in the DMH exactly as described during the Elemental Cross and the Calling of the Elements. However, earlier today, I asked Elen through prayer whether she was my patron deity, if I had one, and if not, if she could point me to him/her. A second later, the name ‘Zeus’ popped clearly into my head. So I cast an Ogham reading, a single card reading, to determine whether this was correct.

    I wasn’t in my usual place where I do my morning divination, and so I kind of shuffled the Ogham cards strangely, different than I normally do, and pulled reversed Koad, which indicates that no, Zeus isn’t my patron deity. I did another one-card reading to ask whether the first one was correct, and got reversed Huathe, which indicated it wasn’t, so I cast yet one more reading with my first question, and got Luis upright.

    Do you think I should trust my waffly reading? If Zeus is indeed my patron deity, should I change the deities I invoke during the SOP to the Greek pantheon? If so, what might be a good arrangement of the Greek deities to invoke?

    Lastly, I just remembered that there’s a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction coming up – might that have anything to do with Zeus/Jupiter coming in this way? I just hope my exposure to discussion about the Grand Mutation doesn’t mean I’m deceiving myself…

  7. Hello JMG and all,
    I was wondering if anyone was familiar with the science fiction genre known as solarpunk? A working definition, borrowed from the ‘Solarpunk Manifesto’ published here http://www.re-des.org/a-solarpunk-manifesto/ is as follows;
    “Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion, and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”

    The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and lush, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid.”

    However, the manifesto continues;

    “The “punk” in Solarpunk is about rebellion, counterculture, post-capitalism, decolonialism and enthusiasm. It is about going in a different direction than the mainstream, which is increasingly going in a scary direction.”

    This got me wondering, when and how did environmentalism and conservation become part of the political vocabulary of the left, particularly the pseudo-radical left? Is it just one of the odd legacies of the 1970’s post hippie era or a reaction to the mainstream right abandoning conservation in the 1980’s? I understand the right dropped conservation with Reagan/Thatcher and the ascendancy of neoliberalism/neoconservativism, but I’m not really clear as to the history of how western Marxists adopted the aesthetic. It’s no secret that historical forms of radical socialism don’t have a very positive view of conservation.

    I was wondering if you had any insight, or if there are any histories to read about this topic.

    Regards,
    John

  8. 1) JMG or anyone in the commentariat, I’m wondering if any of you have insights or thoughts about this. In Demian, Demian talks about how humans’ wills conspire together to achieve some outcome which is all unconscious, at least for a time, to the humans. Assuming this is true, and correct me if it isn’t, what exactly is happening from an occult perspective? Are people’s subtle bodies interacting outside of their conscious awareness? I suppose I know the answer to that is yes, but what to extent? Can this happen over long distances? I just moved into a new house, and I’m having major deja vu about the whole thing. I did have at least one precognitive dream of the neighborhood years ago, but it seems like more than that. I’ve consciously had many hyper realistic OBE’s where I just walk around the place I stay, and I feel like I’ve been doing that with this house. I feel like some unconscious part of me is conspiring with the world to put me here, and I have no idea why. All this is really making me wonder how much free will I have.

    2) JMG, do your ideas of a birth of a prophet in 2020 have anything to do a new Jungian occultism being started after 2036? Do you think the birth of a prophet will happen on the Grand Mutation? I wonder how many kids will be born exactly at that time.

    4) I spent a chunk of time thinking about how dreaming or memory recall would work in Gwynnfydd. The only tentative conclusion I made was that it must work like some kind of simulation where you can reexperience your physical incarnations, including alternate outcomes. I make this conclusion because I imagine you could construct any astral body you want and play in your former tracks in space. I don’t know, maybe I’m way off base. This idea was inspired by the magic theatre in Steppenwolf, particularly the board game someone is playing (I think Pablo?). Thoughts anyone?

    3) JMG, I love Herman Hesse. Thanks for directing my attention to him. I’m on my second read of Demian. Heh, I suppose your Hesse post could be counted as conscious conspiring on your part with all of us readers 🙂

  9. No election? Ugh. And I’d prepared such a witty comment about it. 😛 Maybe after the election.

    Anyway! Does anyone understand what exactly is going on with this coronavirus business? Here I am, scratching my head. Cases are way up all over Europe, but deaths aren’t exactly skyrocketing, so I’m not particularly alarmed. What I am somewhat alarmed about is that nobody seems to have any idea how this ends. Clearly, they are not going to be able to eliminate the virus. Are they just waiting for a vaccine? How long are we supposed to wait? Even if one is approved in the not-too-distant future, it’ll take quite some time to get everyone vaccinated. And we’re supposed to remain in lockdown until then?

    I live in the Czech Republic as it happens (moved here a couple of years ago). The interesting thing is that CZ was an early success, with an early lockdown and facemasks everywhere. And yeah, those things seem to have worked. But only while they were in place (heh). Then they lifted the restrictions, and now CZ has one of the highest caseloads in Europe. It seems to me that CZ is now paying for its spring success. All those measures just delayed the development of herd immunity. (Okay, to be fair, they also bought Czech doctors some time to learn a few tricks for better handling this disease. Still. The basic point remains.)

  10. I think the only person in the country who isn’t sick of next Tuesday’s event is my elderly relative who lives for politics. He’s high-up-there PMC but so far hasn’t been vandalized, please pray it stays that way.

    Now, on with good stuff!

  11. For as long as I’ve been aware of peak oil and the limits to industrial civilization, I’ve known that as some point, cultures based around the place they’re in would regain prominence vs. the globalized world. Until recently, I’ve always thought that would really begin in earnest only when technology, both transportation and communications, had broken down enough that contact between distant places was much more difficult and slower. As long as technology allowed for globalization, I assumed it would increase and cultures would be become more homogeneous.

    Although I still think that breakdown in technology is inevitable at some point, it’s occurred to me more recently that there’s a way that cultures of place could redevelop on a large scale sooner. The internet has surprised many by encouraging fragmentation rather than unity, although the cracks the internet has opened up tend not to be tied to any given place. What I’ve noticed more recently (and has been ignored by the media) is that at the same time as so many people have been worked up into so much anger and hatred, there are a growing number of others who are taking a more cynical, apathetic position, that it’s not even worth trying to sort out which information is right, that there’s so many people saying so many contradictory things that it’s impossible to know what’s really going on.

    The thing on my mind is, what comes after that? Has the mass media seeded its own destruction? For those who’ve gotten cynical and apathetic about figuring out what’s going on in the large scale, there is a way out. That’s paying more attention to their own experience, and those of the people they know personally and can trust. I know someone who takes this position, he say that what’s real to him is personal interaction, face to face communication and the world actually experienced, there’s so much nonsense out there that that’s the only thing he can trust. He does still interact with the alternative end of the internet media, but he’s skeptical of all of it.

    If that view becomes more of a larger trend, that could bring about the resurgence of local cultures even with the internet and fossil-fueled travel still existing. I wonder what you think about this idea?

  12. Very fun to see you on PBS Independent Lens Feels Good Man program broadcast last week. I would have bypassed that program if you had not written about Pepe during the previous POTUS election cycle. Magic ! and Thank you!

  13. Not a question– just a note that you recently got a rather complimentary mention in one of the more pleasantly déclassé corners of the ‘net:

    https://www.unz.com/tsaker/when-exactly-did-the-anglozionist-empire-collapse/

    “I would say that this book is one of the best one written on the topic of a future US collapse, even though this is a (very well written) fiction book because it brilliantly illustrates the kind of mindset which can get a supposed superpower in a very bad situation.”

  14. I greatly prefer Plato as a spiritual teacher, but Aristotle seems to give better day-to-day life advice. How do you reconcile the two of them– or do you?

  15. @JMG,

    I know from sources like Twilight’s Last Gleaming that you see a Chinese Empire as a viable successor to the American one as the world’s dominant power during the late industrial age. But China is still an industrial nation, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and unlikely to avoid its own version of the Long Descent.

    So the question is: In the event that China manages to become the world’s dominant economic/military power, how long do you think the Chinese will be able to hold on to that status, and what will their eventual retreat from it look like?

  16. @JMG

    A few questions:

    1) In his book ‘Small is Beautiful’, Schumacher noted that the real achievement of Western science is the accumulation of precise knowledge which can be used in many different ways, and that the current industrial technology is just one of these. If we apply this to the realm of mathematics, then a case could be made in a similar fashion for the development of new computational tools. I mean, our knowledge of mathematics and algorithms is pretty wide for us to develop techniques which are designed keeping in mind the implicit assumption that it will be a human who does the number-crunching, and not a computer. If you look at today’s algorithms and mathematical techniques, it isn’t very hard to notice that they are designed to be implemented by a computer. But suppose if we use our knowledge to design algorithms tailor made for human ‘computers’, that would not only create jobs but also be well within the framework of ‘intermediate technology’ which Schumacher advocated, and I personally believe that this is possible, even more so as compared to tangible tech, as mathematics is not subject to the laws of thermodynamics. What’s your take on this?

    2) Is there an ‘intermediate’ path between occult religious practice and mainstream religious practice? I mean, not everybody is good enough to become an adept at occultism, but there are many people who are not very much interested in traditional mainstream religions as well. So, if such an intermediate path exists, could you give any examples?

    3) Could you do a future post on musicotherapy?

  17. Hello JMG,
    I have been reading your book The Dolmen Arch and have been thinking a lot about what the book has to say about reincarnation. What is the general occult understanding regarding whether we reincarnate just back to the Earth or is the whole universe available?
    Thank you,
    Barry Smith

  18. It feels like the digital age of propaganda, disinformation, and manufactured attention is just finding its stride.

    What kinds of occult practices or meditations would you recommend to resist the spell? How does a mage avoid becoming a pawn of a false dichotomy without resorting to the kind of escapism that guarantees irrelevance?

  19. Dear JMG,

    Last night I finished Chandler’s _Playback_, and was really impressed by his prose stylings, the fast paced action, and the memorable characters. Apropos to your last post on the Shadow, I find it a relevant synchronicity that Chandler published his first Noir story — the excellent “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot” in December, 1933. His literary world, so steeped in ambiguity and evil is then contemporaneous to the rest of the constellation of the Shadow in the western world. I find it interesting to the focus on “blackmail” in so many of his stories, which seems as well to relate to the Shadow, the blackmail being what the Ego can’t stand about itself, of course!

    Also, yesterday I finished reading Turgenev’s _Fathers and Sons_ as part of curiosity about Russian nihilism and quietism and how it might inform the decadence of the current aristocracy. A few nights ago I watched the documentary you appeared in _Feels Good Man_, and that got me thinking about frogs. Well, with a sinking feeling of synchronicity I saw that frogs make an appearance in the plot of _Fathers and Sons_. A subplot that runs through the first two thirds of the novel concern the doomed nihilist Evgenii Bazarov catching frogs with some peasant children and then dissecting them. He dies and his death forms the object lesson of where nihilism leads, and the rest of the aristocrats live on happily. The parallels between the Evgenii Bazarov’s scientific nihilism and the sort of nihilism we see on every point of the political spectrum today is, frankly, spooky.

    Interestingly, if I remember correctly, _Fathers and Sons_ had a disproportionate impact on 20th century radical culture, and that Turgenev and Bakunin once were roommates! Point being, this seems to be a literary sighting of perhaps “what moves in the darkness,” the frogs that bring with them radical change.

  20. A few weeks ago, you profferred this definition of “Left”, and I know it may seem incredible to you, but it introduced me to a NEW idea.

    You said: “All factions of the Left share in the delusion that some group of intellectuals or other is smart enough to reorganize human society from top to bottom and have the results come out as something other than a dumpster fire; all factions of the Left, whatever their rhetoric about workers or the poor or what have you, are vehicles by which some group of intellectuals or other seeks power.”

    The linking of “left” and “intellectuals aspiring to be in charge of re-organising society” is a new idea for me. Who knows how, throughout all of the political conversations I have ever had about anything at all, I have entirely missed this one. Perhaps one reason this is a new idea for me, though, is that for most of my life I have been much more aware of how the Right, of all factions, shares the delusion that some traditional elite – eg aristocrats, industrialists, church fathers – having ALREADY re-organised human society from top to bottom, is smart enough to keep the results of their re-organisation from coming out as something other than a dumpster fire.

    That is to say, my personal experience of “Left” has been of joining people using that label, while trying to put out some fires started in the dumpsters created by aristocratic, industrial or religious social re-organisations which had already taken place.

    Believe it or not, it had before occurred to me that social re-organisation by intellectuals, as an aspiration on its own count, was a central theme of the Left.

    Now that you put it that way, though, I suddenly do understand what links “old left” and “new left” and also understand that the whole “left” v “right” thing is, at its core, a barney among various elites as to who gets to be in charge of re-organising society. Which is to say, “left” v “right” is a Game of Thrones, and is, therefore, a fight in which MOST of us have no dog.

    So, now, what I am in need of is a word that suitably describes those of us (who are, I believe, MOST of us), who have no desire to re-organise society, and certainly no desire to be in charge of it, but simply want to get on with things with a minimum of anyone ELSE being in charge of us.

  21. Hi JMG,
    Firstly, hi 🙂
    Secondly, i have a query. I’ve been looking into a celtic deity that has seemed to be forgotten to history. I want to try and learn more about her, as a good friend clued me in to her existence, but there’s a problem. I’ve been scouring the internet for a while and I’ve only ever found one book that even mentions her by name, and it listed stuff i already knew about her, not to mention it was only a couple short sentences long. It was nice because I knew she was an actual deity, and what she was a deity of, but it didn’t provide any overly new information that could tell me who she is, or who she was before she was lost to history. I’m thinking that maybe divination would be my next step, seeing as though i haven’t found much else yet on the internet. Do you think any sorts of divination would help my efforts to try and piece together things about her?

  22. Dear JMG,

    Recently you mentioned in comments either here or on dreamwidth how Fascism and Communism had high body counts, and opined that you expected to see a similar count for Capitalism but hadn’t. I don’t remember where it was exactly.

    Not to get too political, but perhaps that body count would include those killed (or minimally, not born) by abortion?

    We’re up to 46 million+ in the US alone since it was legalized, and the phenomenon seems to be correlated with capitalism. For instance, when China moved from its disastrously lethal communist economic organization to a capitalist model, they soon adopted extreme abortive policies as well, where previously they had pursued an equally extreme policy of population growth. In addition, in the US both the absolute numbers and the abortion rate were higher in the 90’s, the high tide of capitalism and globalism here.

    Again, I’m not trying to debate politics or ethics here, but that looks like the correlation and kind of body count you were looking for.

  23. I might be wrong, but the persistence of Sars Cov-2 (particularly in its pandemic ideal form) along with the first measured release of long held methane under the East Siberian continental shelf might tell us how the planet feels, as you guys head out to vote. Seriously, though, the impacts of the crazily warm season Siberia has been experiencing should and will concern everyone. Yes I know it’s The Guardian but they’re pretty good on the environmental stuff: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/oct/27/sleeping-giant-arctic-methane-deposits-starting-to-release-scientists-find

  24. Re TSW and pointed answers

    I have a note to myself pinned up at my desk at work, reminding me of one of the several messages I’ve been given by Whomever She May Be. Like most, it is fairly direct:

    You are not here to “do great things.” You are here to develop your soul

    Well, as I was considering that message during a spare moment of the day yesterday, I was feeling a bit uppity and asking myself, “But how, exactly?” So I decided to do a singe-figure cast using the 41-cent geomantic generator I keep in my desk drawer. And what figure comes up?

    Via.

    Re new and different things, but in the more mundane realm

    I’ve put myself in the rotation at work to help out with periodic weekend rounds at the water and wastewater facilities of a neighboring village. As my job is entirely on the electric side of the utility, this is definitely stepping outside my wheelhouse on a number of levels: not only a different aspect of the utility business, but also hands-on versus the more abstract modeling and analysis I do in my primary role. I did a ride-along earlier this month and had my first tour of a wastewater treatment facility. It was absolutely fascinating, if extremely…earthy. (And if you think about it, there’s little that’s more fundamental to human civilization than water supplies and waste management.)

    Once the state examinations get started back up again (when the world’s no longer on fire), I’m strongly considering getting some basic licensing in water and/or wastewater. Not something I’d use in the normal course of things, but I’d be able to serve as a third-string backup in the event of a major crisis. Plus learning stuff is always a good thing!

  25. I am wondering if you would address different ways that we can help our communities and ourselves to move forward from Covid, ways to become more resiliant, etc?

  26. In 2014, on one of your old blogs, you talked about dividing history in three phases, which have been given different names, but you chose “unicorn”, “phoenix” and dragon. I thought that was fascinating, and I believe we’ve entered the unicorn phase now. Would you care to elaborate on that blog post, please?

  27. JMG,

    My partners brother, at 29, has been addicted to meth and heroin for a decade. He is living on the streets. Every attempt to help him he has thrown away. Lately he has stolen a van from his brothers church, and he has been breaking into his brothers office high and sleeping there.

    Recently, I brought up the idea of civil commitment to his parents, in front of my partner. They said yes, yes, get it started. My partner later said she was very much against the idea. Another sister said much the same. He has made his decisions, he has to decide to find healing. As a philosophical anarchist, I never apeal to the State if I don’t have to, so I dropped it. I just thought, bringing it up, no one in the family would even if they wanted to, and if a brother is drowning you do whatever you can to save him.

    Many in the family have been greaving for some time, preaparing for his death. I want to believe he can recover, that he can still decide to live.

    Out of ideas, is there anything in the magical tradition I could look to, to help him?

    Thank you.

  28. “when and how did environmentalism and conservation become part of the political vocabulary of the left, particularly the pseudo-radical left?”

    The right left environmentalism when when the costs in terms of jobs lost exceeded the gains in quality. As an example, Clinton, Gore and Babbit waged war on the mining and logging industry across the west. Tens of thousands of good paying jobs (including mine) were sacrificed to cheap high-quality vacations for the urban elite. Seasonal, minimum wage, benefit-free jobs in eco-tourism are no replacement for those lost in the supposedly evil “extractive” industries.

    Yes, I am still mad about that. The US still uses those metals and wood products, but now we outsource them from child-labor “artisanal” mines and other people’s forests.

  29. I went on a road trip to Michigan last weekend to enjoy the fall; this was my first significant interaction with a lot of people since the lockdown and my efforts to change. What I noticed was how most common events and news people discuss are getting predictable, it’s influences and emotional reactions to it. I was better able to override my default reactions to situations and less affected by people’s emotional states in conversations. I was more aware of who among my friends are struggling and needed help and where. (material, etheric, astral or mental planes). The trip itself was eventful and I couldn’t help draw parallels to the Laws discussed on Cosmic Doctrine for some of them. I think the Cos.Doc has had an enormous influence on my life. It was designed to train the mind, not inform it and I’d seen it proper practice.

  30. Hi All,

    Thought question that I was reflecting on after some conversations regarding recent viral video on a mountain lion following a hiker. Why is it that large predators don’t attack humans more often?

    Even though there are many fears regarding predators it doesn’t really happen that often statistically speaking. I am questioning my own scientific rationalist assumptions that it is just learned behavior and/or evolutionary selection for avoiding humans. Each of these can certainly be part of the answer but I don’t think it is complete.

    For learned behavior they would have to have negative encounters with humans first to learn, even for social creatures teaching their offspring this learned behavior would be inconsistent at best. Learning in this case would result in many negative (for humans) encounters. Similarly evolution doesn’t really answer the question either. Evolution at this higher level would only be selecting against these higher predators for an insignificant amount of time, evolutionary speaking.

    Based on story evidence and traditions I would also theorize that large predators have stalked and attacked humans more regularly even recently in the past but this could be biased with more wild environments compared to now. Certainly humans have hunted to eliminate species that are dangerous to us in many environments but this eliminates the encounter and does not explain why currently they are rare when there are more humans and still encountering the larger predators.

    The learned response makes even less sense when we enter their environments and not our normal ones like the ocean. Shark attacks are very rare, and usually explained by mix ups with regular prey like seals. It seems from an evolution standpoint sharks would certainly enjoy a relatively defenseless prey that became prevalent in its environment.

    Finally, it could also be that dangerous encounters are simply not reported accurately (bias to my perception due to only reported in death or sensational cases) and it is only perception that it is rare.

    The connection here is based on recent comments on saints being friendly with animals as a common experience going back to the Johnny Appleseed example. Is there something more spiritual involved with this response? And spiritual might not be the right word, my vocabulary in this area is limited.

    p.s. regarding the viral video, it seems pretty clear this was a case of a mother protecting her cubs so nothing abnormal about it. If she were actually stalking the hiker this is not how I would expect her to hunt.

  31. I think section 230 of the CDA is about to be gutted. I think it won’t matter who wins, since Trump and the Republicans are against it, and the Democrats have been attacking attacking social media companies since 2016, with the House Judiciary Committee having just released a report attacking major internet companies, including Facebook, Google, and Amazon. It looks like over the past four years or so the Dems have soured on Big Tech. Since the Republicans are against Big Tech in general, and specifically against Section 230, this seems to suggest it will die soon, no matter who wins on Tuesday.

    Among other things I expect this will lead to a quick collapse of social media. Social media only works as long as the website isn’t liable for whatever is on there: if they are, they need to recoup a lot more money than they currently can, and be a lot more careful about what goes through. Both of which would result in a drastic change in social media, and very likely one which will push a lot of people off these sites.

    1) Are there other effects you can think of which will likely happen in the immediate aftermath of a change to section 230?

    2) Given that it seems like it’s social media which keeps people online right now, do you think this could mark the point where the internet starts to retreat and start the decline back to what it was in (say) 1980?

    3) How quickly do you expect to see the internet decline? My guess right now is that about half the population of most rich countries, and almost everyone is poor ones, won’t have access a decade from now, but I’m curious what your thoughts on the matter are.

    Alan,

    My guess right now is that once Progress is finally accepted as dead, people will be able to think again. Cognitive dissonance can make it nearly impossible to think clearly, and the more things which trigger it the less and less sane people are.

  32. JMG, what is the difference that you make in royalties off of the sale of one of your Weird of Hali books directly from the publisher versus from Amazon? I had to order a few from Amazon due to shipping problems and I wouldn’t mind flipping you the difference via the tip jar.

  33. On the topic of the decline of elementary logic and critical thinking an analogy comes to my mind: In quantum physics, coherence means, broadly speaking, that a system of quantum objects (atoms, molecules, photons, …) is in a well defined, controllable state. Coherence makes, for example, the difference between a device being a powerful laser that is able to cut steel or an extremely expensive and inefficient lamp. Do I have nothing more than a heap of thermalized atoms or are those atoms the prototype of a quantum computer? Coherence makes the difference. There is, however, a process called decoherence, which – you can make a guess – causes the coherence of a system to vanish and turns your highly controllable super-duper system of quantum objects into a heap of ordinary matter.

    When I am looking at what’s happening in society in general but in the last months extensively in my closer environment, too, I see decoherence spreading everywhere. More and more often, projects are just left incomplete or they are completed in a completely ridiculous and inefficient way leaving things worse than before although everybody participating generally knew what to to, how to do it and how a good result should look like. But there isn’t the critical look back, people just go on and do something else without even thinking about whether they did something sensible or not. It’s like when you enter a house and stumble over the running vacuum cleaner, a bucket and mop are standing in a different corner while clothes have been spread just everywhere and in the kitchen lunch is already burning but nobody can be seen, since the person causing the mess is lying in bed upstairs, blowing soap bubbles and singing a jolly song. People literally seem to loose their minds in the sense that they become more and more incapable of coherent action. To a certain degree I was used to this and occasionally I can observe this in my own action which I consider to be rather normal – in quantum physics you can’t turn off decoherence completely, too – but what I am presently observing has reached an alarming magnitude and I admit I am worried about what is the cause for this and where it may lead… The quantum analogy gives a hint on possible reasons: For a quantum system, decoherence is caused by interaction with the environment. So you need to control the interaction between the system and its environment as good as possible. Which in turn brings a quote from Sadhguru to my mind (as exact, as I can remember it): “If this onslaught of information continues to increase, I won’t be surprised if we see suicide rates of 50%.”

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  34. Alan, the decline of rational thought is indeed ubiquitous nowadays, and is esp. attributable to the efforts of the high tech magnates to rig the debate on covid.

    Blogger Zman today is vivid about this:
    “The politicians are simply responding to what the self-proclaimed experts have said. The fact that these experts have been **wrong at every turn** does not matter. In a modern liberal democracy, expertise is not about **factual accuracy**, or respect earned through hard experience. It is having the right credentials and, most important, having the right friends in government….
    … Even mild criticism of official policy is now forbidden on-line. The tech oligarchs have quickly moved, from suppressing “disinformation”, to **crushing even mild** dissent from orthodoxy. More important, censorship on-line by anonymous and unaccountable commissars is now completely normal.
    This normalization of censorship has been a long-term goal of the tech oligarchs, and the Church of Covid now legitimizes it. Another goal of our oligarchs has been, to **force science to comply** with their beliefs. They gained some ground with the Gaia stuff, but Covid is proving to be the kill shot. Researchers are learning, that even mild questioning of these bizarre edicts is forbidden…”
    (See https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=21646 .)

  35. A question for our illustrious host or anyone who cares to answer with knowledge on the subject of Astral projection and the Christian faith.
    A bit of background:
    My wife is a non-denominational Christian who grew up on the West Coast, USA. About a week ago while she was meditating on some life issues that have been circling her as of late (health, family, etc.) she began to have the distinct sensation that her senses were expanding to encompass the universe. “Feeling at one with everything, like something from an Eastern religion” as she described it. She also began to feel herself lift up outside of her own body and up through the cosmos until she reached the gates of Heaven. She felt a profound peace that she has seldom felt in her life and while she was comforted by the sight of Heaven and by the presence of family who have passed on waiting on the other side, she felt absolutely terrified of becoming untethered and leaving everything and everyone she cared about on Earth behind. She came crashing back down and has been afraid of meditating ever since. She has also felt this weight, what she describes as feeling like gravity being turned way up, since her experience.
    When she relayed this story to me, my brain immediately lit up. Though I’m not very well read on the subject, what she described very much reminded me of Astral Projection experiences I’ve read about before. She asked me what she should do about this whole affair. My reply basically amounted to, “well, you can either shut the door for now and leave it be, or take the ol’ astral body for a spin and see where it takes you. Explore! Carefully, of course.”
    Now the question:
    Was this actually a case of Astral Projection or something else? If it was Astral Projection, what resources can my wife and I use to learn the ins and outs of doing it safely, specifically through the lens of the Christian faith as that is her background? Or is this all a terrible idea and Astral Projection should not be undertaken without professional supervision? Are we kite flying or sky diving here? I will support whatever my wife chooses to do, but I’d like to provide her with all the information she needs to make an informed decision. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

  36. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Have you looked over the “Great Reset” agenda? Would you share with us here your perspective on it?

    Thank you!!

  37. Irena,

    I tend to gravitate toward conspiracy theories, and find that people who eschew them are naive in their thinking, but also that belief in conspiracy theories is a bit disappointing because it greatly narrows the options in the fun game of analysis.

    I think covid was almost certainly released on purpose, possibly in an ad hoc way as something they kept up their sleeve as an option to be pulled out on an as-needed basis.

    Their are several results they are looking for. The big one is to usher in a new world order, and that will entail loss of freedom on a mass scale, loss of individual governments and nations in any real way, as well as certain entities and corporations making a lot of money on such as vaccines. But the ability to bully people into medical compliance is not likely to be a one-off event, rather an ongoing part of the new normal. There will be mass casualties.

    No one knows how it ends in my opinion because they have no intention of ending it any time soon. I personally do not believe there is an epidemic any more nor has there been for months. It is all just false statistics at this point.

    So many good people and experts and doctors are trying in every way to end it and to show the politicians how to end it and with what tools and information. It falls on deaf ears.

    As to the Czech republic, I would really like to know if the case load is real? Are people getting very sick? It is true that Sweden has warned that if you block the circulation of the virus in the population then you will get more trouble with it later. Lockdown actually backfires and causes more death as well as economic destruction, which also causes lots of death.

    All known from the beginning.

  38. Hi JMG,

    Two questions/thoughts for you and the commentariat today:

    1. I’ve been reading the new non-fiction book The Splendid and the Vile recently. It’s a fresh look at Churchill and his inner circle in the crucial period May 1940 to 1941 – the most difficult days of the Battle of Britain, how he persuaded Roosevelt to get America involved etc. Highly recommended.

    But one thing which really stands out for me is that Churchill aside, the entire political and leadership class in the UK (I don’t know about the US at that time), were actually very competent. That doesn’t mean they were perfect – they made mistakes and had their share of losers and problems – but on the whole they actually actually did a decent job of execution, and had a sense of duty and responsibility and obligation to the whole country (and in turn, the public had a much stronger sense of trust to the political class and the feeling that we were all in this together).

    I’m not imagining that modern day politicians are far worse am I? It’s very easy to get carried away with the whole “in my day..things were better” nonsense like an old fart (well, i wasn’t alive in the 1940s but you get the point). There is no way someone like Matt Hancock (for example – you could pick similar US nonentities) would have got near any kind of responsibility, much less Health Secretary in a pandemic crisis?

    What changed? How did the entire political class suddenly become filled with incompetents (irrespective of their political opinions)??

    2. Connected to the above, I want to get involved more in activism around this issue here in the UK. What are the hallmarks of a successful activist/political grassroots movement and the best way for me to get involved?

    Unlike the USA where lockdowns are an explicitly partisan Democrat/Republican issue, the UK is less polarised in a partisan way. The entire political class and opposition are generally pro lockdown (with a few people on the Conservative backbenches, and even fewer on the Labour backbenches/local government level who are closer to the pulse of the people opposing it).

    The biggest debates are probably within the Tories but of course the Tory party leaders are the ones implementing the current madness (although it would be worse if Labour were in power).

    In general the affluent middle classes/left wing tends to support lockdown and the working class/right wing tends to be against it – similar to the US, but also different because politicians are mostly unanimous in being pro-lockdown so someone with my opinions has no one to vote for.

    There are some grassroots websites (Keep Britain Free and Lockdown Sceptics), although at least one of those has Tory links in being started by a well known Tory (although not an elected official).

    There are some encouraging signs of grassroots involvement in those places and quite a few “regular” non-political people getting involved with activism and going to marches and protests for the first time (the best example I read there was of two people in some small town deciding it wasn’t worth going to the bigger protest in London an hour away and just meeting up on their own small high street and handing out anti-lockdown flyers and talking to people – they probably didn’t change many minds, and obviously cannot compete with the mainstream media fear mongering but an amazing example of starting small and local).

    In a real 1914/1939 style global reset scenario, I could see real political movements and parties coalesce out of websites like this. The odds are extremely low of course, but in times of radical change, things can move very fast – this year’s radical website is next year’s mass movement, and the party of government in a 2021 election – IF the national and global shakeup is big enough.

    So anyway, I’m planning to go along to some of their meet ups (of these two sites) and then kind of see how best to get involved. It’s all very informal for now (note that even going to the meet ups is currently against the law in large parts of the country, including London, because the current “Tier 2” restrictions mean you can’t meet people outside your household indoors, for social purposes).

    Is there anything else you would suggest I keep in mind or do JMG? I know you’ve posted before about protest marches and movements can be effective and backed up by action instead of being meaningless gestures ignored by politicians? Maybe try and meet local politicians and get some of them involved etc? I’d particularly be interested in things a group can do that DON’T rely on social media promotion and involve more direct and personal methods.

    I suspect there is a strong overlap between anti-lockdown views and pro-Brexit views, but my personal focus is on the lockdown restrictions (as it is for most on the websites).

  39. Hey Anonymous – try Belinus? Same sphere on the tree for the druidically inclined in The Mysteries of Merlin . I’m curious.

    Also, this struck me as weird yesterday, but could just be a coinky-dink. Weren’t there some people making jokes about the Tampa Bay Rays on Magic Monday? Or was that a different post? I might be losing it, but I thought there was someone joking about the Rays but my searches don’t turn up anything. (Another hallucinated JMG thread? Oh dear.)

    I was thinking how it was funny that BC just got an actual honest-to-“goodness” King in Orange ourselves (the NDP colour is orange), which has destroyed the Liberal party, which ruled for 16 years prior to the previous election 3 years ago – making BC a de facto one party province (again, really), with two tiny other parties that may yet grow fatter over the next several election cycles fed on the corpse of disaffected Liberals. And when what popped up but this article: Rays (and Frodo and Sam) and all, from the only political commentator worth reading (the humour columnist): https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2020/10/26/Did-God-Smite-Liberals/?utm_source=weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=261020

    Also, also in general astrological conditions report – I’ve learned that checking natal transits really IS a good idea. Mars in my 12th house retrograde was a whomper, hope everyone else is doing okay. There are now three people I know who have had blood clot or heart issues now, though, so I think I got off lucky. And now I know why he got a little nicer when he showed up as Puer on October 2, lol (when a redbearded man requests a night of video games, beer and old Nintendo Knights of the Round * even though you suck at video games, agree amiably!) . My chart thingy says he stopped aspecting any of my natal planets while retrograde yesterday, which makes enormous sense, I was wondering what happened. Much, much more interested to see what happens on November 13, though, now. The fact that was the only day I could get a blood donation booking suddenly got a lot weirder, though. I keep hearing the line from a song from Little Shop of Horrors when my dorm performed it as a play, when Seymour says to the plant, “What do you want from me, blood?!” and the plant pops it’s mouth open… and then, it begins…. do I uh… keep the appointment?

    *cannot make this stuff up

  40. I’ve something I’ve been thinking about lately and would be curious as to some fresh ideas.

    There’s been a recent explosion in popularity of a website called ‘onlyfans’ – for those unfamiliar, it’s a paid video sharing and uploading site, mostly used by young women making racy videos for men who want to watch them. Not a surprising success story, given the peculiar conditions this year has brought about.

    What I find curious is the way the customers of these amateur pornographers – dubbed ‘simps’ by popular consensus – are being talked about. I find it very reminiscent of how ‘sluts’ were discussed in a bygone era, with some strange mixture of disgust and concern for their wellbeing. Has anyone else noticed this parallel? Anyone have a theory to explain it?

  41. JMG,

    I’m hoping you’ll allow me one final shameless book plug for the year.

    My book on corona is now available. It’s titled: “The Plague Story and Other Essays: Re-Evaluating the Coronavirus Narrative”.

    As the title suggests, the book starts with a narrative analysis of the public discourse on corona (plague story vs flu story) then contrasts that against the science and the actual events that kicked the whole thing off. The second half of the book is a look at what I believe are the broader social and cultural themes that led to the blow up. More info at this link.

    http://simonsheridan.me/the-plague-story-and-other-essays/

  42. Sock Monkey, according to the Puranas, the Kali Yuga began in 3102 BC when Vishnu’s incarnation as Krishna ended, and since (again according to the Puranas) the Kali Yuga lasts for 432,000 years, we have another 426,879 years to go before it ends and the next Satya Yuga begins. The historical cycles I deal with are much, much shorter than that.

    Andy, in the Lakeland Republic they like coffee, but most people make it the American way, in a percolator, after grinding the beans in a hand-cranked grinder. Espresso’s strictly an urban fashion. What happened, of course, was that some bright soul looked up how Italian espresso was made before 1950, had no problem finding the details, and started making machines based on the Cremonesi patent of 1938, the first to use hot rather than boiling water and the first to make espresso as we know it. Half a dozen other manufacturers entered the field in the years that followed, and so when you go to an espresso place in Toledo in 2040 or so, you can count on a good, hand-pressed cup of old-fashioned espresso.

    Richard, which “we” do you have in mind here? I’m rather looking forward to the next few years…

    Clay, you know, that may well be part of it. Still, I see a lot of people who are really, truly terrified of the coronavirus. Since it’s not actually a serious risk unless you have preexisting conditions or are very old, I assume that it’s become a convenient place to park fears that most people don’t want to think about.

    Coop Janitor, er, that first sentence apparently got mangled in the typing, as I have no idea what you’re trying to say about those two books. As for Abelard Whipple, no, but he wasn’t surprised in the least.

    Alan, there are a couple of factors. First, the quality of education in the US public schools has dropped like a rock. Kids are specifically taught not to think for themselves, since if they do so, school test scores on multiple choice tests come out lower — they might not come up with the approved answer, after all! Second, people don’t think clearly when they’re stressed, and the media has become a stress factory, whipping people up into one frenzy after another to keep their eyeballs glued to the ads. Third, you have to factor in the crisis of legitimacy of the intellectual professions; people have been lied to so often and so blatantly by officially accredited experts that at this point, when somebody tries to present an argument that includes any claim to superior knowledge or reason, a lot of people immediately assume that the person making it is lying through their teeth. All these are involved in the current mess.

    Anonymous, repeated divinations like that are a great way to get confused. I’d let it sit for a while, and see whether you feel any sustained attraction to Zeus, or to Hellenic deities generally. This isn’t something to rush.

    John, yes, I’ve had people mention it before. The reason it doesn’t interest me is precisely the second point that you’ve mentioned — the way that “solarpunk” shifts promptly from conservation to the kind of pseudoradical posturing that uncritically embraces all the buzzwords of the corporate media and managerial-class groupthink. My contributions to sustainable-future fiction — The Fires of Shalsha, Star’s Reach, Retrotopia, and the forthcoming novel Journey Star — aren’t into the latter habit, and so I’m quite sure nobody’s mentioning them in solarpunk circles! To answer your question, though, I don’t think anyone’s done a history of it, which is a pity. Still, the logic’s straightforward enough. Are you familiar with the Marxist concept of entryism? That’s what’s going on here.

    Youngelephant, (1) remember that your conscious mind is a very thin surface layer atop very deep waters. What Jung called the collective unconscious is a reality, and it’s not passive; it acts, shapes, and moves on its own, irrespective of what we choose. Our free will is mostly a matter of wiggle room. (2) No, the birth of the prophet this winter solstice is a function of the Grand Mutation — the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in signs of a changed element, which traditionally heralds the birth of a prophet and the rise of a new religious sensibility — while the 2036 figure is an estimate of when the influence of the former planet Pluto will finish declining into the background. Psychoanalysis is a Plutonian phenomenon; modern occultism is Neptunian, and so by then Jung’s work will finish making the transition from one to the other. (4) As for Gwynfydd, I doubt we can understand it until we get there!

    Irena, what will happen is what always happens with new respiratory illnesses of this moderately serious kind. Look up the history of the Asian Flu of 1957 or the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 and you’ll know where this is heading in advance.

    Kashtan, I think you’re definitely on to something. I know a lot of people who have gotten bored to tears with the internet et al., who are ditching social media and deleting most of their bookmarks, and who are using the web only as a way of connecting with people who share their interests. The next phase, which hasn’t begun yet (as far as I know) but which I expect to start in the next few years, will see people relocating so they can do more face time with people who share their interests; out of that, new regional protocultures will begin to take shape.

    South of etc., you’re welcome and thank you!

    Passerby, the Saker is one of the few public fans Twilight’s Last Gleaming ever had. There’s a fine irony in that, as I disagree with him about a great many things — about the only place where we agree wholeheartedly is the need for the US to get out of the empire business as expediently as possible, and even there I doubt we’d agree about the reasons why! A second irony is that the book is also rapidly becoming obsolete. China is busy piling into the empire game and building one sitting-duck aircraft carrier after another, while the US is backing away from the aptly named Gerald R. Ford-class carrier program — the latest word is that the number will be cut from 12 to 4, and my guess is that there will only be 2 — while it’s finally begun playing serious catch-up in the field of hypersonic missiles and other, less obsolete ends of naval technology. But we’ll see.

    Steve, I’m not much of an Aristotle fan, so I get my ethics and practical philosophy from Epictetus and the other Stoics instead. That was a common move among Neoplatonists back in the day — Stoic ethics and Neoplatonist ontology make a good working blend.

    David BTL, many thanks for this!

    Wesley, as I noted just above to Passerby, the future I sketched out in Twilight’s Last Gleaming is already past its pull date. The US is backing away from empire at a respectable rate, while China’s used its power very clumsily over the last few years and so has backed itself into a corner. At this point India, Australia, and Japan are moving into a military and political alliance against China, and that’s not a combination China can overcome, not with its rising internal stresses. At this point I expect China to fail in its bid for empire and probably to fragment, as it usually does when it hits hard times.

  43. JMG,

    What are your thoughts on the longevity of the current global financial system? After the events of this year, I’m guessing most governments will have the printing presses going at full steam to keep economies propped up but I don’t see what would be the circuit breaker to bring that to an end. Aren’t currency collapses precipitated by a flight of capital? If so, that would require another country to have a better alternative than the US dollar but who is going to provide that? I can’t see China taking over that role. At least, not for quite a long time.

    Cheers,
    Simon

  44. adwelly:

    I’m not an espresso connsoisseur but I did watch the James Bond clip, and was somewhat taken aback by his technique. The YouTube comment section is pretty funny.

    Synchronistically, I discovered yesterday that my Keurig (which gives you an indication of the level of my coffee sophistication) had been colonized by ants. It seems the infernal machine makes an almost-perfect ant farm, with its warm, moist recesses and built-in water supply. Apparently even the used pods and coffee ground residues inside the machine contain nutrients that will sustain ant life. I flushed out the entire colony, including a queen.

    I am going back to making coffee the old fashioned way.

  45. Hey jmg

    Last week you mentioned that you read “Religion for atheists” by Alain de Botton, and I want to know what you thought of the book, and Alain’s work in general.

  46. Hello Ecosophians,

    With the permission of our host, I’d like to announce that I’m starting a new magazine of deindustrial fiction.

    New Maps

    New Maps will be centered on short stories set during and after the long decline of the industrial age. It’ll also include a letters section, occasional essays, book reviews, and other good stuff.

    New Maps picks up more or less right where Joel Caris’s Into the Ruins left off when its final issue came out last month. I’ve been working with Joel to lay the foundations of this magazine, and I think I can safely say that if you liked Into the Ruins you’ll like New Maps.

    The first issue is planned for January, and the magazine will be published quarterly. You can subscribe now for the first year to be there right from the beginning. Delivery is available for a number of different countries for what I hope you’ll find is a pretty reasonable cost.

    And I’m looking for more stories, letters, and other deindustrial writing (essays, reviews, etc.). Ecosophians made up a lot of both the readers and the writers of Into the Ruins, and I’m looking forward to continuing to bring amazing stories to everyone here who wants to read them, as well as working with those of you who’ve written them and who will write them.

    You can check out New Maps, order it, and send your writing at http://www.new-maps.com. I’m excited to share its pages with all of you.

    And if there’s anything you want to know about the project, I’ll do my best to answer it in these comments!

  47. Scotlyn,

    Very insightful post!
    That is to say, my personal experience of “Left” has been of joining people using that label, while trying to put out some fires started in the dumpsters created by aristocratic, industrial or religious social re-organisations which had already taken place.

    The way this often works, in my understanding, is that such people are used by those who want the power to redo society, but that it isn’t seen by the footsoldiers. In other words, it is not as grass roots or spontaneous as most of them think.

  48. @Andy: An article on the espresso machine would be a good thing to see over at Greenwizards.com. I often wondered how I’m going to stay caffeinated during the long descent. I thought about growing tea. I saw a book recently about growing tea in North America. But I like tea and coffee… so having a good espresso machine in my corner of the world would be cool. Good opportunity here for someone to open up a retrotopian/ecosophian coffeehouse!

    @ John Zybourne: I ran into solarpunk as well. To me there isn’t much punk in solarpunk. Steampunk used too much fossil fuels for their taste, so they took the vapor (steampunk is also a form of vaporpunk, if you think of steam as form of… vapor) and pinned their utopapunk fantasy onto it.

    @JZ & all…
    If I had my druthers “Decopunk” will become a thing. Set in the glitzy smoke stained world of the 2120s, decadent flaneurs roam around investigating the psychogeographic accupuncture points where one ley line intersects with another. All with a long stemmed cigarette holder of course and nights at the speakeasy.

    &speaking of punk, here is a Hallow’een female fronted punk band mix I made. I hate to give trigger warnings, but really, this is not for the faint of heart. Lyrically it’s rated R for Wretched. But, every once in awhile I need a dose of distortion and high octane music & these songs do the trick.

    Valkyries of Punk: Vitriol Violence Venom & Vice
    https://www.mixcloud.com/sothismedias/valkyries-of-punk-vitriol-violence-venom-vice/

    Set list here:
    1. Alophen Baby – Teddy and the Frat Girls
    2. Let’s Get Tammy Wynette – The Maggots
    3. Violent Days – Screaming Sneakers
    4. Reality Attack – Poison Girls
    5. Girl on the Run – Honey Bane
    6. Do You Have a Job for A Girl Like Me? – The Delinquents
    7. Roadkill –
    8. Berketex Bride -Crass
    9. Don’t Light My Fire -Otoboke Beaver
    10. Gacked on Anger – Amyll and the Sniffers
    11. Nuts – Tee Vee Pop
    12. Dawnslayer – Necronomidol

    Incidentally this mix was made for subscribers to my monthly newsletter. Interested folks can sign up for Seeds from Sirius here:

    http://www.sothismedias.com/seeds-from-sirius.html

    (Issue #9 of Seeds from Sirius can be viewed here if you’d like a preview

    https://us4.campaign-archive.com/?u=f03f0589bcfd6069cf134031c&id=436ca8828b )

    Happy Hallow’een and New Year to all who celebrate it this way!

  49. JMG, your analysis about Cina is very interesting. So the future may be quite different than everyone expected: there may not be a single big global power in the future. As far as I know, there is no law in history that demands that the United States as an empire are replaced by another global empire.

    Regarding the coronavirus, I’m worried about the potential psychological and cultural consequences of the pandemic, especially if it endures too long.

  50. @ Irena

    The medical/physiological aspect of the illness will end the way all other such illnesses end: once it has passed through the general population, it will quickly fade out to the fringes of society and eventually be forgotten.

    Its political aspect, however, is a very different thing. That will follow in the footsteps of Prohibition and the 55-mph speed limit – both of which are still in existence and still being promoted within a small subculture of society, but mostly disregarded by the general population – except that there are occasional bouts of enforcement by local authorities.

    My expectation is that by this time next year the virus itself will be nothing more than a bad memory, but the measures enacted to counter it will keep our grandchildren shackled for most of their lives.

  51. Scotlyn,

    Hm, yes, you’re not wrong. I am completely down for ‘just getting on with my life’, and I’d like my gay family and friends, Indigenous friends, and poor family and friends to live in a society that at least allows them the same and, if possible, gives people a hand up when they need it (ie: healthcare, education, that kind of thing).

    I’ve generally drifted to the Left because that’s what the rhetoric seems to offer, while the Right seems to be all about ‘getting back to Jesus’ and keeping the old, rich white men on top. I’ve got no beef with education or intellectuals, because I’d like to give something that isn’t a hierarchy a go for Western society, but I haven’t been impressed that most Left-leaning decision-makers usually just go along with the system as is.

    Oh, and Solarpunk looks like an interesting idea!

    Cheers

  52. @JMG: “Irena, what will happen is what always happens with new respiratory illnesses of this moderately serious kind. Look up the history of the Asian Flu of 1957 or the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 and you’ll know where this is heading in advance.”

    But did anyone lock down an entire country because of those two? I don’t believe that was the case. So, that’s what’s new.

    As I see it, we’re headed toward herd immunity. The disease will become endemic in the population, and perhaps also milder. That’s likely to happen before there’s a widely available vaccine. That part seems clear enough.

    What I don’t understand is what TPTB think they’re doing, and what they actually will do to us. Are we going to remain in lockdown for another year or two? Think they’ll be able to pull it off? Please note that I’m not asking whether the strategy is effective. (Heh. Funny.) I’m trying to figure out the odds of my having to remain under house arrest for another year or two.

  53. John,
    Your recent summary of books by Hermann Hesse was excellent. To the point where I was compelled to purchase a copy of Demian and the glass bead game. I’ve read the former, it was excellent and I’m now wading my way through the latter which is more of a challenge. If I may, can I suggest you do a similar round up of books by Dion Fortune. I think it will of great value.
    Regards
    Averagejoe

  54. @JMG I’m glad to hear I’ll be able to get a decent cup in future Toledo. I suspect there will be a hand cranked grinder in my own future too. With any luck that will make the whole process even more ritualised and impractical. That may be the last of it for me though – finally I too have developed a sense of diminishing returns.

    Obsessive focus on niche subjects has been a very useful characteristic for me over the years but the in last few months I’ve sensed a change in the mental weather. It may be that various political events have almost reached their due date, or the Grand Mutation, or some curious combination of these and other unrecognised (by me) elements.

    I get the distinct impression that the world has now paused, like a supersaturated solution waiting for a seed crystal, and that crystal is now on its way.

  55. @John Z: Books like “The Entropy Law and the Economic Process” by Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen, “The Great Transformation” by Karl Polanyi (brother of Michael), and “One-Dimensional Man” by Herbert Marcuse may have had something to do with your puzzlement regarding environmentalism, conservation and the left.

  56. Mr Greer, would you ever consider leaving America? if so, what would be the reasons? Also where would you choose to emigrate to as an alternative and why?

    Irena, what do you like about the Czech republic?

    I would be interested in knowing what other people like about the countries they are currently living in, or if they are intending or thinking about migrating to another country and their reasons why. I understand that the last days of “Empire” are generally marked with mass migrations, so I expect we will see, in due course, movement of peoples on a bigger scale than perhaps we have ever seen before in the history of the USA (except perhaps at it’s origin).

    I am watching a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies this week, with my little daughter, and drinking a ton of hot chocolate, whilst it rains in torrents outside. This is my own somewhat unhealthy choice of escapism from the current madness.

  57. John–

    Not to skate too close to the excluded topic for this month’s open post–and I can’t provide details because of the nature of the email–but I’ve seen a national-level power industry advisory sent out regarding recommended steps to be taken in advance of potential civil unrest in the aftermath of the election. To say that I find this disturbing is a considerable understatement. It is, I suppose, par for the course in the fraying of the social fabric of a declining power. Wouldn’t make it any less foolish, however.

  58. Have any of you read Dave Paulides accounts of clusters of people gone entirely disappeared from national parks and lands? He calls it “missing 411″…he weeds out cases of suicide, mental illness, criminal activity. The subset of disappearances are usually people alone or separated from their group, usually have some disabilty, usually happen in the late afternoon, often in areas with rocky granite and small lakes or ponds. If they are found it’s often miles away, uphill and shoeless
    Paulides doesn’t speculate but I wonder if interdimensional entities might be a possibility? The most recent one is Missing 411 hunters–folks presumably familiar with guns and survival skills

  59. StarNinja, one think I believe you should be aware of is that one should train to only begin to astral project after some gesture that will never be done out of the practice. You see, it would be inconvenient to accidentally start an astral projection while driving a car…

    I don’t remember where I read this (with the car comment included), but it sounds like good advice.

  60. Continuing the discussion from two weeks ago about what can be done with a dead body, I just read Megan Rosenbloom’s new book Dark Archives. It’s about anthropodermic bibliopegy, or books bound in human skin. There’s fascinating stuff in it. Like how bookbinders were still doing it as late as 1934, under the euphemism of ‘using leather supplied’. I don’t want to spoil any of the suprises but will say there’s an amusing story involving a Parisian collector of occult books. Most of the book is told through old libraries, reading rooms, dark wood-panelled studies, and the strange obsessions of bibliophiles. Anyone who enjoyed the research scenes in the Haliverse novels will likely enjoy this book.

  61. Hi JMG –

    I remember some years ago on the ADR you did a series of posts about the Civil War. Are those still available someplace?

    Thanks.

  62. This note is for temporaryreality. It’s a follow-up to my response to him from the MM blog of the prior week, as I am dissatisfied with my original response, and wish I had wrote the following instead:

    Hi Temporaryreality,

    First, this was meant to be a short response, but as I wrote, I did a quick internet search to check something, then got absorbed by what I found in typewriter land, and I sort of got carried away. Here we go…

    After your story about your fondness for typewriters, and the typewriter repairmen who refused to teach you his trade, something kept bothering me. You wrote “The shop owner said that there are so many models and all different, that it’d be hard task to learn now, without the benefit of seeing multiple models with old-days’ frequency.” That statement cannot be true! I’m certain he said that only to discourage you. Sure there are many different models, and sure their parts are not interchangeable. But they all operate on the same schema, (well, a set of several schema). They all derive from a limited set of patents, and patent or no, you can SEE how they work.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to learn the typewriter repair trade. True, there are no courses, and finding a teacher is really not in your control. You can become self-taught. Like you, I approached a veteran repairman, and got the brush-off. But, Jerry, the man I approached, gave me some implicit advice. He said he was self-taught, and “that’s the only way you’ll ever really get any good”. So off the git-go, you’ll need at least one good textbook. So I looked-up “typewriter repair” on Alibris.com, and surprisingly found only one manual, and it was over $300. I’ll bet they’re getting snapped up.

    Shortly, I came across an online database of typewriter service manuals:

    https://typewriterdatabase.com/manuals.php

    This looks like a real goldmine. The home page shows the table of contents to a 3-volume Typewriter repair TEXTBOOK! The first chapter is “Basic Typewriter Care and Maintenance”, and there is a chapter “Common Typewriter Problems and Fixes”. … There are chapters covering each of the major makes. There is a youtube link to a complete 1978 video course on repairing IBM Selectrics…. There is a section “Theory and Your Workshop” which includes a list for a starter set of tools (there is a comprehensive list too!), as well as a thorough description of a typewriter cleaning and maintenance protocol… there is a chapter on how to refinish and repaint…it goes on to describe setting up an industrial scale repair shop with tubs to dunk them, solvents, cleaning agents, lubricants, spray-guns, painting booths, drying boxes… Obviously you’ll not go industrial scale, but you sure get a comprehensive view of all the steps and processes to restore a typewriter.

    Here is an interesting excerpt from the included AMES Basic Repair Training Manual For Standard Typewriters:

    “…Binds: Definition- Binds cause about 75% of the trouble typewriter mechanics have when working with a machine. Their typewriter adjustments would be greatly simplified if binds could be eliminated. But, unfortunately, they doggedly occur and cause trouble. A bind is the result of two metal parts incorrectly rubbing together causing friction. This bind may cause tightness or sluggishness in some parts…

    Causes [of binds]: Some binds are caused by dirt and grit…a piece may be bent…an incorrect screw or spring may be present…too much oil or grease…[procedures to address these …]

    Tracing a bind [troubleshooting if the above procedures fail]: …Never bend or twist a part to find out if that is the point of the bind. Never oil a part that might be dirty to get the bind out… One of the best methods to trace a bind is to separate the problem: If [, say,] you have a bind in the back-space mechanism, try to locate the bind by moving a key up and down very slowly, and watching the parts involved to see if they move freely. If you still do not locate the trouble, disconnect the linkage and check this out piece by piece until you locate it…”

    ** End of excerpt **

    With the typewriterdatabase, along with tools and workspace, you would need typewriters to practice on. There are still cheap thrift/antique-store finds. And check out eBay… though typewriters do not generally run cheap there. Craigslist has lots, many cheap, even free.

    You can still buy typing supplies such as ribbons, online.

    You can buy restored/refurbished typewriters. So someone is doing what you want to do! Check out-

    https://www.mrmrsvintagetypewriters.com/ which also has some intriguing links…

    I’ve noticed that online typewriter prices have more than tripled since I last shopped for one 8-9 years ago.

    So you can buy them cheap in thrift stores/Craigslist, fix them up, and sell high on eBay (or better yet, from your own site).

    A few months back, JMG wrote how some retro technologies have been making a comeback, vinyl records and record players being the poster child for this phenomenon. I’ll bet typewriters are up-and-coming.

    For some inspiration and guidance on self-directed training, check out the book- Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion, by James Bach (High School Dropout, world class software testing guru, and son of author Richard Bach).

    I gotta go.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  63. @Allen I’m not sure it’s just cognitive dissonance affecting people’s ability to think. I worry there’s something deeper going on. The things I see are scary…what happened in the 80’s?

    It’s that people can’t make even short linkages that are not extremely explicit on their own. So, for an actual example, if someone told you “I gave the landlord the post dated cheques already”, you would not likely be mystified to find the chequebook was, in fact, missing ten cheques each dated for the next ten months of the lease, written to name of the church the non profit was located in.

    This example just caused mass confusion among adults, who are old enough to have jobs and children and mortgages, in the non profit I just left. Why are we paying the church? Why do the entries have future dates on them? Why is it even written in this book but the cheques that the entries list are missing? Can you tell us where these cheques are??

    So the outgoing treasurer just had to explain… Because she had not *explicitly* said who the landlord was – they could not infer it from the building they were in. They couldn’t infer “postdated” from its use. Or even if you’d never encountered something as “old fashioned” as a chequebook before – that by saying “gave” and then that cheques aligning precisely to those listed in the book were those that were *missing *, that the purpose of the tracking page was to record what already went out. But why? – because – if they were still in there, you could read them, and if they’re gone, how else would you know what they had said?

    It would be easy to think one was dealing with just particularly unworldy people, but, we’re talking scientists, teachers, dental hygienists in their thirties to forties. No one with less than one postsecondary degree. Particularly stupid ones? One could argue, but there are so many, and making it to advanced positions in society.

  64. Afternoon and thank you for another open post.

    I’ll get right into it by asking for your thoughts on an issue I’ve been working on. With the tension surrounding the whole election and the social issues it’s bound to bring, I eventually found myself reverting back to an old wound that keeps breaking out.

    I’m one of those many who feels isolated and in a silly way betrayed by the future that was promised by what was delivered in regards to the kind of society I would one day be a part of. More and more after contrasting myself with my millenial peers I spiraled down into more loneliness. Unlike some in my cadre (the evil white straight male) the reactionary politics they dig themselves into, each time I reflect on them they evaporate because I can’t hold the hate that seems to motivate them as the anger they show towards others evaporates instantly in the instances I talk with the real people, and the woke is out of the question because it’s just as disgusting to me to prostrate myself like a sinner when I go out of my way to treat others like I would want.

    I tried going back to the catholic church despite the insincerity of it in terms what I wanted. Not to really commune with my god, I pray twice a day and in fact the night before and day of I found the words that seemed to flow so easily in prayer almost clogged up, which I attributed to drowsiness, but upon meditating on it I just felt tired and lonely. While I felt moved by the service at first I suspect it was more due to to cultural pressure the catholic church puts out against the secular world rather than actual religious peace.

    All this came about as my usual escapes from the meaninglessness of modern life, video games, anime, and substance abuse, became noticeably less effective as my mind kept screaming at me I was wasting time. They were always the same sort of good always triumphs, fairy tale ending, with eternal love of the ‘twin flame’ variety that were always in sharp contrast with reality.

    To try and cut to the point, while having a cold shower I thought about how easy it is to get entangled in other peoples abstractions, and while abstractions useful the way I was using them was quite harmful and that I should meditate on better ways use them to rise above all the digital white noise. In terms of loneliness and relationships the word anima has been popping up again and again in my head for the past few months. When I wondered a bit more about it, I couldn’t help but wonder if a big chunk of loneliness couldn’t be helped by, I don’t know, coming to terms internally with that, or that my personality or what have you was out of balance. When I asked myself that question I felt a bit of peace in absence of a clear direction.

    I suppose that that would be the answer itself, and I’m going to keep meditating on it, but I just figured I’d get your opinion and maybe if you had some pointers of how to do the above. I’m not really versed in Jung, the things I’ve picked up are more out of osmosis from the garbled up global conversation and reading some bits of your blog.

    I apologize if I vomited out an essay here and thanks again.

  65. I just wanted to say thank you to JMG for hosting this site (as well as the other blog), and for taking the time to answer questions and discuss issues — these are places where we can be exposed to ideas from all sides without the discussion degenerating into a screaming match.

  66. Do we access parallel worlds through our dreams?

    This doesn’t always happen to me but I have dreams that are not just vivid and detailed.
    In these dreams, I am clearly riding along inside someone else’s head. I do not know this person; they are unlike me in age, gender, nationality, what have you, and unlike some of my other dreams, I have zero control.

    I’m just along for the ride.

    Yet they do not seem to be dreams of the past. They’re contemporary, of a sort.

    These dreams do not feel like dreams. I am in someone else’s head.

    Any thoughts?

  67. Hi adwelly,

    Apologies in advance for my male enthusiasm! But this is a subject dear to my heart! 🙂

    I wrote about that very story mid last year, and you can take a peek inside the elegantly designed machine which I use everyday and have repaired twice now (an easy job as the machine is very elegantly designed and made to be repaired): Fire Sale.

    Incidentally, I have it on good authority that the Rancillio Silivia machine is much of a muchness.

    Beware of the future decline of coffee plantations though. It’s a real thing.

    In your climate, well a polytunnel with a proper tea camellia would work nicely. I grow them here and they survive frost and the occasional snowfall.

    Cheers

    Chris

  68. JMG & Friends,

    How does one go about doing syncretism well? Conversely, what are some of the hallmarks of bad syncretism? I write as someone who, after years of searching and learning and meditating, feels the strong pull of multiple spiritual traditions but who doesn’t want to treat religion as a buffet for my personal fulfillment…

    Warmly,
    Ryan M.

  69. As many here know, I encourage walking with a plastic grocery bag or two and picking up trash. Complaining about trash doesn’t move it out of the park; picking it up and putting it into a bag that you then tie off and dispose of properly, does.

    Bill and I were recently rewarded for doing just this.

    We were on our usual route from our house to the Friendly’s down Reese Avenue and walked in front of the Reese Factory as usual. They make Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a wide variety of KitKats. Yes, we live next door to a chocolate factory.

    When we were walking back (it’s a round trip), one of the Reese employees ran out to meet us and gave us a Reese’s gift bag filled with several pounds of Reese chocolates fresh off the line! All kinds of peanut butter cups and KitKats; I didn’t know how many variants they made and now I do.

    We’d been seen, discussed, and someone at Reese wanted to say thanks for picking up the trash on Reese Avenue!

    It was a shock, let me tell you.

    Also, there is a world of difference between a peanut butter cup right off the line and one you get in the grocery store.

    Thus, always take a spare plastic grocery bag with you when you go walking and pick up trash. Not only is it the right thing to do, you may earn a tangible reward.

  70. Education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught.

    The missing headline:
    Extra! Extra! Read all about it:
    Education died of COVID-19

    The four pedestrian truths:

    – Life is a sequence of transitory moments of pleasure and pain;

    – there’s nothing you can do to prevent it;

    – insulate from pain, insulated from pleasure;

    – increase the pleasure, increased pain follows.

    The Universal speaks through all things (and all people); some will pretend to be too busy to listen, some prefer to become autistic.

    Do with it what you may.

  71. Last weekend I came across a business in a strip mall calling itself a “rage room”. It offers time in a room full of implements of destruction and breakable objects…for a price. I’ve heard of such establishments before but I couldn’t imagine them being very popular.
    I’ve known people who felt the need to take their rage out on inanimate objects, and I gave them a wide berth.
    I find creative destruction to be much more enjoyable. Today there are tons of leaves that need to be mulched.
    There’s another author I follow who characterizes the dynamic protests across the country as a form of entertainment that a certain segment of the population finds enjoyable. These too deserve a wide berth.

    The song in my head today: “All She Wants to do is Dance” – Don Henley

  72. @Naomi: “Irena, what do you like about the Czech republic?”

    Interesting question! Let me start by *not* answering it. 😉 I moved here not because I “liked” it, but because I happened to land a job here. (I applied for jobs in multiple countries on multiple continents, and this just happens to be where I got lucky.) My first visit was for my job interview. Then when I was offered the job and accepted it, I just moved here, essentially sight unseen.

    Now, what do I like about it? Well, Prague (which is where I live) is pretty enough, albeit run over by tourists. Good public transportation. None of the SJW nonsense, which is nice. But once again, I didn’t move here because I “liked” it. I moved for the job, and now I’m doing my best to adapt.

  73. We published our newest book and it’s on the business of writing! Bill and I co-wrote it.

    We’re so proud. It’s been in the works for over five years and is a much better book because we did all kinds of things wrong and learned from them.

    It’s called Career Indie Author: Tell Your Stories and Build a Business That Will Last a Lifetime.

    It’s not about craft. It’s about recordkeeping, websites, wills, business plans, and so forth.

    We show sample pages and what not here: https://peschelpress.com/career-indie-author/

    It is available in two formats: trade paperback and ebook. The difference (besides price) is that the trade paperback is loaded with art in the form of example covers and logos and anything else that seemed suitable. Ebooks have limited file sizes so we can’t put art on every page like we can with a trade paperback.

  74. JMG

    Someone whose wife had just passed away wrote recently about hearing a voice suggesting they could die if they wanted. You said you thought it was rare. Here is my analogous experience.

    I was a teenager on vacation with my family. We were at a lake at dusk with another family, and three of us were playing keep-away with a Frisbee on a wooden raft floating tethered in the middle of the lake. I fell of the raft backwards into the water. Suddenly I didn’t know which way was up. There was no cold water on my skin, no light, just nothing. A distinct voice said to me, “You could die right now if you wanted to.” It was not threatening, just seemed to state facts. I was confused, but in a moment I thought, “No, I want to live!” Just then my head came above the water, which was cold again. This even messed me up for a long while, realizing that I almost drowned, and dark water sort of called to me for about a decade afterwards.

    But after the other person wrote, the following occurred to me.

    1. If people said yes, they wanted to die, none of us would know if it were a common experience.
    2. Maybe this is why older couples tend to die within a short time of one another, even when the surviving partner has nothing physically wrong.

    Question: If people died this way, would they progress to the next life or be caught in some kind of Hell on the astral plane? Couldn’t it be possible a kindly entity was just trying to help?

    Thanks!

  75. JMG

    When I wrote about the voice I heard when I almost drowned, that was the only time up to then and for many years later that I heard a voice that was outside myself. As I have studied the Inner Grove, I have since done some scrying where I encountered speaking entities, but only in an opened Grove and after performing the Sphere of Protection. I should also mention that I perform the SoP daily.

    However, a few nights ago I think I was assaulted spiritually in my sleep and I don’t know what to do.

    I was asleep, dreaming, last Saturday night. I work on software and play several instruments, and I often dream about coding, performing and solving problems in my sleep. Lately, I think I have been dreaming about working out rituals, but I am not sure. I was in such a dream when a decidedly outside voice starting talking to me, asking questions unrelated to the dream. If felt very threatened. I woke up completely. The entity was stronger than me magically and astrally, and the only thing I could think to do was to chant, “Stop It! Stop It! Stop It! You are stronger than me. This is unethical! You should be using your power for good! Do good! Do Good! Do Good!” In between this chant they persisted. At one point they said, “What is your address?” It flashed before my eyes before I could stop it. I realized I was out of my depth, so I called for help. “Help! Help! Something stronger than me is trying to hurt me!” Emotionally, it felt like being raped.

    Suddenly, a strong, calm, benevolent entity was present and somehow the whole thing stopped. I was so thankful. I just felt so threatened by the whole thing.

    Then I realized – why would an Otherworld entity need my address? Then I also realized that I had seen them! Three young boys, late teens, early 20’s in what looked like normal teenage clothes standing in a dimly lit room in tract housing or contemporary apartment. They were staring at something – crystal ball, maybe? They were laughing like bullies.

    So here are my questions:

    1. How can I protect myself from both doing something in my sleep that I might regret, or being assaulted in my sleep?
    2. What should I have done in the situation?
    3. How can I get stronger so I can shut it down myself without help?

    Thanks!

  76. Just thought I would make a general comment about lockdowns for covid 19.

    I tend to follow Nassim Talebs line of thinking in pandemic risk management, which basically goes “Don’t Frack with the Tail”. That is, Pandemics generally are a phenomena with very large statistical ‘tails’ meaning they are events that can potentially result in a lot of low probability events.

    The reason countries have lock downs, or social distancing measures more generally, is to mintage tail risk. It may then be argued, that the lockdown causes a lot of damage. My answer would be pandemics cause a lot of general panic full stop. that is what causes the economic damage. The question is are you going to have a reasonably coordinated response to the pandemic, or an utter chaotic response, causing far more damage, potentially than any lockdown would have.
    The economic damage also happens because of how fragile the global economic arrangements are today, people panic over a pandemic because they know how fragile their economic situation is. What happens, ultimately is that the fragile parts of the economic get swept away, the stronger parts (ultimately) prevail.

    Middle class people and above , panic more because their jobs are more dependent on an increasingly fragile global economy. Working class people less because their jobs are generally less dependent on the global economy and they had less to lose in the first place.

    Anyway, that’s me trying to explain lock downs, pandemics etc (Taleb explains it far better than me)

  77. Alan
    You lamented about `the glaring decline in elementary logical thought, and in critical thinking in general.`
    `
    That seems to be a US centric phenomenon in my opinion.

    I have noticed a clear increase in logical/critical thinking in Japan over the 25 years I have visited that country. (I live there now). Students with active minds major in `law` in college and some become lawyers. The lawyers in Japan are more open minded, objective critical thinkers than lawyers in America by far, (by the way, I am a lawyer) and the Japanese people who major in law in college are refreshingly critical and objective and there are many more of them than before.

    Although I have less experience in China, it seems that critical thinking has been on the increase there as they have learned deep down the value of that for science and technology development and they have become number one in new technology and even in science as a result.

    We Americans tend to think that the world revolves around us or that our `way` is the `way` on the planet. Not so. The world, and particularly Eastern Asia will survive just fine without an America which has given so much technology and enlightenment and inspiration to the rest of the world but is now spent. Pockets of clear rational thinkers exist in every society no matter now corrupt and despotic it becomes. I think that those of us who understand this need to associate in places such as at JMG`s blogsite.

    My biggest concern is that ISP connections and the contents of communications themselves between us will be controlled/blocked and even spoofed to prevent communication. For that reason it is necessary to create a peer to peer communication where each member of a discussion sends electromagnetic energy directly between them. I am talking about low frequency ham radio. It is possible to send direct messages using only 100 watts world wide, using a digital mode combined with text to speech software that can emulate the sounds of the characteristic speaker. We can communicate and allow others to listen in (or pick up a recorded conversation) without using any companies` hardware or software or any govt or private infrastructure. I am looking for people to collaborate with me on this project.

  78. Just A comment on the influence of Pluto (Pluto is strong is my Natal chart).

    I get the feeling part of my job is to help retain the more useful influences of Pluto, while discarding a lot of the admittedly rather bad parts. I am someone who is very interested in the underworld, the unconscious, emotional depth. The thing that I think drove a lot of people crazy in the 20th century was that to use and manage plutonian influence effectively requires a strong grounding, and quite a bit of emotional maturity, which most people unfortunately do not have…

  79. Scotlyn’s comment about the Left.
    Not far from where I was born was a street named after Keir Hardie, one of the founding fathers of the British Labour Party. Born in 1856, he was sent out to work at the age of seven, and at the age of ten, started working down the mines. He walked two hours to work and back, and was sacked on one occasion for being late by a few minutes. He had no formal schooling, but taught himself to read and write, joined a local Church and became active in the nascent trades union movement. He became a Member of Parliament, and campaigned, among other things, for better wages and safer working conditions in the mines, which in those days were deathtraps. Hardie was typical of the originators of the Labour Party, and of left-wing parties in Europe in general. Middle-class intellectuals did get involved, but usually because, like George Orwell, they had seen a lot of life and drawn personal conclusions from it. Hugh Gaitskell, the best leader the Labour Party never had, was the son of a factory owner, converted to socialism by seeing the appalling working and living conditions of the ordinary people. The traditional Left was reform minded and close to the people: as Orwell said, “Socialists have never claimed to make the world perfect, just to make it better.” The Left in most countries was the inheritor of popular traditions and festivals, and it had a powerful eggregor, made up of folk traditions, banners and flags, social solidarity and a ruthless practicality in trying to improve the lives of ordinary people.
    Such people are now largely gone from political parties of both Left and Right. The new professional political class which has arisen, and which is the inheritor of the Liberal political tradition (equally far removed from Left and Right), far from wanting to create utopias, has no real political convictions at all, except the conviction that they deserve to be successful.
    History is full of groups who have taken power with ideological agendas, whether political, religious or economic. Some have been intellectual, many not. But you shouldn’t confuse such events with the conventional Left-Right spectrum.

  80. For amusement purposes mainly, but apropos of the much earlier discussions around the limits of innovation in art:

    When music theory goes too far

    I get that some of us don’t do video, if inclined it should work just as well as audio only

    Cheers,
    Graeme

  81. John,
    The first sentence should have been:
    Got any email from Aeon Books this morning saying that “Beyond the Narratives: Essays on Occultism and the Future” and “The UFO Chronicles: How Science Fiction, Shamanic Experiences, and Secret Air Force Projects Created the UFO Myth” have shipped.

    Usually takes about 2 weeks.

    John

  82. @ Simon S

    The economies of most western countries are set for simultaneous collapse. The crest of the wave of retiring baby-boomers would be passing right about now, with withdrawl of retirement savings soon hitting an all-time high. For most of these people, that means selling major assets like real estate or a stock portfolio – great plan when they bought into it, but what happens when there’s nobody to buy the stuff because everybody and his dog NEEDS to sell? Yep, you got it: 1929 on steriods.

    That’s what this “pandemic crisis” is all about. The people running the governments know the financial crash is coming, can’t stop it from happening, and can’t even fix it afterwards either, since most of them have racked up unmanageable public debts that have been escalating daily since at least as far back as the Nixon administration. So what do they do? They prepare for it by establishing de facto martial law (that’s what the lockdown is) ahead of time so that when the world goes to pot they will still retain their priviledged positions.

  83. @Sarah J I just got to your last comment on the last thread – hot dog, I think you’re onto something 😉
    Yesterday I got a bizarre urge to watch Jesus Christ Superstar again and couldn’t figure out why. Besides my unnatural love for rock operas.

    When I learned it, the textbook lumped all arousal responses with the threat response, hence the inclusion of “mating” as a fifth f (undergraduates found that hilarious) – caveat being, I don’t remember how universal that is in the animal kingdom, or whether it was particular species only, like the link to feed that was given for birds (tied to mating displays, automatic reasons to chick pecking, and appeasing some predators).

  84. Hello John, I am a medical student in NYC. What medical specialty do you think will be most useful in the years ahead? Which geographic location should I consider for residency training (I’m assuming not Manhattan)?

  85. With regards to a vaccine for Covid-19. I have a dear friend who works in the vaccine field for a global pharmaceutical company.

    She is *pro-vaccine* all the way. Gets her flu shot annually and encourages everyone else to do so.

    But she won’t be getting the Covid-19 vaccine, whether it comes from her company or someone else.

    The reason is that it’s being rushed through testing. That leads directly to problems in the real world. She does not believe that we’ll be getting a vaccine any time soon and that anything that comes out quickly is going to be seriously flawed. Not enough tests will be done so the beta-testers in the real world will demonstrate what’s wrong.

  86. Mr. Greer.
    It can be argued that the present global economic and political system, i.e. capitalism, is founded on greed. Profit trumps everything else. Neverending growth is a priority that wins over all other considerations, even sustainability, which reaveals it as not just evil but also deeply irrational and suicidal. It is a power out of control, bent on destroying life on Earth (mass extinction) and this civilisation.
    If so, and if there are gods, wouldn’t then, at this time, the God of Greed be the most powerfull one? Mammon, or some other? Yet he is hidden – no recognisable worshiping rituals in the open, no church, no prayers? Obscured by some effective PR stunt (like a magic spell) maybe, making him invisible while in plain sight and all around us?
    Could you share some knowledge and insight on this?

  87. Dear JMG,

    There is something where I’m a bit in a conundrum. Selling superfluous things via Ebay today isn’t much viable any more, because there are no or few bidders, except for some special items. This is very much the case, too, for many books. The question which I’m asking myself is whether it is reasonable to expect said items becoming more sellable in the future due to increasing scarcity, or collector value. But then there is the factor that Ebay will probably decline even before the Internet itself becomes unattractive and/or too expensive. And it is too early to know how one will get rid of superfluous things in the 2040s and 2050s.

  88. @ Justin

    Re your ‘druthers

    Decopunk seriously needs to become a thing! Vistas are unfurling in my mind’s eye already…

  89. I remember from past open posts some discussion about the right’s views about the environment and conservation, and I’m following with interest the comments on the topic today. Apparently it was just announced that all protections will be removed from Tongass forest in Alaska to allow logging. I was glad to read pvguy’s timely comment above related to the issue, and I’m aware of the hypocrisies on the modern left when it comes to the environment, but when I read news such as that about Tongass I can’t deny feeling disappointment, to say the least.

    I know that conservatives in the past were behind many of the parks and nature preserves in the US, but I’m wondering how or whether conservation will again become an issue important to the modern right?

  90. Steve,

    I see the JMG has already replied to you, but if I may extend his suggestion…

    You might take a serious look at Simplicius, one of the last Athenian Platonists, who was among those sent into exile when the Emperor Justinian closed the philosophical schools in 529 CE. He wrote a commentary on the Handbook of Epictetus, which gives an excellent account of how the applied/practical bits of Stoic ethics can actually be supported even better by a Platonic metaphysics.

    There’s a very good translation, in two volumes, by Charles Brittain and Tad Brennan, published by Bloomsbury.

  91. JMG, Irena and others about the pandemic,
    JMG said before that the panic will subside after the elections but I disagree.

    I don’t think it matters how serious the disease is ( personally I think it’s no worse than the flu). What matters is that the TPTB have piggybacked on it and launched a new stage of civilization decline.
    I am impressed by how successful they were. Most countries imposed lockdowns and some (like Australia) have continuous severe restrictions even with about 10 new cases a day.

    I expect we will see more of the same successful changes that were implemented this year:
    – People accept big restrictions if they are stirred into a panic by using the fear of death combined with “liberal” virtue signaling.
    – More reductions in globalization and oil consumption will follow. Will it be another disease? Terrorist attack? I don’t know but I think the same pattern will hold.
    – Civil liberties will continue to be restricted even after election or even after the vaccine (which is useless anyway).

    These are my predictions. I am prepared to be wrong and I hope JMG is right.

    Does everybody else feel disconcerted by the fact that we see global cooperation at a level that I never thought possible? Yes, they use this cooperation to keep dissent down and restrict freedoms but one of my core beliefs was that the leaders are just riding the wave of events trying hard to hold on to power.
    Instead what we see is an incredible effective international leadership – a brave new world where the gov, media and large corporations impose the same perverse view of reality and most people are more than happy to follow.

    I know I need a lot of time to process this.

  92. Viduraawakened, (1) I know very little about mathematics outside of Euclidean geometry and a few tricks with slide rules. Your suggestion seems plausible to me, but I don’t know enough to be able to say anything more conclusive. (2) The difficulty we face just now is that many people don’t find the religious forms of the Piscean Age appealing any more, but they want something approximating a normal religious life rather than the intensive work that’s involved in serious training on the occult or mystical paths. Over the next few centuries, that’s going to give rise to the religious forms of the Aquarian Age — but that’s not exactly comforting for those who are alive now! The way to those new forms, though, is open already — it simply involves paying attention to your own heart and to what you can perceive of the spiritual realities that surround us at every moment. (3) I know nothing worth mentioning about that subject, so no.

    Barry, the standard occult teaching is that each solar system is a separate unit in terms of its population of souls, and until you earn your way out of strictly material incarnation, you’re stuck on this rock with the rest of us.

    Red, I’d say rather that the digital age of propaganda, disinformation, and manufactured attention is in its decadence, and tumbling toward its end. While it’s still here, the most important practice you can engage in is decreasing your exposure to it. Throwing away your television is an important first step, and leaving social media is a second. You don’t gain anything from being in contact with those, and you don’t become irrelevant by leaving them — have you noticed how much of the real news is now being circulated outside official channels? Walk away, and then use standard techniques of ritual, meditation, and divination to open your awareness to the real world, which is a much bigger, more interesting, and more important place anyway.

    Violet, frogs! Frogs everywhere! 😉 I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Chandler — have you read any of his other work? If not, you’re in for a good time, as Playback — good as it is — is far from his best. I haven’t read Turgenev, but if the rest of the aristocrats live on happily, well, we all know that they were living on borrowed time…

    Scotlyn, that shows one of the big differences between your country and mine. Here in the United States the left is not a native growth. Since Colonial times it’s always fixated on one European ideology or another, and so it’s consistently been a matter of intellectuals pursuing power under the banner of some new idea for making the world perfect. The American right has had some of those — cough, cough, Ayn Rand, cough, cough –but the rock-ribbed basis of the American right has always been the formless conservatism of rural and small town people who just want to be left alone to live their lives the way their grandparents did. That’s why Marxism has always failed so completely here; Marxists expect the American urban industrial working class to have a bias toward the left, like their European equivalents, and over and over again get tripped up by the discovery that it ain’t so. As for what label you might choose to use in the intricate politics of your own country, I have no clue, never having lived there.

    Roe, can you set up a shrine to her, with a statue or image, a couple of candles, and an incense burner? Your best approach — the traditional approach — is simply to do that and then, every day, burn some incense as an offering and pray to her. Ask her to guide you toward more information about her, or to reveal to you what you need to know. After all, she’s the expert on the subject…

    John B, first of all, either you or your sources are cherrypicking. The Soviet Union was the first nation in the world to allow abortion under all circumstances; Stalin reversed that from 1936 to 1955, but once he was gone, abortion became very common again — in fact, the Soviet Union had the highest abortion rate in the world for many years. In 1965 alone, according to Wikipedia, there were 5.5 million abortions. Thus it’s inaccurate to see abortion as somehow uniquely capitalist! Second, and more critically, you’re either forgetting or ignoring the specific point that I made, which was that under communism and fascism, mass murder carried out by governments on their own civilian populations reached historically unprecedented levels. Forced abortion in the United States has happened, but it’s been quite rare; it was common in China for quite a while, of course, but China isn’t a capitalist society — it’s got a typical post-Marxist hybrid economy in which big state-owned businesses exist alongside private corporations.

    Jay, within a thousand years or so the Earth will have no more continental glaciers, sea level will be about 300 feet higher than it is now, and the shores of the Arctic ocean will have a Mediterranean climate. You know what? That’s normal. For most of the history of our planet, that’s been the norm, and it was true as recently as the Miocene (which ended around 5 million years ago). As for the Grauniad, no, it’s not good on the environmental stuff — I’ve seen more displays of stunning ecological ignorance there than I have in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, which is saying something. Their ignorance just tends to slant in the opposite direction.

    David BTL, excellent! Not to mention this improves your range of job skills in what promises to be an era of major economic dislocations.

    Sarah, I’ll consider a post on the subject. In the meantime, my book Green Wizardry is highly applicable to this sort of transitional period.

    Peter, that’s another subject that deserves a blog post of its own, if not an entire book. I’ll put it in the hopper and see what comes of it.

    Kimberly, pass on my congrats!

    WHD, you cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. With magic, especially, you have no right to override someone else’s will in order to make them do what you think they ought to do! If you have a relationship with a deity, prayer would be appropriate.

    Nomad, I’m delighted to hear this.

    Bill, that’s a fascinating question. On an evolutionary level, human beings are among the most effective hunting species in the history of the planet — even when what we had were stone spearheads, we took out an astonishing array of prey species — and it may be that a couple of million years of selective pressure to stay away from humans have had an impact; behavioral evolution can work very quickly when the penalty for failure is ending up as a throw rug. That said, you may be right that there may be something deeper going on.

    Allen, I’d be surprised to see Section 230 removed completely. Instead, I would expect to see something like the old Fairness Doctrine brought back into use, so that Section 230 protections only apply to companies that refrain from politically biased censorship. Still, I could be wrong. One way or another, though, the internet is becoming increasingly passé, and it’s also having a harder and harder time paying for itself. As that sets in, I expect to see it be rationed by price in the years ahead, with internet access becoming steadily more expensive and the quality of service and content declining just as steadily, until it finally becomes what it was in 1990 or so, mostly a network for government, business, and what’s left of the academic world once the approaching shakeout hits. I’d expect that a little later than you do — say, 2040 or so.

    Merle, thank you! It’s only about 50 cents a copy in that case.

    Nachtgurke, hmm! Interesting. I wonder whether that decoherence is concentrated in the managerial classes; that’s where I’d expect to see it.

    StarNinja, that was a standard Christian visionary experience. Does your wife recall the passage where St. Paul says he was caught up to the third heaven? That was the same thing. Millions of Christians have had that experience during prayer and meditation, and it’s perfectly safe — she was in no danger at all. She may find it helpful to begin her sessions of meditation in the future by repeating the Lord’s Prayer and placing herself under the protection of Christ, so that she’ll know that she has nothing to fear

    Zhao, it’s a standard managerial class masturbatory fantasy. The elite classes have begun to realize that they’re losing control over the world, and the Great Reset is how they’re telling themselves that they’re going to restore their control. It’s already falling to bits, and I think you’ll see more chunks falling off it in the weeks immediately ahead — but it’s a universal habit of failing elites to whip up ever more grandiose claims concerning their own wisdom, power, and magnificence as they begin sliding down the chute.

    TheRealA, (1) I’d encourage you to read a good book on Neville Chamberlain’s government — or, if you like, the Daladier and Blum governments in France — if you want the exact equivalent of our current political scene. Churchill, that glorious scoundrel, had among other things a wholly pragmatic attitude toward subordinates; those who could perform got advanced to bigger and better things, those who could not got parked in places where they couldn’t hurt anybody else. Lacking someone to do that, political systems tend to get loaded up with idiots. (2) Research Brexit, and follow that approach as much as you can. Nothing succeeds like success!

    Pixelated, welcome to the real world. 😉 Natal chart transits are very helpful indeed — and they have positive uses as well; my income started going up like anything once I started submitting proposals and manuscripts when my natal Mercury was getting a positive aspect.

    Greencoat, hmm — fascinating. No, I have no theory.

    Simon, congratulations!

  93. Hi JMG, I’ll probably be pitching my (drum roll) trilogy this summer. Can you tell me how to tell when my natal Mercury is favorable?

  94. I have recently read “The Dispossessed” by Ursula Le Guin, an anarchosyndicalist utopia. JMG, I would like to know if you have read it and if so, what you think about it, since you have expressed your sympathy for democratic syndicalism in the past. Others’ opinions are also very welcome!

    For my part, I was less enthusiastic about the literary side than with Left Hand of Darkness or Tehanu. The omniscient narrator didn’t sit well with me (what planet is the narrator from?), and the chapters in the capitalist society, a stand-in for the USA in 1970 or maybe rather in the 1920s, felt stretched.

    I did like the invitation to think about the possibility of an anarchist society. In fact, I think Le Guin chose her subject very carefully to overcome readers’ doubts that it is possible to live in society without arms and without money. Myself, I felt it was only possible because the anarchists live on the border of ecological life support, teetering on the edge of starvation. In that situation, I could believe they would collaborate and put collective needs higher than individual love, laziness or greed, often enough to allow for survival.

    The individual defects of character that of course exist in the utopia were convincing, especially when you know how science works behind the scenes. I also felt the portrayal of constant and necessary change was compelling – no society can long remain the way it is.

    I look forward to hearing other opinions!

    One thing I have also thought about is that Quebec in 2020 is in some ways as near to the anarchist as the capitalist society of the book, especially with regard to gender roles and child care, but also to some extent work relations.

  95. David and anyone else involved in the Disunion discussion from last week,

    So, I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve come to realize that we aren’t a “has-been power,” but a declining empire. The decline phase of empires didn’t necessarily preclude great works or great feats of strength, rather those things didn’t stop the inevitable decline.

    One major thing that irks me about the whole session ideology is that the secessionist camps all believe that they will be able to manage the decline better independent of the Union. Given the number of predatory powers and resource limitations that newly independent states would face, I really don’t see session creating anything other than a region of failed states. The one compensating factor that would determine a failed state from a successful one, at least in my opinion, is population capacity. That is the character, knowledge, skill, and adaptability of a given population base. The ability to institutionalize the human factors would be pivotal, and I currently don’t see any of the regions in the US having that capacity.

    Even legalized session would create a massive target for hostile powers like China to target, just like they’re already targeting the ideology today.

    No, as far as I can see our best bet is to make do within the limits of the Union. At least for present. Within the context of the union we can work with foreign powers to manage our international interests, while we slowly withdraw from our role as global empire. Our alliance with the newly formed Indo-Pacific strategic alliance, known as the Quad, is already allowing us to check China with a greatly reduced investment on our part. Similar moves could be made as other threats arise.

    We do not have the ability to manage to whole world by ourselves, nor the desire. We do not have the resources to isolate ourselves fully, nor should we desire that currently. What we do have is two great big moats and a long reach. The fossil fuel age is ending, but it’ll take at least another hundred years to wind down. We have to deal with that reality.

    The greatest threat is the anger and discontent we face inside the country, and to that David’s suggestion of decentralizing authority may provide mitigation.

    Regards,

    Varun

  96. Blessed Samhain this weekend to all those who celebrate it; blessed All Saints Day and All Souls Day and El Dia De Los Muertos.

  97. Dear JMG,
    I was wondering if you saw the story about UAE building a coal fired power plant (coal coming from Auz) to cool their skyscrapers and malls (one with an indoor ski slope with real snow) in the Saudi desert, and the other story about air pollution getting worse in China’s cities bcz of the iPhone 12’s ramped-up production?
    I didn’t hear a peep from Greta Thunberg and the faux greens. Strange how that works.

  98. @Booklover
    I’ve stopped using eBay except for when I’m looking for certain specialty items.
    For household goods and tools I browse Facebook marketplace. It feels a lot friendlier than Craig’s list and doesn’t have the overhead of eBay.
    Just a thought.

  99. I’ll take a stab at the covid debacle. I think it’s about 30% dangerous agenda, 68% mass hysteria, and 2% actual danger.

    I think what we have at this point is a testing epidemic. We are using an unreliable, hypersensitive “test” (actually a DNA/RNA manufacturing technique) on an industrial scale to look for an RNA marker that may or may not be associated with a novel virus that poorly correlates with a disease that has none of its own systems. Plus everyone who gets rolled into a hospital gets one of these tests and hospitals get paid for putting covid on deaths certs (against all prior autopsy best practices). It’s a recipe for a data disaster of magnificent proportions.

    And I think the dangerous agenda is free range digital fuedalism riding the wave of pandemic fear.

  100. Irena, thank you so much for your response. I am trying to encourage my brother in the UK to be open to getting a job in another country. He has been redundant for a little while now due to the covid. And no interviews at all in his near future. But I am sure it is easier said than done. I wish you the very best in your efforts to adjust to another culture and language.

  101. Fascinating what people write about when not being allowed to comment on the upcoming election…

    Here’s a question. A couple of years ago, I read a book by Manly P Hall. I believe the title was “Fundamentals of the Esoteric Sciences”.

    The book reminded me of Theosophy. Is this impression correct, or am I just imagining things? Was Hall a Theosophist at some point?

  102. Simon, everyone seems to expect the global financial system to go belly up. My take is that they’re barking up the wrong stump. We’ll see a flight from the dollar at some point, no question, but the US can respond to that easily enough by defaulting on its foreign debt, the way Russia did in 1998 — and you’ll notice that that’s when Russia’s economy really began to recover from the post-Communism crisis. There doesn’t need to be a single reserve currency — at many points in history, there hasn’t been — so international trade will devolve into the usual tangled mess of competing currencies for a while, and the crisis will end up lining birdcages with the other old headlines.

    J.L.Mc12, that’s the only thing of his I’ve read. I thought it was interesting but shallow.

    Nathanael, congratulations!

    Booklover, exactly — there have been several points in world history where there have been several competing power blocs rather than a single global hegemon. As for the coronavirus business, granted, but I expect to see the classes most deeply into that particular panic to lose most of their influence over the years ahead.

    Christopher, glad to hear it.

    Irena, oh, granted — we haven’t had a managerial class on the edge of collapse, panicking about a not very lethal virus because it’s so much easier than talking about the things its members desperately don’t want to talk about. As for when the panic cracks, well, we’ll see; it will probably vary from place to place.

    Averagejoe, hmm! I’ll consider that.

    Andy, that strikes me as a very appropriate metaphor.

    Temporaryreality, thanks for this!

    Naomi, I’d leave America if I became convinced that I was at risk of unjust imprisonment or execution if I stayed. It would take that — though I’m keeping my eye on trends that would make that likely. As for where I would go, it would be more a matter of where I could find someplace that would take me — a middle-aged guy with a wife who has chronic health problems is not necessarily guaranteed an easy time emigrating, even if he brings his income with him.

    David BTL, I’m glad they’re paying attention to the possibility — though I don’t think it’ll come to that.

    Yorkshire, one of the short stories I published in MYTHIC starring Owen and Jenny from the Weird of Hali has a book bound in human skin as its plot engine! Ah, synchronicities… 😉

    Dave, all my past Archdruid Report posts can be purchased in print or e-book form from Founders House.

    Hubbs, don’t worry about Jung, or about what other people have to say about that. Keep exploring via meditation and reflection, and find your own path. That’s the only way that matters.

    Thesseli, you’re most welcome!

    Teresa, the usual understanding of that is that it’s dream telepathy. You’re picking up something from someone else’s head.

    Ryan, get the gods involved. Don’t just do it as a head trip — invoke the gods with prayer and ritual, and get their guidance. That’s the way successful syncretisms do it.

    Teresa, excellent! Talk about instant karma…

  103. @ Matthias Gralle

    I tried reading LeGuin’s Dispossessed when I was new to the seventh grade. It was too much for me! Didn’t get it AT ALL! I read it as an actual adult a few years ago and I loved it.

    I’ve also read another one of her Hainish stories, The Telling. Beautiful and hopeful and sad. And with just a touch of magic in it!

  104. The rituals of Mammon-worship are everywhere! And to learn about its major festivals, just pick the days the newspapers have the truly fat advertising sections, and the megastores are blaring “XXXXXDAY Sale! $ days only!”

  105. JMG, thanks! He loves playing with the new band.

    Mystic Clover, something attacked me last week during a light sleep. For me, twilight sleep is the time when I am most vulnerable to malicious entities. In my case, it took the form of a slightly larger than human yellow demon-thing. It flashed a symbol at me that looked somewhat like the editor’s mark for paragraph. I called upon a couple of my patron deities and it vanished but not after scaring me half to death. It was definitely far more powerful than I am. I have not had that sort of experience in seven or eight years. Not fun. My sense is that people are attacked all the time by entities like the one I ran into but they don’t remember it — the trauma is blocked from consciousness. The trauma is all the more toxic for being buried.

    Irena, in the essay linked below, I speculate the salary class/professional managerial class wants to extend lockdowns because they have gotten lots of perks (an end to commuting, much needed rest, opportunity to virtue signal) and they’ve been able to shove the burden of economic collapse on to the middle and lower classes… for now.

    https://kimberlysteele.dreamwidth.org/15308.html

  106. @JMG,

    I found the Saker’s work through this blog, with Dmitri Orlov’s blog as intermediary, and both his blog and yours are among my top four political influences right now. (The other two are Rod Dreher and Mencius Moldbug. Yes, I am eclectic).

    Anyhow, you say that “The future I sketched out in Twilight’s Last Gleaming is already past its pull date. The US is backing away from empire at a respectable rate….”

    This sort of makes sense in light of military events of the last few years, which the Saker summarized in the article linked by Passerby, though of course he is presenting it as a cataclysmic defeat rather than a gradual and mostly-controlled withdrawal. Though either way the overall point is that the United States does not have the same ability to lord it over other countries that we had in 2003, or even 2011.

    Which raises an interesting question: once the US has backed away from its empire militarily, how long can the commercial element of the empire be propped up? By that I mean that, top military power or not, the US runs big trade deficits, consumes far more than its proper share of natural resources, and outsources most of its manufacturing to other countries. And this is possible because the global financial system is still US-controlled and the dollar is still the global currency.

    How long can this set of circumstances remain in place without a bellicose foreign policy behind it? And will the rest of the world manage to dedollarize without creating economic conflicts that spill over into violence?

  107. I ran across this article about some of the best horror radio dramas of all time and thought it both quite fitting with Halloween right around the corner and my recent intrigue with radio dramas… perhaps the cosmos is telling me something!

    https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/scary-old-time-radio-shows/

    On another note, JMG, your Weird of Hali series have really lit a fire with me. It may have especially been the descriptions of people developing their own spirituality and connections with the gods, and also seeing gods respond that has resonated with me the most. When I’ve woken up in the mornings, these thoughts have encouraged me to remain steadfast in performing the Heathen Hammer. In turn, it’s also helped inspire other action.

    I’m getting my Columbia altar setup, as Jenny provided an example, and am considering what sort of prayer to utter. Have you any recommendations for sources to peruse to help find something that fits my person?

  108. Dear JMG,

    Thank you for your response! I’ve read maybe 10 or 12 of Chandler’s novellas and have his all of his novels currently in my bedroom, I look forward to reading them all if they all stay as good or better as _Playback_. That man could write; I’ve rarely encountered such exquisite, balanced, tension in any writing with his narrative, prose, character development, vivid details, all contributing to a direct clarity of meaning. It’s an interesting ride reading American masterpieces back to back with novels from other regions of the world. There seems to be a sort of “American” prose style that seems entirely unique and that Chandler might exemplify. I struggle to define it, but just as there’s a certain way that Magical Realists write, or the Russian tragedians, or the Greeks or what have you, there’s a broad and brilliant American prose style that stands up proudly with the others!

    May I ask, JMG and commentariat, besides Chandler what are some of your favorite North American authors? I have some Faulkner on my floor from the library because Gabriel Garcia Marquez called Faulkner his “master” in his Noble Prize speech. I also have a lot of Mark Twain books lying about. What North American authors do you all most cherish?

  109. On the subject of coronavirus lockdowns:

    I remember reading how, when the coronavirus first picked up steam in northern Italy, it wholly overwhelmed the health-care system there, and huge numbers of people were left with no choice but to die at home, untreated by any physician. Consequently, the number of dead overwhelmed the mortuary system, too. And the Italian government locked down the region so tightly that families had to keep their own dead in their family home for days and even weeks; the only other choice was (theoretically) to put corpses out onto the streets and let them decay there.

    Because of this, I suspect that one of the (less well publicized) things lockdowns are currently meant to prevent is any overwhelming of the health-care industry, which could lead to a loss of public trust in it and public reliance on it. Immense profits are at stake here, and money has a way of controlling government policy in defiance of plain common sense.

    A former student of mine, who went into the psychological side of the health-care industry, reminded me that there is an evolutionary pressure on every virus to evolve away from killing off too many of its hosts too rapidly. In practice, that means that a new virus, initially lethal in most cases, will in most cases mutate into less lethal forms, not into more lethal ones. She pointed out that this has happened many times in the past, for example, with the influenza pandemic of 1918. She said that she expects it to happen again with the current pandemic.

    So if reason prevails, at some time in the not-too-distant future the lockdowns will end. (A very intelligent physician-friend of my own generation estimates that COVID-19 will “burn itself out” in about 18 months, that is, by early Fall of 2021. He said that was the rough trajectory of the 1918 pandemic. After that happens, there will be no medical reason for our current extreme measures.

    Of course, lockdown measures may continue to be imposed by The Powers That Be for other, more self-serving reasons. The elites may even decide that their own lives will be greatly improved if the bulk of the population (the “unnecessariat,” as I have heard them call us, by analogy with “proletariat”) is allowed to die off gradually, so that it doesn’t notice what is being allowed to happen to it.

  110. JMG, we couldn’t find a reasonably modern place that would take us—I had this idea of retiring to another country—because of Sonkitten’s autism. And if I gotta live in the 3rd World, I may as well stay here and save the moving expenses.

    It’s astonishing how fast flyover country is collapsing.

  111. @ Lady Cutekitten

    I live in Hershey, the sweetest place on earth and where the air really does smell like chocolate. Except when, as in this morning when Bill and I walked by the Reese factory, it smelled like they’d burnt the current batch of wafer that goes into KitKats. Or maybe they scorched the peanuts being roasted and turned into peanut butter filling.

    Peach Bottom is over an hour away. However, if you come to Hershey, I’ll show you around.

    We can go to Chocolate World!

  112. Teresa, woah you have just reminded me that on several occasions I have dreamt that I am a person I attended school with who was born on the same day, same year, and in the same city. Weird.

    JMG, in regards to avoiding this age of propaganda..I deleted all my social media besides LinkedIn (just in case I have to job hunt, I don’t check it) years ago, and haven’t watched TV since moving to my new place. I still have my TV because my family (why am I still listening to them!?) was literally getting upset with me when I said I didn’t want it. I’ve only watched some of a long form podcast on it.

    So I have a stupid black box sitting in the center of my room on its own alter because I wasn’t strong enough to resist societal pressure. Maybe one day I’ll just sneakily get rid of it. For now, I will probably just throw a blanket over it. The only real desire I have to watch TV is for combat sports on weekend nights.

    I know we discussed this previously JMG, and I’m ashamed I couldn’t follow through and just rid myself of the thing.

  113. John—

    Re civil unrest and the threat thereof

    I must admit I was caught off-guard and rather saddened that such a thing would be deemed necessary. I understand why the recommendations went out; I only wish we weren’t in a state where the scenario was considered plausible enough to warrant the action.

    Re new job duties and skill sets

    My current job exists solely because of the regional power markets, which themselves exist because we have the computing and communications technology to dispatch generators and manage transmission infrastructure over large swathes of territory. If that goes away, the risk management and analytical work I do would not be so necessary (and if my utility were powering the city as an electric island, as it did up to ~1960, those skills wouldn’t be needed at all). Knowing how to operate a wastewater plant, on the other hand, is useful pretty much everywhere.

    That said, I suspect my job is reasonably safe for the 10-15 years that will comprise the remainder of my career. But I’m going to broaden my horizons anyway!

  114. Hi JMG,

    I apologize for trying to give you homework through the link I included. Briefly, it appears as though the extreme length of the yugas as enumerated in the Puranas is a later inflation of the original Yuga idea. The non-inflated cycle is about 12,000 years down and 12,000 years up. Broken into 4 stages of equal length (again this is the original yuga idea) of approximately 2,700 years with a 300 year transition between each stage. This puts the beginning of the beginning of the descending Kali yuga at 3676 BCE, the beginning of the ascending Kali yuga at 676 BCE and the end of the ascending Kali yuga at 2025 CE. Not that this is an apocalyptic date but rather signifies the beginning of the 150 year transition cycle where the Kali yuga is mostly dissolved. This is then followed by 150 years where the ascending Dwapara yuga arises and comes to be dominant by 2325 CE.

    I think if you cross check these ideas with your own astrological expertise and historical acumen, you may find some interesting connections. These smaller yuga cycles are much more in line with what you usually look at.

    For anyone that is interested here is the link again:

    https://www.bibhudevmisra.com/2012/07/end-of-kali-yuga-in-2025-unraveling.html

  115. JMG, regarding your response to Zhao about the Great Reset: I have been concerned that the economic thumbscrews, with Covid-19 as the stalking horse, would function to dispossess a great many home-owners and small commercial property owners (at least those with mortgages) once they were sufficiently in arrears. If that scenario unfolds, that would strike me as “success” in increasing control of the world, at least from the standpoint of the banks and upper reaches of the 1%. Such has been my take on the Great Reset. Do you really think that won’t happen, as implied by your response to Zhao?

  116. Archdruid,

    Don’t know if this counts as election news, but I recently heard from a friend in the guard that they’re referring to Biden as George the 5th, in reference to his foreign policy.

    Regards,

    Varun

  117. @ Scotlyn ~ how about, “Citizen”? Thomas Jefferson used it in greeting.
    @David by the Lake ~ thanks for all those energy links
    @Violet ~ I live by a frog pond, about 6′ deep in one place, covers about an acre now, low after a drought, maybe 2 acres when full. In the spring, the peepers take voice, seeking to propagate Peepers; they are joined by Tree Frogs, and then Bull Frogs, all propagating, a chorus of an orgy of frog power, I went out at night and floated in a wooden rowboat, under the stars, drifting around an anchor, too noisy to sleep. I watched the falling stars, the sat-alights, the airplanes. The pond is between two ridgelines, the one to the south a sleeping dragon, the other a farm called, “Look a’way Farm”. New Hampshire can be seen from both at places. The ridge to the south also has a good view to the west, and many exaltations, or exhalations, of dragons, frogs, and nagas can be seen in the surrounding hills, when there is a fortuitous concatenation of causes and conditions. I imagine at some point, these beings will be joined by super terrestrial beings and the life energies now dormant will …… sorry the message was interrupted by supper bell.

  118. Just a note on Abortion and Communism

    Socially conservitive commentators I have read note on how the encouragement of abortion in communist countries is part and parcel with the cultural revolution aspect of communism. Communism is not just about state control of the economy, but also of peoples lives more generally. encouraging abortions is a way to attack family structures by allowing people to have as many sexual partners as possible with no consequence, and undermine traditional family structures like marriage, so there are no other centers of power in society other than the state- or big corporations.

    (I don’t outright oppose abortion by the way, though I don’t think its something to be encouraged)

    Cultural marxism, as it sometimes called is still of course extremely influential among the modern left. Indeed it might be argued that the 60s boomer radicals did not give up their revolutionary ideas at all, but rather focused all their energy on cultural Marxism (quietly forgetting all the economic questions) in order to shape society to their cultural marxist ideas, causing quite a lot of the social dysfunctions that exist today. to quote British conservative Peter Hicthens, the cultural Marxist aims to capture the tv staion, the newspapers and the education curriculum, rather than seizing the barracks and the train station.

  119. @ BB

    I’ve been extremely disappointed in Taleb, who has done his best to contribute to the panic. Fact is, corona never looked like it was going to be a major pandemic. Right from the start the science was predicting it to be about as bad as the Hong Kong flu and that’s turned out to be correct. Taleb used an absurdly inflated scepticism toward science to fan the flames of public panic at a time when calm voices were needed. Indeed, he seems to have revelled in the panic. But that’s turned him into nothing more than an apologist for authoritarian intervention and the massive consolidation of wealth that’s going to follow from this. Ironic for a guy who’s supposed to be a libertarian.

    @ Steve

    But what will precipitate the collapse? I don’t see anything stopping western governments from printing money indefinitely.

    @ JMG

    Your point about the inherent conservatism of American small towns explains nicely an intuition I’ve had that the US will come out of corona relatively unchanged while I expect Europe and Australia to suffer a permanent shift towards authoritarianism/centralisation. Here in Australia, we do have that inherently conservative country town culture (it’s the one I grew up in). That culture is the stereotype that the world thinks of when they think of Australia and also what Australians think of themselves. So, it’s been a surprise even to some Australians to watch as corona has revealed that we are not like that at all. In fact, we are a massively urbanised population with a second-hand European culture.

  120. @Darkest Yorkshire:

    My university (Brown) in Providence, Rhode Island, has 4 or maybe 5 books bound in human skin in its Special Collections. Recent “peptide mass fingerprint analysis” has added one, but subtracted another from their number. Two of them came from the library of a wealthy collector, the owner of one of the more extensive and profitable laundry services in the state.

    The most interesting of them are

    (1) a manuscript grimoire from the late 1700s, a copy of “The Keys of Rabbi Solomon” in French. To judge by a clipping from a rare book dealer’s catalogue of the late 1800s pasted inside the front cover, it was sold as “bound in human skin”–but it is not. The vellum of the binding was made from the skin of an ungulate.

    (2) a copy of the 1568 folio edition of Vesalius’s famous book on human anatomy, which a book-collector (probably a physician) arranged to have bound in human skin.

  121. JMG wrote: “Ryan, get the gods involved. Don’t just do it as a head trip — invoke the gods with prayer and ritual, and get their guidance. That’s the way successful syncretisms do it.”

    I’d be interested in hearing (or reading) more about how to do this.

  122. JMG to Scottlyn: “Here in the United States the left is not a native growth. Since Colonial times it’s always fixated on one European ideology or another…”

    That’s interesting. I notice that in my earlier post I cited books by three European writers. I can think of just one American who may have had an original idea. In his era, the late 19th century, he was considered to be as dangerous as Karl Marx. That would be Henry George. Of course there’s also Thorstein Veblen, but I regard him more as a fierce critic of the existing order than as a proponent of an economic school of thought, “neo-institutionalism” notwithstanding.

  123. When I investigated solarpunk, I found it had been killed stone dead by the ‘woke’. There are some important ideas hidden in the corpse of its original iteration, which will need to be revived in the future. Right now it’s a vehicle for the genocidal ‘utopian’ fantasies of a pack of rabid communists.

  124. JMG In the occult history of America series we have been working our way through Theosophy has been brought up several times. Would it be possible to give a thumb nail sketch of what it is, what it teaches. I just don’t really have any feel about what it is and what sets it apart from any other occult movement.

    Thanks

  125. Hi JMG,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard your perspective on the Christian Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Did this doctrine come about through borrowing from earlier, pagan symbolic structures, or did it evolve over time?

    Also, since it’s almost Halloween, I cannot resist: what’s up with the Holy Ghost? I typically classify ghosts as a variety of the undead, so that terminology just doesn’t compute!

  126. Dear Mr. Greer – I ran across a book, that you might find useful, to your study of the history of magic. “Artcurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful in Art History” (Jennifer Dasal, 2020). Only one chapter, may be of interest to you. “Seances and Surprises: The Spiritualist Women Who Invented Modern Art.” They may be familiar to you, but if not …

    So, who invented abstract art? Kandinsky made the claim. But a long time before him, two women were cranking out what appeared to be abstract art. Even though they were separated by years, and geography, The roots of their efforts and outcome, were very similar. Not so much spirit writing, but spirt art.

    Georgina Houghton (1814-84) was the first. The second, Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). Both women developed an interest in Spiritualism, gathered a following, and later started producing art. Klint was in contact with Rudolf Steiner, who didn’t seem to think very much of her work. But, oddly, suggested that they be hidden away for 50 years, until people had evolved (?) enough, to understand what she was about.

    I was surprised to stumble across this chapter, but thought, “Hmmm. Mr. Greer might find this interesting.” Lew

  127. @ Steve – How do you figure Prohibition and the 55-mph speed limit are still in existence, considering that I can zip up to a local Walmart legally at 70 mph and buy a 12-pack of beer…?

  128. Hi JMG,

    My sister works as a librarian for King County Library System (KCLS) in the Seattle area. Early this year, staff was “encouraged” to take what she referred to as Race Training. When she told me about it, my first thought was she and her co-workers planned to run a marathon. Nope.

    POC went to one room, and White people to another. Undecided Asian and Hispanic people had to choose. The white group lecture opened with “You live on stolen land…”. And they were encouraged to read “White Fragility” and its ilk. KCLS now has a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” manager, complete with pronouns.

    I live 500 miles away, and am not in contact much with my sister. That said, though, what little contact I do have with her feels flat. Even fake. She talks to me like I’m one of her library patrons.

    Do you think these “trainings” mess people over? That’s certainly my take, anyway. I think this stuff provides well-paid gigs to the professional managerial class and its wannabes, and may ultimately backfire badly on them and others.

    What’s your take on this?

    Thanks for your insight,

    OtterGirl

  129. ViduraAwakened,

    Your “number-crunching humans” immediately remind me an awful lot of the Mentats in the book “Dune”. Even so, the idea is an intriguing one, and in a mostly or entirely post-industrial age, I could easily see the demand for such people. Due to my extremely frequent occupational need to solve (relatively) simple mathematical problems (addition, subtraction, but especially division and multiplication), I have gotten to the point of being able to solve many such problems very rapidly, partly owing to various “tricks” and shortcuts that I have figured out over the years. So much so that I have had people “borrow me” as a calculator! I can only imagine how much more valuable such skills would be in a world without electronic calculators.

    Allen Lincoln and JMG,

    I had not considered the impact that both cognitive dissonance, and overall levels of stress (mentioned by JMG, among other factors), might have on the general level of logical discourse and logical thought in our society, or more pointedly on the lack thereof. Although I see, hear and read it every day, the contemporary degree of ignorance (or even outright renunciation) of basic logic still never ceases to astound and appall me. Men (and women) truly do go mad in herds.

    Nachtgurke,

    That is fascinating take on the subject of the decline in logical thought in today’s society that I would not have considered — decoherence! I suppose I have all along been thinking of the situation in terms of the decline of logical argument and thought as simply ‘missing logic’, or the lack of logic being employed, but you make the very valid point that it may not just be a matter of the lack of logic, but also a matter of mushrooming “anti-logic”, if I may call decoherence that in this context. Thank you for that insight!

    Teresa from Hershey,

    I have had the same sort of extremely vivid dreams as well, in which I am NOT the person I am while awake (the “real me”), but somebody else entirely, often thinking and feeling thoughts and emotions that I have never experienced in real life, i.e., the waking world. I even made a post regarding such dreams a few weeks ago here on Ecosophia. To this day I have no real explanation nor insight into them, but some of them moved me profoundly, and remain still vivid even decades later.

    Mots,

    Thank you for your comment about the apparent lack of logical decline in Japan. I am indeed an American, and writing from a perspective in the USA (if a very fringe part of it), and so my comments on that subject were necessarily USA-centric.

    Matthias Gralle,

    I have as sell read Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Dispossessed”, and in fact it may be the single book that I have re-read more than any other — every two or three years, I am drawn to re-read it once again. It is certainly not the greatest book I have ever read, by any standard, yet it I still find it to be one of the most compelling.

    I particularly appreciated the evolution of the main character Shevek’s perceptions and insights into both his home anarchistic society on Anarres (where he eventually realizes and learns that politics still indeed exists, and plays a far larger role in that society than almost anyone is willing to admit), as well as regards the capitalistic society of A-Io on Urras, which he initially views as a near-Utopia upon residing there for some time, only to eventually consider it as literally Hell.

    It is to her great credit that LeGuin, in “The Dispossessed”, also manages to paint an extremely detailed, vivid, and authentically living portrait of Anarres, both the planet and the society on it. In this regard, I would say that she nearly if not completely equals Frank Herbert in “Dune”.

  130. teresa from hershey:

    Regarding your friend’s thoughts on the covid vaccine:

    I am old enough to remember the 1950s polio epidemic, and the problems with some of the early vaccines.

    It occurs to me that a lot of the real world test subjects for the covid vaccine will be front-line health care workers who will be required to get vaccinated as a condition of employment.

  131. @ Kimberly Steele

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It makes it not seem so insane if you are not the only one. On this journey I find myself saying daily, “That’s a thing?” And as you say, I think a lot of magical things have happened before in my life, but I didn’t think it was real before. Now I do and it is wonderful and terrifying and amazing and scary all at once! It inspires me to get more training so I can protect myself and go into these experiences with awareness and skill. You really made me feel better.

  132. Dear JMG (and any of the commentariat with thoughts on the matter)
    two questions regarding christian druidry:

    1) Is lectio divina as traditionally practiced a suitable stand-in for discursive meditation?

    2) what modality of divination is most suitable?

  133. JMG, on “There doesn’t need to be a single *reserve currency* — at many points in history, there *hasn’t* been….”
    Can you recommend some writers, who have do (preferably brief) justice to this history?

  134. BB,

    With all due respect, I don’t think it is panic which causes the economic damage from lockdown. It is job loss, and loss of businesses, imposed somewhat arbitrarily by government.

    I was thinking about how apt the phrase “to make a living” is. It has the word ‘live’ in it. In order to live, one must make a living. And we have governments pointing at individuals and saying, “You may no longer make a living.”

    If that isn’t oppression, what is.

  135. @Phutatorius:

    Though Thorstein Veblen was born in Wisconsin (to Norwegian immigrant parents), he was raised on an isolated farm in a community of recent immigrants from Norway. Thus his native culture was basically transplanted Norwegian, not American at all. He seriously Americanized himself–somewhat imperfectly–only when he went away to college. So he may fit in better with the European thinkers whom you mention.

  136. Naomi, about moving to a different country:
    I grew up in Eastern Europe and I left my home at a low ebb of culture and quality of life. I was lucky to find a job in US but it took me about a decade to adjust (more or less). Looking back I realize that I was trying to adjust to the wrong thing! I was surrounded by west coast liberals making a lot of money and I tried to enjoy the restaurants and the cars and the yearly vacations but I just felt empty.

    I slowly started to understand what I am missing so I moved to a small town and started a garden (following Voltaire’s advice). While I still feel unrooted, I am now seeing a different side of US and I like it. People are more down to earth, the niceness is not just skin deep and I can see my kids growing up here.

    On the other hand, I do dream sometimes about going back home. Things are much better now and not surprisingly, a lot of people that have experienced the western way of life for the last 30 years are going back to traditional ways. In a way they had a parallel experience with mine even without leaving home.

  137. Samurai,

    “Ghost” is cognate with German “Geist”, which simply means “spirit.” Thus, “Holy Ghost” is simply a slightly archaic way of saying “Holy Spirit.” We have other relics of that same usage when we say that a newly deceased person has “given up the ghost,” and when we refer to “the ghost in the machine.”

  138. @Robert Mathiesen, it’s strange to hear you say that not overwhelming the health care system is one of the “less publicized” reasons for the lockdowns! Here in Canada at least, that was the #1 rationale they trumpeted in order to get people to go along with the initial “3 weeks to flatten the curve.” It seemed designed to play into people’s desires to be a good person and an upstanding citizen. They talked endlessly about Italy and hyped fears about hospitals being overwhelmed, running out of ventilators (which turned out to be horrible treatment in most cases anyway) and yet this never even came close to happening. In my neighbourhood they shut down the recreation centre to turn it into an overflow hospital, and it was crickets there for months. I’ve met nurses who said that they weren’t even working full shifts, since the hospitals were so empty, as they’d told everyone to stay away for any kind of sickness other than this coronavirus. They keep changing the supposed reasons for the lockdowns, and waving about increasingly unlikely fears of it getting out of control.

  139. @Samurai_47, I believe “The Holy Ghost” is just older English (i.e. Anglo-Saxon), which originated as a German dialect. In modern day German, the term is indeed “Der Heiliger Geist,” with “Geist” meaning both “ghost” and “spirit.” Variations on the German word “Geist” can be used in a number of places where we in English would use “spirit.”

  140. Booklover – I suspect I know how one will get rid of superfluous things in the 2040s and 2050s. It will be the same way we got rid of them in the 1970s and 1980s. There were things called “newspapers” that appeared at most peoples’ front doors on a daily basis, that contained, among other things, a section of print called “classified advertising”. Think of it as a sort of Craigslist printed with smeary ink on the carcasses of dead trees. There was also a weekly publication called “the Thrifty Nickel” which was all classifieds, and had a wider regional circulation (dead tree eBay), as compared to local newspapers.

    JMG et al Following up on Mystic Clover and the previous comment on being offered death as a choice – a datapoint: some years ago, I developed a lump in my breast. Not unusual, I had a history of the things – they’d stick around for a month or two, then fade away, no medical intervention sought nor required. But this one didn’t fade. I put off going to the doctor, as I tend to try to avoid them, and the lump quickly grew larger and more painful, til I finally broke down and found a doctor and made an appointment. But as I was a new patient, I had to wait nearly three weeks to get in. And it got worse while those weeks went by, it felt like a burning coal embedded in my breast, which was growing larger and hanging oddly. I was pretty sure it was cancer. One day I was looking at the breast in a mirror, and thought, “I wish I could just die now and get it over with.” I very clearly heard a voice say, “That can be arranged, you know.” I was in so much pain that I did not immediately reject the offer, but said “let me think about it”. “You have one day to think” it said. I thought about it, and later that day, decided I’d prefer to live. Not knowing how to contact whatever it was, though I felt like something was hanging around waiting, I simply spoke out loud: “I’ve decided I want to live.” Whatever it was left without further communication. (The lump, by the way, turned out to be a benign but enormous fluid-filled cyst. I found it amusing that the nurse assisting the surgeon who drained it told me “you will be in pain for a day or two – it will feel like a bee sting where the needle went in.” It did indeed feel like a bee sting. Which was a great relief compared to the previous level of pain!)(For any women reading who might have similar issues: after years and years of lumps, I have not had one.single.lump since I quit wearing bras. Not giving medical advice of course, merely sharing my experience!)

  141. our Kittenship, you need to find a time when Jupiter, Venus, or the Moon are applying to a trine, sextile, or conjunction with the position of Mercury in your natal chart — say, within 5 degrees or so before the aspect — while no planet is applying to Mercury by square or opposition, the Sun is also not applying to it by conjunction, and Saturn and Mars aren’t applying to it by any major aspect at all. (Separating aspects aren’t a problem.)

    Matthias, of course. I read it when it first came out, and again when I was doing a Le Guin binge in my early 30s. I thought her earlier fiction was much better; The Word For World is Forest marked the point at which her politics started really getting in the way of her writing, and The Dispossessed had a bad case of that.

    Karl, it’s hard to come up with an absurd extravagance that the Gulf states aren’t into.

    Tidlösa, everyone in the early 20th century occult scene sounded like a Theosophist. From 1900 to 1929, Theosophical jargon was the common patois of the entire occult community.

    Wesley, at some point in the next couple of decades at most, the US is going to have to default on its foreign debt and will stop running trade deficits because it can no longer afford to do so. That’s one of the reasons why sensible tariffs and the rebuilding of the US industrial plant is so crucial at this point. If the US manages its retreat from empire the way it’s been going, there will be wars but we probably won’t be involved in them. If not — well, the world’s a dangerous place.

    Prizm, delighted to hear it. With regard to prayer, don’t worry about that. Talk to a deity as you would talk to a wise and powerful elder.

    Violet, you’ll want to read Dashiell Hammett as well — the short fiction as well as the novels. (To my mind his short stories are better than his novels.) He and Chandler between them basically defined American noir. I haven’t read a lot of American literature generally, so that’s as far as my recommendations go.

    Your Kittenship, that doesn’t surprise me, alas.

    Youngelephant, consider taking it out right now, this very evening, and chucking it in the dumpster. That’s all it would take…

    David BTL, so noted!

    Sock Monkey, everybody wants to believe that the current age of the world is about to end and usher in something more to their taste. That’s what drives all those preachers who insist that Christ is going to return next Wednesday, the New Agers who expected the New Age to arrive on 21 December 2012, the UFO believers who expect the space brothers to land soon, etc., etc., etc. Every such prediction that has been tested has been a complete dud. In terms of astrological cycle, the precessional clock reaches the zenith at the border between the signs ruled by Moon and Sun, Cancer and Leo, and its nadir at the border between the signs ruled by Saturn, Aquarius and Capricorn. We have another 2028 years before the nadir arrives in 4048 AD, and then 10,932 more years until we make our way back to the zenith in the year 14,848 AD. So you might as well get used to the Kali Yuga…

    Lunar Apprentice, at least in the US, any attempt to do so would guarantee that the politicians who permitted it would be out of office, possibly at the sharp end of pitchforks, in a fairly short time. I don’t expect it to happen.

    Varun, I can see that!

    Simon, that’s unfortunate. I hope that your country can pull its head out from between its nether cheeks in time.

    Roe, you’re most welcome.

    Phutatorius, there isn’t that much to explain. I’ve already noted that prayer is best done extempore, as though talking to any other wiser, older, and more powerful person, and the ritual I have in mind is more or less the one that Jenny uses in The Weird of Hali: Kingsport. As for Henry George, yes, he’s the exception that proves the rule, isn’t he? In another couple of centuries his writings may be of much more importance again.

    Synthase, that’s about what I would expect.

    Will, fortunately, the Theosophists have done that.

    Samurai, it’s a straightforward reflection of spiritual experience. The English term “persons” for the three aspects of the Trinity is awkward, because it misses the meanings of both the Latin and Greek words it not-really-translates. In Latin it’s personae, literally “masks” — a persona was the mask that actors used in theater in those days. In Greek it’s hypostaseis — interestingly this Greek word literally means “standings under” or, if you will, “understandings.” So the three persons of the Trinity are the three expressions, masks, or understandings of the one God that Christians worship. God the Father is God as transcendent being, beyond all creation, in whom all creation exists; God the Son is God as revealed through the life, words, ministry, and actions of Jesus; God the Holy Spirit is God as expressed through the sacraments and experienced in the life of prayer and devotion. That’s true of every deity, btw — the Christians simply had the advantage of the immensely supple and precise language of Greek philosophy, and so put into exact words what had been a more inchoate realization elsewhere. As for the Holy Ghost, “ghost” meant “spirit” — in every sense — before the Latin word “spiritus” was rounded off and put in its place. Books from a few centuries back use phrases like “ghostly counsel” where we would now say “spiritual advice.”

    Lew, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Ottergirl, it’s typical brainwashing methods, the sort of thing that cults generally use. Don’t worry, she’ll snap out of it in about 2.2 years if she follows the average course.

    eHu, (1) no, but it’s a very good practice to include in your daily spiritual life in addition to discursive meditation. (2) Ogham was used extensively by Christian bards and poets in old Ireland, so shouldn’t be problematic. Always say a prayer asking for divine guidance and blessing before casting a reading.

    Mouse, any good survey of world economic history should cover that.

    O.E.P., many thanks for this. I know of quite a few women who’ve found that their breast health improved dramatically after they either stopped wearing bras or, for those ladies on the larger size, started wearing soft cotton bras that don’t compress the lymph channels. They also report that daily breast massage helps. (Gentlemen, those of you with wives or lady friends should take note — the woman in your life may well appreciate a nice gentle thorough breast massage…)

  142. @Lunar Apprentice re: banks and foreclosing –

    I’m obviously not JMG, but:

    Banks generally don’t want to own real estate. Owning property is a money sink for them, because now they have to maintain it (or hire contractors to maintain it), pay property taxes on it, etc. at their own expense – so it’s generally in their interest to sell it when possible (and not by a tax foreclosure back to the county; that gives them an even greater loss). They foreclose because they believe they can recoup enough of their losses by selling it to whoever buys it from them after they foreclose. Ideally from their perspective, they’ll sell it to someone who will take out a mortgage on it, thus recouping some of their losses, but a cash buyer will suffice. (It doesn’t help that a delinquent, possibly bankrupt owner has little motivation to maintain a property they’re on the brink of losing, and even if they’re still liable for the unpaid balance of the now-unsecured loan (in some states, that balance becomes uncollectible!), actually going after them for it is unlikely to yield much fruit.)

  143. By the way, I have now had several people simply ignore what I said about no questions involving the election, and ask questions about the election. I have deleted those comments. I will continue to do so. When I say “no discussions of the election,” you know, I do mean that, and I will get seriously grumpy if people keep brushing that aside and trying to drag the election into this comment thread.

    “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…”

  144. Thanks, JMG!

    Thanks, Teresa! If we’re ever out Hershey way, we’ll take you up on your tour-Guide offer. Does the town often smell like chocolate?

  145. JMG,

    a) I figure in 2030 the internet will look about like it did in 2000; I’d place the peak around 2015, but I expect things to pick up a fair amount in the fairly near future. As for the replacement of section 230, I think the fairness doctrine is becoming less and less likely, as Big Tech pushes down harder and harder…

    b) “Naomi, I’d leave America if I became convinced that I was at risk of unjust imprisonment or execution if I stayed. It would take that — though I’m keeping my eye on trends that would make that likely.”

    Any chance you’d be willing to elaborate on that?

    JMG, Alan, & Pixelated,

    I just spoke with someone who knows his way through Chinese Buddhism, and the topic of lack of thinking came up, and he quietly told me he thinks it’s mindfulness meditation. Apparently Chinese Buddhists considered it dangerous, as it tended to make thinking impossible if it wasn’t handled very carefully….

    Goldenhwak,

    One of my friends who works as a nurse has informed me she expects to quit soon, because she’s terrified of what the vaccine might do, and is expecting a sizable death toll when it’s given (which will be blamed on the virus, of course). She’s also just moved back in with her parents, so I think she’s serious.

  146. Only just caught up on last week’s post now but good stuff – such riddles in the dark, as it were, have been percolating on the border between conscious and unconscious lately. Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, I have a sneaking suspicion the path forward will involve a doubling down for the victor (both in terms of party elites and their wider supporters). For Trump this means cleaning house in DC and perhaps some sort of military confrontation with China/the CCP (which will, in turn, bring in the rest of Asia – do we really want to reawaken the Japanese warrior spirit?). For the Biden camp, it likely means a merger of the administrative state and big tech such that we get the US version of what the UK (and other commonwealth countries) are getting: thought police in the home and vigorous re-education policies (along with the inevitable backlash that will result). Either way, there’s a thanatopsis at work, an itch that we can’t help but scratch…

    Which brings me back to Tolkien and Jung (I can’t speak to the first Shadow as well other than vague 90s kid memories of Alec Baldwin’s failed action hero career). I think it’s worth noting that both of these men pepper their writing with a hedge on the nature of evil and the Shadow. Tolkien’s characters are indeed fighting an eldritch horror that is out of their control but he frequently reminds us how elements of that evil lurk within them: the hobbits are portrayed as cheap, status-obsessed, and already on their way to oblivion from the beginning; the blood of Numenor has been corrupted to the point that it requires Aragorn to mate with an elf (an interesting twist on the virgin birth myth) to save/redeem mankind; the dwarves mined their way into hell; and the elves… well I’m not really sure I get what happened to the elves other than they sail off (mostly). Conversely, the orcs are frequently portrayed as relatable working-class schmoes. Jung highlights the same paradox between evil as pre-destined and as choice in his Woton essay, which describes Woton as both an independent psychic force with a will of his own and a function of a conscious (and perfectly rational) decision by the Germans to embrace their inner wild man.

    The seemingly paradoxical nature of evil is a major theme in Genesis: did the serpent, as a stand-alone agent of evil, tempt Eve (and by extension, Adam) or was that impulse there all along? How can two brothers be so alike and yet so different (I say this a grown man who still leaves family get-togethers wondering if my brother is pure evil or if it’s actually just me)? Why did cats evolve into vicious calculating killers while dogs ended up as goofy fratboys (and for that matter, how do we explain dog-like cats, such as cheetahs and cat-like dogs like shiba-inus?).

    In any case, you’re main analysis re: Hesse and Tolkien is spot on and worth noting in light of the current racial vibe to everything (anyone else totally confused by what’s expected of us when navigating civil society these days?). Worth remembering that human biodiversity and culture is as much a product of different people coming to together as it is war and mass murder. The choice, for now, remains ours.

  147. Your Weird of Hali series is a page burner, & a mind provoker. Very good stuff. I am becoming more interested in the “Elder Gods as earth guardians” theme. I realize this is “fiction”, however, it seems quite plausible to me in terms of explanatory power that earth really is under quarantine, and at some time in the past (consult the legends) there was a Golden Era. Given that Gregory Shaw shows the Neoplatonic common ground between classical paganism and Christianity (gods and heroes become angels and saints), what about a world with both? In this henotheistic model, God is the supreme fount of Being (a “Being” not like other beings), but there are indeed a multitude of other orders, some natural and others perfected natural. Saint Paul says as much: “though there be those called gods….”. In other words, as a Christian, it seems to me that Grace could never perfect Nature without an eternal Nature to perfect, and that (likewise) the classical orders of natural gods (paracosmic, encosmic, hypercosmic) point forward to the unveiling of “liberation” beyond salvation, in which there is a fractal repetition, within Nature, of redemption that opens up a second response to the initial goodness of all Being. This has something to do with the “double oath” of God, or the meeting of righteousness and peace in the Psalms. It gets repeated back and forth, a kind of sublimated Eros. Like two mirrors “opposing” each other in order to create an infinite series of mirrors. So my question (beyond, does this make any sense to a classical pagan or Neoplatonist, or any sense at all) would be, does a lot of the problem simply come in because people like to do theology rather than theurgy? God-talk, instead of God-work? And what might a robust Christian henotheism even look like? If the telluric current has to mingle with the solar (classical paganism and earth guardians with the orders of angels and saints), then what is the lunar result? Man “judging” angels and speaking with elementals? Keep in mind I don’t mean any of this in the Hegelian way, “as if” Thor has to go away, or man would exalt himself above angels. But maybe heaven or the Kingdom of God is actually the lunar world, the foetal earth, where he has become conscious of the macro and microcosm, together, without losing either. Two become One. (apologies for a somewhat rambling question).

  148. I had a realization which is very important, but I’m not sure where to go with it yet. I mentioned in Magic Monday I’m having what I can call minor panic attacks when I do the daily recollection exercise in LRM, and think this relates to a childhood defence mechanism related to growing up in suburbia. I’ve done some journaling, and childhood fears and miseries have come up, but so has something else as well: I dislike how I’m living and don’t want to face it.

    This could easily turn into a vicious cycle, and I think it has already: the worse my life gets, the less I want to face it and the more effort I put into avoiding it! Which means the habit of running away from things is one I need to break pronto. Daily recollection is thus the most important exercise in LRM for me to do right now, but I think I need more, since this is a deeply ingrained habit which will lead places I really don’t want to go if I don’t break it.

    I plan to start by setting aside 15 minutes each week to honestly reflect on my life and determine what changes I need to make, and what I can do in the week ahead. I’m going to build it up over time, but 15 minutes a week is the most I know I can do. At the same time, I plan to continue on with LRM and see what suggests itself.

    a) Is there anything else you can think of to break the habit of running away from things I don’t like about my life?

    b) This kind of honest, critical self-reflection and the slow, gradual improvements I’m seeking strikes me as being Saturnine, so is Saturday the best day astrologically for this?

  149. Mystic Clover, thank you for sharing your story. I have had weird experiences with pulling myself out of my body since at least age four. I used to call it “out of body experiences” but nowadays I call it astral projection. It almost always happens during twilight sleep, especially when I’ve had trouble sleeping, wake up around dawn, and try to sleep into the morning. It also happens when I take a nap, and that’s why I don’t take naps if I can help it. My first memory of astral projection was when I was about four years old or so. I thought I was awake and walking down the hallway to my parent’s bedroom but I was not awake. Some nasty entity took notice and followed me around until I was able to wake myself to full consciousness. It often takes several tries to wake up. I had episodes like this almost every night from ages 15 – 23. Some were terrifying, some were amazing, and a few were pleasant. There is a sense of having lived an entire lifetime in a single episode of astral projection every now and then. I suppose this is where the tales of being carted off by the fairies only to return to find that a hundred years have gone by and everyone you loved has aged and died.

    I think one of the big reasons so many people seem to be on the verge of a psychotic break right now (women screaming at the top of their lungs in their cars for TikTok videos, rioting hordes, depressed introverts cowering in their homes, young people wearing masks when they are alone with nobody else within 50 feet) is because we are all being stalked by legions of vile things unleashed from the lower astral every time we dream. Most people are not religious in any meaningful sense and fewer still are doing any form of protection ritual, so it’s easy pickings for astral predators. Atheists laugh at me and accuse me of being a fruitcake — but as a former atheist, I know all the rationalizations and excuses to help deny the existence of the odd, nonembodied creatures our world contains. Recognizing what is you and what is not you in the zillions of thoughts one thinks in a day is a subtle art, and the atheist’s bull in a china shop approach “any outside voice in my head means it’s over, I’m schizophrenic!” is as useless as it is blunt. Yes, sometimes thoughts that seem to be other people/beings in your head means you’re crazy. Most times, I think it indicates a healthy, normal level of human sensitivity.

  150. Piper at the Gates, I don’t use Ebay any more for selling things because of the causes I mentioned.

    P. O. E., I know about newspapers, magazines and classified ads. I lived my youth and childhood in the pre-internet days. But it is not easy to predict the future regarding this, because it seems likely that the future will be a mess and the current younger generation mostly doesn’t have any clue how to do things without the internet.

  151. Dear Violet,

    I need to reread Chandler and Hammet; I liked them a lot back in the ’60s. Not quite as noir-ish, but set in a similar slice of America, are the short stories of Damon Runyon. You might enjoy them. He has a peculiar style, which Lovecraft skillfully imitated in his “The Terrible Old Man.”

  152. @Curtis

    Different lands, different discourses. We don’t all live on the same media-planet, not by a very long shot. Canada is not Rhode Island, and neither of the two is, say, California, or New Mexico or Indiana.

  153. Having dreams where the dreamer is not oneself seem to me to be a very, very common experience.

    Charles Godfrey Leland wrote about such things (on the basis of his own dreams) in his “Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling”:

    “Now this Dream Artist [of Leland’s] is, to judge by his works, a very different kind of a person from Me. We are not sympathetic, and herein lies a great and serious subject of study. ‘Dreams,’ says a writer, ‘are the novels which we read when we are fast asleep,’ and, at the risk of receiving punishment, I declare that my writer belongs to a school oi novelists with which I have no feelings in common. If, as everybody assumes, it is always I who dream—only using other material—how is it that I always invariably disagree with, thwart, contradict, vex, and mock myself? I had rather be hanged and be done with it, before I would wrong my worst enemy with such pitiful, silly, degrading dreams and long-forgotten follies, as I am called on to endure. If this alter-ego were a lunatic, he could not be a more thoroughly uncongenial inmate of my brain than he often is. Our characters are radically different. Why has be a mind so utterly unlike mine? His tastes, his thoughts, dispositions, and petty peculiarities are all unlike mine. If we belonged to the same club, I should never talk with him.”

    This is from chapter XI. The whole chapter is relevant to the sort of dreams we are talking about here.

  154. JMG,

    this week on the German Epoch Times we had the following arcticle, which somehow relates to Twilight Lasts’s Gleaming:
    https://www.epochtimes.de/china/der-krieg-ist-nicht-weit-er-ist-der-geburtshelfer-fuer-das-chinesische-jahrhundert-a6652.html

    Gist is that China plans to resettle parts of her population to the US and sees the US as a deadly enemy.
    Author is Chi Haotian, CN minister of defense in 2005.

    I found an English translation on a blog, but not on the international version of ET:
    https://jrnyquist.blog/2019/09/11/the-secret-speech-of-general-chi-haotian/

    Strange things are happening.
    Why is re-printed right now and only in the German ET?

    //BR

  155. @goldenhawk

    The ‘Bond makes coffee’ clip is an absolute hoot. I also find it interesting as a kind of archeological glimpse into British culture at the time. Bond in his Roger Moore incarnation obviously has no clue about how to use this machine and is improvising. Neither did his audience – I saw the original release and the line at the end gets a laugh, but the process of making coffee passed without notice. We all thought that that was how you did it!

    Ants in a Keurig is a new one on me – filter paper and pour over would be my go to for a replacement. @JMG mentioned percolators being popular in the future Lakeland Republic and it may be this is the simple and highly effective tech he had in mind. The terminology of home methods varies quite widely in the English speaking world. For example very few in the Uk will actually know what a Keurig is.

    Over here particularly in the 70s era where the film clip came from, a percolator was a complicated bit of glasswork that looked like two globes balanced on top of each other and sat on the stove top. Our upwardly mobile next door neighbour had one and it came out on special occasions. I should think that its main by product would be gruesome amounts of washing up. My family stuck to instant, as did the majority, and as my Dad still does. The next time he’s round and sees the Pavoni, he’ll get the same expression on his face that M does in the clip, and he’ll ask for a cup of Nescaf.

  156. @JMG Multiple-choice is a spectacularly bad way to assess students.
    Firstly, it is often possible to get to the correct answer without a full understanding of the question or the answer, just because at least 2 of the 4 answers are obviously wrong with even basic knowledge of the topic. Also, it can reward speed rather than accuracy, because it’s as good to guess your way through, even if it means getting a few wrong, to avoid risking running out of time.

    I’m not convinced that the reason Czech Republic is seeing a rapid acceleration is the relatively well-controlled first wave. I read that the herd immunity threshold is around 60% for Sars-CoV2. Some researchers concluded it could be as low as 43% taking account of the likelyhood of the cases being on average better-connected people. https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.03085. Even so, I don’t think even the worst affected regions in Europe got anywhere close to reaching this level.

    I’ve only visited Czech Republic 3 times, and one time of that only briefly, but I strangely felt comfortable there, without an obvious specific reason. I’ve even started learning Czech on Duolingo.

    I did try tea made from ornamental Camellia trees, it was quite good actually.

  157. I want to share with You guys one good example of why it’s not clever to mix politics with religion.
    In Poland under the populist right-wing government, Constitutional Court held that constitution does not allow abortion, even if the pregnancy is a result of rape, the fetus is badly damaged or the delivery is life-threatening. For 30 years there was a rotten consensus that abortion could be done under these considerations and we all lived with it.
    The Catholic Church has always wanted to change that.
    Result? In spite of the second lockdown, people are protesting on the streets for a week now all over the country.
    But something more happened, something that has not happened in this Catholic country for centuries (even under communism). People directly attacked priests and churches. Nobody alive remembers that once in Poland you sprayed on church walls, people cursed the priests and wished them death, and some broke into churches and organized protests there.
    This is a really big shift in my country religious life, and it is also a lesson why it is better not to mix religion with politics.

  158. Hello Mr. Greer. I’ve read several of your books on the purported unsustainability and the likely decline of our current civilization. I have questions about certain aspects of your views.

    If I understand your views correctly, you claim that, due to physical constraints on our civilization’s ability to extract energy, namely limited fossil fuels and decreasing EROI, our civilization is fated to decline. This decline will mirror the way other civilizations, such as Ancient Greece and Rome fell, as they too also exhausted their resources. You also seem to say that this decline is inevitable, the constraints are built into the laws of physics, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

    Q1: I question your claim that nuclear energy is impractical. Some countries, such as France and Sweden get much of their electrical power from nuclear energy (70 and 40 percent respectively). They were able to make this transition in under two decades, and did it while increasing their standard of living.

    While it is true an increase in nuclear energy use would drive up uranium prices, fuel prices are a small percentage of the total cost of a nuclear reactor and additional exploration would increase uranium reserves. In addition, thorium is much more abundant that uranium. It can in principle be used in realistic reactor designs such as CADNU reactors (which are currently in operation). I have even read that, although it is not an optimal fuel, thorium can be used in current light water reactors.

    A civilization based on nuclear power seems within the laws of physics. Even if a decline occurs, it would seem to have happened due to misallocation of technology and resources away from nuclear, as opposed to physics and EROI. If so, then isn’t your claim about the inevitability of our civilization’s decline false?

    Q2: You claim in your books that peak oil has already happened in 2005. Now, since then, total oil production has increased, and as far as I can tell, conventional oil production has plateaued (not declined, as would be expected under a peak oil scenario. A plateau is NOT a peak.).

    Do you still claim that we have passed peak oil? If so, where are you getting your statistics on oil production? Maybe I just need to get out of my shell more, but after some research just cannot find any source showing an actual decline in global oil production.

    To put it another way, if oil has peaked, I should be able to see something declining. If peak oil has happened, what exactly is declining and where can I see it going down?

  159. “You’re either forgetting or ignoring the specific point that I made, which was that under communism and fascism, mass murder carried out by governments on their own civilian populations reached historically unprecedented levels.”

    For some reason, I interpreted that comment as ‘there should be a pattern of death in capitalism that we’re not seeing,’ That probably has more to do with where my headspace was at than with what you said. You won’t find me defending communism anywhere! If there’s no correlation, there’s no correlation. Thanks for the response.

  160. What do you think of ouija boards? Are they just a fun and harmless parlor game or is it possible to invite something unwanted through using them? I experienced a not so fun time while participating many years ago and have never touched one since.

  161. @JMG

    I had to see a specialist this week and she couldn’t get politics off her mind. When you’ve spoken of progressivism as a religion I’ve taken it with a grain a salt, but the way she spoke about disapproval of people in other countries, people she’s never met, it struck me as close to a spell as anything I’ll see in my life. (To be clear I’m identifying internationalism not progressivism here but the spell like effect is the same.)

    I was struck by the way she identified with an international class (I doubt foreign polls reveal much more than the opinions of foreign elites) she likely only has the most indirect connection to. Why does she need their approval? Does she really believe she is a citizen of the world?

    That sense of “who do you want to be approved by” is a strong thing. I sometimes wonder why Alexander wanted to conquer Persia when turning west would have been an easier target. He wanted their approval too, in a way. Maybe approval isn’t the right concept. A topic of meditation.

  162. I started reading Israel Regardie’s The Tree of Life and he promptly starts with a rant on modern life. My one ancestor also gave rants on modern life published in his local paper; he died in 1929. His main complaint seemed to be that modern people didn’t know what it was like to really work.

    It made me wonder if people prior to “modern life” (Would that be prior to WW1?) had a view that could be found in literature somewhere. What would be some books that demonstrate that life in a way modern people can understand?

    I read Laurel Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy to my kids and found that described what life was like in the past, but the internal feeling of life then is missing. It seems like life for people pre-modern era had a more comprehensive view of people’s role in the system.

    Any recommendations fiction or non-fiction? Is the new age of religiosity going to move us back to more of a pre-modern mindset?

  163. @Nachtgurke Your explanation on decoherence explains what has happened to me in 2020. I started several projects for my business which is definitely white collar work (I won’t say professional managerial class because I don’t work for a corporation.) and I’ve left things mid-stream all year. Given my usual means of income has been shut off during our states lockdowns, I’ve had the time to do this floundering around. Fortunately our expenses dropped considerably this year so my income loss hasn’t been a big deal. But emotionally its been stressful. I’d look back on a week of work or month and think “what the heck have I accomplished?” I said to my husband I can totally see how people are so addicted to drugs/alcohol/food/media and suicide has been going up because these feelings are awful.

    Anyway, it was just yesterday that I pulled all the pieces together and now have a coherent way to move forward. I actually developed the plan first and then looked at it and realized – oh, 90% of this is stuff I have already done to a large extent. Usually when I develop a plan like that, I get a euphoric high feeling. This time it was a calm peace and a feeling of finally being grounded.

    I think the only reason it got coherent now is I’ve started doing the work JMG laid out in Learning Ritual Magic the past few weeks. Or at least that is the reason I’m going with.

  164. JMG your comments on not needing social media…..is that because you’ve been reliably posting a weekly writing for over a decade? Your writing was also published on other blogs too, right? I seem to recall you on something called Resilience, but honestly I could not stand the other writings on there so ignored the site (hello Shadow!).

    My husband says social media is for bored angry people (twitter) or bored insecure people (Facebook) or empty overconfident people (instagram). I found for my business not much constructive interaction on any of those sites. I use them mostly for business and I don’t know if its the 2020 energy, my conflicted view of the mediums, or something else, but they are so unfulfilling.

    I’ve been thinking of just using a service to post to social media every few days to keep the accounts active but not interacting with anyone.

    What’s the benefit for you of running your comment section here vs. let’s say a group on Facebook discussing your topics? (OK the thought of you moderating a Facebook group is causing my brain to short circuit a bit – lol).

  165. @JMG @Sock Monkey

    Regarding: the site that Sock Monkey shared

    The site is a typical mish-mash of Hindu writings with New Age stuff. I have read this article long ago, and I must say that the author’s conclusions are pretty difficult to believe. For starters, he dates the great war of Kurukshetra to the fifth millennium B.C., when in fact, it couldn’t have happened earlier than the second millennium B.C. The internal astronomical data given in the Mahabharata has been interpreted in many different ways, thus leading to different proposed dates for the war. I’d definitely argue that while choosing one of these dates, archaeology is indispensable. Consider this: spoke-wheeled chariots are a very important part of the epic, and we know from archaeological evidence that they do not go back to the fifth millennium B.C. for sure. Thus, I would certainly go with the analysis of Prof. R. N. Iyengar, who dated the war to 1478 B.C.

    @Sock Monkey

    As for the broader theory of the yugas, it does endorse the cyclical nature of history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we should accept anything just because it is about historical cycles. I personally do not agree with the Puranic time scales (if anything, the difference between the quality of the content in the Mahabharata as opposed to that found in the Puranas is proof that the Indian high culture was already in a state of decline at the time when the Puranas were composed and written), but endorsing this kind of stuff is exactly the kind of behaviour that makes New Age fans believe in the utopia that is just around the corner.

    If you indeed want to read about historical cycles from a non-Western perspective, I’d recommend you to read the book ‘The Human Cycle’ by Sri Aurobindo. This book looks at historical cycles from the Hindu perspective, just like ‘Decline of the West’ discussed historical cycles from a Western perspective.

    Finally, coming back to the ‘transitional phase’ that will soon start in 2025, even if the thing does happen, it doesn’t necessarily imply that the ecological crisis will go away in a puff of smoke. Whether it is Satya Yuga or Kali Yuga, there is no ‘technological fix’ to our predicament. There are many man-made polymers, for instance, which cannot be recycled, and which will take hundreds, if not thousands, of years, to break down. That said, what I do think is possible, is that India (and maybe even China) will, in the near future, shake off the Faustian spell under which it currently is, and absorb the sustainable elements of the Faustian culture (like modern mathematics, the scientific method, art forms dating from the Renaissance to the pre-WW2 period and some, but not all, technologies), and then use them for purposes entirely its own, after reshaping them to fit its own needs. Such a resurgence could possibly be what the yuga cycle might actually be implying, if at all the theory proposed by the link you shared is correct.

    Sorry for a rather long reply.

  166. Regarding your earlier post on Tolkien and Monarchism, do you intend to take into account how halting “elite overproduction” can be a significant benefit of various forms of “reactionary” politics?

  167. @JMG –

    I’m curious about the 2.2-year brainwashing recovery time – where does that come from? It’s pretty close to the length of time it takes Saturn to get through a sign…

  168. Over the past day, I have made several posts which have not appeared here. I don’t know if it’s issue with my WordPress account so I thought I would log out and just use my email. I was wondering if there was any issue regarding my posts at your end.

  169. About the Missing 411 phenomenon: I’ve noticed that there are interesting parallels between many of the cases and a well-documented concept in Finno-Ugric folklore known as metsänpeitto, ‘the cover of the forest’. When under the cover of the forest, the normal sounds of the forest are replaced by an ominous silence, the scenery becomes unfamiliar even in familiar surroundings and there seems to be a general sense of undefined malice in the air. The traditional explanation for this was that one had done something to offend the master spirit of the forest – for instance blocked its path by sleeping on the ground, taken a leak in the wrong place or talked too loudly – who would consequently seek to settle the score with the offending party. It was also said that the master spirit was actually the soul of the last person to have died in a particular forest, so that it was seeking an opportunity to get rid of its current employment by causing the death of a human being who would then succeed it as the next master spirit – a process somewhat akin to J. G. Frazer’s theory about the King of the Wood in The Golden Bough.

    To release oneself from such a state, one would have to do things in reverse, i.e. to wear clothes inside out, to put one’s shoes in the wrong feet, to walk backwards and so forth – I suspect the logic here is that since the Otherworld is the mirror image of the physical one, you would have to play by the rules of its logic to get out. Or someone else could seek the help of the local cunning man, who would apply techniques of enhanced interrogation on the spirit. I don’t know if there’s a connexion between this and the inexplicable shedding of clothes in many of the cases – the skeptics will always bring up the hypothermia angle but I think Paulides has managed to argue convincingly that it often fails to explain adequately the stranger aspects of removing clothing, especially in conditions in which such a thing shouldn’t happen.

    And then there’s the often-cited case of thunderstorms and torrential rain that seem to follow disappearances. Interestingly enough, in his discussion of the outlandish skills of the Native American medicine men in The World We Used to Live In, Vine Deloria Jr. notes that “[m]ost often, if someone violates a particular prohibition, rain and bad weather will most certainly follow” (136). In other words, the genii locorum would have the power to change weather abruptly, if it suited their agenda.

  170. I have had the impression that in recent years, more often than not, attempts at regime change by the USA are failing more often than not in this or that way. Besides that, there were comments to the same effect in Naked Capitalism. JMG, do yo know what’s going on with this?

  171. @Irena, re the subject that is not forbidden anymore:

    You see the same phenomenon all over North America and Europe: infection rates nominally higher than in the spring (of course testing capacity is much higher now), while death rates are much lower. I think the most plausible contributing factors are:
    – differential susceptibility, so that the most susceptible individuals have either died or become immune
    – cellular immunity, which is harder to measure than humoral (antibody) immunity and would mean that more people have become immune than the antibody surveillance shows

    Additionally, the continued partial distancing measures would be expected to slow down the propagation in comparison to the beginning of March.

    At this point, I think that Covid-19 is deadly (relative to seasonal influenza etc) when it is combined with some unknown factor, which was present in places like Lombardy, Madrid, New York City, Guayaquil and Manaus, but not in places like Naples, Athens or Los Angeles. The best illustration of this is the excess mortality (from all causes!) in the elderly separated between Northern Italy and the rest of Italy. This shows that:
    1. Mortality in Northern Italy was very high (for the entire population of the whole of Italy, not only the elderly, you can see comparisons to a longer stretch of time e.g. in EuroMoMo.
    2. Mortality was not due to the lockdown itself, since Southern Italy entered lockdown only a few days after Northern Italy and had hardly any excess mortality.
    3. The excess mortality in Northern Italy cannot be entirely due to successful containment of the virus, since many people had fled the impending lockdown in the North to return to Southern Italy.
    4. The excess mortality in Northern Italy cannot be entirely due to family arrangements, number of beds in hospitals, political decisions and other factors that would be present even more strongly in the South.

    I think the real question is understanding what made Covid-19 deadly in those places. For the moment, I am cautiously optimistic that the continuing epidemic won't again reach those levels of lethality anywhere.

  172. Cthulhu, love it! Thanks for the prohibition on election discussion, we need a break from the insanity

  173. And another thought: The massive confusion triggered by inconsistent reports about things to do with the coronavirus, the massive interest conflicts with regard to the sources of such information makes it more and more difficult to guess if a source of information is reliable or unbiased. And I think this whole process, accelerated by the pandemic, will have catastrophic consequences. I can’t imagine how that would end well.

  174. JMG, of course from a Deep Time perspective the Earth’s climate has constantly changed, but this may well be the first time in the planets history that a lifeform has consciously realised the effects their actions have on it globally. And of course that action forces said lifeform to contemplate the nature of their interconnectedness with their environment…and beyond. An increasing release of methane just pushes that along a little quicker – though maybe not quite as quickly as the Guardian wanted us to believe (your point taken) – just saw this: https://news.yahoo.com/climate-scientists-throw-cold-water-213900012.html
    On from this, am I the only person who has felt somewhat upset at having their horizon view spoilt, at several seaside locations, by offshore wind turbines? It’s kind of like having a mirror put up where there used to be a window, and then you have some guilt too if you question it, as we are continually told they are the future of green electricity generation. Those far horizons gave a perspective that now only the sky and stars can give. Just don’t get me started on Musk’s Starlink project… :-/

  175. John–

    On a previous MM, you replied that, being human, we can’t not project our archetypes onto the gods. One of the aspects of my path with which I’ve wrestled the longest is the notion of striving to transcend the limits which bind us. As I’ve gotten into the Theosophical literature and its descendants, which are very explicit re the long time frames of evolution, I’ve come to understand the perspective of having to work in small increments over long periods within the limits we face in each incarnation. At another time, however, I recall you pointing out that my desire to change the world is also part of the world, and so this desire to transcend is also a part of the fabric of being. How does one find a balance between accepting limits and yet pushing at them in order to develop?

    @ Violet

    I just wanted to say, Violet, that I thought your notion from last week’s discussion about reframing the interstate commerce clause as being limited to addressing specific conflicts between specific states was a good one. To my mind, that clause is one of the most abused in the current state of affairs.

    @ Varun

    Re legal secession

    With respect, I have to disagree. I think having a “safety valve” in the form of a legal path for secession is something that would be very helpful in navigating our future. Moreover, I feel that such a construct is more reflective of the original premise on which our government is built–namely, human freedom. The freedom of self-determination, the right of a people to chart their own course and form their own nation if they should so choose, is fundamental to human freedom generally. Making our nation a Union of the Willing, rather than a Union of the Compelled, would make it stronger. Like a marriage, which lasts only so long as the parties in that marriage desire to make the marriage work. I can tell you from personal experience, marriage is an AND function, not an OR function, and this union of states is little different.

    Now, I wouldn’t make the legal path an easy one, by any means, and I’d set a fairly high bar and impose certain consequences. My suggestion would be:

    1) Requiring a 2/3 majority vote of a state’s legislature in favor of secession, which would then put the question to the people of the state;
    2) A 2/3 majority in that state-wide plebiscite would be necessary to affect the state’s secession from the Union;
    3) Upon secession, the state is allocated a pro rata portion of the national debt as of the date of the plebiscite, that proportion based on the most recent decadal census; and
    4) The seceding state retains no rights or privileges of membership in the Union and should it desire to rejoin, it would have to apply for statehood and be accepted just as any other territory would.

    I think something along these lines would strike a fair balance between making secession possible (and respecting the basic freedom of human being to form their own associations) but not without a price and not without the demonstration that a supermajority of its voting citizens favors such a move.

  176. Thank everyone who commented on the coronavirus (or rather, on the way it’s being managed).

    Sigh. What a mess.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think there’s a conspiracy. Initially, it was a new virus, and I do recall that our host supported the measures that were taken. (Me, I didn’t. But I’ll grant you that, at the time, it didn’t seem completely crazy. At the time!!! It’s now been months!) By now, we seem to be stuck with a combination of mass hysteria, various experts and “experts” trying to save face by refusing to admit they were wrong, and then people whose lives actually improved (at least temporarily) as a result of the lockdowns (hat tip to Kimberly, RE: her blog post). I’m thinking, in particular, of two professional women of my acquaintance (living in two different countries) who seemed almost giddy when this whole thing started. Both live with their families (one in a spacious house and the other one in a spacious apartment), and they both used to have very long commutes, which they were suddenly able to avoid thanks to the lockdowns. What’s not to like?! By now, they both seem to have lost most of the enthusiasm (because the lockdown ended up increasing their workload and interfered with their lives in other ways), but hey, you shoulda seen them (over Skype) back in the spring…

    What *I* want to know is when exactly this mess will (mostly) end. I suspect Steve and others are right that we’ll be stuck with some of the measures implemented this year (probably in attenuated form) for decades to come, when very few people even remember why those measures were implemented in the first place. Sigh.

  177. @ NomadicBeer says:

    “I grew up in Eastern Europe and I left my home at a low ebb of culture and quality of life. I was lucky to find a job in US but it took me about a decade to adjust (more or less).”

    Only a decade? I’ve been here 65 years, and I still haven’t quite adjusted.

    And I was born here! 🙂

  178. @ Brendhelm

    Walmart only gets to sell beer because their legal department is equipped to deal with the associated mountain of red tape; try selling that beer from your own store and you’ll soon see. The rules are relaxed a little, but prohibition is still with us – otherwise, alcohol would have gone back to being just another retail commodity, and it hasn’t. You need a license to sell anything containing alcohol; there are dates and times that – even with a license – you still cannot sell it; there is a list of people you cannot sell it to; you must keep meticulous records of all your purchases and sales of alcohol, and submit regular reports; if one of your customers opens the bottle on or in front of your property, you risk losing your license (or being fined or even getting jail time, depending on the district) – unless you have a special license permitting this activity; even with this special license to “serve” alcohol as opposed to merely selling it, there is still a long list of circumstances under which it still cannot be provided to your customers; there are districts in which a license will NOT be provided under any circumstance; and if anyone in the community complains, you lose your license; if you fail to report your purchases and sales, you lose your license; if there is too much “shrinkage” in the accounting, you lose your license. And on and on it goes. Politicians have managed to hide it, but it’s still there.

    Likewise with the speed limits. Some districts have raised it to 60, 65, or even 70-mph, but very few if any have put it all the way back up to where it was before it was lowered to 55 in the 1970’s. This in spite of a full 50 years of improvements in technology, infrastructure, and driver education all geared toward making the roads safer. And the police are out there with a huge budget to enforce this regulation that’s been obsolete for decades. Politicians have managed to hide it, but it’s still there.

  179. The world is so full of a number of things, that we should be as happy as kings.

    Meanwhile, the media is doing what one commercial for cheap autos says –
    We are reporting on the things that we reported on the day before, and on the day before that……
    Nothing new there, time to move along….

  180. @JMG: It happens that I just read Jenny’s ritual pretty recently. In fact, I finished “Chorazin” just last week. It seems to me from what I’ve read that you’re making Nyarlathotep into a sort of Merlin character. (I thought that the “awards banquet” at the end of “Chorazin” was amusing.) Regarding Merlin, have you read “At Swim-Two-Birds” by Flann O’brien? A crazy person living in an apple tree and flying about begins to make more sense.

  181. Mr. Greer
    In the Magic Monday, you said that the Magic Resistance was becoming more dangerous. I wonder what you meant by that since most of the conversation has been on how inept they are.

    Of course, on Halloween, they are going all out to do what it is they have been doing since (deleted topic). Outside of giant craters when the Resistance once existed, is there anything else that we should be aware of?

    Since leaving the Neo-Pagans last month, I have found that I am lighter and gayer. I feel as though dark, black muck has left my body and spirit. Meanwhile, various blogging channels have exploded with “Left Politics = Neo-Paganism” about (deleted topic). The rage and fury is intense. I wonder if that was the blackness I felt or is it something else. Will their efforts explode all over us or will we be in the clear?

    On another note, you spoke about how lightness and relaxing was a part of a secret something that you would eventually tell us. Any timeline for that?

  182. @Naomi

    The problem is that it’s not just the UK: the whole world seems to have lost its mind. Your brother may very well need to wait this out before seriously looking for a new job (whether in the UK or elsewhere).

    The thing is, if your brother is to make it abroad, *he* is the one who has to want it. It’s not easy, and if you’re not prepared for the downsides, it’s likely to be quite rough. For starters, you leave your entire social network behind. (And the older you are, the harder it is to replace it.) You are likely to face a variety of bureaucratic obstacles, and you might just not know how things work. (For instance, a few months after I moved to CZ, I got very ill. I had no GP, I couldn’t speak the language, and I didn’t know how to get medical help other than by just waltzing into the ER, which didn’t seem warranted since I wasn’t quite on my deathbed. Luckily, I did have some vacation days left, and then it was Christmas and vacation time for everyone. So… I spent a couple of weeks violently coughing – so violently that I couldn’t sleep – until I was better enough to return to work. I continued coughing, albeit less, for another three months or so. I never did see a doctor, although I was officially insured and officially had the right to medical care.) There may be a language barrier. Learning a new language to a good level takes a couple of years if you’re highly dedicated, and longer than you’re likely to be alive if you lack the dedication. Anyway, none of these obstacles need be insurmountable, but you have to really want it. If you don’t, staying home and (if necessary) finding a new career is a better option.

  183. Hi, some CosDoc questions here 🙂

    I’m through chapter III, but still digesting chapter II.

    1.- I’m identifying the prime movement with the will. The will of whatever cosmos we are considering. The will does not know which direction to take, but it finds resistances. When these resistances, (negative) evils, don’t stand in the way of the will, they are useful for gaining momentum. So far, so good. When these resistances just stand in the way of the will, what happens? Are they destroyed or displaced?
    2.- Ring-Chaos influences the cosmos so it moves to different directions that don’t lead directly where their will points, by attraction and repulsion consecutively. If someone tries to be a force which moves the Ring-Cosmos towards a right angle of its will, does it mean that this person is placing himself in the Ring-Chaos, that is, outside of the Ring-Cosmos?
    3.- Trying to use positive evil is evil in the popular sense. But does it mean evil for the people that inhabits that particular cosmos, or evil even for people leaving in other cosmoi? As an example, consider the making of marriage as our cosmos. If I were to disturb their love story, making them not having enough time together so they can progress as a couple, I am obviously being evil for their love story, but will people outside this particular cosmos think the same of me, that I am being evil for getting in their way?
    4.- I’m struggling with the Ring-Pass-Not. In theory, that’s something that belongs to the cosmos, something within its possibilities, but that is bordering what can’t be achieved. In addition, it forms really close to where the cosmos started, where it is more dynamic. Forces generated in the Ring-Pass-Not are supposed to balance forces from the other rings. Could you provide an example of a force from the Ring-Pass-Not?
    5.- What is the difference between pure movements and the activities? In particular, MOVEMENT as an activity, is it different of MOVEMENT as pure movement?
    6.- Regarding activities, it seems that after an action has been realised (movement), this action has been perceived or thought about it (light), and finally shared or talked about (sound). But this sequence only happens when the movement finds no opposition. Are the secondary activities unavoidable?

    Thanks for your time.

  184. “There are many other things going on in the world just now, and quite a few of them are more interesting than which elderly politician is going to preside over the next four years of this one nation’s trajectory through time. So I’m going to ask readers to take discussions about the election somewhere else, and talk about other things this week.”

    THANK YOU!

  185. I’ve been asking people around me and no one can answer this – Why does the rioting and looting stop as soon as the National Guard is deployed? This is the second time they’ve been deployed in Philadelphia in four months and it ends the mayhem immediately. Do the participants in the mobs really believe the guardsmen are going to mow them down in a hail of gun fire? Do they just look scary enough? Is it the uniform? I’m glad the chaos comes to an abrupt halt, but I don’t understand the psychology of it.

    Everyone I know get a huge sense of relief each time they are deployed and I personally hate it, because 1) it shows how little self-regulation of behavior and general self-respect we have these days, and 2) I don’t want people used to using military people to restore order. Nothing say banana republic more than the military standing on street corners!

  186. Hi JMG,

    Thanks for that. I follow what you are saying, with God the Father as somewhat akin to “The All” in the Kybalion, Jesus as the more human form, manifesting God in a material sense through deeds, actions, and speech, and the Holy Spirit linking the two–a transcendent principle or bridge. I really like the idea of the the Holy Spirit expressed through the sacraments.

    The whole discussion of the Holy Trinity gets muddled up by the Old Testament God, who is more or less personified, and has very explicit conversations and negotiations with people in those stories. It seems as if God the Father only becomes a transcendent being after the appearance of Jesus.

    Also, thanks to barefootwisdom and Curtis for linking ghost with geist. The problem I have, is that I also see the link with Old English gast, and gaestan (“to frighten, afflict, torment’). Ghastly is not a word I typically associate with Christian services, at least as they are intended. Ghostly Counsel or Ghastly Counsel is an intriguing concept, which was explored a bit in the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, although the gaunts were at best neutral in that case and it was only the ghouls who provided any assistance to Randolph Carter.

  187. Going to Jung, just as humans have a collective consciousness, plants and animals also have an oversoul they participate in. One of the sorrows of being human is that we so seldom DO participate in our collective oversoul and are thereby very lonely. This is the cause of the 100th monkey effect, where the idea is posted to the collective bulletin board, so that the monkeys next island over become aware of it. In the case of predators or even elephants, why don’t they attack more humans? We’re soft, squishy and useless, easy prey. Because we’ll f’n murder them, that’s why. Their oversoul is aware that if you kill one human, ALL the humans circle back and torch every animal of that species they run into, uncaring of which mountain lion was the offender, and maybe the whole forest. Poor justice, but you see their position in the matter. And ours, if it was your child, or what keeps your child alive like your sheep.

    Coffee can be made in a pot – or a hollow leaf – Turkish style. Or strained in a bandana, cowboy style, with eggshells. But the grinder is important because whole beans last very much longer and green beans almost forever. However, mice like them. In a decline, these things matter.

    The Boomers could have sold likely had they fought for equitable wages for the young incoming workers, wages like they got back in ’69. They did the opposite, and now the bill comes. The young won’t lose, since they have working years left. The Boomers destroyed themselves. Hiding this is one of the many things the illogical over-reaction to COVID will accomplish. They – the people who set this system with a fatal flaw and end date, planning to capitalize on it later — needed someone to blame other than themselves.

    I would disagree with Taleb on tail risk as tail risk is both constant and infinite. Following his advice we could have shut down the world economy 20 times by now, yet having not done it — because up ’til now we were not run by such Intellectual-Yet-Idiots worldwide — we realize it would never have mattered or helped. Or this time either, now that we have the all-in death rate as 0.003. Or in 1918, since we can see lockdowns and masks did NOT stop the spread now, just as they didn’t in ’18. While that did no good, small business is dead and young suicides are up 100% — a double fail.

    This is beyond following the same premise: shut down all life for asteroids, solar flares, and alien invasions. Again, as we did not, we realize the tail risk for these over the last 1,000 years is virtually zero. One day it will not be, but responding now will still not be worth it. If you want to prepare for something, there is a major society-wide war every 70 years so you will definitely live through one and preparing for it will almost certainly pay off big. This is exactly what they’re doing by letting/helping a tottering system fail, profiting on forcing the death, and arranging to blame Covid, since they’ve been unable to blame China or start a world war in Syria or Iran.

    This forced/planned collapse, helping the normal cycles goes with illogical thinking. This is or can be well-engineered and widespread using a few bucks. I feel like my brain is melting when I watch SpongeBob, and most kid’s exposure is to incoherent nonsense like it, right up through graduate school, and kids get no exposure to things like work, and how to be an adult. So it’s no wonder. If I were taking down a society on a set date like the “League of Shadows”, I would do exactly this.

    Hubbs this sounds very familiar to me and it’s not healthy to be in tune with a desperately sick society. I have found you don’t need the world to work, only your corner of it as a carve out, a habitat. That can be done by asking for situation or information about what is good and healthy for you. Magic will attempt to indicate, via the collective bulletin board, what is good for you nearby in time in space. That almost certainly will not be what your mind wants or expects it to be, or you would see it already. As your needs may be niche it can also take uncomfortable time to manifest, so the first carve out is to chop wood and make tea in silence. The Collective Consciousness DOES want to do this for you. However, other people are doubtless as hard of hearing as you may be and it’s difficult the oversoul to arrange/force them to participate. The overwhelming problem of 24/7 screen-time for hyperintellectuals: no small, still voice. They think they’re smart and connected, but in a thin vapor of illusion to true connection.

    I wouldn’t say Flyover is collapsing, it collapsed as far back as Melloncamp’s “Blood on the Scarecrow”, but with 1M already fled NYC and going somewhere, it’s time for that 70-year war/commodity cycle to turn and will steadily be re-populated again. The High becomes Low and all that. And the IYI chattering apparatchiks telling us all what to do have been very, very high.

  188. @Justin Patrick Moore: Re: Caffeine: North America does have one native (and nearly indestructible) caffeine-producing plant: yaupon holly– which also has the unflattering name Ilex vomitoria. I don’t know about your region, but it grows in great profusion here– it’s a large shrub and we have several in our yard. People have experimented with it here, and the leaves make a tolerable caffeinated drink. Pretty sure the unflattering Latin name was appended by people who ate the berries.

    Don’t eat the berries.

  189. @Violet & JMG: I haven’t made my way to Chandler or Hammett yet, but I think you would both like James M. Cain as well. His novel The Moth in particular. It’s not a noir like his other works, but it’s very good life story work. It’s a sprawling tale with many of his trademarks in terms of character. One interesting bit is how he weaves in information about work on oil derricks. For those here interested in the history of fossil fuels… a great tale that starts in 1910 and takes you up to the era of the first frozen dinners. In my mind an American novel not to be missed.

    @David BTL: Decopunk is firmly on my writing agenda. Glad someone else will enjoy the view. (Here in Cincinnati so much great Art Deco buildings, I’ll want to set something in them 100 years from now or so…) Of course I want them to stay while other architectural trash is scrapped!

  190. @Irena and Covid19

    I’m at odds with others here in that I don’t really see why “TPTB” would want to extend lockdowns. Other than getting their huge dollup of Fed largesse, it seems to me that their interests are better served by business as usual. So I tend to think that the “lockdowns” etc. are more in the way of politicians showing the masses that they are “doing something” rather than a more nefarious motive. Plus, well, you know, this is a nasty disease that kills people and spreads easily, so there is certainly justification for “doing something.”

    What’s to be done is another matter entirely. I’m pretty sure that lockdowns are illegal and I think wearing masks should be a matter of personal choice. I wear one in enclosed air spaces because I think they do limit the inoculum in such spaces, and avoiding a massive dose exposure is key to limiting the severity of the disease.

    And I can’t deny that there does seem to be a dark side to the official response. Simple and inexpensive strategies that lowers people’s risk, such as taking a vitamin D supplement, getting a reasonable amount of sunshine, and looking after ones health habits, etc., have inexplicably been downplayed. And I can think of no good reasons for the outright suppression of effective early-stage treatments such as HCQ+ or Ivermectin. I can think of some very dark reasons, but no good ones. I don’t pretend to know what’s up with all that, but I view it as a crime against humanity.

    As for what will happen, I was convinced from the beginning that Covid-19 is here to stay. Every person on Earth will eventually be exposed. Vaccines of variable effectiveness will come and go. The disease will gradually complete its initial sweep through the vulnerable population, and will then become just one more ubiquitous disease like the flu and pneumonia that claims the elderly and frail, as well as a few unlucky ones who for some reason are particularly vulnerable to it. In other words, it will become just another part of life.

  191. JMG and Violet, and any frogs who may be reading,

    Just a synchronicity/animal omen data point, as the subject of both frogs and things that move in the darkness came up. A couple of Sundays ago I went out to tend my little housefront garden. As I stepped out the door, a large and beautiful kite (the bird, I mean) circled overhead and came quite close, so I gave it a greeting. Kites are indigenous to the area and not terribly rare, but I’d never seen one in my neighborhood, let alone right overhead in front of my house. As I’d just added the SOP Calling to Air two days before, and here we were on the day of Hu, I took this as a very good sign.

    As it flew away, I opened up the little metal box that holds the tap head for me to attach my garden hose– and I was surprised to find a decent sized dark frog inside. Black or at least a dark brown. It had somehow gotten trapped inside the box, I guess the last time my wife had watered the garden, but it had been at least three days as we’d had rainy weather, and the soil in the box was littered with frog droppings. I tried to catch the frog to help it out, but it turned out it didn’t need my help, and had the strength to hop out on its own, into the light, and I was happy to watch it escape.

    Later that same day, JMG, I checked your Dreamwidth site, and saw a new post. Yes, this happened to be the day that you posted the notice about “Feels Good Man”! (Which I don’t think I’ll be able to see in this country, at least for a while.) So I guess it was an omen, and the hawk was announcing it (or part of it).

    The next question is what letting an imprisoned frog free from a dark little water box in a garden is an omen of, exactly. I can’t say for sure, but given the hawk heraldry, my sense is that it was positive. I’ll also mention that here in Japan, frogs are unambiguously symbols of good luck, partly due to the word for frog, “kaeru”, sounding the same as the verb “to return home”. I have previously written in a previous open post about a different frog coincidence, relating to Aristophanes’ “Frogs” and my own involvement in a production of Aristophanes’ “Peace”, in which the overarching plot is a farmer leading the efforts to set the imprisoned goddess Peace free. At that time, you mentioned that some Kek worshippers had taken to calling him “The frog of peace”. Was I once again being a sort of farmer, there in my garden, setting (a frog of) peace free?

    Well, who the heck knows. But my sincere hope is that this omen signals further that there is indeed something to this “frog of peace” business, and that whatever chaos these forces being unleashed in the world represent, they’re actually working toward benefic goals.

  192. Kimberly,

    I read your essay and it was great. Very interesting take on things. However, most of the aged back-to-the-land hippies I know have fully bought into the fear, and they are all retired. They generally have good retirements, with social security being just a part of their income. I suppose they are simply in their chosen information bubble – but they sure don’t want to hear anything outside of it. True, they are all in their late 60s and into their 70s, so there is that, although most of them are in very good health. I do think that virtue signalling is very likely a big draw for them and lets not forget that there is the internal, subjective aspect to that. They get to tell their own selves how good and smart they are!

  193. Robert Mathiesen,

    I suspect that one of the (less well publicized) things lockdowns are currently meant to prevent is any overwhelming of the health-care industry, which could lead to a loss of public trust in it

    That is an odd thing to say when all we heard at the initiation of the lockdowns is flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve ad nauseum so that the healthcare industry would not be overwhelmed. As to loss of trust, since many people were and still are denied health care, I think that happened anyway.

    About Italy, I did not hear some of the worst that you mentioned, such as families having to hold onto their dead or even not being admitted. I never heard this. The Italian system was not overwhelmed, but only a few hospitals in the most affected areas. There were plenty of other hospitals available. When statistics are analyzed, the excess death over normal is small to nonexistent. That is, it did spike for a few weeks, but I cannot believe that mortuaries have no excess capacity.

    (A very intelligent physician-friend of my own generation estimates that COVID-19 will “burn itself out” in about 18 months, that is, by early Fall of 2021.

    It burned itself out in May or so. What is happening now is the remains but not another wave like the first. However, the idea that the world can live for 18 months (and with very few deaths at that) without allowing people to make a living is quite unrealistic. Eventually, even the employers of the PMC will run out of funds, as will governments. How can you lose your tax base and continue to pay government employees to stay home? As Kimberly mentioned, a lot of the PMC seem to have very abstract ideas of where money comes from.

  194. Dear Mark,

    It sounds like you live in a really beautiful place! For what it’s worth, I love frogs! When I was young with my head aflame with too much Euell Gibbons, I went down to my local frog pond and my family had frog legs for dinner that night and they were seriously good. So I even like eating frogs! One of my earliest memories concerns trading a large bronze pawn I had found in the woods with another child who had a toad. So I like toads, too. In fact, I generally like amphibians.

  195. @ Simon S

    The furious printing of money is generally the last resort of a failed regime, much like administering high levels of addictive pain killers to a dying patient. Without a corresponding increase in the supply of goods and services, all it does is drive prices up absurdly until people just stop using the money – at which point the money becomes worthless and every part of the economy relying on money collapses catastrophically.

    I honestly don’t know any details of how this will play out, only that it’s going to happen soon. Real soon.

  196. Dear Onething, and others who were involved in the discussion of monism, monotheism, and Advaita Vedānta, in the comment section on JMG’s “Fifth Wednesday” post last month:

    I don’t want to swamp the comments here with a rehash of that discussion, but I’ve made a short attempt at clarifying the difference between monism and monotheism over at my own blog, in case you’re interested.

  197. Some time ago (I can’t rememer when) I recall you mentioning that the book “Spirit and the Sword” was something that you looked back at with embarassment.

    Is this something I simply recall totally wrong, or just partially wrong?

    I have recently taken a interest in physical activity, started to practice some yoga and to swing a kettlebell and the book in question which I got as a gift but have never quite gotten to, have been standing in my bookshelf for quite some time.

    Now I wonder if you could ellaborate abit on what kind of reservations (if any) you want to throw my way, if I venture to dive into it.
    What was the source of embarassment? Is there still things you think are valuable in that book, or do you regret it being published at all?

  198. To Jacques and others, regarding the (re-)opening of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging:

    in a wry act of synchronicity, on the very day that this reopening of logging was announced, a formerly-logged, denuded mountainside near the village of Craig on Prince of Wales Island (within the Tongass National Forest) gave way after days of heavy rain, causing a huge mudslide that inundated a large area as well as the local highway.

  199. During the Election Quiet Hour, I thought I’d bring up a peripheral point that also makes some people foam at the mouth: the validity of race as a concept that may sometimes be useful in discussing public policy. JMG has expressed several times the educated consensus as it stood in 1990: Race is a folk concept unsupported by science. This view had predominated in the social sciences since the early 20th Century; there were biologists and anthropologists who dissented from it, but they were unpopular, and often a bit funny about certain ethnicities they personally disliked.

    In the last thirty years, DNA and other research based on physical observations has gone heavily the other way. The keepers of respectable opinion have circled the wagons, and are trying to solve the problem by gatekeeping the work product of the Race Realists, as they call themselves, away from the general public, and personally no-platforming, disemploying, and vilifying those who remain obdurate in their heresy.

    I recently read a book summarizing what is known, or guessed, about the prehistory of the major races. Some of the more striking theories could use more support, but they might be largely right. The book is Erectus Walks Among Us, by Richard Fuerle. He proposes that the differentiation of the races, based on different environmental challenges, had already begun before we became Homo Sapiens. Different branches of the Homo family tree, all probably emigrating from Africa, and basically all classifiable as Erectus, underwent similar but different evolutionary changes in Europe and Asia, partly provoked by interbreeding with other Homo stocks: Neanderthal in Europe, Denisovan in Asia. The gene complexes of these other peoples make up from 1% to 6% of the modern Euros and Asians.

    A while back, there was a catcall that modern Africans, with neither of these admixtures, had the purest Homo Sapiens lineage. Better DNA analysis showed that typical generic modern Africans average 16% ancestry from a “ghost population” the archeologists could find no trace of.

    Fuerle’s proposed answer to this mystery is that the “ghosts” were the original African population of Homo Erectus, who were swamped and submerged by four to six waves of Sapiens invaders from the Middle East and across the Mediterranean, responding to the last two major glaciations by taking Marcus Garvey’s advice: “Back To Africa!” Isolated populations here and there show much higher Erectus admixture, and not only in Africa; the Khoi-San people, the Pygmies, and most of the Australoids (Ozzie Abos, New Guinea Blackfellas, Andaman Islanders, and a few small relict populations that hid well enough not to be wiped out in the European colonial expansion.)

    Fuerle, IMHO, slices the ball into the woods at the end, when he discusses what to do about this information. Given that contemporary Black Americans are of 75% African ancestry, that would give them a 12% Erectus background. That might provide a handy genetic explanation for the statistical differences, since so many measures of behavior and intelligence sort the US population into Black and All Other. Two arguments for not going back to severe mandatory segregation are: individual variation, which places 14% of the Black population above the White average in, for instance, IQ, so that Booker T. Washington’s advocacy for the rights and interests of the Talented Tenth may be a low estimate; and the component of the differences that is not genetic, but cultural firmware. Optimists like Thomas Sowell point to the steady slow progress in lifestyles, educational levels, and economic prosperity of Black Americans from Emancipation to about 1965. Other scholars point out the typical behavior of Englishmen in, say, 1450, compared to 1950, and Sowell suggests that Black culture could reach full parity in as little as 100 to 300 years.

    In case his argument was not controversial enough, Fuerle digs into the sources of the all-people-are-the-same intellectual movement that he is rebelling against, and finds a strong element of Jewish scholars talking their own book; they felt that teaching Americans to ignore ethnicity would be good for their own people. IMHO again, this attribution is both offensive and mostly right.

    I’m hoping we can moderate the reaction against the Current Year anti-White racism, ending up with colorblind equal opportunity and only voluntary segregation. An earlier poster mentioned a relative who went to a racist brainwashing session at work, with a special breakout class for Whites. It makes me wonder if Germany under the Hitler administration provided compulsory classes for Jews in their own equally scientific Rassenlehre.

  200. JMG, I’m going to throw out a fun fact (sarcasm intended) about my personal life. My younger brother and sister are twins, born on Halloween, 1963. My husband of basically 40 years, was born on, you guessed it, Halloween 1957. My sister has all the hallmarks of a sociopath, I haven’t had contact with her at all in 15 years, and my husband has a long list of narcissistic behaviors. I’m a Pisces. Needless to say, they are in all, a difficult lot. Is there something weird going on I should be aware of about “Halloween people”?

  201. JMG,

    In your response to lunar apprentice, you said at least in the US, any attempt to do so would guarantee that the politicians who permitted it would be out of office, possibly at the sharp end of pitchforks, in a fairly short time.

    I hope you’re right but I’m a little surprised. Didn’t the debacle in 2008 result in many people losing their homes? Aren’t they already saying that many closed businesses are not going to recover or reopen? The lockdown has lasted much longer than they originally said, and is ongoing. For that matter, many other venues are also indefinitely closed. This will impact the livings of disparate types of business. I’m speaking about all the public venues, fairs, musical events and so on.

  202. “What’s the benefit for you of running your comment section here vs. let’s say a group on Facebook discussing your topics?”

    Well, for one, I wouldn’t be there!

  203. Dear JMG, many thanks! I have a decent collection of Hammett sitting on the “to-read” stack in my bedroom.

    Dear Robert, Many thanks for recommendation! I’ve requested a Damon Runyon collection from my interlibrary loan system!

    Dear David, you’re most welcome! I didn’t realize that I was making that point, but I’m glad our discussion was helpful on your end — it certainly was on mine and I’m grateful that there’s a place we can discuss such fraught subjects in a civil, respectful, and levelheaded manner!

    Dear Justin, many thanks for the suggestion! My library system doesn’t appear to have The Moth, but I checked out some of Cain’s other books.

    Dear Quin, thank you for the beautiful story! I certainly hope that the frogs are frogs of peace as well! The symbolism of the frog strikes me as important, and it least in Western culture, pretty coherent. In Aristophanes _The Frogs_ we hear the frogs in chorus while Dionysus crosses the Lake to the Underworld. Here I think we have two important details of the symbolic nature of frogs: they sing in chorus and they have a strong link to the Underworld.

    What surprised me about _Fathers and Sons_ was how coherent the frog subplot fits in with the nihilism today, and the sense of great sweeping changes occurring _right now_. Personally, I don’t think that collectively humanity will be able to make the changes afoot without a lot of misery and bloodshed. Still, there’s better or worse options and I think the frog may very well represent the better options we now have to work with

  204. I had a followup thought on my habit of ignoring things I dislike about myself and my life: this is actually one of the simplest habits to change, since any effort made to address it will, by that very act, both challenge it and start building the alternative habit I want: the habit of changing things I don’t like. It feels so much more manageable now that I realized that! I still expect it to take a while though, since I’m trying to change a deep-seated part of my personality…..

  205. Hello Everyone! Hope you’re doing well.

    @JMG

    I’ve heard you say before that medieval serfs worked less and kept a larger portion of the products of their labor than modern working people do.

    Could I ask your source for this? I’d love to be able to quote it to my friends and family.

    Thanks!

    -WindMan

  206. I’ve just finished reading a fascinating review of a book by an author/thinker I’m totally unfamiliar with…Charles Upton. The book is The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (https://jessicadavidson.co.uk/2020/10/12/notes-on-apocalypse-the-system-of-antichrist/) Are you familiar with this author? The reviewer’s website also seems worthy of exploration…have you (or other commenters here) come across Jessica Davidson’s work at all? Thanks

    I was intrigued by your comments about China trying to get in to the global hegemon/empire business and your observation that “the US is backing away from empire at a respectable rate”. I imagine a Biden administration would decelerate the pace on that, if not try to reverse it. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I hope your prediction about this week’s unmentionable subject will prove accurate once again! Thanks for the open post and to all the contributors.

  207. Hi Lady Cutekitten,

    When we first moved to Hershey in July of 2001, the air smelled like chocolate continuously. It was like standing inside a kitchen where you’d been baking brownies all day long.

    After that, I got used to it and didn’t notice it as much.

    A few years back, Hershey Co (one of the three entities) closed down the old chocolate factory (built by Milton Hershey) on Chocolate Avenue East and moved all the chocolate making facilities to the new chocolate factory complex on Old West Chocolate Avenue. Like the Reese factory, we can see the new chocolate factory from our property although I have to go upstairs to see it.

    The new chocolate factory doesn’t release chocolate aroma like the old, leaky, added-on-to a dozen times did.

    The Reese factory still releases chocolate aromas but we don’t notice unless it’s very strong.

    So maybe? If you’re not acclimated?

    In addition to Chocolate World, we can take the Hershey Trolley tour (which drives by the Reese Factory so we see it several times a day). It is not actually a trolley, but is instead a diesel bus disguised to look like a trolley.

    It does not smell like chocolate. I don’t know if they hand out Hershey miniatures (or Reese’s minis) for riding on the trolley although Chocolate World does reward you with a Hershey mini for riding on their ride.

  208. Allen Lincoln (and JMG and others in the discussion of mindfulness):

    To Allen’s point about Chinese attitudes toward mindfulness, there’s an excellent article by Robert Sharf, “Is mindfulness Buddhist? (and why it matters)” that provides a clear overview of the history of this controversy in China, and draws the parallels with the contemporary situation. A PDF (hosted by Sharf’s academic institution, the University of California) is here.

  209. Hello Mr. Archdruid

    I was reading a previous post where you were talking about the power of affirmations and was thinking about this in relationship to sports. Now there is sport for sports sake – the kids playing a made up version of hockey in the alley – but I am thinking about the public spectacles around professional sports. Personally I believe their is a need for sports built in to the human soul, similarly to the need for art and music. Would you think that one of the reasons for the collapse in professional sports ratings is that without the live audience the affirmations part of the game is gone? Do you think the crowd chanting, clapping and booing creates a sort of magic that makes professional sports interesting or even watchable?

    I am one of those that likes watching a bit of sports, any sports really, and I am finding during covid that I could really care less about watching pro sports without an audience. I get my fix now spontaneously watching 10 minutes of some kids kicking a ball, 10 minutes of the local high school kids running football drills, or even a guy firing a Frisbee to his dog. Some of those retrievers can really move!

  210. Onething,

    I did specify northern Italy and a region therein, not the entire country.

    As for “all we heard at the initiation of the lockdowns is flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve ad nauseum so that the healthcare industry would not be overwhelmed” — this was a minor theme, rarely stressed in the media I use, here in Rhode Island.

    And anyway, doesn’t your “so that the healthcare industry would not be overwhelmed” rather prove my main point, namely, that the lockdowns were primarily about keeping the health-care industry running smoothly, and only secondarily about the actual health of the populace.

    I may be old and very cynical, but at this point it would take a lot of hard evidence to convince me that any government puts any value at all on the health and well-being of individual people for their own sake. What they care about is keeping the various larger and wealthier industries and economic systems up and running smoothly, including the health-care industry, and keeping the money flowing. The arguments for and against lockdowns have a lot to do with just which major sectors of the economy are to be protected, which are to be allowed to take a hit, and which are to be sacrificed altogether. At present, it seems to me that the health-care industry is winning that battle, though not by very much.

  211. JMG,

    It seems like one of sinister goals of the religion of progress is to eliminate our acquisition of skills and the joy and sense of accomplishment that result from developing and using those skills.

    I recently read a magazine article gushing about a new airplane that NASA is developing that will use the SVO concept (simplified vehicle operations). The article speculates that Covid 19 will cause people to abandon airline travel (forever, I guess, due to their fear of catching the virus on an airliner), and will cause them to replace their need for airline travel with personal transportation, such as a small airplane. (Have you noticed how mass transit used to be “the answer” and now “personal transportation” is the in thing?) However, small airplanes take pesky training to learn how to use, and have a somewhat discouraging safety record (every small plane crash makes the news, unlike every car accident). But the new SVO airplane being developed will require little pilot training as it will automate almost all phases of flying and the automation will make it safer to fly. The article goes on to say that the FAA will likely “slim down” pilot training requirements as greater automation is developed. Garmin already has technology that can be installed into a small airplane, such as a Piper or Cirrus, that will automatically land the airplane at an airport in case of an emergency. I happen to be a private pilot. I had to work hard, for several years, to earn my pilot’s certificate. When I was a student pilot, as part of my training, I was required to go on a solo three-leg cross-country flight totaling 150 nautical miles. I was not allowed to use a GPS (didn’t have one anyway) so I had to navigate using dead reckoning, pilotage, a chart and a flight log. ( I was allowed to use a radio navigation aid called a VOR, but the route I flew didn’t have any VORs.) Also, the airplane I flew was not equipped with an autopilot. On the day I flew the cross-country there were a lot of thermals, and it was a challenge to keep the Cessna 152 I was hand flying wings level and at altitude. At the same time, I had to look out the window for other aircraft, for landmarks, and for potential emergency landing sites, and look inside the airplane at my watch, the flight instruments, the engine gauges, and I had to calculate the time between waypoints, fuel burn and estimated time of arrival. It was like driving a car on an icy road on a windy day, in a blizzard, while doing your taxes, with a kid screaming from the back seat. I’ll admit that after I passed my checkride and received my pilot’s license, I bought a GPS, and that has made flying easier, but all the complexity I just described is one of reasons I love to fly. It’s a chance to use my abilities to their fullest, to fully immerse myself in something that is challenging and highly satisfying. The risks involved in flying make it all the more worth it; they make it real and serious. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

    My wife and I recently bought a new car to replace our 20-year old Camry. I was a bit hesitant about the choice of this new car as it has tons of bells and whistles that I have no need for, but it was our best option. When I back the car down our driveway I now have a back up camera to assist me. When I park it in the garage, a series of beeps tells me how close I am to the sides and back of the garage. If another car gets too close to me on the highway, my car will warn me, and if I’ve set a special button, it will steer clear of the other car. I feel like these safety gizmos are destroying the driving skills I’ve gained over the past 43 years. My intuition has been my guide all these years in avoiding a sideswipe on the highway, and it too is under threat of atrophy, All the warning beeps and the backup camera are a distraction and I think are making me a less safe driver.

    There’s been big hype, recently, about electric bikes. I don’t own an electric bike and have no interest in ever buying (or even trying) one. I like my human-powered bike just fine. Part of the hype about the electric bike is about how fast you go on it, and how far. Hasn’t the motor scooter already been invented? If you want to go fast and far on a bike-like device, isn’t that enough? I don’t like going too fast on my old-fashioned bike, though I’m not against speed. I do like to use my own muscle power to go as fast as I can for as long as I can. But I don’t feel safe going over 25 mph. I’ve ridden my bike down some pretty steep hills and I once clocked 50 mph going down a hill. I hated it. You’re very vulnerable on a bike to cars backing out of blind driveways, to pedestrians and animals crossing in front of you (twice I’ve collided with an opossum — I was injured each time), and to potholes. Encountering hazards such as these, especially at a high speed, isn’t appealing to me. Plus it’s hard to control a bike at high speed: all that gyroscopic momentum negates subtle steering. All in all, I’m not interested riding an electric bike because I want to do the work, not sit back and let an electric motor do it for me. My grandmother had an electric exercise bike that did all the work for her. Didn’t seem to help her get into shape.

    I saw an ad for a motor you can add to your surfboard. “Surf Like a Pro”, the ad read. Why waste years of effort learning to surf like a pro, when you can just add this motor? Going from beginner to instant pro steals from you the experience of mastering something, that’s why. It cheapens and trivializes the accomplishment. And I suspect that there’s more to becoming a pro surfer than merely being able to go faster.

    I have a 1964 Nikon F camera. It’s all mechanical. There’s absolutely nothing electronic about it. Nothing automatic. The only technical aid it has is a basic built-in exposure meter: a battery and a moving needle. Hardly what I’d call “electronic”. I used to use this camera for professional photography. I had a variety of assignments, including photojournalism, portraits, table top, and architecture. Because the Nikon F is a manual camera, you have to think about what you want the camera to do before taking a photo. You need to think about the desired shutter speed, iris setting, depth of field and focus, and then set the associated knobs and rings on the camera very quickly. Some of the variables change from shot to shot. For instance if you are taking pictures of people in a room during the day, as you move around, the intensity of the light changes so you have to adjust the camera for that. And you’re constantly adjusting focus in that situation, too. I took photos nearly everyday in those days. By using the camera so frequently, coordinating those variables became second nature. This led to creative control and creative options that today’s electronic and automated cameras steal from the photographer. I also own a view camera — the kind with the accordion bellows like Matthew Brady used. It takes patience, skill and experience to use, but is very satisfying.

    Working on developing a new skill and using a skill give one a sense of accomplishment because the brain releases dopamine, resulting in a feeling of joy. The religion of progress is blind to this. Long live the old ways!

  212. Hi all, I’ve noticed a few posts lately inquiring about occult aspects of physical culture. I came across a fellow on youtube calling himself the Bioneer. He has an eBook on “Superfunctional Training”, and the advert seems to be going in the direction occult physical culture. For example, treating the mind and body as a system, and broadening the focus from just physical strength to things like mental resilience, meditation, memory, creativity etc. The link is here: https://www.thebioneer.com/product/superfunctional/

    I cannot vouch for this system, but it seemed like it might pique the interest of some folks here. It’ll be interesting to see how this suite of ideas and practices evolves!

    Stay healthy!

  213. @ Barefootwisdom,

    Thank you for this! I don’t suppose you know where either an affordable or else an electronic copy of Simplicius’s commentary can be obtained?

  214. I would like to ask the commentariat how you are seeing staple food prices and availability in your corner of the world, with as much or as little detail as you care to give about location.

    Some items have doubled here, most noticably to me pasta and eggs, others have quadrupled, most noticably canned pumpkin and powdered dry milk. Canned tomatoes have returned to Feb 2020 prices, as have fresh potatoes. I am in S.E. Idaho, home of the potato, and when they vanished completely last March and April it was quite alarming. I can currently buy the foods I want to, the dry beans and grains are on the shelf as they should be. Canning supplies are still in very short supply.

    Also, if you don’t mind saying, are you planning to plant anything different in your next growing season because of price changes? I plan to attempt growing wheat for the first time.

  215. I would like to repeat a question from last Open Thread, putting more effort into it this time.

    JMG says everyone should get a quality horoscope done at least once. My question is along the lines of: is there a particular time in one’s life when this will be of most benefit? E.g., I feel that many or most people will be particularly interested in astrological guidance during a period of crisis or uncertainty (as many of us have faced this year). But is that the right circumstance to seek a horoscope?

    Or should a person, rather, be getting a horoscope done in order to serve as a guide throughout one’s life?

  216. JMG, these threads are long and must be time consuming for you. I had an odd dream and I wonder if it is common. I was taking care of a large number of children – baths and bed. I realized the youngest, Daphne, was missing. I found her giggling in a room that had been concealed behind two or three gauzy curtains, no door. Daphne is not the actual name of anyone that I know. I looked up the Greek myth – Apollo pursues Daphne and her father turns her into the laurel tree to avoid him. I can interpret this several ways. If it is common, I thought maybe their was an “official” meaning. Thanks for any insight.

  217. @Justin Patrick Moore I’d be delighted. I had the original piece to hand about a fortnight ago in anticipation of a non-election open post and I cut it back although it’s still too long. My email is Andy Dwelly (all one word) at gmail. Let me know how long you need it to be.

  218. Jean Lamb from Oregon wrote me in connection with this year, ” ….the last year of an era is more like that era than the rest all rolled together. “

  219. To John Evans, regarding the concept of race,

    I hope that I do not put myself into hot water with our host here, who would apparently disagree with me (and with John Evans also), but I have had to shake my head at those who deny the reality of human races, however muddled the concept may be. Such a position has struck me, to be honest, as just more of the same kind of recent denial-of-reality as the refusal to accept the reality of gender, or the inherent differences between males and females.

    Strangely (or not), I see no similar denial of reality among biologists, anthropologists, et al in regards to non-human species. Or, for that matter, in regards to the existence of separate biological species themselves. The line between separate species is often a fuzzy one, and sometimes even quite arbitrary, yet I have never heard nor read of any biologist therefore claiming that the entire concept of biological species is therefore bogus. Similarly, there are no clear-cut dividing lines between the human races, however one wants to divide them up, yet I dare anyone to claim that they could not identify a typical Swede from a typical New Guinean on the basis of appearance (hence race) alone.

    The idea that human races do not exist simply because the boundaries between the races are ill-defined seems, to be, to be an intellectual cop out. By the same argument, there are no such things as stars, planets or asteroids, because the boundaries between stars, and deuterium-burning brown dwarfs, and non-fusing brown dwarfs, and gas giant planets, and rocky planets, and asteroids, are all part of a continuum and necessarily at least somewhat arbitrary.

  220. JMG
    Are you familiar with Charles Eisenstein. I recently read “The Ascent of Humanity” by him. It was an interesting read although fairly long. He argues that our biggest problem is our continued focus on separation. The separate self and being separate, “special” from nature. He also argues strongly that our interest-based money system contributes to this issue. What intrigued me was he did have some clear ideas for change to affect the overall system especially around money. All of his writing is available for free to read on his website: https://charleseisenstein.org/ along with pod casts and short videos. The book I mentioned is available to read on his site here: https://charleseisenstein.org/books/the-ascent-of-humanity/introduction/ . He is a little stuck on the idea that a level of collapse is necessary for real change to occur, like the situation with addicts who need to hit bottom to change. He also harps on the idea that we need to reengage a sense of the sacred with regards to the rest of the world verses the idea of other. The idea of other being a symptom of our focus on separateness. I was intrigued by his overall argument.
    Tom Anderson

  221. Kashtan, as a data point for you, my wife and I made the same decision as the guy you mentioned: just a few weeks ago, we reduced our media intake to a reasonable minimum, which means no more news and associated discussions, and I must say it works wonders for our mental well-being and time economy!

    Over the last few years I’ve noticed that the internet delivers less and less of what it promised, and now I’m expecting “I’m not online” to become a similarly common statement from certain types as “we don’t have a TV” used to be in the 90s or so. I think it’s only a matter of years now.
    Ursula Franklin, in “the Real World of Technology”, describes the process by which new technologies, after starting out as potentially liberating, over time and with growing acceptance, finally turn into a seemingly inescapable necessity that burdens society like a parasite, demanding ever more time and resources, while cutting back on the goodies. The internet seems to be well over the hill in that respect.

    As of now, I still use the internet, but for more and more specialized purposes, and I’m happier for it. Wouldn’t be too sad if the thing gave up the ghost.

    As for JMG’s take on your point, a new development of local cultures will certainly take decades and the movement of people, but I can imagine a growing renunciation of the internet allowing for a resurfacing of old local quirks and characteristics, as in language, attitude, and the like, that had been plastered over by borrowed attitudes.

  222. @ Danaone,

    Re: Halloween People: One of my nieces was born on Halloween. She is one of the most considerate, warm, generous, generally fun to be around people that I know.

  223. Allen, a 2000 internet by 2030 seems quite reasonable. As for elaborating on my comment to Naomi, what’s to elaborate? I thought it was a pretty clear statement. Can your friend who knows Chinese Buddhism point me to a good source on the perils of mindlessless — er, mindfulness meditation? I’d like to be able to cite something!

    Chris, thanks for this. As for awakening the Japanese warrior spirit, too late. The image below is from the commissioning ceremony of the latest Japanese fast attack sub; the flag may stir memories in those who are old enough.

    Arkansas, thank you! What you’ve described is very nearly classic Neoplatonism, with God as the One and the various other orders of being cascading down from there. (The resemblance to C.S. Lewis’ planetary trilogy is not accidental.) Occultists have argued for a long time that the problem came in because Christianity got too political too fast, turned the literal meanings of the creeds into weapons in factional wars, and erased the inner, initiatory side of Christianity since it involved richer and more complex explanations of theological concepts, and subordinated belief to practice and experience.

    Allen, that’s a very useful practice. Anything further should wait until you’ve gotten comfortable with that — adding too many practices at once isn’t usually a good idea. As for Saturday, Saturn is also the planet that governs time, memory, and the past, so that would be the right day.

    Your Kittenship, funny. I’d have to get the artist’s permission, though.

    B3rnhard, why not drop a note to the Epoch Times and ask why they’re not discussing it? 😉

    Mawkernewek, of course it is. It’s also very easy to fake out. When I was in school, the district I was in dropped some absurd amount of money on one of the first generation of machines that read multiple choice test forms filled out with the canonical #2 pencil, and then tried to justify it by mandating that all teachers use those forms for their tests. I ended up getting far higher grades than I deserved because I found an article somewhere that explained how to game multiple choice tests. Most of the smart kids I knew did the same thing.

    Michał, ouch. Yes, that’s a fine example.

    Russell, I explained all that years ago in fine detail in my books The Long Descent, The Wealth of Nature, and Decline and Fall. It’s a source of wry amusement to me that I still field people asking the same canned questions at intervals — sometimes right down to the fine details. Did you get those talking points off the same pro-growth website as the others?

    John B, you’re welcome. Nor, of course, will you find me defending Communism anywhere, ever; it’s far and away the most bloodstained ideology in recorded history, with a death toll that makes Aztec religion look mild.

    Wyrdsister, I very strongly recommend avoiding them. Standard Ouija board practice involves invoking unknown spirits with no magical or religious protection at all, and then allowing them to control the subtle movements of your physical body. Quite a large number of cases of possession by malicious spirits can be traced back to Ouija board sessions, or so I’ve read.

    Nothing Special, it’s a matter of class loyalty. It’s one of the basic principles of the current managerial class to be loyal to the members of your own class worldwide, while despising your own country. That’s one of the reasons they should be deprived of positions of power in national governments as promptly as possible — that which you despise, you are likely to betray…

    Denis, I’m not sure what to suggest. People in premodern societies didn’t have the modern world to compare their own lives with, and so to some extent they were less explicitly aware of what was going on. As for social media, I started posting things on Resilience back when it was an energy news site under a different name, and I did so purely because the side owner asked me to. I’ve never had an account on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or any of those other sites; my sole contribution to internet culture for more than a decade was my weekly blog, and then I added a Dreamwidth journal to that. Social media is less useful, and far less necessary, than it pretends to be.

    As for running a group on Facebook, why bother? This site is just as accessible to the internet, and it gives me the ability to review and approve all comments, which in turn allows me to maintain a civil and pleasant space for conversation. I have no idea if Facebook has that option, nor any reason to want to bother to know.

    Viduraawakened, thanks for this.

    Denis, I saw his beard in a photo, and wondered what was up.

    Aidan, I wasn’t planning on it.

    Brendhelm, several studies I read years ago showed that on average, people who joined a coercive cult using brainwashing techniques drifted away from it after a little more than two years. My guess is that it’s actually a Mars cycle, because Mars completes its orbit in 2.2 years.

    Aidan, I asked you quite a while ago to stop posting things that amounted to an internet link and “What do you think about this?” or something of the kind. You didn’t stop, so I simply delete any such comment you try to make. I don’t have enough time in the day to read the things I want to read, so I’m not going to go read a bunch of essays just because you want me to comment on them.

    Booklover, the regime-change gimmick was a specific set of strategies developed by CIA contractors and deployed systematically by “non-governmental organizations” that are directed and funded by the CIA. It was a successful gimmick until governments figured out how to monkeywrench it. At this point it’s pretty easy to stop it in its tracks — as the Trump administration demonstrated this summer.

    Raymond, when gibbering primeval horrors from the dawn of time are less mind-shattering than the everyday political news, you know the stars must be right or something! 😉

    Booklover, it’s going to finish deep-sixing what credibility the expert class has left, that’s for sure.

    Jay, we have no way of knowing whether there were intelligent species involved in causing past greenhouse-effect phenomena. It’s quite possible that there were! I would point out that in the current case, the members of the species in question who claim to have become aware of the global impact of their actions have shown no sign that this awareness has affected their lifestyles and their actions — they’re still living the same high-carbon lives as before, you know. No doubt the anthroposaurs whose burning of long-vanished petroleum deposits kicked off the Toarcian greenhouse effect also had an elite class who spoke movingly about the plight of the plesiosaurs and all, but assumed that their talk and their posturing would allow them to keep on polluting night and day without consequences…

    David BTL, I think finding that balance is one of the basic tasks we face as incarnate beings.

    Phutatorius, no, I haven’t read that. Kudos to you for catching the sideswipe at Harry Potter!

    Neptunesdolphins, dangerous to themselves, not to the rest of us. I expect madness and death among them in the weeks and months ahead. The timeline — well, let’s just say not yet.

  224. From today’s newspaper: who cares about what, per poll. It;s one of those MSM polls that has Biden ahead, but it’s still telling. And don’t be fooled by the headline, “Voters concerned about tumult on Election Day.” *THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE ELECTION* Because their take on that is “Only one in four is “very confident” of a peaceful transfer of power if Biden defeats Trump.” Please note built-in assumptions; the real kicker in way down the list.

    “Asked an open-ended question what issue was most important in deciding their vote, 19% named the economy and jobs. Ten percent said the pandemic, and 9 percent said health case, a related concern. The only other issue that reached double digits was character/honesty/trust.”

    And most telling of all, since it reveals the class divide with only a thin veil over it, “Republicans were more likely to cite the economy, not the coronavirus, as their driving concern, 32% were concerned compared with 4%. [Excuse their sloppy writing!] “But Democrats were more likely to cite the pandemic, 15% as opposed to 5%.”

    And the whipped cream and cherry on top of the cake… “Together, those two concerns overwhelmed others, even hot-button issues. Just 3% named abortion rights or climate change; 2% taxes or immigration; 1% gun control or education.”

    A pretty neat snapshot, altogether, and matches what I can see with my own eyes.

  225. Prizm – instead of a prayer, you can start by singing “Columbia, the gem of the ocean….” and then take it from there. And thanks for reminding me to order my statue of her!

  226. I’ll second NOT adding a Facepalm component. I don’t use the service and never will.

    More importantly, they censor at will. If they don’t like what you post, you’re gone and you have virtually no recourse unless you’re a huge name. A website with a domain you pay for is much safer.

    Another example: we have a Peschel Press newsletter (I write one every month) that uses Mailchimp. We were just told that if Mailchimp thinks what I’m writing doesn’t meet their standards, which they decide with no input from me or anyone else, they’ll cancel us.

    It looks like we’ll be moving to MailerLite as I can’t guarantee I can successfully toe the Mailchimp party line AND switch my positions at lightning speed to reflect the current, fashionable, acceptable woke line of thought.

  227. In response to a few comments regarding Nassim Taleb, Pandemics etc…

    I may be repeating myself slightly, But I’ll just reiterate the main point.

    In the modern world, we love to think we understand more than our ancestors, though often we don”t. We love to think we understand the world, when actually we understand far less than we think we do.

    Pandemics are merely one manifestation of that. We don’t really understand them, and taking (seemly) extreme precautions against them is merely an acknowledgment of what potentially dangerous phenomena these are. Yes we may overreact resulting in short term economic loss, though just in case the the pandemic turns out to be a really bad one its better to overreact in general than to under react.

    Its ultimately a question of survival. the person or people who overreact will stand the greatest chance of survival in the long term.

  228. I’m not on the boards where people post memes all the time, so this is probably old hat to some people here… but I thought this was hilarious. Especially the part that said “No Gods/Only Managers”. That sums up the Karenovirus nicely. This is a folk-punk take on the meme:

    https://dlp2gfjvaz867.cloudfront.net/product_photos/84809287/file_bf184c235a_400w.png

    @Violet: For some reason The Moth isn’t read that much anymore as far as Cain’s books go. But I thought it was a brilliant depiction of the Great Depression era, among other things.

    @Andy: I got your email. Thanks. As far as writing something for the GW site, I think anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 words would be good. More if you need it & less if you don’t. David Trammel who posts here too, runs the site, but I also have the ability to post front page blogs there, so I think sharing some espresso over there with everyone would be good!

  229. JMG,

    Regarding a perception I had on your comment on “mindlessness” meditation

    Mindfulness certainly has a place in self development right? Isn’t the attention exercise in Learning Ritual Magic a form of mindfulness meditation? I think it is. A lot of mindfulness teachers basically teach the same stuff as the book’s instructions. Basically, don’t try not to think, but don’t try to think either.

    I think it makes sense to balance out “thoughtless” meditation and “thoughtful” meditation.

  230. This is slightly awkward. I know we’re all Ecosophians here (except those of us who are Greerheads), but what exactly is Ecosophia? I don’t think JMG ever explained in details the tenets of that philosophy.

  231. Can magical training help to soften psychopathic traits? I suffer from an amazing lack of empathy, and poetry is something impenetrable.

  232. @Allen Lincoln @JMG @Alan, & Pixelated

    Allen Lincoln said: I just spoke with someone who knows his way through Chinese Buddhism, and the topic of lack of thinking came up, and he quietly told me he thinks it’s mindfulness meditation. Apparently Chinese Buddhists considered it dangerous, as it tended to make thinking impossible if it wasn’t handled very carefully….

    Master Nan Huai-Chin often said many meditation techniques, not just Mindfulness only, can very easily slip into “Dead Tree Zen” territory if one is not careful. Consistent Dead-Tree-Zen “mindfulness” techniques (or other cluelessly used meditation techniques) eventually leads to many rebirths as an animal (Tibetan Buddhists agreed with Chinese Buddhists on that exact point too). That is, it’s devolving your subtle body downward, not upward. In terms of Daoism your Chi is reconverting back to Jing. In terms of Tantra Akasha (Quintessence) is reconverting back downward to one of the more physical elements. Spiritual aspirants want the opposite. Jing needs to be busy converting to Chi. Then Chi to Shen. Then Shen to the Unmanifest.

  233. Hi JMG,

    I have been reading (or actually listening to) an American History book by Jill Lepore, I wondered if you had read it?

    The book club discussion on the book was enjoyable. But other aspects lately have me feeling quite desolate. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone, even my sisters. It isn’t because I disagree with their general thoughts about current events. It’s because I can’t seem to agree strongly enough. I think things are difficult but they are convinced that if current circumstances don’t change it will be the end of the world. I’m sorry I’m trying to avoid talking about that which should not be mentioned. But I am very sad. I never thought something like this would come between me and my sisters and not because we disagree—I just don’t agree strongly enough. I keep trying to fake my agreement so I don’t upset them. I just don’t seem to be doing a good enough job. It is very lonely, because I can’t avoid the topic with them, so I’m basically avoiding them.

    I hope things are better soon.

  234. Lol! I not sure I am entirely ready to be excised from my Americanism just yet. 😉 I totally grant that I have not lived in the United States since the late 1980’s. OTOH I was born there, I was shaped by its culture, everyone I am related to (apart those in my sons’ generation) is American, and 90% of them still live there, all of my ancestors for at least 4 generations, but in some cases for up to 20 generations are Americans. So, while it is true you can take the girl out of America, I’m not yet prepared to grant that you can take America out of the girl.

    And may I say that the American Right that I encountered in the 1980’s was in two major strands – the Gordon Gecko, “greed is good”, Wall Street swallowing Main Street incarnation, and the Moral Majority, let’s re-organise society in an evangelical mould incarnaton.

    On the other hand, I would trust that Wendell Berry represents more of what you mean when you refer to “the formless conservatism of rural and small town people who just want to be left alone to live their lives the way their grandparents did.” And he is pretty eloquent writing about how BOTH Left and Right have taken turns to devastate rural areas and small town economies over the course of the past century or so, leaving no one in any position to live their lives the way their grandparents did.

    However, I take your point that “formless conservatism” might be a good place to start looking for my people. 🙂

    That said, I want to make it clear that although the linking of left politics and giving power to intellectuals is a new idea to me (and a productive one – thanks!), I am 100% in agreement with you (and always have been) that it is a terrible idea to put intellectuals in charge of society or politics. I would hazard the observation that Ayn Rand herself, and the Chicago School and the Austrian School academic movements that found her work so congenial, would be equally disastrous to allow free rein to, primarily because they are intellectuals, and not because of the specifics of their set of untested theories, per se.

    No doubt that fact figures in your own – cough, cough, Ayntipathy, cough, cough… 😉

  235. @Matthias Gralle

    Thank you for your comment! I was under the impression that the main factor in mortality rates was simply whether or not the virus managed to enter nursing homes. Could that explain the disparate impact in different regions? Do you have the data by any chance?

  236. @ John B – I see where JMG has clarified that his point regarding body counts for different regimes relates strictly to those carried out by governments on their *own* civilian populations.

    However, I would point out that one of the features of capitalism is its ability to “externalise” its costs, and this includes its costs in human life. That is to say, to find capitalism’s body count, I’d look at the extraction end of the wealth pump. The places where markets are being “opened” (whether the inhabitants want to be opened or not) – for example, the Boxer Rebellion in China. And the places where extractive industries supply raw materials – for example, the Congo. And the places where fossil fuel supplies are being secured to underwrite capitalism’s limitless growth imperative – for example, both Gulf Wars.

    Among others.

  237. @ Irena

    Once upon a time, pandemics ended by group consensus. That is, when people around you stopped getting sick and dying, the pandemic was over.

    Corona is experienced by most people as an abstraction rather than a lived experience. Given that the virus is now endemic, the infection statistics will go up and down with the usual flu season. This means there is no natural endpoint and governments will need to create a psychological endpoint.

    How can governments create that endpoint? A vaccine is one way although I also like Trump’s idea of free Regeneron for everybody.

    I actually think a mass dose of placebo would work too. That would be a fascinating experiment.

  238. Some more thoughts on mental decoherence –

    I’ve been pondering the analogy for a while and was thinking about at what moments decoherence shapes my behavior and for what reasons. When it happens, it feels a lot like Denis describes it. There are two main factors: external distraction (for example I have to switch to another project for some reason) or internal distraction which usually means I lose track of the stream of thought concerning a certain project and “wake up” some time later being angry that I haven’t got forward with any project at all. I think this has a very close tie to the subject of will discussed on dreamwidth since as far as I can see it, will seems to be the (or maybe there are more?) controlling instance in charge for keeping the mind in a coherent state. From that perspective I see two possible mechanisms of decoherence, one is diverting will onto too many targets, the other is distorting perception so the resulting action is distorted in regard to the target. If anybody wants to see how that looks like, spiders on drugs illustrate this very nicely: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_of_psychoactive_drugs_on_animals

    Social media and smartphones do both, so incoherent behavior is not really a surprise. What surprises and alarms me, however, is how dramatically this phenomenon has increased both in quantity and intensity. And as for who expresses decoherence? Hm. As far as my observation goes, you can see it increasing everywhere. You can see it in teachers, tradesman, managers, everywhere. Very disturbing is that you can observe it in extreme intensity in pupils. I’m a teacher so I can make observations on a daily basis and this can be very disturbing. The caffeinated spiderweb linked above is a very nice image for what they are doing compared to what they should be able to do. And this goes far beyond the behavior you would expect from a pubescent teenager.

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  239. Hi Teresa,

    Rod Dreher just wrote an article about the Mail Chimp issue.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/

    I think this problem will provide business opportunities for, not even conservatives, but for non-Wokesters. Who wants to pay to put their business on a service that may cut you off at any moment because you did some hideous thing today that was acceptable, nay, virtuous, yesterday? People will be looking for services that are more predictable.

    I thought about all this when my 15-year writer’s block dissolved, and decided there was NO WAY that I was going to go back and redo all that, especially since what’s acceptable changes so fast. Rewrites would become a mad caucus race. So I’ll put it out there, warts and all.

    But I fear it won’t land on Mail Chimp. 😏

  240. @JMG: “Nor, of course, will you find me defending Communism anywhere, ever; it’s far and away the most bloodstained ideology in recorded history, with a death toll that makes Aztec religion look mild.”

    And yet… I was born in what was then socialist Yugoslavia. If you want to find flaws in that system, you can do so very easily. But anyone who tries to convince me that what came before or after in that region was/is somehow better has quite a task ahead of him.

    Mind you, that country is dead, buried, and not coming back. My reaction (and that of a great many thousands of people of my generation) was to pack up, leave, and try my luck elsewhere. It hasn’t been easy, but those were the cards I was dealt. In my case at least, the nostalgia remains, even if I know full well that, as I said, that country is dead, buried, and not coming back, ever.

  241. @LCUN
    Electric bikes are for people who can’t get everywhere they want with a regular bike. If you can, exellent! For me, having an ebike means I don’t need a car / other motor transport, which saves a ridiculous amount of money (perhaps not as big a difference where you live – here in Norway they’re only allowed to assist up to 25 km/h, which means you don’t need a drivers license for it, and that alone costs more than a good ebike).

    @Naomi
    It would take a disaster for me to leave Norway, and even then I’m not sure – I feel a lot for those who stay even though it’s dangerous. Part for the land / nature, part for being native / culture.

  242. Dear John Michael Greer,

    My thanks as ever for your blog and this delightfully civilized comments section.

    A note for Teresa from Hershey about using Mailchimp for a business– which will perhaps be of interest to you, JMG, and others–

    I learned a painful lesson last year when that company, for reasons known to itself, deleted my long-standing free account along with its mailing list. And this was just when I was about to send out my newsletter! I don’t send out anything racy or political, by the way, so that could not have been the reason. I protested of course, but to no avail. They said I could sign up for a new account– but my mailing list was gone. I had accumulated only 350 subscribers, however, in the world of opt-in-newsletters, 350 subscribers is no small beer! I managed to rescue my mailing list by combing through old emails (every time someone subscribed, Mailchimp had emailed me). It was a tremendously tedious process, capturing all those names and email addresses by hand, which took many hours, during which I had ample time to reflect on lessons learned.

    To wit: Always, always, always keep an updated backup of your mailing list (yes, I know, that was daft that I hadn’t, but at least I’d kept those email alerts); and it’s better to be a paying customer– although I would have become one for Mailchimp once I had accumulated a few more names on my mailing list, and had I not had such an infelicitous experience with them (and had I not known of this current nonsense).

    Bingo, with my rescued mailing list, I signed up for Madmimi for about 10 bucks a month. I’ve been quite happy with their service. Once a month, noted in my calendar, I request the export of my mailing list. Boom, I download it, I’ve got it on my computer, and that gets backed up every night.

    JMG, I well recall your moving from Google’s blogger platform to Dreamwidth. For similar reasons, I moved my blog from blogger to self-hosted WordPress.

    For now my self-hosted WP blog and Madmimi emailing service are working just fine. If the day comes that they don’t, lickety-split, I can and I will take my business elsewhere.

    As for promoting on social media, I can only say that after my experience of many years, I wholly agree with you, that “Social media is less useful, and far less necessary, than it pretends to be.”

  243. @ Onething – thanks. Of course I am only one blade of grass, doing my own thing, joining others who appear to wish to join with me when we have a mutual interest in an issue. There has never been a situation in which I found a lawn that I could plant myself in wholesale, because sooner or later every lawn requires a level of conformity that I could not accept. Likewise I have never been anyone’s foot soldier.

    My blade of grass tends to join without rooting for the length of a campaign, and only on single issues. Regarding THIS single issue, I might find myself working with people who will be working against me on THAT single issue, and that strikes me as perfectly ok. There cannot be any two people on the planet who agree or disagree with each other on every single point.

    @ Linnea – well, I tend to think no one is better at being in charge of someone than they are at being in charge of themselves. But I think people who, like me, get involved in politics only to set limits on OTHER people’s aspirations to be in charge of us, will “drift” as you say, towards the ruling “brand” that seems to be least worst. And that will vary depending on what part of you someone wants to take charge of.

    (I’ve never heard of Solarpunk)

    @1Wanderer – trades unionism is a whole different thing (so long as it doesn’t let the union get taken over by foremen). People negotiating for their own interests at least have an honest cause.

    In general, though, the rot sets in when people aspire to “take power”. Because at that moment they turn themselves into everyone else’s problem.

    @Mark Grable
    “Citizen” is certainly better than “customer” – the preferred term in the literature of most Irish “public private partnership” style government departments these days. (Not sure it’d be a fave of mine, though).

  244. @ Graeme. I just wanted to say I found that video very amusing. You’re right, it is a brilliant illustration of the fact one can go too far with innovation, in music as in other areas. The irony of the untrained guy at the end mindlessly hammering at the strings and sounding essentially the same as the hyper-intellectual music theoretician says it all. As a musician myself developing my own compositional craft (and something of a recovering avant-gardist!) I have come around to a deep appreciation of old musical forms and traditions as an almost inexhaustible font of inspiration. I believe it gives me an edge with regard to the sounds I am able to dream into being that I try to cultivate respect and knowledge of these old and in many cases outmoded forms, in a time when so many are obsessed with newness for newness’s sake.

  245. Abraham, (1) bringing will into the picture this early doesn’t seem constructive to me. Go back to what Fortune is saying; it’s not will, it’s simply space in motion. As to what happens when two forces intersect, she gets to that later — they create a stable vortex. (2) Here again, bringing will into the picture simply confuses the metaphor. (3) We haven’t gotten to people yet. Fortune defines “evil” as movement at right angles to the prime movement of the cosmos, and for now, that’s all it is. By the time we get to people, a lot of further material will hve been covered. (4) No, the Ring-Pass-Not is simply a boundary. It’s defined by the movement of the Ring-Cosmos relative to the Ring-Chaos; it has no independent existence. (5-6) All these are covered later on. It helps to take this a step at a time.

    David, you’re most welcome.

    Denis, it’s because the police have generally been told to stand down and not interfere with the rioters, while the National Guard has no such policy in place, so they can round people up and stop the rioting promptly. The police could, too, but the city governments don’t allow them. (Check the political affiliation of every one of the city governments in cities where prolonged rioting has taken place…)

    Samurai_47, I’d thought that “ghostly” and “ghastly” are unrelated etymologically.

    Jasper, was there a question in there somewhere?

    Adam, I didn’t say I found Aristotle distasteful. I said I’m not much of a fan — not at all the same thing. I admire his work but don’t find it especially useful. I much prefer Stoic ethics and Neoplatonist ontology and metaphysics.

    Quin, I’ll pass that onto the frogs!

    Jacques, it’s very unfortunate. I wish the Left hadn’t done so good a job of linking environmental protection to the maintenance of managerial class privilege.

    Alnusincana, the problem with it is purely that the illustrations, which were not my doing, were not particularly good. The material is good solid 19th century broadsword training, perfectly workable. Just remember to follow the instructions in the text exactly, and ignore the illustrations when they conflict with the text.

    John, it would be nice if people like you actually noticed what I was saying instead of spinning it to fit a preconceived agenda. No, my take on things is not based on the state of the art circa 1990 — it’s based rather closely on the last two decades of genetic analyses, which have found quite consistently that the scientific definition of race (“a group of organisms who are more closely related to each other than any of them are to conspecifics outside the group”) is impossible to apply effectively to the vague general categories labeled “race” these days, i.e., the “black race,” “white race,” etc. Go to a smaller scale and you get definite populations — many ethnic groups are in fact genetically distinct; it’s the lumping together of those groups into broad categories based on skin color and continent of origin that simply don’t work on a scientific basis. No, unproven speculations about descent from other hominins don’t change that.

    Danaone, they’ve all got Sun in Scorpio. Look that up in your favorite astrology book and see how much of it sounds familiar!

    Onething, if the Democrats win the election and try to make the lockdown go on much longer, I expect an explosion.

    Sythase, sometime when I have a couple of free hours I’ll see if I can figure it out. That won’t be this year, and next year doesn’t look very good, either.

    Allen, of course! But you’ve made a start.

    WindMan, I just punched the search string “medieval serfs worked less” into a search engine and got several hundred hits. I originally got that fact from books on medieval history I read some decades ago, but a bit of time on a search engine will get you plenty of ammo.

    Jim, no, I’m not familiar with either of them. A book titled The System of Antichrist wouldn’t normally find its way into my to-red stack. As for the US retreat from empire, yes, that’s one of the big though unstated issues in the subject we’re not talking about.

    Barefootwisdom, many thanks for this!

    A1, I have no idea. Maybe it’s because of my Aspergers syndrome, but I’ve always found spectator sports to be excruciatingly boring — perhaps the dullest experience I’ve ever had, barring watching paint dry. You may be right, though, that for those who have normal brains, the audience is an important part of the experience.

    Lacking, good. The basic dynamic of the consumer economy is to trick you into giving up all your own talents and abilities and capacities for living in the world so that the nice man from the nice corporation can sell you back a shoddy ersatz imitation of them for a high price. Your examples of that are first-rate.

    Jared, interesting. When I have some spare time I’ll check it out.

    Sister BoysMom, most food prices are up 10-30% here in Rhode Island, and meat prices have risen well above that. We have spot shortages at random, but most foods are available again, and the great toilet paper shortage finally seems to be over for good.

    M.T., it’s the latter — your horoscope is a general guide for life.

    Melissa, dream interpretation is one of the gifts I don’t have. Anyone else?

    Patricia M, I could see it!

    Tomxyza, I’ve read a few of his essays but never really got into his thought.

    Patricia M, that seems quite plausible.

    Teresa, thanks for the heads up about MailChimp! I’ll put them on the “don’t bother” list if I ever need a mailing list host.

    Youngelephant, the problem isn’t with the abstract category, but with the specific technique. I’ve noticed — and apparently a lot of Chinese Buddhists have noticed also — that practice of the specific, narrowly defined method of meditation currently being marketed as “mindfulness meditation” tends to make it hard for many people to think. Given the details of the technique, that’s not surprising. The attention exercise in LRM is a different exercise, and it’s practiced along with disciplines that teach you to use your mind — thus a rather different thing.

    David BTL, thanks for this.

    Ecosophian, I’ll consider a post on the subject.

    Anonymous, yes, at a relatively advanced level. In the short term it can teach you to control those traits in yourself.

    Panda, fascinating. Can you point me to a source I can cite?

    Candace, what’s the title of the book? I’m not familiar with the author. As for your sisters, I’m sorry to hear this — I wish that were less common, but a lot of people seem to be going through this sort of thing right now. Avoiding them may be the right thing to do.

    Scotlyn, so noted! The faux-conservatism of the 1980s was as disastrous in terms of trad conservatism as the faux-liberalism of today is in terms of trad liberalism, of course. As for Ayn Rand et al., yes, exactly — she’s what happens when someone hates Marxism so much she turns into the exact carbon copy of a Marxist. What you hate, you imitate…

    Daniel, yep. Matt Taibbi has also been turned into a nonperson because he reported on what was actually happening. I wonder how many other people are moving away from (or being thrown out of) the mainstream left just now for their failure to proclaim in public that two plus two equals five…

    Nachtgurke, this is most interesting. Many thanks for the data points!

    Irena, Yugoslavia was a disaster from beginning to end, no question. (The idiots at Versailles were responsible for a lot of stupidities, but trying to make a single country out of that chunk of the Balkans was well up on the list.) As I’m sure you’re aware, though, the history of the Balkans didn’t have much to do with the purges under Stalin, the 100 million or so Chinese who died under Mao’s regime, or Pol Pot’s attempt to erase the entire adult population of Cambodia…

    Millicently, I could see the writing on the wall at Blogger, and made the switch to private hosting as quickly as I could.

  246. “Irena, Yugoslavia was a disaster from beginning to end, no question. (The idiots at Versailles were responsible for a lot of stupidities, but trying to make a single country out of that chunk of the Balkans was well up on the list.)”

    Things might have been okay for a while longer if it hadn’t been for elite overproduction. Yugoslavia followed a very similar life course to Iraq – post-imperial multi-ethnic kingdom created in the aftermath of the First World War turned lefty dictatorship turned ethnically-fractured wasteland invaded by Western powers!

  247. @JMG: “Irena, Yugoslavia was a disaster from beginning to end, no question. (The idiots at Versailles were responsible for a lot of stupidities, but trying to make a single country out of that chunk of the Balkans was well up on the list.) As I’m sure you’re aware, though, the history of the Balkans didn’t have much to do with the purges under Stalin, the 100 million or so Chinese who died under Mao’s regime, or Pol Pot’s attempt to erase the entire adult population of Cambodia…”

    Oh, I don’t know… With hindsight, it looks like a disaster, no question about it. But I’m still not convinced that what ultimately happened with it was inevitable, and it was pretty good while it lasted (at least in comparison with what came before and after). Well, counterfactuals and all that. If your country breaks up in a bloody civil war (and that option seems very much on the table at the moment), an assortment of very serious people in China and Russia and so on will doubtless give highly persuasive lectures and interviews, and write eloquent books based on solid research, arguing essentially that anyone with half a brain could and should have seen it coming centuries ago, and that no other outcome was ever possible. Sigh.

    As for Stalin et al: very true. But that’s precisely my point! There’s communism, and then there’s communism.

  248. About The Atlantic – I used to really like it, and found their articles to be thought-provoking and good journalism. Then, many months ago – how long ago? – it started sounding repetitive, and micro-focused on the same old things over and over.

    Oddly enough, living in a retirement center, I discovered that the Saturday Evening Post still exists – from a reader leaving their copy on the table in the lobby – and now find it speaks to me far more than The Atlantic ever did. On not quite so high a plane, but far more down to earth and in keeping with things that make sense.

  249. Barefoot Wisdom,

    Thank you! I have read it. I shall go through it. First let me say I am pleased that you say others have considered advaita to be a pure form of monotheism, because this happens to me a lot: I come upon an idea on my own, and find out much later that others have also thought of it.

    No, Advaita is not monotheism. It is monism,* the view that “there is only one thing.” But if there is only one thing, there is no more reason to call that thing “God” that to call it “cosmos” or “human being” or “chair” or “river.”

    You have misunderstood. The One Thing is called God because of the principle of Existence, nondependent origination. See, everything that exists, comes into being due to prior causes. One thing leads to another. A woman is pregnant, eats food, and it converts to the body of a baby. Even the periodic table, our most fundamental elements, if I understand correctly, you can add and subtract electrons, protons and neutrons and come up with different elements. So that element is not “real.” It requires certain manipulations to become a particular element and can be manipulated into another one. It is in this sense that we say things are maya or delusion. That which is real cannot be altered or change its substance. In order for there to be existence at all, there needs to be something which exists outside of time and causation. It does not require prior elements to make it up and it will not dissolve. For that reason and that reason alone, it is appropriate to call it God. Oh, and its the source of existence.

    Now I found out that an atheist can be a monist. But that is not my nor the advaitist position at all. I believe I have a soul and there is a God. Idealists posit that consciousness is the substrate and cause of all other existence. I can live with that. Consciousness that exists without cause or dependent origination. (Very different from a chair.)

    No predicates, no labels whatsoever can possibly apply to Brahman, the one reality, since there is nothing other than itself from which it can be distinguished.

    True in a way but that is a rather high point of realization.
    What makes the game interesting though, is that we have duality, and because of that we have all these different things. Just because they are not Real does not mean they aren’t real! Ultimate reality and ultimate oneness exist simultaneously with all the things. It is simply that the things are of a different nature than the ultimate. But here’s the kicker – at bottom, all are ultimate because where else can they come from and what else can they be? However, they will not always exist as rivers and chairs. Those dissolve with time and entropy.
    It is because this uncreated Consciousness is the essential explanation for that mystery of mysteries – Existence – that we realize as a point of logic that there is and can be just one source of this nature, and that from this source all things arise. But to manifest a universe, duality is created. The Tao says that there is the One, and from the One is Two, and from Two there is Three, and from the Three come the ten thousand things. So creating a manifest universe requires a step-down from utter unity to duality and duality is the engine of the universe. Advaita does not, as you seem to think, posit that nothing should be categorized or have any reason to be distinguished. Rather it tries to point to the underlying reality, which is much harder to see.

    Rather, the plethora of Gods and Goddesses, just like the plethora of humans, chairs, rivers, and other things that seem to populate the world, are all of them ultimately unreal to the monist/Advaitin.

    Not so, as above. I hope that our souls are of a substance or share of God’s consciousness and may endure forever, and if so Gods and Goddesses as well. But in some way all things will exist for ever – they are all made of God and where can they go? but they will dissolve out of their present forms and that is really all that advaita teaches. It is an attempt to understand that the nature of the spirit is formless and uncaused, it is the nature of God and that the material world is different.

    But this is monism, not monotheism.

    Monotheists seem to lack that which deep meditation should have taught them – God is all there is. All there is is God. There is nothing outside of God. Monotheists have some strange disconnect in which they seem to think that the material world can somehow have been created out of God, the only being which is uncaused and therefore can be the source, and yet think the material world is somehow separate. They also tend to anthropomorphize God, but that’s a quibble.

    The monotheist asserts, “there are many things/beings, but the category ‘God’ contains only one of them.” The monist asserts, “there is only one [thing/reality], and so on the ultimate analysis, there are no meaningful categories at all.”

    You see, there is only one definition of God – that which exists uncaused and outside time. It has little to do with thinking there are no categories. Of course there are categories. What the advaitist accomplishes is the simultaneous vision of how the ultimate bedrock of all that is, is God. Yes, there are categories in the material world, but all those things dissolve and in that sense, and that sense only, they are less real. So the definition of real is that which does not dissolve. I don’t think that is so unreasonable. What was standing on the spot where your house is in 1200 AD? Where were the components of that chair 300 years ago? The chair is not permanent. God is.

    a denial of the adequacy of any category, any word, any concept, to accurately express that ultimate reality.

    Seems to me that mystics the world over have always said that even the incomplete glimpses they have had into ultimate reality cannot be expressed by words and concepts.

    At the level of ordinary, conventional reality—the only level on which any of our linguistic categories make sense—the Gods are just are real as human beings, chairs, or rivers.

    Hopefully, more real. Much more. But anyway, advaita speaks not to the conventional but the ultimate reality.

    And when we look at ordinary, day-to-day Hindu religious practice, and at the writings of philosophers and poets who are committed Advaitins (which not all Hindus are or have been), we in fact find those many Gods being worshipped and honored.

    And yet, where is the contradiction?

    As a historical matter, I think this deliberate confusion of terms comes as a (quite understandable) reaction to the ongoing oppression of Hindus by monotheists, where the reaction is something like “okay, if monotheism is ‘where it’s at,’ then we can be even better monotheists than you.” But understandable as this is, as a strategic move in a game of respectability politics, it’s still false as a matter of philosophical or religious doctrine.

    It has nothing to do with politics or manipulation. Advaita is logic. It is also ancient and predates the arrival is Islam and probably Christianity to India. I suspect it is a realization that has no known starting date and has no religious boundaries, if only with the mystics. I doubt therefore that it is a dogma reaction to later social issues between religions. It is an understanding and a vision. Once seen, it cannot be unseen. I saw it, and only years later realized I was an advaitist, and before that I called myself a pantheist. Then someone pointed out I was not a pantheist but a panentheist, meaning that I think there is also a transcendent reality, not just the mundane.

    My advaitism is my understanding of the nature of God and was given to me by the Holy Spirit. I have pondered these things for years. No strategy, no game.

    I think God is all there is or can be, so I call myself an advaitist, a monotheist, a panentheist.

  250. Irena, thanks for the shoutout!

    To all, especially Irena — so this is not construed as medical advice, let me parse this in a special way. Once upon a time there was a young lad who caught a terrible flu. Many moons passed. His flu went away but his cough did not. He was walking by a spring brook and what do you know, he found a magical pepper grinder (black pepper), a magical electric kettle full of hot water, and a mug. The lad proceeded to make a strong tea of ground black pepper and took small sips whenever he felt the urge to cough. Tasted weird but the cough worked itself out. He also found some magical zinc lozenges (available in elderberry and cherry flavor) and sucked on one after meals whenever he thought he was catching cold/flu or feeling draggy and low. He lived healthfully ever after…

  251. Dear JMG,

    At the risk of outing my (pseudo-)non-masculinity, I am in total agreement with you on the wildly boring nature of watching professional sports!

    Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, could possibly be as boring to me — and I am a difficult person to bore! I simply do not get it, have never gotten it, and have utterly no desire to get it. And what only makes it worse is the automatic (and I would say mindless) collectivist mindset that goes along with team sports, but most of all with professional sports. I just cannot grasp how anyone can possibly personally relate to some random group of individuals (“the team”), but I especially cannot grasp how such a vast percentage of people can get so emotionally involved and wrapped up in it, even to the exclusion of almost any other activity or interest. Never have I felt so much like an outcast member of some alien species, exiled to earth, than when it comes to being around anything having to do with professional sports.

    I’m not criticizing sports fans here, however, merely relating a character trait of my own (and of yours also).

  252. @all re: decoherence – firstly thanks to Varun for that word. It’s nice to have a word for it!

    I see it everywhere, too, Nachtgurke – housewives, receptionists, janitors… But worse by far in the PMC.

    You reminded me, in mid September when school started here, I got to chatting with some other moms while we waited to get the kids checked into their first day of class. They were saying that their kids (grade two) had gotten ridiculously clumsy in the previous couple weeks – falling down stairs, dropping hot things. Sometimes they’d just run into a wall taking a corner. But one mom said her son had walked into the kitchen while she was cooking dinner, and after she’d moved a pot off a hot element, just reached his hand out and put his palm on it. She said his face was utterly blank, like a sleepwalker.

    I’ve known all these kids since they were three, and mine by far had always been the clumsiest one. We’re not an athletic people… This was completely out of character. The moms were worried. I suggested it was just a growth spurt, kids get clumsy and their brains a little gooey, right. But…

    My son told me after school that day that the boys had told him they’d seen YouTube videos of someone saying “cheese!” and then having his throat slit from behind. The parents said they have content locks, and check all their kids feeds, there’s no way they could have seen it, there was suggestion they’d heard older neighbour kids talking. Which is probable. One mom had had to chew out a bunch of fifth graders for some really creepy discussion of videos they watched while little ones were around. So I wonder how many intentional bad actors were getting into kids minds this summer.

    My husband saw similar confusion in his highschool students he had to teach remotely.

    The thing was that all these kids got lots of screen time over the summer while the parents had to work, and they were isolated from peers. Not these ones, but other moms I had spoken to began drinking every night, even at the playground, doing shots.

    They all seemed to recover after being back at school, and the parents stopped wearing masks all the time and looking pinched. Or so it seems to me, but I wonder more, seeing how mush brained people at my non profit were… Maybe they didn’t, maybe the ones I work with weren’t always this bad, and I’m not close enough to others to notice the difference.

    Today I had to explain to a woman who is a federal government scientist how to read an attendance sheet.

    So… I have some concerns… The linkage of the decoherence and the death imagery/death wish kinda behaviour is things that make you go hmm.

    My kids seem great, but I worry that if I got stupider too, and don’t know it, we’ll have a problem- I didn’t have much to lose!

  253. Hi Scotlyn,

    If They ever start calling citizens “consumers,” resist vigorously. Fight to the last consumer.

    Millicently, they stole your small mailing list? That’s terrible! What could they even do with a list that small?

    I’ll put Mailchimp on the list of “wave crucifix and splash holy water in its general direction.” We wouldn’t get along anyway. I’d get banished just because of the antics of the free-wheeling General Nuisance, never mind the rest of those oddballs —I mean, the rest of those well-rounded, serious characters, who truly reflect, in a subtly allegoric fashion, the problems and issues of the year 2020. 🤪. (Nuisance is one of those characters who, when you are typing away in a workaday fashion, suddenly makes you sit up straight and exclaim, “I can’t believe he did that!”)

  254. Violet, regarding Chandler. You could do worse than read all of Dashiel Hammet, Kenneth Fearing’s The Big Clock is another, and any of the other authors mentioned in Chandler’s essay The Simple Art of Murder. None of these stories concern the coming election, except that they demonstrate that corruption amongst the elite is not limited to our time.

  255. Do you have any thoughts on geoengineering? I ask because I saw this on the New York Times:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/climate/climate-change-geoengineering.html

    I don’t know if these proposals are like sending men to Mars, as in it ain’t gonna happen, or if it’s at all feasible for one or more nations to make the attempt.

    On a separate note, one of my last windows into mainstream culture comes in the form of podcasts. It’s been interesting hearing some hosts, who are men approximately my own age, grapple with the pandemic. Setting aside their concerns about covid, they seem to recognize that there’s been a shift, that the world of 2019 is, in some sense, gone forever. They also seem to be helpless in the face of free time – they talk about how the only things keeping them sane during the lockdown are Netflix and videogames. With that is an unspoken desire, I think, for things to go back to the way they were.

  256. Also, I ran across this Paul Krugman piece:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/opinion/trump-trade-international-relations.html

    (Hopefully it’s not too close to the forbidden topic.)

    It’s nothing new for readers of this blog, just another round of jaw-dropping stupidity. How Nobel prize winning economist can claim the existence of a Pax Americana after the Iraq War destabilized the Middle East, or say something like, “But we weren’t a crude exploiter, pillaging other countries for our own gain,” I don’t know.

    Unless of course, the science of economics is a sham and our so-knowledgeable elites are entirely lost in the gilded cloud palaces of their minds.

  257. David,

    But are your neighbors trying to undermine your marriage so they can claim your house and belongings?

  258. Archdruid,

    Have you been keeping an eye on the dust up in Armenia and Azerbaijan? I’ve seen reports of Pakistani troops deployed to assist Azerbaijan, and suggestions that the French are supporting the Armenians in some capacity.

  259. Mots – I see a couple of problems with your amateur radio proposal. First, while it is sometimes possible to reach great distances with only 100W, conditions beyond our control determine the outcome. The 11-year cycle of solar activity means that radio links which worked in, say, 2015 didn’t work in 2020, but may work again in 2025. And just because I can chat with someone in Texas from my home in Maryland doesn’t mean that I can talk to someone somewhere else in Maryland. I’ve heard a ham in the UK speaking very clearly to a ham in Maryland, but I can only hear whispers from the Maryland side. HF is funny that way.

    Another issue is that the ultimate capacity of the amateur bands to carry communications is quite limited. Typically, only one band (if that) will be feasible between two (distant) points. Suppose it’s the 20m band: 14.0 – 14.350 MHz, with the “phone” segment being 14.150 to 15.350 (200 kHz wide). If you can pack stations together every 2 kHz, that mean that only 100 conversations can be conducted at a time. (2 kHz is really squeezing it, by the way; 3 kHz is reasonable, and 4 kHz is comfortable, but then you only get 50 user-pairs at a time). So, that’s 200 people out of 400 million in the country, who can communicate (round numbers).

    Finally, if you’re proposing to transmit recorded messages for lots of people to listen to, rather than a conversation, that’s called “broadcasting”, and it’s not legal in the amateur bands.

    However, there is another way. A radio net can schedule up to about a dozen operators on a single frequency for a “round-robin” discussion. If other people want to listen in, passively, because they’re interested in the conversation, that’s fine. And if the conversation has an agenda, or even some scripted introductory remarks, that’s OK, too. The trick is finding a reliably available time and frequency, so people know how to tune in. If you want to set up a schedule for EcosophianRadio, send me a private message through an address that looks like @grnail.com. (Garbled to defeat address harvesting.)

  260. A few years ago, you said that we were entering a cycle of about 40 years where politics would tend to dominate over religion in America. More recently, you’ve mentioned the Grand Mutation as likely to result in new religious movements, and made comments about the second religiosity quickly incoming. Have you changed your mind about the 40-year politics vs/ religion cycles, or do you expect the new religious movements to be mostly under the radar for the next few decades and then become really prominent around mid-century?

    Also, for those who mentioned a conservative conservation ethic, you might want to check out Joel Salatin, the regenerative farmer and conservative Christian from Virginia, especially his book “Folks, This Ain’t Normal”

  261. Aidan, generally speaking, nations manufactured by foreign powers without the least attention to longstanding ethnic and religious rivalries find ways to crash and burn. Elite overproduction is only one of the many options.

    Irena, equally, there’s fascism and then there’s fascism; the death toll from Mussolini’s regime over its entire history was right around that of one day in the life of the Third Reich. The fact remains that fascist governments tend to kill lots of people — and communist governments tend to kill many, many more.

    Patricia M, interesting! I’ll take a look at it if the library has a copy.

    Alan, I’ve always assumed that it’s my Aspergers syndrome that does it — lacking mirror neurons, I don’t feel the vicarious rush that other people apparently feel if they watch a sports game. (I also find watching dance very, very dull, though not so dull as sports.) Still, unless you’re also somewhere on the autism spectrum, maybe it has different roots.

    Cliff, I expect some small scale geoengineering schemes to be tried, with disastrous results. It would not surprise me if they accidentally tip us into an ice age! As for the podcasts, that doesn’t surprise me at all. A lot of people these days have no inner life at all, and so lack any resources for dealing with time that isn’t structured for them by others. Krugman? He’s the supreme pontiff of cluelessness when it comes to anything in the real world. If he said the sky is blue I’d go check.

    Varun, I have indeed. It seems to be shaping up into the Spanish Civil War of our time, with the combatants of the next world war busy using it as a testing field for technologies and tactics.

    Kashtan, the 72-year cycle of alternation between religion and politics applies mostly to American pop culture, and it’s very much on the surface. The Second Religiosity is part of a much larger cycle. Yes, the new religious sensibility I see incoming will be in the crawlspaces for the 36 years from 2012 to 2048, while politics dominates pop culture.

  262. Oh my. Sorry. The book I was referring to “These Truths: A History of the United States“ by Jill Lepore

  263. JMG, in response to your comment in a response to another poster:

    “Krugman? He’s the supreme pontiff of cluelessness when it comes to anything in the real world. If he said the sky is blue I’d go check.”

    You don’t know what a hearty laugh you engendered in me by that comment! I was going to post something similar in response to the original comment regarding that ignorant-yet-malicious little (non-Tolkeinesque) dwarf, but thought better of it. But in the end, you beat me to the punch. In fact, I have found so many of Paul Krugman’s essays and articles over the years to be so utterly divorced from reality, and so over the top in their ridiculousness, that I have seriously wondered if the bilge that he regularly puts into print is not actually intended as pure intellectual farce.

  264. Robert,

    I don’t disagree with your general point, but you said lockdowns to prevent overwhelm of healthcare was a little stressed point, whereas my impression from reading people’s comments in various places is that this was very well publicized and indeed the major reason people were given to justify lockdown, around the world.

  265. Dear JMG,

    In regards to my total aversion to team sports, and particularly to spectator sports, you may find it interesting that I do not have, to the best of my knowledge, any involvement or relationship with Asperger’s Syndrome. But if having AS commonly leads to an aversion to, or lack of appreciation of, professional and spectator sports, then hurrah for Asperger’s!

  266. Every major city on the Pacific Coast (except Los Angeles to a degree) seems to be rapidly deteriorating due to a combination of a bloated knowledge economy and knowledge elite and poor material infrastructure (especially residential infrastructure). Subsequently, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland seem particularly susceptible to two mutually reinforcing characteristics: ideological radicalism and socio-political anomie.

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/left-coast-lawlessness-15976.html

    https://www.city-journal.org/thousands-leaving-troubled-san-francisco

    https://www.city-journal.org/farewell-san-francisco

  267. Lunar Apprentice, thank you so much for your message about typewriters and typewriter repair. I’ll be checking out the links you sent and giving the topic more thought. I have to admit, though, that I’m a bit of a day-dreamer/dabbler and so far these machine-repair scenarios haven’t gotten any further than my fancy. Although homebound academics have been writing a fair amount to try to save their jobs and thereby giving me more work than ever as an academic copyeditor, I probably ought to take more seriously the idea that gaining more skills is a good one for when things dry up. Thanks for bravely leading the way as you navigate your career change and sharing your experience with us.

    Violet, how about Steinbeck?

    Mark Grable, wow, that was a beautiful image – the pond, the frogs, the floating between the peaks and their views…

    ***

    Today I wrapped up my fall/winter planting (somewhat late for a few things, but better than nothing) and while planting peas I found a 2 inch long crystal – up from who knows where after our having rototilled 4 cubic yards of compost into the soil (and having never seen it before in the 6 years we’ve been here). I’ll take it as a sign that our garden space is happy to be planted and tended.

  268. Dear Steve T,

    You’re quite welcome!

    While it might be a stretch to call it “affordable,” the two volumes of Simplicius’ commentary on Epictetus are in print. The ebook is available directly from the publisher (volume 1, and volume 2). This is something that many university libraries will have in the collection, so a better option might be interlibrary loan from your public library, or (depending where you live and what’s available to you) going directly to the library at your state university.

  269. Scotlyn

    It seems to me that since the late 80s the left and right have changed a lot. The left has become strident, intolerant and filled with destructive anger, as well as become unrealistic and impractical, whereas the right has become much more open and inclusive and cheerful.

    Your point about capitalism externalizing its human costs is well worth thinking about.

  270. Irena,

    Re your comment on a childhood in Yugoslavia. Eastern communism as a whole was pretty devastating to human life. For example, my husband has an aunt who went to the gulag for 10 years due to being snitched on for saying something against the regime, and his grandmother lived through famine twice. But there was also a good time, say the 60s and 70s, maybe 80s, when many people lived nice lives. My husband also grew up with month long vacations on the Azov sea and this was available for everyone. Excellent education, opportunities and health care. A vibrant culture.

  271. A further question regarding the new religious sensibility: What do you think it will look like, especially compared to the current religious landscape? And will it be “Aquarian”, in the sense that our current religious sensibility is Piscean? Or is that further out?

    I have to admit one of the things that drove me away from the various neopagan scenes was how all of them were swallowed whole by the Wokequisition, in an exact replica of the right-wing politics they accused Christianity of! I would like to see that trend reverse, and polytheist movements get out from under the thumb of the managerial class and their political agenda, and talk of a new religious sensibility makes me hopeful for that.

    Heathenry seems to be the only faction that avoided that fate- if only because there are *just* enough white nationalists for the privileged classes to run screaming and leave it as the only “safe space” from their interference. There’s hope there, at least!

  272. Dear John Michael Greer (Wizard of Rhode’s Island),

    With all the much-ado about the election, I find myself thinking of the simple life that Hobbits live. Of all the races of Middle Earth, unless I am mistaken the old English called it Middle-Earth or Middanguard, the Hobbits were never given a ring of power. Though exactly when Hobbits came into existence, I have quiet forgotten.

    Few Hobbits ever sought a ring of power and considering the corpse/wraith count that the rings left behind, Hobbits seem to have faired better when happenstance put a ring into their possession. To my knowledge, only five hobbits ever possessed a ring, Frodo, Sam (briefly), Bilbo, Smeagul and the poor bastard Smeagal killed just before he became Gollum…. This quite contrasts the experiences of Men who became undead wraiths after being gifted with their rings.

    When we consider that the rings are metaphors for power and that each ring-wraith is merely a lesser servant to The Greatest Evil, it seems to me the fading that each Ring Wraith endures as time goes on, is akin to all the lesser known Roman Emperors and the forgotten dictators and Warlords of yesterday. It seems to me that the One Ring of Power, will always and forever be out there, promising World Domination. This promise will exist to the end of time.Thus, so long as that promise exists, The Ring Wraiths will be with us.

    This is why I look to Hobbits and think, if the our society is to endure the sooner we find the carefree, smoking, drinking, overall merry lifestyle hobbits enjoy, the better. The pursuit of power being antithetical to that lifestyle. The pursuit of a good pipe and weed to smoke, agh that seems a lot better. But not everyone wants to sit on the porch with me and smoke a pipe at the end of the day. Nor would I wish it. Hobbit parties do tend to get out of hand….

    No where was I, agh yes, Hobbit houses/Society.

    What flummoxes me about Hobbit villages is how do they govern themselves without ending up with a Hobbit King? Surely some Hobbits are richer than others… and Hobbits are not above jealousy. The fictional aspect of Hobbits I suppose is what allows us to turn them over in our heads and say agh, yes, that is how we should live. There will always be Mordor, threatening to steam role every Hobbit Hill. The walk to Mordor I suppose should begin in each Hobbit village’s town hall… If Hobbits ever conceived of such a meeting place. Their Pubs always seem to do fine. The only way to really throw the ring back into the fires of Mt. Doom seems to require a fundamental change in the hearts of all men, that would enable them to throw the ring into the pit, rather than stand there and clutch it…. requiring a Hobbit to go and do the job for them.

    Mr. Greer I hope you and others find this entertaining and a good tangent to LOTR mythos and modern politics. I would love to hear a post sometime talking about what the Rings of Power as archetypes and how our elected leaders fall victim to them…. and how human nature could deal with power better.

    Sincerely,

    The Blue Wizard…. I have decided on a name yet.

  273. I will admit that I have not read “The Long Descent” or “The Wealth of Nature”. I read “Decline and Fall” and “The Ecotechnic Future” Perhaps you spell out your position on nuclear in more detail in your other books.

    Out of curiosity, do you, by any chance, explain how France gets 70% of its electricity from nuclear energy in your books “The Long Descent” or “The Wealth of Nature”? This seems like a perfect real life example that contradicts your views on nuclear energy.

  274. Barefoot,

    I said this badly:
    But anyway, advaita speaks not to the conventional but the ultimate reality.

    I mean to say that advaita unites the understanding of conventional and ultimate reality and how they relate.

  275. @Alan and JMG on sports:

    I’m totally with Alan on this subject, and even more so, but my mirror neurons work pretty well. So it can have other causes than Aspberger’s.

    With me it’s a very strong, inborn distaste for any sort of close teamwork. I’ve had this distaste all my life, as far back as memory reaches. (Casual co-operation is fine, just not teamwork.) I actually find watching a close-knit team in action fairly “squicky,” and actually being part of some team goes so far beyond squicky that I don’t even have a word for it–it leaves me feeling unclean, violated and deeply polluted, like (say) being forced to bathe in unflushed toilet water.

    The closest I can come to a possible explanation is my aversion to teamwork correlates with an equally strong aversion to deriving my “identity” from membership in any group of people. So it’s not as simple as a lack of mirror neurons, and it’s not as simple as introversion (though I am fairly introverted).

  276. JMG,

    Entryism has been an issue in Geek culture. Star Trek, Star Wars, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, Sony, and Anime translators have all been infiltrated and slowly turned into mouth pieces for the usual ‘Woke’ causes and barring anyone who doesn’t check all the boxes from getting jobs in the industry.

    Right now there is a silent war on Japanese Pop culture (such as ignoring or mocking US fans of Japanese stuff while promoting Korean Pop Culture.)

    One thing I‘m seeing now is an effort to crush indie creators unless the ‘Woke’ have sanctioned them.

  277. JMG said: Panda, fascinating. Can you point me to a source I can cite?

    I will need to go digging up some of my Master Nan books but I do believe at least one of his Sanga lectures to his students can be found mentioning it at the following site

    https://seriousbuddhism.wordpress.com/

    I’ll see if I can find the exact lecture on that site as well as a book where he discusses some of this later but I did want to give a few places where other people can check up on it for themselves. Well that and also I’m a huge Master Nan Huai-Chin fan and wish he were more widely read than he is. I esteem him on the same level as I do Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and that’s saying quite a bit for me because I’m a huge Sadhguru fan too.

    As for Tibetan Buddhists agreeing with Chinese Buddhists on that point I recall he said that it’s specifically discussed in Tsong-ka-pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment – also known as the Lamrim Chenmo. Having not read that work myself I can’t say which volume the discussion is in. I only know it’s discussed in that work because Master Nan gave a lecture to his Chinese disciples about it and said Tsong-ka-pa was totally correct about that point.

  278. Kimberly, I was very moved by your story about the young lad and his magical pepper tea. I am thinking of plagiarizing your plot line and rewriting it for an old fellow similarly afflicted. But are my novelistic skills up to the mark? He will probably become addicted to elderberry-flavored zinc lozenges, so it will end like in Dostoyevski.

  279. @JMG, @Alan:

    May I ask, do you get a similar lack of enjoyment from large scale live music events (on the off chance you’ve ever attended one)?

    I hosted a group to a UB40 concert once. The crowd filled Wembley stadium and as far as I can tell it was highly enjoyable for all. I’ve had more entertainment watching ponds evaporate.

  280. @ BoysMom – Interesting. I have friends in Adams County, Idaho, and they asked me the same question about food prices and availability. I’m in western Washington. I told them that my food choices are so narrow, that it’s hard for me to answer that question. Mostly, due to my food foibles. They eat a lot of meat. I don’t, etc.. But I might be able to make a few general observations. Prices seem up, across the board.

    Where I’ve noticed real gaps in the shelves, at the local chain supermarket, is in the canned beans, and tomatoes. Certain brands of dish soap, seem in short supply. Once or twice a month, I also “hunt and gather” at a local independent grocery warehouse. One of those that carries mostly seconds or close to “sell by” dates. It’s a carp shoot, but occasional gems show up.

    You may (or may not) find the following interesting, from a different slant. I live in government subsidized senior housing. Once a month, we get from 2 to 4 boxes of food, a mix of food bank and government commodities. Usually, what you get is kind of weird and wonderful. The last couple of deliveries have been kind of … blah. We haven’t seen sugar, or flour in a couple of months. Canned beans of different kinds (black beans, garbanzos) have disappeared. Just pinto beans, now. We get one box a month, that’s dairy and fruit and vegetables. This months box had no dairy, a small bag each of potatoes, onions and carrots. And that was it. We used to get many cans of meat, chicken or tuna. That has almost disappeared. Diced tomatoes and sauce, used to be in abundance. They have disappeared. Not as much canned fruit (pears and peaches.) We’re still seeing some dried beans and rice, but not as much. Once in awhile, we get a bit of frozen meat. Not as much, anymore.

    We used to have a pretty lively swap, going. But, our administration changed about a year and a half ago, and the current administration seems to frown on any activity that brings us Inmates, together. But, the administration doesn’t quit dare to tamper with food, as the media fallout would be tremendous. Luckily, our boxes come late on Friday, so, we do our swapping over the weekend, and clear away all the evidence by Sunday night.

    Anything left over goes to a local Mission, or, a women’s shelter. I’ve helped get a food pantry going, at our local 12 Step Club. Ultimately, nothing or little is wasted.

    Of course, things are a bit sparse, right now, as the food banks are so hard pressed. But, in general, I don’t think (at least in our area) many are going hungary. But, you have to be flexible, and creative.

    I have about 100 square feet of garden space. I haven’t been a serious gardener, for very long. But as far as next year goes, I’m thinking more in terms of “bang for the buck” (space). I’ll be putting in more potatoes and other root crops. Peas are out. Not enough production, for space allowed. Green beans, on the other hand, are good. A four foot run and I can get 2 or 3 gallons, to freeze. I can usually get two crops, a year. I save the seed, from year to year. I’ve decided to give up on any of the large tomatoes. They are just to “iffy”, for me, given our climate. But I did notice the smaller tomatoes, cherry, etc.., always seem to make it before the frost. In abundance. I dehydrated several quarts, this year. Pumpkins, or any kind of squash just takes up too much space. I usually pick up a few pumpkins, after Halloween, when the prices go down. I bake, mash and freeze in one or two cup amounts. Canning supplies seem ok, here. I just scored 36 quart and pint jars from a Lady who was moving out. For $20. Ball and Kerr. The heavier, older glass. I still see the jars at estate, garage and thrift stores. But, you have to move fast! Lew

  281. JMG, about regime change I already knew that governments increasingly know how to monkeywrench attempts at regime change. But I was curious about cases like Bolivia, where the elections didn’t produce the outcome that the coup leaders against Evo Morales desired.

  282. @JMG: “Irena, equally, there’s fascism and then there’s fascism; the death toll from Mussolini’s regime over its entire history was right around that of one day in the life of the Third Reich. The fact remains that fascist governments tend to kill lots of people — and communist governments tend to kill many, many more.”

    Perhaps. And yet, I maintain that the communist period was the best period that my part of the world has seen since, oh, since before the days of the Ottoman empire.

    It also depends on what one means by “communism.” I really don’t think that collective ownership (or even state ownership) of the means of production was the active ingredient in the mass murder perpetrated by Stalin et al. It was something else. I’m inclined to think that the active ingredient was the mistaking of the map for the territory (“this is where the map/ideology tells us we have to go, and that’s where we’ll go even if it kills millions”). Wasn’t that also the reason for all those deaths during the Irish potato famine (except that the ideology in question was liberal capitalism)? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Ireland was exporting food while the Irish starved. Sounds kind of like the Ukrainian famine.

  283. Apologies in advance for the length of this:

    TLDR version:
    A comment from Nachtgurke on this open post percolated away overnight and led me to another idea.
    JMG’s series on building willpower might be more important than it first appears.
    We seem to be in a twilight zone morphing of reality where a real world version of ‘The Radiance from JMG’s Weird of Hali novels is actively making a move.
    In the long version below, I have referenced off-guardian – their articles include numerous links to sources that can be followed up – but it is a long and tortuous process.

    Conclusion: It is actually very important to be doing some form of practice at this time lest ‘incoherence’ leads to us all dissolving like dust.

    Real or not I do not know – if we ignore what is presented online and through media outlets and organs – what I am seeing on the ground with real live people is that ‘edges are fraying’ and people are casting about for anchors they can hold onto with a media and behavioural psychology experiment being driven hard.

    Polarisation with paths going in different directions – spiral up or spiral down – each has a choice.

    ***

    I have been puzzling over the changes going on in the world and yet seeing seemingly disconnected subjects that feel they are somehow connected.

    A idea finally clicked into place when I woke up this morning. Might be a real idea or a rubbish idea – I don’t know but wanted to put it into words before it faded from mind after waking.

    What is going on is actually an assault on consciousness using what appear to be the destabilising techniques of various brain-washing methods employed by some number of disparate groups.

    The thing that finally brought the pieces together was a post made on one of JM Greers’ open posts (Thank you Nachtgurke):

    “On the topic of the decline of elementary logic and critical thinking an analogy comes to my mind: In quantum physics, coherence means, broadly speaking, that a system of quantum objects (atoms, molecules, photons, …) is in a well defined, controllable state. Coherence makes, for example, the difference between a device being a powerful laser that is able to cut steel or an extremely expensive and inefficient lamp. Do I have nothing more than a heap of thermalized atoms or are those atoms the prototype of a quantum computer? Coherence makes the difference. There is, however, a process called decoherence, which – you can make a guess – causes the coherence of a system to vanish and turns your highly controllable super-duper system of quantum objects into a heap of ordinary matter.

    “When I am looking at what’s happening in society in general but in the last months extensively in my closer environment, too, I see decoherence spreading everywhere…”
    https://www.ecosophia.net/october-2020-open-post/#comment-55603

    Watching the activities of governments in relation to the disease they have called covid 19 I have been surprised at the parallels in activity. Superficially one might think that, well, they are doing the same things because those are the things that work – except that is not the reality.
    Contradictory statements, u-turns, nonsensical proclamations and counter-intuitive steps, dubious scientific methods and health experts with long and deep ties to pharmaceutical industries with information seeming to contradicted from one moment to the next – this seems more than just venality, incompetence and stupidity.

    Here is an image purporting to show info from different governments around the world:

    https://consentfactory.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/image-4.png

    What are the odds that random governments around the world would all pick on the same slogan at the same time? But… if one widens perspective to include thoughts on brainwashing:

    “The project involved giving alcoholics large doses of LSD in an effort to break down and reform the personality of the subject. Dederich described the experience as critical in his own break from addiction and subsequent development.

    “He was so powerfully affected by the experience that he “cried uncontrollably for days.” He reported experiencing a total self-surrender or destruction of his ego, and he emerged from the experiment with “feelings of omnipotence and omniscience.”

    “One of the most typical effects of LSD was the exact kind of self-surrender Dederich reported. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) focused many of its MK Ultra LSD experiments on the drug’s ability to clear the mind, and thus allow for the programming or brainwashing of a subject.

    “Most of the MK Ultra documents were deliberately destroyed in 1973 under orders of CIA Director Richard Helms to avoid public scrutiny, but it appears from the documents that survived as if one of the goals was the creation of so-called “Robot Agents”, or sleeper agents brainwashed by the agency to serve its goals. Dederich realized, apparently on his own, that it was this destruction of the self or ego that allowed him to break from his bad habits and begin shaping a newer more powerful self.”
    https://off-guardian.org/2018/01/26/synanon-the-brainwashing-game-and-modern-transgender-activism-the-orwellian-implications-of-transgender-politics/

    and then:

    “The paranoid fuelled COVID19 rules delivered by Sturgeon on a daily basis during the week and even reiterated on her twitter account on a frequent basis, and the blatant inconsistent and illogical nature of these rules, are not meant to console or comfort the masses. No, they are a deliberate attempt to disorientate and control the minds of the masses.

    “Cult leaders do this to their followers to short circuit their critical thinking. Cult leaders will also change the rules or the narrative at a whim for no apparent reason. Hence the change of now being able to get married without a face mask, even though the COVID19 restrictions are being tightened again all over the UK; it makes no sense, its not meant to, and the masses are meant to follow, not question and obey.”
    https://off-guardian.org/2020/10/23/the-cult-of-the-brave-new-normal/

    And then return to the initial quote about ‘coherence’ and think about people’s mind states in the interestingly named ‘new normal’.

    It seems to me as though there is a deliberate attempt to cause incoherence or discoherence (is that even a word?). But what does that mean? The contradictory and nonsensical rules,regulations and mental warping gymnastics are actually meant to destabilise:

    “This forms the basis for a human subject becoming an object, of becoming alienated from themselves. This logical structure underpins the dictates from politicians in relation to COVID19 restrictions. The blatant flaunting of the dictates by the likes of Catherine Calderwood, Neil Fergusson, Dominic Cummings, Margaret Ferrier (and the many more we have not heard about yet) is testament to the fact that they don’t really take this COVID19 restrictions all that seriously.

    “This abusive objectification and alienation are what totalitarians and cult leaders want to achieve and impose on their followers. Initiation rituals like mask wearing (especially when getting married) and social distancing, attack a person with terror, pain, humiliation and subjugation. Of course, anyone who has been in an abusive relationship will tell you that pointless rituals or behaviours are demanded by the abusive and sadistic abusive partner to wear the other person down.”
    https://off-guardian.org/2020/10/23/the-cult-of-the-brave-new-normal/

    This amounts to the breaking down of will through specialist techniques – governments are using behavioural psychologists to ‘nudge’ people, it seems that what is going on now is an extension of that. They are actively trying to break people down and create what they want as a ‘new normal’.

    If one looks at social media platform censorship of anything that questions the official narrative, it is difficult not to conclude they are trying to gaslight the public – except I think this goes far beyond gaslighting, they are trying to reprogram consciousness.

    By using destabilisation techniques, they are actually interfering with how people minds work – hence the increasing incoherence or increasing lack of coherence.

    Can this even be true? Who knows.
    Fiction can sometimes point at a reality, and the global use of slogans and almost lock-step behaviour by governments around the world indicate that ‘the radiance’ are making a move (to quote a fictional entity from J M Greer’s Weird of Hali series).

    It seems like an assault on ‘will’ – the action of destabilising techniques is a destabilisation of mind – which might explain the increasing incoherence.
    In the extreme, personalities will break down as all common anchors are removed.

    Action to take?
    Practices to increase focus and will.
    Practices to increase personal coherence.

    JMG’s series on building willpower might be more important than it first appears.
    https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/104078.html

  284. @Teresa and @Millent Lurking Thank you for the heads up about MailChimp. I also use them for me email list and it never occurred to me they could just shut me out of my account. Downloaded my subscriber list and will check out MadMimi.

    @Nachtgurke Some of what you mentioned points to some the concepts Nir Eyal has in his book Indistractable. Don’t buy the book, just get it from the library or read summaries online. I made the mistake of buying it. One concept is that we are wired in our brains for a level of comfort and will switch tasks to seek comfort. (He mentions several studies that “prove” this.) If you think about, this constant reading, writing, and analyzing is a very very recent human behavior. It’s hard work for our brains, and combined with the amount of input available, very uncomfortable. Throw in the constant state of anxiety and fear that the news produces, and its a wonder we can speak and write in complete sentences about anything.

  285. @Aidan

    Re: Yugoslavia

    I’m not sure the problem was so much elite overproduction as enormous sovereign debt. (Now, why does that sound familiar…?) Once foreign money stopped coming in, each group thought it made excellent sense to point fingers at all the other groups, et voila. But I really don’t think it had to be that way. If my elders and “betters” had bothered to turn their brains on, Yugoslavia could have reformed its economy and entered the EU a lot earlier and a lot more easily than (say) the Czech Republic. Alas, the brain went missing, and the results are in plain sight.

    Of course, the EU is unlikely to last all that much longer. Well… Nothing lasts forever, and I remain hopeful that no blood will be shed as the EU breaks up (or simply fades away).

  286. Thank you for the feedback on social media and I didn’t mean to have you try to solve my problem. Its just been frustrating to me think I have to try to master the how Faceplant thinks in order to reach people. I’m more interested in pursuing the ideas I care about and spending the time there. I have a page there so it preserves my business from someone impersonating me.

    You do have a Twitter account by the way – well someone who was a fan used to post all the ADR articles there. Haven’t check in awhile to see if they are still doing it. I recall you having a Facebook page too at one point but can’t seem to find it now. Facebook used to make pages for people and places that other people mentioned in posts.

  287. I recall your blogging of 2012 that went through each week a predicted apocalypse that didn’t happen. People still fought you saying basically “no, the Mayans had the prediction correct and we were all doomed.” I haven’t seen any new predictions since then except for climate change (we are all dying within 10 years of 2016 I believe, so 2026), and of course the election of a person who is orange means the end of the world as we know it.

    I feel like a really good apocalyptic prediction needs to be based in something from the ancient past that we barely understand with our modern minds. Any of those seen in the fringes?

  288. @RussellTheMussel

    Not your host, but maybe O.K. for an answer what I’d comment:

    Q1:

    Nuclear energy, and the whole production chain of modern industry is dependend on fossil fuels. Why?

    Due to energy density, only heavy oil can power heavy mining machinery (as an internal source of energy), bigger airplanes or big cargo ships.
    (the biggest electric airplane carries a max amount of 9 passengers)
    An external electric source may power big machinery otherwise trains would not be possible, however this external source needs a whole infrastructure to go with it
    -> That’s why heavily frequented rail tracks are efficient, but mines, ore refineries and the sites of industrial production are dispersed across the planet, so laying out electricity cables and infrastructure everywhere would be heavily impractical.

    There are theoretical physical limits to what maximum a battery may store in energy, and it’s considerable less than heavy oil.

    Coal is also generally used for process heat in the industry, technically it could all be electric but the need for storage would be excessive rendering it ineffective.

    Mining of uranium, iron, a great variety of other essential ores and minerals, as well as chemical reactions for other necessary parts of a nuclear plant and other things need to be included in the calculation.

    In short: mining, transport and industrial processes cannot be done on a modern scale without fossil fules due to their energy density.

    Q2:

    Peak oil – the peak of conventional production has been in 2005, at least according to Gail Tverberg and Art Berman.

    Fracking produces oil but only light crude – not the whole spectrum needed. (Art Berman)

    That’s why the US in the past decade has both exported and imported oil (but different oil products in and out!)- while claiming to be “self sufficient”.

    The EROI is generally agreed to be dropping for oil. Since the fracking business is indebted so heavily and also has dizzying depletion rates – this is much like a straw fire.

    regards,
    Curt

  289. Hi JMG

    You wrote:

    “Occultists have argued for a long time that the problem came in because Christianity got too political too fast, turned the literal meanings of the creeds into weapons in factional wars, and erased the inner, initiatory side of Christianity since it involved richer and more complex explanations of theological concepts, and subordinated belief to practice and experience.”

    Shouldn’t it have been ‘subordinated practice and experience to belief’?

    I like the fact that you can write about Christianity in such a clear-headed way. It is very hard to find that. What you usually get is people banging the drum for Christianity or people who have been scarred by it and paint it in the worst possible light. Any chance of a post on Christianity, or if not, who is a good impartial source on it please? Even if numbers of believers are dwindling, we are still dealing with the massive overhang from that religion on our culture.

  290. @JMG

    One more thing. The question of what exactly is meant by “communism” is actually quite important. Plenty of your countrymen make arguments of the following sort: taxing the rich is communist, and communism leads to mass murder; hence, raising taxes leads to mass murder. It’s nonsense, as you’ll doubtless agree, but that’s why precision is important.

    So, you have an assortment of leftist dictatorships, some softer than others. Communist Yugoslavia was certainly a dictatorship, but no more so than were its predecessor and (for the most part at least) successor states, none of which were/are communist. Furthermore, if it (Yugoslavia, that is) hadn’t been a leftist dictatorship, then given the region’s history, it would almost certainly have been a rightist dictatorship a la Francoist Spain or perhaps Greece during its Junta period. Well, you’ll just have to forgive me for preferring the leftist version. Anyway, some of those leftist dictatorships, but not others, saw horrific mass murder. So, what was the active ingredient in the said mass murder?

  291. Hi John Michael (again)

    It almost slipped my mind, but for some reason over the past week down here we seem to be enjoying a parade of apparently very well remunerated public servants being hung out to dry in the public for their alleged misdeeds.

    And I’m amazed that one in particular appears to be getting support from some heavy hitters and influencers.

    Interesting times.

    Cheers

    Chris

  292. Hello JMG and the commentariat!

    The above discussion on mindfulness (!) meditation reminds me of a similar trend in the same social stratum, which I call the “mechanisation of Stoicism”. Many of the modern practitioners of Stoicism tend to strip it of its spirituality, ethics, philosophy and cosmology; and they tend to reduce it to a set of psychological self-therapy exercises. I don’t know if any occultist had made a serious attempt to intervene on the issue and fill this gap, but I think someone should rework the old Stoicism in terms of modern occult philosophy, before the current pop-Stoicism gets out of hand and becomes a new hype akin to “mindfulness” business.

  293. Hi John Michael (yet again, sorry 🙂 ),

    All of those earlier points I raised are interesting, but the embarrassing spectacle down here many long months ago now relating to toilet paper (of all things), kind of smelled to me of South Sea bubbles – or perhaps the Tulip mania. Mania is an appropriate word to use don’t you reckon? But then I’m left wondering whether it was some sort of grab for a talisman in order to ward off the unknown. Dunno, have you pondered this mania?

    Just to let you know that I have it on very good authority that the magic (apologies for the use of that word in this appalling context, and in this instance I should perhaps have chucked on a ‘k’ to the spelling or something like that) number of toilet paper rolls to hold was 42! 😉

    I never partook of that toilet paper hoarding activity.

    Crazy stuff.

    Cheers

    Chris

    PS: Outside of my writing which I control, and replies elsewhere, I also have no other social media presence.

  294. I was reading an article on Quillette about how immigration in Australia is being used to boost their GDP. I live in Canada, and I’ve been starting to wonder for a while now whether Canada was encouraging immigration to boost its economy in the same way.

    I just now suddenly made a connection: if you’re a leader of a country which is doing this, then you need to make sure your existing population doesn’t resist the influx of new people. And perhaps that’s done by the media talking about systemic racism, Critical Race Theory, and showing that existing institutions, and by implication, the existing population, are systemically racist. Who would ever resist high immigration targets if they are all feeling guilty about their inherent racism? Granted, that’s not the only reason for those ideologies, but there does seem to be a connection.

    A lot of Canadian politics makes more sense now: keep interest rates really low to encourage people to go into debt, allow housing bubbles in major cities to encourage people to get into it (sell your house in a year for much more than you bought it), boost this activity by bringing more people into the market, and make sure that no-one protests about this by labelling critics as far-right sympathizers.

    I have no issue with immigration in itself (my wife is an immigrant, I was an immigrant elsewhere for a long time), nor do I care what cultural or ethnic background immigrants come from, but I do have a problem with high immigration targets if they put pressure on ecosystems or on locals’ ability to participate in the economy, and if the host country’s economy is inordinately dependent on immigration.

    About the coronavirus lockdown:

    Based on the discussion here, I did a little reading, and found this article about past pandemics in the Lancet. The responses to today’s pandemic differed from those in the past partly due to improvements to statistical methodology and the ability epidemiologists have now to track the viruses as they move across borders, and how politicians and most of the media at the time were more cautious about stoking fear in the populace.

    The author does make the point that it’s not yet certain if the pandemics of 1958 and 1968 were comparable to Covid because we won’t get an accurate reading until excess deaths are calculated in 2021. There weren’t lockdowns for either of those pandemics, but in neither year did influenza patients overwhelm hospitals.

    @Violet:

    OK, the discussion here about Chandler has made me interested, thank you, I’m going to find one of his books to read!

    @JMG:

    There is quite a bit of hype at the moment about cryptocurrencies in general, aside from the general hype about Bitcoin. I’m hearing a fair bit that governments are looking at digital currencies to counter private cryptocurrencies, if they become more widespread in the population. I’m generally skeptical of such initiatives as I think that anything digital is prone to hacks, given that so many digital tools/infrastructure is built very quickly (and sloppily) in the rush to get to market.

    On the other hand, currencies are now already mostly digital anyway, with central banks able to ‘print’ money on demand, of course, so perhaps the move to digital currencies is the natural next step.

    Wondering if you’ve been following it, and if so, what you think about it?

  295. Oops, in my comment above, I forgot to close the A tag for the second link I added, do you have a way of fixing that or should I repost? Sorry for the inconvenience!

  296. JMG – that last may have been way too long so I have created a different version as a pdf – think of it as an idea for a novel
    😉
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/r7g7ld9ui3ef7wc/reality%20dysfunction.pdf?dl=0

    Thanks to Nachtgurke:
    “When I am looking at what’s happening in society in general but in the last months extensively in my closer environment, too, I see decoherence spreading everywhere…”
    https://www.ecosophia.net/october-2020-open-post/#comment-55603

  297. RE: team sports being boring

    I was raised on watching and playing team sports. After I stopped playing, I can no longer stand watching. It bores the crap out of me. Part of the problem is you have to keep up with an infinite set of trivia facts to enjoy it.

    The only sport I watch now is Mixed Martial Arts. A 1v1 battle of wills. MMA athletes are artists imo. There’s often only attention grabbing fights every couple of weeks, so it doesn’t hook you into a weekly or multiple times weekly cycle of team sports.

  298. I still glance at the mummified corpse of what was The Energy Bulletin for the occasional article by Heinberg, Whipple or Cobb. Low and behold your What Evil Lurks post has appeared! I was shocked. Did they not actually read it but simply wanted a seemingly Halloween-themed article (It’s a serious possibility)? Only the Shadow knows…

  299. @John Evans about races:

    I thought I would answer here because I still remember the day in January 2009 when Johannes Krause walked breathlessly into our group meeting, talking about the ancient DNA sequenced from a specimen from Denisova cave. The name “Denisovans” (instead of, let’s say, Homo denisovanus), was chosen for a reason: we cannot tell if the living carriers of that DNA were really all that different from us. We also cannot tell if Neandertals were all that different from us. I started a research project on possible genetic changes in the brain since our split from the Neandertals, which I folded because I couldn’t find any brain-expressed genes where all Neandertals were different from all modern humans, nor is there evidence that Neandertals were cognitively any different from us.

    So while it is interesting to speculate about ancient human populations moving back and forth between the continents, these movements have no bearing on modern human characteristics unless you can show that some gene differed between those populations and that this gene has an effect on a certain human characteristic. For skin color and immunity there is some such (incomplete) evidence. For intelligence there isn’t. In fact, nobody can show a single human gene with causal effect on intelligence (however you might like to quantify intelligence).

  300. @Irena

    Sorry, I don’t have that data. For example, differences in nursing home populations and how they were handled in Northern vs. Southern Italy. However, I am rather sure that Guayaquil and Manaus (and other Brazilian cities in general) don’t have high nursing home populations.

  301. Let me express first my admiration. I don’t know how you can handle those hundred messages per day and still give a thoughtful and honest answer. I reread your answers and they seem to say ‘Do not haste! Do not jump into conclusions!’, even if these conclusions were right, just think them again for yourself. I’ll try.

    (1) bringing will into the picture this early doesn’t seem constructive to me. Go back to what Fortune is saying; it’s not will, it’s simply space in motion. As to what happens when two forces intersect, she gets to that later — they create a stable vortex.
    >> Oh! Even with the prime movement. Interesting.

    (2) Here again, bringing will into the picture simply confuses the metaphor.
    >> Yes, sorry, Abstract concepts only make sense to me when they are created by a set of concrete concepts. How would I really know what the number 5 is if I did not clued together several sets of five objects first? I chose ‘will’ for the concrete example I was using when the question arose, but I’ll try to keep it more open and stick with the original concept.

    (3) We haven’t gotten to people yet. Fortune defines “evil” as movement at right angles to the prime movement of the cosmos, and for now, that’s all it is. By the time we get to people, a lot of further material will hve been covered.
    >> It sounds like I want to go too fast. Maybe it’s that.

    (4) No, the Ring-Pass-Not is simply a boundary. It’s defined by the movement of the Ring-Cosmos relative to the Ring-Chaos; it has no independent existence.
    >> However, even if it is not independent it is the source of the forces that balance the forces of the other two rings. I tried to meditate for examples, using the example of the making of a marriage and I got this:
    The story of the happy couple begins somewhere, maybe they met at some pub and loved to dance techno music while looking for a couple or just for fun. There they found each other, liked each other, and decided to meet again, maybe for a coffee. As their romance progressed, the pub, the dancing was no longer of interest, now it’s cinemas, coffees and diapers. The pub belonged to a time when their love story did not exist but was about to start. So they went on with their romance, courting and then sharing life, with evil troubling their story, and goodness carrying them to completeness. In this scenario, the things that they did, the places where they were in the beginning of their love story even before they knew they were going to be a couple belongs to that part of the cosmos that is on the boundary. So forces that originate near that boundary place are what is preventing the couple from getting stagnant with the routine in one hand and what is preventing them to leave this story seeking old pleasures outside the cosmos, outside the couple. In other words, it might be that for this love story, going back together to the pub for doing or remembering a few of the things that they did before they formalized the betrothal could prevent both the current routine and appease the desire to enjoy the things they no longer can have with their mate.

    (5-6) All these are covered later on. It helps to take this a step at a time.
    >> It’s a relief to know that my doubts will have an answer if I just keep going on with the study (it just is going too slooow). I appreciate it.

  302. I’m obviously a bit late to this open post but I’ll see if I get a response. As usual I’m most interested in issues surrounding energy and peak oil. I’m interested in the reaction to this article on solar power.

    https://reason.com/2020/10/28/is-king-solar-now-the-cheapest-electricity-source-ever/

    The gist of it is that solar is now the cheapest energy to generate per killowat. There’s a tendency here to dismiss optimistic articles like this about renewables, but I find this a bit hard to argue around. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this reported. What specifically are they missing? Supposedly Solar has a low EROEI, but shouldn’t that be reflected in the price? Note that rooftop PV is way on the expensive end of the scale for generation- so bad experience with rooftop PV isn’t necessarily a counterargument either, since that doesn’t prove that other forms of solar generation aren’t viable.

    I’m interested in reactions to this. To me it’s hard to see how news like this doesn’t throw the peak oil narrative into question.

  303. As an addendum to my last comment- as usual I approach all topics related to peak oil with a mix of emotions and a lot of anxiety. If this solar thing is true it’s surely good news. Except it would mean the expansion of the current totally tech-dominated economy. Even in the article one can find a link to another article: “California’s Proposition 22 Pits the Future Against Its Enemies,” a love letter to technology whose author is infuriated that people refuse to eat everything the tech industry spoon feeds them. Articles like that really depress me when thinking about the future.

  304. Salutations JMG! Since I walk long distances through the hot sun (and lately, the driving rain) to get to the nearest bus hub I’ve frequently wished I had an extremely wide brimed hat like this: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/548365583/bamboo-wizarding-hatwool-free
    I might just make one for myself out of gortex someday despite the inevitable mockery it would generate just to have some peace while walking in the rain.

    As a result I’ve been wondering how pointy hats came to be associated with magical users. Most pop culture seems to trace its “wizard hats” to Tolkien, and before him there were the pointy witch hats as depicted in medieval woodcuts and Durer’s art. How pointy hats came to be associated with witches seems to be beyond the reach of the almighty Google, or at least my filter bubble. One possibility (and a cool bit of history) that I turned up is it might be a throwback to a late medieval philosopher named John Duns Scotus who insisted on his students wearing a pointy cap (no brim though) in order to funnel knowledge from God into the student’s brain. Later humanist philosophers turned Duns’ name and his pointy hats into a synonym for “idiot”, which is the origin of the “Dunce Cap”, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Where and when did pointy hats start flirting with occult philosophy and magical practitioners?

  305. Do I understand correctly that clothing made from plastic (polyester, nylon, etc) has a negative effect to the wearer in the etheric plane? What would the effect be to the wearer if there is one?

  306. John—

    Somewhat (non)coincidentally, my wife and I have wandered into the study of psychology completely independent of one another: she’s studying trauma and trauma responses as part of her developing art therapy practice (and for her own benefit), while I’ve been reading up on Jung. Last night, we got into a discussion about trauma responses and complexes. She pointed out that many of our behaviors (hers and mine, specifically) are responses to events (“traumas”) we experienced, particularly as children: e.g. her dysfunctional family and belligerent parents; my frequently-absent father (who was out to sea half the time when I was very young), the constant moving that comes with military life, and taking on “responsibility” at a young age to help my mother and younger brother (“Mommy’s little helper”) when my father was gone.
    I felt myself recoil at this and then spent some time trying to understand why. One basic framework which I realize I have is that of seeing these traumas and complexes as flaws, as dents and cracks and bruises. And I compare the actual (with its nicks and dents) to the ideal (which lacks those flaws). This results in my seeing myself and much of actuality as “lesser.”

    Bring in the Carrot of Truth and its lesson of non-comparison.

    Does that ideal even exist? And is it truly “better” than the actual? It occurred to me as we were talking in the kitchen that what I’m really dealing with is a struggle to reframe my perspective. I remember glancing down at the kitchen floor, which is hardwood (maple, which we discovered under the old linoleum) and replete with various stains and knots and “character marks” which got incorporated into the ensemble when the floor was sanded and finished those years ago. And I thought about how we *desire* such things in wood floors for aesthetic reasons—perfect wood floors are both boring and generally unappealing. So perhaps I could view my complexes and trauma responses, so long as they’re functional and healthy rather than dysfunctional and harmful, as aesthetic aspects to existence, rather than as flawed deviations form a hypothetical ideal that would be lack soul and character and depth if it were to actually manifest.

    @ Varun

    Re secession and foreign involvement

    I’d say that it is my responsibility to understand and assess the situation in my own marriage. That’s not to say that outside forces *won’t* be involved; however, the question remains as to whether or not the marriage is salvageable and whether I’m willing to pay the cost of making it work or else the cost of ending it. At the end of the day, though, it is my choice to make and the resulting consequences of that choice are mine to bear. And while there are those who would disagree, one thing I would argue most strongly is that it is not the role of law to protect people from themselves. That kind of paternalistic thought (manifesting in reformers on both sides of our political spectrum, from the Moral Majority to the Prohibitionists to the Wokesters) is ill-suited to a republic of self-governing citizens and a basic philosophy of human freedom. Making divorce illegal doesn’t make the problems go away nor does it guarantee that the relationship is salvageable—it merely makes the separation more difficult.

    Because that’s my other main point here—this is going to happen anyway. The sprawling, diverse patchwork quilt of this nation will not remain completely intact as the forces of empire which have held it together fade away. I can think of any number of regions and states who are more likely than not to take a divergent path eventually: Texas comes to mind (they have their own independent electric grid, among other things); Hawaii and Alaska also (due to their remoteness and lack of contiguity with the rest of the country). Insisting that separation can’t happen isn’t going to prevent it from happening; it will only make things that much more difficulty when it eventually *does* happen. I would argue that we’re much better off having a clear path with definitive criteria and clearly-stated consequences, as I’ve suggested above. Then when the choice is made, it can be made and acknowledged as a conscious decision and an acceptance of those consequences. I would argue, too, that by making secession a legal possibility, it would give those who want to keep some of the country together more incentive to make the necessary compromises—because if they don’t, those who are dissatisfied with the situation have an alternative. The fact that the project might indeed fail provides an impetus to make it succeed, rather than taking it for granted as we do today. (Something else I’ve learned from personal experience the hard way.)

  307. Irena, and JMG, the additional ingredient for mass murder in communist dictatorships seem to have been a totalitarianism more pronounced than in other communist countries; and a pathological mistrust of their leaders against potential poonents and conspirators.

    Furthermore, I find it interesting that communism seems to have had the effect to make national characteristics of communist countries, especioally conservatism on the one hand and the more sinister traits of said cultures in a weird way more pronounced than in the relatively globalized Western world of the Cold War era.

  308. Hi JMG,

    What do you think about the “proxy” armies so common now in ME, for example those use by the turks in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, but also by KSA in Yemen?
    Could it be part of a more general trend of formation of warbands, for example in Mexico (those “El Mencho” gangs parading against the state), in Colombia, Brazil, or many gangs in european cities, or even the new mobilization of militias in your country (right and left)?

    [Paragraph deleted by editor due to banned topic]

    Cheers
    David

  309. An addition: The Yugoslavian style of communism, Titoism, was rather idiosyncratic. For example, Yugoslavs could travel to the West for working there.

  310. @Karl I think you are really on to something here. For your consideration, what is the impact of removing in person gatherings such as church, funerals, theater and concert performances? We now only see people as representations through a screen, and people are reported to the authorities for gathering. The age group most ratted out is people under 25 – children on playgrounds, high schoolers playing sports, college students going to a party – people take photos, shriek, and shame online about it. The group least affected medically has born the brunt of the virus impact.

  311. A couple of comment here on that marvelous Weird of Hali series. First, a thanks for the auxiliary books, which are not only good sidelights on things, but fill in a good many blanks.

    One speculation on my part – now, when – forgot which book and characters! – noticed the new farms around Kingsport and on down towards Arkham, and that Martin Chaudronnier was buying land and renting them out to tenants who wanted to farm but didn’t have the capital, the side of me that reads tales set in England popped up with “Looks like he’s the squire hereabouts.” Then, In WofH:Arkham, when Merlin automatically called him “Dominus,” my Scots side said “Nae, lassie, he’s the laird hereabouts.” Which led in turn to “How many of his tenants will end up paying the rent in kind rather than cash? Which led to speculation about sharecropping, and then, to some paying partly in labor. Ad hoc to begin with, of course, but the creeping pattern is clear.

    Which of course leads to questions about the succession. Martin has the local knowledge and local ties, the good family reputation, and the business smarts. Charlotte has everything but the latter, and is too easily intimidated (Thanks to her harridan mother) to run things; Alain have have what she lacks, but is a foreigner. So – she as Lady of the Manor and its public face, Alain and Martin’s bushiness partners in the office? Because I think most of us know how long it takes people in a small town or rural area to stop being considered as “not from here.”

    After them, probably, Geoffrey. Emily is slated to become a witch. Sylvia has taken herseof out of the succession by casting her lot with the Merrills. Of course, Owen is the de facto war leader for the Old Gods worshipers’ community by this point.

    Okay – and many, many thanks for Seal of Yueh Lao! When, in Chorazin, we hear that Patty is with child by a Great Old One, I expected that child to play a major part in what was to come. Then we never hear fa word until, in WofH:Providence, someone asks “Where’s Evan?” and is told “He’s with his Tcho-Tcho relatives…learning his traditions.” Reader scratches head and figures out “could be…” and of course, we later learn he’s been raised completely Tcho-Tcho. Presumably they were doing heap big magic on the day of Jenny’s ritual, and that his uncle-in-law had a major part in that.

    Good worldbuilding has a lot of leaks around the edges, because the world is so much larger than the pocket universes so many writers come up with, and those edges make a marvelous cat-toy for an easily distracted mind like mine which loves to untangle yarn balls.

  312. @onething

    Re: communism

    Here’s a recipe for national happiness and prosperity: don’t be a leader. I’m dead serious. Let others have their revolutions and try out all sorts of wild experiments, while you carefully observe. Then, when the heads stop rolling (in other countries, that is; remember, you carefully avoided a revolution), just quietly adopt whatever aspects of their experiments seem to work, while equally quietly avoiding those aspects that don’t. The French Revolution wasn’t all bad. Some good ideas in there. But it was so much better if you didn’t happen to be in France at the time, and just quietly adopted some of the Enlightenment principles in due time, without any chopped off heads.

    So with communism. The Russian revolution and its aftermath were really quite horrific. Not something you’d want to live through. But not all of it was bad. As you say yourself, lots of perfectly ordinary people in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s had good lives. It was even better if you happened to be in post-WWII Western Europe, which adopted some of the Soviet policies that actually improved ordinary people’s lives, while carefully eschewing the firing squads and all the rest. But now that “communism is bad bad bad BAAAAAD,” many of those policies are going away. Oh, well.

  313. @Brendhelm @JMG

    About cults and average time of members remaining…

    I have been in a cult like setting for pretty much about 2.2 years.

    I had severe physical and mental health problems. I joined because they were masters of physical health and hand to hand combat,
    and they also had firm grounding in the occult.
    It was a time of severe physical and psychological violence, from the masters to the students, and instigating violence and shadows of dominance of students against each other.
    It’s so absurd that it’s difficult to explain.

    Family and friends were more than happy that I was out again.

    When I left, they opened up a page of slander of the worst kind about me, and were extremely furious. I am surprised, because they always explained I were the lowest of low people and nothing but a disposable person. After that, I also mingled with …special… people, and until last year had a really bad time.

    This year however has been marked by kindness and reconcilliance actually, and mostly positive experiences.
    It has nothing to do with Corona, it started before, around mid of January.

    To this day, the memories haunt me, but life also loves irony, because these harrowing years have really been the seed for a better life, it could not have been without…
    It did bring so many essential and valuable things, about physical health, social life, many other things.
    The foundation of a better life has been established. It used to be all in ruins;

    And I keep reiterating all these things in my head and always in these traumatic sequences during my day, I wonder how could I have done it in another way without all the terror? But I find no option, I could not have done it any other way, and the situation back then when I was 28 was really critical, on the brink of madness and personal ruin.

    Stands to wonder, why is it that we relive such experiences in our mind so much? Some say trauma is to make sure next time we are prepared for the danger. That makes sense somewhat.
    It seems as if this is karma – the past opens up like a book now, all the pain both inflicted on me from others, but the other way too, all unfortunate. At least for the time being in this year, I could turn it around for the first time. Is it sometimes necessary to suffer in such a way, to put things right?

    Life seems to love ambivalence – the most terrifying and abyssmal experience, but the most valuable and helpful. I have also decided never to delve into martial arts again. It’s an unhealthy ambition for me, though good for others certainly. I have seen so much dysfunctional, aggressive behaviour in these years in martial arts settings, and I have the feeling it’s like, the tradition comes from somewhere entirely different, is now carried by military people, but ordinary western hedonistic civilians as we are, seem unprepared for this, makes people mad and stupid.

    One other thing that was most valuable is I lost my materialistic mind set and world view in these years, no doubt to a major part under the influence of aggressive and disdainful, yet sly and extremely skilled people.

    But the best “companion” was always this blog – actually it gives me an optimism, and will to take the challenge of life at least since a longer time already.

  314. Lady Cutekitten, in answer to your question, no, Mailchimp did not steal my mailing list, they deleted it when they deleted my account. My guess is that Mailchimp’s algorithms misidentified my account as inactive, or something like that. In any event, I had no warning, I just discovered when I tried to log in that my account was gone. I complained. They said I was welcome to open a new account, however, my mailing list was unretrievable. As I noted, I reassembled my list, learned to keep a proper and regular backup, and took my business elsewhere.

    I should note, any service– not just Mailchimp– that uses algorithms to manage a massive customer base can end up doing this sort of thing to their customers. I have heard of many people having trouble with their blogger accounts, for example, and once, several years, a blogger algorithm misidentified my blog and locked it– however, that time, when I complained, they reinstated it 24 hours later. That was one of the things that prompted me to get out of blogger and over to self-hosted WP.

    Any and all of such services, whether blog hosting or social media or email services, have potential problems and, for sure, someone somewhere out there with a sad story to tell. But some companies have better customer service than others. If the service is free, well, they won’t have much incentive to help you when a problem crops up.

    As our host has often pointed out, it’s better to pay and have reliable customer service. It’s even nicer if you can deal with an actual human being, but these days, that’s often expecting too much….Which is another subject I would hope our host might one day address.

  315. @ JMG – I’ve been talking on and off with a good friend about the long descent. Ten years ago, he vehemently disagreed with me that the future we will get, looked anything like the future as he saw it. Now, his position is starting to change, and he seems much more open to the idea that some variation of the Star Trek future is probably not going to happen.
    I’ve long held the view that the collapse of the Western Roman Empire is probably the best historical analogy to what North America has is store for it. I’ve held pretty firm to this view because I think we are smack in the middle of the late-Republican Era, for reasons that have already been discussed here at length.
    I’ve certainly had this thought before, but it occurs to me that the speed of the collapse will probably be much faster than the one experienced by the Western Empire, due to the pressures of global warming (or whatever we are calling it this week), resource depletion, and ecological collapse. As he and I were talking a few days ago, he mentioned the Late Maya Collapse, and a few odd facts I remembered from past reading about the Maya came to mind. The most salient being that:
    a – their collapse happened over about a hundred years (with the exception of a few city states)
    b – their collapse was partially driven by climate shifts
    c – their elites pushed the cultivation of maize not just as a staple crop, but as a status symbol, over less agriculturally intense, equally nutritious alternatives like manioc
    d – the fractiousness of the Maya city states reflects more closely the period of international relations currently getting started, leading any individual city state unable to cope with the challenges at hand to fail, sending refuges flooding into other, possibly stable, lands, On occasion, the Roman Empire was able to do handle big challenges that might have overwhelmed and swamped an individual province, and proved rather resilient to large scale challenges (at least until the Battle of Adrianople)
    All of this is a long way of asking; do you think the Mayan example, or the Roman one, closer to the future we are actually going to get?

  316. To Matthew Lindquist and James,

    It is very disheartening and disturbing to me (although not all that surprising) to read your observations of how “woke-ism” has infiltrated your respective spheres of interest (paganism and geek culture).

    What continually troubles me most of all regarding this trend, of intolerant and dogmatic “wokesters” spreading their tentacles throughout every aspect of society, and setting the standards and the bar for “acceptable” thought and expression, is just WHY all the non-insane people, the vast majority of the non-wokesters, allow these self-righteous social thugs to claim the moral high ground and set those standards? How is it that teh vast non-‘woke’ majority have been cowed into silence and submission (for the most part) by these cultural marxists and nihilists?

    I simply do not understand what is happening in our society today, and why so many remain silent and subservient to those with the least claim to any sort of virtue.

  317. JMG,

    Is there an equivalent in the Stoic literature to Aristotle’s discussion of a virtue as the mean between two vices? I’m probably admitting my ignorance here, but I thought he was the source of that idea.

  318. @Russel the Mussel,

    You confuse the fact that nuclear energy in France exists with being cost effective. They built most of these for reasons of sovereignty in the 70’s when France still had a strong industrial sector. The problem with Nuclear is that much of the cost for a plant is backloaded so you can pretend that they are cost effective at the beginning but the payback calculations go upside down when you have to decommission them and pay to store the waste for 300,000 years or more. That is why France is winding down many of the nuclear plants that they have. To a great extent because the government can no longer afford the huge subsidies that Nuclear has been given. In the 60’s and 70’s most of the Western Industrial economies had the surplus energy, capital and economic capacity to engage in building these energy plants with uncertain value, but now that the surplus no longer exists they are not so attractive. One way to think about it is if the bill for construction, safety, insurance, waste disposal and decomissioning had to be paid up front ( and could not be borrowed from the future) the citizens of a particular region wanting a nuke plant would have to contribute in the form of giving up their cars, home heating and air conditioning for many years to pay the bill.

  319. @ Warren: RE: solar power. The cost of solar power only includes the installation of the panels and their connection to the grid. As Reason notes: “renewable power sources need backup generation or massive storage to make up for generation shortfalls when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. How to pay for electricity generation and storage that are idle much of the time has to be addressed as well.”
    For a complete review of the issues with renewables and the electrical grid, Gail Tverberg has an excellent article.

  320. I am glad that many here have discovered Raymond Chandler, whom I consider the best American writer of the 20th Century. During the filming of The Big Sleep, Humphrey Bogart (starring as Philip Marlowe) supposedly asked who had actually killed Owen Taylor, a chauffeur found dead in a car in the ocean. Neither the screenwriter (William Faulkner!) nor the director (Howard Hawks) knew, so they called Chandler. Chandler had no idea either. Much as our host has said, once the story gets underway, it has its own logic despite the author.

  321. @Booklover: “An addition: The Yugoslavian style of communism, Titoism, was rather idiosyncratic. For example, Yugoslavs could travel to the West for working there.”

    This is indeed true. My father, for instance, travelled all over Western Europe circa 1980, and this wasn’t particularly unusual. He never worked abroad (unless you count a few brief-ish visits), but that, too, would have been possible in principle.

    Well, next thing you know, people will argue that wasn’t “true communism” (ha!).

  322. Candace, thanks for this. When I have some space in my to-read list I’ll check it out.

    Alan, delighted to hear it. Once he dies, somebody needs to put together a collection of Krugman essays and follow each essay with a note about everything he got wrong that time. It will be a fine addition to the literature on educated idiocy. As for Aspergers, so noted!

    Aidan, I’ve been saying for more than a decade now that the Pacific coast will be the Rust Belt of the 21st century, with San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle looking the way Detroit and Gary, Indiana look now. That’s a prediction that’s coming true with a vengeance…

    Matthew, by my calculation the Aquarian Age began in late 1879, so we should definitely be seeing its influence in the new religious sensibility. As for what it will look like, though, that’s very difficult to imagine in advance, not least because so many of our expectations about what religion is are still burdened with the legacy of 2160 years of Piscean thought. The Home Church movement, the Heathen scene, and the less woke end of Druidry may be tentatively sketching out first drafts of what it might look like, but we’ll just have to see.

    Wizard, one of the pervasive problems with taking fiction too seriously as a model is precisely that novels so often show things that don’t happen in the real world. The Shire chugs along merrily under the influence of conservative customs and folk habits, without any hobbit ever cashing in his wealth for power and exploiting his fellow hobbits — well, until Lotho does it. In the real world Lotho would have been the latest in a long line. Once you assume that only those who have Rings of Power can be moved by the desire for domination, instead of recognizing that we all have our own Ring of Power from the moment we’re born and there’s no Mount Doom that will melt it down for us, you’re stuck chasing an oliphaunt that isn’t there.

    Russell, that’s like claiming that because the US produced all its own petroleum in 1950, we should be able to produce all our own petroleum forever. The problem with nuclear power, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly in my books, is economic, not technical — it never pays for itself, and has to be propped up with huge and continuing government subsidies of the kind that won’t be affordable once other energy resources begin to contract. (Remember that all wealth is a proxy for energy.) You guys really need to go find some new talking points!

    James, yeah, that’s about what I’d expect. The upside is that it makes it more likely that non-woke creations of any quality become cult classics, and have a broader influence by moving through the crawlspaces of society.

    Panda, many thanks for this. If you can find the specific references I’ll be delighted to cite them.

    Andy, I enjoy listening to music, but crowds simply distract from the experience if they make noise. I enjoy live opera, because the audience knows to keep its collective yap shut until the curtain comes down.

    Booklover, that’s another aspect of the same thing. Rigging elections and rigging coups depend on similar gimmickry, and both can be monkeywrenched.

    Irena, my definition of communism is simple. If a nation claims to be following Marxist principles, that’s good enough for me. Of course it’s a matter of confusing the map with the territory; Marx provided a map that reliably doesn’t work, and the more strictly a regime tries to follow it, the more likely it is that the regime will turn to prison camps and mass murder in a desperate attempt to make people do what Marx said they would do. Please also note the words “more likely”; you seem to think that I’m saying that all communist nations everywhere have sky-high death counts. My point, rather, is that Marxist regimes are more likely to heap up corpses on the grand scale than others, and in the last century quite a few of them have done it with a verve that no other ideology can match.

    Karl, it’s important to be doing some kind of inner practice at any point in history, but right now — yes, more so than usual. Across the industrial world, as the mythology of progress collapses and leaves people bewildered and frightened, a robust inner life is the only thing that can restore meaning. I think the confusion you’re seeing from governments and other authority figures is a product of that, rather than any sort of plot (and certainly rather than ordinary incompetence and stupidity); the people in positions of influence are even more bewildered and terrified than the rest of the population, because their entire sense of identity depends on being the smart ones in the room, the people who know what’s what and can control what happens…except now they don’t and they can’t. Their world is spinning apart, and they’re frantically trying to impose order on it.

    Chris, yes, I missed that. Not a smart move!

    Denis, yes, I heard about the faux Twitter account. As for apocalypse, there was a lot of yelling for a while about 2030 as the date at which we were all sure to be extinct, but I think the rise of the Orange Julius has taken over that market.

    Curt, no, I meant that to refer to the initiatory traditions, which subordinated belief to practice and experience. Sorry that wasn’t clear! Hmm — I’ll consider a post on Christianity one of these days; you’re right that most people have either a wholly uncritical admiration for it or a wholly uncritical hatred of it.

    Irena, see my previous comment.

    Chris, fascinating. I’ll have to do another plunge into Australian media.

    Minervaphilos, gah. Yes, I’ve seen that. It’s part of the same thing as the fad for mindlessness meditation — a way for people to shut down their minds so they don’t have to think about what kind of life they’re living and where it’s taking them.

    Chris, so the ultimate answer to the great cosmic question was 42 rolls of rumpwipe! Got it. 😉

    Jbucks, got it in one. What’s behind all the yelling about racism and open borders is a simple economic incentive: if you flood your labor market with immigrants who will work in sweatshop conditions at substandard wages, you drive down labor costs, and so your comfortable classes profit. Of course you drive most of your population into poverty and misery, but who cares about them? Not the comfortable classes. As for digital currencies, they’re speculative vehicles pure and simple, and thus very profitable now that we’ve passed the point where the real economy is contracting and smoke and mirrors have to be used in increasing amounts to make up the difference.

    (I can edit comments, so I fixed your HTML. You’re welcome.)

    John of Red Hook, that’s just bizarre. I figured they’d dropped me like a hot rock once I stopped toeing the astroturf-green line they’ve been pitching.

    Abraham, I’ll skip straight down to (4) and say that no, the Ring-Pass-Not is not the source of any force at all — the forces in question come from the Ring-Cosmos and Ring-Chaos respectively, and the ing-Pass-Not is simply the fulcrum at which they balance.

    Warren, it’s easy to gimmick numbers to say whatever you want them to say — solar and nuclear advocates both have demonstrated that. Let’s see what the market has to say in response. If solar energy is as cheap as you claim, then we ought to be seeing very large amounts of it being installed by utilities on the basis of expected return on investment even where governments aren’t propping up the solar sector with lavish subsidies. Is that happening?

  323. Dear Peter, thank you! I’ve requested _The Big Clock_ from the my region’s library interloan system.

    Dear Temporaryreality, I’ve read much of Steinbeck’s major work and recently attempted to tackle _Grapes of Wrath_ for the third time. Simply put, I could not read the thing — I found it absolutely grating and tedious. The strange thing was that I’d read that book several times before with pleasure. This has happened also to Steinbeck’s _East of Eden_ between the ages of 14 and 17 I really dug that book and read it multiple times. A year or so ago I tried to give it a reread and found it didn’t stand up at all to my former enthusiasm and I couldn’t read more than a few pages.

    To be entirely honest, I feel that after I read Tolstoy and grokked what Steinbeck so clearly aimed for with his family epics I couldn’t quite dig Steinbeck as I had before. He seemed to me, at least in his long novels, to be aping on Tolstoy, and frankly _War and Peace_ I find such an exhilarating read, lively and interesting characters, great battle scenes, a Masonic initiation, and several duels! Compared to that, I find the Joads and their adventures….kind of dull. And even more so with the families in _East of Eden_. Honestly, for consciousness raising pinko-inclined literature, I prefer Upton Sinclaire’s pulp. At least he really keeps the plot line moving quickly, there’s lots of action, and enough mawkish emotion to pull my heart strings!

    Steinbeck seems very self-conscious of the relative lack of history in California as compared to Russia and I don’t find his characters very convincing, interesting, or fun to spend time with. That said, I think the popularity of Steinbeck is interesting and important and I of course have already acknowledged that I’ve read his works and they gave me a lot of pleasure on the first couple of read throughs.

    Dear Jbucks, I’m delighted to hear it! Chandler is a really good writer on a bunch of different levels

  324. Well, the Pacific Coast is an interesting area. Since the start of what you call “The Long Descent”, it has largely weathered storm after storm of economic and cultural termoil compared with other parts of the US. Over the past decade, that has been changing fast.

    An under-examined divide in the US is between its Western and Eastern regions (and I would argue socio-regional diversity in general). The akinokure blog has come up with a fascinating insight that there is a very different general mentality in the states west of the Mississippi River than those to the east. The more settled regions tend to value community and stewarship more while the more newly settled states in west value innovation more even when disruptive to community:

    “The local and regional economy has also failed to materialize, due to these out-West states getting a much later start toward settlement, the settlers being motivated by get-rich-quick schemes rather than hard honest work, and a constant churn of residents moving on and new waves of transplants coming in. None of that leads toward the slow gradual build-up of industries into a mature state, but rather toward one form of exploitation or another — resource extraction (oil, mining), crop cultivation (exploiting fertile soil which won’t be so fertile after extensive cultivation), real estate hucksterism, lifestyle cult gurus, snake oil salesmen, business services of diverse sorts to fuel all this exploitation (banks, law firms), and on and on.

    With shallow family and community roots, combined with a non-productive economy (perhaps half of which is virtual and speculative), people in the Plains and Mountain states feel insecure rather than stable in their situation. A profound disruption always feels like it’s around the corner when you have little family networks to back you up, and where the economy is a house of cards. Deep-seated insecurity about the basics of life leads toward the apocalyptic mindset…

    It also explains why the out-West people have such a hard time comprehending what’s going on back East — real populism has always been weak where the reigning ethos was ‘get rich quick’ and ‘I got mine, good luck to you getting yours’ and ‘let the Devil take the hindmost’. Their migration and residence choices are defined by refusing to be bound by duties and responsibilities to other people (family, friends, neighbors, fellow members of organizations). And those wide-open uncolonized niches out on the Frontier and beyond draw individualists rather than communitarians. Since there’s nothing out there, there’s nothing to conserve and steward, which is part of the plan of populism (public goods benefiting the common man).” (http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2016/03/electoral-showdown-between-eastern-vs.html)

    It is no co-incidence that California and the Pacific Northwest have traditionally prided themselves as being at the cutting edge and avant-garde of various trends: Hollywood, counter-cultural lifestyles, digital innovation, immigration enthusiasm, and so on.

    But recently, the hyperliberalism of these areas has driven them to be at the forefront of rather negative trends and I am sincerely hoping these trends don’t represent the future for the developed world generally (especially if we get a President Harris from San Francisco). I’d argue that the strength of the West Coast mindset has ironically become a weakness…having a mindset so obsessed with being avant-garde that your brain falls out and you forget basic societal needs!

  325. JMG, it’s curious that you mention woke Druids. Is there a woke Druid scene, except from ADF?

    Secondly, what do you now think of your book “Blood of the Earth”? Are you still satisfied with it?

  326. To JMG or anyone who knows Greek — Is today’s Greek language pretty much the same as ancient Greek language, or is it a situation like New English versus Old English or New French versus Old French where the pronunciation and syntax differences are stark?

    To Abraham, and JMG or any of the CosDoc discussion group, please correct me if I am wrong — as I said on my blog, I think you are confusing your own value judgements with Dion Fortune’s concepts of positive and negative evil. If you can think of the Ring Chaos as merely the force that limits the Ring Cosmos and not apply it to people at this point, that will help. For instance, let’s use the example of a bucket of water. The bucket is the Ring Chaos that keeps the water from flowing on to the floor. Therefore it is the Fortunean force of “evil” or the limit that keeps the water from doing whatever that amount of water does without limits.

  327. On nuclear power: someone said all the costs are backloaded but I thought it was the other way around. The costs of building them are huge. Of course decommissioning also is expensive.

    Either way most of the cost doesn’t occur in the years they’re active. For that reason it is possible- at least in theory- that nuclear power has a negative or at least very low energy return despite the fact its powering France. The plants were built when energy was cheap and France had a lot of access to it. You coo poi ups almost see them as giant batteries. The energy is all invested- stored up in a sense- at one time and then gets returned over a longer time. It’s not that they’re effocient; it’s that the costs aren’t being paid right now. That’s one theory anyway. On any case France has turned away from nuclear power slightly in recent years.

    Someone mentioned thorium. I dont understand the hype around thorium at all. From what I see it all centers on the potency of the fuel. But so what? Even if there’s 100 times as much energy in a sample of thorium compared to uranium that doesn’t make the plants 100 times more efficient or mean they generate 100 times as much power over their lifetime. It just means you mine less fuel. Maybe good for the environment, but the cost of fuel is peanuts when it comes to running a nuclear power plant.

  328. @JMG

    Thanks for your reply! Two things.

    First, a nation’s self-description shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value. North Korea, to take one particularly egregious example, describes itself as democratic. Today’s China describes itself as communist (“people’s”), but I don’t buy it. Mao’s China certainly was communist (so, blaming Mao’s body count on Marxism seems fair enough), but I see little trace of communism left in today’s China. I think they just use the term for (internal) prestige purposes. I’ve heard modern-day China described as neo-Confucian, which sounds more like it.

    The other question is whether it’s Marxism as such that produces the body count, or if any number of other ideologies could and would have produced a comparable body count if only they’d gained comparable popularity and had been used as the map-mistaken-for-territory. You say that communism was bloodier than fascism, and statistically, that may be true. But I’d argue that that’s only true because communism was more widespread and lasted longer. (If the Axis had won WWII…) So, it wasn’t a fair competition. Also, historically, political Christianity managed to produce a huge body count, and it remains to be seen just how many heads modern-day political Islam manages to chop off. And you’ve doubtless heard Marxism referred to as a Christian heresy (heaven on earth and all that). So, the Marxist body count should perhaps be seen as a subtype of (political) Abrahamic body count. Some Marxists are more dogmatic than others, though (the same goes for Christians), and the less dogmatic ones (Marxists and Christians) have managed to get reasonably good results.

    A side note. Marxism itself is actually two different things: a descriptive theory/diagnostic tool (e.g. the tendency of the rate of profit to fall), and a prescriptive/revolutionary ideology. The former remains useful (at least as far as I’m concerned), whereas the latter has been discredited.

  329. Denis: “For your consideration, what is the impact of removing in person gatherings such as church, funerals, theater and concert performances?”

    Yeah – that is the sort of thing that makes me wonder – an attempt to re-program consciousness would make a good storyline but probably been done to death already.

    JMG: “Their world is spinning apart, and they’re frantically trying to impose order on it.”

    Yes indeed. Venality may be at the root of it, but there are a delightful number of coincidences and intriguing potential storylines. (patents on PCR tests in 2015, the UK Gov booking upto £119 million in covid ad space three weeks before the ‘lockdown’ was announced (haven’t had chance to trace those out properly yet).
    In the pdf link I included some additions; this one jumped out at me:

    “The technology is progressing so fast that Kristian Hammond, cofounder of Narrative Science, a company specializing in automated narrative generation, forecasts that by the mid-2020s, 90% of news could be generated by an algorithm, most of it without any kind of human intervention (apart from the design of the algorithm, of course)”. (10)

    ‘automated narrative generation’ – May Great Cthulhu protect us!
    Getting info online will become an exercise in futility – robots writing articles and bots responding to them.

    JMG: “I think the confusion you’re seeing from governments and other authority figures is a product of that, rather than any sort of plot”

    Perhaps so, but are the things so far apart? If a class were so desperate to keep power, it is not beyond reason to expect the extraordinary – the last 4 years of Orange Julius syndrome has brought on some fairly bizarre behaviour, so, granted it may be completely mundane, but as a class they are looking at oblivion because of the predicaments facing them – the global narrative (other than exceptions like Sweden and a few others) have followed surprisingly similar tracks and this may be their last big play as they try to cling on to control… Messy.

  330. I find it intriguing how your belief in the finite nature of our technological age goes hand-in-hand with a belief in the limited nature of socio-cultural “progress”. This is quite a contrast with other voices of our time.

    In Ed West’s “Small Men on the Wrong Side of History”, one of the most convincing and recurring points in his book on his belief in the ultimate triumph of progressivism is that historically speaking, whenever a creed gains the loyalty of a critical mass of people who are (a) highly educated and/or (b) urbanites, it becomes THE creed of the land within, at best, two generations (except for a handful of stubborn holdouts in remote areas). This is especially true regarding highly educated females.

    West cites the example of Roman Christianity and English Protestantism as appropriate allegories for contemporary progressivism. In each case, the old faith of the country provided the cohesion, rituals, and harmony that most people crave while the new creed of the metropolises inspired a highly opinionated and disproportionately educated segement of the populace with ideas of radical social reform. West doesn’t mention how the very word “pagan” literary comes from the Latin word for “villager”, which itself comes from the Latin word “pagus” meaning “country person” (as a pagan yourself, you may appreciate this knowledge). Meanwhile, “heathen” was the Anglo-Saxon word for “hill people”. The fact that these words were a popular image that came to mind should tell us a lot about the mindset of Christians towards non-Christians in Late Antiquity. They evidently didn’t just see non-believers as evil sinners of worshipers of false idols, they saw them as backwoods yokels who sentimentally clung to their sacred bogs and bushes. Meanwhile, early Christianity was (contrary to the opinions of the likes of Dan Brown) highly female dominated,

    “What’s ominous for conservatism is that historically dominant belief systems begin with a big gender skew. Back in antiquity various Roman writers complained that ladies were easy prey for any ‘foreign superstition’, but one in particular was very successful at recruiting women not understand the appeal of this strange new cult from the eastern Mediterranean with its obsessive focus on forgiveness and peace, and worshipping some sort of dead criminal. Indeed, they feared this subculture in which ‘women enjoyed far higher status than did women in the Greco-Roman world at large’, and which opposed infanticide, divorce and male homosexuality, making it appealing to females. 31

    This new cult’s most successful propagandist, St Paul, wrote an Epistle to the Romans issuing ‘personal greetings to 15 women and 18 men’, and since men tend to predominate at the head of such movements, this large number of women even among the leadership suggests that the Roman Christian community was already heavily female. An inventory of property taken from a Christian church in Cirta, North Africa, during the Diocletian persecution of 303 found ‘16 men’s tunics and 82 women’s tunics as well as 47 pairs of female slippers’. Both Christian and pagan accounts mention a sex imbalance and ‘ancient sources simply swarm with tales of how women of all ranks were converted in Rome and in the provinces . . . and that the percentage of Christian women, especially among the upper classes, was larger than that of men.’ 32

    Early Christian man was far more likely to be a secondary convert, someone who joins a religion because a spouse had done so, whether out of zeal for life in the next world or an easy life in this one. European history is filled with examples of kings who adopted the new faith in order to placate their Christian wives, including Clovis, leader of the Franks, and Ethelbert of Kent, the first Christian kings in France and England respectively.” (West, p. 255-256)

    Historically speaking, the “deplorables” of any particular era can only ever win short-term victories like Emperor Julien of Rome (the last Pagan emperor) or Queen Mary of England (the last Catholic monarch). The only exceptions I can think of off the top of my head are the French Hugenots and the Cult of Aten in Ancient Egypt. In the former case, the disproportionate economic and social power of the Hugenots was curbed through mass explusion while in the latter, Akhenaten died early so the reactionary forces were able to act swiftly to eradicate his heresy before it became too entrenched among fashionable people.

  331. I think the perennial appeal of some shade or another of Marxism in the current age is that it offers a materialist soteriology when most other soteriologies are no longer live options to people (e.g. Christianity). It is also a fairly lazy one, which our times as well. The would-be “elite” can fantasize about sitting back as the actual working class dies by the thousands in a revolution that sweeps the them into power so they can go about ordering a perfect society of universal satisfaction. It’s a control fantasy where the end point (a perfect society) justify all the the efforts taken to get to it.

    The idea I’ve been seeing recently too from the left is that “communism would work if not for the capitalist coups!” This is funny to me because even if that were true, the idea that you can build a society from scratch without other societies interfering is stunningly ignorant of human history.

  332. @ Warren,

    I have been listening to this Solar is the cheapest electricity ever argument for several years now so I decided to sit down and calculate it in the real world. I did a simple back of the envelope analysis to determine what it would cost to run a normal home in the Pacific NorthWest with Solar vs the cost of buying the same electricity from the grid. I used the latest numbers from the energy trust of Oregon for real equipment you can buy now. I concluded that even to run a stripped down average home ( no AC, etc.) the cost for the solar panels, mounts, installation, wiring, batteries, charge controlers and inverters would be at least $58,000 for such a house. Such a house would have an average electric bill of no more than $200 per month in this region so the payback time would be at least 12 years if no maintenance was needed. Keep in mind the inverters and batteries only have about a 10 year life span, so this is not really penciling out with todays electric costs. I realize there are some economies of scale with big utility size systems but there are also grid costs etc. The people hyping this cheaper than ever nonsense forget that much of the stuff in a system is only getting more expensive like steel mounts, wire, inverters, labor etc. Also this does not include batteries big enough to iron our seasonal swings in solar radiation which is really the fly in the ointment.

  333. All, has anyone else noticed that the “Simulation Hypothesis”, that reality is a giant computer program, looks like creationism in technological drag?

    Happy Panda and Barefootwisdom,

    Thank you both for the additional data points!

    JMG,

    My question with regards to your comment to Naomi is that I’m wondering which trends you’re watching. As for my friend who commented on mindfulness meditation shutting the mind off, I’ve asked, and will get back to you; he’s fluently multi-lingual, and I mentioned English or Latin would work for sure; what other languages do you read? If you read any of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean I’m quite confident he’ll have something, but otherwise I’m not so sure.

  334. To Helix, Irena and others interested in the ongoing Covid 19 story, a lengthy video (49 min) posted recently by Reiner Fuellmich is very interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6IgNgfUefg. He is affiliated with the German Coronavirus Investigative Committee, which no mainstream media in the US has covered at all. It seems that qualified opinions which do not conform to the establishment consensus are being vigorously suppressed. Imagine that!

  335. @Kimberly “To JMG or anyone who knows Greek — Is today’s Greek language pretty much the same as ancient Greek language, or is it a situation like New English versus Old English or New French versus Old French where the pronunciation and syntax differences are stark?”

    In a word, the latter. Greek is several thousand years old at this point, so the differences are even more stark over time than with English or French. The Greek of Homer, the Greek of Plato, the Greek of the New Testament, and modern Greek, while there is a commonality, are markedly different.

  336. Boulderchum, I’ve read that the conical hat started out as something that was put on medieval heretics as they were led to the pyre:

    Jbucks, to some extent, yes. It blocks the free flow of etheric energy into and out of the body — it’s rather like the etheric equivalent of a cloth mask, preventing you from breathing freely.

    David BTL, good. The notion that traumas and their consequences are flaws is common, and inaccurate. Traumas and their psychological sequels are part of the growth process, and become sources of strength — not merely “character marks,” but lessons permanently absorbed and, once processed, turned into sources of wisdom and power.

    Booklover, two valid points.

    DFC, mercenary armies are quite common in the waning phase of empires — think of the way that the Romans hired entire barbarian nations to go fight for them. It’s more of the same; when your nation no longer produces first-class fighting men, you hire one that does. Of course eventually the mercenaries end up deciding that the people who hire them are on the menu, too, but stupidity is common in every era of history. (BTW, when I say no discussion of the US election, I do mean that!)

    Patricia M, good. The farm purchases were discussed in The Nyogtha Variations and hinted at in the last three books of the Weird; yes, his tenants will doubtless all end up paying him in kind as the money economy comes unglued. Yes, that’s the way the succession runs — Charlotte as titular head with Alain as the business manager, and then to Geoffrey — it isn’t quite Salic Law but the traditions of the dynasty favor a male heir if there is one. As for Evan, yes, he’s one of the loose ends I decided to pick up in Yueh Lao.

    Curt, there are times now and then when all of us need harsh therapy, and the universe is fairly good at providing that.

    Ben, that’s not yet settled. The way we were going until 2016, it looked like a Mayan collapse — that was certainly the model I was using — with the usual pattern of elites hopelessly disconnected from the realities on the ground, and a rising spiral of hostilities between the elites and the masses that would have forced the elites to turn to foreign warbands to maintain peace — a bad move and one that usually leads to disaster. (Look up Hengist and Horsa sometime.) At this stage of the game, we may just be able to stretch things out into something closer to a Roman collapse here in the US. Still, it’s up in the air as yet.

    Steve, he probably was the original source, but that’s not where I got it. I got it from occult sources, which I find more readable than Aristotle!

    Peter, if you ever have a chance, see if you can find Martin Rowson’s graphic-novel version of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” which is a mashup of Eliot with The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon, with a shamus — “the name’s Marlowe. Christopher Marlowe” — seeking the Holy Grail through the gritty environments of Eliot’s poem. It cites that story from the filming, and also notes both the places where Chandler mentions “The Waste Land” in The Long Goodbye. You’ll like it.

    Jay, too funny! Another of my arguments picked up without attribution and splashed over the prestige media. I don’t mind — that’s one of the standard ways that fringe thinkers like me shape the collective discourse.

    Aidan, the midwest was cutting-edge and fresh and new and hot, too, until it wasn’t any more, and then the bottom dropped out. I expect to see exactly the same thing out on the Pacific coast.

    Booklover, yes, I’m sorry to say there’s a woke Druid scene, mostly Neopagan rather than Druid Revival but not entirely. As for The Blood of the Earth, like the rest of my peak oil books, I’m not sure it aged well. I’ll be revisiting them over the next couple of years and seeing what can be salvaged.

    Kimberly, I believe there are massive differences between ancient and modern Greek, roughly on a par with those between Latin and Italian. Still, I’ll wait to hear from someone who knows both.

    Warren, two good points.

    Irena, one can quibble all week over what does and doesn’t count as Marxism. As for the body count, all we know — again — is that the biggest body counts of the 20th century were all produced by Marxist regimes. I suppose you could claim that fascism might have been even worse if it had the chance — but that still leaves those tens of millions of corpses scattered across Eurasia as a reminder that when Marxist regimes go bad, they go very, very bad indeed.

    Karl, I’m quite open to the possibility that the entire pandemic is a public relations exercise — it would certainly explain why caseloads are being propped up by systematically misidentifying flu as coronavirus. (I can think of no other logical reason why current influenza rates are at a few per cent of their usual level.) The thing I notice about it all, though, is how inept the whole thing is.

    Aidan, there are plenty of counterexamples to that claim. One that comes immediately to mind is Theosophy, which made immense inroads among women of the intellectual classes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then flopped. The reason for its failure was quite simple: a new faith can get an initial foothold among intellectual women, but it then has to find a way to appeal to the deplorables before the intellectual women get bored and turn to something else. Theosophy failed to achieve that, and so imploded. Wokesterism is heading the same way.

    Muninn, exactly. Intellectuals routinely come up with theories that claim that if only you put the right social system in place, people will automatically start behaving like angels and Utopia will arrive. It never works, but hope springs infernal, because the alternative is admitting that human ideas are weak and imperfect tools with which to deal with the universe, and few intellectuals can handle admitting that!

    Allen, yes, the Simulation Hypothesis is one of several technofundamentalist fantasies — the Singularity is another. As for what trends I’m watching, nothing subtle — if people start being imprisoned, beaten, et al. for wrongthink, I won’t be high on the list, and the moment it starts happening I can start making plans.

  337. Violet, fair enough! I’ve most recently read some of his shorter works and likes them; strangely enough his longer ones haven’t called to me at all (since GoW required in high school), so perhaps my reading-angel is looking out for me :).

    And I had a similar experience of wowed-by-first-read, couldn’t manage it ever again for Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel.” I’ve been carting that book along but maybe it’s time to admit our time together is done!

  338. JMG, your peak oil books are still good – it is the details where some thing went differently and slower than originally imaged;. As for the woke Druids, that it goes through the Neopagan – Druid Revival divide is an interesting factor – maybe there is some immunizing factor against wokeness involved.

  339. @JMG

    Yes, I know, the body counts were high. But I’m trying to figure out the root cause. It seems to me that the fact that it was Marxism, rather than something else, was a historical accident. Any ideology that promises heaven on earth would have done just as “well,” given the opportunity. The thing with Marxism is that it’s dead and buried. Nobody’s trying to organize the Revolution anymore. Yet, political utopianism is alive and well, and I see no reason to think that its various stripes are less dangerous than the Marxist version simply because, well, they happen not to be Marxist.

    Also, didn’t you write a blog post at some point about how, after WWII, Western countries quietly gave their populations a whole bunch of Nazi goodies (paid vacations and stuff like that), precisely with the intention of avoiding the Nazi nastiness? And were they really Nazi goodies, rather than (or more than) Marxist goodies? One danger that I see in the contemporary United States (and not just there) is that it tends to revile everything and anything potentially related to Marxism. That’s a mistake, in my opinion. Some of the stuff (universal health care, anyone?) is actually quite good, regardless of the fact that otherwise brutal regimes were among the first to offer it. Tell people that the only way they can get affordable health care is if they happen to live in a Marxist country, and you may just convince the populace to raise Marxism from the dead.

  340. JMG: “I can think of no other logical reason why current influenza rates are at a few per cent of their usual level.”

    Okie-dokie, now I have a question (for our host, or for anyone in the know). COVID-19 and flu symptoms are very similar, as we know. If you go to the doctor with such symptoms, they’ll give you the COVID-19 test. Now, will they also give you the influenza test?

    Here’s why I’m asking. The COVID-19 test is extremely sensitive, right? It’ll detect a very low viral load, I believe. So… Suppose you have both the coronavirus and the flu virus, but your viral load of the former is tiny and not affecting your health, whereas the latter is wrecking your system. What would happen? Would they even test for the flu virus? Or would they just count you as a COVID-19 case and leave it at that?

  341. @ Aidan, re the Pacific Coast is an Interesting Area

    I followed the California dream out to San Francisco, right after the 1989 earthquake. Recently I migrated back out again, wanting to leave a corporate culture that aped the mechanisms of “family” while taking every opportunity to break off pieces of my role to be outsourced to Indonesia.

    And then… I was stunned that Trump took us off the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which looked like it was going to be the wave of the future, in which unregulated international companies could overrule the self-sovereignty of local governments and community resource planning in order to boost investor profits, a looming and seemingly inevitable refrain. Who comes up with this crap?

    San Francisco, my once-beloved city, gutted by land developers. Where a popular election which voted NO on the building of yet another sports stadium on the waterfront between a children’s hospital and another sports stadium, was deemed illegal, and so said stadium got built anyway.

    SF, where the real newspapers were dismantled and converted into propaganda rags… need I go on? Public radio hosts forced off the air (while on the air) by Clear Channel and their ilk, (for everyone who was listening to hear).

    mood: disappointed

  342. “Aidan, there are plenty of counterexamples to that claim. One that comes immediately to mind is Theosophy, which made immense inroads among women of the intellectual classes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then flopped. The reason for its failure was quite simple: a new faith can get an initial foothold among intellectual women, but it then has to find a way to appeal to the deplorables before the intellectual women get bored and turn to something else. Theosophy failed to achieve that, and so imploded. Wokesterism is heading the same way.”

    That is a good point. There are also a couple of other counter-points to West’s argument. One, which West himself touches upon in the last chapter, is the huge gap in birth rates created between conservatives and progressives since the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

    Another reason why progressivism is not Christianity is an element that West does not touch upon. I have read Anthony M. Esolen’s “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization” he notes a key insight on early Roman Christianity which West overlooks. A current point throughout Esolen’s point is how Christians popularized themselves by professing something which had been forgotten in late 3rd Century Rome, the dignity of manual labor. Early Romans prided themselves on the ability to tinker with their hands to build sophisticated monuments and infrastructure that would last beyond their lifetimes. By the early 3rd Century, however, the Roman intellectual elite regarded manual labor as something below the dignity of Roman and best left to imported slaves from other lands (sound familiar?). Christians, by contrast, believed that manual labor was an activity blessed and enobled by God. The religion’s founder, after all, was a Jewish carpenter. Hence, the Christians argue against slavery for the welfare and dignity of manual labor. This sense of spiritual dignity granted to those who perform physical work lasted for centuries,

    “Unlike us, now. It is one of the purposes of the college degree, to safeguard the holder from a sore back and calluses. But the Christians could not look down upon the kind of labor that their Savior did, for Jesus was a carpenter. And Peter was a fisherman, and Paul a tent-maker. We should not underestimate this acceptance of hard physical labor. It may be that Christianity is truly healthy only where this principle is affirmed, and that its denial is a symptom of a sickly faith, as among the French aristocrats in the eighteenth century, or the overschooled in ours. The principle long predates the Protestant Reformation. The craftsmen who built the medieval cathedrals often memorialized their trades in wood or glass or stone upon the very walls. But the Church was reviving a Roman ideal that had fallen into the yellow leaf. The Romans were fond of looking back upon the modest-living gentlemen farmers who had been the backbone of the Republic. By the second century of the Empire, many city people found themselves yearning for the peace and health of a farm. But it had been a long time since men with any money stooped their shoulders. A rich man might own a farm, but slaves dragged the plow. Now, as I’ve said, a slave economy is a stagnant economy. The Romans were terrific engineers, as we see from their aqueducts and sewers and basilicas and roads. Were it not for slavery, they might have had an industrial revolution. By the time the Germans and the Huns had invaded, political and economic conditions made that impossible. But the Christian re-valuation of work would eventually build the continent anew.” (Esolen, 149)

    If there is one thing that contemporary progressivism is not, it is a worldview that believes in the dignity and enoblement of manual labor; it is the ideology of the post-materialist “knowledge elite” in the information and academic sectors who see manual labor itself as being on the wrong side of history. Transhumanism has become a new fad for the Silicon Valley elite.

    I saw this one interesting UnHerd article about the original New Left. One thing that I didn’t know about the 1960s Left at the time was that it, unlike today, was VERY techno-phobic. Sixties radicals described new technologies, especially the new computer technologies, as something that undermined the very dignity of what a human being is. Berkeley radicals even burned IBM chips, something even an archdruid like yourself may find excessive! Can you imagine asking contemporary radicals to, say, take hammers to their iPhones?

    https://unherd.com/2020/10/how-the-left-changed-its-tune-on-big-tech/

    If you are correct that technological progress will reverse in the next couple decades, there will certainly be an increased respect for manual labor and a shrinking of the contemporary progressive worldview. If not, religions that seek to control technology and enoble physical labor may gain wide followings.

  343. @ Violet: I love War and Peace, and I can claim a relative as a character. My grandfather’s grandfather’s brother (my great^4 uncle), was in the Grand Armee. When Pierre was wandering around trying to figure out WTH was happening at the Battle of Borodino, so too was Dirk van Erp, although Tolstoy neglected to mention his presence.

  344. > Aidan, generally speaking, nations manufactured by foreign powers without the least attention to longstanding ethnic and religious rivalries find ways to crash and burn. Elite overproduction is only one of the many options.

    It may be not that foreign powers fail to pay attention to preexisting nations within the borders of their artificial countries, but that they use those differences to ensure the dependency of the colony.

    If let’s say, you are a colonial power that got its hand on a subcontinent where 5 long standing ethnic/cultural groups live, the last thing you want to do is to give each of them a country to for a national identity around. Instead you create 3 artificial countries, each with mixed populations, then you provide ample privileges to one group in each country. The chosen ones must be a large minority: large enough to provide ample muscle to keep the hoi poloi in check, but not too large as to achieve hegemony without external support. You delegate all the low level administration of the colony to the special group, and voila, you have built yourself a “race” of loyal lackeys that will follow you through fire and ice to keep their lifestyles.

    Albeit, it is a big no-no to make the same minority dominant in the 3 countries, should they think of making common cause against the Imperial Metropolis. Instead, they should be suspicious of each other, and as dependent from you in their foreign policy as they are in their internal affairs. You get bonus points if you manage to make the same ethnic group dominant on one country and visibly oppressed just across the border. Those two will hate each other’s guts and never agree on anything but “when and where to we fight it off?”.

    Source: Reading too much of the War Nerd back in the day. One (incomplete) example: http://exiledonline.com/wn-29-west-african-ethnic-geology/

  345. @JMG and Curt:

    There is actually a modest amount of really solid academic scholarship arguing that early Christianity did have at its heart a secret tradition of ritual initiation into higher realities, reserved for only a select few Christians. If this scholarship is sound (as I think it is), then that secret tradition of ritual initiation was instituted by Jesus of Nazareth himself. It was always reserved for a select few Christians, and so naturally it became extinct during the mass conversions of the 4th and 5th centuries. (Some aspects of this initiatory tradition may have survived down to our times within the highest of the Eastern Orthodox monastic ranks, the “angelic schema,” as it is called.)

    The best scholarly work on this secret tradition was done by an atheist academic named Morton Smith and by a Methodist scholar named Margaret Barker. Their work is being continued at present by Scott G. Brown. I find their scholarship wholly convincing, despite some heavy-handed attempted take-downs of Smith’s work by Stephen Carlson and Peter Jeffrey.

    (NB for fellow academics: this secret tradition, as the above-mentioned scholars have reconstructed its main lines, is nothing at all like the so-called “disciplina arcana,” which developed in the 4th century–possibly as a pale substitute for the original initiatory tradition was already becoming extinct.)

  346. @ clay dennis

    I actually considered installing solar panels on my own property when the local utility here started offering a whopping $0.80 per kWh for renewable-energy generation (which they then sell for $0.12 per kWh – I guess they planned to make up the difference on quantity or something). What I discovered – once I had figured in the purchase costs, installation costs, and disposal costs against the lifespan of the equipment – was that there was very little hope of ever getting my investment back. Payback time was a whopping 14 years; the equipment would have to be replaced at 15-20 years, and the revenue was dependent on a government subsidy program that, as such, could not be relied upon much beyond the tenure of the incumbent administration. I thanked my lucky stars afterwards for deciding not to go ahead with it, because after the next election the subsidy was reduced enough to drop the rate from $0.80 to $0.65, which made the payoff time exceed the life expectancy of the equipment. People who think this stuff is a great idea are very well intentioned, but SO poorly informed.

  347. Here’s a datapoint for you that is causing my head to explode today…..My daughter’s college closed to students living on campus and is doing Zoom classes this term. For the term that begins in January they announced yesterday they are making on-campus living optional but changed the housing agreement saying that if the dorms close for any reason including the pandemic, there is no refund on the housing and dining. The cost is $5,500 per 10 week term (they do three 10 weeks terms per year). The classes will all still be online though except a few labs and maybe studio classes.

    There is nothing open on campus – the dining is grab and go (must eat alone in room), gym closed, library closed, no student group meetings, no concerts, and no sports. Students would live alone in a dorm room. They took away all the student lounge furniture and blocked off the common kitchen. Oh, and only one person per elevator, so basically no human contact allowed. It sounds like a detention facility tbh.

    I did the math and the school had 7,500 students that normally live on campus so at $5,500 a piece that is $41 million dollars per term they bring in just in housing and dining fees. Talk about a huge stream of income for the school! They obviously can’t afford to lose that again. And it sounds like they only have half the students they normally do because they aren’t even opening all the dorms to do one person per room social distancing requirement.

    In the parents facebook group its pretty unanimous that they are sending their freshman students no matter what the cost or risk. They don’t want them to miss out on the college experience after they missed high school graduation, prom, and been in lock down most of the year. I think there is a 50/50 chance the dorms close again due to either the virus panic or the city violence/protests which have gone on all summer. To say the parents lost plot or are living in some sort of deluded reality is putting it mildly.

    I can’t get any sort of answer from my other daughter’s college on their plans for next term. What an absolute FUBAR. We’ve talked on here about the coming college collapse but it is so weird to be in the middle of it.

  348. BoysMom

    My husband tends to do the shopping in our household and collects it on his way home from work, but prices here in Arkansas (north of Little Rock) are definitely up – notably beef.

    The number of canned items is reduced. My husband has remarked especially on shortages with green beans and beets in the canned goods selection, on different weeks. One week he couldn’t see any normal sized cans of plum tomatoes and he had to get a very large more expensive luxury brand of canned tomatoes for me instead. I remember that especially because I almost didn’t believe him when he said they were out of normal sized canned tomatoes. It does seem to vary as to what they are out of, week to week, though.

    With regard to flour, the selection of types and brands of flour seem to be substantially reduced and the number of units of any given product are small. Bread flour, in particular, was scarce for a long time, but it is back in the shops now.

    We have difficulties at times in buying our preferred brand of toilet paper at the moment, and the section devoted to toilet paper seems only about 20 per cent filled (if that), at the time when my husband goes shopping.

    We normally buy cream on a fairly regular basis for my husband’s coffee and sometimes to have on porridge, and its supply, and in what kind of container seems far more irregular than it used to be. So this week, we had to get two small containers of cream rather than one usual sized one, for example. The name of the game seems to be flexibility when it comes to shopping now!

    I have recently found out that if you buy wheat gluten you can use plain flour to make bread. I am sure that will be a useful factor to know over this winter.

    Last spring I spent a lot of energy making a new garden and planting more potatoes. I think it was 26 lbs of potatoes in the end that I planted. i am still digging them up and eating them, with more in the garden still. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize they would re-sprout again in the Arkansas fall, so I need to spend a bit more time planning the harvesting and storage of them next year. I have also just dumped down a load of hay left over from the goats on a 1000 square foot area and bought some Turkey heirloom red wheat, which I am in the process of planting, mostly by making furrows in the hay and covering it up again, as i don’t have a tractor. I really have no idea what I am doing to be honest, but I thought it would be a good idea to try. I am waiting until the chickens have gone to roost this evening to try to do a bit more, as they tend to follow me around and scratch up the seed I have planted in a sort of biblical parody.

    To Irena and Mr Greer – thank you for all your comments relating to living and working in different countries. I found them very interesting to read.

  349. @ lady cutekitten & millicently

    Thank you both for your information about MailChimp. Bill’s looking into MailerLite. He’d never heard of Madmimi. We may still end up with Madmimi because, as you say, a paid service will be more reliable than a free one because they’re making money off of you.

    @ boysmom and grocery store shortages.

    I shop twice a week (milk only on Saturday and the big one on Wednesday) and I pay close attention because I consider grocery shopping to be a sporting event: me vs their efforts to extract maximum cash from me. I try hard to win.

    There are still loads of spot shortages here in Hershey. They are sometimes so random. Prices do seem to be rising. My best guess is supply-line issues are still in play.

    One reason they may be in play is not the tomatoes the factory puts into the can. It’s the can or the label. No cans or labels and you can’t can the tomatoes at the factory. The same is true of raw materials for complex chemicals like, say, dishwashing liquid. If any part of the mixture is unavailable, the factory can’t make the dishwashing liquid.

    Keep in mind that there was massive flooding up and down the Yangtze River this year. That’s the heart of China’s industrial region.

    We can grow all the potatoes and tomatoes we want but if we don’t have cans to put them into, well, no canned veg at the store.

    The solution? Buy it when you see it and increase the size of your buffer.

  350. Hi John,

    I hope you are keeping well. I wanted to ask you a few questions that have been on my mind recently and I was hoping you could provide me with your thoughts on the matter. So here goes.

    1) What is your opinion about Gnosticism? I’ve been reading into this lately and on the one hand, I don’t think the material world is entirely evil, on the other they do make some good points.

    2) I want to play devil’s advocate a bit here when it comes to the concept of the long descent. You describe how there is going to be no mono future which of course is a very good point. Yet the sceptic can easily say “well look, we invented the airplane, radio, sent men into space, the Internet, so of course things will be developed into the future!” What would your response be to these sceptics?

    3) You mentioned before that the Age of Aquarius is going to be part of the negative cosmic pull that ultimately leads to more division in the world, not unity. Yet for now when it comes to Aquarius, it does seem to be the world has been pushing in a more unitary direction. In your opinion, when do you suspect could be the time for the world to start dividing again?

    I hope I’ve not asked too many questions! I’ve just had these thoughts on my mind for a while now and thought you’d be the best person to ask.

  351. Karl,

    Re the coordinated assault on consciousness, yes, and I have been thinking in that vein for some time. I noticed the unbelievably quick and thorough triumph of trans activism shortly before the corona nonsense. Both are obvious to me. The trans agenda is truly scary. People could have their children taken away from them if they resist allowing them to be pharmaceutically or surgically neutered. People could be prosecuted for not engaging in sexual activity with people whom they do not prefer. But worst is that this agenda tears at the deep psychological structures of the psyche. Children are indoctrinated to disbelieve and disavow their core self – not their souls but the body in which they have incarnated and blended their soul and psyche. The sudden power with which all were silenced – even pediatricians. Ditto covid. All transparent.

    And JMG, you say if they try another lockdown there will be an explosion. But they are already starting new lockdowns in Europe. Are Europeans more obedient do you think or do you expect an explosion?

  352. JMG: “The thing I notice about it all, though, is how inept the whole thing is.”

    Inept but surprising how inertia is carrying people.
    It is almost like a poor soap-opera script…do people still say ‘soap opera’?

    We are looking on agog. I can see the future covid archaeologists indexing the ‘biped’ under ‘inept’ and ‘cautionary tales’.

    On the other hand, there are enough interesting things going on that, there is still plenty to happen yet…

    For all the strangeness, a glorious time to be alive

  353. @ Alan (and also John Evans)

    “but I have had to shake my head at those who deny the reality of human races, however muddled the concept may be. Such a position has struck me, to be honest, as just more of the same kind of recent denial-of-reality as the refusal to accept the reality of gender, or the inherent differences between males and females…”

    The position that I think actually makes TPTB nervous, is the the one that says that *because* differences exist, IT DOESN’T FOLLOW that one race, or gender gets to be IN CHARGE of the other(s).

    This is because TPTB are generally all about WHO IS IN CHARGE.

    As I recall, from the days when I discovered feminist thinking, and it introduced me to the idea that there was no particular rationale behind the notion that men get to be IN CHARGE of women, this was like drinking a whole long, cool drink of the most refreshing water. I never needed to think that I *was* the “same” as a man. I just wanted to be able to tell him to scoot off with himself if he intended to take charge of me. I was glad to discover that when you poked through them in detail, any such differences as are found to exist between people (and there are a great many of them!), never amount to anything when recruited into an attempt to justify one group of people being given charge of another.

    I still think that this is true no matter what differences scholars find between this group and that group. Because ultimately a person, whatever their ancestry, is a free being. And (to quote JMG) “Freedom is the foundation of human delight.”

    What I want to ask each of you is this: So, what IF the differences between different races were found to be mountain high and river deep? What IF the differences between the genders are found to be mountain high and river deep? THEN what?

    Specific question: do either of you see such differences as justifying any political doctine purporting to set one race or one gender to be in charge of another? General question: do either of you argue that there could be ANY political policy that is subject to being derived from scientific data?

    (Because, ultimately, and in my humble opinion, these debates that invoke “science” only become controversial when they disguise an agenda relating to political policy, or about the behaviour we would like to see our ruling powers enforce in others.)

  354. pixelated – yes, there is this youtube-thing. I made a small survey with my then 7th-graders a while back and was surprised to see that they all spend hours a day – at least some – watching the latest nonsense on youtube. At that time I still thought that they’re all playing games (some do), but this is even worse. And yes, though my sample size is limited, there is a strong correlation between what I call caffeinated spider-syndrome and the amount of media consumption. The incidents you have described are truly eerie, but they don’t really surprise me. Manual labor would certainly help, as I wrote below.

    Karl – you’re welcome. I find your thoughts on this very interesting. And yes, I think whatever the exact reasons for these developments are – Training the will and mental hygiene are essential. Manual labor heals a lot, too. Working with the earth in the garden, or with wood, preferably for extended periods of time so that you find into that monotone rhythm that eventually builds up. You should sweat a lot and be exhausted but happy afterwards. I think one reason, why manual labor has no place in today’s educational system is that if you do it, if you create something and on the way to that creation possibly fail a few times and notice that – unlike in a computer game – it’s possible to really mess up and cause a lot of unnecessary extra-work – if you do that, you may realize that there is something like the real world. And once you have realized that, it’s hard to keep motivation high for most of the nonsense that is taught in schools. Though I have to say that at least for German schools the word nonsense is more appropriate for methods and context than for the content of what is taught. The content is mostly ok, but you need some special super-power to decipher what you can do with it.

    Greetings, Nachtgurke

  355. Booklover, thanks for this. The Druid Revival tradition has the advantage of being old-fashioned and rather bookish, neither of which characteristics attract the woke.

    Irena, very few things in the real world have a single root cause, and I doubt the penchant for mass murder is an exception. I find it more useful to note that some ideologies correlate with higher body counts than others, and use that correlation as a source of guidance. As for flu tests, my guess is that you’re square on target — keep in mind that false positives are also extremely common with the more sensitive tests.

    Aidan, that’s a valid point — it was by giving dignity to manual labor, among other things, that Christianity found a home among the deplorables of the Roman world, and it’s by despising manual labor (and the people who do it) that wokesterism is preparing for itself a shallow grave and a water color epitaph.

    CR, also a very good point. That was especially common as a strategy for the British — look at every former British colony and you’ll see ethnic strife that’s driven by the legacy of British policy that gave one ethnic group privileges over another, in order to get the local people to hate and fight each other rather than the British…

    Robert, I also find that quite plausible. Stevan Davies has a book on Gnosticism — The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom — that supports that as well from a different angle, pointing out that the Gospel of Thomas shows every sign of being older than the canonical Gospels. It’s a sayings gospel parallel to the lost volume Q, and sayings gospels last I heard were generally considered to be the likely form of the oldest Christian texts, older than narrative gospels; its versions of several sayings of Jesus also look, in terms of standard form-critical methods, to be closer to the original than the versions in the canonical gospels — and Thomas is unquestionably Gnostic or, if you will, proto-Gnostic. So the occultist claim that Christianity erased its own inner tradition when it set out to annihilate the Gnostics may have something going for it…

    Austin, I’m not sure I’d credit it to elite overproduction so much as to the attempt to replace talent with credentialism, in an effort to keep creative people who aren’t in the managerial classes from replacing uncreative people within those classes.

    Denis, that sort of nonsense will stop when parents stop sending their kids to college. The “college experience” is not worth that kind of money.

    Ksim, (1) that’s a question that would take at least a full post to discuss, since the label “gnosticism” covers a fantastic range of divergent phenomena. (2) That claim amounts to saying “but look at our neat toys!” I’ve addressed such non sequiturs in detail in my books and don’t feel like rehashing the same material here. (3) The world is already dividing again. Britain has left the EU, the US is backing away from its global hegemony, rising regional powers are staging proxy wars in the Caucasus and Africa — good heavens, what else do you want?

    Karl, oh, granted. It’s entertaining.

  356. Synchrony happening here.
    A few days ago started having internet ‘trouble’. Very slow for some sites, including this one.
    Hulu, Netflix, Facebook, my work VPN, etc. All fine and zipping along just like normal.
    Apparently a lot of neighbors having internet issues as well (not sure if it is the same where some work and some don’t). All have att fiber.

    Definitely feels like one of your predictions coming true with the internet being segmented, just much sooner that i expected!

  357. Thank you very much, JMG, for pointing me to Stevan Davies’ book. It looks very promising. I have arranged to check it out from my university library, which has a copy.

  358. @ Irena

    Let’s say there are three types of virus:

    Killer virus: can kill you no matter your physical condition (eg. smallpox, plague)

    Opportunist virus: if you’re already in a weakened state, the virus can cause trouble

    Bystander virus: doesn’t cause illness

    It’s clear sars-cov-2 is not a killer virus. Is it an opportunist virus or a bystander virus? The answer is: we don’t know. We don’t have a test that can tell the difference.

    This is not just some wacky internet theory. It is a well known problem at the heart of virology. There are plenty of papers dealing with the issue. Here’s a quote from a paper which looks at how the PCR test has made the problem worse, not better:

    “As with traditional culture techniques, nucleic acid amplification technology has the ability to detect microbes that may behave as ‘‘true’’ or frequent pathogens, transient or permanent commensals, opportunists that take advantage of pre-existing pathology or altered host defences. The difficulty in making these distinctions is made more challenging by the extreme sensitivity of the amplification technology.”

    The full paper is here if you’re interested: https://cmr.asm.org/content/cmr/9/1/18.full.pdf

  359. Charlotte as not just titular head, but Public Relations and Good Deeds.The usual specialties of the Lady of the Manor anyway. And most business dynasties do run to, as you said, modified Salic descent. With the occasional strong daughter/weak son combo.

  360. @Denis

    My own university, from which I thankfully retired 15 years ago, is doing exactly the same thing down to the small details, almost certainly for exactly the same financial considerations. (Or are your daughter’s univerrsity and mine one and the same? Brown?)

    (If your daughter is going to Brown, tell her never to trust the administration completely, and always check in with you as soon as any hint of trouble arises. They talk a good talk, but they are really all about preserving the university’s reputation, wealth and power. I have seen them throw students to the wolves, no matter who might be in the right, when even a half-way just resolution of some dispute seems likely to go against the university’s own interests.)

  361. Arts and Lovecrafts: nominated for a World Fantasy Award: Leslie Klinger’s “The Annotated Lovecraft- Beyond Arkham.” Data courtesy of ASFacrs, the newsletter of the Albuquerque SF Society.

    And on the succession above – feudalism approaches the House of Chaudronnier/Usuras at a visible rate of speed. No surprise. Most s/f I’ve ever read that predicts that uses the title “Boss or Bossman (and Boss Lady), but mostly in the West and certainly in the Mountain & Basin Country. New England may be different.

  362. About the whole COVID narrative, does anyone else remember back in February when the official line was that the flu is worse and people worried about COVID were spreading misinformation? Trump was called a racist for closing the border with China. The strangest thing to me that I still can only guess at the reasons was the initial downplaying of the virus, since it’s so unlike the normal pattern of the media and the CDC. Since when has the mainstream media actively downplayed a communicable disease? It’s one thing for it to be ignored, off the radar, but usually the pattern is as soon as the media picks up on it, it’s all hype, remember Zika a few years back? I didn’t know what to make of the media actively downplaying a new virus, and still don’t. The downplaying narrative continues even as the economy was crashing, and then flipped suddenly and completely in mid-March.

    I’m very doubtful of the sort of conspiracies that make it out to be completely planned from the beginning, the “plandemic” type that usually starts with it being an engineered virus. That scenario seems to me to be beyond the bounds of normal human behavior, people are just not that competent. I do think there must have been some other agendas behind the flip-flop from downplaying to massive hype. Some try to explain it away by saying that the world was caught off-guard until March, but I just don’t believe it considering there were known cases in America in late January and the history of media hype around things as minor as Zika. The least sinister scenario I can think of is that the powers that be had info that it would likely spread around the globe but wanted to buy time to get a response together before the panic hit. However, I also wonder if some players in the game actually wanted the virus to establish itself firmly around the world before most people took much notice. The CCP certain had the motive, but does it really have its claws in deep enough to control the mainstream media narrative to that effect? That quite a step above simply influencing social media. It’s also possible it was homegrown elites in the west who, threatened by rising distrust of the establishment, decided a real crisis was an opportunity to play the savior in a way which, in their minds, might restore people’s trust in them. I’m open to other theories too, it’s really quite a puzzle.

    What I’ve also figured out is that the religion of Progress makes it easier for its adherents to accept a constant changing of the narrative, because they can always claim the new narrative to be the right one because we know more than we did before. There are times when that is in fact true, we should be willing to change our minds based on new information, but the true believers take that to an extreme and are willing to trust in the new narrative even when its not based on any real changes in our understanding. I also think a lot of people parroting the narrative don’t even really care if it’s right, they’re just concerned about being accepted by their peers and will happily change their tune later when the narrative changes.

  363. Irena,

    It seems to me that the fact that it was Marxism, rather than something else, was a historical accident.
    Really? You think that sending people who owned anything off to Siberia and throwing a bunch of people together to farm land that wasn’t theirs had nothing to do with famine and misery?

    Any ideology that promises heaven on earth would have done just as “well,” given the opportunity.
    You may be right. The elements of bullies taking illegitimate power, needing to exterminate rivals even if they had been allies, and mostly the need to force lots of people to do things that they don’t want to do and keep their mouths shut about it, as well as suppressing religion – I agree that if another Utopian theory had gained a footing the results would have been similar. The issue here is the use of force. You don’t create human happiness by force.

    The thing with Marxism is that it’s dead and buried.
    Well except for BLM which is admittedly Marxist.

    Nobody’s trying to organize the Revolution anymore.

    Yes, they are. Openly. I don’t think they will succeed, but who knows.

    As to the good things in life in the Soviet system, were they particularly Marxist or were they socialist or do you consider those the same? I have noted that many of the best things in life here are also basically socialist.

    We actually had fairly affordable health care in this country before it got corrupt. Now corruption, that is our problem.

    What I think is happening in this discussion is that you had a fairly good life in a fairly good time in one of the better places under a particular regime, and because of that you say Marxism isn’t all bad. I don’t disagree but realize that it would be nearly impossible for any system to be a total hell on earth throughout all its territory and all of the time. Life doesn’t work that way. Lies don’t work that way. In order to make propaganda and lies stick, you’ve got to throw a bit of truth in with it. Likewise, people can go on to have a nice time – Eastern European culture is delightful and the countries are pretty and the people know how to have fun.

    I grew up with hundreds of people in church who would have never left Russia if they didn’t have to flee.

  364. @JMG – thanks I will check out the Brexit approach in more detail (I have the basic outline but I need to read some of the books about it – ideally the pro-Brexit ones for obvious reasons).

    On another note, it looks like the UK is now set to follow the rest of Europe into a full national lockdown next week. Not yet confirmed, but Europe is going down like dominoes this week and politicians are heavily susceptible to this kind of peer pressure and groupthink plus there was an emergency Cabinet meeting tonight – the odds appear to be high.

    Here are my predictions for the (potential) new restrictions – after reading your astrological predictions I find it useful to make them and test them later. In general I expect the rules to be less severe than the March lockdown (and far more widespread noncompliance).

    1. Likely to be announced early next week to begin late next week. Minimum two weeks, maximum one month, *initially* (of course there will be the usual bait and switch to extend them later, along with blaming people for not following restrictions – but they will almost certainly let us out of the cages to celebrate Christmas).

    2. Schools very likely to be kept open (good chance of universities remaining open too), unlike Lockdown 1.

    3. Pubs/bars etc definitely closed. Restaurants most likely closed except possibly for takeaway.

    4. Non-essential shops closed. Gyms most likely closed but a ray of sanity may prevail on this (the government’s own data shows there are basically no infections in gyms).

    5. Offices likely to be allowed to remain open but people will be *strongly* encouraged to work at home if they can and only go to the office if they can’t work at home (this was also the position in March but most offices simply shut).

    6. People will be strongly encouraged to stay at home except for essential trips out, and to exercise at home. But I don’t think there will be the kind of “only one hour outside home per day” rule that existed in March.

    7. Social and family contacts to be essentially banned – you won’t be allowed to meet anyone outside your own household with some extremely narrow exceptions.

  365. Onething:
    It is a poignant article and raises questions that need to be addressed not shouted down.
    All people should be free to live as they like so long as they don’t infringe on other people – to me, there is a difference between men who decide they want to live as women and men deciding that they can call themselves women and take over women’s spaces; it seems like the ultimate in patriarchal games; but hey, that’s probably evilly evilly.
    However that is not the subject here…

    I did not link to the article because of trans stuff, but the underlying methodology – if one were to look at the Klaus Schwab stuff and consider transhumanism, then maybe it is part of the same thing. I do not know.

    It almost seems as though whatever area one chooses to look at, there is an increasing lack of coherence.
    In talking over dinner tonight we got to wondering what might happen next – our best idea is to try and maintain our own coherence…

    Nachtgurke: “Manual labor heals a lot, too.”

    And then some! Can’t remember where I saw it now, but paraphrasing a granny working the land: “You send that child to work with me a while, I’ll soon work the sass out.”

    Nachtgurke: “You should sweat a lot and be exhausted but happy afterwards”

    Happy days!

    Nachtgurke: “And once you have realized that, it’s hard to keep motivation high for most of the nonsense that is taught in schools.”

    We have wondered about the extended time of people being forced to stay at home – 2 weeks then maybe they’ll flip back to ‘normality’ – 3 months and not so much because people who are able have had time to start thinking – 7 months and patterns have been broken in many places – what seems to be happening now is an attempt at a re-programming stage. I must say I do not care for it.

    JMG: “Karl, oh, granted. It’s entertaining.”

    I can visualise tentacles waving in mirth

  366. Dear John Michael Greer,

    lol I don’t take Lord of the Rings that seriously. I had hoped that the over the top seriousness in my previous post would come off as comical to some… or at the very least offer up an interesting diversion from this day and time for those who want it.

    And I know you love Lord of the Rings and was looking to also give you an excuse to Nerd out if you chose.

    LOTR is an interesting example thought experiment. Where you have kings without Parliament and having no parliament, merely advisors, seems to only work so long as the king is somewhat sane.

    TBWS

  367. I just finished reading Steppenwolf. (Next up: a re-read of The Glass Bead Game and then a go at Journey to the East.) Quite interesting.

    From the internal preface: “It is not in my power to verify the truth of the experiences related in Haller’s manuscript. I have no doubt that they are for the most part fictitious, not, however, in the sense of arbitrary invention. They are rather the deeply lived spiritual events which he has attempted to express by giving them the form of tangible experiences.” This seems very generally applicable to a very wide range of writings.

    Also, I was delighted that the final scene in the Magic Theater is a trial of sorts, albeit a short and relatively inconclusive one as these things go.

    There’s a micro-genre I particularly enjoy, when I encounter it, but because it doesn’t have a name as far as I know, it’s hard to find examples of. The examples I do know are very diverse in style. Stories in the genre depict protagonists making their way through a variety of increasingly foreign (to them) or outright fantastic experiences. The journey can be a whirlwind tour or a lived life or any duration in between. The main distinguishing feature of the genre is that the experiences culminate in a trial (in the sense of a courtroom trial) that brings back characters and recaps events from along the way. The trial represents a breakthrough to a realization, so it’s never a properly conducted one and can be somewhat abstract. The most well-known example is Alice in Wonderland. Other examples include Peer Gynt, Pink Floyd’s concert/album The Wall, and John Crowley’s Engine Summer (in which the trial takes the form of the “Whose Knee” game). I’ll need to read it again to decide whether the whole of Steppenwolf quite fits in.

    Do you know other examples of novels that fit the pattern? Anyone else?

  368. @Boysmom re: grocery prices:

    An average shopping trip to Mart of Walls, buying the same stuff we always buy, has gone from about $180 last year, to around $240? $250? currently. A little of that may be attributed to my increasing dislike of shopping there– so I stock up to stretch out the time between trips– but that’s definitely not the complete picture. Prices are up, too. That’s mostly shelf-stable, dry goods, cleaning supplies, eggs, and cheese. I buy meat and produce elsewhere, mostly, and prices have gone up on those as well, but not as starkly– maybe an extra 10 cents/lb on pork, 40cents/lb on beef, no change on chicken. Produce up slightly, but I don’t have as clear a picture on how much.

  369. @Boysmom

    I forgot to add: I hear pumpkins have had some weather disasters with the harvest, and are simply in short supply this year. They can’t keep the canned kind on the shelves here.

  370. I’m curious John, does music play much of a role in your life? I’ve long abandoned the boobtube, and depend on audio vs. visual.

  371. @RusselTheMussel, Warren, re your (respective) claims that nuclear and solar power provide an escape from peak oil:

    As for myself, I’m not really convinced of the unworkability of nuclear power in a post-fossil-fuels economy. Our host’s argument, if I understand it right (and correct me, JMG, if I am misrepresenting you) is that no nuclear power plants have been commissioned in the US or western Europe in several decades, and a number of attempts to build new reactors since then have wasted a lot of money, therefore, nuclear power is inherently dependent on cheap fossil fuels which were more available in the mid-to-late 20th century than today. Personally, I find this unconvincing, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that countries like Russia and India have commissioned new nuclear plants in recent years while consuming much less petroleum than the West.

    In regards to solar, I suspect that the price-per-kW of new panels hasn’t bottomed out yet and they will keep getting cheaper, at least for a while. (Though what Clay Dennis has said about the difficulty of making them pay for themselves while competing with the fossil-fueled grid is still essentially true, and will keep being true as long as there is a fossil-fueled grid.)

    So here are my reasons for believing that, notwithstanding my optimism (relative to JMG) about nuclear and solar power, peak oil is still an existential problem for modern society and the overall trajectory of the West’s decline and fall will play out in the ways that our host has predicted.

    To begin with: Energy is not a commodity.

    There are plenty of well-meaning people who bandy about phrases like “energy is our most important commodity” in order to try to call attention to how dependent our way of life is on concentrated energy sources that will eventually be depleted. Even so, they are overlooking the fact that calling something a “commodity” doesn’t simply mean that it is economically important; the word “commodity” has a specific meaning, and among other things, commodities have to be fungible.

    Basically, this means that every unit of a commodity is interchangeable with every other unit. Gold is a commodity because, on the gold market, every ounce of gold is treated the same way as every other ounce of gold. While there are such things as energy commodities, things like brent oil or LNG or natural uranium which can be interchanged among themselves, they aren’t interchangeable with each other. So it doesn’t make sense to speak of the commodity of energy as such, and the abundance of one energy source often won’t make up for the scarcity of another.

    Nuclear and solar power can, within some limits, replace fossil-fueled electricity. They cannot replace the liquid fuels which run the modern transportation grid. Electric cars rely on expensive batteries full of rare metals and will always be a status symbol for the rich. (And an upper-middle-class American who can afford a Tesla is part of the global very-rich). Also, electricity will not replace coal in metallurgy, either. Even though some metals, like aluminum, can be worked with electricity; steel requires combustibles; after coal is gone that means charcoal or hydrogen, and conversion of electricity into hydrogen isn’t easy or loss-free.

    And even when used simply for electricity, both nuclear and solar have significant drawbacks. Nuclear power has little scalability and requires expensive infrastructure which not all countries have the wherewithal to build and maintain. For example, only seven countries have commissioned at least one nuclear plant since the turn of the millennium. This is not merely a function of hidden energy subsidies – India is one of those seven countries and the United States isn’t, even though the latter consumes 15 times more petroleum per capita. Still, I don’t expect there to ever be a day when the majority of countries on earth have nuclear-powered grids.

    Solar power only works when the sun is shining, and batteries to store it are expensive and depend on limited resources like cobalt. So you can’t run a modern-style industrial grid primarily on solar. A hybrid manufacturing system is certainly possible – i.e. one where people operate the big machines on sunny days and do work that can be done with hand tools at other times. And it wouldn’t surprise me if in an ecotechnic society it was utterly commonplace to hear things like: “The trains run when the sun is shining and the ships sail when the wind is blowing.”

    But this will still be quite a different way of life than the one we’re used to, and there is no indication that the world is going to make it from here to there in a smooth or controlled fashion.

    In conclusion: energy isn’t a commodity, and the fact that there are other useful energy sources besides fossil fuels doesn’t mean that a society built on fossil fuels can avoid collapsing when it exhausts its resource base.

  372. David, no surprises there. The long descent is picking up.

    Robert, you’re most welcome! I happened to find a copy at the University of Washington library when I lived in Seattle, and it struck me as a very sensible counterblast to some commonly held nonsense. His earlier book Revolt of the Widows is also a worthwhile contribution to the sociology of the early Christian church.

    Patricia, granted! And of course she’s got Jenny on call if there’s trouble. 😉 I’m delighted to hear that Klinger’s second volume is well regarded; I have the first, which is excellent. The feudal titles in use in post-Radiance Massachusetts will probably be rounded off bits of Aklo…

    Anonymous, the whole thing is so absurd. Sweden has demonstrated that lockdowns are unnecessary. I hope your campaign sweeps all before it!

    Wizard, remember that I have Aspergers syndrome — irony and sarcasm tend to fly right by me unnoticed.

    Walt, glad you’re enjoying them. Just off hand I can’t think of other examples, though I’m sure they exist.

    Aidan, thank you, but I anticipate no trouble at all. Things are very quiet here in East Providence, not least because it’s full of tough Portuguese immigrants who are very peaceful except when they settle bar fights with knives. During the riots this summer nobody even tried to come across the bridge from Providence; I’m pretty sure they knew perfectly well what would have happened to them if they had.

    Dennis, yes, it does. Absurdly enough for a Luddite, I play the electric organ. (I keep on being given them for free, and playing them keeps the electronic waste out of landfills.) I’m not especially good at it, but I enjoy it.

    Oleg, I don’t know what you mean by those terms.

  373. @Ksim re: unity

    I suspect part of the reason that censorship is on the rise and that voices have become so strident against dissent is precisely because of the Aquarian disjunctive forces’ push against social inertia.

    There’s also the countervailing issue of Neptune in Pisces right now, as it has been since 2011. Neptune in Pisces heavily pushes the ideals of unity, utopia, and submersion/submission. Once Neptune moves into individualist Aries, I would expect that counter-trend to subside and the disjunctive forces to pick up speed.

    @JMG and @CR re: the British Empire’s intentional fomenting of ethnic tension

    …It strikes me that, to an extent, they did it with the US as well. In a larval state and probably without any intention behind it, granted, but the US has never really been one ethnic polity even before you take the African-American population into account.

  374. Scotlyn –

    I certainly don’t think any specific superiority confers a right to rule people who don’t have as much of that trait. “Vote for me because I’m better than you!” doesn’t seem to sell very well, even if the person really is good at a useful skill.

    Women should certainly run their own lives as much as they want to, and even some deeply patriarchal societies expected married women to run the household economy and do a great deal of the child rearing, with her husband respecting her judgment. Patriarchy started at the garden gate, dealing with external relations, especially politics and war. A good marriage was a Dual Monarchy. I like to cite the fairly recent example of a Swiss citizen in one of the old-fashioned German cantons that didn’t give women the right to vote. See him striding into the polling place, mustache bristling and tummy sticking out behind a colorful vest, proudly bearing the sword of an Elector, to cast his sovereign vote just as he agreed with his wife that he would.

    There was an intellectual fad for several centuries to claim that women were such silly childish little things that they should not own property or make their own decisions. I don’t know how far down the class structure that shale ever propagated. Chesterton made fun of this: “Imagine a woman weeding the garden while her husband practices the flute on the porch. Then imagine a Prussian Professor strolling by, saying ‘Ach! He has commanded her to weed the garden, and she has obeyed!’ Any married man knows the truth of the matter; she has commanded him to weed the garden, and he hasn’t obeyed. He will dine on hot tongue and cold shoulder, until she forgives him this time.”

  375. @Kashtan re: Joel Salatin: he has also written a book specifically aimed at getting Evangelicals and other Christians onboard with an authentically “conserve”-ative, God-fearing, neighbor-friendly, regenerative-not-extractive food-farming-environmental ethic (that was my best Salatin impression!). It is called “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs”.

  376. Happy Once in a Blue Hunter Moon to all.
    I just finished Innsmouth: WOH and really enjoyed it so thank you JMG. Look forward to continuing into the depths.
    It caused memories to arise about my short lived association with the Rainbow Family of Living Light in the mid eighties. My initial reaction was awe at all these people living an alternative life and the claimed peace love and happiness that was promoted. After a few years of knowing many of them and going to several regional and a couple national gatherings I came to a feeling of unease as there was something buried under the surface which was much darker than a Rainbow of Living Light. Looking back it is more akin to the Radiance. of WOH. It seemed the height of mind controlled behavior and reminds me of many of the protesters we are seeing today. Both in appearance and in their actions. Physical, emotional, psychic and spiritual violence. And they ignored it like they were in a trance… That was many moons ago and many lessons learned. Just wondering where the idea of the Radiance comes from.

  377. “Aidan, thank you, but I anticipate no trouble at all. Things are very quiet here in East Providence, not least because it’s full of tough Portuguese immigrants who are very peaceful except when they settle bar fights with knives. During the riots this summer nobody even tried to come across the bridge from Providence; I’m pretty sure they knew perfectly well what would have happened to them if they had.”

    The paleoconservative blogger Steve Sailer came up with an interesting theory on social media a few years back that the reason why scholars at certain Ivy League [1] and Seven Sisters universities are able to convince themselves about white privilege theories is to rationalize the genuine fear soft academic types (white (especially WASP) and black) have about white ethnics (especially the Irish) in places like Boston. Think of it as a subtle way for the Diane Chambers types to get back at the Carla Tortelli types 😉 !

    Have you noticed in the recent political unrest, Latinos have been a no-show? Polls show a dramatic increase of Latino support for Trump. They seem to be making the same transitions that white ethnics did two generations ago!

    [1] – Critical Race Theory was formalized in 1987 by black Harvard lawyer Derrick Bell out of its parent discipline Critical Legal Studies. There’s a fascinating story on how efforts to increase diversity at the Harvard Law School in the late 1980s and early 1990s lead to a vicious, venomous environment as documented in “Poisoned Ivy: How Egos, Ideology, and Power Politics Almost Ruined Harvard Law School”. For a briefer description of the atmosphere, here is the recollection by a conservative scholar who studied there at the time (https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/obama-critical-race-theory-and-harvard-law-school-david-french/)

  378. Solarpunk is a sore point for me as it’s about the best aesthetic I’ve seen in fiction anywhere – unfortunately I think the SJW Entryists drowned it in its infancy. If it comes back I imagine it will have a lot more heathenry woven through it, and heathenry isn’t currently as beautiful as solarpunk (though more realistic, to its credit).

    Interesting question as to when and how the left came to dominate the environmentally-motivated dissenter scene. Thinking about it and using reference points from my personal life, I don’t think it was seriously underway before the late ’90s, it seemed well progressed during the first Obama administration, but only really finished during the second.

    Here’s my anecdata: first, the ’90s saw Ted Kaczynski and the spectre of the ecoterrorist – a pretty powerful figure in those days, and from his ‘lone wolf’ behaviour clearly right-wing. The ecoterrorist hasn’t gone away of course – see e.g. the Christchurch shooter – but unlike in the Unabomber days, that the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto contained a lot of environmentalist rhetoric is not generally acknowledged in polite society. So there’s been a real shift in tone since 1995 from that angle.

    The other two anecdotes relate to my experiences supporting the Canadian Green party as a young voter. During the first Obama administration, the Canadian Green Party’s platform was not at all what you’d call left wing – it was quite fiscally conservative, with relatively little new spending on offer and a lot of small-government rhetoric around ending tax exemptions for extractive industries. Nonetheless, members of Canada’s left-wing party, the NDP, resented the Green party for siphoning off ‘their’ votes, despite the green party’s platform being much more similar to the Conservative one! The NDP evidently ‘knew’ that environmental issues were ‘their’ domain, and they clearly got the memo before the actual Green party had.

    By the end of Obama’s second term, it looked like the Green Party got the memo. They came out with a completely overhauled platform, one with a lot of concessions to social justice ideology and not at all fiscally conservative. It was a strong pivot from rural to urban, and I didn’t see a strategic reason for it.

    As for the question of ‘how’, I’m sure there were multiple forces. I can see the divide between rural and urban environmentalists was a fracture point when I read old issues of Whole Earth, so the potential for it to go one way or another was probably always there. I’m sure George Bush distancing himself from environmentalism played a part, he kept his administration’s investments in adaptive technologies very quiet, and he needn’t have. So might a desire on the part of the US propaganda machine to avoid a proliferation of domestic ecoterrorism, and given the Bush family’s intelligence ties those factors could have been related.

    But I think the strongest factor is that somehow ‘conservatism’ and the right wing became completely synonymous. This is also why I think the alt-right is so universally reviled now, the idea that someone could be right-wing and not conservative but in favour of ‘alternative’ policies causes a lot of cognitive dissonance. So in that sense, being right wing and an environmentally-motivated dissenter didn’t make sense within the wider conversation, one had to be right-wing or a dissenter, not both.

  379. Karl,

    Thanks for your poignant post. It had a little synchronicity for me. I always look at the clock at 9:09 and it makes me feel like I’m on the right track in life. Maybe a little silly, but it’s just something that always happens now. Anyway, your post was about decoherence, and the time of posting (at least for me, not sure if it differs by timezone) was 6:06. I just thought that was neat.

  380. JMG, I’m referring to the last novel of Roger Zelazny called “A Night in the Lonesome October”. It’s a story about strange things happening at the time when full moon falls on October 31th. The action takes place in a 19-century London, in a Lovecraftian world. I quite enjoy reading the book (and audioversion narrated Roger himself is marvelous).

  381. Alan, John Michael, and Robert,

    I too find team sports interminably boring, though my disinterest does not come from Aspergers at all. I was a professional dancer, so made my living from an overabundance of mirror neurons. It is also not teams per se that bore me to tears, since I have enjoyed being a member in as well as a spectator of dance companies, theater troupes, vocal choirs, bands, and orchestras. Nor is it watching all sports that leaves me cold, as I delight in watching well-executed solo sports and analyzing the elegant coordination required to master any body discipline.

    Running, swimming, skiing, martial arts, skating, skateboarding, etc. can all utterly captivate me. Actually, watching kids fumble about as they start out in a sport can be the most interesting of all. Then there is the dull hierarchy of playing positions on a team with so many people standing around like extras as the action is focused on but a few players at a time.

    I know that the viewer is expected to keep tracking the ball wherever it goes, carrying the action with it, but I just can’t help but watch the monotonous lack of energy everywhere that the ball is not. Watching team sports seems to be designed to encourage people to pay attention to the least interesting and vital thing around, the ball. The dehumanizing of the team’s members may be what prompts the over-hyped cult of celebrity as a failed attempt to correct for the deadened imbalance.

  382. JMG,

    I wish you a solemn Samhuin. Solemn, because I don’t think the holiday dedicated to the remembrance of the dead and the beginning of the cold and dark half of the year is not supposed to be “merry” or “happy”.

  383. One question about affirmations JMG:

    What do you think about affirmations that involve metaphors?

    For example: I am as mighty as a tiger.

    On sports, I feel that I have some traits on the spectrum. I never could appreciate team sports either as a spectator or a player, but somehow I find sports like weightlifting, martial arts, wrestling far more engaging. When I watch a master grappler, what I feel and think internally is something along the lines of: “That looks really cool, I want to do that too.”

    Curious if you or some of the other aspies here have similar thoughts or not at all. I do know a few aspie-leaning friends who find these sports “too violent”.

  384. @onething: “Really? You think that sending people who owned anything off to Siberia and throwing a bunch of people together to farm land that wasn’t theirs had nothing to do with famine and misery?”

    I think that the line that you cite right below that explains exactly what I meant. 🙂

    And you’re right, people are trying to organize a revolution right now, but it’s not a communist revolution. I should have been more precise. Also, BLM is about as Marxist as Marxism is Christian. It’s not an entirely absurd idea: Marxism is perhaps best thought of as a Christian heresy, and I suppose that BLM can be thought of as a Marxist one. But it really isn’t the same thing. (And then there’s political Islam. Lots of mass murder potential, but it’s decidedly not Marxist.) That’s also why too much focus on Marxism seems misguided. Marxism is dead. Make sure you don’t have some other looney group organizing some other kind of revolution right under your nose while you keep watching out for Marxism.

    “As to the good things in life in the Soviet system, were they particularly Marxist or were they socialist or do you consider those the same?”

    No, I don’t think the good stuff was particularly Marxist, that is to say, you can have the same things under a very different system. Which is very useful to remember. Who was it that said that if you convince voters that you’d have to be a Nazi to want to protect borders, then voters will elect Nazis to protect borders? Anyway, same thing with Marxism and the legitimate goodies that communist countries generally did provide. Although, the thing to remember is that Nazi Germany also provided many of the same goodies, unless you were an “enemy” (of course, communist countries also denied the goodies to their enemies, real or perceived), and a revival of fascism seems more likely than a revival of communism, at least over here in Europe. (And lest I be misunderstood: social democracies were/are, of course, the best at providing those same goodies, plus a number of others, and all that without mass executions.)

  385. @Wesley

    Regarding: your observations on nuclear power

    I agree with most of what you said, but I’d just like to add a few points:

    1) Nuclear waste is a completely different beast as compared to conventional industrial waste. So far, from what I know, the method of disposal used is to simply put it in thick containers and bury those deep below the Earth’s surface. Now, in theory, it sounds good, but in the real world, Murphy’s law tends to dominate. Think of massive earthquakes, for example.

    2) The nuclear facilities themselves are radioactive for something like 20k-30k years. Even if a nuclear power plant has an operational life of 100 years (which is a very optimistic upper limit), keeping the radioactivity from leaking out will require the presence of certain engineered systems, which will need energy. Given that fossil fuels will not last forever, nor will even the energy generated by nuclear power stations (assuming that it gets stored in some way), it is difficult to believe the rhetoric from the nuclear industry about nuclear power being safe, simply because the energy needed to keep the systems preventing radioactivity from nuclear power plants from leaking out on a massive scale for thousands of years is not going to be available.

    My country (India) made the mistake of building nuclear power plants, and not only are the experts cheerleading the construction of new ones, but they also keep talking about how the much-vaunted ‘thorium reactor’ is just around the corner (I remember the techno-utopian crowd’s ‘controlled fusion is a few months away’ every time I see the talk about thorium reactors). The desire to live a ‘westernized lifestyle’ is one of the prime driving forces behind such dangerous policies, IMO.

  386. Warren, the point of thorium is there’s a lot of it. Regular light water reactors will burn through uranium deposits in 40-80 years. But if breeder reactors can turn depleted uranium or thorium into useable fuel, there’s thousands of years of fuel available. The golden scenario is the lithium-flouride thorium reactor – LFTR (pronounced ‘lifter’). As well as having a long-term fuel supply, it’s a liquid core reactor and when the fuel starts to deteriorate, it’s pumped through a chemical plant. That returns good fuel to the reactor, seperates out useful isotopes, and the leftover waste is only dangerous for hundreds of years instead of tens of thousands. It’s known as ‘perfect cycle’ and if it ever works, all energy problems are over for good. Even stuff like synthetic liquid fuels for vehicles, because with such plentiful energy you could make enough of them, regardless how inefficient the processes were. Even electrolysis hydrogen could be practical. That’s the appeal of thorium.

  387. @JMG: “Irena, very few things in the real world have a single root cause, and I doubt the penchant for mass murder is an exception.”

    Right. Genghis Khan and his buddies managed to kill quite a lot of people (a tenth of the human population at the time, if I remember correctly) without any particular utopian thinking, much less Marxism.

    So, I’m sure that, for instance, the personality of the leaders in question played a role. If communism worked out significantly better in Yugoslavia than in the Soviet Union, I think it’s fair to say that this was in no small part due to the fact that Tito just so happened to be a lot saner than Stalin.

    Another thing occurs to me. The Soviet Union and China are where most of the really horrible abuses occurred. (Cambodia, too, of course, but Cambodia is relatively small and I know very little about it, so let me not comment.) Well, those countries happen to have a long history of despotism and not much history of protecting individual rights. Russia was still quasi-feudalist at the time of its revolution, and I believe the same was true for China. Mass murder is easier to commit against that sort of background.

  388. John—

    Re traumas and complexes as positives

    Admittedly, that’s a bit of a leap for me at the moment. Being able to reframe them from being flaws to being something on the mildly positive side of neutral, like an aesthetic benefit, is itself a massive change. I’m not sure how I can make them into functional positives and sources of strength, as you describe. But we’ll see.

    I guess my first reaction to that is how can they be sources of strength when they’re indications of weakness? One who is truly strong and resilient ought to be able to remain unmoved and unmarked by his/her environment, not indelibly impacted and forced to deal with post-traumatic issues. Now, being human, we’re prone to those weaknesses, of course, but again, that goes to the struggle to transcend those limitations imposed on us by that condition. Or so I’ve always thought…

  389. John,

    As you know Chris Martensen has published extensively on Covid 19 on his blog for most of the year. His most recent post on the subject, We Are Pawns In A Bigger Game Than We Realize, comes to conclusions that are remarkable similar to yours and others here.

    A interesting question – does the response situation change after the [unmentionable].occurs or not?

  390. @Irena about double testing:

    That’s why I don’t pay much attention to Covid case numbers, nor even very much to Covid-attributed deaths. On the other hand, the total number of deaths is hard to tamper with. When that number is higher than usual, then you can start looking for reasons.

  391. Greetings, I thought I would jump in again. This week I have noticed in our little bird santcuary that the bird whistles are sparce, at first I thought that oh its just the mid season change, but I am up before dawn this morning and low behold not a single chirp. There have been many other signs too in the way if these signals from nature in the last week as we ate heading towards our rare Jupiter conjunction. Now I wonder if they have an awareness of other forces at hand. Just heard a cricket…….hmmmm

    But my question is this is this something you have noticed in nature as of late? Peace

  392. Alright one Robin showed up do not want to alarm, but they are still strangley sparse as of late. Fascinating open post too. Just to add some other percpective to the Yuga inquiry, there is also another interpretation that the 432 cycle you explained, it goes something like it has the Yuga divided up into sections and its cycle is our galaxy orbiting around another sun. And according to this interpretation we are leaving the Kali Yug and are in the process of entering Treta Yug. Cool stuff JMG. Peace

  393. JMG, on the meaning of race if any:

    I beg your pardon if you felt I was criticizing you for following a scientific consensus on an issue that is not really in your wheelhouse (or mine.) You do enough cognitive heavy lifting for several people in the realms of occultism and Green Wizardry/the Long Descent; nobody can specialize in everything. When I am curious about something but not studying it deeply, I lunge for the mugwump minority position if I find one, sometimes giving it more credibility than it deserves.

    The scientific definition of race you provided, applied to a narrow species like Sapiens (a biologist exaggerated only slightly by saying “If we were dogs, we’d all be the same breed – Generic Mutt!”), leaves very little daylight between Race and Species, and assures no danger of a scientific finding that there are different human races which show systematic differences in abilities and behavior. That leaves us trading places; you are defining a specialist term of art, as I did about financial bubbles a while back, and I am sticking to the common-sense-based popular usage, as you did to call Bitcoin a bubble.

    I mentioned 1990 as my guess at when the growing mound of books and papers presenting irritating and inconvenient evidence about race raised the level of cognitive dissonance to full Brain Freeze among the relevant Alpha Male Bull Scientists. They stopped sniping at the details, and offering sometimes well-conceived criticism of methodology, and started ending the careers of the dissidents. I hope there will eventually be a Toby Gilman in Hyperborea moment, when the Old Guard slink off into retirement. Then it will be possible for social scientists to ask, “This being so, what feasible policies might actually help?”

  394. What is your view on the whole cartoon business in Western Europe? There seems to be a cross-national gathering of forces in both sides of the conflict. Feels like the enforced post-war peace is on the verge of being shattered.

  395. John—

    Further reflections on traumas and strength

    The image that comes to mind is the perpetual battle of will (whose will is successfully imposed upon whom?) with trauma—particularly deep-seated trauma responses—as the consequence of failure which compel one to spend an inordinate amount of time simply recovering back to the starting line.

    On the other hand, as I write this, I realize that I’ve circled back around to the issue of the Contending Forces, which is itself highly suggestive of an error in my approach, though I’m having a hard time fully grasping the implications.

  396. @ Lady Cutekitten – “If They ever start calling citizens “consumers,” resist vigorously. Fight to the last consumer.”

    100%

    Incidentally, I reckon the rot was setting in around 2007/2008. At least it was around then that a local customs official (working the local fishing port beat), told me one day that he had just been sent to do a “customer service training”… “Customers?” Says I. “What customers do you ever deal with?” “Exactly,” says he, with an eye roll. “But, I’m only a coupla years away from retirement” says he, “so, what odds?” I thought, at the time, it was some higher up’s “notion”. But, it looks like the rot is well and truly in now. Even prisoners serving time are now treated as “customers” of the prison service. *Head boggles*

  397. Irena – “Wasn’t that also the reason for all those deaths during the Irish potato famine (except that the ideology in question was liberal capitalism)” – Yes, there are local stories in this fishing port I live close to, that ships loaded with food FOR the starving in Donegal, were intercepted and prevented from landing, for the ideological reason that “markets” would be prevented from working “properly” by food being given to the starving without charge. They were not allowed to land their supplies until local “do good” committees negotiated a “work for food” programme that involved crushing rocks and building a road nobody needed to go nowhere anyone wanted to go, but meant that useless “effort” from those needing food would not injure the holy markets. (Incidentally, the Great Hunger in Ireland is one more body count that I reckon can be added to capitalism’s scoresheet).

    I quite agree with you that when people believe the territory can be/must be transformed into the map they’ve got in their heads, everyone had better look out! THAT is going to produce a body count like nothing else will!

  398. JMG,

    I’ve been meaning to tell you for sometime the strange path that led me here. I was studying business, personally not as part of a degree program. Writer’s like Josh Kaufman and the personal mba and Robert Kioyaski. This linked to economics, because I wanted to understand money because I felt more than understood that something was off. That led to the Austrian school, specifically Mike Maloney and Henry Hazlitt, and hyperinflation etc. But was only one side of it. David Graeber’s “Debt: The first 5,000 years” did much to close the gap. But it didn’t truly answer the “why” of it. It was more how. So I kept digging. This led to Chris Martenson and then to you.

    It’s a strange bit of synchronicity to me that one can start by studying business and wind up reading about the collapse of industrial civilization! Which is leading to my spiritual awakening! How did this happen? 🤔😉

    I very much felt like Owen in The Weird of Hali. “Going deeper. Continuing to ask the questions you’re not supposed to ask.”

    Chris Martenson included the bit about the 7 forms of capital and I realized that I was truly lacking in spiritual capital. As a recovering angry atheist, I chose science over Christianity and attacked religion. This was based on 1 bad experience with a Christian. After my mother’s death at age 10 a preacher’s son had told me “I hope your mother was saved otherwise she’s burning in hell.” 25 years later it still hurts and makes me angry. In his defense he was also 10. Obviously tremendously flawed thinking on my part. ~15-20 years spent hard charging in the wrong direction. 3 years ago Eliphas Levi’s suggestion that “The Bible is not meant to be taken literally,” as well as your comments about “pig headed literalism.” Hit me like a ton of bricks. The proverbial clue by four.

    I had become disillusioned with science because of the dogma “If we can measure it, it’s real!” The flaw there was that obviously temperature was a pseudo science before the invention of the thermometer. What with being unable to accurately quantify it.

    So there I was disillusioned by the “equally dogmatic materialism and Christianity.” Feeling like I didn’t have a place. And now I’m taking your Celtic Golden Dawn VERY slowly I’ve been doing the lesser banishing ritual for approximately a year now, very much an Ovate still. I have young children and am having to unpack and deprogram a frankly ridiculous amount of ingrained prejudice and anger and personal resistance. I am still very uncomfortable with divination. I’m just now starting to get past the “This obviously can’t work.” Or the terrifying (for some reason) “I got carchar! I’m obviously going to prison today!” But I’ve felt something from the first time I did the ritual. My soul feels clean and I feel grubby If I miss a day. I can’t explain how valuable something that “shouldn’t work,” has proven to be. I’m slowly finding some inner peace and spiritual growth. It only took you saying “daily practice” 140 times for it to sink in… and I like to think I’m smart! 😉

    It’s been a long strange trip and, as Marc Denny says, “The adventure continues!”

    All this is to say thank you. Your writings have proven tremendously valuable and important and just thank you. And maybe you’ll find it interesting…

  399. @Darkest Yorkshire

    Regarding: your reply to Warren on thorium reactors

    While I do agree with your observations, are you sure that actually making thorium reactors a reality is a good idea? I mean, sure, it will solve all energy problems for a long time, at least, but then, energy isn’t just any resource, it is the resource that allows us to use other resources. Supposing we manage to achieve the goal of building a power grid powered by thorium reactors, and use the resulting energy jackpot to make synthetic liquid fuels for vehicles, the scale of the wastes generated will be staggeringly huge, both because of the inherent inefficiencies involved in the manufacturing process, as well as the sheer scale of the enterprise (again possible only due to a flood of cheap concentrated energy). Not only will the wastes in this sector alone increase, but they will correspondingly increase in the manufacture of other products as well.

    Now, of course, we can say that recycling and effluent treatment will solve the problem, but recycling and effluent treatment can only do so much (because of the laws of thermodynamics), and this is keeping in mind that we will have access to a flood of energy to supply to the recycling plants (recycling is energy-intensive) in this hypothetical scenario. Also, owing to the complexity of many products, like electronics, for example, there is already a large number of stages involved in the recycling process, and the trend towards ever-increasing complexity will ensure that ever more complex electronic gadgets will be built, leading to an increase in the number of stages in the recycling process, and at every stage there is a material and energy loss (due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics), and due to the sheer scale of the whole enterprise, these wastes will pile up and at some point, they will be regarded as ‘externalities’, as JMG has pointed out in his writings. As a result, the natural cycles that absorb these wastes will be subjected to even greater stress than they currently are, and that would cause the decline to go on in a far quicker manner than it actually is in the real world.

    That’s why I personally think that whether it is controlled fusion or thorium reactors, hitting another energy jackpot would be a disastrous thing to happen.

    Sorry for this rather long reply.

  400. @ John Evans – I appreciate Chesterton, and he has a great wit.

    However, the anecdote you cite – “‘Ach! He has commanded her to weed the garden, and she has obeyed!’ Any married man knows the truth of the matter; she has commanded him to weed the garden, and he hasn’t obeyed. He will dine on hot tongue and cold shoulder, until she forgives him this time” – suggests that actions like “command” and “obey” are to be expected in cross-gender relations, but they may not be applied in the way you expect.

    For my part, I do not think actions like “command” and “obey” are the actions of free adults, and who “commands” who and who “obeys” who does not alter this point in any way. To my way of thinking, it is just as infantilising for a woman to command a man as for a man to command a woman. The business adults have with one another, whatever the context, will never be improved by one of them being infantilised by the other. (Incidentally, I do not think that Chesterton himself would have disagreed with me on this). 🙂

    That said, the evidence turned up through scientific research can be discussed and debated at length. But evidence and research does not tend to produce the kinds of discussions where the phrase “science says” is cited with heat and passion, UNLESS the participants (at least on one side of the debate) are seeking to appeal to a higher authority over the behaviour of the other, or in order to browbeat them into accepting some political policy they are opposing.

    That is why I asked the second, more general, question. Since I love everything about science itself, I really, really hate to see it recruited into being a faux-authoritative voice. Evidence doesn’t care how we behave, or what we do. People do, and the reasons we care are to be found in our values and experiences and interests, none of which pertain to the facts or the evidence discovered through scientific inquiry. If a person feels a need to cite an authority* my humble druther is that they cite something other than “science says”.

    * ie – to infantilise other human adults

  401. @curt

    Thank you for your reply! This is what I would say.

    You claim that only gasoline has the energy density necessary to power heavy equipment. However, you assume that nuclear power can only power heavy equipment via electrical storage such as batteries.

    What is necessary is chemical energy storage such as methanol. Theoretically, this could be done through heat generated from nuclear reactions: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/industry/nuclear-process-heat-for-industry.aspx

    If a reliable way to create large amounts of methanol from nuclear power could be found, then you could in theory power the modern economy on methanol instead of gasoline.

    You then say: “the peak of conventional production has been in 2005, at least according to Gail Tverberg and Art Berman”

    This is false (at least the Gail Tverberg part). Nowhere have I been able to find any chart or statistic, anywhere, that shows a peak (ie, an actual decline) in conventional production, even on Gail Tverberg’s website. If you can find one, send it to me.

    Now, you are right, that the EROI from oil is decreasing. My concern with this argument however is that we may be able to sustain industrial civilization, with its strong research and production base, for a very long time, even with decreasing EROI and decreasing standards of living.

    Long enough to find alternatives to fossil fuels? If there are physically viable alternatives to fossil fuels like nuclear power, then maybe…..

  402. @Curt

    Finally, I don’t want to suggest that transitioning to such a “methanol economy” would not be challenging. It may not even be possible at this stage in the game!

    What I am questioning is, “is it strictly physically possible”? And I’m not convinced (yet) that it’s not physically impossible, which would go a ways to undermining Greer’s thesis.

    And @Greer, I will reply to you when I get a chance.

  403. Dear Irena,

    If I may:

    Your Genghis Khan quote really does highlight an interesting contrast between the mass murderers without an easily discernible ideology and those with an easily discernible ideology. Genghis Khan was in a real sense “following his star” IIRC he saw a comet and interpreted as his star leading him and the Mongols into conquest. He was right, too. In a certain sense Khan seems to me similar to any warlord or gang leader but on a larger scale and with way tougher troops.

    That said, I find it compelling that as soon as an able leader with a private army focuses on ideology rather than political expediency, one begins to see a lot of pointless murders. For this reason I question whether the ideology is even important, I think that probably the mere presence of the ideology proves much more essential.

    Here I think of not only people like Stalin, Mao and Hitler, but Pinochet as well. Once a totalizing, clean and mathematical ideology finds itself paired with a strongman with a private army you can bet that nothing stands in the way of many people dying on account of becoming determined as political enemies.

    Granted, one can look at various people who fall within the ambit of any political ideology: Castro, Tito, Mussolini, that seemed to care much more about political expediency than proving any particular ideology. These exceptions prove the rule.

    What makes Marxism so pernicious is that it so coherently builds upon the Christian narratives of Apocalypse in such a simplified and streamlined way. Any fool can formulate the idea that if only Marxism were applied everything would be okay — “from those according to his ability, to each according to his need” is perhaps the most simplest and most brilliant justification for murder ever devised! Furthermore, Marxism allows the venting of resentments as bloody effusions to occur at rapid clip without almost any limit. Marx himself in _The Communist Manifesto_ works himself up into a fine lather, braying about streets running red with blood.

    So Marxism has a very effective hook, it fulfills the a lot of the emotional needs of Christianity and other prophetic religions, while maintaining a rigorous rationalist approach, while allowing people to justify murder to themselves very easily by mixing noble impulse for equity with the base impulse to kill those one resents.

    Here I can’t resist but to close this comment with a quote by Solzhenitsyn:

    “Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb, too. The imagination and spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Ideology—that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. “

  404. @ Youngelephant – its great when things pop out like that – one I have going at the moment is getting up from the PC to do random jobs, I often return to the screen just as it switches to power saver mode
    “Thanks for your poignant post.”
    The entire thing warrants some considering

    @all
    Erich Fromm:
    When Fascism came into power, most people were unprepared, both theoretically and practically. They were unable to believe that man could exhibit such propensities for evil, such lust for power…or such a yearning for [the] submission [of the population].

    and also this:

    The breakdown of society is necessary for the complete restructuring of society. Similarly, the breakdown of the individual ego is necessary for cults to restructure or redefine the individual. As Margaret Singer pointed out, happy people do not join cults unless they want to be part of the controlling hierarchy: “if the social structure has not broken down, very few people will follow.”

    This is true at both the macro and the micro level, hence the Nazi cult rose in Germany only after the breakdown of society, but with its leaders waiting and applauding the chaos behind the scenes. The chaos facilitated mass conversion of an otherwise indifferent population.

    ***

    What interests me is the lengths that people might go to to maintain their positions and be looking to enhance them.

    Another from the synanon article
    As Morabito wrote, “The scope of the endgame is enormous: to legally and universally impose upon every human being a new definition — or rather, a non-definition — of what it means to be human.”

    There is a fascinating tinfoil hat potential here with transhumanist billionaires all over the place.

    I’m sure JMG is right that a lot of what is going on results from panic induced through one or more things; at the same time, there are many interesting coincidences/synchronicities and parallels that hint at more.

    One of the wacky ideas I’ve seen is that covid is merely a convenient smokescreen and lever. For what? Well that depends on which Doritos flavour you fancy.
    But as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody is after you 😉

    It doesn’t take many billionaires to be able to have quite an impact if they decided to act as a class rather than just as peer rivals; the way covid 19 activities are progressing, things are almost writing their own who dunnit dystopian struggle story. Early days yet but the potential is there.

    As Robert Mathieson noted upthread:
    The elites may even decide that their own lives will be greatly improved if the bulk of the population (the “unnecessariat,” as I have heard them call us, by analogy with “proletariat”) is allowed to die off gradually, so that it doesn’t notice what is being allowed to happen to it.

    What is funniest to me is that it is so easy to come up with something sure to labelled a conspiracy theory just by stringing together what appear to be stories coincidences and facts hanging in the public domain.
    Of course, maybe Narrative Science’s ‘automated narrative generator’ and others are already working on that.
    Sort of like Kessler Syndrome flying junk but with information and on the internet.

    Of course, since we experience this realm in bioelectric meat-sacks, all of our activities are governed by the world and things like magnetic, climate and geologic instability might just be getting reflected out into the way our systems work reduced coherence in the world = reduced coherence in human activities – we are part of a bigger system no matter how much the species tries to deny it.

  405. @ Karl – re your consent factory image. I did a search of the phrase “build back better” which is suddenly ubiquitous, and came up with this scholarly review, dated August 2010, which may be of interest. (I confess I’ve read only the abstract, but it is open access). Interestingly it cites Bill Clinton as the first user of the phrase in 2006, when serving as a UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery. The paper considers the use of the phrase, and the ways in which it has been used in disaster recovery scenarios in the intervening period. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590061719300031

  406. I’m plowing my way through Heindel’s “The Rosicrucian CosmoConception.” This is my second pass through this book. I’m finding the Pacific Publishing Studio edition dated 2011 to be packed full of typo errors; so much so that I’ve ordered a different edition. I hope that the older editions are superior in this respect.

  407. The comparison to prohibition that’s been brought up is a good illustration of why I’ve been skeptical of the lockdowns since the beginning. I could see the rationale for a temporary shutdown so as not to overwhelm hospitals, it was clear that just as has happened many times in the past, we’d lose many rights for good. Prohibition may not have lasted, but we’re dealing with its legacy not just with the continued restrictions on alcohol that Steve has mentioned, but also because we’re stuck with the same strategy being used with marijuana and other substances. While there’s no way that full scale lockdowns will be permanent anywhere, that just isn’t sustainable for any length of time, we’re almost certain to be stuck with a greatly increased burden of bureaucratic regulations governing more and more of our lives, unle