Open Post

September 2019 Open Post

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

The exception? For the second time in just over a year, some people have pulled one comment out of context from one of my mundane astrological predictions, found some bit of current media chatter that contradicts it, and are running around shrieking at the top of their lungs that this proves I’m wrong about everything, so there.  It’s highly amusing, and also a useful reminder of just how emotionally brittle some people are about certain political issues.

Now of course the internet has the attention span of a gnat, and so do a fair number of its denizens.  Expecting them to recognize that a forecast for six months needs to be assessed after six months, not six days, is probably reaching. Still, if someone predicts that the next year will be unusually rainy, you haven’t disproved them, you know, by yelling about how you went to a picnic yesterday and it didn’t rain a drop.

With that in mind, I’m going to invite anyone who wants to discuss the accuracy of last week’s predictions to join me in a discussion here the week following March 18, 2020, when we’ll be able to look back over the six months just past and see how well I did. Until then, the accuracy of last week’s ingress chart forecast is off topic, and anyone who tries to talk about it here will have their entire comment text deleted and replaced with the label [troll with inadequate reading comprehension skills]. As Stan Lee used to put it, ‘nuf said.

With that said, have at it!

477 Comments

  1. I’m pleased to offer seeds I’ve saved to interested folks here at ecosophia. I’ve got a good number of herbs, wildflowers, and nectary plants that I’m happy to gift through the mail. If you wish to get some free seeds to plant this coming season please send me an email at violetcabra [at] gmail [dot] com.

  2. JMG,
    I reread some of your old archdruid report posts, and I’m not clear on the distinction you make between consuming democracy and producing democracy. You describe voting, writing to your representatives, and demonstrating as examples of consuming democracy. What are some examples of producing democracy? I’m not clear what that category is.

  3. For Nastarana from last week: thanks for sharing that link regarding DNC strategy. For JMG: what’s the best way to approach the local Masonic Lodge regarding membership. They have an online form to fill out with questions such as “how did you learn about us” and “what is your purpose in wanting to join.” The first is easy because my late Uncle was a Mason and possibly my grandfather and others in my family tree. The second is more complex. I doubt that you’d just come right out and say I’ve been studying CosDoc etc. Probably the mutual aid society angle and service would be better approaches.

  4. John–

    I had some thoughts as to the possible outcomes of recent events, but I’ll steer clear of the topic, given the guidelines for this week’s post.

    On the other hand, energy news!

    Wind industry facing headwinds
    https://www.euci.com/u-s-wind-industry-manufacturing-and-supply-chain-will-face-challenges-in-the-2020s-doe-says/?x=39544s242282Sy&utm_campaign=092519_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    But it’ll help in dealing with the Long Descent
    https://www.euci.com/event_post/1119-cannabis-energy/?x=39544s242282Sy0110&utm_campaign=092519_energize_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=energize

    The scent of Musk
    https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-09-23/solarcity-tesla-merger-shareholder-lawsuit

    PURPA gettin’ reviewed
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-19/40-year-old-law-that-spurred-u-s-renewables-growth-gets-revamp

    TMI
    https://www.wspa.com/news/national/three-mile-island-shuts-down/

    Perhaps glowing green
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-finance-climate/can-nuclear-energy-be-green-draft-eu-classifications-dont-rule-it-out-idUSKBN1W927Y

    Economics of ye deplorables
    https://www.rigzone.com/news/west_virginia_emerging_as_a_natural_gas_powerhouse-23-sep-2019-159864-article/

    More LNG facilities
    https://www.oilandgas360.com/eagle-lng-receives-go-ahead-for-jacksonville-export-facility/

    The cost of complexity
    https://www.techcesscyber.com/2019/09/cyber-security-incident-at-us-power-grid/

    That old question of technical feasibility versus economic viability
    https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-09-12/toyota-is-trying-to-figure-out-how-to-make-a-solar-powered-car-run-forever

  5. It’s not a bad idea, but in a society where many refuse to look beyond the next quarter, do you think anyone but I will even remember your disputed forecast?

    (I have a secret weapon called a “calendar.” In the February 2020 Notes section I’ll write, “See how JMG’s last predictions worked out” and then comment accordingly. I used to do the same thing with Jean Dixon, who was almost always wrong—I don’t know how she kept her tabloid job. Her modern equivalent is Bill Crystal, who was always—not almost always—wrong.)

  6. Dear JMG, on Magic Monday you mentioned that Tibetan Buddhists have built prayer wheels powered by water mills, which turn endlessly without human involvement and are still held to generate merit.
    Since 90’s they’re also experimenting with computers that repeat endlessly several mantras. i can’t find the link now but this was made under instruction from HH the Dalai Lama himself.

  7. It’s so surreal that ‘illegally advising the queen’ is an actual crime. It sounds like something from an episode of Blackadder. 🙂

  8. Not sure I have a question as just a couple items I have been reflecting on:

    1) I have had the recent misfortune of traveling across several states down two different interstate highways, I-90 and I-25. I was appalled at the shape of the highway, and in many places almost dangerous because of high speeds on really bad highways. There is work going on in several places, but sometimes it is in the same areas as when I went through a year ago. When the work is finished (if ever), I don’t think it will mean more than a few miles of highway have been updated. In most places the highway has been patched so many times it is more like a back country road than a highway. Coupled with stops at truck stops and gas stations that have seen better days, it really drove home to me how we are in the midst of decline now. I’m still meditating on my experience and what it means.

    2) I’ve also been contemplating the news on the internet, as well as sites meant to inform and how the presentation of data and information is declining–sites have flashing lights, overwhelming pop up ads, videos that play whether you want them to or not, noisy ads, articles that should be able to be read on one page but are dragged out to a ridiculous number of ‘slides’, the growing paywalls up around even the most basic of information. Makes reading anything not only unpleasant, but does not set up conditions for reading, reflecting, and actually retaining the information (and even encourages ‘sound bite’ reading and discourages longer reflective pieces). Especially egregious seeing as how many local newspapers are in this format. And how often you have a horrifying article (multiple murders, children being orphaned when their parents die in a crash, shootings in a local park, etc) surrounded by flashing ads of smiling celebrities, or the latest ad for a local restaurant with smiling people over their food. These ads draw the attention away from the serious matter of the article to the mundane consumerism that is supposed to make us happy. To me, the juxtaposition of these is always disquieting.

    On a happier note, I just finished Weird of Hali: Red Hook and The Shoggoth Concerto. Enjoyed both immensely and am looking forward to the next installments.

  9. Hi JMG,

    I’m about seven years out from retirement and have begun the long-term task of looking for a place to settle in my final years. I figure that by the time I retire I’ll have learned enough about various locations to make an informed decision. You lived for several years in Cumberland, MD, and I was wondering if you could comment briefly on its pros and cons as a residence in general and for older people in particular. Also, what other areas do you think might be good. Note that I’m asking in light of your books, such as The Ecotechnic Future and Collapse Now. Thanks!

  10. Just when I thought the Democratic Party had reached a new height of self destructiveness they go ahead with this Ukraine phone call impeachment. Not only is it likely to do more damage to their presidential front runner than to Trump, they don’t seem to understand that the average american understands that Biden’s ne’er-do-well soon landing a $50,000 per month job at a Ukrainian gas company means corruption in nearly any place but planet DNC. A New York Times reading friend of mine was positively giddy about theses developments and was certain that events would unfold just like Watergate and eventually when people learned about all Trumps crimes they would create a groundswell that would cause the Republicans in the senate to change their minds in fear for their jobs.

  11. JMG,

    Just a quick note about some of your work “in the wild,” as it were: a recent public philosophy event in Helena, Montana, which was explicitly inspired by Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth.

    Audio recordings of the discussion (about an hour in total, spread over four segments) are available on the website: From Ecology to Ethics

    You can scroll down on the same page for the citation and recommendation of JMG’s book.

    Readers in western Montana are, of course, warmly invited to attend other events sponsored by the Merlin organization; please check out the events calendar and be in touch!

  12. Dear Mr. Greer, I wish you well on your new venture.

    It is beginning to look like end of an era over here so I take the opportunity to express my gratitude for many years of instruction and pleasure.

    I am afraid I gave up on astrology years ago when I first learned about sun signs. Leo simply did not fit with the personality and character of an anti social hermit. Oddly, even though DNA evidence revealed that me and my siblings are almost entirely of Northern European heritage, with two! Neanderthal “markers”, whatever those might be, my Chinese horoscope identity of earth ox is a far better fit.

  13. And on a separate note: For your new astrological subscriptions, does it make any difference to you which of the two services people use? Perhaps one takes a smaller cut of the revenue?

  14. I’m sure this space will be brimming with impeachment jabber all week long.

    On a political level I see the president as having defanged and then brought around the greatest enemy of the US Workin’ Man of my lifetime – the GOP, now (seemingly) done with the Boys from the Chicago School of Economics and the gospel of shareholders first, last & only. On a human level, I see the president as a human urinal cake: 40 years in the NY Post show him lying, cheating, stealing and loving every minute of it all. But yes, even urinal cakes serve a purpose.

    While I’m NO Democrat, I can certainly understand why leaning on a foreign head-of-state for a political favor seems untoward. But… why should Trump’s impeachment in the House and acquittal in the Senate play any differently for him than it did for Bill Clinton? The impeachee gets to robe himself in the fine raiments of victimhood and even deeper adoration of his supporters while the impeachers win pyrrhically and lose publicly, BIG TIME.

    I’m a civics nerd and have long treasured our institutions of government but I see the last 30 years of two-party politics gave them the Carthage treatment. (Heck, I’ve even managed polling sites in LA County.) Feels like all I’m loving are memories of what used to be.

    I tremble at the volume of poo about to be flung from the various editorial monkey cages of the NY Times, NY Post, WSJ Op-Ed, MSNBC, Fox, CNN, OAN and all the other political primate enclosures. Small comfort that we turned off cable 19 years ago.

  15. Hello JMG,

    I would like to ask a question about egregores. When the egregore of a magical order gets corrupted for some reason, does this corruption affect the behaviour of the deities which are invoked by that order?

    Thanks,
    M.

  16. I have a philosophical terminology question. If you are not a materialist what are you? When I was young I was basically a materialist but now I am not one at all. Matter, energy, and space do not comprise the whole of reality. So what are the options for my philosophical position that spirit is real and important.

    Thanks John and everyone else.

  17. If this is a duplicate question (I’m sure others will be of a mind to put this to you), you don’t need to put it through, but I would be interested in hearing how you think the whole “impeachment inquiry” drama will play out and what its long-term political implications will be.

  18. John–

    On a different topic, and actually pertaining to trolls, trolling, and trollery in general, I had an interesting experience over these last weeks that I’d like to share with the community.

    Several weeks ago, I re-engaged on PolticalWire, though I’m not altogether sure why. The immediate impetus was a discussion thread, and a particular comment in that thread to which I wanted to respond. In any event, I re-established a Disqus account and proceeded to begin commenting again. I had several reasonable conversations, met up with a few of my previous discussion partners from two-plus years ago, but also fielded the usual barrage of accusations of being a Russian troll/bot/agent whose up-votes were obviously all from fake accounts I controlled. And there were the conversations where the other person kept dancing around in circles, refusing to define his terms, but insisting that nothing I suggested would work or that I was simply wrong. Par for the course, in other words.

    This past Monday, I was doing my regular mid-day meditation and I was given a clear, but gently prodding sign by Whomever She May Be. In essence, I was told: “The thing you are looking for does not exist.” In the instant of comprehension, I saw that my motivation for those conversations on the political forum was to try to find a suite of policies that would help to guide us through the descent–both from our empire and the Long Descent generally. A “managed way down.” The thing that doesn’t exist.

    And I realized *why* that doesn’t exist. It requires human beings to be something other than what we are: short-term thinkers with a certain cleverness for tool-making who operate only in the near-term. Our descent was always going to be a slapdash affair, a string of ad hoc solutions cobbled together, each designed to respond to the immediate crisis of the day. No over-arching strategy, no long-term plan, no broadly-conceived design.

    Unlike the time I deleted my Disqus account those years ago, in a fit of frustration, this was a calm and peaceful resolution. Tuesday morning, I deleted my profile again. I think I reached a marker somewhere in this journey, though the journey itself continues. But I’ve come to terms, to some greater degree, with the way things simply have to unfold.

  19. Hi JMG, Do people born under certain signs of the Zodiac tend to attract each other, so to speak, in your opinion? Yes, I admit I read Linda Goodman’s “Love Signs”. I am a Pisces, and it seems like there have been a LOT of Scorpios in my life. Did you ever read any of Linda Goodman’s books?

  20. I watched some of the video of St Greta lecturing the UN officials. She seemed very emotional, a bit mentally unstable in fact. Yet on facefrack she is hailed as the new Messiah. People are unfriending those who question her like me. Have the elite decided to pay attention to an unstable child and ignore far more knowledgeable adults to discredit environmentalism? Also they know how distressed kids garner tons of media attention because of the emotion they stir in people…

  21. Hi JMG and Everyone else,

    Guy Dauncy, a climate change activist, just spoke about the climate emergency at our village hall here on Denman Island British Columbia. His whole pitch was that we must shop out way out of the climate emergency by each buying an electric car, and electric bike and a heat pump. He recommended taking out a line of credit on one’s house to pay for it all. My husband was really amazed by that.

    I saw two older, monied ladies sitting in front of me nodding emphatically to his every suggestion. One of them regularly flies to Germany and France to listen to the opera. The other needs time away from her ailing spouse and flies to Vietnam. They must each have the carbon footprint of Godzilla.

    I wondered why every bicycle has to be electric? I understand that some people really need the extra help but I am far from healthy and manage with a pedal bicycle.

    I am going to put forward some low-tech, less expensive ideas on how to achieve the same results with much less expenditure, for example, instead of buying a heat pump, people could use the wool our farmers throw away each year to knit sweaters and slippers. I am planning to site, “Green Wizardry,” by a certain Mr. Greer as a relevant text that we happen to have in our public library. I write a monthly column which is widely read on our island.

    I am indeed wondering why people are picking now as a time to react and change their ways when it was pretty self-evident even a decade ago to those same monied ladies that their lifestyles were far too polluting.

    Perplexed on Denman

  22. Recommended interview/review from The Observer Science and nature books
    “Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities”, by Vaclav Smil.
    ‘Growth must end. Our economist friends don’t seem to realise that’ (Smjl).
    “… – an epic, multidisciplinary analysis of growth – and why humanity’s endless expansion must stop.” (Interviewer).

    At 200,000 or so words a big read, must be expensive, but at least read the interview! I especially noted the emphasis on different approaches being needed for different regions.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/21/vaclav-smil-interview-growth-must-end-economists?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR0mNNPBSdCOQy1VCWBMSw14KsftL0hfzgG5YH1qkxcnAUB86Ew4e55mglY

  23. John–

    Rapid-fire today, I guess 🙂

    Received this email from the WIGP (Wisconsin Green Party) and I’m not quite sure what to think. I’d be opposed to F-35s generally, but because I oppose foolish wars, poorly-designed gizmo-weaponry, and parasitic “defense” industries. I’m not quite sure what to think of this argument.

    In relevant part:

    Dear David —

    The Wisconsin Green Party stands in opposition to the proposed addition of 18 F-35 multirole combat aircraft to Truax Field in Madison.

    The proposed F-35 expansion at Truax field would have major negative impacts on public health, quality of life and the environment in our state capital.

    We urge everyone in Wisconsin who cares about our future to voice their opposition to this project now.

    Submit a public comment now to say no to F-35s in Madison before the deadline Friday!

    According to the Air Force environmental impact report (F-35 Training Base: Environmental Impact Statement, 2012) produced for the Boise area, F-35 jet emissions include volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and large and small particulates.

    Bringing F-35s to Madison would mean increased use of cancer-causing PFAS “forever chemicals”, worsening the water pollution problem that has already caused Madison to shut down Well 15. The Air Force has not provided funds to study or clean up these pollutants, and appears to have no plans to do so.

    Locally, a recent Madison report points to the negative impact of noise and pollutants of the proposed squadron of 18 F-35 jets to be stationed at the base, primarily affecting minorities, low-income neighborhoods, and children on the east side of the city. Recent public testimony on the expansion given by 13-year-old Gio Alcantara revealed the fact that the currently housed jets are waking up school children in the middle of the night.

    The proposed F-35 expansion is a textbook case of how the military-industrial complex takes massive amounts of money from American taxpayers for little in return. Wisconsin taxpayers already pay over $200 million per year for the notoriously wasteful F-35 project, which if brought to Madison would increase the tax base by less than $2 million per year.

    1,450 households and over 3,000 people live in areas that the Environmental Impact Statement deems “potentially incompatible with residential use”, yet they have not been given clear answers on what will happen to their homes. It seems almost certain that state and local taxpayers will have to pay dearly to deal with the noise, air and water pollution if F-35s come to Madison.

    In addition, F-35s are part of the US military’s nuclear weapons delivery system, and placing a key part of this delivery system in Madison would make our capital city a top nuclear target.

    It is both law and sound practice to ensure residential zones have multiple protections in place to ensure safety and quality of life for all residents, regardless of ethnicity, disability, or income level. The proposed addition of F-35 jets to Madison’s Truax field would significantly increase noise and pollution and reduce quality of life in a residential area where people have the right to health, safety, education, a clean environment, and a restful night’s sleep undisturbed by dangerous noise levels.

    For all these reasons and more, we urge everyone in Wisconsin to oppose the F-35 expansion by submitting public comments on the Air National Guard’s Environmental Impact Statement by the September 25th deadline, and raising your voice to demand our elected representatives put people, planet and peace over Lockheed Martin’s profits.

    Submit a public comment now to say no to F-35s in Madison before the deadline Friday!

    After submitting your comment, please call US Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, your congressional representative, and your state and local representatives to ask them to oppose F-35s in Madison!

    They do touch on those issues I mention, lightly, but it gets rather garbled in with other stuff. EIS? I just don’t see that as being an effective argument. Perhaps I’m missing an element here.

  24. A large question, with all these climate protests/strikes going on… (for instance, I live in Canada & we’ve got climate strikes scheduled generally around now – drop everything, walk en masse) Do such things do any good? It doesn’t seem to me that they accomplish what they say they will (“groundswell that will translate to communal action – everyday & political”), rather at best people who can go feel validated and less alone, though whether that translates into anything… or whether their time could have been better spent… Is there perhaps a collective conciousness/ magical effect that effectively large protests have on a population (& necessarily then enough individuals composing that population)? Apologies, this isn’t well worded. Gist is, public demonstrations nowadays seem ineffective at what they claim to do, but are they a waste of energy, or just misguided but doing something?

  25. Hello John Michael , The climate scientists Paul Beckwith and Guy McPherson say that we will have a blue ocean event in the artic within about 5 years. 10 years max. This will add 1 degree quickly. The permafrost will then release methane for 1 or 2 more degrees, plus one degree later from carbon dioxide from permafrost and another one that is already baked in from previous co2 emissions. So we are looking at 2-3 more degrees by 2030 and a total of 4-5 more degrees by 2040. Do you think they are wrong? Am I missing anything that will make the heating slower?

  26. I’d be interested to hear your views on the Greta Thumberg spectacle. I’m guessing you wouldn’t exactly be enamoured with the whole thing. However i’ve noticed it really seems to have brought the outright deniers of climate change pouring into the cyber-sphere to denounce her (or what they consider to be her backers) of ‘eco fascism’ etc. Though its one of the few times i’ve heard the issue of unlimited economic growth actually addressed head on by such people (even if its only for the deniers to had wave it away and blame everything on China etc. Usually the tactic seems to have been to simply blank it out.

    Still I find the whole thing somewhat bizzare….

  27. Bro. Uhaha, astrology doesn’t follow the news cycle, and mundane astrology in particular doesn’t track any period shorter than the three months between one ingress and the next. (There are lunar ingress charts with a timeframe of one month, but that’s a complex field all its own and I don’t know of any mundane astrologer who uses them.) So I don’t have a prediction, other than that six months from now we can look back at it all and see how it worked out.

    Pygmycory, you produce democracy by getting involved in grassroots political organization, running for local office or helping other people do so, interacting with your elected representatives so that you’re not just a vote, and so on.

    Phutatorius, you can also say “I know a guy who’s a Mason, and I decided that any organization he supports is worth looking into,” or something like that. That’s a very common reason for guys to petition for membership.

    Monk, nobody knows yet!

    David BTL, thank you for this!

    Your Kittenship, oh, I know. As far as I remember, none of the people who lost their shale over my comments on the upcoming election in the 2018 Libra ingress chart showed up when we discussed that chart in March of this year. (Of course that may have been simple embarrassment, because winning a majority in the House and losing crucial seats in the Senate turned out to be basically a draw, as I predicted.) I’ll probably post something in early March to remind my trolls that they really ought to show up and talk about that impeachment business on the 18th; it’ll be interesting to see if any of them do.

    Be careful, though, about talking too freely about that calendar thingy. I’m sure somebody will start insisting that calendars are racist, or Russian, or onanophobic, or something…

  28. Thanks.

    Just one more along these lines: — how do you see the long-term future of the US east of the Appalachians (ie east of the “tamanous” culture)? I guess sea level change will shake things up a bit, but culturally…?

    Thanks again — Monk

  29. Just a couple random things:

    MIT “food computers” are a fraud. I thought MIT only let in smart kids?

    On a more serious note, recently, I began re-reading JMG’s Archdruid Report books (The Long Descent, etc.). A book I’d put a hold on at the local library became available, so I fit it in while also working through The Ecotechnic Future. The name of the book was An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz. I have to admit, I found it a very disturbing read. I was only able to take it a few pages at a time, taking frequent “JMG Breaks”. The question I have is this: Is South Chicago (and my home town Flint, and Downriver Detroit and East LA and….) where we are all headed eventually? Is this what Orlov’s social collapse looks like in America?

    If anyone else has read this, I’d like to get your thoughts. I found the whole thing profoundly depressing.

  30. Hi everyone:

    I just wanted to mention that Founders House is releasing a collection of deindustrial SF by Catherine McGuire. It’s called ‘The Dream Hunt and Other Tales’ and includes stories that have appeared in the After Oil anthologies, Into the Ruins magazine, and a few tales published for the very first time. JMG mentioned it on the dreamwidth blog, but I wanted to put something here. The print book can be pre-ordered now and I am working on the eBook. I hope to have that by the end of the week.

    Here’s a link: https://www.foundershousepublishing.com/2019/09/the-dream-hunt-and-other-tales.html

    Quick plug: If you would like to support my efforts to release books by JMG and others in Founders House Publishing please consider supporting my Patreon page. You can find that here: https://www.patreon.com/shaunkilgore

    Thanks folks.

  31. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I wanted to know if you have any thoughts on legends which speak of a much stronger connection between humanity and divine beings/powers in the past. For instance, Genesis chapter 6 seems to speak of fallen angels raping women and producing giant offspring. Likewise, Vine Deloria Jr. seemed very convinced that at one point in time Native Americans really could summon rain with rain dances. And of course as you note in your book on monsters, many traditions took mermaids and faeries extremely seriously. Seemingly every ancient religious tradition has these kinds of stories that depict prayer/meditation/ritual/magic having far more profound effects on the physical world than what contemporary figures can accomplish. Do you think our powers over the divine are just far weaker now in the 21st century, or are these stories dramatic exaggerations?

  32. If I understand it right, one of multiple criticisms you have of current climate/environmental activism is that it focuses on targeting industries of supply while not so much industries of demand. If it would focus more on industries of demand, the lifestyles of the middle class and rich (who often claim to support action against climate change) would be get much more negative attention than working class people who depend on work in industries of supply.

    I think this is a viewpoint that overall, I share (I wouldn’t say I’m against targeting industries of supply, just that industries of demand should be targeting equally, if not more).

    I’m trying to think of what environmental/climate activism might look like if it reflected this changed emphasis. Can you describe some specific kinds of activism that would focus on industries of demand, that you would be glad to see?

  33. Since the broader topic appears acceptable 😉 regarding the discussion of recent events:

    Certainly, Trump’s people wasted no time. I’ve received multiple emails already inviting me to join the Official Impeachment Defense Task Force. Given the raw, visceral reaction folks have to these sorts of issues these days, I don’t think that the fundraising effort will be without reward.

    On the Dem side, this is more short-term thinking, so far as I can see. Few good options when one games it all out, despite the gleeful salivating that seems to be going on in some quarters. If there is anyone on this planet who could base his re-election campaign on having been impeached, it is this man. I can see it happening. And if 2016 was Joe Blow giving a giant middle finger the the system, imagine the opportunity presented to the deplorable masses in the chance of sending a president whom the despised elites have impeached right back the the White House for a second term…

  34. JMG – I’m in a business workshop now where the leader shared how inspirational Greta Thunberg is and how we all need to listen to her. So I shared this story in response:

    “Back in 2008 during the financial collapse, I began to wonder what else could go wrong. One of my friends told me about peak oil and climate change. I had never head of these things and went down the rabbit hole of reading on the internet.

    I soon found an author, Sharon Astyk, who wrote about her experience of what she call “adapting in place”. She imagined a world where the biggest polluters in the world would never agree to change – China and India, and we’d be stuck in the downward spiral of climate weirdness. In order to make a real difference to the planet, individuals in America would need to lower their consumption and reduce their carbon footprint here, no matter what anyone else did.

    Inspired, about 30 of us made an online group. First challenge: measuring our consumption against American averages. Second challenge: reducing it to 10% of the American average (This was the level calculated by scientists way back then needed to reduce carbon emissions. It wouldn’t have to be that drastic if all countries participated, but here we are).

    We measured ourselves in:

    1. Water usage
    2. Home heating fuel usage (no air conditioning allowed)
    3. Electricity usage
    4. Packaged food – home grown or local had to be 90% of consumed
    5. Miles food transported to get to us (goal was as close to zero as possible)
    6. Transportation – miles driven or public transportation per month (air travel not allowed)
    7. Home purchases – clothing, furniture, etc all reduced

    To get to 10% of the American average in each category was daunting. It really meant living closer to the lives of our grandparents or great grandparents, then some techno future utopia. Each month we shared our numbers, in some categories making leaps downwards, but mostly slowing creeping. We traded tips and tricks back-and-forth and one of the families even did a composting toilet! We kept flushing, just less often :joy:

    We did the project for two years, and it completely changed our relationship with convenience and possessions. When it comes up often in the media that “we need to do something about climate change”, my family has a clear picture of what that means. Of course once the experiment ended, our American lifestyle slowly started creeping back in.

    I encourage everyone to do it for at least 6 months and with a group of people. It’s a real journey without leaving your home!”

    What’s your prediction from people in a trance with Thunberg?

    (We both know that when they shout “someone’s got to do something” that they don’t realize how drastic the “something” is, and that the “someone” is them.)

  35. I see that the Battle of Stalingrad, er, the Trump impeachment circus, has begun. Like the German invasion of Russia in 1941, this too will turn out to be a hate-fueled exercise in overreaching that will rebound disastrously on its perpetrators.

  36. I work at a public library in DC and I’m trying to bring more of my interests into my work. I haven’t proposed it to my manager yet, but I would like to start a post-oil book club (which could include both non-fiction and fiction).  If anyone who lives in the DC area is interested, let me know, and I’ll keep you updated. My email address is rwhite [at] fastmail [dot] fm

  37. Hi JMG,

    I have dabbled in astrology over the years, and given that you appear to have a strong grasp of the subject, I was wondering if you could give a top three list of books for those of us that would like to go more deeply into the subject, something along the lines of textbooks on the subject that could bring someone from the cusp of beginner/intermediate to a functionally advanced level. TIA

  38. @David by the Lake, re; Short-term thinking

    One of the downsides to elected governance is that it locks short-term thinking into the fabric of the system. Having to stand for re-election every few years makes the date of the next election the far border of the future. Even Nancy Pelosi complained of this some years ago, saying: “The first thing I have to do upon being re-elected is to set up my campaign committee for the next election coming up.” Of course, this also locks in an ever-ongoing dependence on scarfing up “campaign contributions.”

    If one does not want hereditary monarchy, what other alternatives are there that could take this mechanism of locking in short-term thinking out of the system?

    Antoinetta III

  39. Maxine –

    You ask,

    “I wondered why every bicycle has to be electric? I understand that some people really need the extra help but I am far from healthy and manage with a pedal bicycle.”

    I wouldn’t assert that /every/ bicycle has to be electric, but comparing an electric bike to a bicycle misses the real strengths of an electric bike – that they’re far closer to a car than a bicycle.

    If you and people you know are already doing most of their transportation on non-electric bicycles, then awesome, and carry on doing that! But in most cases, people who are using a bicycle are somewhat range or cargo limited. I’ve hauled groceries on a regular bike in a hiking backpack, and it’s not very useful if you have hills. Possible, yes, but it’s fairly unpleasant and isn’t something you’ll convince a lot of people to do until absolutely required.

    An electric bike, in the same situation, is a far nicer solution – and I was willing to shove an awful lot more groceries in the backpack, hang bags off the side, etc. The same would be true with a trailer – loading a trailer up extremely heavy is far easier with a motor assist for hills.

    In terms of travel time, especially in cities, an electric bike is comparable to a car, not a bicycle. And, as a lot of destinations don’t have showers yet, you can get places without being soaked in sweat in the summer (or in the winter – waterproof gear in some areas just means you sweat yourself wet in the winter instead of getting rained on). It’s a far more convenient form of transportation than a straight bicycle that replaces a lot more car miles, in my experience.

    From a resource perspective, a good electric bike might be 50 lbs and 500Wh of battery. A massive cargo ebike would be closer to 100 lbs and 1kWh of battery. For the cells that go into a single long range Tesla, you can build 100-200 ebike packs – ebikes are insanely efficient compared to cars.

    The only problem with them, which I’m struggling with currently, is that they’re just not very good on high speed rural roads. I live on a 55mph road, and while I’ve done some ebiking into town, traffic has been increasing with the growth out here and I’m just not comfortable doing it right now. I should probably just build a higher speed cruiser and use that for now.

  40. Hello jmg

    I had an interesting idea about medicine in the ecotechnic future, specifically ultrasound machines.

    Since it is likely that a ecotechnic civilisation could manufacture a device that can produce and detect ultrasound, but lack the computer technology to make a screen to display ultrasound images it occurred to me that they could translate the ultrasound into normal sound and have one of those blind people who have learned echolocation to interpret the information instead.

  41. I dearly want someone to create an emoji that is universally recognized as meaning “troll with inadequate reading comprehension skills.” Of course, if it were associated with one key on the keyboard, that key would be rapidly worn to a nub.

  42. The move by the MSM and the liberal establishment to throw the environmental movement under the bus by tarring them with guilt by association with Neo-Nazis continues apace, as this recent essay from The New Republic illustrates. You called that one right on the money. And here’s another from the same source, drawing an explicit parallel between the Greta Thunberg phenomenon and Jonathan Edwards famous 18th century sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.

  43. Hi BoulderLovinCat,

    On a news article, look on the top bar to see if it says “Reader View Available.” If it’s there, click on it, and you’ll get a page of plain old text, no flashing lights or pop-ups. You can also try copying and pasting the actual text of the news story onto a word document.

  44. Hi John Michael,

    Congratulations on the mundane astrology subscription coming together so fast…I’ve just signed on with SubscribeStar and am very pleased that you’ll be expanding your astrological work. Do you follow Chiron at all? The folks at Astrodienst seem to find it important enough to include in their ephemeris.

    You recently mentioned intending to write about the ‘great conjunctions’ with the focal point being the Jupiter/Saturn cycle and their upcoming meeting at the first degree of Aquarius in December 2020, marking the shift of these conjunctions to the air signs for the rest of this century. Have you ever checked out the website Historical Astrology (http://www.historicalastrology.com/)? It’s quite interesting — built entirely around the whole concept of great conjunctions of the outer planets. It seems like a valuable adjunct for studying history.

    Now about that impending Saturn/Pluto conjunction at 23 Capricorn in January 2020 (just a few years in advance of Pluto’s return to its ‘natal’ position in the US chart). I know you’re actively theorizing about Pluto’s waning influence but it seems to me that Pluto has been important player in the entire history of this nation, not just since the turn of the 20th century The Saturn/Pluto conjunction will strongly activate the ‘natal’ Sun/Mercury opposition Pluto along the 2nd/8th house axis. My sense about what might unfold from it is inchoate and uneasy — it feels intense/powerful. Some folks here have been commented in recent months about sensing a building, dissonant psychic pressure and stress. This conjunction may well symbolize a lot of that. Full disclosure: I have a very powerful Plutonian influence in my birth chart so that may explain my obsession with the elusive ball of ice!

    I can’t believe we’re already around to Open Post again…looking forward to all the brilliant discussion to follow! Thanks for everything.

    Jim

  45. Re the WI Green Party letter I mentioned above:

    As I thought about it some more, I suppose the letter does make sense. This *is* Madison we’re talking about and much of the Greens in WI live in and around the capital, as I understand it. I’m just not tuned to that wave-length, I guess.

  46. @JMG,

    No relation to recent events, but I am curious as to how you reconcile two points you’ve made several times on ADR over the years, namely, that

    1) It is possible to feed 40 people on an acre of land, using organic methods.
    2) The earth is over-populated and will need to undergo a severe population decline as the era of fossil fuels come to an end.

    And yet some quick math would seem to show that, if all the farmland in the world were cultivated using the organic methods you’ve been talking about, it would be able to support well over 100 billion people!

    So what gives? Is most of the land unsuitable for this kind of agriculture (i.e. too dry, poor soil, etc.) or is your conclusion that there will be a population crash more a matter of what will actually happen rather than what’s technically possible, because far too few people are going to make the transition to sustainable farming methods before it’s too late?

  47. Dear David by the Lake. You in WS at least have a functioning WFP. here in NY it only exists to endorse Democrats.

    Impeachment in the House is, I suspect, a distraction. The members of House leadership are in trouble, even though they won’t admit it. Demographics are against them. The famous or infamous if you prefer squad were by no means the only leftists, self-styled ‘progressives’, elected in 2018, and more are lining up to take on the PTB in both parties next go around. The House leadership would far rather be debating impeachment than, for example, a wealth tax, or transaction tax on Wall Street, or Medicare for All. Just one interesting straw in the wind: former Tallahassee mayor Mr. Guillam, who narrowly lost the election for Gov. of Florida, has not opted for the usual golden rolodex career of public appearances, foundation position, etc. He has stayed in Florida where he is actively working to get disenfranchised people registered to vote.

  48. I have a couple of links I thought worth sharing. I’m splitting this into two comments since my commentary on the first ran a bit long.

    First, “The Implied Apocalypse of Dungeons & Dragons. The post describes the assumptions behind early editions of (A)D&D about the sort of campaign setting one would be playing in: namely, that it would be one set after the collapse of a much more prosperous society.

    Hence all the ruins to crawl though, of course. But a more important clue is the fact that (arcane) magic is assumed to be in a bit of a sorry state: the age of wonders is long gone, and magic-users are left scrounging for scraps of the feast their ancient forebears enjoyed.

    Another important clue is the importance of domain-level play in old editions: about 9th level, your character is intended to set up a keep/manor/temple and attract lower-level followers. At that point you’re trying to push back the frontier and the long night of barbarism.

    One of the comments brings out something else:

    Essentially AD&D’s rules function under the assumption that at some point there was a noodle incident and the sort of technomagic society that is commonplace in newschool fantasy rpgs is now gone along with most of the population. [emphasis mine]

    I think mostly this shift was a matter of (a) the Monty Haul problem on a system- and setting-wide scale: powerful magics and magic items went from “rare and coveted” to “indispensable adventuring staples” to in some cases “the magic train is late; I should have taken the portal”; and (b) the exhaustion of the notional space for Tolkien-esque fantasy. But I can’t help seeing the telltale signs of Progress-worship.

  49. Firstly with the whole impeachment shenanigans – Does anybody else feel like this is the Democrats trying to prove to their followers they they arent complete push overs? They have done nothing but whine and complain for the last 3 years about Trump while doing nothing else and now that their whole Russia collusion thing has crumbled into dust, they trying desperately to prove that they have relevance still.

    Just a thought, Im on the opposite side of the planet – I don’t have as much skin in the game as most folks here.

    Secondly, at Tony C, Paul beckwith is okay in regards to his science but his predictions can be a bit off. He predicted a blue ocean event for 2018 on Ecoshock radio a few years back and we still havent had it. If we don’t have one by 2030 I would be very surprised, it is were we are heading there but Paul can be a little too eager on his dates. He is very well meaning however. That said his teachings on how the atmosphere works are wonderful, he has his figure on the pulse that is for sure.

    Guy McPherson, he is an interesting one. All the science he quotes is correct but he pieces it together in a bizarre fashion to make everything seem FAR worse than it really is. He basically just stacks all the worst case predictions together and ignore any over laps or things that are contradictions of this points. He predicted that if you were not living on a self sufficient home stead by 2015 then you were dead. He keeps pushing out his predictions as they keep not happening. Considering his age, his idea of the world ending by 2030 will not be proven in his life time and even then he would probably push it back another decade or too like any doomsday cult would. McPherson has gained popularity by playing to peoples worst fears, im sure he has been of influence to the Extinction Rebellion and they would lap it up.

    We could be in for a sudden temperature rise with a large methane burp but it probably wont happen the way McPherson is predicting it. People will still be here, we will adapt, to what living conditions and population – I don’t know butthe history books in a few hundred years will know.

  50. Dana, you would need to look at the whole charts and the aspects between them. In my experience, synastry is highly reliable in predicting the nature and flavor of a relationship between two natives, not just lovers as it is most popularly used.

    JMG, you did open up a separate venue for discussion on the matter, so fair enough. I’ll just say that, based on last week’s reading, I’ve taken a long position in popcorn and I’m carefully considering buying butter futures.

    Speaking of months, how much intra-quarter posting should patrons expect? Will there be regular retrospectives on ingresses/eclipses/etc. of the past? Maybe a few more-or-less guided exercises for the student?

  51. @ Bridge, yes poor Greta I kind of feel for her as she has been hoisted up the sudden fame pole for everyone to see. It is only a matter of time until she too shall be forgotten.

    It isnt the first time this has happened, look up Severn Cullis Suzuki, it is almost a carbon copy of what is happening today with Greta. Severn was a media darling for about a year after she gave a speech to the 92 Rio summit, but eventually the media presence moved on and so did the fame. For all the ballyhoo that came from “the speech that stopped the world leaders!” it, almost nothing changed. We have 2.3 billion more people and 3 times the plastic as he had then.

  52. My second link, perhaps more relevant to your future posts here, is the article, A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked. The subject matter is the famous Libet study that claimed to show that people’s decisions were made before they became aware of making them.

    The summary is that the signal Libet claimed to predict a decision to tap one’s finger, preceding the awareness of the choice by nearly a half-second, doesn’t actually predict the choice. If I read it correctly, the signal’s real purpose seems to be breaking the symmetry between indistinguishable choices in order to avoid deadlock.

    In other words, the counterargument that tapping one’s finger randomly is not comparable to ordinary actions in the world, was correct.

    More important is how the mistake was made: Libet wasn’t tracking the signal through the entire experiment. He waited for the tap, then looked at the brain activity a little bit beforehand, found the signal, and committed a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. The error was detected by comparing a subject asked to tap randomly and one asked not to, and detecting when brain activity diverged sufficiently to predict the tap: it happened about 150ms before the tap, about the same time the subject became aware of the decision.

    I’d like to suggest a somewhat-tongue-in-cheek guideline I thought of a while back for evaluating scientific claims which you are otherwise unqualified to judge: If scientists say “X is correlated with Y,” believe them. If they say, “X causes Y,” doubt them. If they say, “X means Y,” ignore them.

  53. I watched in amusement as the handful of local climate change protesters climbed out of their cars, each in a different vehicle, and got their placards out. (Traffic light, you know.)

    Well, as long as they put that much effort in, I expect they’ll make that much traction! I can see not wanting to walk or bike-it was a blustery day, and certainly not wanting to conform to the hourly city bus, but if car pooling is too much to ask for . . .

    If I were involved, I’d say do it the first week of August, when the air is full of smoke and everyone wishes it were cooler. Doing it on a day when everyone’s hoping it warms back up so they can do more of what they need to before it snows is pretty unlikely to gain sympathy.

  54. I want to second Tony C, though I personally think McPherson is way too alarmist and Beckwith is somewhat too alarmist. I would love to hear your opinion, since you are one of the few people who take peak energy information into account. (I have scoured the works of Nafeez Ahmed for the same reason, and I highly recommend his articles).

    When do you think manmade greenhouse emissions will peak, and how high; when do you think the total emissions (including natural sources) will peak, and how high? And finally, when and how high do you think global temperature will peak?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  55. I do wonder if any of those who want Trump impeached are bright enough to know that if they succeed they will then have Pence for president?

    inohuri

  56. I was thinking about one of your recent posts where you spoke about Luke Skywalker being ‘Everykid’ and how every kid could relate to him.

    Just that one thought drifting around in my mind for a few weeks, led me to the thought that Donald Trump is ‘Everyguy’. That he is an ordinary guy with stupendous luck that put him in the big chair, and ‘Everyguy’ can relate to him simply because he is doing the sort of things that ordinary ‘Everyguy’s’ would do. Yes he gets caught in lies, and scandals, and he’s has more than his fair share of personality faults- but that’s just it. He is the epitome of the average ‘Everyguy’, not an elite, not a gifted person, just someone doing what their doing. That’s his main appeal.

    Where as all of the other actors on the political stage are trying to appear superhuman, elite, exemplary, this approach makes them unreachable to the average person on the street. They are not ‘us’.

    Further thoughts…?

  57. John, would like to thank you for your most recent comments in the article on The Chosen Ones.

    I cannot recommend enough a piece of investigative journalism by Cory Morningstar. It is long and detailed, but worth a read, as I think it is a good critic of the the “new enviromentalism”. I too am from Canada and the West Coast of it, and the comments by Maxine Rogers really resonated with me. Guy Dauncy is familiar to me and I am not surprised by his recommendations. The “New Green Deal”, is in my opinion mostly about saying capitalism and encouraging growth. I would love to see activist and the leadership at Extinction Rebellion, We Mean Buisness, Greenpeace, Climate Works Foundation etc, all get asked how often they travel by air. Here is the link to the series. I can’t recommend it enough, it is an excellent example of what you have been discussing about ” activist and environmentalist” not being believed because they expect everyone else to change their behaviour. It is from an indigenous perspective as well. I hope you consider giving it a look at. Thank you.

    http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/09/11/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-volume-ii-act-i-a-design-to-win-a-multi-billion-dollar-investment/

  58. After reading Shoggoth Concerto I dreamt of the King in Yellow. He kissed the back of my hand in blessing and I returned the gesture in honor. How do I find out more about him?

  59. I have been wondering if this whole “whistleblower-gate” thing was a baited trap from the start, and the Dems just stepped into the steel jaws of a bear trap (or perhaps I say, donkey trap).

    While Trump is taking a lot of heat right now, its also bringing about renewed scrutiny of Biden family corruption scandals in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. It may also lead to renewed scrutiny of other scandals the Democrats don’t want people looking into. It’s no wonder why Nancy Pelosi and many other Democratic Party leaders were reluctant to open this particular can of worms. But now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and the rest of the Squadristi got what they wanted and its probably going to end very badly for the Democrats. And since there is zero chance the Senate will vote to convict and remove the President even if articles of impeachment are approved by the House Democrats, it would be an embarrassing defeat and will give Trump plenty of opportunities to claim he has been exonerated while portraying himself as the victim of persecution and abuse of power by his political enemies.

    People are already asking, for instance, how it was that Hunter Biden was given a seat on the board of directors of a major Ukrainian energy company at a salary of $50,000 per month (some sources claim it was closer to $83,000 per month), even though he had no experience in the energy industry and his only qualification seems to be that he was the son of the American Vice President. Others are asking why the Chinese government suddenly decided to “invest” $1.5 billion in one of Hunter’s companies a few weeks after Joe and Hunter Biden flew to Beijing. Or there’s this story, pointing out that in July of 2018, the Congressional Democrats tried to pressure the Ukrainian government into providing them with dirt on Trump, which puts the manufactured outrage about Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in a whole new light. So why is it wrong when Trump does something the Dems don’t like, but somehow OK when the Democrats do the same thing they are loudly accusing the Orange Julius of?

  60. Question for JMG and Violet and other Ecosophia herbalists: What planet and/or Zodiac sign goes with anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)? I’ve seen it attributed to Mercury with no specification whether it’s the earthy side or the airy side. Also, what planet/sign corresponds to common peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata)?

  61. @Antoinetta

    Re governance and short-term thinking

    The first thing that pops in my head is the God-Emperor Leto II, but the people didn’t exactly care for that, as I recall 😉

    Seriously, though, one suggestion I’d make is to have smaller countries where governance and the issues were not so removed from the people. In the end, humans are near-term thinkers, so there is no “solution” in the over-all sense. But a representative government, with a rotating body (e.g. our city council where each year three of nine seats are up for election to three-year terms) which balances constancy and immediacy, might work. There are likely many viable combinations. But scale is a factor and one which many don’t consider.

  62. A few weeks back Onething posted a link to her gofundme page devoted to raising funds to continue her access to a thus far successful alternative (and thus self-paid) treatment for the cancer she’s fighting.

    She was understated in putting it out to the community, and late in the comment cycle – I wouldn’t be surprised if some didn’t see it.

    So, for readers looking for an opportunity to express generosity and who missed it the first time around, here’s the link again: https://www.gofundme.com/f/annas-cancer-battle

  63. Hello Sir.
    Always enjoy your posts. They have a big influence on me.
    For my question:
    I do meditate for half an hour a day, for about last year and a half.
    I do follow the Culadasa method.
    But allthogh I think it is beneficial for me, I really hate doing it, I do it as a duty, and enforce myself.
    To compare with workout, that I also do every day, and I enjoy it and don’t have to force myself.
    Maybe you have any advice for me, or other comment that can help me.

  64. the climate change debate is usually that of “data driven science” versus “anecdotal opinion” sprinkled with some type of pseudo-biblical ideas of endless bounty.

    has no one tried re-framing how we think about using resources on planet earth in terms of indigenous local wisdom? conceptually speaking – decentralized, self organizing groups. no more united nations centralized top down planning.

    but the big emphasis is on indigenous non-western ontology. for example, baraka (1992) was a good start.

  65. John Kincaid mentions – “I do wonder if any of those who want Trump impeached are bright enough to know that if they succeed they will then have Pence for president?”

    Looking over the Presidential Order of Succession, other than the Speaker (who has considerable issues, and only acceptable to the left side of the hump) it is horror show almost utterly free of non-pathological responsible adults well into the double digits. Ben Cason? Rick Perry?. It is almost as if the presence of VP Pence is an instance of “Inverted Dan Quayle Effect” – a VP so terrifying (as opposed to stunningly lightweight) that it creates insulation vs both impeachment and assassination.

    Tho’ I do admit in my more curmudgeon Zen Basterd moments, I wonder if a “Designated Survivor” scenario (Amusing, if largely utter claptrap melodrama show) would be less chaotic than the current general dysfunction and incompetence that passes for governance within the Beltway.

  66. I think I used to know what “troll” meant (in terms of its usage on blogs) but lately I wonder if its becoming a useless term, just like the political terms “left”, “fascist”, “conservative”, “Liberal”, and “socialist” have become largely useless because everyone has a different meaning in mind. JMG, how do you define the word troll, as used in you opening comment? I’ve typed and posted some comments here that were highly critical of your conclusions (and did not contain profanity) and they have disappeared. I wonder if a “troll” is now defined –at least by bloggers who moderate comments– as “anyone who strongly disagrees with what I believe”. Perhaps that is always what it has meant?

  67. Whispers, I think they got that idea from an Arthur C. Clarke short story, “The Nine Billion Names of God”…

    Yorkshire, no argument there! It fascinates me that the chattering classes in both our countries seem to have gone out of their collective gourds this week…

    Cat, yep. We are in the Long Descent, and both the state of our built infrastructure and the state of our mass media show it. Delighted to hear that you liked the books!

    Lenn, Cumberland’s a very pleasant town; the reasons we left it were specific to us, and more narrowly to my wife’s health and dietary needs on the one hand and certain issues around transportation on the other. More generally, though, there are literally thousands of large towns and small cities with abundant water supplies and ample farmland nearby, and that’s what’s important in terms of long term survival.

    Clay, I think it’s a Hail Mary. The Democrats’ internal polling has got to show them that they’re losing their grip on black and Hispanic voters, and that the antics of the candidates in the primary debates has alienated a growing fraction of the swing vote more generally. TDS fatigue is setting in, the corporate media outlets that are leading the anti-Trump charge are losing viewers at a remarkable pace, and Trump’s campaign is raking in money at an even more remarkable pace — and there are rumors, as yet unsubstantiated, that someone involved in the Russiagate scandal has agreed to start singing. They’re doubtless convinced that they’ve got to do something — and the one thing that might save them, a decision to give up shrieking “Orange Man Bad!” and instead get out in front of the curve with a constructive legislative agenda to address some of this country’s real problems, is the one thing they can’t or won’t do. So off they go marching toward Stalingrad.

    Barefootwisdom, thank you! I’m delighted to hear this.

    Nastarana, you’re welcome and thank you. As for sun sign astrology, well, yes — it’s not real astrology. You can’t shove all of humanity into twelve boxes, which is why a real astrologer will take the rest of your chart into account.

    Barefootwisdom, nope. You can use either one with my blessing. I have both partly because some people have preferences, and partly because Patreon apparently shuts people down now and then for political reasons, so I want my backup in place.

    KevPilot, exactly. This is why I see it as a desperation move, and a badly chosen one at that.

    Minervaphilos, no, but it can contaminate the channels by which people might interact with those deities. That’s one of the reasons that you want to drop the ritual forms of an order with a tainted sphere and use different rituals.

    Ryan, that’s kind of a complex question. A lot of occultists use astrology, and some branches of occultism draw heavily on astrological lore; many occult orders also teach astrology to their students. Most astrologers, however, have nothing to do with occultism, and there’s nothing specifically occult in astrology — it just meshes well with occult philosophy and practice.

    Will, that’s an excellent question! The division back in the day used to be between materialists and spiritualists, except that the latter term got picked up by a fringe religion; for a while you also heard a distinction between materialists and idealists, except that the latter term got watered down to mean “unworldly do-gooder.” I’m not sure there’s a good term presently in circulation — I wonder if anyone can suggest one.

    Mister N, my guess is that it’ll more or less copy the impeachment of Bill Clinton: there’ll be a media circus in the House, and then the Senate will shrug and refuse to convict, and the whole thing grinds to a halt at that point. The question is just how bad the blowback against the Democrats will be, since this move plays into Trump’s hands — and once it fails, they’ve shot their bolt and it’s payback time. It could get ugly.

    David, glad to hear it. It really is a long journey to that kind of acceptance; I know it took me a long time to get there.

    Dana, you can’t really tell much about a person by just knowing their sun sign, and that’s one of the reasons I don’t use Linda Goodman’s books. According to sun sign astrology, my wife and I shouldn’t be able to stand each other; well, we celebrated our 35th anniversary a few months ago…

    Bridge, I also have Aspergers syndrome, you know, and I’m horrified by what Thunberg’s corporate backers are doing with her. She needs to be getting therapy and counseling, not being paraded around the world as the sock puppet of an apocalyptic political cult.

    Maxine, dear gods. I’m sorry to hear that; when Guy and I shared a room at a peak oil conference in 2010, we disagreed about a lot of things, but I would never have expected him to stoop that low. I wonder if he or anyone else talked about the energy and carbon costs of manufacturing all those electric cars and bikes, heat pumps, etc., or where all that electricity is going to come from, etc., etc. I suspect that what’s happened more generally is that a lot of businesses are jumping on the bandwagon to try to extract the last few dollars from shills before the bottom falls out of the whole shebang. More on this in a later post…

    Ol’ Bab, thanks for this! I’ll see if I can get the book; hefty volumes don’t terrify me, and Smil’s pretty consistently worth listening to.

    David, that’s fascinating, and not really in a good way. Did they compare the emissions from F-35s with those from aircraft already stationed at Truax AFB, I wonder?

    Kat42, excellent — you’re paying attention. No, protest marches don’t do anything unless they’re combined with grassroots political organizing and lifestyle changes — Gandhi’s advice, “you must be the change you hope to see in the world,” is crucial here. The Civil Rights movement, for example, succeeded because the people involved in it didn’t just do protest marches — they organized boycotts, got heavily involved in local and national politics, canvassed their neighbors, and changed how they lived their lives to cut the ground out from under Jim Crow laws and the rest of the machinery of segregation. The environmental movement did the same thing back in the days when it was succeeding. Our current radicals march and wave signs instead of doing these other things, and that’s why they fail so consistently.

    Tony C, predictions like that have been being made over and over again for decades now, and they reliably flop. (Do you remember when Al Gore claimed that the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free by 2013? I do.) The reason they flop is that the people who make those predictions never take into account the equiibrating actions of natural systems — for example, to cite some data from NASA, the way that excess CO2 in the atmosphere drives increased plant growth, changing the planetary albedo and the atmosphere’s chemical composition to mitigate warming. Applying linear models to natural systems inevitably results in failed predictions, and this is another example of why.

    Phil K, I don’t know enough about Spain’s current politics and culture to know just how bad of an idea it is, but I suspect it’s a very bad idea.

    Plantbased, it’s a bizarre spectacle on all sides. We’ve got an emotionally disturbed child being paraded around by corporate backers in an attempt to push a failing agenda; we’ve got various people on the other side of the political spectrum reacting as mechanically as Pavlov’s dogs; we’ve got the general political tone of Western industrial societies, which is the sort of thing you used to have to go to a madhouse to witness — and so it goes.

  68. @ Nastarana

    Re WFP/WIGP

    I actually sent in initial dues to join in the aftermath of HRC’s nomination by the Dems back in 2016, as I was favorably disposed towards the Green’s anti-imperialism stance (and really, really irritated at the Democrats). Then, as I read more of the material I began receiving, I realized that I really didn’t belong, as it became clear that I was insufficiently ashamed of my upper(ish)-middle class, cis-gendered, heterosexual, white maleness to be an acceptable member. Plus I believed in ecological limits…

  69. While I was splitting firewood the other day I got to thinking about the nature of energy, and those older discussions of energy as a one-time flow from higher concentrations to lower, entropy, the differences between real time and stored solar energy in fossil fuels, etc. Suddenly the phrase “renewable energy” popped into my head from wherever such things come, and I realized what an oxymoron it is. Of course by definition energy cannot be renewed.

    I think words matter, and this silly phrase helps to hide the real nature of energy flows, as well as to confuse those who use it. We can see what can be done using only the real-time flows of energy, as that is all we ever had until maybe 400 years ago.

  70. Hi John Michael, I always read your posts although I typically don’t comment. I always learn a great deal and am happy to be here!

  71. This past week among my rightward-leaning relatives, there was some concern that the Greta phenomenon was an incipient step towards totalitarianism. To allay their concerns about that, as I don’t think the climate change movement has that much popular support in America, I dug around and linked them to your article on Weimar America.

    I got real pushback, not from them, but from a liberal relative from western Europe, who claims deep knowledge of what happened and said, between bouts of flying spittle, that the Nazis were an evil minority–everyone could see that–but some people love to be evil, and they just took right over and ruined everything for everyone else.

    I’m wondering if you fielded very much of that kind of rant from Europeans or if this reaction is relatively rare. My impression was of deep psychological wounds within this guy’s family and society.

  72. @Nastarena,
    I’ve had the same experience as you with sun-sign astrology, which is about as far into it as most people ever get. I’m a classic Pisces born in early August, but my Chinese sign seems spot on: doggedly working for justice.

  73. Monk, that’s a complex question. I’m pretty sure, having lived there for a few years, that New England and the coastal mid-Atlantic states will go their own way — they’re European in a way I’ve never encountered elsewhere in North America, and I suspect they’re going to be a borderland between the waning Faustian civilization and the rising Tamanousan culture for a very long time. Such borderlands play a very significant role in cultural transmission — think of Italy and Spain as the great borderlands between Magian and Faustian culture, for example.

    Ric, I don’t think that’s the overall shape of decline here — it’s the way decline works in certain kinds of megalopolitan conditions. What I’ve seen of decline in smaller towns and the countryside is very different, and less brutal.

    Shaun, thanks for this.

    Stephen, I spent a long time brooding over that after reading Vine Deloria’s excellent book The World We Used To Live In, which is about exactly that point. I’m still not at all sure what to make of it; there does seem to be a lot of testimony that magic and religion had far more dramatic effects in the past than it does now — but is that a reflection of real changes, or is it simply the same sort of magnification through legend that gave us the stories of Paul Bunyan? I don’t know. I’d like to believe that magic can be much stronger than it is now, which is probably why I made that a central plot theme of my fantasy series The Weird of Hali — but I don’t know.

    Scotlyn, no, it’s entirely possible, for the same reason that a water wheel works. The dump truck is a way to harness gravitational energy; you load it with tons of rock, let it coast down the hill doing regenerative braking to generate electricity and charge the batteries, unload the rock, and then you have enough electricity to run the (much lighter) empty truck back up the hill. You wouldn’t be able to haul the load of rock back to the top of the hill, though!

    Beneaththesurface, that’s a fair characterization. What I’d like to see, first of all — and we’re actually starting to see it in terms of air travel — is for people who claim to care about the environment taking significant action to reduce demand in their own lifestyles. That’s the foundation on which everything else is built. Then you start group activities that refocus on lower-consumption activities and products, and do it in a fun, lively, carnivalesque manner — “staycations” instead of long distance travel, walking and bicycling clubs, a real push toward neighborhoods that combine residences, shopping, and workplaces — all that sort of thing. The goal is to point out just how dull life has become in the era of energy wasting, and how much more colorful and interesting and pleasant it can be if we stop letting machines live our lives for us, and stretch our own muscles and minds.

    David BTL. yes, exactly. I can’t see any way this won’t blow up in their faces.

    Denys, to my mind, the thing that makes Thunberg “inspirational” is that she transposes the entire climate change debate into the language of moral diatribe: thus her sermon before the UN, with everyone hanging their heads and feeling guilty. As in pop-culture Christianity, the point of repenting your sins is that this allows you to keep on doing them — after all, you’ve felt really bad about them, and maybe done some penance like adopting a vegan diet, right? So you’re okay with God or Gaia, and you can go right back to committing the same sins, knowing that there’ll be another sermon next Sunday and you can repent the next round then. The guy from Nazareth used to say “go and sin no more,” but of course that’s one of many things he said that got dropped like a hot rock.

    Jacurutu, thank you for that metaphor! It strikes me as very apt — and I suspect that a refusal to retreat is going to prove just as disastrous this time around…

    Forecasting, thanks for this. As for the Brexit follies, I’m watching and shaking my head. When the next election comes, Labour will be lucky to come in third place.

    Clark, the textbook I most recommend is unfortunately out of print, but used copies can be had fairly readily on the used book market. (I believe it’s out of copyright as well — publishers, please take note!) That’s A-Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator by Llewellyn George — the original edition, pre-1975, not The New A-Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator, which has been bowdlerized. It’s a fine introduction to natal astrology, which is where you should start. Alan Leo is another fine author — his The Key To Your Own Nativity is probably the best place to start. Finally, the author I study most closely these days is Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson — again, her books are out of print but not too hard to find used. (Oh, publishers, are you listening?) Her books tend to be miscellanies, so you can pick up any of them and find plenty of raw material to work with.

  74. @Antoinetta “If one does not want hereditary monarchy, what other alternatives are there that could take this mechanism of locking in short-term thinking out of the system?

    How about a populist leader with real vision who manipulates his fragile democracy to remain in power for twenty years? Putin has been a superb long-term thinker and has led and positioned Russia very well for the future in most important categories: they have virtually no debt, they have abundant natural resources and are nearly self-sufficient, their military capabilities are impressive and far superior to the US. He’s done a far, far better job of leading his country these last two decades than our rather sorry of lot Bush II, Obama and now DJT. Even with some slippage in his approval ratings, he’s still supported by an overwhelming majority of Russians. Maybe Tulsi Gabbard (2024 – 2044) can get things turned around for us!

  75. Hi JMG,

    In regards to writing, and fiction writing in particular, do you recommend any formal training courses that you took or any books which helped with the technical aspects of the craft.

    Cheers,
    Simon

  76. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I would not be surprised if, when midnight comes, the fawning adults move on to the next shiny object, and the private jet turns back into a pumpkin, that’s when St. Greta commits suicide.

    I know the adults don’t care about her, but you’d think they’d care about how it looks to take your policy positions from a high-school kid.

    Something similar happened with U.S. conservatives some years ago, when they allowed a 12-year-old to speak for them and were duly mocked by liberals. That kid faded out of sight, I hope with no harm done to him.

  77. @Wesley, I haven’t seen JMG make the claim that it’s possible to feed 40 people from over acre, though maybe I haven’t been reading as long as you have. As a farmer, I have calculated that a reasonable maximum is more like 9-10 people fed per acre per year; that’s only for a few crops like potatoes and quinoa, and it also requires external fertility inputs. If you are reliant on in-place fertility, especially nitrogen, that probably drops to around 5 people fed per acre per year on a limited vegetarian diet with the most productive polycultures. Some soils will support more for a limited time but that is because they have a “nutrient battery” that can be used up before deficiencies set in.

    The song “I Believe Most People Are Good” but Luke Bryan has been getting a lot of air time on country stations in the last couple of years, and I find it to be a hopeful reminder that there is a reasonable moderate majority in between our angry polarized extremes.

  78. @ Scotlyn,

    The “perpetual motion dump truck”… this article was a bait and switch. The ENTIRE system needs to be included: the truck, the load, and the work required to put the load in the truck. Let’s ignore that last for the moment. Note also that energy equals work. It took twice the energy going downhill to generate enough energy to power the truck back uphill. A numerical example might help?

    The truck weighs 110 tons. Let’s say the hill is 100 feet to climb. The truck then does 110,000 ton-feet of work to climb the hill. (110 tons multiplied by 100 feet.) The truck now has 110,000 ton-feet of potential energy that can be turned into work on the trip back down the hill. BUT, the weight of the truck is doubled by the load, so there is actually 220,000 ton-feet of potential work that the TRUCK PLUS LOAD can generate on the downhill trip. So, twice the energy generated going downhill to provide enough energy (and then some) to make the return uphill trek while empty. The claim was NEVER made that the EMPTY truck could generate enough energy going downhill to equal or exceed the energy needed to get the empty truck uphill. Not did they claim that the truck generated enough energy to power the truck plus load back uphill, only the empty truck. Thus, there is a net energy loss simply for the truck and load, which ignores the energy required to load the truck.

    Does that help?

    DJSpo

  79. @ Scotlyn and JMG,

    JMG’s explanation hadn’t been posted when I wrote my explanation. His is correct and should be complimented for its brevity. We basically said the same thing: the load makes it possible for the loaded truck to recharge going downhill and make it back to the top empty.

    DJSpo

  80. Hi John,

    Glad you liked the metaphor. Just like the Stavka in 1942, Republican leaders in Congress are positively gleeful the Democrats are walking right into a trap and a self-inflicted disaster they will only have themselves to blame. Are we about to see the political equivalent of Operation Uranus?

  81. Regarding Greta T, I haven’t followed her closely enough to have a sense of her mental health status, but her activity (for lack of a better word) reminds me of a protest sign in John Sladek’s entertaining SF novel, “Mechasm”: The sign read, “End of the World Unfair to Youth.”

  82. JMG, what books do you find yourself returning to repeatedly, over a period of years? Distinct from books that had a formative impact on you but which you no longer need to re-read. I am particularly interested in non-magical books. The only book that currently fits that description for me is A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander.

  83. David and Archdruid,

    That letter is basically a copy-paste of an article that was published in the Isthmus weekly a month ago, the article itself was a copy-paste of a “research” document by a local NGO.
    https://isthmus.com/news/news/environmental-study-of-f35s-near-truax-field/

    Keep in mind that the Truax area is more affordable because it sits next to the airport and several industrial sites. The Truax field has been used as a landing site for f-16s for decades. Heck, when I was going to school at the technical college next to the field, our classes would sometimes be shaken by the take off and landing of the f-16s.

    The whole north-east side has always been low income because it was situated next to the Oscar-myer factory, the airport, and a bunch of other industrial sites. Most of the industries have shut down or moved, and that whole area has become incredibly high demand real estate for young, yuppie families. In other words, the area is gentrifying and slowly becoming more expensive. Guess whats holding down the property prices in the area?

    Regards,

    Varun

  84. I’m feeling grumpy tonight, and would like to take a stab at defining “Troll”, evne though I’m bad at ytping on a keyboard. Troll: carbuncular, yet deficient in hight; distinguished from Nagas who are of the reptilian, Trolls are of the mammalian. Both frequent riparian corridors and are commonly found under bridges, alying in wait for the unsuspecting.

    As for the opposite of “Materialist”, Materialism may be said to be an extreme position, and if so, it’s opposite position would also be an extreme: Nihilism. There are also two other possible extreme positions, Spiritualism and Idealism. Spiritualism is a combination of Materialism and Nihilism, and Idealism is the idea that phenomena are neither material or non-existent, but are real ideal forms that decay with the passing of time in a kind of metamorphosis.
    This is, in a nutshell, the method of debate used by Nagarajuna, or “King of the Nagas” of second century CE India, a buddhist scholar who was his own one man debate contestant who it is claimed, defeated all his debate challengers by asserting their positions fell int one of these ‘four extremes”. In other words, he wsa the first professional troll.

    As for living a life of inconvenience for the good of the planet, or just to be free, having done so for fourty years, I can witness the greatest good will go to those with the motivation of compassion, and wisdom. The integration of varied phenomena into an infinite eternal universe of cycles of periodic – well the word “change” is inadequate and “evolution” has more connotations than I want. Maybe “reactions” is in the ballpark besause something always proceeds what follows, though there is also random events snd fields of energy that well, “dissolve like clouds in the summer sky” or like bubbles in a nice cool Sam Adams Lager which imho tasters like freedom.

    If Nagarajunas Madyamika arguments seem to offer no traction for your immediate concerns, no basis for strategy or tactics, they do have an interesting effect over the course of decades – and yes I know, decades is by human measure all too meaningful. Also meaningless. Nagarajuna is indespensible for a baseline from which to measure what we can know, and what we can’t know. Mighty handy to grasp whennyu have fallen into and extreme philosophical position.

  85. @JMG

    San Francisco got a little “Collapse Now” practice the other day. Roughly a quarter of the city experienced a blackout when some construction workers hit a cable. Cable cars, streetcars, “cash” registers, traffic lights, elevators, MRI machines, cell towers… it all just stopped for several hours. Most comically (and worrying), building doors stopped working, including my office.

    Since most offices nowadays use electronic card access systems (to keep homeless from wandering in, honestly), all the doors locked instantly. This is known as “fail secure.” You can get out but not in. Predictably, the talk of the town was about backup generators and not about why an entire American city stopped working with a minor power interruption.

    In other news, the startup I gig for just got additional funding. 7 years, no revenue. This is fine! (https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/962/640/658.png)

  86. @ Antoinetta

    Well, in large, complex societies the long term thinking is theoretically supposed to be the preserve of the bureaucracy. A bureaucracy is the traditional response to the issues of short termist changes of policy whether caused by elected governments or mad monarchs/emperors. The idea is that the inherent conservatism of the bureaucracy battles with the more nimble policy making of the elected parliament/monarch to produce better compromise outcomes. Of course that has its own problems, eventually, since no system of political government is perfect and all need to be spring cleaned periodically.

  87. I was thinking this morning about our society’s strange obsession with television, and how so many people will go into hysterics when their particular form of prepackaged make-believe doesn’t cater precisely to their interests.

    It struck me that TV and video games might be our culture’s version of the Beatific Vision, the enrapturing experience that redeems the rest of existence. At our fingertips lies an infinity of entertainment, more than we can ever watch in a lifetime, all the product of human technological genius. It’s enough to blot out the rest of the universe, and all the inconvenient bits inside of us.

    It might explain the pushback that occurs against people who opt out of television. It’s a rejection of our society’s central imaginative activity, which might be like walking into a tent revival and declaring that you don’t see the big deal about heaven.

    Also, I’ve been puzzled for years now at how so many people seem to value meaninglessness. As I mulled over the above line of thought, I saw that meaninglessness can be seen as a rejection of limits. “Meaning” implies whole hosts of limits, and so might be a dreadful thing to the devoted Faustian.

    And this might tie into the running conversation about demon-worshipping atheists, over on Magic Mondays. If God doesn’t exist, then the atheists are proving that there are no limits by their actions. If God does exist, then they’re breaking the limits that he imposes, because they’re just that punk rock.

    It’s sort of the reverse of Pascal’s Wager – rather than hedging your bets and going to church, just in case there is an afterlife, you’re flipping God off, just in case he exists.

  88. First, a question for everyone. I’m looking for good sources on the actual, material effects that Donald Trump has had during his presidency, both good and bad, domestically and abroad. I find it hard to have conversations about this guy because I don’t have a lot of facts to marshal, and it’s hard to find them among all the shouting he seems preternaturally able to inspire. What, actually, is his environmental record, his human rights record, his foreign policy record, his economic record?

    Second, somewhat relatedly, can anyone recommend good Spanish-language news sources? I’ve come to realize that reading the news in English gets me a very skewed idea of the world, since barring the occasional bilingual journalist or translated article, I mostly get the perspectives of people who grew up in the English-speaking world, quite a strange place all things considered.

    And finally, JMG, in your essay “Getting Beyond the Narratives: An Open Letter to the Activist Community”, which I recently discovered, you mention magical understandings of the world through the numbers 1 through 10, and note, “If you’re working deliberately with the structures of consciousness — which is to say, if you’re a mage — you choose the structure/number you use based on the effects you want to get. Most of the time, for reasons too complex to get into here, you choose one, two, or three.” I was wondering, then, what are the reasons for, and effects of, understanding things through the number four, as most Native American cultures seem to have done with many things for a long time? I see that there are certain things in nature that are seen to come in fours—the seasons, the elements, the directions—but don’t know what to make of it beyond that, since the relationship between magic and numbers is something I’d never even considered before I read that essay. (Considering which, perhaps you’ll decide the appropriate answer to this question is to direct me to some reading on magic and numbers.)

  89. Readers, I have a question and an appeal.

    Question: Why do people who aren’t running a business use social media? I know you miss a lot of customers if you don’t use Farcebook etc, but why does everybody else use these sites? To me they’re the non-occult version ofOuija boards—play with them and you invite all sorts of unwanted attention.

    Appeal: does anyone have cute animal links? I got nothin’.

  90. J.L.Mc12, nice! That would be a good detail for a deindustrial-SF story.

    Rita, I’d wear one out just as quickly. I suppose the acronym TWIRCS will do for now…

    SMJ, I don’t have the least idea. I’d have to spend a good bit of time reading up on current Swiss affairs, as well as Switzerland’s history, constitution, foreign relations, and the equivalent data for all its neighbors, before I’d have any business trying to answer that.

    Jacurutu, thanks for both of these! The Jonathan Edwards parallel is priceless.

    JIm, thanks for all this. You know, part of the reason that I don’t pay a lot of attention to Pluto is simply that it has a very minor role in my natal chart. As for the great conjunctions, yes, that’s going to be a focus of serious study over the next year and more: if the traditional doctrine of conjunctions is anything to go by, that marks a major shift in religion and culture.

    Wesley, it’s quite simple. First of all, the 40-people-an-acre figure is only for food, and then only for the most limited sort of subsistence diet — there’s no provision for clothing, for fuel for heating and cooking, for raw materials for anything else. (Nor is it adequate for the needs of pregnant women, by the way.) It’s a bare minimum for survival, and on a long term basis would only be suitable for, say, a monastery whose monks were vowed to the most extreme poverty. It’s also only workable in temperate zone areas with an adequate water supply — too far north and it’s too cold, too far south and you can’t keep the nutrients in the soil due to rain leaching, and it doesn’t work at all if you’re dealing with desert conditions.

    That’s one side of the difficulty. The other? I encourage you to find twenty people who would be willing to live that way — not just make mouth noise about it, but actually go out and survive that way. Now try doing it with seven billion. There are plenty of schemes that, in the abstract, would be potentially able to maintain population at current levels, but are they practical options? No, Socrates, they are not. That’s why, in the real world, we can expect a ragged population decline bottoming out some centuries from now at maybe 5% of current global population levels, with a slow recovery from there.

    James, many thanks for this! The point’s generalizable, too — fantasy as a genre is postapocalyptic — nearly all the worlds of fantasy are worlds in decline, where the golden age is in the past and the protagonists are trying to cling to the remnants of a fading glory. D&D caught that, and that’s one of the things that made it such a rich experience, especially in the early days.

    MichaelV, and yet all they’re doing is showing how irrelevant they are. There are plenty of issues where a bold legislative program could seize the political initiative and take the wind out of Trump’s sails — and yet instead all they’re willing to do is shriek “Orange Man Bad!” over and over again. This will not end well.

    Jonathan, definitely go long on popcorn! I haven’t yet settled how much posting I’ll be able to do, but it’s looking promising — I have 52 subscribers between the two services. I may be adding another tier at $10 a month for additional content, but we’ll see.

    Newtonfinn, thanks for this.

    James, many thanks for this also. Most fascinating.

    BoysMom, okay, that’s seriously lame. Thank you for the anecdote, and the laugh.

    Jessi, I’ve been piecing together the raw materials for a post on the subject. I’m waiting to see the written form of a recent court decision — yes, that’s relevant — and a few other things, but I think I’ll be able to make a case for a middle ground.

    John, heh heh heh….

    Workdove, hmm! I think that’s a solid point. I’m going to want to brood about it, though.

    Paul, you’re the third person who’s pointed me to that article — which is not a complaint or a criticism! It’s good to see someone doing the relevant research.

    Jon, that’s complex, because the King as he appears in my fantasy fiction combines several themes from older weird tales. You’d want to read The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, which is where it all started, then look for the Chaosium anthology The Hastur Cycle, which contains some of the best of the later stories and a version of the play. There’s also a fine website, The Yellow Site, which does an excellent job of covering the mythos. The one detailed portrayal of the King in my fiction is in The Weird of Hali: Kingsport, btw.

    Jacurutu, there are rumors flying right now that several hundred documents with details on Hunter Biden’s dubious financial dealings with Ukraine, China, etc. are going to be dumped online tomorrow. If that turns out to be true, it’s not impossible that the whole thing was set up by Trump or someone who supports him…

    Kimberly, good question — it’s been years since I’ve researched that. Anyone else?

    Nati, you may want to try a different method of meditation. If it’s still an unpleasant burden after a year and a half, it may not be well suited for you. There are many different kinds of meditation, of course, and not every kind is best for every person.

    Robert, that strikes me as a very useful project. Have you considered researching it and writing an essay on the subject?

    Copeland, unlike some of your previous attempted comments, this one doesn’t violate any of the rules of discourse here, so I’m happy to answer. If you read this blog more than very occasionally, you’d know that I quite often put through comments by people who disagree with me, so long as they exercise basic courtesy, contribute something relevant to the discussion, and aren’t just trying to score points, push an agenda, or wave around their pink little ego in public. By “troll” I mean someone who doesn’t fit those criteria, in my judgment. Is my judgment flawed from time to time? Of course, but this is my virtual living room and I get to decide who comes in the door and who gets sent back to sit under their bridge.

    Twilight, oof! Thank you. You’re right, of course, and that’s a valid point. Can you think of a different term for sources of energy that provide a steady source without the depletion problems of, say, fossil fuels?

    Nbuffi, thank you! (Waves at the northern end of the state)

    PatriciaO, no, I haven’t encountered that. How fascinating — “No, no, there couldn’t have actually been any reasons for what happened!”

  91. Simon, I specifically do not recommend courses or formal training. Everyone I know who’s gone that route has ended up worse off for it, and most of them ended up more or less unable to write at all. The way you learn to write is quite simple. Write every day; read lots of books in the genres or subjects you want to write in or about; now and then, read books or essays on writing written by actual, working writers whose work you admire — and then write some more. It’s one of the things that you can only learn by doing.

    Daniel H, thanks for this. As for peak oil, every time I start getting the material together for post on it, something else grabs my imagination — but yes, I have that high up on my get-to list.

    Your Kittenship, that’s an ugly possibility. Given her history of eating disorders, she’s at high risk of anorexic self-starvation anyway.

    DJSpo, your explanation and example was also a good one, and may have helped readers who didn’t follow mine, so thank you.

    Jacurutu, that seems distinctly likely. Popcorn time? Probably.

    Phutatorius, hah! Now there’s a blast from the past.

    Isaac, Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West, the later novels of Hermann Hesse, and most of Nietzsche’s mature philosophy are among the non-magical books I return to again and again.

    Mark, I have to admit that thinking of Nagarjuna as the first professional troll is a new one for me — but you know, in a sense, it works.

    Brian, I heard about that. I get the impression that these days San Francisco is one big dumpster fire…

    Cliff, you know, that makes a very great deal of sense.

    Chuck, Miranda Lundy’s fine little book Sacred Number is a good place to start.

  92. David BTL,
    I really appreciated your tale of attempted re-engagement with Political Wire and your realization of its futility. It is so frustrating to see the problems and the potential solutions and simply be unable to get through to anyone. To realize, as you said: “It requires human beings to be something other than what we are: short-term thinkers with a certain cleverness for tool-making who operate only in the near-term,” is actually incredibly liberating. I am going through that realization process myself.

    As I get closer to freeing myself from the obligation to “save the world” I am getting happy and more joyful, despite the knowledge that things are getting messier and harder every day. The fact that I have found this community of Retrotopians and Ecosophisticates is another factor that brings peace, acceptance and a greater appreciation for life on this beautiful planet. Thank you all and Happy Equinox.

  93. …Rereading my previous post, I think I should clarify that what I’m looking for is a few high-quality sources, of facts soberly presented, about what Trump’s caused to be done: statistics, perhaps, or summaries of some of the executive orders he’s issued, with perhaps some exceptionally levelheaded analysis of knock-on effects—and as close to zero opinionated yelling as possible. It occurred to me that I should be quite explicit about what I want if I’m asking for written sources on the most written-about man in recent memory.

    JMG, noted, and thank you for the recommendation.

  94. @JMG,

    Thanks for the explanation. I was already aware that 40-people-an-acre is considered wildly optimistic in most circles (Mark L. put his own estimate for the best organic yield at 5-people-an-acre in a previous comment). I only used that figure since you had cited it in ADR, though of course your caveat it won’t work in most soil and weather conditions makes perfect sense.

    Still, living off the Earth’s present farmland at 3-people-an-acre would be enough to support the present population and then some, though I do agree that too few people are willing to make the necessary changes. So you are right that we will see a ragged decline when the industrial base that supports the “green revolution” comes apart over the next century or so, though I am far from sold on the idea that it will get as low as 5% at the bottom.

    So the upshot is that even though these methods will have too few adopters to reverse the trend of decline, I still think it’s a good idea to talk about them simply for the sake of driving home the point that the ‘solution’ to resource scarcity, insofar as it has one, is for you – whoever you are – to adopt a more frugal lifestyle rather than doing what a lot of folks in the industrial world do, which is to continue their extravagant consumption while whining about how brown people are having too many kids.

  95. Hi JMG,

    I want to look at historical charts to practice working with Mundane astrology, but I don’t know how to calculate the exact time of the Aries ingress (/Libra etc). Do you have a good source for this, or, barring that, do you know how to figure it out on your own? I can google “exact time of the equinox 2020” and get an answer, but I don’t know how I’d find it, for, say, the Aries ingress of 1901.

  96. Jmg

    Thanks, I have thought of writing about it, and you know that the same idea could be used for sonar.

    Out of curiosity, if Australia was under the control of China instead of America how bad would it be?

    I usually think that they would not exert to much control over us, rather they would focus on the Chinese immigrants who would still be living in Australia.

  97. Here’s an unpopular opinion that I can only voice here as it’s the only place where everyone reading it will not lose their minds upon its mere utterance: video games are a major culprit in school and other public space shootings. Video games largely appeal to young men. The video games that have made the most money over the years are shooting gallery RPGs, so they are largely what gets put into production even now. Correlation is not causation, of course, but bear with me. TV (as Cliff so interestingly detailed) tempts with the elusive promise of Requiem For A Dream rapture. The hefty price of television watching is that it takes over the imagination and colonizes thoughts in its own pasteurized image. Games do the same thing — a young man’s brain that would have been captivated and thrilled by the gentle, sensory information he received from walking in the woods just thirty years ago gets jackbooted into the electronic virtual, sanitized Uberwoods where amusement and dopamine jolts come from mowing down finely pixellated zombies and orcs. The astral plane was polluted enough thanks to the older generations and their television addictions; gaming ushered in the Dylan Klebolds and Eric Harrises who were already hopped up on mommy-approved antidepressants, creating the perfect storm of young men who simply took their first person shooter obsession to the next logical step. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Klebold and Harris began an era right at the moment video game graphics definitively matured out of the Pong age to simulations capable of inducing instant motion sickness.

    As for atheists and demons, when your world is limited to the three ring circus of social media, school, and a modern dysfunctional suburban family house, stunt-queening with the alleged forces of darkness is just another game. The only representation of religious devotion you’ve ever seen firsthand is the lunatic Christian Evangelists who scold people by the Bean in Millennium Park, so conjuring Satan serves a twofold purpose:

    1) Your failure proves Satan does not exist when you invoke him and nothing happens (this is the expected outcome).

    2) You give the existential-level middle finger to the horrified proselytizing Christian in a “look what you made me do” sense.

    Not one atheist expects his soul-selling exercise to work, and the sanity-breaking cognitive dissonance paradox arrives when they have to admit certain believers in god/gods may have been right about selected things.

    On a completely different note, this is for Lady Cutekitten:

    https://www.facebook.com/cattoposting/videos/vb.358659824753331/430344274468318/?type=2&theater

  98. @Rita Rippetoe–
    OK, I’ll take a stab at a keyboard shortcut for ‘Trolls With Insufficient Reading Comprehension Skills.”– Notice that, if you put the initials together, you get “TWIRCS,” phonetically similar to the name for a certain dance move. Your keyboard shortcut would thus be “((” or possibly “))” depending on whether the TWIRCS is left-leaning or right-leaning. The quotation marks should be included, to imply motion.

    I _was_ about to say that this is all ‘tongue-in-cheek,’ but ,,, probably not the best choice of words for this comment. 😉

  99. …And a follow up. After some tinkering on the Cafe Astrology website, I managed to get a chart for March 21 1901 with the Sun at 0 degrees 0 minutes Aries. I decided to start here, to see if I could spot any indication of danger to William McKinley. It’s worth noting that this chart won’t be completely accurate, as the houses move around quite rapidly, but it should be fairly close.

    What I see is as follows:

    The Sun is on the cusp of the third house, and thus exceedingly weak because cadent. It makes no aspects to any other planets, except for one: A square to Neptune. Neptune is the planet that, in political affairs, rules socialism and utopian movements generally. In this chart, we find him in the 6th house– the house of the working class, sextile to Mars, the planet of conflict. Mars is in the 8th house of mortality, and in Leo– the sign ruled by the Sun. This is the indicator that the president will, in the time frame ruled by the chart, be assassinated (Mars in 8 trine Neptune square Sun) by an anarchist (Neptune in 6).

    What do you think?

  100. Once I saw a critique from you about Joseph Tainter. But I forget them and cannot find them too. Hence I ask you directely. What are the points you are critical about Tainters view of collapse?

  101. @Wesley re carrying capacity

    I seem to recall from eco history that the Chinese have maintained their paddy rice culture system pretty well indefinitely based on small 1.2 – 1.8 acre largely self-sufficient farms. Each was capable of supporting a man, his wife, his two parents, 1-3 children, plus taxes. Fertility was renewed annually by silt from the loess plains. Nonetheless, I think that is about as intensive a farming system as it is possible to get given their incredible focus on minimising system losses and the sophistication of their polycultures.

    German medieval villages along fertile river valleys allocated at least 7 acres per household (about half of it forest for heating, cooking and construction). The average household structure was very similar to that of a Chinese household.

    At the extreme, Australia’s indigenous population pre-European discovery averaged maybe one person per 4km2 across the continent (though obviously density varied considerably).

    My view is that there are very, very few places that could feed 40 people/acre even at minimal levels and we have built large cities on most of those places.

  102. Your Kittenness,
    Re; Why use social media.

    It is a poor substitute for meaningful human contact, but better than none at all.

    I find it strikingly difficult to find other people who, in real life, think like myself (and likely, in the same way as many of us here).
    FaceFart allows for some level of connection and discussion, IF the groups you belong to are carefully curated and the ‘block’ functions are used judiciously.

    I have been successful in acquiring rare plants and cheap craft materials using it on many occasions which also helps.

    Which is not to say that I don’t contemplate deleting it on about a monthly basis. It probably helps that it is the only mainstream social media to which I belong.

  103. “A few weeks back Onething posted a link to her gofundme page devoted to raising funds to continue her access to a thus far successful alternative (and thus self-paid) treatment for the cancer she’s fighting.”

    I ponied up. I encourage those who can afford it to do likewise. We need to stick together here.

  104. “The division back in the day used to be between materialists and spiritualists, except that the latter term got picked up by a fringe religion; for a while you also heard a distinction between materialists and idealists, except that the latter term got watered down to mean “unworldly do-gooder.” I’m not sure there’s a good term presently in circulation — I wonder if anyone can suggest one.”

    How about “open minded?”

  105. Thank you, I am very glad to hear it. I would much rather wait for your detailed, researched answer than settle for a quick back-of-envioe calculation.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  106. Dear Mr Greer and USA readers,

    I have been thinking about this “impeachment circus” , and what would be the reason for such a stupid move of the opponents of your President, and found several:
    – to “abort” the scandal about the corruption of Mr Bidden several months before the next election, therefore minimizing the potential gains Mr Trump would make of it;
    – to “remove” Mr Biden from the competition for the Democratic nomination, meaning that the rifts inside the democratic party are starting to became more important for the democrats than their opposition to Mr Trump (they are probably accepting the next presidential election is already lost for them).
    – To distract the public opinion diverting their attention from the colossal corruption of Mr Obama presidency – Mr Obama is still an “untouchable”, and is in the interest of the democratic party that he remains so – by focusing the talk on Mr Trump impeachment. All in all the Democratic party is still run by smart experienced people, that recognise they must “cut the losses” with this bold move, even risking being ridicule and ruining the small chance they had of winning the next presidential election. Like when the burglar burns the house to hide the robbery.
    Could I be totally wrong?

  107. JMG
    Tamanousan culture? That was a ‘heads-up’ for me, so I looked it up and google was mainly in Spanish. I vaguely understand Faustian culture (Spengler). Guess this oncoming one is American in the wider two continent sense?
    best
    Phil H
    PS. New England? It was when four decades ago I worked in research in New Brunswick, and with contacts across the border, that I realised I was ‘European’, more than just ‘British’. And that was despite the street names sounding like Hanoverian Edinburgh and seeing girls with red hair and freckles downtown. Smile. Halfway house? Seemed a touch haunted back then.

  108. In the previous discussion about Lord of the Rings I assumed the eagles would be faster than the fell beasts. Remembering the speed bats fly past the window, I looked it up and although birds of prey are quicker in a dive, bats are some of the fastest things in level flight. People who’ve done the sums with times and distances from the book have found fell beasts to be impressively fast too – https://www.quora.com/How-fast-could-the-fell-beasts-in-the-Lord-of-the-Rings-fly.

  109. JMG said ” the point of repenting your sins is that this allows you to keep on doing them — after all, you’ve felt really bad about them, and maybe done some penance.”

    Wow. That is totally what is happening here. The response I got from that posted story about changing our life style because of climate change was…. no response. I expected either a platitude of some kind, or anger veiled as wonderment.

    Do you think we will ever get people actually giving up their personal belongings to go follow their climate changer leader? They just seem to be using what they call the climate crisis to make a world-wide power grab which is the complete opposite of religious following.

  110. Firstly, some comments about Switzerland, since SMJ asked. Switzerland is a quite wealthy country, which tends to keep to itself and not engage too much on the international stage. Its politics are rather sedate, the Swiss parties de facto being in an eternal state of big coalition. But Switzerland is not immune to populism, as the Schweizer Volkspartei (Swiss Peoples’ Party) with its populist chief Blocher shows. A few years ago, there was an election campaign in Switzerland where placards showed a pasture with white sheeps and one black sheep, the black sheep in process to be kicked out.
    Futhermore, Switzerland is a rather expensive country which tends to cater to the rich. So, the long descent with its harsh consequences will challenge Sitzerland to its core, but in a very different way than the United States.

    Secondly, the whole affair with Extinction Rebellion and the climate change movement with Greta Thunberg at its head reminds me of an essay in the Archdruid Report about revitalization movements. My impression is that this is a full-blown revitalization movement, akin to the Ghost Dance. The danger is that it will be used to impose austerity on the masses in the name of fighting climate change; that would really mean the end of environmentalism as a popular thing. By the way, I would be curious what J. M. Greer has to say about the symbol of the Extinction Rebellion. If found it somehow a bit strange.

  111. Monk: I can’t speak about Russian Sobornost, but one of my own experiences (which I’ve seen reflected in a couple of other places) may be instructive to the Tamanoan. If so, you’re looking at a fractal spacetime, reminiscent of Mesoamerica but more fluid (possibly analogous to the difference between the rigidly cyclic Indian mandala and the homeostatically cyclic Chinese Book of Changes, with an infinite variety of nested cycles (I’d analogize to the life cycle, the most memorable of the other descriptions analogized to waves in the ocean) that are simultaneously all different and all the same. (Snowflakes, amusingly, actually wouldn’t be a terrible metaphor here – every snowflake is different, and yet at another level each one is definitely a snowflake.)

    JMG: Since it’s an Open Thread, I figured I’d ask here rather than the next Magic Monday (especially since a couple of my recent MM comments disappeared, and I can’t tell whether that’s because I crossed a line or because Dreamwidth is acting up – if the former, sorry about that!): do you know roughly when and where the traditional occult lore concerning the sequence of inhabited planets comes from? I know Helena Blavatsky used it, but I don’t know if that’s one of the things she developed on her own or whether she got it from an older tradition.

    (In particular, I’m wondering whether that lore comes from the Old World or the New – I’ve been considering for a little while the possibility that the Xth-World myths common in certain parts of North America come from the same deep source as that sequence.)

  112. Hello JMG

    You’ve mentioned future armed migrations and World War 3. Would you be willing to put a timeline to those events?

    Smj

  113. I would like to add a comment about the ingress charts which I did for the next Bundestag elections for Germany: the political agitation indicated by the ingress charts will probably be about the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany), or the climate change movement, or both.

    By the way, I foud it funny in a grim sort of way to see Greta Thunberg and Donald Trump getting into a mud fight on Twitter. It would be interesting if these and similar episodes and mass movements will be remembered after the fall of Western Civilization.

    Then I have a question: Has such a thing as the turning of Western Civilization into a madhouse (not only the elite, but large part of the population) occurred in past civilizations? This question came to me as I thought how the fact that past civilizations were nonindustrial has had a profound impact on life conditions in them compared to Western Civilization even at their peak.

  114. A short addendum about Europe and the Third Reich: The time from 1933 to 1945 is quite prominent in the puiblic awareness at least in Germany, but the Weimar Republic and the events leading to the election of Hitler, not so much. The reaction of the bourgeoisie of the Weimar Republic, especially of writers and intellectuals, to the election of Hitler and the NSdAP has a disturbing similarity to the reaction of the salary class to the election of Trump.

  115. Dear JMG,

    I have a question regarding to the birth and death rates.

    Thank you very much for explaining elegantly in your books how a slow but steady increase in death rates could reduce drastically the world population.

    Regarding to the birth rates, in the previous post, you mentioned that significant drops in birth rates happen in every civilization that reaches the point we’re at nowadays. What are the causes that drive these drops in our actual time and in the past?

    The Limits to growth model forecasts the birth rates will bottom out in just a couple of decades and then climb back significantly higher than today standard. Again, what could be the reason for that U-turn? I first thought about the extra labour needed for agriculture but that’s not right in term of timing. A human-labour-intensive agriculture will happen much later, won’t it?

    Regards,

  116. Darkest Yorkshire,

    Thank you for the Blackadder memory jog! I used to love that show. And the Flying Circus of course, and later, Ab Fab, and Harry Enfield and Chums. You English know how to do comedy. Although shows like Mr. Bean and Fawlty Towers always made me feel anxious…

    Cheers.
    Tripp

  117. Regarding Ms. Thunberg, it seems to me that far too much of the public narrative is focused on her, and not on her actual message (said message being reasonably compatible with the long term themes of this blog). On the one hand we have people referring to her as a child, or calling her mentally ill, or claiming that all her material was written for her by someone else. These are all just ways of shooting the messenger, and thus avoiding or ignoring the message. On the other hand, anyone who idolizes her, turns up for a sermon and feels like they’ve achieved something by doing this and only this, is also completely ignoring the message, and may has well have just shot the messenger too.

  118. Hi John Michael,

    I put a lot of stock in what you have to say and your recommendations, for both right living and, equally important, right reading. As you suggested at one time to someone else; read dead people’s books…good advice. I have been reading “Well At The Worlds End” because it was recommended by you to another reader. Wow! What a story! The language, the details of ordinary medieval life, these are examples of what good historical fiction delivers and leaves me musing about for hours on end. Just curious how old you were when you first read it and the impact it left. If you haven’t already produced one, “JMG’s 100 Must Read List” would be a treasured item for my ongoing education and elucidation. Thanks for sharing your brilliance!

  119. BoulderLovinCat,

    I noticed the same thing about I-90 almost a decade ago. Calling it an INTERSTATE HIGHWAY was a real stretch to my southeastern sensibilities! It was only decent around wealthier enclaves like Billings and Butte, MT. I try to remind people who live in rich east coast states like Georgia, where I live, that we are spoiled rotten with the quality of our roads, bridges, and our built environment in general, and that decline is already well underway elsewhere. Go see for yourself!

    As to your second point, well spotted. I think the wheels are coming off the internet bus. The madness is definitely overtaking the method. For a variety of reasons we recently closed our e-commerce website for our business, and are now working on a simple, photo- and testimonial-dense descriptive website (for 15 bucks a year) that ends with a telephone number to call to order securely over a landline. Fortunately we saw this day coming from the beginning, and used our landline as our business phone from the start. And printed it on most of our labels. And that word ‘most’ is currently being fixed too…

  120. JMG,

    Re. your: ” … sock puppet of an apocalyptic political cult.” Hmm. There is a lot to unpack there. We all no doubt wish Greta well and hopes she thrives after the spot light moves on.

    Your often repeated point of personal example for climate activist leaders is well make. Nonetheless, given we are all part of the same industrial culture, we will all be hypocrites to some extend. The latest crop of climate leaders seem to be walking the walk at least symbolically. One can of course always find some fault. He who is without sin may cast the first stone …

    Taking a step back away from personalities. Is the IPCC analysis (that Greta bases her message on) actually incorrect? Given the 2 degree change already baked into the climate system, are we not headed towards a very bad future of unstable climate. Put another way, are we not in a climate emergency?

    Life is seldom black or white, but once we are taking about how unsafe “unsafe” is, my guess is we are probably having the wrong conversation. Still, I admit some difficulty assessing the various claims of how bad “bad” will be. It does in fact matter to ensure the cure is not worse than the disease. I’m thinking about the claims of Extinction Rebellion and their radical “solution”.

    Is your take that we are not in an emergency? Is political action a la some Green New Deal or mobilization on the scale of the societal transformation to meet the challenges of WWII actually disproportionate?

    Dave Coulter

  121. The kids and I were visiting with extended family yesterday at their creekside cabin about 40 minutes from our house, and my Grandmother was giving my cousin a hard time for buying another boat to add to the growing collection at their lake house. This one was a fishing kayak he had just purchased from Craigslist for $150.

    I piped up and said “at least this one’s short on complexity and long on reliability!”

    I could sense the gears turning in all present heads, trying to process that, as if it were a brand new concept, but I think it found it’s mark, at least in a brain or two…

  122. Had some thoughts. I farm and have been planning on planting hedges for fences. At a tree per foot it’s going to take a lot of trees and I’m looking at planting around 10k trees over the next few years. I started thinking about the larger implications of planting large number of trees. If hedges were planted extensively, or at the very least, we lined some of the 4 million miles of roads in this country we could plant billions of trees.

    So to google. I found a study that says planting billions of trees would absolutely have an effect on climate change even if the effect was removed by a couple decades from the plantings themselves. I also found two articles from sources that shall not be named (but can be guessed) that this idea was a non-starter. For… reasons. None very good. Apparently trees are CO2 balloons that once punctured spew their contents into the air. Who knew?

    I was struck by two impressions. One involved a discussion on NPR about climate change. The host asked his panel in closing what an average person can do about the climate. One guest answered, without the slightest hint of absurdity, vote. VOTE. Ugghh.

    Anyway, the other impression was the similarity between the media/our self-appointed betters and Grima Wormtoungue whispering in Theoden’s ear. #Nerdy

    Millennials are failing. Milestone after milestone pass. But what can you expect from a generation that was fed the line that the world is ending at every moment. Why bother making lasting connections, getting married, starting families, holding down a job, staying alive when the world is screwed? The suicide rate is skyrocketing. Grima whispers, vote. Protest, fornicate, abdicate responsibility for your choices. Because the world is ending.

    Or plant trees. I’m not saying this is some silver bullet. If inaction is despair maybe doing something even if it isn’t The Solution™ would be preferable. But if Grima fears Theoden realizing his hands are strong it could be possible this is the only solution.

    I heard Greta’s speech and it broke my heart. She’s right that her future has been stolen. She’s wrong about the manner of the theft.

  123. @JMG: “a real push toward neighborhoods that combine residences, shopping, and workplaces”

    I would love to see this.

    There’ve been several times recently when I was going to visit a friend in a more “upscale” suburban area and figured, oh, it’s a long walk but I’ll take an earlier train and there’ll be a diner/coffee shop/convenience store I can stop at midway through. And there just…wasn’t. Not for lack of population–I was passing houses all the time–but zoning restrictions, I guess? Apparently ritzy people would rather drive every time they need a quart of milk or want to get coffee and pancakes than risk having Commerce near them. (Shades of Victorian novels and the shame attached to being In Trade.)

    (I used to think this was the case with my new neighborhood, but it turns out I was just taking the wrong route to the train station, so yay!)

    The other thing I’d want is more acceptance of clotheslines by landlords/home-owners’ associations/etc. I’m going to see what I can do with drying racks–my new dryer being the least efficient thing ever has helped push me in that direction, I admit–and ask my new, chill-seeming landlord (he rescues abandoned plants!) about outdoor drying on good days, but I know my old place and a lot of others were firmly opposed because, IDK, God forbid small children know that people wear underpants, I guess?

  124. @Lady Cute Kitten, replying to your question “Why do people use social media?” I use Facebook. I actually do have a small business and sell most of my pieces on FB Marketplace and I use FB messenger to video call family once a week. It’s been much more stable than Skype: but I also use it to keep in easy contact with family and friends who live far away. I started when we lived in Hong Kong, easy to share photos, videos, type little day to day things to family and friends back home – now we are back in the USA, I do that in reverse with friends in HK or others who have moved around the globe. I’ve also found private groups relevant to my needs or interests: I’m in a few related to my business, salvaging /refurbishing /redesigning and re-selling antique and vintage furniture and have learned immensely from my peers around the country and the world. I’m in a few other groups related to “Paying for College 101”, which has likewise provided a trove of information on this labyrinthine process of sending our kids to college and not going broke or deep in debt while doing it. And lastly: I do see and sometime join in discussions on current events or politics or ‘life’ as we do here in our gracious host’s virtual living room. It’s a tool, that’s all, so it is what you make of it. If the discussion or other people’s posts vex you, then yeah, just don’t use it. 🙂

  125. We’ve talked about how the Democratic Party has been losing formerly faithful working class folks to the Republicans. Here’s a report of exactly that happening in Pete Buttigieg’s back yard.

    Local controversy goes national: How many Clay Democratic Club members voted Trump?

    https://tinyurl.com/y6sbgxjl

    I’m going to have to listen to that NPR show they mentioned.

    Joy Marie

  126. While I’m dreaming, and as someone who likes travel: more affordable eco-friendly options. I don’t need an entire sleeper compartment on a train to myself, but I’d like a cheap horizontal surface if I’m going more than a day. I don’t need thirty-seven cable channels and room service when I’m on the road–I want to be able to get a shower and a bed for less than sixty bucks a night. I like visiting the UK, I’d rather not fly if I had the option, but I don’t need (and can’t afford) the QE2.

    (For that matter, if we *do* have to fly, I’d rather save what we can in terms of fuel by offering flights that don’t provide a plethora of food and entertainment options. I can bring a sandwich and a book. Or a hip flask, which takes care of both. :P)

  127. For what it’s worth, after seeing “St. Greta” in her speech and in a few interviews – I can’t help but really like her! Although, I do feel a certain motherly fear and protectiveness – I believe what she is saying, what she is fighting for, but I agree with JMG & most commenters here; I do feel she is being used because a sweet earnest young teenager cannot get beaten up by the opposition without them looking like bullies and completely discrediting themselves. It feels like the adults are hiding behind her like a shield, a prop. She and her message will be discarded or just fade away into irrelevance when the next shiny thing comes on the scene. There’s just something so showy, so Hollywood about it all, “We eat our young here”. Which gives a weird double edge to her “how dare you” speech – which side is she talking to?

  128. JMG, in the Archdruid Report you wrote about the next crisis of Western Civilization and the partial recovery following it, that after the crisis, it will look like as if the problems of current Western Civilization had truely been overcome and done with (which, of course, won’t be really the case). Do you still think this is likely? And that brings to mind the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, which are mentioned in the book of mundane astrology which I have: Are there concrete kinds of change which are predicted by such conjunctions or it is merely the fact of profound changes as such?

  129. I’ve had some thoughts on learning Astrology and how to approach that. The very best (imho) way is to work with a competent, skilled teacher who will most likely have a basic text or two in mind. That said, finding such a situation is tricky. I began my astrological studies in the mid 70s and feel fortunate to have started then, when everything was slower and completely analog. The internet is a tremendous resource now, but it’s mostly pop astrology garbage. So learn to recognize and steer clear of crap early on and focus on the fundamentals. There’s a lot that glitters out there, but most of it is fool’s gold. It’s a deeply complex art/craft/science that can become a lifelong reference and language of meaning and understanding. As with most things, faithful practice is the key.

    Most Astrology these days is psychological, as opposed to the various specialties of mundane/predictive methodology (political/social/financial/medical etc). The great wave of humanistic, person-centered astrology which began in the late 19th century still dominates the airwaves, but it’s good to see the resurgence of the mundane, which simply means “of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one”. Both branches require mastery of the fundamentals and skill with the language. Don’t settle for facile oversimplification.
    For the folks here who are also exploring discursive meditation, astrology’s many potent symbols are readily incorporated.

    One outfit I respect and think highly of is Astrodienst, which runs the website astro.com
    There are many fine features accessible at no charge — you can cast an accurate birth chart there and they have an amazing 9,000 year ephemeris (a tremendous service to astrologers everywhere!). There are lots of reports/forecasts for sale as well which are of good quality at modest prices, with texts authored by highly skilled astrologers. I subscribe to their service called Extended Daily Forecast ($45/yr) which provides an extremely useful ‘daily check in’ reference point. It also allows for casting/data storage of an unlimited number of charts, so you can begin building a database of charts of relatives, friends etc., which is highly useful as your studies progress. Transits are included as well. It’s a very valuable resource.

    I am steeped in the psychological/spiritual orientation of the modern era and have only recently (thanks to JMG!) begun to appreciate the mundane. For beginners, the series of books by Marion March and Joan McEvers are pretty decent textbooks, titled The Only Way To Learn Astrology. Compendium of Astrology (Para Research, may be out of print) by Rose Lineman and Jan Popelka is also a worthwhile introductory text. Steven Arroyo’s Chart Interpretation Handbook is very valuable (as are his other works). Liz Greene’s work is impressive and worth seeking out…she’s a Jungian psychotherapist. Robert Hand is a master, his Planets In Transit should be on every astrologer’s shelf (Horoscope Symbols is also good). Dane Rudhyar is The Godfather of modern humanistic/transpersonal astrology and all of his books are worthwhile, some invaluable (decidedly not for beginners however).

    Hope this is helpful to all the aspiring astrologers in this community!

  130. Book Alert from your friendly Cincinnati cataloger. … I saw this today and it reminded me of the recent discussions here about special snowflake characters, heroes, dark lords, etc. This book is a spoof of that told from the point of view of the evily evil dark lord, for those who like humorous fantasy.

    There and Never Ever Back Again: Diary of A Dark Lord by Jeff Mach

    ” ‘There is a white wizard, cloaked in spellcraft and guile and a truly astonishing sense of self-righteousness, and he simply will not stop slaughtering The Chosen One until he kills me.’ ”

    Set in a fantasy world of unmanageable magics and questionable cosmology, There and NEVER, EVER Back Again: A Dark Lord’s Journal is the peculiar, blackly satirical tale of the Dark Lord, who is amassing an army of Things of the Night, and awaiting likely death at the hands of:

    The Elves: A beautiful, shiny, sociopathic species whose language is entirely sarcasm.

    The Dwarves: Doomed hammer-swinging dwellers of the underground.

    The Armies of Man: No one tells a better tale, or causes a more rapid extinction.

    The White Wizard: Embodiment of all that is good and right; just ask him.

    ….and

    The Chosen One: Victim – sorry, meant to say “Hero” – of a glorious prophecy. The Chosen One is destined to bring down the Dark Lord, if not killed first. In which case, The White Wizard will have to find a replacement. Again.

    Behold! A (relatively) epic narration of world-changing events, told from the point of view of the Dark Lord. ‘Tis a story of shattering destiny, drinking, arcane secrets, drinking, and battles worth of the Sagas. Well, not the Sagas of Men, but the Orcs have probably got something to say about it. Let’s get going; it’s time to steal the Sun. “

  131. John, et alia–

    On a completely different topic, this meatless meat thing seems to be something of a new bright, shiny object for everyone to fawn over. Several fast food chains have come out with menu items (BK, and now I see McD).

    For the record, my wife and I tried some Beyond Meat in a dinner one night. She’d gotten some from the grocery store out of curiosity. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t cheap either. Granting that those who follow meatless diets out of medical or religious necessity would be a legitimate market, more broadly I have a heard time seeing this as much more than yuppified virtue signaling.

  132. On the surface, Switzerland seems fine: people have a high standard of living, the government seem to care about the environment…

    But it has a major vulnerability: people have a high standard of living because they take a lot of mortgages with the bank. A mortgage for the house, an other for the car, a third one for a new cellphone… Moreover, swiss people tend to keep their mortgages indefinitely, just payin interest years after years.

    And the governement is encouraging mortgages, putting heavy taxes on savings.

    At the same time, the swiss franc is going higher and higher, and people and businesses are starting to move to the neighbouring countries.

    This means that in Switzerland there is a major crisis waiting to happen. As soon as pepole lose their jobs, retire, divorce, or do anything that can put a dent in their income, their savings is eaten by mortgages, taxes, compulsory insurances and so on. And to get out of this debt spiral, people move to a neighbouring country, and cut their spending in half while keeping their income intact (the swiss-french border is completely open, and it passes through most of the major cities).

    In order to stop the crisis, the government is doing some magic, repeating continuously that moving abroad while working in Switzerland is un-swiss, and swiss people should be happy to pay higher prices while sustaining the local economy.

    At the same time, banks are struggling to make money out of their reserves, and build condos and office buildings that stay empty for years and years.

    How long will it last?

  133. Hey JMG,

    Your response to Lenn has me thinking. He talks about looking for a place to retire, and talks about the long term, and you mention the importance of an abundant water supply and ample farmland. I see the crucial importance of those in the next 50 years, but for someone about to retire it isn’t clear to me that those will become crucial factors within their lifetime. Do you think those will become significant sooner than what I am describing?

    Asking because I live in a place that is almost certainly going to decline hard once limits really start to bite here (Los Osos, CA), but I also have a partner unlikely to leave CA, have built something of a community here, and have begun to take steps to adapt to this place and it’s particular limits and abundances.

    Once I started learning about limits and decline, I have been wrestling with whether it is better (for me, the people around me, the natural world) to get ahead of the trends and move somewhere that will see a bit of a boom in times to come (Rust Belt, etc.), or if it is better to use my local knowledge and human connections here to take steps toward building a new way that could actually work here in the long run. I don’t have any answers yet, but that is the source of my question.

    Thanks for offering up this space!

    DutyBound

  134. Hi JMG

    Speaking of blog posts to come…you have mentioned doing a detailed series of posts on C G Jung more than once over the last few years, and I for one would greatly appreciate this.

    Would you agree that he is perhaps the most influential psychologist of his times, in our time – but not acknowledged as such? There seem to be an endless number of spin off schools based on his general ideas.

    Many thanks.

  135. Hello John Michael Greer and fellow Ecosophians.

    “There is no brighter future ahead”. I read this mantra years ago and it really sunk in. But I didn’t understand what it was until recently. When you did a post on affirmations and one of the commenters said that this was an affirmation and in fact a deliberately negative one. So, I was thinking why would you make it this way?

    I think I figured it out: it works straight on the conscious mind and prevents the user from buying into some grand intellectual scheme that promises a better future (that will never come true), but it plays an inverse on the subconscious mind (“there is a brighter future ahead”), so there is a hope for a future where life can be good.

    Therefore, the person with this mantra, critical of the officially approved solutions, starts their own research into different ways to achieve a better future, leading to multiple different paths being tried by different people, a deliberate dissensus…This seems to be your modus operandi in preparing for the future.

    Anyway, this is my take on it and I could be wrong.

  136. I know you think that Pluto is “out of the game” now, but I think it still has a few licks left in it before that happens. I have my eye on an extended conjunction (within five degrees) that Pluto and Jupiter will be in Capricorn from about mid-March to mid-December of 2020, so that will certainly have an impact on the election. I’m sure it will make your ingress charts for March and June of that year a bit extra interesting!

  137. JMG: Thanks.

    Will Oberton: It’s not an ‘ism’, but you might talk about metaphysics or the supernatural, both of which actually have similar etymologies, one from Greek (metaphysics, ‘after nature’), the other from Latin (supernatural, ‘above nature’).

  138. @JMG,

    My point was how reliant every American city (small and large) is on the electric grid. None of this is unique to San Francisco, except the Cable Cars of course.

    As for the dumpster fire that is or isn’t San Francisco, well… I would say the truth is complicated. Homelessness, high home prices, and dysfunctional government were hallmarks of the City back when I was born. Those issues are magnified by all the money pouring in.

    On the other hand, large swaths of the City have never looked better. Neighborhoods where I feared to tread in 1990s are now safe for the stroller crowd. Gentrification may be bad but I’ll take it over homicide! Jobs are plentiful. Wanna be a six figure admin assistant? Come on down!

    Of course, all this is a temporary Gold Rush. When the bubble pops, and all the carpetbaggers and career climbers go home, San Francisco will look in the mirror and see, once again, a 2nd tier city with a mighty fine harbor and fantastic natural resources on its doorstep. I recently visited Boston and have been to Seattle and I think they’re cities in the same mold, albeit less dysfunctional. Long term, they’ll all be just fine, although I think they will lose population.

    I think it’s our first tier cities that will feel the most pain in the Long Emergency. NYC is the most vulnerable. Sea level rise, failing infrastructure, extreme population density, harsh weather, and a hyper globalized economy. It’s got all the losing cards.

  139. With respect to a previous human ability to detect the gods, Rudolf Steiner talks about this in more than one place. For him a survival of that ability in those few cases where it exists is atavistic, and he thinks its loss was necessary so that human beings could develop other abilities, but he also thinks it will come back, as a learned skill this time, not a natural ability (hence a book like his How To Know Higher Worlds).

  140. Jacarutu: to me the entire impeachment business is from Uranus, planet of all craziness and disruption, and lends itself to a pun which sums up the entire thing quite nicely.

  141. I’m not sure how significant a part of the culture this is, but I’ve noticed an obsession with what you might call the ‘inner sanctum’. For example from the reviews you can read online, it seems like there are people for whom airport first class lounges are the primary focus of their lives. I read quite a bit of it and found myself being drawn in. If it was just that and things like nightclub VIP rooms and casino high roller lounges, you could explain it as fascination with how the elite live. But it also extends to places you wouldn’t want to go, like supermax prisons (National Geographic documentaries ad infinitum ad nauseum) and Biosafety Level 4 labs (exemplified by this scene from Outbreak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzR0y9R-bxM).

    The funny thing is when you read about how the real-world inner sanctums of ancient temples were used, how similar it sounds to BSL-4 labs. The priest had to spend months eating a special diet, doing purification rituals, and shave off all their body hair. Then before entering the inner door, put on all the ritual clothes, amulets and talismans that kept them from sponteneously combusting in the presence of the god. Theological Safety Level 4. 🙂 I wonder if when they left the inner sanctum they did banishing rituals or tried to keep the effect of the god on themselves as long as possible?

  142. John–

    i don’t usually look at Yahoo article comment threads, but I made an exception with this one:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/nancy-pelosis-impeachment-waiting-game-145523349.html

    The author laid out a case for why *this* time Americans will indeed turn on Trump. I was curious to see what ~4700 comments said. The several screens through which I scrolled suggested otherwise. (One comment caught my eye. ‘Joe’ said: “Trump is THE best president we’ve had in fifty years.”) This is, of course, a non-random, unscientific sampling, but methinks the author and the commenters are living in distinctly different worlds…

  143. Temporary Reality,

    Thank you very much for that. It is always better when someone else puts it forward on the recipient’s behalf.
    Some one who donated also said they like me keeping y’all informed. So, I am back home now. I am certain that staying longer was important for the improvement I have thus far experienced. We charged credit cards, something I am loathe to do! I deeply appreciate the help I have received.

    I continue to improve slowly. The swollen lymph node in my neck is still palpable but can no longer be seen. It was bigger than a marble, and quite hard. The mess on my chest wall continues to flatten.

    I do have a home program which I think is very good although partly different from what was done at the clinic.

    I’ll get a scan in a couple of months to see what has gone on internally.
    Eradication is the next hurdle.

  144. @Lady Cutekitten
    The social media are excellent for people with some narrow special interest, which seems to include almost all of us these days. For instance, I am in a Yahoo group for people living with oxalic acid sensitivity, which is a thing most people haven’t even heard of. If we had to meet in person, there would be too few of us in any one place to make up the critical mass for a successful support group. I’m also in an online writing group on Tumblr. I made a Facebook page last year only because I was volunteering with a nonprofit that uses FB pages to co-ordinate things like ride-sharing. It’s less work for the organization than using a listserv to do the same thing.

    Speaking of Tumblr, it is a treasure trove of cute animal images. Just go there, make an account if you haven’t already, and type “cute animals” into the search bar and it will return with a virtually infinite supply for your viewing enjoyment. Be sure to toggle both “most popular” and “most recent” to maximize your take.

  145. says JMG,

    “…get out in front of the curve with a constructive legislative agenda to address some of this country’s real problems, ..”

    I don’t think its blindness. Rather, facing this country’s real problems would involve the elites not being able to gang rape the country for every drop of wealth they can scavenge.

    Speaking of which, the extraction of wealth from Ukraine, a poor and desperate country, does make my blood boil.

  146. I agree with your suggestion of promoting staycations. Not only are staycations the most environmental, least energy-intensive, and most frugal form of vacation, but they are the least stressful and most relaxing.  Recently I got forwarded this article discussing the many attributes of taking a staycation that some may be interested in reading: 

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-most-relaxing-vacation-you-can-take-is-going-nowhere-at-all?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    I also agree that awareness about the environmental costs of flying are becoming more mainstream. I’ve given up flying (the last airplane flight I took was seven years ago). Occasionally I do travel long-distance, but manage to find slower forms of travel to get to my destination.  Within the US, I take the train, even if takes several days.  Recently I went to Europe for a certain purpose over several months, but I managed to do the whole trip without flying, traveling on a cargo ship both ways (while shipping as is is far from sustainable, the ships exist for cargo and go anyway regardless of passengers, so I didn’t feel I was contributing much extra environmental impact, whereas if passengers stopped flying on airplanes, flights would be canceled).

    Anyway, what I find interesting that wasn’t the case a few years ago is that often when I’ve mentioned to people my slower form of travel to get to these destinations, they ask whether I did so for environmental reasons and to lower my carbon footprint. Some of these people hadn’t seemed to me the very ecologically aware type of person, so I was surprised that they first brought this up.  So this awareness of the costs of flying does seem to be entering the mainstream, even if many people are still not yet acting on it.

    Here are two recent articles in mainstream presses discussing the ethics of flying:
    https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/may/22/could-you-give-up-flying-meet-the-no-plane-pioneers?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/travel/traveling-climate-change.html

  147. “we celebrated our 35th anniversary a few months ago…”

    That reminds me. The immersion blender I mentioned a few years ago that I got as a wedding present in 1978 is still working.

  148. Dear Kimberly,

    I wish I knew about the magical properties of anise hyssop! The attribution to Mercury might come, I imagine, from its fennel like scent. The Cheyenne People used Anise Hyssop as a heart medicine, for lowness of spirits. It also is traditionally used for upset stomach, like licorice. I plant it for the bees, who love it.

    For whatever it’s worth, my intuition is that it is ruled by Jupiter in Cancer like Hyssopus officinalis, Lemon Balm and Agrimony.

  149. @Workdove,
    The name that immediately popped into my head after I read your comment was, Jessie Ventura. I would think that he also fits your description of Trump.

  150. @Will Oberton: C. S. Lewis once called himself a confirmed supernaturalist, in exactly the sense you are looking for. He recognized that the main threat to Christianity was atheism/secularism and he used that word to assert his opposition to it in a way that embraced the stigma and controversy. That’s why I like it myself.

  151. Hello, I’m just here to ask if there is any french folk in here, or some italian ecosophia and green wizardry fan!
    If you want to discuss in french (I’m not very fluent in italian yet, sadly) contact me at thomas.gaudaire [at] gmail (dot) com

    See you!

  152. Patriciaormsby,

    “the Greta phenomenon was an incipient step towards totalitarianism.”

    My take is that the elites are pushing hard for global dominion and they are using various vehicles, not just climate change hysteria. And I see them making gains.

  153. I once ran across a book combining Western sun sign astrology with Chinese astrology, giving 144 profiles for the 144 possible combinations. My profile in this book was spot on in a way that neither system alone ever was.

  154. JMG—

    In the spirit of the Open Post: can I ask your contributors for recommendations for a new habitual “good deed”?

    I’ve been asking friends and colleagues privately about this but it just now occurred to me to ask publicly and, based on the contributors, this just might be the perfect forum.

    My days of donating blood may be coming to an end. I’ve been donating for decades, so much so that at my last appointment, the nurse told me that I’m developing too much scar tissue in both arms. She tried in one arm but it didn’t work so she had to reset the machine and move to the other, and that one was a challenge. I’d never heard of this before but she said that it is fairly common among frequent donors. (I’m in about 6 gallons/24 liters, maybe more over my lifetime.) I have another appointment in about 2 weeks so we’ll see.

    I’m attached to blood donation for two reasons: it is both so splendidly anonymous and so easy to book via the Red Cross. There’s just no way that either a donor or a recipient could ever track each other down to either give or demand credit. Also, when I think about it, I wonder at just how many lives I’ve touched with such a common substance that grows back so readily.

    If you’re thinking, “Why not volunteer at your local suicide hotline?” That’s just what I’m looking for. I applied and was accepted but I travel too frequently and too randomly to be a fit for their schedule. If/when I ever get that under control, I’ve got my next outlet. But I still need one for now.

    So, if a friend of yours were to ask you this question, what would be your recommendations? Physical discomfort is not (much of) an issue.

    I’ll be grateful to anyone who can make suggestions.

    JMG – I hope I’m not abusing the nature of this blog?

  155. Hi John Michael, regarding your message

    ” Tony C, predictions like that have been being made over and over again for decades now, and they reliably flop. (Do you remember when Al Gore claimed that the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free by 2013? I do.) The reason they flop is that the people who make those predictions never take into account the equiibrating actions of natural systems — for example, to cite some data from NASA, the way that excess CO2 in the atmosphere drives increased plant growth, changing the planetary albedo and the atmosphere’s chemical composition to mitigate warming. Applying linear models to natural systems inevitably results in failed predictions, and this is another example of why. ”

    I think it is true that there can be positive reactions of natural systems and even scientists can be one-sided in their research and presentations. For the blue ocean event , I do not see how we will avoid it in the next ten years, and what kind of equilibrating action there could be . I do not see an equilibrating action for methane release too . In any case we will see . The worst is not certain .

  156. Mark L,

    I’d like to know the calculation about people fed per acre per year in a slightly different format. If you had 5 acres, and you had animals and their manure using up 2 or 3 acres, say, plus a couple of acres devoted to crops but all organic with the mixed use farm, how many people could be fed with that 5 acres?

  157. I was thinking the other day about your prediction several weeks back that the Establishment Left is about to shed much of its environmentalism so it won’t have to deal with being called out on its hypocricy. I think they’re worried about more than that. I remember the monkeywrenching/ecotage movement that peaked in the 1980s and 1990s and, before that, the bombings and vandalism that became almost routine during the later years of the Vietnam War. With passions running as high as they are, it’s only a matter of time before someone is tempted by the idea of blowing up a bunch of private jets in the middle of the night, or some similar type of direct action against a particularly fossil-fuel-extravagant type of luxury consumption. So the Establishment is preparing to get out front of it now by laying the cultural groundwork to get the public to associate these direct actions with the Right rather than the Left, even before they happen. It’s like the tobacco companies arguing that anti-smoking efforts are unjust because smoking is mainly a recreation of the poor.

  158. @beneaththesurface: Ooh, how much did the cargo ship cost? I’d love to do that, myself, next time I go overseas, but the cheapest I found looks like it clocks in at a couple thousand–I’d love to find less expensive ideas. (Long-term, the plan is to learn to sail so I can work my way across, but that’s in process. And I need to get back on it this coming summer–moving consumed the one just past.)

    On social media: These days, mostly to keep in touch with people who live at a distance, and for distraction, same as with blogs. The problem is that distraction can get far too distracty, but that seems to be a me thing. 😛

  159. TamHob said:

    “Fertility was renewed annually by silt from the loess plains.”

    Ahem, among other inputs…ah, the great humanure compost aversion continues. 😉

  160. Hi JMG

    I’ve recently found myself thinking about owning a rifle. I also remembered your take on weapons is that they shouldn’t be idolized or demonized the way they are, and just be perceived as the tools they actually are. This got me thinking. Is there a magical way to sort of “anti-consecrate” a tool, so that one can avoid being influenced by the myths that surround it?

    Another question that didn’t manage to make it into the magic monday:

    A friend of mine is having a really bad time working for his cousin at a local mall’s shoeshine stand. I was considering suggesting him two magical workings that could be helpful to him. One was a sweetening spell that could make these last months that he intends to work there bearable. The other was either a prayer to Jupiter while hes in the second house, which I could do on his behalf with a hexagram ritual, or another jar spell which we would have to look up on Lucky mojo, to bring about opportunities of economic growth. Are these good ideas?

    Thanks in advance, as always!

    JP

  161. Hello JMG and Everyone,

    I would like to ask whether you or anyone knows of a tarot deck based on Irish mythology?

    Recently I bought the Llewellyn Tarot (with artwork by Anna-Marie Ferguson) because I really liked the pictures. I was thinking of moving on from Waite-Smith.
    This deck is based on Welsh mythology, and has a proper book with it, full of retellings and scenes from the mythology. If you like tarot and Welsh myths this is great.
    However, the imagery on many of the major arcana is not that close to the Waite-Smith, although they all have the traditional names as well as names from Welsh myth, so you will need to find your own interpretations for these based on tradition, the picture and the myth as told in the book.
    I am sticking with Waite-Smith for now, and have got the ‘radiant’ version which I highly recommend as it has been re-shaded as well as re-coloured, so the cards look more 3d than Smith’s originals (but are otherwise identical). This really helps to make the backgrounds and other details easier to see.
    But I would love an Irish-based deck, as I have roots in Ireland.

    ChristineS (UK)

  162. In your posts on Mundane Astrology, you cast an ingress chart that’s effective for a particular period, wait out that period, and then cast a new chart. Given the predictable movements of the heavens, why don’t astrologers cast all the quarterly ingress charts for the year at once at the Winter Soltice, or map out a country’s chart for an entire decade or century and map out the dates for all of the particularly dramatic aspects that surface during that time?

  163. @ David btl “Seriously, though, one suggestion I’d make is to have smaller countries where governance and the issues were not so removed from the people. In the end, humans are near-term thinkers, so there is no “solution” in the over-all sense. But a representative government, with a rotating body (e.g. our city council where each year three of nine seats are up for election to three-year terms) which balances constancy and immediacy, might work. There are likely many viable combinations. But scale is a factor and one which many don’t consider.”

    If you’re not familiar with the work of Leopold Kohr, you’ll want to be. His seminal work, The Breakdown of Nations, is available here, including a worthy forward by Kirkpatrick Sale: http://www.ditext.com/kohr/kohr.html This is must read material for anyone peering into our future of breakdown and decline. Kind of amazing that it was published 62 years ago…he was a very fine thinker.

    In an earlier posting you linked to something related to wind generation (haven’t looked into the link) and know you’re very well informed about our modern energy predicament and techno developments. Are you familiar with Low Tech Magazine? It’s an exceptionally fine website (there may be a print edition too) and the current feature is entitled How to Make Wind Power Sustainable Again. It has real
    Retrotopian/Green Wizardry appeal. Where locations are suitable, wind can always be part of our energy mix in the deindustrial future. I find that comforting and it’s fascinating to see more low-tech innovations in wind. Kris DeDecker is the founder/primary author: https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/

    Jim

  164. @JMG very much OT: When I read W of H: Innsmouth, and Nyarlathotep was guiding Owen out of Arkham, he had struck me as being very like Odin. Well, in W of Hali: Providence, when I saw Phauz in action, it slowly occurred to be your could put Freya in her slot on the Tree as well as Odin in Nyarlathotep’s. Freya wasn’t just “the Norse Aphrodite” she was a fertility goddess *and* a warrior goddess. And her chariot was pulled by two cats, so the feline connection is obviously there.

    Not that any of the rest of the Cthulhu-verse pantheon has such a mapping except perhaps for Ithaqua, a Frost Giant if I ever heard of one.

  165. @DutyBound,
    I live in Southern California, and have been grappling with many of the same questions. It’s difficult to feel both obligated to stay and obligated to leave, but less isolating to know others are in the same mental boat.

    I also have a partner who would do nearly anything to stay here, an extended family I’d hate to leave, and a community I’ve developed through getting involved in the permaculture and water harvesting communities. I believe in finding local solutions, and applaud those who elect to stay and enact them.

    But ultimately I’ve decided to leave.

    Perhaps if it were more affordable I would stay and embrace the effort adapt to the hard ecological limits bearing down on the region. Perhaps if it wasn’t staggeringly overcrowded. Perhaps if the community I’ve built here wasn’t spread out over 200 miles and enabled by the massive freeway network that scars the place — a community that necessarily shrinks when access to fossil fuels dwindles.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best — either way, it’s comforting to know you aren’t the only one confronting these questions, as others flock to California in droves and the price of houses continues to rise.

  166. @KevPilot: If your health and neighborhood allow it, what I–person with a similarly unpredictable schedule–do at the moment is find a stretch of woods/park/bike trail and try to spend a couple hours a week picking up trash there. Sadly, I’ve never yet run short on stuff to clean up. 😛

  167. Will,

    “I have a philosophical terminology question. If you are not a materialist what are you? When I was young I was basically a materialist but now I am not one at all. Matter, energy, and space do not comprise the whole of reality. So what are the options for my philosophical position that spirit is real and important.”

    I use the word Versling. 🙂

  168. Monk & JMG- In my contemplation of the future of my region the southern end of the Northeastern United States I’ve found the book American Nations by Colin Woodward a great source of information it is based on an older book Albion’s Seed. According to those books the Northeastern US is divided into 3 separate cultural traditions stemming from the 3 original inhabitants of the area Dutch, Puritans and Quakers. All three

    The Dutch cultural tradition of a mercantile business focused diverse society is still the cultural tradition in the areas of New York, Northern New Jersey and Connecticut that were once under the sway of New Amsterdam. The Puritans cultural tradition is one of imposing a moral societal vision on others is still the cultural tradition in New England and was once the major cultural tradition in America but has been losing to the traditions of the Deep South (a Barbadian slave owner culture) and Appalachia (a Scot-Irish highlands culture). The Quakers are cultural tradition is a diverse, “live and let live”, mind your own business tradition still found in areas around Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey.

    To agree with JMG all three of these cultural traditions are for the most part European although there are unique non-European elements when you look at them deeper.

    In my opinion the areas of Dutch cultural tradition will continue to be diverse immigrant centric areas for years to come as long as the areas are economic powerhouses. Future climate refugees from other parts of the world will fit well into these areas. These areas are already seeing influxes of West Indians and Africans who can find jobs at the fringes of the economic engines of NYC. I think that the mercantile cultural tradition will exist on the eastern seaboard of the US even deep into a future of rising sea levels since the eastern coast will always be an entry point of goods from elsewhere.

    The Puritan areas of cultural tradition in the future might a candidate for a sort of retrotopia like JMG has described. An attempt to organize a better societal vision will resonate strongly with the cultural traditions of the area.

    The Quaker areas of cultural tradition with their tolerance and diversity will probably be the biggest borderland between the Tamanous and Faustian cultures. Those Quaker areas closer to the Dutch or Puritan areas will fall under their orbit but those to the west will contribute to the future Tamanous culture.

  169. I recall you stating somewhere that C. S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man was one your formative works, which inspired me to check it of the library and read it. My understanding of the overall thesis is that attempting an alternative to using the received wisdom/tao/natural law as a basis for judgement eventually leads to the whims of those in power becoming the basis for judgement. Now, in the comments section of your Burkean Conservative blog entry I seem to recall you were pretty dismissive of the natural law arguments against same-sex marriage. What is your current opinion on “natural law” in the Lewis sense?

  170. Stephen D,

    In my experience with magic I’ve noticed how important belief is to the process. Belief is enchanting.

    Disbelief has the opposite effect. The amount of intentional disbelief in things like this has been increasing exponentially for well over a century but may have actually peaked recently.

    I would expect the blanket of disenchantment to have profound affects on the frequency and power of these experiences unless well guarded against.

  171. Wesley, it’s an extremely good idea to talk about organic intensive growing methods, but it’s a much better idea to practice them in whatever piece of land you might have available, however small that may be. If those methods survive the coming dark age they’ll be of immense value to the cultures that build on our ruins, since they permit long-term intensive farming that actually improves the soil over time. The fact that they won’t save our current civilization doesn’t prevent them from potentially saving whole civilizations in the future.

    Steve, most good astrology programs will do that automatically; mine has a dialogue box that allows me to choose which planet and what degree of ingress. If you want to work it out by hand, start by learning the ordinary art of erecting a horoscope; most of the older books on mundane astrology have directions that allow you to work from there to a chart with the Sun at 0 degrees Aries or what have you.

    J.L.Mc12, er, I think you’re quite mistaken. If China conquers Australia, you can expect to have several tens of millions of Chinese immigrants arrive and settle in permanently, and the non-Chinese population will be subject to strict surveillance and control to keep anti-Chinese sentiment from sparking political trouble or an insurgency. Talk to some Uighurs sometime about what that’s like…

    Kimberly, I think that may well be part of it, but the massive overprescription of antidepressants that have uncontrollable rage episodes as a known side effect is also involved…

    Steve, excellent. If you got it to 0 degrees Aries, never mind the minutes, it’s close enough. The one thing I’d indicate is that the stars incline, they do not compel; that chart doesn’t guarantee that McKinley would be assassinated, but it puts him at risk of something of the kind. If he’d had a good astrologer to advise him, he might have been able to dodge that particular bullet — so to speak!

    Hubertus, you can find that critique here. The short form is that his model does not explain the observed time frame of decline and fall.

    Elodie, that makes a fair amount of sense. I suspect those are the rational factors involved, and that combines with the stark panic the Democrats have got to be feeling as Trump’s approval ratings rise and his chances of winning the 2020 election rise with them, to make a frantic attempt at impeachment their last ditch strategy.

    Phil, the reference is to this post of mine.

    Denys, yep. I’ve been talking about lifestyle change as the necessary foundation for effective climate activism for a decade now. I’m delighted to say that I’ve heard from a good many people in the working classes and among the downwardly mobile who’ve plunged into that with excellent results, but with a very few exceptions — worthy exceptions, but they’re still the exceptions — the response I’ve gotten from people in the salary class, whose lifestyles use so disproportionate an amount of carbon, amounts to….

    (crickets)

    …so I’m not at all surprised you got exactly the same response. I’m mulling over a way to respond to that, but all in good time.

    Booklover, I’ll consider a post on Extinction Rebellion. Yes, it’s a very strange phenomenon.

    Username, you didn’t cross any line I know of, so it must have been Dreamwidth. The sequence of planets — as in the idea that the various groups of souls incarnate on each of seven planets for seven rounds each, and it’s in the sequence Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan (or some close equivalent; that’s the Rosicrucian sequence) — I have no idea where that comes from, and it’s a fascinating question. I don’t know of a source before Blavatsky, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was one, as she, um, borrowed a great deal from other writers for her major books.

    Smj, nope. The timing depends on a mix of complex historical processes and individual decisions; it’s like trying to figure out when a given drunk driver will finally get in a serious accident — you know it’s going to happen sooner or later, but you don’t know when.

    Booklover, yep. It’s common enough that the barbarism of reflection — the point at which elites are so caught up in their own mind games that they lose track of what the real world is doing — is a standard part of the historical cycle in Giambattista Vico’s system.

    Foxhands, I’m not sure anyone has a handle on exactly why birth rates start dropping in mature civilizations. We know that it happens — it’s well documented in case after case — but why it happens is another matter. As with so many historical processes, we’re in a pre-Newtonian state when it comes to explanations: we know that things fall when they’re dropped, but we can’t necessarily quantify it and we have no clue as to the cause.

    Mann Andere, that’s a valid point.

    New Choice, I’m delighted to hear it! The Well at the World’s End is one of my favorite fantasy novels these days, and it bears repeated rereadings. I’ll consider a Top 100 Other People’s Books list. (I enjoy rereading a couple of mine from time to time, too, but I figure that’s cheating…)

  172. @JMG: In other news, and as I procrastinate on going for the mail: I’ve recently found out through my day job that two popular fictional series have earned their own brands of bespoke alcohol. First of all, I now know *my* next authorial goal (dear Johnnie Walker: I have six books that are at least Scotland-adjacent, plus dragons, and I hear the kids today like Fireball whiskey, please call me) and now I’m pondering what the Weird of Hali bespoke booze would be…

  173. Hi, Lady CuteKitten of LOLCats, I know there are workarounds for the sites. My argument is with the default setting and the kind of thinking it promotes. And most people I know never get off the default setting, even if a workaround is pointed out to them.

  174. Isabel Cooper,
    Regarding clotheslines…I put up a zipline in the back yard. For the kids to play, you know. Then I hung sheets on it. ‘Cause they won’t fit in the dryer, you know…(the sheets, not the kids!)

  175. Mark L,

    From Feeding the Deindustrial Future published in June of 2017 ( I think )

    “In the first decades of the 20th century, an English agronomist named Albert Howard working in India began experimenting with farming methods that focused on the health of the soil and its natural cycles. Much of his inspiration came from traditional farming practices in India, China and Japan that had maintained soil fertility for centuries or millennia. Howard fused their ideas with Western scientific agronomy and the results of his own experiments to create the first modern organic agriculture. Later researchers, notably Alan Chadwick in England and John Jeavons in America, combined Howard’s discoveries with methods of intensive gardening that had evolved in France not long before Howard began his work, and with the biodynamic system developed in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, to develop the current state of the art in organic intensive farming.

    The result of their work is at least potentially a revolution in humanity’s relationship to the land and the biosphere as dramatic as the original agricultural revolution itself. To begin with, the new organic methods are astonishingly productive. Using them, it’s possible to grow a spare but adequate vegetarian diet for one person on 1000 square feet of soil. For those with math phobia, that’s a patch of dirt 20’ by 50’, about the size of a small urban backyard, 1/45 of a football field, or a bit less than 1/43 of an acre – not much, in other words. (If you find this hard to believe – I certainly did, before I did the research and started using these methods in my own gardens – the details and documentation are in David Duhon, One Circle (Willits, CA: Ecology Action, 1985) and John Freeman’s Survival Gardening (Rock Hill, SC: John’s Press, 1983), among other sources.) These yields require no fossil fuels, no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and no soil additives other than compost made from vegetable waste and human manure. Hand tools powered by human muscle are the only technological requirements – and yet organic methods get yields per acre far beyond what you can get with tractors and pesticides.”

  176. Hi AndyJ

    California as a whole is losing population in droves, and I think the exodus from Silicon Valley will begin in another 5 or so, so maybe it’ll empty out enough that you can eventually go back.

  177. isabelcooper:

    Yes, you’re right that traveling overseas by freighter is unfortunately more expensive than flying (in decades earlier, I think it was more affordable). It really doesn’t need to be, but I think it’s more costly because it’s a niche market.  (However, it’s a little less expensive if you book directly with the shipping company instead of an outside booking agent). So, it’s not really an option for people barely getting by financially or can’t have much time off.  However, I will say I have never made a lot of money–I have worked part-time for most my adult life and generally spend about ten thousand dollars a year. I live very frugally and resist consumer culture; therefore on my modest income, I’ve been able to accumulate a decent cushion of savings, and I was able to afford it. If I’m going to spend money on myself, I’d rather spend it on not on things but on developing skills or meaningful experiences, so I considered this expenditure one of those occasional breaks from my frugal ways that I was okay with. Also, flying really should be much more expensive if it were to reflect the ecological costs.

    I also note the difference between flying and taking a freighter.  Flying is a means to get to a destination, while traveling on a cargo ship was so much more than that, so I considered it part of my vacation.  I received three high-quality meals a day, time to read and write and contemplate the ocean and cargo transport (and no Internet connection, which I consider a plus).  I felt like I entered a totally new world, yet it is a world that is very much part of our lives, since so much of our material surroundings have traveling on freighters across the ocean.  I really enjoyed talking with the very friendly and hard-working crew (mostly Filipino) and learning about their lives at sea. I would stare for long hours at all the activity in container ports we stopped in, just reflecting on the material transport of goods that is going on constantly all around the world, running the global economy.  I would contemplate all this especially through the lens of energy/oil depletion/decline, a window into a way of life that will be relatively brief in the scheme of things.  In the far future, will all the complexity and the machinery in container ports and operations have become ruins of a lost age?

    On both transatlantic ships I was only one of two passengers, and I had a lot of freedom — could go up to the navigation bridge at any time, walk around the ship, and on the 2nd ship toured the engine area with the Chief Engineer.  A much better experience than taking a cruise ship with thousands of passengers, which I have no desire to do.

    I’m hoping to do some slideshow presentations in my area about my experience.

    Also, traveling on a cargo ship involves some uncertainty because the ships exist for cargo, not for passengers. Departure and arrival dates are approximate, and sometimes routes can be cancelled. I was supposed to take a ship from Baltimore, but less than two weeks before my departure, it changed its route of service and was coming at all to the US.  I was able to take a different ship, getting on in Mobile, Alabama, but had to travel by several Greyhound buses to get there.  This all added to my adventure.

  178. @Steve T

    I have as the date for the 1901 Aries ingress 3/21/1901 at 2:24 a.m. EST.

    Capricorn (cardinal) is rising, so that means it’s actually the Cancer ingress active at the time of his assassination, whichi s 6/21/1901, 10:28 p.m. EST. The Cancer ingress itself has Aquarius rising and thus was valid until March 1902.

    – Sun is in the 5th conjunct Neptune and not aspecting anything else.
    – 10th house is ruled by Jupiter, which is retrograde and conjunct Saturn in Capricorn.
    – Uranus, which would seem to govern anarchists and anarchy, is retrograde in the 10th. It is squaring a loose Mars/Moon conjunction in the 7th/Virgo, and opposite Pluto in the 4th/Gemini – overall a setup that seems like it could be conducive to political assassination. Not the most blatant red flags around, but Mars in the 7th certainly says “pay attention.”

    Note also that the salient ingress for the Kennedy assassination (Cancer, 1963) also has Mars in Virgo in the 7th, this time partile conjunct Pluto and loosely conjunct Uranus. (The Sun is also in the 5th, but this time loosely conjunct the Moon… which probaby explains the durability of the JFK assassination in the public’s imagination. (Moon trine retrograde Neptune might point to all the conspiracy theories.)

  179. JMG: “Monk, that’s a complex question. I’m pretty sure, having lived there for a few years, that New England and the coastal mid-Atlantic states will go their own way — they’re European in a way I’ve never encountered elsewhere in North America, and I suspect they’re going to be a borderland between the waning Faustian civilization and the rising Tamanousan culture for a very long time. Such borderlands play a very significant role in cultural transmission — think of Italy and Spain as the great borderlands between Magian and Faustian culture, for example.”

    How long before the breakdown of nations gets underway in earnest? I fully expect it to begin this century…most of the giant nation states of today are toast. I loved the way played with word evolution and named the future nation Nuwinga in Star’s Reach and I imagine you’re quite right that the region will remain coherent as a new nation at some point, hopefully to be joined by the Canadian Maritime provinces. Quebec will surely go its own way eventually and the Maritimes and New England have much in common. The borderlands hypothesis is very plausible. Such a nation would have a fine set of natural resources to work with and would likely own the North Atlantic jellyfishery (gallows humor).

    Do you see yourself sticking with New England for the long haul? I have to confess that I’m tickled by the fact we’re fellow New Englanders now. You fit right in to the long lineage of brilliant intellectuals, writers (and occultists) who have made this region home for the past few centuries…a mark of distinction in my estimation!

  180. @Lolcat

    I would like to respond to your appeal. We lost Hobbes this past month, he was almost 21.5 years old. It was his time, but it was hard for us to see him go. This picture is from last Christmas. When we got him as a kitten he had a crooked tail, but as he grew it became a complete donut. Chasing the point of light that came through the donut hole provided him, and us, with hours of entertainment.

    IMG_5859.jpeg

  181. Jmg

    I guessed that if China controlled us, they would respond to rebellion severely.

    However my impression of China is that it is more interested in itself, and so it would focus most of its control on the Chinese immigrants rather than native Australians, which does happen even now.
    There are quite a few stories of Chinese immigrants in Australia getting visits from Chinese secret police if they do something the Chinese government dislikes.

    I’m also not sure about how much the Chinese government would care to ensure that native Australians followed the state ideology. I think that so far as you done undermine the Chinese government too much they would leave you alone. However that could just be a best case scenario.

  182. re: perpetual motion dump truck

    I’m back to Potential Differences again. Excessively fundamental.

    Left out is nature. Without the millions of years of lift to move the load up to a high point and the existence of a close enough road connected low point this can’t work. Presumably the particular mass transported has some value besides gravitic functions and would deplete.

    This would also fail if there were not a difference between extraction costs and value at delivery, the truck would not be built or maintained. Hauling loads of snow from Whistler to Vancouver … At least the snow will come back next year and is elevated by faster cycles but still it takes a lot of energy to put the mountains there.

    inohuri

  183. I tried the Yahoo groups for “Multiple Chemical Sensitivities” long ago and gave up.

    Hulda Clark and similar were seen as geniuses. Not for me.

    All of us are brain injured and it shows.

  184. Hi John

    Talking about Vico’s “Barbarism of Reflection” I have seen this “jewel” of current trends to “improve” the self through “The Quantified Self”

    https://quantifiedself.com

    Because as Lord Kelvin said “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”, and always is better to “measure” based on quantified values with scientific foundation than in subjective “feelings” from yourself or others.

    “Self Knowledge Through Numbers” it is the motto of the movement, probably based on the behavioral psychology (stimuli – actions equals causes-and-effects), so through “operant conditioning” you can change yourself to your (numerical) “target”

    Pure buls**t, but anyway it is a clear symptom of the Brutalism of Abstraction and Quantification in the decadent phases of a civilization where the lonely “urban nomads” (we) spend their meaningless lives playing with numbers.

    Other symptoms are the Apocalypticism (Extinction Rebellion and others) in contrast with the most extreme forms of Futurism (Transhumanism and others) that are two forms of Millenarianism, that you frequently denounce

    Cheers
    David

  185. Kimberly,

    I think your analysis is spot on but I have heard something like it before. I’m curious that you say people will get so defensive at the idea. It makes a lot of sense, esp in context of mind altering antidepressants. I took a half of one once and it messed me up for days. Most especially, it gave me a quite irrational emotional thought-feeling that I was completely convinced of. It made me jittery and very anxious, and I was sure that everyone felt the same as I did. Even though, at a very happy family venue, people were having a great time.

    Thinking about young male violence, I think it is perhaps akin to the way that a defense dog that is not given love and attention but chained and confined can become dangerous. Males have the aggression hormone, and various types of a bad upbringing can make them poorly controlled and dangerous.
    And its not particularly natural to hone a skill that will never be put to real-world use.

  186. re: ultrasound

    But porpoises can already do this.

    The are considered smart, so are we.

    Why can’t we just communicate?

    inohuri

  187. Recently the question, “why would rationalist atheists engage in demonolatry?” has been discussed. From my own personal experience, I can point to one remarkably banal reason: as a theme for themed parties and gatherings. After you’ve enjoyed your friends’ “1920s Speakeasy” party and their “Hawaiian Luau” dinner and their “Shire Harvest Festival” barbecue, and it’s your turn to come up with something (and you’re a creative nerd with atheist friends, and your budget is very limited), a “Satanic Cult” or “Cthulhu Cult” theme party might seem like just the thing.

    My personal experience, fortunately, doesn’t extend to having actually organized or participated in any such event. But the idea was urged on me by friends in my social circle. One of them had gotten hold of somebody’s mid-1980’s publication of some version of a Necronomicon, and they wanted to gather and try some incantations, with my creative input. The thinking was that not only are demons, Elder Gods, etc. not real, but even if they were, a book from the local Comic/SciFi bookstore wasn’t going to hold the secrets to summoning them.

    They were rather surprised when I refused. After all, I had invented numerous fictional pantheons and forms of magic and demonic beings as a tabletop GM. I had pioneered a form of LARP event that had involved up to hundreds of participants for the duration of a weekend, and often culminating in some form of ceremony like a treaty signing or a coronation. (Unexpected long-term side effects from that? You betcha. Dozens of happy stable real-life marriages between participants.) I had hosted them for a Beltane rite, even though none of us were practicing any form of Celtic-derived spirituality at the time. (I had read several books on Wicca to get an idea of the meaning and import of the event, and tried my best to represent that, while rephrasing everything to avoid disrespecting existing liturgy. Though the other participants didn’t know all that.) So what was the difference with a little harmless Necronomicon fun? The best I could explain to them was that summoning demonic beings amounted to wishing oneself ill, so why even “pretend” to do that? Even if the invocations in the book were nothing but strings of random names from a Finnish telephone directory, how could deliberately setting your own imagination in direct conflict with itself not be harmful? They never admitted to understanding my point or agreeing with it, but they dropped the idea.

    So in one worldview, I was a rationalist skeptic who succumbed to superstition when the rubber met the road. In another… I’ll leave that for others to judge, but images of toddlers playing with matches come to mind. Which might be a more concise answer to the original question.

  188. @ Seaweedy

    Re re/de-engagement with PoliticalWire

    It was a lesson I needed to learn. And it was a worthwhile one. At least I wasn’t called a fascist this time, which was progress of a sort. But I needed to understand the futility of the exercise, as you put it. That is not where my energies are best expended.

    @ Jim

    Re wind and low-tech

    I know of Low Tech magazine, though I have not dome much to date than browse the website. Thank you for the pointer, though! As to wind technology, homebrew wind, I do not doubt, will indeed play a role in the deindustrial future. My energy articles are generally about the energy industry, and in that particular case utility-scale wind projects, which are a different creature entirely.

  189. To Violet: Thank you so much for your input on anise hyssop! Your observations make perfect sense and have gone into my notes for further study.

    To JMG: I was on tricyclic antidepressants and antipsychotics for six years from ages sixteen to twenty-two. They relieved my depression but they also changed my personality in ways that were much worse than what I started off with. I went on them by my own choice at sixteen. Against my psychiatrist’s wishes, I weaned myself off them while graduating college. From personal experience, I can say antidepressants allow you to partition your mind until you can effectively hide from yourself. They are an efficient way of cordoning off weaknesses into a mental closet around which mighty defenses are built. They create dams which often burst into urges to shoot up a school or to drown oneself in a river. They are terrible for the human brain, however, in the absence of coherent religious voices/guides, it’s my opinion that experimenting with them as a teen is better than just offing oneself. It’s those who are dependent on them in old age who I think suffer most: they promote human devolution.

    To the gardeners: I just put up an Instagram post about my gardening efforts this year for anyone who is into that. https://www.instagram.com/thelifeofkimberlysteele/

  190. Hi John,

    The rumors you heard about an impending Hunter Biden related document dump appear to be true. Investigative journalist John Solomon says he obtained than 450 legal documents related to Joe and Hunter Biden, the Obama administration and Ukraine, including what he claims is incriminating evidence of serious wrongdoing. According to Solomon, they will be made available online.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/new-documents-could-spell-trouble-for-biden-in-ukraine-scandal-report-says

    https://www.thepostemail.com/2019/09/25/john-solomon-documents-show-connection-between-hunter-biden-attorneys-and-fired-ukrainian-prosecutor/

    https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/462658-lets-get-real-democrats-were-first-to-enlist-ukraine-in-us-elections

    Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff is taking heat after reading on the floor of the House an imaginary conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky. “Evidence? We don’t need no steenking evidence! We’ll just make it up as we go along!”

    One can smell the desperation of these people from thousands of miles away. It’s no wonder some people are already referring to the impeachment circus as “The Schitt Show”. The march towards Stalingrad continues…

  191. @ David btl
    Forget Beyond Meat…the next big thing is 100% cruelty-free MegaMeat — grown in a lab! A whole new diet identity category will emerge: the lab meat vegan!
    Jim

  192. Hi Denys.

    The riot for austerity! It’s been ten years since I learned about it. It’s still useful today. It’s amazing how many thrifty ways of living fall neatly into cutting your carbon footprint. We still use less than virtually anyone we know (other than my mother) and it saves us money.

    Austerity is a hard sell, though. I participate regularly in my local tree-hugging group. We talk about trees, we plant trees, etc and then the meeting devolves into discussions of vacations involving airplanes. And of course you can’t use smaller cars or carpool.

    Hi Simon S.

    I’ll second what JMG said about becoming a writer. You don’t need a fancy program.

    I’ll add something very, very important. As far as I can tell, NONE of those writing programs (even Seton Hill which has an MFA in genre writing for $40,000) address money, contracts, or cash flow.

    If you pay $40,000 to learn how to write (something you can teach yourself for free), you don’t earn any money as a writer until you’ve paid that back. This is similar to paying $5,000 to a book doula (a real thing). You don’t earn a penny until you’ve paid it back by selling plenty of copies of your book. Not understanding this turns writing into a very expensive hobby.

    Your agent gets paid upfront out of your advance. It doesn’t matter that much to an agent if you don’t earn out and get paid royalties; he already got his.

    Writing programs also don’t explain how advances and royalties work. If you are given an advance, that money is paid against the expectations of sales. If your book doesn’t sell enough copies to pay back your entire advance, you’ll never receive a penny in royalties. Ever. And, you probably won’t get another advance because you didn’t earn out. If you do, it will be much smaller.

    Writing programs do not address contracts or contract negotiation, a critical aspect of working with a traditional publisher. If you don’t understand a contract, don’t sign until you do. Don’t sign away rights, such as rights to your world and characters in perpetuity in forms of transmission yet to be invented. Statements like that appear in contracts in the fine print because of ebooks and audio books.

    You would almost believe a writing program is designed to make sure writers remain ignorant of their situation, both legal and financial.

    If you want cautionary tales, get ‘Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living’ by Manjula Martin via your library. All these literary writers who spent huge bucks on MFA programs and not one of them was told anything about money, how advances pay out, or contracts.

    Teresa from Hershey

  193. I would note that the use of human excrement was not limited to Asian farmers. Night soil was collected and sold in medieval Europe as well. Roman fullers (processors of wool cloth) collected urine by the simple expedient of putting pots outside their shops and some Roman emperor established a govt. monopoly on the contents of the city latrines.

    Back in 1935 there was a publication called “Five acres and Independence” that advocated small farms as a backup support for city workers to give them independence from the bosses. Been a long time since I read it so I don’t recall the contents–it is out there online somewhere, I think. I also recall a pamphlet about growing food on 1/4 acre published by the RotoTiller company back in the 1950s. It featured a garden, rabbits or chickens or both, beehive, dwarf fruit trees, etc. I would be surprised if it isn’t online somewhere. It was pretty much an advertisement for the product. I don’t think either publication took an organic farming point of view. I also recall reading a couple of books about organic agriculture that featured reclaiming eroded soil by repeated green manuring–planting cover crops and plowing them under. Those books may have been listed in one or more of the ‘Whole Earth Catalog” back in the 70s.

    I think there are a variety of reasons for a drop in birthrates at a certain point in civilization. Upper class women lose their function–servants, slaves or machines are doing the work that they used to do or at least supervise. Penelope (pre classical Greece) watched over her maids as they wove–an important economic activity. By post Republican Rome weaving had moved out of the household and into factories supervised by slave overseers. Wealthy men stop wanting large families because that means splitting the family fortune in too many pieces. Sons have to be educated and set up in a business or profession, daughters have to be groomed to attract a suitable husband. Poor people in cities can’t afford large families because of high rents, low wages, etc. Children are no longer wage earners, they are expenses rather than contributors. In 18th century France the aristocracy could not resort to open infanticide as the Roman’s did, nor did they have much in the way of contraception, but they sent their infants to country baby farms (you know, fresh air and good fresh food, sounds nice, doesn’t it) in the full knowledge that the mortality rate was horrific. History is fascinating.

  194. I have a totally random, out of the blue question – but it is definitely magic related. When an inanimate object requires your blood in the process of bringing it to life/functionality, what does it mean at an esoteric level? How common are blood rituals in general? What else tends to trigger them? When do situations require blood in specific? I wonder sometimes if inanimate objects really are that inanimate.

    Anybody who’s a “professional” at this, I’d love to hear your take on it. I’m pretty much a lay person when it comes to these sorts of matters, although the way things are going, I may become a “professional” whether I want to or not.

  195. @Kimberly Steele,

    Your point about violence and video games reminds me of some of the discussion of woman characters in video games following Gamergate. Whenever I encountered people online who were supporting the narrative that of course players are being turned into misogynists in droves by anti-feminist tropes in video games (such as rescuing kidnapped princesses), I would ask whether they also agreed that the violent content in video games is turning players more violent.

    Of course they didn’t want to agree with that! But the question sure did ruffle feathers. Watching them try to come up with excuses why so many of them thought occasional subtle coded misogynistic elements are highly influential on players’ thinking while constant overt explicit violence has no effect at all was rather amusing.

    (Video games deserve NO benefit of the doubt at this point. The entire industry has managed to find several different ways to become thoroughly evil, and to put all of them into practice simultaneously. Routinely bilking customers: check. Anti-competitive business practices: check. Exploiting its own workers: check. Ruining lives by deliberately fueling profitably addictive user behaviors: check. I used to be a computer game designer, and I’m so glad I left that behind when I did. I remember idealistic discussions at long-ago conferences, with people like Chris Crawford and Sid Meier and the Miller brothers, about things like how to make an interactive world express an artistic vision or how game rules could bring about positive uplifting player experiences. I’ve never seen something so bright and promising become so corrupt and vile, outside of the pages of mythology and epic fantasy.)

  196. @isabelcooper
    For WOH one would obviously have to be ‘Roadtar Stout’…..That’s what Owen keeps looking for (When he isn’n on Duolingo – bwyta pannas yn yr Antarctig neu yr Alban)

  197. @David, by the lake:
    “The thing you are looking for does not exist.”

    Because people are always trying to go back to the good old days. Make America Great Again and all that. A policy tweak here, a policy tweak there, and we’ve got this!
    If people would resign themselves to the descent, we could do something to make it better. But they won’t. Recall Carter’s so-called “Malaise speech”. Americans won’t have any of it.
    Even when people aren’t actively trying to go back to the heyday of fossil-fueled economic glory, they are trying to get their piece of the pie, in a size that is not smaller than they are used to.
    Failing all of the above, political candidates are going to make promises of better times for all, that people will grasp onto.
    Human psychology, as you pointed out, is to blame.

  198. Foxhands,

    As a Japanophile and history lover, I’ve studied the phenomenon of falling birth rates a lot and I have a few different hypotheses on why this happens.

    In Japan’s case, it’s fairly simple. Most of the good jobs that can provide salaries at which the average Japanese person is comfortable raising a child are concentrated in a few cities. This means that nearly the whole population has to move to one of these urban centers, driving up the price of real estate. Between the Japanese custom of starting out employees at really low wages and housing them in dorms and the high cost of real estate, the average Japanese couple doesn’t feel financially ready to have kid until they are in their early to mid 30s. By this point, it’s harder biologically for a woman to have a child, so a lot of money is spent on fertility drugs and a lot of time is spent dealing with miscarriages. Since Japan is mostly homogenous, there are also very few people comfortable at raising kids on a meager salary in the countryside, so the population keeps dropping.

    My prediction based on this hypothesis is that once enough Japanese people die off that the cost of living in the cities starts to fall, then you will see a rise in population. Right now, all you see is a hollowing out of the beautiful Japanese countryside as young people leave, never to return.

    For civilizations as they reach their apex, my hypothesis is that the following things happen: As a society enters its decline phase, competition between elites becomes ever fiercer, as does the competition to become an elite. As this competition increases, the cost of raising a child increases relative to the cost of wages, reducing population growth over time. In non-homogenous societies, outside groups that have lots of kids but who don’t form the backbone of the civilization have more kids relative to the core group who is having less and less kids, since they don’t feel the pressure from that competition. Once the core elite group becomes enough of a minority in its own civilization, you’ll be in a dark age until the more successfully reproducing groups get new ones going over time.

    In our own civilization, I think this competition has arisen over high paying jobs, which basically require paying 100s of 1000s of dollars to attend elite universities, take and be able to afford unpaid internships in America’s richest cities, and shutting up and restricting your thoughts to an ever narrower spectrum in public to keep your job once you have it. It’s also important to rack up a whole host of experiences like teaching English abroad, volunteering at charities, delivering medicine to third world countries and being a member of a designated victim group and giving speeches about it. The cost of student debt, unpaid internships and volunteering generally mean that, if you’re a “successful” contributor to our civilization, you’re not having a kid until 30 at the earliest, and good luck at affording more than 2 because you are investing in their chance at entering the elite from the time they are 2 and that costs money. Foreign speaking nannies, private preschools, hiring ex-athletes to train your kid at sports, it costs a lot.

    And then there’s a lot of small groups out there who aren’t actively competing in the elite game but are having lots of kids, and one day, they’ll inherit the land. It’s just my speculation based on what I’ve read and what I see all around me. Please, others, chime in with your ideas and observations. It’s a great topic.

  199. My liberal friends and acquaintances are praising Greta Thunberg and my conservative friends and acquaintances are attacking her (taking a break from Ocasio-Cortez). Some on the right are expressing concern about such a young spokesperson, though one doubts they would have a problem with a sixteen-year-old fighting for the unborn or for the second amendment. For myself, I would like to sit down with all these grieving, nihilistic, and even suicidal young people and say, “Yes, the future will be difficult, but there will be one. And, should you choose to bear offspring, your descendants may have productive and even enjoyable lives in the ages to come.”

    On another note, I rather enjoy video games, even the violent ones, and have managed to avoid lashing out in acts of violence in the real world. Still, I have interests outside gaming, and I even occasionally exercise. I wonder if giving young men more physical outlets for aggression would actually help. Train them in martial arts, send them out on the football field, run them through a bayonet course, or even have them cut some firewood. It does not appear to be the athletes and JROTC kids shooting up the schools. I could be wrong, but I think there is something to that.

    Video games are a hobby not likely to survive a low-energy future, I realize, so our descendants will probably not have to deal with their negative aspects. I hope we can get enough power for some kind of electronic word processor, because being able to save and edit is extremely useful.

    Does anyone here write longhand or use a typewriter?

    Thank you.

  200. Mr. Greer,
    Tell your wife we just bought our first book of her authorship: “Pagan Prayer Beads”

    IIRC, you said that she mostly wrote it. Do I have that right?

    And I bought it from Red Wheel/Weiser, along with LRM and APoG. Presents on the way!! (For both of us I hope.)

  201. Mr. Greer, I’m curious to know what your thoughts on the U.S. state of Michigan (where I’m from) are, how it will fare as The Long Descent progresses onward. I see our state and the wider region of the upper Midwest faring better than much of the world against climate change. The rest I can only vaguely speculate on since I am not well educated about the issues. What do you think it will look like once the process is over?

  202. Claudia — or is it Dave? — anthropogenic climate change is real, and certain groups are trying to use it to manipulate the public. I find it fascinating how many people can’t hold both these ideas in their minds at once. It’s as though we were on the proverbial ocean liner that’s taking on water, and you came running up on deck insisting that we all have to hand you all our money, let you climb aboard a lifeboat and sail off, and then start flapping our hands so the ship can fly away from danger. Just because it’s an emergency, in other words, does not mean that the measures being proposed to deal with it are going to do anything useful…

    Tripp, good! I hope it sinks in.

    Daniel, the people who claim that planting trees won’t extract CO2 from the atmosphere are wrong. It really is as simple as that. The Little Ice Age was caused by a sharp dip in global CO2 levels, caused by the growth of trees all over the non-desert areas of the New World after smallpox and other European diseases caused a 95% dieoff of Native American peoples — as millions upon millions of acres of farmland returned to forest, carbon in the atmosphere turned into carbon in trees. So get out there and plant those hedges! You’ll also find that the increase in beneficial bird and insect populations will sharpy decrease pest problems.

    Isabel, glad to hear it. If you have the spare time, you might consider writing an essay on the subject! That’s one thing us writers can do…

    Joy Marie, thanks for this. That matches what I’ve been hearing from other sources.

    Isabel, I’m all in favor of it.

    Caryn, people on the right are describing her as a “human shield,” so you’re not the only one who had that reaction. I hope somebody sees to it that she gets therapy and counseling when the people who are using her dump her, as I’m sure they will.

    Booklover, once we get over the current round of troubles, yes, I expect to hear a lot of proclamations that everything’s fine. As for the great conjunctions, I’m in the process of gearing up to research that right now; I’ll post something when I have a better grasp of the traditional lore.

    Jim, many thanks for this. I’m thinking of writing an intro to astrology that will focus on understanding your own natal chart, since that’s what most people want to know about anyway! Still, that’s a ways off as yet.

    Justin, hah! Okay, that’s on the reading list; thank you.

    David BTL, fair enough. Me, I’d sooner eat live tarantulas.

    DutyBound, that’s exactly what we can’t know in advance. One of the lessons of history is that it’s impossible to time the sudden downward lurches that are involved in the process, since those depend on individual choices. I recommend that people relocate to places with adequate water and plenty of local farmland now, so they won’t be clobbered if the place they live ends up drawing the short straw sooner than others.

    Tony, that’s still something I’m planning on doing, though I’m going to have to bury myself in his writings and a bio or three first. Yes, he’s hugely influential, but of course there’s a reason nobody wants to mention him: occultism. He was in it up to his eyeballs, and just now, nobody wants to deal with that.

    Nanki-Poo, ssshhhhh! 😉

    Mister N, let’s see how it relates to the ingress charts.

    Brian, I’ve been in other towns and cities that have had power outages, some of them much more lengthy and under much worse weather conditions than the recent one in San Francisco, with much less disruption than the media reports for the latter indicated. I recall a cold wet night in Seattle when Sara and I were at a restaurant having dinner when the power went down over a big chunk of the city. The restaurant had gas stoves, so the waitstaff simply brought candles to each table, the cooks kept serving, and everybody had a good time. Sara and I walked home — we were going to do that anyway — threw an extra blanket on the bed for warmth and, well, let’s just leave it there, shall we? The next morning the power was back. The outage rated a modest story in the papers the next day, and that was that.

    As for which cities will get clobbered first and hardest, NYC has one advantage, and that’s that it’s been in decline since the 1970s. These days it’s grubby, rundown, and has a lot of downscale neighborhoods; rents are still too high but that’s starting to slide, too. I expect all the major West Coast port cities to get hit very hard by the end of the free trade era — when Seattle’s on the far end of a supply chain from the Midwest, rather than the midpoint on a supply chain from China, its economy is going to revert rather quickly to what it was in the 1970s and earlier, when it was about sixth-tier at best. But we’ll see.

    Reader, that’s the generally held opinion in traditional occult philosophy, so I’m not at all surprised that Steiner made a case for it. It’s something I’m still brooding over.

    Yorkshire, fascinating. I spend so little time in contact with popular culture these days that I wasn’t aware of that.

    Oleg, not at all. All you have to do is recognize that the Bible is a volume of religious teaching and not a textbook of geology, and that the grand metaphors of the Book of Genesis are exactly that — the closest a tribal people in the late Iron Age could come to understanding the creation of the cosmos. There’s also a school of interpretation of the Book of Revelations, the preterist school, that argues that it describes things that have already happened — that Revelation is a symbolic description of physical and spiritual events that took place in the First Century and the millennium or so following that. Accept those approaches or something similar, and it’s quite easy to fit devout Christianity into deep time — the Bible thus becomes “the book of the deeds of God,” a volume of testimony and fulfilled prophecy.

    David BTL, interesting. So basically the Democratic faithful have turned to a kind of undercooked apocalypticism, in which this one ginned-up accusation finally causes everyone to realize that the Dems were right all along, followed by Hillary’s triumphant restoration to the office they think she should have won. I wonder what they’ll do when they find out otherwise…

    Onething (if I may) I’m delighted to hear that the treatment has been a success so far!

    Your Kittenship, yep. The rollout of the New Bogeyman is proceeding on schedule.

    Onething, the thing is, they could do quite a bit without even touching their own sources of power and wealth. If they were to get out in front of Trump with a bill to remove Federal criminal penalties for cannabis possession and use, for example, that would be highly popular and would give them plenty of credibility in their reelection campaigns. Instead, Trump has become their Great Orange Whale, and they’re going to run the S.S. Democratic Party straight to the bottom of the ocean in their attempt to harpoon him, with Tulsi Gabbard playing the part of Ishmael, the sole survivor.

    Beneaththesurface, I hope someday to be able to take a freighter across the Atlantic; train travel, of course, is my preferred option, and it’s been quite a while since I last took a plane anywhere. As for staycations, that’s a good example of something that could be turned into quite a big deal for climate activists — and yes, it’s a lot more fun.

    Violet, I can’t find any reference to what the ritual was supposed to do, or what was involved other than dumping water from one polluted river into another. (And when, btw, did the Hudson become a sacred river?) Can you point me to something that gives the text of the ritual — or did they just dump some water?

    Onething, so is our marriage!

    Joanhello, interesting. For what it’s worth, my Chinese horoscope is quite accurate.

    KevPilot, as a Druid, my immediate thought is to donate or volunteer to a group that plants and tends trees, but of course your mileage may vary.

    Tony, well, they were saying 20 years ago that there was no chance we would avoid a blue ocean event in the Arctic Ocean by 2012, and you’ll notice a certain failure of Nature to follow through. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised to see blue water in the Arctic summer in my lifetime — but were you aware that one longstanding theory holds that this will be followed by sharp global cooling, as water vapor rising from the open waters of the Arctic falls as snow over a much larger section of the Northern Hemisphere than usual, sharply increasing the planet’s albedo? Climate is complex and we just do not know enough to justify some of the claims being made.

    Joanhello, you know, that makes quite a bit of sense — in effect, they’ve realized that radical environmental activism could turn into a Frankenstein’s monster and mess them over big time. I could see that.

    Juan Pablo, start by using meditation and journaling to understand what the rifle means to you as an emotionally charged symbol. Then spend a lot of time at the shooting range getting to know your rifle, and working through whatever emotional reactions come up, until it’s just a tool to you. As for the magical issues, yes, both of those would be workable.

    ChristineS, I wish I did. Someone may need to do one. Are you by any chance an artist, or do you know one?

    Eric, you could, but mundane astrology also depends on having a good grasp of current affairs in the country about which you’re casting a chart. That’s why I’m busy reading news from a range of other countries as part of gearing up for doing more mundane charts — it’s not enough to know what’s happening in the heavens, you’ve also got to know what’s happening on Earth. The further out you try to cast charts, the less accurate your predictions will be.

    Patricia, hmm! You’re right that there isn’t a perfect match for all my tentacled Great Old Ones, but you can go a little further than that. Cthulhu has quite a bit in common with Aegir, for example.

    GP, that makes a great deal of sense.

    RPC, The Abolition of Man was a formative work for me, but not in the sense that I agreed with it. Lewls made some good points and some very bad ones, and his analysis of natural law is one of the latter — a sustained exercise in cherrypicking proof texts that could be countered (and indeed has been countered) by other similar exercises that yield sharply different results. I would argue at this point that what we have, as human beings, is a mix of inherited needs and cultural habits, from which we piece together two things — law, which is the set of minimum standards of behavior without which an organized society cannot survive, and morality, which is a vision of human excellence that cannot and should not be enforced, but can and should be encouraged and extolled, especially but not only by religious teachers. (Virtue ethics, and in particular Alasdair MacIntyre’s book After Virtue, are relevant here.) The confusion of law and morality is at the root of a great many social problems today.

  203. Thanks, Teresa from Hershey!

    I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere else, but here in the U.S., for the last ten years or so I have found that every contract I sign with a large company, for anything, has at least one clause designed to cheat me. They’ll take it out if you squawk loudly enough, but since about half of Americans are il- or semi-literate, a lot of people won’t find the offending clause.

    Honorable exception: the Honda company. Their contract was entirely honest.

  204. @Twilight and JMG,

    An alternative term for the misleading “renewable” energy: The engineering term for the rate of any flow of energy is, of course, power. To distinguish between power that comes from an irreplaceable fuel versus power that’s available as a more or less steady flow from the environment (such as wind, a river, biomass growth, or solar irradiance), it makes sense to emphasize the nature of the latter’s proximate source. Which is to say, something that flows, a flow-er. Hence, “flower power.”

  205. Can you think of a different term for sources of energy that provide a steady source without the depletion problems of, say, fossil fuels?
    I think you covered that well long ago with the ideas of real-time energy flows vs. stored energy. Stored energy is by definition limited and finite, while real-time flows are what man has always had to work with – most all of it solar energy flows.

    In times past people would have understood this much more easily, as that is what they had to use and they would have been intimately familiar with how much effort it took to accomplish things. Now we are all awash in so much stored energy from birth to death that is it almost impossible for people to see it. It’s a like a fish trying to see the ocean.

  206. Lady Lolcat,

    I think JMG has mentioned before that in this stage of capitalism, since so much wealth has been accrued in the hands of the elite, it’s really hard to increase your profits if you’re mostly dealing with normal consumers since they don’t have the extra wealth. So, just as investors engage in wild speculation (bitcoin, Tesla, etc.), normal companies start scamming customers in a desperate attempt to increase profits. I’ve been scammed by quite a few companies (cable, phone, gyms, anything to do with recurring memberships) and it’s often not even in the fine print.

  207. anthropogenic climate change is real, and certain groups are trying to use it to manipulate the public. I find it fascinating how many people can’t hold both these ideas in their minds at once.

    Yes, what is it with this? People find one example of fraud and think “Aha! I knew it was all a scam!” In fact the scammers and fraudsters are always with us, it’s just that they can’t get much traction until there really is a crisis of some kind that limits people’s ability to avoid them. When they are active it’s a sure sign that there really is a problem, not the opposite.

  208. Isabel, first, have you considered looking up the publicity office for Johnny Walker, putting together a proposal, and contacting them? It can’t hurt, and it might just hit them at the right moment and get a favorable response. See if you can make the contact on a Friday during the hour of Venus, when the Moon is applying to Venus by trine or sextile — the Moon governs beverages, Venus governs romance novels, it’s a match made in heaven. 😉

    As for The Weird of Hali, I’m not at all sure what to do in terms of hard liquor, but if there’s a microbrewery listening in on our conversation, I’d love to license (for a token payment of one dollar, plus a twelve-pack of each — I own all the subsidiary rights free and clear, and the publicity would be worth it for me) a line of seven Weird of Hali dark beers: Innsmouth Porter, Kingsport Stout, and so on, ending up with Arkham Black Ale.

    Jim, I expect it to start within this century, but when in that time frame — that I can’t say. As for staying in New England, I have no idea what the future will bring, but so far Rhode Island has turned out to be extremely comfortable — the taxes are the lowest I’ve paid anywhere in the US, the government services I use (for example, public transit and libraries) are good, the people are friendly and the level of tolerance for eccentricity is high. There’s also the curious fact that Providence is considerably more like the Seattle I knew growing up than Seattle is today. So I’m in no hurry to leave.

    J.L.Mc12, I think you’re massively underestimating the impact. Again, talk to the Uighurs, or the Tibetans.

    DFC, you know, when I invented the Radiance as the bad guys for The Weird of Hali, I meant them to be fictional. It’s annoying how enthusiastically life seems to be imitating art these days!

    Walt, okay, that makes sense; I figured it probably had to be something really obvious and dumb. Thank you.

    Kimberly, fascinating. Thank you for this.

    Jacurutu, it occurs to me that the Dems may also be hoping to get rid of Biden now that he’s become a lethal liability to them. One way or another, it’s time to go long on popcorn.

    Owen, “the blood is the life.” Blood rituals are inherently dangerous, because you’re linking your life force to whatever you do magically with your blood, and anyone or anything that gets access to working — physically or magically — can mess with you big time. I don’t do blood rituals at all, ever, and it’s never hindered my magical work.

    Christopher, I wish someone would sit down and have that conversation with them! As for your question, yes, I write longhand quite a bit, and I have a typewriter, but publishers these days want Word files — it saves them a vast amount of money in transcribing and typesetting.

    Tripp, delighted to hear it. Yes, Sara wrote most of it, and we placed it with Weiser on the assumption that they’d put her name first — they were spending a lot of time in those days parading their feminist credentials. No such luck: the very feminist publisher and editor in chief insisted on putting my name first. The moral to this story is that it’s not necessarily men who are oppressing women. (More generally, Sara’s experience with Weiser was so bad that she hasn’t written another book since. One of those things…)

    Rodger, I think it will do fairly well. It’s had the advantage of going through quite a bit of decline already — “collapse now and avoid the rush” is an effective strategy! — and it has the advantage of plenty of water and ample farmland. My take is that the next major civilization in North America will rise in the area that combines the Ohio River valley and the Great Lakes basin; that probably won’t be for another 600 years or so, but in the long term, Michigan’s prospects are great.

  209. Walt, funny.

    Twilight, yes, but it needs a snappy label. I’m sorry to say I don’t think Walt’s will do. 😉 As for the inability of people to hold more than one simple thought in their mind at a time, well, yeah.

  210. Jmg

    I will admit that I am hoping for a best case scenario that probably won’t happen,

    I come to understand that civil wars are a regular part of Chinese civilisation so I hope that at some point that would happen and the Chinese government would loose most of its grip on Australia.

    What advice would you give Australians if China does take complete control over Australia?

  211. A modest prediction:
    Seaplanes will see a resurgence in our lifetimes.

    Why?

    Naval aviation is too useful to let die, in the near term post-Carrier era. It’s been pretty clear for a long time that the surface Navy is in deep trouble. (And that was true even before hypersonic missiles. Who was it that said “There are two kinds of ships: submarines and targets”? It’s become cliche since a certain Swedish submarine surfaced undetected in the middle of a US carrier battle group.)

    I maintain that the long-range reconnaissance and strike you can get from aviation is not something the great powers will give up willingly. Island hopping will work in some areas (much of the pacific), but it’s not the only answer. If you can’t haul around a great big floating runway with you, why not strap on floats and make the sea your runway?

    The Japanese made good use of seaplane fighters during the war. A Zero on floats wasn’t quite as fast or maneuverable as it’s carrier-born cousin, but it was close, and the added flexibility made them worth using in the eyes of the IJN. Post war, both the UK and US prototyped seaplane fighters, but the whole carrier thing was working well enough that they never caught on. A couple Nimitz-class on the bottom of the South China Sea might lead to rethinking that assumption.

    Once reestablished, they won’t go away. Runways are really hard to keep up. Even grass strips mean giving up good land to grass, and spending resources keeping them smooth and stone-free. Water’s free, if you’ve got it. We’ve discussed here that ultralight-type aviation will probably stick around through the dark age– possibly as the prestige arm of warband culture. I suspect that wherever conditions allow, the ultralights will be on floats.

    I don’t know if that idea is of interest to anyone here, but I have nowhere else to share such musings.

  212. Dear JMG,

    Honestly, I’m not sure. I sent the organizer a polite email asking for details . The whole thing is so baffling.

  213. A fun thing to do is to point out that Greta Thurnberg’s high tech yacht ride wasn’t remotely emissions-free – the high-tech yacht made from concentrated fossil fuels (‘composites’) required enormous amounts of emissions to produce, and given that it certainly has a finite lifespan, every ride on it involves a lot of CO2 emissions. She should have talked to the Draken Harald folks, a group who has built and sailed a replica Viking longship across the Atlantic (I suspect the prospect would horrify her and her radical-leftist parents).

    Low-key, I think that what I will call Davos environmentalism has a few key goals:

    1) Reduce all discussion of the environment to a somewhat abstract issue called ‘the climate’, which is measured in a simple linear fashion ‘tons of CO2 equivalent’

    2) Point 1 has the totally unexpected side effect of eliminating discussion of the consequences of heavy metals, toxic organic compounds like PCBs, micro plastics, pesticides, etc.

    3) Replace the relatively low-margin meat industry with a highly profitable and more easily patent trolled and trademarked synthetic meat industry

    4) Create a bogus ‘carbon trading market’

    5) Make being involved in establishment environmentalism embarrassing. This means that only people who are willing to humiliate themselves to obtain money or social power will be involved.

  214. I suppose “Sunlight” would be too dull? ‘Cause that’s what it is. Perhaps “Ra” would work again.

    Meh, I’m not good with catchy names. I generally think that until people have to use those recent energy flows to do things, which tends to be accompanied by something called sweat, they’re not going to get it anyway.

    Oh, and Walt, doesn’t it get tiring trying to explain the distinction between terms like Power and Energy? The irony is delicious that we can have these discussion here on a board run by a Druid focused on developing new Ecologically relevant philosophies!

  215. Interesting to hear your take Mr. Greer. Sounds a bit like the vague idea I have in mind. My view is that this region of the United States will be among the few areas of the world to paradoxically prosper in the face of The Long Descent along with Eastern Canada, Scandinavia, Argentina and Western Russia. I’m not so sure about Alaska though, I’m of the mind the melting permafrost will be a seriously double-edged sword. Any post-industrial science fiction you could recommend that is set in any of these places?

  216. Relating to both the topic of weird meat substitutes and the topic of resource-efficient alternatives being priced far higher than standard unsustainable options:

    For years I’ve been reading about how insect protein is healthy and nutritious, and requires dramatically less of every input (feed, space, water, energy, time, carbon emitted) per pound to grow than even poultry or farmed fish. If only Americans weren’t so squeamish, the narrative goes, eating bugs could help reduce our environmental footprint. So I decided to take some bug protein into the kitchen and see what I could do with it.

    That is, until I saw the price. It turns out, dried edible bugs that are sold as animal feed (in quantities of a pound or two) run about $20 a pound. Ones that are sold as edible by humans, in comparable quantities, are close to $50 a pound. I can just imagine telling my wife, “Sweetie, I could have bought fresh Maine lobsters for dinner, but I spent more to make us these mealworm burgers instead.”

    It’s possible to raise your own edible bugs, but that doesn’t seem too economical either, because typical instructions tell you to continuously ventilate the habitat, usually a closed plastic box the size of a dishpan, with a fan while heating it well above what passes for room temperature half the year here. That might become economical with a larger well-insulated multi-unit setup equipped with a heat exchanger. But starting something like that up makes no sense until I can find out what the product tastes like (and whether my body can tolerate the protein profile, unlike e.g. beef which I can’t eat any more). So I’m kind of at an impasse. Has anyone else tried this? Should I take my chances with the sold-as-iguana-snacks variety, that probably comes from a pile on some warehouse floor? I might have no real choice but to spring for the expensive sold-for-humans “just so they can say they ate one once” variety (which for all I know might come from that same pile on that same warehouse floor).

  217. @Tripp,

    Well, yes, but to my mind in a systems sense, using humanure is just part of minimising losses from the system. The silt from the loess plains seems to have been about the only external fertiliser regularly added into the system. Wonder what would have happened if they’d ever managed to get that erosion under control?

  218. @ Christopher

    Re longhand and typewriters

    I write much of my initial drafts, or the disjointed blocks of my initial drafts, longhand before moving to the word processor. I’d love to work on a refurbished typewriter, though I doubt I have the skill (or the patience) for it.

  219. There are no crickets 🦗 chirping although days have been around 90 degrees w/lows in the 70’s, so they sure haven’t been killed by frost! Did they decamp to Florida with the June bugs?

    I saw an article the other day to the effect that an unusually high number of birds is dying off. I think the lack of bugs may be related.

  220. Rita: The Roman emperor who taxed the pub;oc latrines was Vespasian, a notorious tightwad. When someone (one of his sons?) complained about the source of the tax being unfitting an emperor, he answered “The money doesn’t stink.”

    Ryan: Blessings on Hobbes’ kitty spirit. I’m sure he’s now in the lap of Bast, and maybe, one day, you’ll see a kitten….

  221. Hi JMG and Friends,
    It is too bad what you said about Sara not wanting to write because of a bad publishing experience. I got a copy of her Pagan Prayer Beads out of the library and started working with it again. I am using the Marian rosary my Grandmother gave me when I was a little girl. It is the only object i have left from my childhood. I recite the prayers Sara included in her book.

    I wanted my niece to see the practice as she has had a bad year and is suffering a lot of stress. i told her she could write her own prayers or use any prayers from any religion she liked. I said my beads for her and she asked me to write the prayers down because she thought them beautiful and useful. It would be a shame if all the good Sara can do in the world were to be limited by a bad publisher.
    Maxine

  222. @JMG, I was relieved to hear you were not fielding the kind of attacks on your article that my relative (I’ll call him “Joey”) made. In 2014, no one had heard of Trump (and in your article, I note, a bland mainstream Republican beat Hillary in 2016). Joey seems to have a particularly tedious case of TDS. The narrative being vigorously promoted by the MSM and some of the leftward alternative news sources is that, as Joey made succinct in his rant, an uneducated, violent minority arose that everyone could see was evil, and they used dishonest means of taking power, while the virtuous majority stood by helpless because they are too virtuous to deal effectively with evil. Well-meaning people like you and me with too little knowledge are a danger to America because we too naive to see the danger of totalitarianism. Trump and his minions must be stopped by any means fair or foul!

    I have a German friend in Tokyo who was also convinced in 2017 that Trump was just like Hitler, though getting on to three years on, I wonder if he is so certain. The Japanese media seem to have a little more respect for Trump than they initially did, but I don’t bring the subject up. Most of my leftward friends still see Trump as apocalyptic, with any news reinforcing this narrative emphasized and anything that contradicts it ignored.

    It has been an education for me on how the left gets derailed from its normal altruism and thinks it needs to support means reminiscent of Hitler’s “final solution.” I love my relatives, but Joey is very difficult and extremely active, duking it out with my rightward-leaning relatives, whom I feel subsequently motivated to defend. So for my own sanity, I’m going to have to cut off that group of relatives and send all their e-mails to the spam folder for a while.

  223. Hi John,

    Have you by any chance come across a work called Planet Narnia? The author is Michael Ward, a former Anglican priest who is now a deacon in a Catholic religious order.

    His thesis is that the Narnia stories aren’t merely Christian children’s fiction, but that CS Lewis encoded a great deal of Neoplatonic and astrological symbolism into these works, which would not be surprising considering Lewis’s background and interests. In fact, I recall that you once described Lewis as the last of the red-hot medieval Christian Neoplatonists.

    Not surprisingly, the book has stirred up some controversy:

    http://www.cslewis.com/planet-narnia-spin-spun-out/

    https://anunexpectedjournal.com/a-defense-of-planet-narnia/

    One of the more interesting reviews comes from an astrologer by the name of Becca Tarnas. While she largely agrees with Ward’s thesis, she notes that Lewis and Ward focused on the seven classical planets known to ancient and medieval scholars and overlooked the influences of the outer trans-saturnine worlds. In particular, Tarnas makes the case that there was a strong Neptunian and Plutonian influence in Lewis’s life and in the Narnia stories.

  224. JMG,

    I’ve been pondering an occult philosophy question for a while now, both working out my own answer and trying to figure out how to phrase it to ask for your take on the matter.

    The question is essentially, “Why is fiction OK?”

    Or in steps: Occult philosophy, as I understand it, says that imaginal phenomena are real and prone to manifesting down the planes toward physical phenomena. With some minor exceptions, entertaining fiction always contains scenes of suffering. This seems to suggest that writing or spending time with fiction would be encouraging those scenes to manifest. Although not excessively brutal, your books do contain scenes that I doubt you’re hoping to experience or cause in real life, though, so it seems you don’t believe this is the case.

    I’ve considered that the non-physical forms of stories may be images-that-would-correspond-to-physical-suffering rather than actual suffering and that there might be ontological differences between thoughts destined to move down the planes and thoughts not so intended, but you’ve said some things in the context of magic and affirmations that make me think there might not be such a sharp distinction.

    I’ve also noted that if I dwell on negative thoughts about someone–self righteous criticism, not images of violence or anything like that–it will result it a semi-palpable cloud with a malign feeling, something I’ve never felt from reading or writing fiction, even though the content of that fiction is usually much worse than a laundry list of “why they should have known better.” This has lead me to consider that perhaps “desiring harm” is something entirely different than “description of harm” but I’m still not satisfied with my understanding of that.

    Could you help clarify this? Or should I feel bad if I read a book and someone gets hurt in it?
    Thank you.

  225. Hi JMG, Your assessment of the current impeachment and likely 2020 Democratic defeat is dead on. I am trying follow some of your other suggestions and work in the neighborhood and local district. Neighbors like my organic tomatoes. 😊 May I have the link to your post with the 5 or 6 reasons the Orange Man won the election, please? You had that dead on, also.

    Arigato, ne?

    Mac

  226. @OneThing,

    Your question has a complicated answer because, depending on the cropping system, adding domesticated animals may not decrease the crop yield available for human use while simultaneously the farmer gets the benefit of the extra yields from the animals. That is, from a systems view, adding animals can allow farmers to stack more functions on the same piece of land and thus improve their use of the energy flow through the land. In particular, animals produce manure and some contribute farm labour, so smart use of animals allows them to ‘pay their way’ by facilitating an increase in total crop yields at least equal to the amount they consume.

  227. JMG,

    It’s Dave (using Claudia’s account with permission). Thanks for the reply. Hopefully I am not the source of your fascination!

    It’s certainly clear that their are groups (Greta’s handlers among them) trying to manipulate public opinion over the issue of climate change. Influencing your audience is the point of public speaking/theatre after all. Yes using children is low and emotionally manipulative. So they aren’t saints; neither are those who are happy to bake the planet.

    Request for funds are certainly present in all these groups but my sense is this is mostly secondary. Anyways, that one is easy to dodge. If in doubt, just don’t give money.

    What I think groups like Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Greta’s people really want is our participation. In XR’s case they want our mass arrest based on the theory that mass nonviolent civil disobedience (of about 3.5% of the population) has historically brought about significant social change (a point I am not in a position to dispute). The desired social change in this case is the cessation of the use of fossil fuels. Specifically XR hope to create the political climate that will allow the state to force the cessation of the use of fossil fuels.

    Is there some Birkenstock-wearing unshaven psychedelic feminist privilege-checking anti-colonial organic vegan anti-vaxing La Leche socialist/anarchist subtext to XR’s actual aims? Probably. One would expect the usual suspects (who in this case actually want to be rounded up). Still I’m not seeing anything terribly nefarious as such in their or Greta’s call to nonviolent civil disobedience.

    Of course, as you have implied in your reply, a stated (presumably worthwhile) goal is not the same as a viable plan. Nonetheless, changing public opinion is part of the political process. Already the protests have affected political discourse here in Canada with a federal election at the end of next month.

    Trudeau has began to make promises on climate change no one including him expects him to keep (heh, he bought a pipeline after declaring a climate emergency… points for the carbon tax though). The leader of the official opposition has made it clear he intends to do nothing (I admire his honesty). In this situation it is remotely possible the Greens (who of all federal parties actually have a climate change plan – maybe not good one but a plan nonetheless) will hold a swing position in a minority government due in part by these protests.

    Do I have much hope this will lead to an end to the use of fossil fuel? No sane human would. Even people within XR recognize the complete cessation of fossil fuel use is a very very long shot for all the obvious reasons.

    Does anyone else have a better plan?

    Dave Coulter

  228. J.L.Mc12, my advice is quite simple: emigrate.

    Dusk Shine, that seems entirely plausible to me. I’d include flying boats in that same category of good ideas that will likely be revived. They were extremely useful in naval operations in the Second World War, carriers or no carriers, and the first airline travel across the Pacific relied on them. Besides, they’re just plain seriously cool. 😉
    flying boat

    Violet, well, keep me posted. It just seems bizarre.

    Justin, that seems very plausible just at the moment!

    Dennis, oddly enough, the occult philosophy I’ve spent most of a lifetime studying has quite a bit to say about that, and I’ve made some comments along those lines from time to time.

    Twilight, irony is just one of the services I offer. 😉

    Rodger, well, my novel Retrotopia is mostly set in Toledo, Ohio, which is pretty close to Michigan, and my novel Star’s Reach includes scenes in Mishga (that’s how they pronounce it in 2480 AD). Other than that, I don’t know of any. Why not write some?

    Walt, you know, that just about figures!

    Maxine, I passed this on to Sara and she asks me to thank you, and is glad that the book has been valuable to you. She says she didn’t have anything more to say about prayer, so wouldn’t have written more about that anyway — and she hopes the book helps your niece. (I agree with you, btw, that she should write more — and she’s considering starting a blog — but we’ll see.)

    Patricia O, I get a lot of tantrums of various kinds, and a lot of trollery, but that specific kind of giddy nonsense hasn’t landed with a splat in my inbox yet. All in good time, I’m sure.

    Jacurutu, I have indeed. I think Ward is onto something, though I suspect from various bits of evidence that Lewis didn’t think of the planetary gimmick until he was partway through the series, thus the odd order of planets. As for the outer planets, Lewis wouldn’t have consciously put them in, but of course they’re there — and of course a sufficiently enthusiastic astrologer could find them whether they’re there or not. ;-)\

    Rohan, that’s quite a reasonable question. Let’s start with the basics. Is fiction okay? We agree, I think, that novels that have unpleasant events in them can have an uplifting moral and spiritual effect, sometimes overwhelmingly so. So clearly the imagery in novels doesn’t work its way down the planes in a simplistic sense, and there can be something profoundly good about fiction. That gives us a starting point.

    With that in mind, it’s worth comparing fiction to other narrative forms, such as mythology, legend, and mystical and occult allegory. Myths and legends also include troubling events; so do allegories — have you read, for example, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz? It’s a very tightly woven allegory of spiritual and metallic alchemy, and it included beheadings, voyeurism, and more. Spiritually minded people have been using these narrative forms effectively for many thousands of years; fiction uses the same basic patterns.

    Now let’s close in on what happens. When you read a novel, if it’s well written, you don’t experience the scenes in it as separate images, each of which can go down the planes on its own. You experience it as a flow of images, emotions, and ideas, all linked together by the current of the plot, all moving toward the crisis and then to what Tolkien calls the eucatastrophe, the turning point or points where looming disaster turns, suddenly or slowly, into hope and new possibilities. That’s what makes a novel sing; that sense of hope and possibility coming out of darkness and doubt — and that’s what comes down the planes. The dire events in the novel are markers for the dire events each of us experiences in our own lives, and the pattern we get from novels helps us bring those into an order that results in positive outcomes. Thus good novels are a form of positive magic; they’re not just okay, they’re a source of strength and reorientation toward better things.

    Mac, by all means; you’ll find it here.

    Dave, er, excuse me? Hello? I’ve been proposing extensive, detailed alternative plans for the last thirteen years in my blogs. I’ve published more than a dozen books on the subject. I’ve been doing everything in my power to get people like you to notice that there are things you can do, starting with your own life and extending outward from there, that don’t involve buying into a corrupt political agenda meant to benefit the very rich at the expense of everyone else. There are plenty of other people who’ve also published detailed plans along these same lines — I’d encourage you in particular to look at Warren Johnson’s Muddling Toward Frugality, David Fleming’s Lean Logic, and The Book of the New Alchemists, just for starters. If you somehow have managed not to notice this, well, you know, I’m not at all sure that that’s my fault…

  229. JMG,

    Do you have any good advice on using magic to cure insomnia? I am looking for advice and rituals. I have the kind where I can get to sleep but wake up in the middle of the night, and my mind is racing thinking about all sorts of things. It’s not anxiety, it’s more along the lines that I think too much and have trouble turning it off.

    I use to do a lot of daily magical practice (30 minutes to an hour) on the Eastern / New Age side of things for years, fell off the train while using magic occasionally to achieve certain goals, and am getting back into it now. I haven’t found a Western magic tradition that suits me yet (Catholic education has ruined Christian imagery for me, unfortunately, with the exception of guardian angels) and most of the groups that I grew up with have scattered.

    Do you have a good list of different schools of magic that I could look up? Any 2 or 3 that you would recommend that don’t use strong Christian symbolism? Much appreciated.

  230. Hi JMG,

    Just a note checking in that I’ve begun training in energy auditing and weatherization–I’ll be getting BPI certified soon. I’m excited about these developments and really like the idea of non-flashy, non-emotional practical differences that help conserve energy and help people save money. My organization serves low-income people with free services. You contributed a lot to my decision to do this work–thank you!

  231. @Walt F
    Well I know that farm raised, deep fried and salted ‘Scorpions’ are very tasty. The Chinese from the Railway Academy were trying to get back at me at a small banquet in Beijing – early 90’s I think. What did they taste like – each was like a single good kettle cooked potato chip – salty, crunchy and very slightly greasy. Too bad there were only enough for two scorpions each.
    They were trying to get back at me (and another guy) for drinking them and their bosses under the table at a Thanksgiving banquet in ’87. They’d already done it once the – The next morning at 7AM they wanted to go sightseeing!

    There was very little food I didn’t like on my trips to China. When we had duck we had essentially ALL of it – including the quack. But I wasn’t important enough to get the monkey or snake treatment.

  232. @J.L.Mc12

    There’s always the happy thought that the Chinese may decide that most of Australia is too agriculturally poor to sustain a large enough population to make the long coastline worth defending and just settle on occupying the mining areas and ports while ‘farming’ the existing population for mine labour. See stories about rubber farming in the Belgian Congo and Mongolians ‘harvesting’ the Russian steppe for analogous examples.

    Australia’s deserts are its only significant natural defences, unless Westerners learn how to live in them, I think we will be just the first of a series of ephemeral conqueror/occupiers.

  233. @JMG

    I’m married to a lovely woman who was born in China. I love her with all my heart, but there are profound cultural differences in which one side has to “win” or there needs to be a new solution that’s not of either culture. My kids are already identifying as “Hapa” rather than simply “American.”

    Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on your point of view, but what seems certain is that, given the geographical (https://www.maps.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/17f82f742ffe127f42dca9de82fb58b1/u/n/united-states-the-physical-landscape-map-1996.jpg) and demographic diversity of North America, along with trends towards greater balkanization, a unified America from coast to coast (whether cultural or economic) is fading fast. Whether this unity ever existed for more than a historical split second is debatable.

    That makes me a little sad, but also makes me think about what North America will look like for my kids, who might see the dawn of the 22nd century. I foresee there will be secession movements (or maybe even incursions by foreign powers) and my kids will be forced to choose sides but the outlines are blurry from my vantage point in 2019.

  234. Onething, you’re very welcome.

    And a loose “question” for our host and anyone else…

    Today I bumbled into accidental Greta-criticism with a family member and was slightly skewered on my own ineloquence (having to defend a position, with data, verbally, is a weak point for me). Wrapped up in that interchange was all the fraughtness alive in social-political life these days. I guess I sounded too right wing for trying out some of the ideas found here and I was slightly disdained. The family member said that Greta and XR are inspiring real change in regular people, that demonstrations are accompanied by people organizing politically and socially to change systems of exploitation…

    i guess, honestly, I cannot debate these topics – I am busy modifying my small life (just got chickens, am learning to grow veggies, *do* more so as to consume less, and so much more that keeps me tethered to home and home economy) – and I’m not able to experience firsthand whether people are posers, shunting all responsibility to gov and authority figures, or if in spite of having cell phones (the mark of hypocritical youth according to one comment here), they are doing good by limiting meat consumption (50% of CO2 production?), etc.

    It seems I don’t know how to evaluate all the spins, even the ones here, in the end. I hear sense and nonsense from all directions. That, combined with personal proclivities that discourage me from active public life, reveal that, just like the protestors who don’t channel their “movement” into political action, my not channeling my LESS “motion” into the same is an equal hypocrisy. Right? Am I doing any good at all? How, if people agitating for government intervention to curtail environmental degradation aren’t doing the right thing, am I? OK, so I planted some plants, limit energy use, and a growing proportion of my food travels no more than 25 yards…and how is *this* helpful? Is it just helpful in the double negative sense – not not helpful?

    Maybe I just didn’t sleep well and all the shouting sounds all the louder. Suddenly the space in which a person can live a life in this age feels thinner, tauter, higher and the clamor from all directions presses in.

    Are quiet personal changes insufficient? Must one cleave to a side, a position, an opinion, a version? Are we all to crusade for or against something? Is the householder a flawed character in these times?

    Sorry, I’m having an “existential moment.”

  235. Continuing our discussion of the productivity of farmland:

    I’m not sure where I got my numbers a few years ago to figure nine people per acre max, but yield data are all over the map depending on inputs, soil quality, etc. If we take 2500 calories per day for a year, that works out to around a million calories per year per person. Current corn and potato yields can reach 15 million calories per acre, which would be 15 people per acre per year. However, those crops in temperate regions are only really capturing sunlight for a third of the year. So conceivably tropical regions could triple that to 45 people per acre per year, which is in line with JMG’s original numbers. Nutrient cycling at those productivity levels far exceeds natural replenishment, so it becomes increasingly important to minimize losses by returning all residues including humanure to the production ground.

    Coming at it from a different angle, if we start with solar irradiance of 4 kWh/m2/day, that works out to around 5 billion calories of solar energy reaching each acre each year. Photosynthesis is at most ~1% efficient at converting sunlight into food, which would yield 50 million calories per acre or 50 people per acre which is within the same range.

    On the lower end, I came across this publication from 1917 which reveals just how much the so-called Green Revolution has increased yields, and which might be more realistic in a deindustrial future. Divide the calories per acre by 1 million to obtain people per acre. https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/ORC00000242/PDF

    I don’t expect the Long Descent – in the United States at least – to involve nationwide shortages of food. Probably there will be an increase in food insecurity among the lower classes, and some regional shortages in food-desert regions if transportation breaks down, but right now we are feeding a majority of our agricultural production to animals – which results in 80-90% energy loss – as well as exporting quite a bit and converting a fair fraction of our corn into ethanol fuel. Yields would need to drop by a factor of five, at least, before we would have real challenges producing enough calories to feed our current population. With 400 million acres of cropland, 400 million acres of pasture, and 330 million mouths to feed, we’re still doing OK at 1 person/acre/year productivity rates.

    @Onething, best wishes in your battle with cancer and I’m glad to hear that it’s moving in the right direction for now! I don’t have a solid answer to your question, but in a typical organic cropping setup (as opposed to a maximum-productivity biointensive farm) with a variety of crops including much-lower-energy vegetables like lettuce and broccoli, I might guess 3-4 people/acre/year on the cropped land (2 acres), 0.5 people/acre/year on the pastures (2 acres, meat and dairy), and one acre not in production used for buildings, yards, paths, fences, etc. That would support 7-9 people on five acres and seems reasonable to me.

    Unrelated, but @isabelcooper I’m always surprised that clotheslines are a taboo item in much of the country. They are abundant in our town. We rely on our dryer in the rainy winter months but don’t use it much for half of the year. This summer a family of Violet-green Swallows built a nest in our dryer vent and successfully fledged three young ones.

  236. @ Dave/Claudia On what planet is “creating a political climate that allows the state to force” ANYTHING a good idea?

    I was invited to join a local “extinction rebellion” and I refused, mainly because the name seems particularly ill-chosen.

    I am getting increasingly worried that the main message if these groups – if they have one at all – is “let’s put governments into emergency mode”.

    I’m afraid history does not show this to be a sound idea at all. Emergency mode is pretty much the opposite of democracy mode.

  237. @JMG and all

    I didn’t want to post about Thunberg (whom I don’t even particularly like!) again, but…
    I find it fascinating that people who keep mocking the Democrats for calling Trump mentally ill and piling up ad hominem attacks (and rightfully so!) are doing exactly the same when it comes to Thunberg. Is criticism based on ideas and facts too much to ask?

    I didn’t expect this kind of behavior here of all places.

  238. I love your description of novels. It’s incredibly uplifting to have it all described that way. I’m inspired to get right back to working on my own novel…

  239. @Onething,
    I think you’re right about the elites. What that tells me is while you and I make progress on our merry journey through “collapse now and avoid the rush,” they are totally messing their pants. I expect it to get real ugly from above. Huge popcorn harvest last year that looks set to carry us through the next ten.

  240. JMG. David btl, DT, and others who have commented on the theme of human folly:

    Our species has a truly stunning capacity for denial, delusion and deceit…it’s in every one of us. I know only a handful of individuals that I can have a completely honest conversation with regarding our decline. The fear in people is so palpable, particularly among those with more to lose. I try to incorporate non-doomish observations of decline in regular conversation with folks but, for the most part, no one is interested in pursuing the ideas…it’s so damn depressing. Sorry folks, but Progress has a new direction!

    There’s both tragedy and comedy in our global civilization’s adoption of the name Homo Sapiens for our species, and so appropriate it was bequeathed to us by a titan of the Faustian European Enlightenment. Not sure we’ve lived up to it real consistently, but god(s) knows the potential is there! Reality is bearing down hard on us now…it’s on each one of us to do the best we can to ‘wise up’.

  241. John, et alia–

    Re certain unnamed recent events…

    I don’t know that the apparently-trending “President Pelosi” meme

    https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/trump-pence-president-pelosi-081441004.html

    is exactly the best marketing strategy for the Democrats at this juncture. Certainly, it gives Trump a chance to turn the tables and argue that this is nothing but a grab for power. Why do the Democrats keep handing Trump large sticks for him to whack them upside the head with? Do they simply not understand who his base of support is? This is *not* how they win the backing of blue-collar folks in the Midwest.

  242. Hi John Michael,

    I sort of feel sorry for Greta as she is carrying a heavy burden for one so young. And I hope that she is OK when the inevitable comedown of obscurity occurs, as nobody can train a person to deal with that grief. Anyway, I concur with you regarding her emotional state, I have deliberately not followed the story closely, but the photos I have seen reveal a deep anger, and it’s genuine alright. I’m concerned that the anger is fuelled by disbelief, as that is not a good path as it introduces inner contradictions.

    Anyway, I had to search my feelings on the topic a fair bit before entering into any dialogue about the subject with you, and it took me a long while to put a finger on what I was struggling coming to terms with. And it is ‘meetings’. You wouldn’t catch me wasting precious hours on castigating the UN general assembly. No way at all. I might not be the sharpest tool in the toolbox, but I’m well aware that meetings can be a forum with which to waste a whole bunch of time, whilst pretending to do something.

    I mean, if all of the folks who were genuinely concerned about climate change, actually got off their backsides and actually did something about it – other than talking about their concerns – then we’d still be going down the gurgler due to pollution, resource and energy limits, but at least it might not be so unpleasant, and something good might come out of that. But no, talk and talk and talk is what most people want to do. Action is much harder because in this instance it means accepting limits. And who wants those? 😉

    When I do a work day around the farm with my wife, the meeting goes for two minutes or less and it involves: What are we doing; How are we going to do it; and Who’s in charge for the job. Anymore time would be a waste.

    Congrats on 35 years!

    Cheers

    Chris

  243. JMG: The PBY Catalina you pictured was a gorgeous airplane — even more so, I’d guess, if you were awaiting rescue.

  244. I’m curious to know your thoughts (and other community members) about streaming music platforms. Do you use Spotify or Pandora? Music has always been such an important part of my life, and I simply love the access I gain to virtually everything out there for 50 cents/day! I also know that many musicians feel that they are not fairly compensated by these services and my complicity in that disturbs me.

    As I sit here contemplating my just-submitted comment about decline and human folly, a recollection of the song Natural Mystic by Bob Marley floats into my awareness. I call it up on Spotify and listen deeply to it (maybe the first time in 20 years)…it’s haunting and powerful, released in 1977. Marley was a seer of sorts, without a doubt. I encourage those so inclined to have a listen, lyrics posted below:

    There’s a natural mystic
    Blowing through the air
    If you listen carefully now you will hear
    This could be the first trumpet
    Might as well be the last
    Many more will have to suffer
    Many more will have to die
    Don’t ask me why
    Things are not the way they used to be
    I won’t tell no lie
    One and all got to face reality now
    Though I try to find the answer
    To all the questions they ask
    Though I know it’s impossible
    To go living through the past
    Don’t tell no lie
    There’s a natural mystic
    Blowing through the air
    Can’t keep them down
    If you listen carefully now you will hear
    Such a natural mystic
    Blowing through the air

  245. Dennis Sawyer:
    I’ve seen a number of articles recently in which the author ponders the demographic changes wrought by a declining birthrate among most people with a concurrent high birthrate among such groups as the Amish and Orthodox Jews. I’ve managed to track down one of them, pretty interesting:
    https://medium.com/migration-issues/how-long-until-were-all-amish-268e3d0de87
    Another article that I can’t find at the moment posits that in X years, the Amish and Hasidic Jews will together become a very significant percentage of the population because of their consistently large families.

    In keeping with the comments so far about diminished lifestyles and the Long Descent, I offer this: earlier this week I helped clean out the home of a deceased relative and among the flotsam and jetsam of a life were boxes of family photos, some taken well over a century ago. Looking at these pictures made me think a lot about a Long Descent and about how life will change, because these photos show a life which, not all that long ago, was quite different than what we’re used to now. A few things that I noticed:

    – In the oldest photos (19th and early 20th century) people looked older at younger ages and they looked serious – even the toddlers looked serious – and I don’t think it’s all due to being still for a long exposure time. In their 30’s my great-grandparents looked like 50 or 60 year olds look now, even the 50 year olds who haven’t had ‘work’ done. They looked like adults. In some ways we have better nutrition these days and a less labor-intensive lifestyle, but maybe that’s not all of it.

    – The people in my family managed in spaces we’d consider uncomfortably close. I found photos of Christmas celebrations in my grandparents’ very modest living room with nearly 30 people, all clearly enjoying themselves. I think that many or most people nowadays would not be comfortable having guests cheek-to-jowl like that, yet photo after photo shows this was the norm. It’s well documented that houses in the US get bigger and bigger even as families shrink so this is something we’re just not used to anymore.

    – The people in my family managed to live full, good lives with a minimum of possessions. The photos of my smiling teen-aged mother cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen (late 1950’s) show a room with the barest of furnishings: a gas stove, a small refrigerator, a kitchen table, a sink. No cabinets, no other appliances, and probably only one electrical outlet in the whole room (my grandmother’s house was notoriously under-electrified; there was no outlet at all in the dining room and only one in the living room). Yet Grandma was a masterful cook and produced meals for the 30 or so people who would come for Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving; growing up, my mother never felt deprived. I could tell nearly the same story about my dad’s family. Photos taken on obviously different dates show people wearing the same clothes, too, which suggests that their wardrobes were limited.

    – The people in my family worked hard. A lot of the ordinary photos (in contrast with the formal, posed shots) show my family members working at physical jobs: tending livestock, building/fixing things, cooking, gardening, mending/sewing/crocheting and so on. My maternal grandmother (1908-2007) was never idle. Hardly a picture shows her with her hands at rest and the stories she told about her many siblings and her own parents would seem to confirm that these people expected to be busy working all their waking hours. There aren’t many vacation photos and the few that I found all indicate modest trips to the nearest big city or the state fair.

  246. In traditional accounts/exhortations about will power, one choice is usually considered morally superior to the other (e.g. working instead of idling). There are all sorts of problems when thinking about will power in this way, since one may debate if the first choice is indeed morally superior to the other one.
    JMG, you have repeatedly recommended training will power by exercises like executing a certain, predetermined but random act once a day. This has set me thinking. Would it be useful then to define will power simply as the temporal persistence of a decision once taken? Whatever decision you took, you persist in it (unless there are good, rational grounds to change your mind)?
    This reminds me that there are countless exhortations in the New Testament (and certainly in many other texts) to be steadfast, to let oneself be strengthened, steadied, built up etc. That seems like a similar concept to this definition of will power (the decision on what to be steadfast in comes in at a different point).

  247. @JMG: That is an excellent idea! I’ll look up how to put together marketing proposals and see what I can come up with. (Also has the benefit of, if it works, meaning I can give my dad his customary holiday bottle of Scotch but with a shirtless kilted dude on the label. His reaction should entertain us well through Epiphany.)

    Also, I like the notion of an essay, and now that I’ve finished Drunk Tarot on my blog, I could use some extra topics. Thanks!

    @beneaththesurface: That all sounds terrific–I’m an “experience” traveler myself, and do it for adventures, so that’d be right up my alley once I either get more vacation or start freelancing full time. (I’m remote, but need to be connected, so I can currently take trains without needing time off, but that probably wouldn’t apply to the middle of the Atlantic.) Also, I’d far rather spend my time on a ship, with things to see and the ability to stretch out and read a book, than standing in three different lines and then getting stuffed into a narrow seat next to some techbro who’s the *real* reason “Silence 10′ Radius” should be an actual spell. 😛

    I’m generally irked about higher prices for things that don’t need to cost that much, but you’re totally right in that, if ecological costs were taken into account, flying would be much more expensive. Anyhow, yay, thank you for the explanation!

  248. Previously, you mentioned a CO2 reduction ballot measure in Washington State that you felt was reasonably well crafted, or this is my impression, anyway. Can you remember which ballot measure this was? Or even what year it appeared on the Washington ballot? I would like to try to find more information on it.

    Also, you mentioned that Occupy was taken over by professional activists because of a consensus process. I would like to know more about the techniques used to hijack the movement so if I see something similar happening, I can identify the processes.. I agree that democratic processes are best, but I would still like to be informed about what the dark side.can get up to. Can you point me to a resource that describes how consensus processes can be hijacked, or describe what you have observed?

    Thank you

  249. “There is no brighter future ahead”

    Now see: I think this sentiment is applicable in the macro. Technology, creature comforts, extravagance of lifestyles will be diminished, not increased.

    But as the parent of two young burgeoning adults and in reminiscence of my own young adulthood – those were not for me, neither are they for my kids considerations that would make my future ‘bright’. Finding a love, lifelong partner, joy, friendships, expanding my horizons in whatever way, be it travel, near or far, intellectual pursuits, creative satisfactions and purpose in life, meaningful accomplishments – those were the things I would have reckoned on being a ‘bright’ future. The things that are still available in a decline or anywhere, any time.

  250. I have just read the whistleblower’s text, as published with very few redactions in our morning newspaper. I must say that such corruption and influence-peddling as described in it, with the aim of tipping an upcoming election, have been going on since at least the late 1970s, and almost certainly for much longer. These doings would not so much as raise a single eyebrow among our political establishment. (Nor do they cross any line whatever in terms of traditional Eastern European political culture, which is far more tolerant of such “corruption” than even ours is.)

    It seems obvious to me that the entire “crisis” has been deliberately placed before the American voting public by one faction or another of our political establishment in a dicey effort to tip the scales in the 2020 election.

    If these sort of corrupt doings merit impeachment, then almost every president since FDR ought to have been impeached. (Possibly Jimmy Carter was possibly an exception in this respect.)

  251. An interesting ecofascist data point. Greta Thunberg came up in r/collapse and I noticed this exchange (names redacted here, but a link to the conversation is at the bottom of this comment.)

    The first comment below — responding to why Thunberg “gets so much hate” — was awarded Reddit Gold.

    ####

    Redditor 1: there’s a lot of conservative ecofascists in here who are dreaming of committing genocide, so an autistic girl telling the world leaders to knock this sh** off is offensive to them because they *really* want to murder a few billion people. I’m filled with enough despair to know it’s probably too late, but the reaction some people have is like they’re almost gleeful about the coming misery and it seems like they want to contribute to it.

    Redditor 2

    (Quoting above) *there’s a lot of conservative ecofascists in here*

    we need to be talking about this more

    Redditor 1: I completely agree.

    Redditor 3

    I also think it’s important that people understand how fascist coopting works. I’m guessing folks will ask “how could a right wing fascist be an environmentalist” and the answer is they’re not.

    Fascists will do anything they can to seize and capture political power,including coopting names like the Nazis did Socialism, and movements like they are now with environmentalism. Make no mistake, when you give people like this power (read: right to arm yourselves, right to free speech, right to procreate, right to citizenship on birth, etc) even in the name of something like climate change, they will never ever give it back willingly.

    ####

    This is followed by a long list of reading suggestions for people to learn about fascism.

    Full Thread here

  252. I wanted to throw in a rousing cheer for the book “Lean Logic”. It’s a wonderful resource and one I turn to again and again. The format is unusual but works in the way our thinking does when approaching problems.

  253. @Theresa I almost choked on my coffee laughing about your tree-hugging group. My local environmental group always wants to make signs and go protest. (Eye roll) No thank you, I will get a sunburn from working outside in the dirt, not standing on a sidewalk, thank you very much!

  254. In Retrotopia I liked how the stock exchange was open outcry and paper-based. One of the management courses I did included a case study of TAURUS, the disasterous attempt to computerise the London Stock Exchange in the 80s. They made every big IT project mistake imaginable. That including not optimising the paper-based system first, which is generally agreed would have produced far superior results. According to some, mistakes made in the TAURUS era even continue to compromise its replacement, CREST.

    I also watched a documentary about the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Open outcry produced such a distictive atmosphere and culture, and gave people with certain personality traits and skillsets somewhere to go. Computerisation killed the ambience and drove out people who had been fixtures there for decades.

  255. KevPilot,
    There’s always a “friends of the library” type organization that needs volunteers to sort and price donations or shuffle boxes. Or the animal shelter – you could go walk lonely shepherds and terriers for an hour at sunrise every Tuesday for 25 weeks each year, and do planetary charity for Mars at the same time! I bet the dogs won’t even give you any guff about stacking functions…

    😉

  256. @Workdove @JMG

    I don’t think Trump’s an Everyguy. However, he’s easier to trust because his flaws are obvious and out there. You don’t really worry there’s anything else to him.

    I think working class people understand duality better than upper middle class people. They expect the surface to be camaflauge for something else. Surface nice, core jerk. Surface gruff, core sensitive. Surface exaggerator, core teacher.

    Upper middle class people take people at face value, it seems, in public. Or at least, they are more concerned about reputational damage than physical harm – the reverse of working class people. Somehow this translates to protecting one’s own “front” by refusing to see it in others.

    I know this because ostrasization from upper middle class circles happens fastest from openly discussing a person’s “core.” Do this, and it’s like brandishing a knife in a working class environment. You have outed yourself as an unmasker, and that’s dangerous. You could go on a spree and unmask anyone! So there’s a strong taboo against reality in those circles.

    Which is the way the string pullers like it.

    So I pretty much read opposite intent into everything. So, yeah, Trump’s an exaggerating, shallow, vain, grabby blowhard. Fortunately his giant ego is so wrapped up in greatness he might actually do something to benefit me once in a while.

    Meamwhile your standard politician is so polished I only see the puppet strings.

  257. @Kimberly Steele and Walt F re: video-games and violence / mass shooters:

    Yes, given any other phenomenon, less linked to business interests (making boatloads of cash) I suspect the link between a steady diet of violent killing games and IRL killing games would be shockingly easy to “see” or acknowledge. IMHO however the biggest threat or downside to video games or virtual reality games is not even the violence in them, but the format of virtual reality itself. I see a horrific number of older teens and young adults, including my own younger son, who have serious problems connecting to their peers, “finding their tribe” as the popular saying goes. This is precisely the result of a generation weaned on virtual reality and forms of entertainment instead of the hard slogging boring, and even risky old way of talking to each other face to face. Even if the odd kid hasn’t been weaned on them, it’s pretty hard to start up a conversation while everyone around you have their faces buried in their phones. To me it feels like being in the old “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland, only I have to remember and feel grateful that at my age I even have that for frame of reference and perspective. These younger adults do not.

    There is a raging epidemic on college campuses of anxiety and depression, far, far more than mental health services at any college can cope with and I suspect this is at the root of it. Kids who have grown up with at least one foot in this false world lacking the skills to cope with day to day let downs, but also lacking the skills to reach out and find that crucial “tribe” of like-minded souls.

    And @ Walt F: Thank You for that insider insight. Can’t say I’d be unhappy to see the demise of this industry. & LOL TBH: I enjoy this blog, I do enjoy keeping up with distant friends and relatives on social media, but I won’t actually miss the whole of the internet if it goes in my lifetime. 🙂

  258. Satellite Watch. How long before all the debris starts flying? I remember learning about the science of space debris in a book called Retrotopia by a certain JMG…

    …a near miss collision of Satellites took place on Sept. 2…

    “The European Space Agency (ESA) performed a collision avoidance maneuver yesterday morning in order to circumvent a potential collision between its Aeolus satellite and a SpaceX Starlink satellite.

    The U.S. military alerted both companies about the potential collision, which would have occurred along the satellites’ 320km high orbit. This isn’t the first time ESA has moved a satellite in order to avoid a collision, but most precautionary maneuvers involved dead satellites or satellite debris, the agency said via Twitter. The near-miss has sparked concerns about the lack of regulations in space, and specifically, the lack of direction in Earth’s congested lower orbit.

    The risk of a collision between the two satellites was 1 in 1,000—10 times higher than the agency’s threshold, Holger Krag, head of the Space Debris Office at ESA, told Forbes. When the agency reached out to SpaceX about the potential collision, the company replied in an email that it would not move its satellite. The ESA then made the decision to change Aeolus’s course.

    The Aeolus satellite, which helps meteorologists provide richer, more accurate weather forecasts, launched in August 2018. SpaceX released its Starlink constellation—a fleet of 60 satellites—this past May.

    “I would say [this incident] underlines the uncertainty about the impact of these mega constellations,” Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told Forbes. “Operating in LEO [low-Earth orbit] will now require constant vigilance by all satellite operators.”

    This latest constellation of Starlink satellites is the first of many scheduled. The company hopes to eventually release a total of 12,000 individual satellites—which the company developed to transmit high-speed internet to remote parts of the globe—into Earth’s orbit. The proposal has triggered concerns from numerous experts and agencies in the field, who suggest that the already crowded low-Earth orbit would be subjected to even more potential collisions.

    There are currently 4,987 satellites circling Earth, and so far, most collision avoidance procedures have been manually initiated. With a rapidly increasing number of satellites to avoid, ESA tweeted that it’s considering using AI technology to help prevent future collisions. SpaceX already employs and has widely touted its own autonomous collision avoidance system.” –Forbes.

  259. Hi JMG

    Talking about the low birthrate that Spengler mention in the The Decline of the West, I think today, as in Rome, we could see similar trends: increase in debt peonage and increase in tax peonage

    I have the next question to you: what do you think what will be the role of the state in the decline? do you think it will do like in Rome to increase the tax more and more with the converging crisis (to “fight” global warming, security threats, risks of wars, etc…)? At the end the rule of the Praetorian Guard? (Military Industrial Complex)

    You know, most historians blame the roman state and its ever increasing tax burden and money debasement as a alienating factor for the population that contributed to the final collapse of the Empire

    Cheers
    David

  260. Dear JMG,

    Do you think that we’ll see a classicizing movement in the United States? I’ve been rereading Herr Oswald Spengler, and he seems to think that Faustian civilization had run out of ideas around the time of Napoleon, and had some very pointed words about Impressionism. From his perspective, then, we are about at the age of Caeserism.

    It seems, though, that North American pseudomorphic civilization has some severe draw backs that the Romans were able to avoid:

    First of all, we fail to work with the spiritual potencies of the land and are the opposite of conservative in spiritual matters. Spengler points out that in Varro’s study of Roman religion he recorded many rites that had been performed for centuries and for which no one knew the meaning of the ritual. And yet the rituals continued. This to my mind indicates that the Romans had a conservative nature that allowed for their civilization to cohere.

    The ritual and spiritual state of the United States is uniquely bad. I think that Faustian civilization lacks of conservatism of the Romans, at least in Religious matters. for that reason we don’t have the spiritual coherence that the Romans did, and so our institutions lack the stabilizing effects that the Romans had through their religious observance and conservatism.

    Furthermore, there are issues of land. The Christians built many of their churches on the precise sites of ancient temples. Clearly, then, in Europe there is some coherence in honoring sacred places. That arrangement simply does not exist in North America.

    Second, there is the issue of the Foundation Chart of the United States. Saturn is in the 10th house, which indicates a sudden fall from power. That would indicate that we may not have the organizational capacity that the Romans had, in either East or West.

    To my mind, then, it seems likely that dark age conditions may arrive much sooner in the United States than in Western Europe, and we may not see much of a classicizing movement at all here. It seems all too easy to imagine the United States losing a war and being carved up into vassal nations of China, Russia and Brazil and the last embers of Western Civilization being carried forth in the fading, warm glow of Tropicalia music and magical realist literature.

    I’m curious your take on my prognostication. Given the spiritual messes and lack of potency, trad ritual, and connection to the land, I sense something very tenuous about the European pseudomorphis here, even in New England.

  261. @ Dennis Sawyers and insomnia

    I have had problems with chronic insomnia for years. This isn’t a magic but with practice it works. Develop and use a word list that you recite to yourself as you’re trying to fall asleep. When you wake up in the middle of the night, start the word list. The idea is to train your brain to relax. You want something just complex enough to keep out random thoughts (the monkey mind) and boring enough so your brain lets go.

    I use animals. Start with ‘A’ is for aardvark, aardwolf, on up through aye-aye, then ‘B’ is for baboon on up through burro, and so forth to ‘Z’. List as many animals for each letter as you can recall, going back to correctly arrange them in alphabetical order. Over a few weeks, you’ll fall asleep sooner and sooner. When I started, I didn’t know that many animals and would reach ‘Z’ and have to restart. I now usually fall asleep long before ‘P’.

    @ Isabel Cooper and anyone else thinking about licensing intellectual property.

    Kristine Kathryn Rusch is writing a TERRIFIC series about managing and licensing intellectual property for writers on her blog. If you’ve got a line of whisky being made using your fictional characters, you’re licensing your IP. A writer’s IP can be licensed in thousands of ways. Think of J.K. Rowling! She’s even got tea towels.

    Go to https://kriswrites.com/2019/06/26/business-musings-rethinking-the-writing-business-part-one/ for the first part of her dozen part (and counting) series.

    Read Kris’s posts BEFORE you start negotiating. It will take a few hours to go through them all, but they are a quick course in licensing that you won’t get anywhere else.

    Teresa from Hershey

  262. I second New Choice’s request for “JMG’s 100 Must Read List.”

    On a different note, JMG, I had to chuckle at your advice to J.L.Mc12 (namely, emigration in the event of Chinese takeover of Australia). Especially in view of your own attitude to immigration. I take it you wouldn’t particularly want millions of Australians to flock to the United States. 😉

    Anyway, leaving aside the fact that the “native” (hehe) population wouldn’t necessarily be allowed to leave, there’s the issue of finding a foreign country that’s willing to take you in. Not at all a trivial matter, mind you, and I say that having spent my entire adult life (I’m in my mid-30s now) hopping from one country to another, on one temporary visa after another. And no, the hopping was not a matter of adventurousness or a burning desire to see the world. It was simply a matter of going wherever I managed to land my next visa-sponsoring job. I may have reached my final destination (if all goes well, I’ll get a permanent residence permit in the country I currently live in in a few years’ time), but it remains to be seen, doesn’t it? Meanwhile, I’m trying to learn the local language as quickly and as well as possible.

    There are essentially three paths to immigration: family, work, and asylum. Family – you either have it or you don’t. “China’s about to invade and send me to a labor camp” is unlikely to earn you asylum in any country on Earth at the moment, and by the time it happens (and I’m not at all convinced it’ll happen), it may just be too late. That leaves work. So, you’d better have a skillset that’s in demand wherever it is you hope to move to. Otherwise, they won’t let you in, you see. People with technical skills generally “travel” (immigration-wise) best. In some countries, people with medical skills are in high demand. But keep in mind that moving to a foreign country often (not always, but often) entails a loss of status. Think medical doctors working as nurses. And then, for native English speakers, there’s always the option of teaching EFL (English as a foreign language). Currently, barriers to entry are relatively low. A bachelor’s degree (in anything) and an EFL teaching certificate (which can be earned in just a few weeks) should be enough. The downside is that these jobs tend to cater to the young, childless, and adventurous who wish to spend a few years abroad before going back home and finding a “real” job. In other words, the money isn’t great, generally speaking.

    Anyway, my point is that, depending on one’s circumstance, advice to emigrate can be (a) excellent advice, (b) reasonable advice, but with plenty of downsides, or (c) a 21st century equivalent of let-them-eat-cake. Obviously, I have no idea which of these applies to J.L.Mc12.

    Oh, and I wouldn’t bother emigrating for purely political reasons. As a foreigner, you aren’t going to have very many political rights in the country you move to anyway. (For starters, you don’t get to vote.) If you’re worried about your safety, or are looking for better economic prospects, then you might want to leave. But once you get to your destination, keep a low profile, don’t rock the boat, and stay out of politics (I don’t recommend attending protests). You’re a foreigner after all. Your next visa can be refused for any reason at all, and no, you’re not entitled to an explanation.

  263. Versling,

    “In my experience with magic I’ve noticed how important belief is to the process. Belief is enchanting.”

    Hmm. Something that has been bothering me lately is how gullible people are to belief systems and how they hate to have them examined/interrogated. And how logic and reason have no sway over it. Perhaps this is part of the reason for that tendency. Perhaps we are meant to be magical mystical beings.
    It’s not always dysfunctional. My attitude toward religion is that while I am immune to any particular religion while enjoying their various good points, I often see that a person’s belief in it (despite my wondering how they can swallow it) does them a lot of good.

  264. Chris at Fernglade: ” But no, talk and talk and talk is what most people want to do. Action is much harder because in this instance it means accepting limits. And who wants those?

    Brings to mind lyrics from one of Eliza Doolittle’s songs in My Fair Lady: “Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words! I hear words all day long, first from him now from you. Is that all you blighters can do?”

    And regarding meetings, one of my favorite cynical punchlines exclaims “MEETINGS: None of us individually is as dumb as all of us together!

    Dude…limits are for losers!

    Best,
    Jim

  265. Just the price of answering surveys, I guess…

    Opened my in-box today and found emails from Sanders, Trump, the national Greens, and the Democrats, all asking for money. I’ll just answer the surveys, thank you.

    It is worth noting, however, the stark difference in language the Trump emails use. Much more directed to the notion of personal relationships–and in particular, personal support of one Donald J. Trump. “Loyal supporters, like you,” for example. And “he couldn’t believe your name was missing” from the list of donors. Plus the aforementioned Official Impeachment Defense Task Force which I am repeatedly asked to join.

    Interesting stuff.

  266. I’ve noticed something kinda neato this past year on YouTube: seemingly ordinary mainstream folks making videos about how they’ve given up shopping, gone zero-waste, or embraced minimalism (voluntary simplicity, not the art movement). Even beauty-product vloggers are getting into it. Maybe it’s just a fad, but I hope it grows and lasts.

    The video I saw the other day made me chuckle, however. This person was very anxious to find a grocery store that would allow her to bring her own re-usable bottle to buy olive oil in bulk. After researching online and finding such a store, she proceeded to get into her car and drive to the store to buy the olive oil. Just the olive oil. So she could keep to her zero-waste challenge.

  267. Re the possible impeachment of President Trump:

    I agree with the general opinion here that the Democrats’ rush to impeachment won’t do them any good, but I’m not inclined to believe that it will leave Trump any stronger, either. Rather, it looks to me like what’s going to happen is that the Democrats will simply set a new precedent for impeaching the President every time the opposition party takes control of the House, on whatever spurious charges happen to look best at the moment (the Ukraine thing, for instance, is far from being the Democrats’ first try at finding a cause for impeachment).

    The upshot is that, as long as the new status quo lasts, then for one year out of every four or eight, Congress will be so busy impeaching the President, and the President will be so busy getting impeached, that neither will have much time for substantial matters of governing, and America’s elected officials will be weakened even further in relation to the bureaucrats and judges who already set most policy. In other words, impeachment will generate a lot of light and noise, while underneath it all, the neoliberal consensus will remain as firmly in control of our governing institutions as ever.

    I recall that a while ago, JMG compared America’s politics to a driverless car, explaining how the frustration felt by so many activists when they realize that their side has almost no power doesn’t actually mean that their enemies must have the power instead. Rather, power is diffused among so many people that nobody, whether on the Left or the Right, can get the meaningful changes they want.

    With things heating up to the point that they have during the last few years, I’d like to take that driverless car metaphor a step further – Imagine, now, that America is an out-of-control train, going so fast that everyone knows it won’t say on the rails for much longer. The Republican president and his Democratic opponent are on the cow catcher on the front of the train, clinging with one hand for dear life while throwing wild punches with the other hand, convinced that the outcome of their fight will determine the fate of the train. Meanwhile, the engine room is empty, and the people who might have actually applied the brakes are nowhere to be found.

    Hopefully, we’ll soon roll over into the next round of anacyclosis in which the President once again has enough power to address the country’s problems; I do not, however, see a Trump impeachment, even if it ends in acquittal, moving us in that direction.

    In conclusion: eternal impeachment will dominate the news cycle for months or years and suck the oxygen out of all other public discourse, while doing nothing to get either the progressive Left or the Trumpist Right any closer to the changes that those factions actually want. I’m curious to know what you all think of this.

  268. Beekeeper, I’m a little envious…I’d love to find a treasure trove of family photos dating back 100 years! Thanks for sharing your observations about living with LESS in earlier times…it’s surely where we’re heading again and a whole lot of good will come of it in my view. I must be a bit older than you as all my grandparents were born in the early 1890s in and around Philadelphia, none went past the eighth grade. People (esp. working class people) did often grow old looking even in their 30s, but then that’s somewhat true still today. Hard living/hard labor does wear a body down. Life expectancy may well have peaked and will likely be declining for a good long while as the overall population dwindles.
    Jim

  269. @Caryn Banker,

    In relation to video games, I think you are spot on when you say that isn’t so much virtual violence as virtual reality itself. Nonetheless, I tend to see a youth’s ability to get immersed in a virtual world less as a cause of mental distress than a symptom.

    The sort of palid, pixelated world that a video game creates simply SHOULDN’T be able to hold a child’s attention for all that long, and I think that if the child’s relationship with the real world is healthy, it WON’T. That isn’t to say I have an all-negative opinion toward video games; I myself had a happy childhood of which video games were a part, albeit a small one: MarioKart at parties plus strategy games like Command and Conquer or Sid Meier’s Civilization III claimed no more than an hour or two in a typical week; neither myself nor my siblings felt the allure to make them our principle form of recreation.

    As for the children who do spend most of the time in virtual worlds, some, I figure, are inhabiting those digital wastelands because it’s what they’re used to – from a young age their parents realized it took less effort to put them in front of a screen than to give them physical toys or let them play outdoors. And some are doing it as a form of escapism from broken homes or broken schools. And some kids have been put on drugs that, among other effects, suppress their ability to feel boredom and dissatisfaction, even towards things that should bore and dissatisfy them.

    I realize these are just my speculations; there’s not much authority behind them, as I’m not a psychologist, just a young man who grew up in a family where video game enthrallment was a non-issue, and is now left to wonder just how broken a child’s relationship with the real world has to be in order for him to go off seeking fulfillment in a virtual one.

  270. @Temporaryreality, et al:

    I hear you loud and clear, I also find engaging in these topics frustrating and confounding. The criticisms against the environmental movement often made here and elsewhere I mostly agree with, and yet today in Halifax I was accidentally in the right place to witness the passing climate protest: for 20 long minutes a stream of mostly young people marched down one of Halifax’s main streets. Police later estimated the amount of protesters at 10,000, which for a city as small as Halifax, is significant. It felt like an event. I don’t know if it’s too little too late, if it’s insincere due to cooption by the soon-to-be Big Green industry or if it’s the subtle creation of a target market, or whether it is genuine, whether finally a tipping point has been reached, and the young will lead the way through living by example. It’s probably all of the above.

    The focus on personality that either side use against Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg is besides the point, as in the end, it seems to be the end result that matters, and with these climate change protests, it appears that environmental issues are in the public consciousness in a way that they haven’t been for a long time. Hopefully sometime happens, before the tide turns, as our host predicts from the basis of personal experience.

    But here in Nova Scotia, today was the deadline for a public consultation on a new environmental act for the province, and so I spent almost 2 hours when I should have been working to craft a letter about the proposal, which I sent off with a sense of satisfaction even though it’s a small thing, similar to spending time in one’s garden. But in some small way, I do believe it will indeed help.

    In the end, that hesitancy to, as you put it, cleave to one side, to stay in that state of self-doubt, which is still a state full of a kind of agile awareness, is probably the better place to be in, rather than remain in the comforts of partisanship, and engage in the constant sniping at people (whether at Trump or at Thunberg) who you will likely never meet.

    However, the one thing I will say is this. I read an opinion piece by Naomi Klein today, in which she claimed that only systemic change matters, and individual responses to climate change will do nothing. She marched along with Thunberg in Montreal today. But Thunberg got to where she did to no small degree because she didn’t just talk – she acted, however imperfectly. Actions, like avoiding flying, changed the game (which is what our host has been saying all along). I’d like to see Klein acknowledge that sometime.

  271. Minor good news locally: the town of Baldwin, 1500 people, hadd ots supermarket close a year ago. Nobody else wanted to take up the slack: the buildingwas too small for today’s hypermarkets and too large for thw mom & pops. So in July the mayor and the town council found another solution: they ipened the town-owned Baldwin Market. The city already owned the land and building,so it was easy enough to staff it ans stock it locally. I quote “The store is a business, not a nonprofit. Its goal is not to make a profit, but to make sure residents have access to fresh food.”

    “People are doin’ it for themselves…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drGx7JkFSp4

    Bravo!

    From the Gainesville Sun, Sept 26th, page B2. Clipping on request.

  272. Ma be Magic Monday stuff – Tuesday I wore red, lit a red candle, and called on all the warrior gods (including Athena and Diana)for strength, courage,and vitality. Got good results. Wednesday I lit an orange candle, wore orange, and called on the gods of communication, cleverness, and wisdom, and was reminded to find and bring to the flu shot table, the only document needed. Thursday I lit a blue candle, wore blue, called on Jupiter for Generosity, and sent off donations etc accordingly. Friday – today -I wore green and called on Venus of the Life Force and was led astray in everything I did! Ending in an encouragement to walk to my destination in heat I knew would bowl me over in minutes. (Flagged down a campus shuttle and boarded gratefully.) Strange! Tomorrow, of course, will be for the planet and God of limitations, which should at least knock some sense into my thick head. Any comments?

    I don’t get that when I wear pink and light a pink candle and call on Her fluffier aspect, however much of a stranger I am to love, romance, etc. (Celibate and quite content to be so. “If you want a lover who comes and goes at will, demands service, and is very loving if they choose to be so and ignores you the rest of the time, get a cat. If you want a lover who is utterly devoted to you, slobbers, makes messes, eyc, get a dog.”)

  273. Isabel Cooper – Drunk Tarot? Having just spent $10 for a glass of premium wine I didn’t like any better than Hotel Bar Plonk, and found myself a lot more tipsy on it, I’d love to see that! For sale?

  274. A more serious attempt at a more honest nomenclature for energy: I keep coming back to (then rejecting again for various reasons; see below) the term “streaming energy” to describe available natural energy flows. By analogy to streaming data (such as an Internet radio station) as well as literally, it’s a flow at a certain rate that’s available only in the realtime present. You can’t speed it up. You can’t borrow tomorrow’s to use today. If you want to use some of yesterday’s today, you have to not have used it yesterday, and you have to have done something to capture it. Such as, charge a battery, heat up a thermal mass, or grow crops.

    Captured energy, then, must come from streaming energy. The economics and environmental impacts of storage systems for captured streaming energy, to accomplish load shifting, have become major concerns of engineers struggling to coax the electrical grid toward sustainability.

    Understanding streaming energy, captured energy, load shifting, and load scheduling is fundamental for anyone working with home-scale (or larger) off-grid energy systems. Quite unlike plugging into the grid, which is all “just energy” and the only variable is whether it’s on or off.

    Downsides to “streaming energy” as a term: it’s a neologism from computer technology, and as such might falsely convey novelty and/or abundance. And it kind of lacks zing, IMHO. But maybe this will help get someone else closer to a better idea.

    @Twilight: I’ve been grateful for that irony for many years now. Of course, they also get energy vs. power correct over at Radiance HQ, so at least I know I have options. 😉

  275. Russel, I’d second your observations on ebikes. I’ve ridden one to work most days for getting up to 10 years now.
    I see them mainly as extending the operating envelope of a bicycle to be much more useful, as you note, most usefully on hills.
    A reasonable way of assessing environmental impacts is dollars spent. As near as I can tell mine costs about $2 Australian per hundred kilometers, which is mainly tyres, and replacement parts including periodic battery replacement.
    Cheers,
    Graeme

  276. JMG, thank you for that reassurance that Joey’s tomfoolery is not very widespread. I’ll conclude for the time that it’s a personal issue, and like any good troll, he feeds off the emotional response he elicits.

  277. John Kincaid: 😄. They better not prevent Fall—my wonderful neighbor, a wonderful lady I used to work with, my brother, Sonkitten, and I all have birthdays 🎂 in fall!

    My sister-in-law is one of those unfortunate souls whose birthday is in late December.

  278. I am hopelessly behind on this month’s topics, so please carry on. Writers, keep writing; scale-backers, keep scaling back from the extravagant American lifestyle; Druids, keep Druiding; and so forth.

  279. Hey JMG,

    Hmm, that gives me something to think about. Could you place any rough bounds on “adequate water and plenty of local farmland”? On paper I think the CA Bay Area fits that description, but there’s a gut feeling that tells me I’m missing something.

    I also wonder what suggestions you might have for people who are going to take the risk of being in a place that could get “clobbered”? Trying to fully understand the consequences and possibilities of deciding one way or another.

    On an entirely different topic, how would you suggest learning about how to do grassroots political organizing? Is jumping into some type of local organization (not sure what this would be) the place to start? Open to ideas, and wanting to learn how to engage in the part of the process that is most accessible to me.

    On another entirely different subject, I happen to be the to-be beneficiary (in 7-12 years) of a trust fund left to me by my grandmother just before her death, and currently managed by two trustees (my father and his accountant). The trust is currently invested in a swatch of companies (Caterpillar, FedEx, Disney, Google, Amazon, Allstate, 3M, multiple drug companies, etc.), none of which I particularly feel good about indirectly supporting, as they more or less all seem exploitative in one way or another. I have expressed this to my father, and that I would prefer the money be given to support various causes and not saved for my benefit, but he feels that it is his responsibility to financially maintain the trust for my benefit until it passes to me, at which point I can do as I please. He is open to the idea of investing it in other enterprises in the meantime, and I am struggling to come up with something that would actually be an investment that he would consider acceptable from a rather conventional perspective while also meeting my requirements of being something that will actually be of benefit to humanity through the portion of the Long Decline we are facing in the near future. Do you or anyone else have any particular suggestions? I recognize that there is deep conflict between the expectation of growth he has and my belief that growth is over, but any input would be welcome.

    DutyBound

  280. Dennis Sawyer said: I use to do a lot of daily magical practice (30 minutes to an hour) on the Eastern / New Age side of things for years, fell off the train while using magic occasionally to achieve certain goals, and am getting back into it now. I haven’t found a Western magic tradition that suits me yet (Catholic education has ruined Christian imagery for me, unfortunately, with the exception of guardian angels) and most of the groups that I grew up with have scattered. Do you have a good list of different schools of magic that I could look up? Any 2 or 3 that you would recommend that don’t use strong Christian symbolism? Much appreciated.

    Dennis might I suggest Shamanism as a alternative to Christian based occult practices?

    Shamanism is what I like to call “Occult Kung Fu”, in that its not so much a religious based practice, but one of reconnecting with the most ancient past, one where humans knew that we shared the World with other beings, spirits if you will, of animals, plants and elemental forces, which could help us if we learned how to communicate with them.

    What is amazing is that almost every early tribal culture had people who knew how to do this. We call them shamans because that was the name early anthropologists found that Siberian tribes called these people. As anthropologists studied more and more different tribal cultures, they found that almost all had such people and surprisingly, their methods had great similarity.

    I’ve been studying the practice for some 30 years and find it helps with the mundane and the spiritual.

    If you’d like to talk further, shoot me an email at greenwizard dtrammel at gmail dot com.

  281. Hi JMG,

    In a whole system, I get how matter flows in a circular pattern and how energy flows from a source to a sink, but I am having trouble visualizing how information flows. In a natural system such as a forest ecosystem or a hydrologic cycle, where is the information. Information seems like it can be created or lost in a totally non-linear way at times, or can accumulate steadily under certain conditions, but I am not really sure how this concept applies in a system other than a human society.

    Thank you!

  282. @Walt F
    re: eating bugs

    Do you live in a place that had the cute little land crustaceans knows as (depending on the region) “pill bugs” or “roly polies” (no idea how to spell that. Rolley Pollies?). They are easy to collect – after you finish eating, say, a cantaloupe or watermelon, place the rind, inside down, in your garden. Go out the next morning, pick up the rind, and shake the roly polies that are devouring the last scraps of fruit into a pan. Fry them in butter. They’re good in scrambled eggs and other stir-fries and taste like somewhat crunchy shrimp.

  283. @Beekeeper in VT.

    I’ve noticed the same things. Old pictures where the people look a decade, or more, older than someone that age would look today. I’ve noticed the small houses and sparse furnishings in old pics too. We can get some valuable clues about life in the future by looking to the not very distant past. We need the stories told by our elders too – not everything is revealed in a photograph.

  284. @Owen, in your previous question about using blood to activate an inanimate object, were you by any chance talking about using a medical testing device? If so, I don’t think our host picked up on that. (Or it could be me who got the wrong idea when first reading it, in which case never mind, and disregard what follows.)

    I have no way to know or control what happens to the blood I submit for medical testing. So I mentally separate it from myself, for instance by imagining releasing it from my life and saying something like “take good care of it” out loud to the phlebotomist. The necessary testing is purely material in nature. It doesn’t require any subtle connection back to me. If using a blood testing device myself, I wouldn’t visualize my blood as animating the device, but rather just the opposite: the blood being reduced to inanimate matter by the inanimate machine.

  285. Am I the only one who sees that 53 seats in the Senate are held by Republicans and that every Democrat along with 20 Republicans would have to vote for impeachment in order to impeach Trump ? IOWs, it simply aiint gonna happen. I don’t even want to discuss whether or not impeachment is justifiable or not. It’s just not going to happen. Democratic family and freinds are counting heavily on “getting” Trump this time. They’ll be disappointed. Again. I’d suggest the Dems are wasting their time, but there is no getting through to those caught up in the mania. I’m not Trump supporter, but this is just a waste of time and energy.

  286. Dennis, insomnia’s complex; it has many causes, and thus no single solution. Since I’m not a doctor and don’t even play one on TV, I don’t consider myself qualified to provide advice. As for magic, the lack of adequate magical systems for people who aren’t into Judeo-Christian traditions has been a concern of mine, and I can recommend two books, both by me: the Druid Magic Handbook and The Celtic Golden Dawn. They deal with two different systems, and so it’s very much a matter of choosing one or the other, but they work with Celtic Pagan deities, so those with Jesus allergies should find them congenial.

    Jess, excellent! You’re welcome and thank you — that’s really good to hear.

    Brian, I wish I could argue. All three novels I’ve written about the American future– Twilight’s Last Gleaming, Retrotopia, and Star’s Reach — assume that what’s now the United States will end up dividing into an assortment of nations. Here’s a map of the future as outlined in Retrotopia:
    Lakeland Republic

    Temporaryreality, understood. In times like these it can be hideously difficult to stay clear of the clamor of the two contending forces, just keep doing the right thing, and working on change from the grassroots up. The pressure to “choose sides” is ultimately a pressure to become less than human — just one more cog in the corporate machine — but knowing that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to resist.

    Mark L, I expect food shortages on the way down to be a product of weather-related disasters, economic turmoil, and (later on) problems with the transportation grid — not matters of not enough productive acreage. That may be small consolation to those who go hungry, though.

    Quos Ego, fair enough; that’s a valid point.

    Bruce, please do! A good novel adds to the sum total of human happiness, and in some cases, to the sum total of human wisdom as well.

    Jim W, I’d support a proposal to have our species name changed to Homo insipiens, “clueless human.” It fits rather better!

    David, I honestly don’t think they have a clue why people voted for Trump, and they’re too deeply mired in their own propaganda to find out.

    Chris, thank you. Yes, that’s also an important point. Sure, we can sit around and talk about climate change; we can make treaties, which every signatory will then ignore; we can demand that someone else, somewhere else, stop using fossil fuels, so long as that doesn’t do anything to deprive us of our perks and comforts — or we can actually do something that matters, starting with our own lives.

    Phutatorius, no doubt! I doubt German U-boat crews appreciated its beauty when it was zooming in for a depth charge run, though — Catalinas made life miserable for the U-boats all over the western Atlantic, with depth charges and also as a long-range spotter that could tell the ASW ships where to head.

    Jim, I can’t help you there. I play CDs, and am considering transitioning back to vinyl records, as those are making quite a comeback these days. Anyone else?

    Tripp, nah, if “homophobic” means you don’t like gay people, and “Islamophobic” means you don’t like Islam, then “onanophobic” means you don’t like wankers…

    Matthias, exactly. Having a strong will is separate from the goals to which you direct it, just as having strong muscles is distinct from what you do with them. It’s one of the great failings of modern thought to think that it’s enough to believe in the right things — if you lack the power of will and the self-discipline to do something about them, you might as well believe in the Great Pumpkin instead.

    Isabel, keep me posted! I’ll look forward to buying a bottle, though shirtless kilted dudes by and large don’t do anything for me.

    BCV, you can find details on the initiatives here and here. As for the problems with consensus, I’ll have to see what I can find; the short form is that any form of consensus that doesn’t allow the group to replace a biased facilitator, and has no mechanism to shut down a minority that’s willing to hold everyone else hostage to get its way, is begging to be taken over and exploited by professional activists.

    Caryn, good. I wonder if you can take it further, and see the other aspect of what I was trying to do with that sentence.

    Patricia M, yes, that also works!

    Robert, true enough. It’s also kind of interesting that Congresscritter Adam Schiff was making noises about Trump trying to get Ukraine to investigate Biden a couple of weeks ago, before any of this came up. There’s a bit of a stink of prearrangement in all this…

    JWWM, if they actually learn something about fascism, that actually might help things. It’s the people for whom the word “fascist” means “whatever I don’t like” who’ve clogged up communication.

    Yorkshire, you’re welcome. I’ve heard quite a few people talking about the way open-outcry markets worked, and they worked very well — thus their inclusion in Retrotopia.

    Nothing Special, hmm! That’s fascinating. I hadn’t noticed that, but then I’ve got Aspergers syndrome and figuring out what people are thinking is not my strong suit!

  287. To James M. Jensen II: Thank you so much for reading my parody novel. I hope it brings some relief, if only the relief of “Golly, I’m glad I’m not as off my rocker as the nutball who wrote Shadeylight.”

    To Onething: Weird — you basically read my mind. For the record, pretty much every person I’ve ever known who was on antidepressants became insufferable because they suddenly get the idea they cannot possibly be wrong. Their defensiveness instinct goes bonkers and that includes defending their “need” to be on antidepressants for life. If drugs have spirits, antidepressants are greedy, power-hungry would-be queens and petty dictators who would have control at any cost.

    To Walt F.: You would think any feminist worth the powder to blow herself to hell would say “Yes, violence in video games is contributing to making (mostly male) gamers more violent.” Simulating violence begets actual violence? G’duh, really, derp a derp derp? Also, I’m not at all surprised to learn the industry is irreparably evil. How fascinating and sad.

    To Caryn:

    Like James Howard Kunstler, I blame the suburban built environment for young people turning en masse towards virtual reality. You know what’s really gross? Young people who walk off cliffs in scenic parks because they were trying to “catch” a Pokemon Go creature. Yeah, I’d miss the internet for two reasons only: looking up gardening/cooking/crunchy homesteading tutorials/historical stuff late at night when the library is closed and JMG’s blogs.

    To David BTL and others:

    In my opinion, Gardein products are way better than Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers. Gardein makes little crabless cakes that are my absolute favorite. They also make a Van De Camp’s style fishless filet that is one of my go-to comfort foods. Do they taste like fish? Uh, they taste like fish in the same way that Cheetos taste like cheese. (Honestly, as a vegan, I miss Cheetos.) Vegan bleeding burgers aren’t my cup of tea either. What’s interesting is vegan bleeding burgers in context. Veggie meat was most likely invented in ancient China around the time tofu (the meat of the fields) came about. Buddhist monks invented whole cuisines using yuba, which is the rubbery skin formed when tofu is boiled. Back in the day, the only kind of veggie meat we hardcore vegetarians could get was yuba type Chinese stuff from cans or the stuff invented by Kellogg. Yes, I’m referring to that Will Keith Kellogg who founded a cereal empire with a sixth grade education. Kellogg was a Seventh Day Adventist. When I went vegetarian as a sixteen year old, I met my future husband (we’ve been married 19 years) who introduced me to the vegetarian “meats” he and his family ate as Seventh Day Adventists. These hilarious precursors of Beyond Burgers were quite odd, for instance the jumbo can of Loma Linda Big Franks or hot dogs in liquid and another type called Choplets, which were/are a can of gray, rubbery disks my husband’s sisters nicknamed “polar bear meat” as children. Or Wham, which I believe has been discontinued. It was the vegetarian’s strange answer to ham. You could only get these veggie meats via the special Seventh Day Adventist grocery store, and it was the only place where you could get even the most basic soy milk, which tasted terrible and had to be mixed from powder. It’s quite surreal to see vegan bleeding burgers everywhere and decent-tasting plant milks at almost every store. I think the next trend will be vegan mock chicken in fast food joints, because it has half the calories, a third of the fat, and it tastes like… you get the drift.

    To All: Greta seems like a severely depressed misanthrope who possesses neither the sophistication nor the foundation of sensible parenting to hide it. She festers with toxic hatred.

  288. Justin, according to a good many sources, it’s just a matter of time before we get a Kessler syndrome incident.

    John, hah! Let me rephrase that: why are people trying to prevent Fall?

    Tzusua, fascinating.

    DFC, depends on where you are. In Europe, in the core of Faustian civilization, states have already metastasized in a way that makes that utterly plausible. Here in the US, not so much — I expect to see state disintegration here, not state metastasis.

    Violet, here in the US we’re only part of Faustian civilization by pseudomorphosis, and that will likely change in a hurry once the next pseudomorphosis comes in — whichever that happens to be. It’s quite standard for a pseudomorphosis to be disconnected from the land and the deep springs of a country’s spiritual energies, so our current condition is what you’d expect — it’s in reaction to the second pseudomorphosis that the first stirrings of the new culture begin looking for deep roots, and finding them. As for New England, it’s an odd place; having lived most of my life out west, the area from eastern Pennsylvania north and east through New England feels astonishingly European to me, but I’m sure it would feel astonishingly non-European to anyone who grew up in Europe. The Faustian pseudomorphosis may not go all that deep here, but it goes much deeper here than on the far side of the Appalachians!

    Your Kittenship, sure. Remember that we’re getting global weirding, not global warming.

    Irena, I didn’t say my advice was without problems, or that everyone could take it. It’s still what I’d do, and what I’d encourage others to do.

    Materia Indigo, yeah, that about figures, Still, one step at a time…

    Wesley, to my mind the question is whether Trump can spin this in his favor. I think he can; he’s building an argument that the Democrats have spent two years in the House doing nothing but trying to attack him, when the country has a lot of legislative needs that are going unmet. If the Democrats lose badly enough in 2020, the impeachment circus may go down in historical memory as one of those Really Bad Ideas that get you clobbered in the next election. It’s also not impossible that if it fails badly enough, there could be a constitutional amendment requiring a 2/3 vote in the House to impeach.

    More broadly, the Democrats have upped the ante; we don’t yet know what Trump and the GOP can slap down in response — notably, what will happen if (as some sources claim) the Senate is about to open an investigation into Biden’s influence-peddling, or what’s going to come out of the investigation into the Russiagate hoax. It’s not at all impossible that the impeachment attempt is a desperation move in the face of disaster — for example, if the DOJ has the goods on a couple of Democratic congresscritters who leaked classified documents to the media (Federal felony, 10 years in the can) or can tie the whole thing straight up to the leadership of the Democratic Party itself. It ain’t over yet…

    Jbucks, of course Naomi Klein claims that only systemic change matters. She doesn’t want to give up her privileged lifestyle — no, lifestyle change is for the proles!

    Patricia M, delighted to hear it! I’d shop there in a heartbeat. As for the planetary magic, I know other people who do that every week, with excellent results.

    Walt, I rather like “streaming energy.” I’m certainly willing to see if anyone else has a better suggestion, but until one arrives, I may just use that.

    Patricia O, you’re most welcome.

    DutyBound, it’s a matter of adequate water and farmland for the population that has to be supported, and I doubt the Bay area qualifies! If you’re going to stay, though, then do it with all your heart; accept that you and the people you care about are probably going to die if things go pear-shaped in a hurry where you are, set that aside, and do your best to make change happen with the resources available to you. As for grassroots political organization, the best way I know of to learn it is to get involved in local community organizations. Join a Toastmasters’ club if you don’t belong to one already — they can teach you an enormous amount about public speaking, running meetings, and so on — and also join a local service club such as Lions Club, Rotary, or Kiwanis, and learn everything you can about how they do things. That’s how local political precinct committees used to be run, too, and once you have the skills you can apply them in any setting. (The skills I learned as a member of the Odd Fellows enabled me to take charge of a nearly defunct Druid order and get it back on its feet, to the point that it’s one of the largest Druid organizations in North America today.)

    As for investments, that’s way out of my knowledge base, so I don’t know what to say. Anyone else?

    Samurai47, good. Information doesn’t cycle like matter or flow from sources to sinks like energy. It builds up or degrades, takes on complexity and loses it.

  289. “Claudia Hancock” (offlist), nice try. I’m not sure if you’re a paid shill or a volunteer, but dodging inconvenient questions and circling back to a set of canned talking points sets off my rent-a-troll alarm. Here’s your hat; there’s the door.

  290. Regarding violent video games and real-world violence:

    It is of course possible that they contribute – but if they do so it is at a very low rate. After all, a very large percentage of American men and boys have or play violent video games, and our American society has actually become less violent, on average. The average kill count of a 25 year old American man, in video games, is probably north of 10,000.

    Regarding today’s climate change protests (Friday, September 27, 2019):

    Local demonstrators yelled at the offices of our local electricity utility for a while then staged a die-in. The notion that maybe burning fossil fuels in giant machines was the only viable way to produce huge quantities of cheap, reliable electricity was not discussed. In my province, an hour worth of labor at minimum wage, after taxes, is enough to buy 100 watts of electricity for just shy of a month.

  291. @Temporaryreality

    Your question and JMG’s response resonated with me and I’ve linked an essay I read recently that I believe discusses what you describe. In the essay, the author asserts we are in a difficult period that happens every 3 or 4 generations which he calls “the long now.” Part of what makes this period difficult is political polarization. Ultimately as people choose sides, whether right or left, they become “rhinoceroses,” rampaging destructively through everything around them. Winning, by any means, is all that matters and is rationalized accordingly. The analogy is from a 1959 book, Rhinoceros, by Eugène Ionesco about a central European town where people turn into rhinoceroses as metaphor for how people turned to fascism in the 1930s. Refusing to turn into a rhino oneself becomes a very lonely proposition.

    The rhinoceros analogy ties in nicely with JMG’s observation that you become less than human if you give in to the pressure to choose sides. By choosing a side you give up your autonomy of mind.

    If you have an opportunity to read the essay, I hope it’s insightful for you. Personally, it made me realize there is little I can do to alter the opinions and actions of those rampaging around me. However, I can remain true to my own conscience and act accordingly.

    https://www.epsilontheory.com/the-long-now-pt-2-make-protect-teach/

    @ Patricia Matthews

    Thank you, I wish I had been able to link the picture of Hobbes successfully. His tail was unique.

  292. Thanks jbucks and JMG – indeed I’ll keep my homey coracle away from both Scylla and Charybdis. It truly does seem though that focusing on what I can do in my personal life is insufficient, not least because I see ways I could do better and yet some circumstances force my hand to be complicit in destruction…and try as I might, the circumstances overpower my ability to shift them.

    Signed, One little potato, trying to stop a landslide, waving at all the other simpatico-potatoes as we go careening along… I suppose it’s a protest march of an odd sort.

  293. I don’t live on the (north) East Coast anymore; been living in the Midwest for a long time. However, some of the comments reminded me, going back there on the back of a motorcycle some years back (these days if I go, it’s not by bike), that it’s like, I don’t know how to explain it, claustrophobic? fascist? clannish? righteous? lots of rules and regulations (for your own good, don’t you know)? Don’t know. In Ohio, as I recall, the helmet law is as follows: under 18 or have a license less than one year, wear one. Seems reasonable to me. Farther west, your choice. My choice is to wear one at all times (except when riding into Sturgis, and the traffic is backed up, and it’s hot, and there’s really no point). But the fascism (is that the right word? maybe some other one is more appropriate) on the East Coast and the freedom (and the freedom to be stupid) farther to the left (geographically speaking) is pretty obvious on the back of a bike.

    My recollection of the Seattle/Tacoma region is the geographic majesty. Can’t hide that, same as the Black Hills. Some regions of the U.S. of A. have all this tackiness plastered over them, but tackiness can’t hide what lies just beneath some of these places. The U.S. of A. is a fabulously great country, even today, and even tomorrow and the next day.

    I’ve never ridden a bike south. Driven south, though. Different country. Far more laid back and polite for one thing. This isn’t one nation, indivisible. The last election demonstrated that. Riding or driving through it demonstrates it just as well, at least for me, for what it’s worth.

    John’s map up above rings true to me, if not in detail (dunno, really), at least in spirit. This is one heck of a place to be living in, if you’re living in the right place. I suppose I wonder, though, how the megalopolitan / non-megalopolitan split works out. Apart from The Free City of Chicago (encouraging to see that it might survive rather independently, presumably with the help of the farmers in Kankakee county–what were you envisioning, John?), do we envision a decline in the other cities so that they might be re-absorbed into their respective states? (As I recall, “upstate” New York is the equivalent of “downstate” Illinois.)

  294. Good Evening,

    If we are geeking out about sea planes I recently finished a book I think some folks might like. It’s about one of the old Pan Am clipper ships that was caught out in the middle of the Pacific when Pearl Harbor happened. The crew ended up having to fly back to the US westbound from Australia. It was adventurous to say the least.

    https://www.amazon.com/Long-Way-Home-Revised-ebook/dp/B00457XJ2K/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=pan+Am+the+long+way+home&qid=1569645787&s=gateway&sr=8-2

    Other Dave

  295. Jim W:
    The most exciting photo I found was of my great-great-grandmother, whose name I hadn’t known until I saw it written on the back of the photo. My great-grandmother (her daughter) was born in 1870 and was not the oldest child; working backward I figure Great-great-grandma must have been born before 1850, maybe even 1840. The picture was taken when she was already an old woman, but it’s precious because now I have a face and a name for her.

    Christopher L. Hope:
    And that’s why everybody who is lucky enough to have elderly living relatives should be talking to them and asking questions. I was too dumb as a teen-ager to think of this; fortunately I had two grandmas who just loved to talk about their families and their own parents and grandparents so I got all the family stories nonetheless. The older I get, the more valuable those stories about their lives in the less technological past become, too.

  296. re: leaving Cali or not

    Consider sea level rise in your calculations. What elevation are you at and what elevations are between you those you care about? Are they at low elevation? Do you depend on a coastal highway?

    The elevation of the Central Valley is rather low especially to the north. I checked with Google Earth and easily found areas in and around Sacramento under 20 feet and the farms nearby under 15 feet.

    If ocean waters rise the Inland Empire will turn at least in part to a salty Inland Sea with tides. At 66 meters rise it is all water but that could take awhile.

    If you haven’t figured it out yet that means some food prices will rise and possibly more in California than elsewhere. If you need fruit and veg it could be a problem. If transport is blocked (flooding, fuel scarcity, collapse) this gets more complex.

    “Using fewer than 1% of U.S. farmland, the Central Valley supplies 8% of U.S. agricultural output (by value) and produces 1/4 of the Nation’s food, including 40% of the Nation’s fruits, nuts, and other table foods.”

    https://ca.water.usgs.gov/projects/central-valley/about-central-valley.html

    Of course this would be true of any area that depends on farms near ocean water at low and flat elevations.

    The more I look the worse the Left Coast looks. Remote and expecting horrible natural disasters we are.

  297. Re: Food shortages

    I’ve noticed lately an increasing incidence of stores and even fast food places running out of stock frequently. People are quick to point the finger at incompetence or faulty procedure, but I think something different is at work. It’s not that these items can’t be ordered, or are too expensive in their own right. It is simply the fact that assuring you are always in stock of something carries an incremental additional cost over ordering when you fully run out. I think some businesses large and small, are making the calculation that saving this incremental additional cost is worth more than the lost profit incurred, especially when you know that a significant portion of your customers will settle for a substitution.
    Much like peak oil, the issue isn’t supply, it’s affordability on the part of the consumer, that drags prices down to where the selection and service and availability are sacrificed. Sure the market provides, but what are we getting? And can we get it regularly? And if our retailers and restaurants are facing these cost pressures and responding to them thusly, what kind of decisions are their suppliers having to make?
    I honestly don’t remember stores being out of stock so much when I was a kid. I mean it happened but only once in a while, or during a holiday rush.
    Let’s not forget the constant prescription drug shortages. I was at the pharmacy the other day and overheard a woman being told her drug has been hard to find for months.
    We can’t afford modern life anymore and this fact is starting to break through for those willing to see. Declining EROEI, running out of places to stuff all the funny money we’ve printed to offset EROEI declines… It’s catching up to us, and the next economic crisis is going to be a huge leg down except it will suddenly become politically possible to go the helicopter money route… Free stuff for all Americans and maybe some government checks made directly to you!
    Except after a brief honeymoon period all the supply issues I talked about? Will get worse and you’ll be using your Uncle Sam bucks as notepaper because putting it in the bank makes you a victim of negative interest rates!
    It’s a mad mad mad mad world.

  298. JMG,
    You’ve written many times about our Faustian society and the myth of Progress, how does the tale of Prometheus fit into this myth? It seems to me to be a very significant inspiration for people today. People are seek to perform various Promethean feats and we idolize those who have performed such feats – Newton, Descartes, Einstein, Jobs, Gates, Crick and Watson, various politicians. However, none seem to experience the consequences that Prometheus experienced; perhaps our descendants will?

  299. Maxine Rogers, et. al. shopping, wool, electric bikes.

    Perplexing indeed is a climate activist with a set of one-size-fits-all proposals.
    Yes, BC is 90% hydro powered, so an electric car/bike/… is clean to run, but one should think of the use. If someone drives the 10 miles to Courtenay once a week, buying another vehicle doesn’t seem to make sense unless the old one is due for the junkyard (and one can reasonably afford it). But if your older, moneyed ladies have just gawwwt to drive the 100 miles to Victoria every other day, then an electric car would be better for the environment in short order.

    Same with heat pumps – one ought to consider the building and its current/future uses/plans, and things like the reliability of the grid, does one have a woodlot, etc. I would look to superinsulation before a heat pump, along the lines of a “passive-house” building (e.g. “heat your home with a toaster”). One cuts energy use AND gets a level of passive survivability in case the power goes out for a while. And a small electric resistance heater is simple and reliable and easily repaired compared to vapor compression refrigeration systems. But perhaps someone has an old Victorian house with wainscotting, ornate crown molding, and fancy siding (or brick/stone), so blowing insulation into the walls or adding it to the outside is too much of a mess – then a heat pump (vs. oil or propane) seems better.

    What do people use for heat up there? wood? oil? propane? electric resistance heat?

    While knitting woolen things is nice – do you know that one can use sheep wool as building insulation?
    If there are flocks there raised for meat that are the kind of sheep that need to be sheared, but the wool tossed, that might be something to pursue.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool_insulation

    and, I hope you “cite” J.M. Greer’s books.

    As to why now vs. 10 years ago – there’s been 10 more years of press and publicity about climate. I suppose better now than 10 years from now.

    A tidbit about electric bikes:
    A study out of Europe found they encourage more and longer riding. So people going from cars to e-bikes get a lot more exercise. People going from regular bikes to e-bikes may get a little less exercise, even though they’re now going longer distances.
    Note that in Europe, e-bikes are typically required to be pedal assist (i.e. one has to start peddling to get the motor to kick in), while in the U.S. many just have a throttle.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S259019821930017X

    But if you’re happy with your analog bike, then more pedal power to you.

  300. Will Oberton – re “no longer a materialist”.

    I have to admit I don’t have a good term for this either.

    1. Among the nit-picky, you probably mean “physicalist materialist”, meaning that the physical world is all there is.
    For example, there are other materialists who believe that consciousness is an inseparable aspect of matter (“panpsychist materialists”).

    2. There are a great many alternatives to physicalist materialism, do you have to have an affirmative label (now)? There are forms of idealism, dualism, monism, etc., but which one to call oneself?
    What about panentheism vs. pantheism? etc.

    I think one of the attractions of physicalist materialism is that one can easily convince oneself that it explains the world but for a few details that “the scientists” will work out in due time, so one can then get onto other things, like a beer in front of the television.
    When one realizes that physicalist materialism doesn’t explain everything/is wrong, one is confronted with a vast array of possibilities with little clear guidance.

    3. Have you read any of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy?
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/idealism/
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/

    Actually, the current wiki article on ontology (study of that which exists or is becoming) might be of interest to start:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology

    4. You might be interested in a book:
    Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality
    Kelly, Crabtree, and Marshall editors.
    Some pretty detailed reviews on Amazon
    https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Physicalism-Reconciliation-Science-Spirituality/dp/1442232382

  301. JMG: “Irena, I didn’t say my advice was without problems, or that everyone could take it. It’s still what I’d do, and what I’d encourage others to do.”

    Well, technically, you’d *try* to leave, and you’d encourage others to *try* to leave. If you can’t find a country that’ll take you in… (Or, as I said, your overlords might simply refuse to let you out for reasons of their own.) If you (JMG) were desperate enough, you’d at least have a decent shot of making it into Canada or perhaps Mexico illegally by land. Australians are in a much tougher position in that regard.

  302. J.L.Mc12, if you’re truly worried about China, and you think that emigration would be a good solution, you might want to emigrate early and avoid the rush. 🙂 What’s your skillset? As I said, technical and medical skills are generally the best kind to have (though a drop in status and/or income is quite likely). If not, then make use of the fact that you’re a native English speaker (since you’re Australian, I assume that’s the case). Do you have a bachelor’s degree? If so, get one of those four-week certificates for teaching English, find a job abroad (shouldn’t be too hard, but also, don’t be too picky: everyone wants to go to Paris, and so if you land a job in Nantes, say, then just go to Nantes; oh, and do learn to live frugally, since you’re unlikely to earn all that much), and make sure it comes with a visa that potentially leads to permanent residency (if you stay long enough). The first few years, you will be tied to your employer: losing your job (or quitting) means having to leave the country. But if you manage to hang on for about five years (it varies from country to country), then you’ll get permanent residence, and then you’ll be free as a bird. Within that country’s borders, that is. And then you can look for a better paying job, etc. Of course, if you marry a local in the meanwhile, you can get a spousal visa, which gives you another path to permanent residency and eventually citizenship.

    Or you can just stay where you are. There’s something to be said for “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Learn Mandarin, and learn as much as possible about Chinese culture in general. If you learn to love it, so much the better. And then when/if they come, maybe you’ll be able to find your place in the new order, somehow. Whatever you decide, good luck.

  303. TamHob,
    Spoken like a true…non-American! (Australian I think.) We Americans, OTOH, have to be reminded that returning our waste to the cycle of life is a normal, healthy, and ultimately inevitable part of a sane ecology. Most of us still reside at the kindergarten level of maturity on the subject…

  304. Well….I finally got a response to my climate change story of altering our lifestyle. “Here’s X who is also concerned about the environment. You too should meet!”. Also a mention that I should work to try to bring people together in groups like the one we formed online.

    You know what it felt like? When I worked in corporate America and I went to the boss about what I thought was a great idea to solve a problem we were having, and was told “why you don’t you write that up and send it to me on email?” And then each time I followed up, he claimed he was too busy to have read it, and would get it it that night. After several months of this, I finally realized he didn’t care.

    Here’s how I take what happened now, I was basically told “Oh, your poor thing who is so delusional. Here, go busy yourself with this other person and let us adults get back to what we were doing.”

    Am I upset by this response? No, more like amused. To showcase Greta as “inspirational” and “brave” for giving speeches and ignore the work of people dealing with implications of climate change is just middle class elite wanna-be’s showing they are absolutely useless in what is to come.

    What an absolutely useless group of people these middling’s are. Can’t do any real work and don’t have the power to make change happen. All they are good for is licking the backside of their bosses.

  305. Eat the Pests,

    Thank you for the tip on rolly polies. I’ll have to try them sometime.

    If you’ve never tried groundhog, or “whistle pig” as they’re sometimes called, you should definitely give it a try. Do it in a cast iron dutch oven, seasoned and braised in (the fat of your choice), then pour a pint of your favorite stock over it (I used pork), and set in the smoldering coals of your campfire overnight. The next day warm it back up thoroughly and enjoy. It’s remarkably delicious. Somewhere between beef, deer, lamb, and pork. Definitely red meat.

    I know where I’m headed if meat ever gets tight around here, and it ain’t out to shoot deer or munch on over-lean rabbit…

  306. Just one more thing on emigration (if our host will permit): whatever you (J.L.Mc12 and other Australians) do, do NOT assume that if China invades, you can just go wherever and teach English then. No, no, no. At that point, millions of others will be thinking the same way, and suddenly, jobs that used to require a bachelor’s degree (in anything) and a four-week certificate in EFL teaching will require a master’s degree in EFL teaching and five years’ experience. (After all, all those EFL teachers currently working with immigrants to Australia will be out of work, desperate to get out of the country, and desperate for income, however meager.) English is so entrenched as a global lingua franca that its status in that regard is unlikely to change even if China becomes the next hegemon. (I’m a non-native speaker myself, and an overwhelming majority of people with whom I communicate in English on a regular basis are, like me, non-native English speakers. We learned English primarily to talk to EACH OTHER, and only secondarily to talk to talk to native English speakers.) However, internationally, Australian English is not the most prestigious kind (American or British is better), and if Australia becomes a Chinese colony, then the status of Australian English will plummet further. So, if you want to use EFL teaching as a tool for moving to another country, then hurry up and do it sooner rather than later.

  307. Re Franco’s exhumation: many people seem to think this is a good idea, their reasoning being that the person who was responsible for thousand of killings shouldn’t be buried in a named grave alongside his nameless victims in a place built by POW. Of course, as usual, reality is more complicated: the nameless tombs – victims of the civil war – are from both bands and the building of the colossal Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) was only partly done with POW. Interestingly, apparently Franco didn’t want to be buried there but the decision was made by his government. At any rate, the disruption of his tomb seems to be a very bad idea: The entry to the basilica is guarded by two huge guardian angels with swords (cast from war cannons) As you walk in you pass through six chapels each one dedicated to one manifestation of the Holy Virgin, then statues of dead warriors, and then in the altar 7 metre-height statues of the four Archangels (including Uriel). And there, is Franco’s tomb, where Requiem masses have been said for decades.. It’s not going to go down well…

  308. JMG – two things

    1. did you know that the state of Rhode Island conducted an accidental experiment a few years back?
    The legislature accidentally legalized indoor prostitution by changing the law in 1980, though it went unnoticed until a judge ruled that indoor prostitution was NOT illegal in 2003.
    From 2004 to 2009, rape and female gonorrhea declined 31% and 39% respectively.

    https://www.nber.org/papers/w20281

    Alas, the loophole was closed.

    As well-read in history as you are, I take it you’re familiar with the fact that during the European middle ages, cities in most places in Europe owned brothels?

    2. re Jung and occultism.
    Do you know about the Wolfgang Pauli – Carl Jung collaboration?

    This is a pdf that’s a good overview:
    The Hidden Side Of Wolfgang Pauli – Harald Atmanspacher
    http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/940/1/HiddenPauli.pdf

    Jung used a lot of material from Pauli’s psycho-analysis in his writings about archetypes.

    Pauli encouraged Jung to write “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle” in their jointly published book: “The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche”.

    Pauli was interested in synchronicity because of the weird stuff that kept happening to/around him.
    (see “Pauli effect” last paragraph on page marked 119 – the 8th page of the pdf).

    One result of the Pauli-Jung collaboration was a form of dual-aspect monism to deal with the mind-matter problem:
    Dual-Aspect Monism a la Pauli and Jung
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/142c/0829e4d266e7541bc338df709ae88edaa13c.pdf?_ga=2.159002170.1623240984.1569663874-1753600485.1569663874

    There’s a book length collection of papers on this if it interests you:
    https://www.amazon.com/Pauli-Jung-Conjecture-its-impact-today/dp/1845406680

  309. Just wondering – are there any other readers in Halifax, Nova Scotia who might be interested in meeting in person?

  310. @JMG re planetary magic – In meditation at bedtime I brought up the question of yesterday’s problems and got the answer that I had done well when invoking Freya, so go back to that instead of messing with Venus. Odd, how my list seems to include equal parts Norse and Roman! When the North was never, ever Romanized. So – Mars, Odin, Jupiter, Freya….shakes head.

  311. @JMG, thank you very much for your answer!

    I was aware of the symbolic interpretation of Genesis, but it never occurred to me that Apocalyptic events also might have already happened. It actually fits quite nicely with the narrative of the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire or the Catholic Church. What amazes me most is the moral and theological consequences of the fact that we already live in a “Heaven on Earth”. I’m gonna ask my Christian friends what they think about it.

  312. @ David Trammel. Thanks for your comments on shamanism…I had no idea the word derived from primitive Siberian tribes! As you correctly observe ‘almost every early tribal culture had people who knew how to do this’ and quite possibly MOST people had well developed senses of this kind…the shamans had the exceptional abilities. I was just reading some Steiner lectures from 1908 attributing these abilities to human development in Atlantis! Here’s how he describes the nature of Atlantean humans:

    “Everything was ensouled for him; air, earth, water, fire. Everything revealed something to him. He could feel himself into the interior of objects; he experienced their inner essence. Nothing appeared to him as a soulless object in the modern way. Therefore man felt everything with sympathy and antipathy because he saw its inner nature. He felt, he experienced, the inner being of the objects.”

    It’s fascinating to realize that primitive, tribal people the world over share these qualities of perceiving the world around them as fully alive, ensouled. Steiner goes on to describe the Native American tribes as having these sensibilities at the time of the European invasion:

    “They knew that souls lived in things. They had the ability to see the properties of things. When he said that spirits live in the minerals, in the plants, in the water, in the clouds, in the wind, this was for him no poetic license, no mere fantasy, but something he could see.”

    Our global industrial civilization has bred these aptitudes out of most of us, but they remain accessible/recoverable with proper attunement and practice.

    Thanks for your efforts with the Green Wizards site as well. I haven’t delved into that much so far…maybe one of these days!

  313. Jumping into the antidepressants discussion–

    One thing that depression does is it kills your decision-making ability. You might want to die, badly. You might want to make an impact before you go. You might want to go out in a blaze of glory by taking out all those who wronged you. But! When the black dog has its teeth deep into you– you can’t. You just can’t. You lack the “executive function” as psychologists call it– the ability to make the decision to do any such thing.

    Unfortunately, that “executive function” is often what the antidepressant begins to improve first. Long before mood, or clear thinking. Remember these things take a couple months to kick in fully. Why think they effect every aspect of the personality evenly? They do not. So. You can be every bit as miserable as you were on your darkest days, but then, thanks to the pills, suddenly wake up with the motivation to do something about it. This is known and is blamed for the spike in suicides amongst young people (especially young men) starting antidepressants. Why it is not talked about much in reference to school shootings, I do not know.

    I disagree, though, that the odd flash of uncontrollable rage is going to be at issue here. I’m medicated; I’ve had them. (Usually when I miss a dose. Ms. Steele’s greedy spirit lashing out?) They’re over too quick to fuel a mass shooting unless you’ve already got the gun and are ready to go. The way many of these things play out, at least in schools — with kill lists and set routes– makes it clear to me that we’re not dealing with random rage. We’re dealing with an overflow of black bile that suddenly gains executive function, and acts out the afflicted’s worst impulses.

    For myself, I have been on-and-off (mostly on) a low-dose of an ‘atypical antidepressant’ the last decade or so… mostly to make the people around me feel better. I’ve never been sure it has much of an effect, except when I miss a pill or puke it up and go into withdrawl. Honestly, a cup of hot cocoa does more to make me feel better.

    @Kimberly,
    Given the above, do you have any advice on negotiating with the well-meaning people around me if I were to wean myself off the stuff again?

    @Dennis,
    It sounds like you’re falling into a biphasic sleep schedule. Don’t stress it; this is likely the natural sleep habit of our species. (everyone I know falls into it on long camping trips.) If you have the time in your life to get a couple four-hour blocks on either side of your wakeful moment, then you have nothing to worry about. Laying in bed (especially if you worry about getting back to sleep!) is going to prolong things. I recommend getting up, making a cup of a soothing tea (chamomile, lavender, lemon balm all come to mind– or a mixture of the three!) and doing something that is neither strenuous or exciting to mind or body. Journaling goes particularly well, I find. By the time you’ve finished the tea and the journal entry, you’ll probably be about ready to nod off again.

    If you don’t have time to get two 4-hour (more-or-less) blocks on either side… well, then you have a problem, but I don’t think it’s about your habits sleep per se. More about fitting your life to them.

    @JMG,

    The PYBs have always been a personal favourite of mine. Simply beautiful! I fell in love with the roar of radials when CL-215 water bombers saved our neighborhood from fire as a kid. Despite my gratitude, I have to admit they don’t quite have the fine lines of the Catalina or Canso.

    Though I suspect our future “knights of the air” will be flying something more like a monofloat Lazair or an Aventura than any of the giants.

  314. Years ago I was part of a tiny group in university attempting to promote small, alternative ways of doing things. One of the writers who influenced me at the time was Leopold Kohr, who I only knew through one brief but very persuasive article. The group soon broke up because we could never agree on a program of action, and I thought no more of Leopld Kohr.

    Recently I learned that one of his books was available to read online, and I started reading it. I think many readers of Ecosophia who don’t know of Leopold Kohr will be sympathetic to the ideas in “The Breakdown of Nations”, published 1957, republished 1978. Here is an extract from the introduction:

    “I have tried … to develop a single theory through which not only some but all phenomena of the social universe can be reduced to a common denominator. The result is a new and unified political philosophy centering in the theory of size. It suggests that there seems only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness.

    “Oversimplified as this may seem, we shall find the idea more easily acceptable if we consider that bigness, or oversize, is really much more than just a social problem. It appears to be the one and only problem permeating all creation. Wherever something is wrong, something is too big. If the stars in the sky or the atoms of uranium disintegrate in spontaneous explosion, it is not because their substance has lost its balance. It is because matter has attempted to expand beyond the impassable barriers set to every accumulation. Their mass has become too big. If the human body becomes diseased, it is, as in cancer, because a cell, or a group of cells, has begun to outgrow its allotted narrow limits. And if the body of a people becomes diseased with the fever of aggression, brutality, collectivism, or massive idiocy, it is not because it has fallen victim to bad leadership or mental derangement. It is because human beings, so charming as individuals or in small aggregations, have been welded into overconcentrated social units such as mobs, unions, cartels, or great powers. That is when they begin to slide into uncontrollable catastrophe. For social problems, to paraphrase the population doctrine of Thomas Malthus, have the unfortunate tendency to grow at a geometric ratio with the growth of the organism of which they are part, while the ability of man to cope with them, if it can be extended at all, grows only at an arithmetic ratio. Which means that, if a society grows beyond its optimum size, its problems must eventually outrun the growth of those human faculties which are necessary for dealing with them. ”
    http://www.ditext.com/kohr/kohr.html

    Incidentally, Kohr came up with a map of the USA similar to Retrotopia, only he preferred a mix of bigger and smaller states more like the Europe he admired.
    http://www.ditext.com/kohr/kohrmap6.html

  315. Hi John Michael,

    I wish it were not so. Courage is the art of facing failure dead on in the eye, and yet at the same time doing what is needful. Greta may come to the realisation in time, it’s possible. Greta deserves credit for climbing her way to the place that she currently enjoys. However, failure is always an option whether it is acknowledged or not. The knowledge of that outcome can be lived with.

    The language Greta used in her speech was perhaps indicative of her Asperger’s (if I have the right of that story). I may be wrong, but such a forum would probably respond far better to a Conan quote such as: “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.” Appeals to the concerns of individuals are not within their realm, and one must pitch a speech to the intended audience.

    Cheers

    Chris

  316. @ Everyone, since I’ve lost track by the point 😉

    Re impeachment and the Senate

    I’ve seen claims that if it were done anonymously, Trump would be removed. This post, for example:

    https://politicalwire.com/2019/09/27/extra-bonus-quote-of-the-day-520/

    The point, of course, is the it *isn’t* an anonymous vote and Trump’s support isn’t really in the Republican Party, but in a large swathe of the Republican voters. And Republican Senators who vote against him would indeed run a risk with their constituents.

    Re “meat”

    We tried the product, as I mentioned. It was similar to meat, but much more expensive. If I’m going to go meatless, though, I prefer more honest substitutes (beans, mushroom, etc). Much cheaper, too!

    Re the future US

    It had been a conclusion of mine for many years now that the present US is in fact a multi-cultural entity held together by virtue of the benefits flowing from its empire. As that empire falls and the flows of benefits dwindle, we will break into more coherent cultural nations.

  317. The Catalina flying boat has reminded me of how they fought a guerrilla war in the Pacific theatre. They operated independently, whether that was recon, night attacks on Japanese shipping, or other missions. They would be away from base for weeks at a time, landing next to a ship when they needed to refuel. For maintainance they would haul the plane up the beach at a remote island. The Catalina was designed for such operations and had its own on-board crane that could even remove an engine. I think this is the closest anyone ever got to actually being an air pirate. 🙂

    With the question of China invading Australia, does anyone know what Australia’s nuclear latancy is – how far are they from a nuclear weapon if they made a dash for it? They don’t have nuclear power stations, but they have a lot of uranium ore and OPAL – a modern, advanced research reactor.

  318. JMG, here is a data point for you. A woman I follow on YouTube, who does a lot of work in traditional food preservation methods, was complaining that in 2018 the price of vanilla beans had more than tripled and that some of her best sources had dried up completely. The reason was colony collapse in the areas where the beans are grown, resulting in massive yield reductions. No pollination, no beans. This, I think, is a good example of how 3/4 of human wealth is dependent on nature.

  319. KevPilot, this isn’t an ongoing thing like blood donation, and I assume you already know about it, but you can become both an organ and tissue donor, and leave your body to medical science. Some people say you can’t do both, and while one cadaver is unlikely to do both, you can sign up for both and let the doctors decide after your death how you can be best used. It really is altruism for the lazy and selfish – just fill out the forms and never have to think about it again. I’ve also joked that the only way I was ever getting into medical school was on a slab. 🙂

    You mentioned the confidentiality of donation and it has an interesting history. In Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism, Catherine Waldby and Robert Mitchell go through it. At the beginning of organ donation, it was considered a healthy and beautiful thing for the recipient and the donor’s familiy to meet. Then it completely switched and any attempt to find out even basic details about where an organ came from or went was treated as pathological. I think it’s just now becoming acceptable again.

    Another bit of low-effort altruism I’d recommend is downloading BOINC on your computer – https://boinc.berkeley.edu/. As I write this my laptop is crunching data for the Large Hadron Collider.

  320. Re the impeachment brouhaha more broadly

    I’m no fan of Trump, especially in the personal dimension. He has, however, in his own blathering, slipshod, stumbling manner, moved us as a nation somewhat in the general direction I think we need to go, and in directions to which the bipartisan establishment is firmly opposed. I would hate to see the establishment machine re-assert control, although I realize that in the natural ebb and flow of change, this is going to occur. It is my hope that the machine gets another good poke in the eye from this whole thing. It will be a challenge to remain patient while this process unfolds and interacts with the election cycle. Despite the gleeful crowing going on in blue country, I see it as far less certain. We’ll see if Trump’s apparent cunning can successfully jujitsu this setback into an advantage. If I had to put money on it, I’d say he can. It’s a long thirteen months to the election, though. My brain wonders how he’s going to get out of this and my gut remembers every time he did before.

  321. @Eat The Pests
    Thanks, I’ll give that a try! Pill bugs don’t seem to be as common here on the Massachusetts coast as they were in inland Pennsylvania, but they’re around, if the riparian birds leave me any. “Somewhat crunchy shrimp” sounds quite yummy.

    Um, did you choose your entomophagous user name just to encourage me? 🙂

    @Kimberly Steele
    I don’t think I was speaking with actual feminists, but rather, online virtue-signaling video game fans looking to expose any reprobate MRAs (aka people who disagreed with them about anything) in their midst. As I recall, for the most part they were quite in favor of violence against people they didn’t like, and that wasn’t necessarily limited to simulated characters in games.

    In a world of honor killings, economically struggling single parents, and jeopardized women’s health services, I suspect concern over Bowser’s serial kidnapping of Princess Toadstool in the Mushroom Kingdom is rather low on the priorities of genuine feminists.

    @Coop Janitor
    Scorpions are available from online edible-insect vendors, and I’ve even seen them in novelty gift shops locally, sometimes embedded in rectangular lollipops. They’re even more expensive (ounce for ounce) than the other bugs I was looking at as possible routine protein sources, so apparently quite the delicacy. It sounds like you had some great experiences in China!

    @Caryn Banker, Wesley, and Kimberly (again)
    I grew up in exactly the kind of suburb Kunstler was referring to, and yeah, virtual worlds is exactly where I went to. (The actual world was almost entirely inaccessible, meted by parents via automobile.) The difference then was, I had to participate in creating my virtual worlds, in my imagination as a reader, then in “shared imagined spaces” via tabletop role playing games and LARPs, and even as a computer game designer. I don’t regard their not being the real world as the main problem with today’s virtual worlds. The problems are in how the the players engage with them. That gets into areas that would require chapters to explain, but in many cases it comes down to neither game developers nor most players themselves wanting players to be able (or required) to decide anything important.

  322. JMG

    Re Shareblue shills – I can’t help but think this is a waste of Brock and Soros’ money. There’s nothing like people with creativity who will promote their idol for free. Witness the Trump fanboys and their memes. Of course that is why twitter and the EU want to stop memes.

    Btw would you ever get the flu jab? I would rather take my chances rather than be injected with something you can’t sue the manufacturer for.

  323. @JMG

    State disintegration in America could be a good thing, if we’re talking about the federal government. The Fed is the One Ring, it has too much power and it would corrupt anyone who wields it. So its better to cast it into the fires of Mount Doom, is it not? A limited government is a good thing in my opinion. I have faith in people’s ability to self-organize to solve problems.

  324. There’s a scene in Kingsport that probably resonated with me more than most people. After finding the Ring of Eibon they spend the night bunkered down in the sitting room while sinister things go on outside. That idea of being warm, safe and comfortable while bad things are just outside, has had a hold on my imagination for a long time. A lot of my daydreams and fantasies involve some form of it.

    Thinking about it I’ve also enjoyed a number of works of art, films and computer games, either because they featured that theme, or could have it easily projected onto them. The first time I remember noticing it was in the Kurosawa film Sanjuro, where the rival groups are based in neighbouring compounds, with a stream running under the wall between them. I can see it in a lot of Beksinski’s paintings, althought in his post-apocalyptic world, ‘safe’ and ‘comfortable’ are very, very relative. If anybody wants to talk about more examples, I’ve got a few.

    The concept has also appeared in my dreams at least once lately, although that was an unpleasant dream about surviving genocide by being willing to look on and do nothing.

    I’m not sure whether to call this an idea, theme, concept, archetype, or something else. Does it have some larger meaning? Did you have any particular effect in mind when you wrote that scene in the book?

  325. @JMG,

    No argument on your prediction that impeachment won’t help the Democrats return to power. Most voters (though unfortunately not most journalists) don’t live in the liberal echo chamber in which the number one topic, all the time, is the revolving door of supposed Trump crimes that began before he was even sworn in.

    The problem with impeachment, in my mind, is that it will keep congressmen of both parties, along with the President, so tied up in this telegenic and ultimately pointless event that very little gets done in terms of policy for the next few years. So even though Trump and his party keep winning elections, very little of their populist agenda can actually get through while this absurd spectacle of eternal impeachment is sucking up all the oxygen, and so power remains diffused far too broadly throughout the government for a charismatic president like Trump to effect a change in direction.

    Hence my analogy of the driverless train with the two figureheads duking it out on the cow catcher in front. Trump may dodge all the punches that his Democratic rivals throw at him, but he still isn’t in control of the train.

    Nonetheless, I share your hope that this will backfire badly enough on the Democrats during the next election that they don’t try it again. Let the next Congress do something useful for a change. What we ultimately need is elected officials who will reassert their constitutional power to make meaningful laws and policies; the problem with a facetious impeachment is that, even if it totally backfires on the party that started it, it still ends up weakening the democratic element of American society by drawing everybody’s attention away from the important policy debates that our elected officials should be focused on.

  326. @DutyBound Not sure if this would be ethical enough for you, or still too integrated into corporate capitalism, but in terms of “proper” investments, you may find something of interest if you look up Jeremy Grantham. He is a fund manager who is very switched on to collapse issues and has made speeches with content that wouldn’t be out of place on here.

  327. Temporary Reality,

    “…or if in spite of having cell phones (the mark of hypocritical youth according to one comment here), they are doing good by limiting meat consumption (50% of CO2 production?), etc.”

    I know this was not even your particular point, but when I see commentary that eating meat is bad for the climate, I start to roll my eyes a bit. I’m often struck by the thought that some things vegans and/or climate change proponents believe are rather anti life and lacking in trust for the way life actually works.
    I guess the planet is filled with billions of animals who are all eating one another. When people seem to think the existence of cattle is bad for the environment…what can I say? When the earth is healthy it is teeming with life. Herds of buffalo, countless deer, antelope, mooose – is this a bad thing? Would less life mean a wonderful climate?

    I want to know if ants pass gas, because they are supposed to be the species that add up to the greatest biomass.

    I suppose it is likely someone would respond about the use of water and fossil fuels in the CAFO farming methods. But why is there so little noise about the fact that going against nature’s ways is ALWAYS a losing proposition that we will suffer consequences of, and that it is therefore imperative that we stop CAFO farming methods? Why is it simply that we should stop eating meat? Cows should eat grass, not corn.
    Maybe this is all just agenda-driven propaganda by the various rival corporates – the artificial food industry versus the meat industry to try to gain all the customers.

  328. Hey JMG,

    Regarding a suitable term for energy flows, I wonder if it isn’t so much the term as the units. Watts, joules (or calories) are very abstract terms far removed from lived experience. Fuller’s energy slaves come to mind in this regard.

    As Justin mention, an hours paid work buys a lot of energy. A fit labourer can output about 75W per hour, so let’s call that a ‘manhour’.

    Thus, one hour of labour at NZ minimum wage ($17.70, less 20% tax) is enough purchasing power (at $0.25/kWh) for:

    ($17.70×0.80) / $0.25/kWh × 1,000W/kW / 75Wh = 750 manhours of electricity for one hour worked.

    Or, at $2.00 a litre for petrol and 9.7kWh/l:

    ($17.70×0.80) / $2.00/l x 9.7kWh/l × 1,000W/kW / 75Wh = 920 manhours of fuel energy for one hour worked.

    What an astounding return on investment, even at minimum wage. Very few people are going to want to voluntarily reduce that!

  329. JMG
    ‘tamanous’ Thanks for the reminder!
    ! I was absent minded earlier – probably back in my own memories of New England and further north among the Loyalists. The sense of place was a bit mysterious for a naive European outsider. People were ‘different’.

    There is a ‘sense of place’ where we have lived on the Scottish Border for more than 30 years . Some of the river names are probably pre-Celtic. It does go back a bit. I have been surprised though while living here how the atrocious history of previous centuries is in the main dispersed, although some places are still by no means the sunniest. I put it down to enough people managing good lives having replaced it. This gives me encouragement. Very hard work, and hard times, but a sense of buoyancy and a lightness of spirit coming through.

    best
    Phil H

  330. @ David btl re: impeachment brouhaha more broadly

    I too think DJT will get through this…recall JMG’s equinox forecast last week. Watching the Dems implode while their heads explode is pretty entertaining, in a deplorable kind of way. There’s also the very real possibility that Trump will turn the tables in dramatic fashion…there’s a lot looming out there that the Dems must be petrified about. Maybe these times will inspire a new House of Cards style dramatization later in the 20s…working title: Despicable We!

  331. To JMG and all the readers: Thank you. It’s great to be able to voice a controversial opinion and not get shouted down or generally freaked out at or threatened by creepy doxxers.

    To Dusk Shine: It’s my opinion that antidepressants help partition rage yet do absolutely nothing to address its root causes. Your word “overflow” sums it up exactly. I wrote several novels in an attempt to start a dialogue with myself about the anger “lodged pyramidal” in my subconscious for no apparent reason and the self hatred that dwelled with it. Drugs can only do so much when our entire modern way of life promotes and incites rage. Something’s got to give.

    As to the well-meaning people in your life who are pro-antidepressant, perhaps gently express to them that you are grateful for their sincerity in helping you maintain your wellbeing, but that you suspect you might benefit from (slowly) weaning yourself off of antidepressants for awhile and you’d like to give it a try. If you’re wrong, you can always start taking them again. You might ask them to watch for imbalances in your personality while you conduct your experiment while remaining objective and open if and when they voice their concerns. Fair warning though… I’ve noticed it’s easier to fire some doctors than to get them to work with you on weaning yourself off a med. My husband is currently trying to heal himself from chronic disease using holistic, pragmatic methods and herbal medicines to which his doctor’s reaction is to insist that he will either have a stroke or worse unless he immediately starts quaffing three more types of prescription drugs. Oh, and all herbal medicines are evil because everyone recommending herbs on the internet has an agenda. Good grief, an agenda? You don’t say! Gee, I couldn’t help but notice the medical buildings everywhere in the rich neighborhood where I work. The medical industry is conservatively estimated to be thirty percent of the real economy in the US. As a person who does not wish for people to be in states of suspended suffering, that strikes me as obscene.

    To Walt F.:
    You said, “I don’t regard their not being the real world as the main problem with today’s virtual worlds. The problems are in how the the players engage with them. That gets into areas that would require chapters to explain, but in many cases it comes down to neither game developers nor most players themselves wanting players to be able (or required) to decide anything important.”

    If you ever write that book, put me first on the list to buy it and read it.

  332. Two thoughts on impeachment:

    1) I’ve noticed that the Dem pols banging the impeachment drum the loudest represent solidly privileged-progressive districts, where voter sentiment is rabidly pro-impeachment. Adam Schiff represents the most fashionable precincts of Los Angeles, and Jerry Nadler represents Manhattan’s west side (along with some comically gerrymandered portion of Brooklyn). The party as a whole may look like it’s running off a cliff, but these guys are acting in completely rational self-interest. The only way they lose here is by looking soft on impeachment and getting punished for it at the polls.

    2) Given the pace of events with this Ukrainian corruption thing, I suspect that the Dems are just trying to ram an impeachment vote through the House before the story falls apart. No more dawdling and arguing about the evidence (or lack thereof)!

  333. Hi John

    Your guess is that the future of the USA will see the dissolution of the country in more homogeneous regions/coalition of states, but now, under the imperial rule, it seems that the Praetorian Guard (PG) will fight hard to prevent any “retreat from empire”, and now it is the second offensive against Trump,: the first led by the FBI and now by the CIA (this one, I think, it is historically more dangerous)

    It seems that now, the Praetorian Guard (Intel Community) from August-2019 have removed the needs for a “first-hand knowledge” to proceed with the investigation for a grave wrongdoing (the “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form), timely for the (attempt) to impeach DJT

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/09/27/intel-community-secretly-gutted-requirement-of-first-hand-whistleblower-knowledge/

    From news from the corporation I currently work, I know chinese companies are increasing their stocks of finished products instead of cutting production; it seems to me that they are quite confident they will sell them after January 2021….There are trillions US$ in investment at risks in China due to the current trade policies, also trying to “retreat from empire” it is not a good life insurance for a POTUS.

    Too many powerful enemies at the same time…

    On the other hand the Praetorian Guard does not like hesitation in (imperial) global affairs, the last time an US president tried to de-escalate a conflict and retreat, he was killed. I think the influence of PG on US presidents and policy probably is hard to overestimate:

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/john-f-kennedys-vision-of-peace-109020/

    JFK ordered a phased withdrawal of US soldiers from Vietnam in 2 October 1963, and declared to McNamara and many others in his cabinet his firm determination to get out of Vietnam if he win the re-election in 1964. After Dallas, of course that never happened

    Cheers
    David

  334. J.L.Mc12 re ultrasound display

    An ordinary, old fashioned cathode ray display tube (CRT) will do. These date from the 1890’s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode-ray_tube#History

    (Unfortunately?) no longer in commercial production due to LCD/OLED displays.

    The “thermionic valve” vacuum tube (1907) and transistor (1947) date from after that, those would be needed for the oscillator, etc.

    Super simple would be a non-scanned beam, which one could display like the original radar displays.
    It wouldn’t take someone very long to be able to learn to figure out what’s being “seen” as they move the angle of the probe back and forth while watching the display.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar_display#A-Scope

    One could do a simple scan and display that on a CRT in vector mode without any digital raster technology needed – Either syncing to a mechanically moved acoustic lens, or a simple phased array.

    FWIW – I’m not sure computers will go away. 10 billion transistor, 8 core things – yes, those are pretty complex and the fab lines are insanely expensive, require super-tight tolerances/cleanliness/etc.
    But the 8008 was 3,500 transistors, done in 10 micro-meter design rules, which is easily visible in visible light.
    In fact it was probably laid out by draftsmen working by hand, and the masks made with rather conventional photography. I think 10 um is still within contact mask capability.
    Such chips are wildly valuable in military applications (radios, cryptography, …), and the cleanliness/precision tolerances needed are much easier to come by.
    I see the history of photolithography has a military aspect (1952), though it was invented in the 1820’s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photolithography#History

  335. Temporaryreality, it’s a long slow process. The core of what I’m trying to do here, and a lot of other people are working on in their own ways, is to start by changing consciousness, and let that work its way down the planes. The big outward changes are the last step in the process, and they come after a long, long period of preparation. That said, things have moved further in the direction I want than I’d have expected at this stage, not least because a lot of people have joined in the work.

    Reader, one of the things I found most unexpected about Rhode Island is that it really does live up to its reputation as the place where New England’s weirdos go so the more constipated parts of New England society don’t have to deal with them. I wouldn’t live in Massachusetts for anything, but Rhode Island — “that universal haven of the odd, the free, and the dissenting,” to quote H.P. Lovecraft — is another matter.

    Other Dave, thanks for this! I may just have to find that.

    DT, I’ve seen the same thing. That’s one of the ways in which passing on the costs of decline to the commons is beginning to become visible.

    Will1000, that’s an interesting point, and one I’ll want to reflect on.

    Irena, granted. Nonetheless, that would be my advice.

    Denys, yep. The whole point of contemporary climate activism is to make sure that the costs and benefits of abandoning fossil fuels are distributed the same way as the costs and benefits of the global economy: that is, the working classes and the poor pay the costs, while all the benefits go to the upper middle classes and up from there. Look at the current attempt to stampede through various (not very) Green (not really) New Deals with that in mind, and they make perfect sense.

    MawKernewek, it makes perfect sense to me. After all, the point of a climate protest is to get someone else to do something so you don’t have to, right? So since Trudeau is protesting, that means he doesn’t have to do anything.

    Manuel, many thanks for this. No, it doesn’t sound like a good idea to me either.

    Sunnnv, (1) as a moderate Burkean conservative I fail to see why on Earth prostitution should be illegal. Banning it doesn’t stop it, it just makes it more dangerous for the prostitutes and worsens the public health aspects. From my perspective it should be legalized, taxed via existing entertainment taxes — yes, you can insert your favorite joke about a good stiff tax here — and made subject to health and safety regulations. (2) Yes, and in fact I have a copy of Jung’s work on synchronicity on my bookshelves. The Jung-Pauli collaboration is something I’ve wanted to study in depth once time permits.

    Patricia, our culture is a mix of Germanic and Classical influences, so it makes sense to me!

    Oleg, I bet you get a sulfurous response! That said, the preterist interpretation to my mind makes much more sense than any other, since Jesus himself said that the events he described would take place within the lifespans of some of his listeners. I don’t think, for what it’s worth, that the preterist interpretation requires that we live in a heaven on earth; it’s simply that, from the perspective of Christian theology, God is present in a way that he was not present before the Son of Man came into his kingdom.

    Dusk Shine, fascinating. Thanks for this. As for Catalinas, it depends on when we’re talking about; during the deindustrial dark ages, sure, ultralights with light pontoons are probably the order of the day, but once the deindustrial Renaissance cuts in, flying boats of some considerable size would make a great deal of sense.

    Martin, did you read the text that went with the map? He argued specifically that if the US was divided that way, it would fall apart — you can’t have a successful federation with big power blocs like that. His analysis of Europe along the same lines has turned out to be an extremely prescient analysis of how the EU is failing.

    Chris, I’m pretty sure Greta’s speech was written for her, and its obsession with the personal issue was very much in keeping with the entire tendency of climate change activism. Guilt and shame are not effective motivators for constructive individual action; their goal is to put the other person in a one-down situation where he can be made to submit to the will of the blamer and shamer. That’s one of the ways that it’s increasingly clear that the point of climate change activism these days isn’t about the environment at all, it’s about political power.

    Yorkshire, given the success of the Catalina, I suspect that further movement in the same direction — toward flying boats designed for long-term independent operation, needing only fuel, stores, and ammunition, and capable of extensive repairs in isolated and primitive conditions — could work quite well. Alas, that’s something for another lifetime. 😉

    Lenn, thanks for this!

    Bridge, as I see it, the reason that ShareBlue et al. exist is precisely that the mainstream left can’t risk handing things over to individuals, because the individuals probably wouldn’t keep parrotting the corporate media’s party line. The Bernie phenomenon in 2016 has got to have been a horrifying experience for the DNC et al. — their anointed candidate would have been shoved out of the running by a socialist if they hadn’t gimmicked the nomination process six ways from Sunday. If they didn’t keep a tight lid on the grassroots this time, I suspect we’d be looking at a hot contest for the nomination between Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang, and the dreary business-as-usual brigade currently going through the motions of being frontrunners would be sitting on the sidelines.

    As for the flu shot, most of the people I know who’ve had one got just as sick from it as they would have if they’d caught the flu. I find that alternative health care methods stop flu in its tracks far more effectively, without the side effects, so I see no reason to bother.

    Nanki-Poo, no argument there. I’d like to see the US in its post-imperial era go back to what it was before we got into the empire business: a federation of largely self-governing states with a federal government whose job is restricted to foreign policy, national defense, interstate commerce, and the provision of essential human rights to all citizens.

    Yorkshire, fascinating. No, I didn’t have any grand pattern in mind — I simply knew that Sylvia and Claire would want to make sure that Jenny and the Ring of Eibon were safe during the night before the Festival, and being the kind of people they were, they’d want her to be comfortable as well!

    Wesley, I share your concern. One of the things that could happen as a result of this circus is a series of enactments in the not too distant future that would reduce the power of Congress considerably, making it little more than a debating society, while the executive branch takes over an ever greater share of policymaking. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but it’s a risk.

    Bridge, thanks for this. It’s become increasingly clear to me that the attempt to whip up hysteria around a “climate emergency” is a straightforward power grab, and it’s being pushed hard right now because the window of opportunity for that power grab is swinging shut. More on this in a future post!

    Daniel, fair enough, but a good set of terms to differentiate energy from nonrenewing geological sources, on the one hand, from energy from continuous flows on the other, would be worth having.

  336. I know there have probably been enough comments/discussion regarding Miss Greta Thunberg on this blog, though having watched her UN speed I felt compelled to share a few observations.

    I have certainly no doubt in my mind she’s being used as sock puppet by the powers that be, even so though, I can’t but notice that there’s something really quite potent and well.. dangerous about her. I really don’t think the establishment figures using her realise what their dealing with…

    Sock puppet or not, she’s another example of what one of the emerging Caesars of the western world might look/ sound like. I’ve noticed quite a bit in recent years the trope/arhcytpe of the plucky young women/ girl being the strong imposing fearless leader (in real life and in fiction) in recent years.
    Although, I think the danger here is we’re still stuck int the idea of women in girls being morally superior and therefore less violent/ dangerous… the lack of critical judgement by people following them is what I fear the most…

  337. Hi John Michael,

    I hear you – and I would not pursue such a strategy in such a forum. A very cynical person down this way (whom I’d have to say has ill intent on their mind) suggested that the kids should strike on the weekends as well as weekdays. Despite their possible ill intent, they do make a good point. And perhaps the kids parents could also turn out in support at such rallies – and then keep on doing them for long enough that the rallies become a problem for the authorities.

    I’m rather a fan of the old school act of: Gumption. You don’t see it much these days.

    My gut feel is that this movement will go down the same way as the occupy movement, because the concept and meaning of what real change to address the issue may look like has not have occurred to the people involved.

    Cheers

    Chris

  338. Jim W said: “As you correctly observe ‘almost every early tribal culture had people who knew how to do this’ and quite possibly MOST people had well developed senses of this kind…the shamans had the exceptional abilities. I was just reading some Steiner lectures from 1908 attributing these abilities to human development in Atlantis!”

    Anthropologists who study shamanism believe that the practice may well date back twenty thousand years or more, so its entirely likely that it was being used within the time frames that Atlantis rose and is thought to have existed. I don’t think the Atlantians invented shamanistic practices but may have refined them.

    I’ve always thought that an Atlantian culture predates the last Ice Age, and that its colonies and territory existed on the Continental Shelves that would have been dry land during that period. As the ice melted and sea levels rose, those colonies would have been covered in water and are now perhaps tens of miles from the current coast and hard to find under thousands of years of silt.

    I’ve been re-reading Michael Harner’s “The Way of the Shaman”, and he points out that across the World in almost all pre-industrial cultures shamanistic practices show a high degree of commonality. This is in cultures that show a wide range of cultural differences too. You would expect that if shamanism is just a religious practice, then it would undergo divergence and change just as the culture does.

    It doesn’t though and he suggests that the reason is the practices actually work.

    Kind of like science of engineering. Someone Chinese practices pretty much the same engineering as someone American. The “science” of shamanism, saying that non-corporal non-human entities exist, can be contacted, befriended, and asked to help you out, that these spirits exist in animals, plants, elemental forces and that some who have been worshiped by many people are now considered gods and through the proper method of “romancing” will watch over you and yours would only be the same over a broad range of cultures if that idea, that they exist, were true. Just like engineering, your culture doesn’t matter.

    Now having said that, I must admit I have had little experience with the “higher” types of magic. In my younger years, I looked at some of the Solomanistic magic of sigils and Christian constraining, and was good friends with young women in my senior year who was from a multi-generational family of Wiccans. I did dabble a bit in Cthulhulian pseudo magic about the time the “Necronomicon” was published though I quickly figured out getting the attention of things that looked at me like I looked at bugs, wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

    I found that what I wanted from magical practices was the simple things, help my plants in the garden to grow, keep the things in my life centered and running smoothly, helping me make myself into a better person. I don’t want to put a hex on my political rivals nor make myself powerful and wealthy.

    Shamanism seems to work for me in that regard, though I’ve been a bit lapsed the last decade. That is going to change.

    Jim W said: “Thanks for your efforts with the Green Wizards site as well. I haven’t delved into that much so far…maybe one of these days!”

    On the 11th of next month, I will be working my last day of real work. Which means I have just 8 days left (I’m taking four days off to go to an annual sci-fi convention next weekend). At 62 I’m getting too tired to lug around heavy metal and working as hard as I do now. I’m taking early retirement then.

    That means I’m finally at the point of jumping both feet and both arms into getting the Green Wizard website to where I want it to finally be. Look for a lot of new posts, articles and how-tos over the next year. Over the Winter I will be holding monthly get-togethers here in St Louis. If you are near enough to drive in, and are interested email me, we’ll work something out.

    If I can generate enough interest, I would like to get John here next year, for my convention to speak. That will take a group effort to show interest, and perhaps a “GoFundMe” to cover costs.

    So Jim (and others) make time please for “one of those days” soon.

    And for the huge amount of people out there, who signed up as members but then never tried to log in (I can see if you didn’t in my control panel for the site), expect to be getting emails soon from me inviting you back. I know many people didn’t get the email from the site telling you your membership was approved because Google is an @ss, and sends those emails to your spam file.

    If you need a new password, don’t request one via the site system, it will do the same, send the reply to your spam file or just not deliver it. Instead send me a email at green wizard dtrammel at gmail dot com.

    And BTW, I’m always looking for guest bloggers who want to share something, and there are a bunch of you here too! Justin Patrick Moore is doing a series on Squatter’s that is great. Teresa of Hershey is doing one on insulating your home.

    Please consider joining us on the Green Wizard site. We can only make the changes we need to make to survive in the Long Descent together.

  339. Flying Boats, etc.

    Background on the WWII flying boats never omes out and pounds you with this, but one of the reasons for them was the complete lack of infrastructure in the Pacific. Flying boats don’t need no stinking infrastructure, to corrupt a movie line… And designed with todays aerodynamics, they could be quite elegant and less blunderous(?).

    My experience in float planes, one of the most God-awful inventions for aircraft, is that is is quite common to be flying with a 175mph airspeed and a 55mph groundspeed – floats are as good as they look – like a beluga whale on each strut.

    As well, boats and ships could do well if the designs were brought up to date. Rivers need not be navigable with great expense – just go shallow draft paddle wheeling again. So, I’m with you on the flying boats!

    Beeez….our veggie yields were down by about 50% this year. Plants did really well – just fewer veggies. We bought 200 lbs of wildflower seeds for the non-farmed portion of what we have. A full hive is on the budget, because the best we can tell, it’s pollinators we are missing. It’s a shame, but most people have very limited understanding of what CCD has done to farming of all kinds.

    Another issue is cropping non-indigenous plants, like gig for hay. Destroys native grasses and only good for cows. We farm about 12 acres and the rest is wild, except for trails and some pasture we are going native with. To do that, we have to weed manually every year. Intensive…

    I have had my popcorn out since the Meuller thing went pfft! It’s great to watch! Schiff and Nadler are some great comedy entertainment. Toss in Pelosi, who reminds me of Edith Bunker in her mannerisms…MOAR POPCORN! Orange Man has always been hilarious with his struggling to remain coherent…LOL

  340. Just wanted to tell the community that in my ongoing quest to learn to run hot compost, I’ve learned:

    If you don’t have a chipper/shredder or a powered mower, you can break up materials to be composted with a flail (but be careful, it might count as nunchucks and those are banned in some places; OTOH if they’re not banned where you are you can just buy nunchucks and they will work) or a machete (put a board on sawhorses, chop on the board).

  341. Risk Zone Map – Global
    http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps/risk-zone

    As to when or even if any changes will occur no one seems to really know. Melting is ahead of predictions. There are contrary reasons to believe the heating is temporary and we are about to cool off.

    Sea level rise is uneven. The planet’s gravity shifts with the melt or movement of ice.

    note: website address changes with view, easy to forward.
    10 feet rise max.
    If controls are too small try
    ctrl +
    or
    ctrl scroll

    Sacramento, Tracy and Stockton as ocean beach front in the Central Valley at 10 foot sea rise.
    https://ss2.climatecentral.org/#8/38.055/-121.168?show=satellite&projections=0-K14_RCP85-SLR&level=10&unit=feet&pois=hide

    At 8 feet or less all sea ports appear broken unless there is massive investment. That could be game over for globalism right there.
    Low lying airports (NYC, SF,Oakland) will flood with just a small rise.

    Data inaccurate for inland from Ballard Locks, Seattle. There is a change when there should be none. With enough rise (20 feet?) there would be a rise from water over the locks and dam and water flowing in from the Black River route to the south in Renton (next to the 737 Max plant) into Lake Washington.

    “Social vulnerability” at the bottom might be partial natural disaster risks, areas that could flood or tsunami risk appear to be mixed up.

    inohuri

  342. Re: Sylvia and Claire in Kingsport – I think any 21st century person would immediately figure that Claire was Sylvia’s wife, without even guessing. Not while Charles the Domestic Tyrant was alive, of course.

    Anyway, the planetary work is working out to “The Sun”, Diana, Mars/Athena/Tyr, Odin, Jupiter, Saturn. So far, so good, except that Mars energy also brings out the red down-with-the-bosses radical in me. When my need here is to keep my mouth shut and pick my battles very carefully. Because bosses come and go in this place more regularly than the dining hall servers.

  343. Phil, fascinating. That’s good to hear.

    Escher, both your points seem reasonable enough. I wonder what Democratic Congresscritters from the flyover states are thinking about it all, though…

    DFC, the interesting thing to me is that the power centers of imperial America seem to be at odds with one another over this. Trump has serious support from the military and from some sectors of the very rich — he’d never have survived this long without them. The question is whether that outweighs the forces lined up against him when push comes to shove.

    BB, true enough. Can you imagine her ordering millions of people to be shot in order to combat climate change? I certainly can.

    Chris, that seems very plausible to me. I’m beginning to think it may also take the climate change movement down with it, but we’ll see.

    Oilman, duly noted! One thing that strikes me as highly useful is figuring out ways to encourage native pollinators, not just honeybees. I wonder how many people realize that in the New World, honeybees are an invasive species…

    Cary, thank you for this!

    Jason, no, but it’s tolerably funny.

    Patricia, oh, granted. It wasn’t one of Jenny’s more astonishing deductions…

  344. @ Tripp

    No, we have no groundhogs here. I have instead an over abundance of tree rats (squirrels). I have three peach trees, and have not eaten a single peach in the seven years since I planted them, because the fluffy-tailed vermin strip every.single.peach off the trees before they are anywhere near ripe enough to be harvested. I console myself by thinking of the squirrels not as pests, but rather free-range livestock. I confess that so far, this (thinking) has been all I have done.

    Your recipe has inspired me, however. My questions are how to actually (1) catch them -I’m inside city limits no hunting allowed – and (2) turn them from live squirrels into dead squirrels in the quickest, most humane way possible (they irritate me, but I don’t have the heart to torture them. They are, after all, just doing what squirrels do) I assume that methods of dispatch applied to groundhogs would be equally applicable to their arboreal kin?

  345. Hey John, looking forward to read your books!

    What is the best and most trusted LBRP pagan (or even gnostic) alternative you’ve come across and would recommend?

    Also, ever heard about the claim that the Tree of Life actually came from the Druids? It’s something new to me.

    Thanks.

  346. Will1000, I think discovering and using fossil fuels was the ‘stealing fire from the gods’ part, and we’re rapidly closing in on the ‘rock – chains – eagle – liver’ stage. Prometheus found out the hard way that the gods take intellectual property very seriously. 🙂

    Dvid Trammel, Michael Harner was my first introduction to shamanism. I had an extraction, power animal and soul retrieval done by a shaman trained in that system. She did a good job and a health problem I’d had for a while cleared up by the next day. But I would recommend anyone thinking of getting into shamanism read Ravan Kaldera’s articles and books on the subject, to see just how serious a business it is.

    http://www.northernshamanism.org/shamanic-techniques.html
    https://ravenkaldera.org/published-books/spirituality/

  347. If the 2016 election had given us Hillary or Jeb! as president, what are the chances we’d be in a ground war in Iran right now?

    It felt like some the statements Hillary in particular put out was the beating of the war drums. Trump seems to be at war with them financially crashing their economy, personally in kicking out the leader’s families out of the county, and covertly working with the Israeli’s to strike their soldiers in Syria. The media doesn’t cover it a whole lot but there are bits and pieces to thread together.

  348. Philadelphia’s poverty rate drops and the Mayor’s office takes credit for their poverty programs working. The numbers show it’s because more people are employed. Duh. It’s almost as if when we lessen the number of illegal aliens paid under the table and businesses have to hire and pay citizens, employment numbers go up and poverty goes down. Who could have guessed?

    “The findings, contained in a voluminous report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday, showed that the city’s poverty rate declined from 25.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2018. The number of Philadelphia residents living in poverty dropped by 14,537 — from 391,653 to 377,116 — while the median household income (adjusted for inflation) increased from $43,372 to $46,116.

    The unemployment rate in the city in (Philadelphia) May was 4.9%, down from 6.7% in 2016. We went from 653,000 employed to 681,000.”

    Measuring poverty and income elsewhere, the ACS showed that poverty rates in New Jersey dipped slightly between 2017 and 2018, from 10% to 9.5%. In Pennsylvania, poverty also slid downward, from 12.5% to 11.7%.

    As for median household income, New Jersey saw a 2% growth, from $80,088 in 2017 to $81,740. “Up” was the watchword throughout Pennsylvania, with income rising from $59,195 to $60,905, a 3% bump.”

    https://www.inquirer.com/news/poverty-median-household-income-philadelphia-pennsylvania-new-jersey-census-american-community-survey-20190926.html

  349. JMG said “the working classes and the poor pay the costs, while all the benefits go to the upper middle classes and up from there.”

    So if we got them to see this and admit it’s happening, it could be a game changer?

    A clever person would make a video game, board game, or movie that did this in a pretend land. Maybe one exists?

  350. And right on cue the BBC will be doing an eco-fascism piece on Countryfile tonight (Sunday).

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008zsx

    Charlotte investigates the rise of far-right extremism in the countryside – and learns how environmental campaigning is now at its heart. Professor Roger Griffin explains to Charlotte why some extremists have been gathering at ancient sites, like the Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire, and how fears over climate change are being used to recruit new followers. And Charlotte looks at how social media is making such views more accessible, even in the remotest locations.

  351. One of the interesting aspects of US imperialism is how brittle it seems to be. The British had no end of imperial failures and partial retreats, but generally seem to have been able to shrug these off without lapsing into internecine bureaucratic warfare, let alone assassinations. US imperialism seems to be a much more “high stakes” game, for some reason, but I have to say I am mystified as to why.

  352. @Eat the Pests and @Walt F
    Of all the things I ate in Air Force survival training, the absolutely most horrendously tasting were the pill bugs. Now that was in central Texas, and were you are, they might manage to taste like shrimp, and if you like coriander, coriander reminds me of the taste of pill bugs. I recommend raw earthworms over pill bugs. Most insects are really bland. Finding spices to get them to taste nice is a challenge, but worthwhile.

  353. @JMG: “There is no bright shiny future” – Thanks, yes, I think I get what you are saying with the rest of that sentiment. I think I get it 😉

    RE: Video games/Virtual worlds/suburbia:
    @Walt F. Yes, I think we’re on the same page and if you write that book, I’m in line to buy it too.

    @Justin – I’m sure you’re correct in the correlation or lack thereof of violent video games and mass shooters / violence in crime statistics overall. My point was more to the lack of social skills being developed and the corresponding problems, (anxiety and depression being among them) that the lack of those skills contribute to. And obviously there’s a difference in a person who has had a reasonable upbringing in the real world, who also submerges into virtual reality occasionally or even regularly and yet experiences no problems. As a parent who raised “Gen-Z” boys (the first generation to grow up with these games from such a very young age), while being enmeshed in many parenting circles (IRL) I know also there were a fair number of my fellow parents, maybe most, who happily plopped a tablet or Gameboy in their toddler’s chubby little fists to keep them quiet and occupied oh, 10 to 25, (100?) times a day. It’s not just laziness that prompts this, it’s safety – you know where they are and they’re “safe” from the dangers of the outside world if they’re right in front of you quietly playing. That level of emersion in a developing brain so young definitely has a more profound impact on the kid than occasional or even regular but limited playing time. TBH that approach always sent alarm bells ringing for me with my own boys, but THEY also wanted to sit quietly and play “safely”. They’d go to their friends’ apt.s and play; so they certainly got their fair share of game time, and it was hard to instead push them out to get scraped up and possibly hurt on the rocky beach in front of our apt. building. I didn’t do it enough with my younger one.

    Walt F is right there is something gravely adverse in the WAY they must be played; the lack of variable challenge or options that dulls the kid’s social capacities/decision making creativity/resilience. I think only now that they’re in college, (or trade school/military/work wherever they chose) fledgling adults – is it so obvious that there is something fundamentally wrong. Something like 1/3 of all incoming Freshmen in colleges across the country use and need campus mental health services. These services were never meant to handle such a load and they cannot keep up. That’s a crisis.

    @Kimberly: Yes, I can see how suburbia has contributed or rather paved the way for this disconnect to happen. I remember as a kid growing up in a tract home, in an aspiring suburbia in So Cal, still pathetically un-modern in the wild free spaces in between our tracts and strip malls. Those wild spaces (or the ocean) were the only places I ever wanted to be! The tamed, paved-over parts of our town felt claustrophobic like a prison. Of course they were un-tamed, unpatrolled and therefore dangerous, so we were not allowed to go there. Which only meant we had to sneak off. I feel kind of awful that it’s taken me this darned long to see how important access to this ‘danger’ was/is to kids /’still-under-construction’ humans.

  354. @JMG. You got me! No, I did not read the text to Kohr’s map of the US. I had given the book a quick scroll through and was struck by the similarity of his map to yours, and assumed it was his ideal vision of a devoluted US. My bad.

    I’m still on Chapter 1, and loving Kohr’s sardonic writing. Here’s his takedown of some ancient ways of explaining the miserable condition of humanity.

    “The Ancients, attributing the cause of most difficulties to the wrath of the gods, thought that the simplest way of improving their condition was to resort to prayer or, if this should prove insufficient, to the sacrificial slaughter of the persons who had antagonized the gods. Sometimes, the results were stunning. Hardly had the prayers been said, than rain would pour down on their thirsty fields, the lava stream of a volcano would come to a sudden stop, or news would reach them of the defeat of a fearful invader. Occasionally, nothing would happen. However, as in the case of most bad guesses, no significance was attached to this, and no reason was seen why their theory, which might be called the divine theory of social misery, should be considered invalid on this ground alone, since it had proved so satisfactory in the explanation of so many other misfortunes.

    “In the Middle Ages, the divine theory was supplemented by a witch theory of social misery which attributed the cause of afflictions less to the wrath of God than to the malevolence of an evil spirit. Quite logically, the principal cure was now thought to lie in the elimination of the objects which seemed possessed by the devil. So up in flames went a behexed barn, a cross-eyed hunchback, a very ugly woman, or a very beautiful one. Again, the results were considered highly satisfactory except in a few cases when, instead of suspecting their theory, people suspected they had burned the wrong witch, and so began the merry chase anew.”

  355. @ Phil Knight

    Re the brittleness of US imperialism

    I think a good part of that goes to John’s point about the US (aside from the South) having never lost a war. The British had plenty of experience with that over their history. We have not. I expect it will not be pleasant when the inevitable does occur, as our national psyche is not terribly well-prepared for it.

  356. Aziz, well, my book The Celtic Golden Dawn includes a reworked LBRP using Celtic Pagan divine names and no sign of the cross, and you can find detailed instructions for adapting the LBRP for any polytheist pantheon on my Dreamwidth journal here. If you’d like something less pentagrammatical that’s still very effective, the Sphere of Protection ritual has been the subject of a series of posts on the same journal — you can find them via this link, though in reverse order; there’ll be a book on that eventually, and also one on polytheist ceremonial magic.

    As for the Tree of Life, no, I hadn’t heard that. I’ve actually been doing a lot of research into the origins of the Tree; Gershom Scholem in The Origins of the Kabbalah showed that it wasn’t originally Jewish — they borrowed it from the Gnostics, who had it by the second century CE — and there’s a Chinese version that’s documented a century before its first appearance in Jewish literature. I’ve traced it (and a great many other Cabalistic concepts) back to Greek neo-Pythagorean traditions around the beginning of the Common Era, and before that the basic pattern can be traced to variants of the tetractys taught by Pythagoras. Before then? Maybe Greek Orphism, maybe late ancient Egyptian or Babylonian number mysticism, quite possibly a fusion of the two.

    Denys, I’m quite sure we’d be in the middle of a ground war in Syria, with Russia and China enthusiastically feeding the flames. Whether it would have gotten past bombing Iran is a good question. One of the things I found profoundly depressing about the response of the Left to the Clinton campaign is that so many women were so starry-eyed about having a woman taking on a formerly male role that none of them seemed to care that the role in question was “warmonger.” As for Philadelphia, oh, sure — but expect the GOP to pick that up and run with it once the election campaign heats up.

    And yes, it could be a game changer. It’s already becoming one. I don’t know of a fictional version of it just off hand, but in the meantime, spread the word…

    Kira, yep. All the corporate media are jumping on the bandwagon.

    Phil K, it’s an emotional thing. The US has no idea how to lose. We’ve never lost a war — at most, we’ve failed to win; we’ve never had to deal with the consequences of genuine defeat — and the thought of doing so makes most Americans go into hysterics. That’s one of the reasons I’ve long thought that the first time we really, truly get beaten, the country will go to bits in about a week.

    Caryn, it’s a little deeper than that. At the heart of the fixation on a brighter future is contempt for the present moment and its possibilities. That’s what I hoped to shake and, if possible, overturn. The future is always in the future; as long as you remain fixated on it, you accomplish nothing in the present, and so your future is no better than the present, and usually worse. It’s when your focus shifts to a brighter present, a brighter right now, that the future brightens accordingly, and then it’s not a “brighter future,” it’s a future measured by what you’ve done here and now.

    Martin, fun! I definitely have to read that.

    Levi, thanks for this! Very sensible of them.

  357. There are so many interesting comments that I don’t have to add much to it. But I have an unrealted question: Can anyone recommend a book about how to do simple sewing tasks well? I didn’t find anything satisfying; most hobby books today are fluffy and almost exclusively about the latest trends.

  358. Darkest Yorhshire said: I would recommend anyone thinking of getting into shamanism read Raven Kaldera’s articles and books on the subject, to see just how serious a business it is.

    His book “Neolithic Shamanism” is one of the three books that I consider my core instructional manuals for shamanism. I just found out he wrote one named “The Urban Primitive” and I will be getting it in my next Amazon order. The adaptation of traditional shamanism into an urban situation is one of my key areas of study right now.

    His lack of any discussion about the dangers of dealing with spirits is one reason I don’t recommend Harner as the first book to study. He jumps right in with a recommendation for beginners to try spirit walking the Lower World with the only caution “don’t bring anything back”.

    That’s why I like Raven’s writing, he makes it clear from the start that you need to learn the basics first and its can be dangerous working with spirits without some knowledge first.

  359. Dear Archdruid,

    I recall that you’ve written a book about a possible ultimate encounter between the U.S. and China. Can you remind me of the name of it and where to find it? Thanks!

  360. Can’t resist sharing an overheard conversation on impeachment hearings.

    Heard at health club in Folsom, CA (yeah the Johnny Cash Folsom) This was a bedroom town for the prison and nearby airbase and Aerojet labs in the 60s. (I could hear the roar of the engines for the Apollos mission being tested when in high school.) Now a bit more upscale with influx of tech people for Intel and similar firms. Patrons of health club are mainly older, retired, at least on Sunday morning.

    A raises topic of impeachment hearings, opines that Congress should be doing the work they were sent to do instead of fooling around with hearings.
    B “Well they can’t beat Trump at the box office so they do this instead–I meant voting box”
    A “That was sure a Freudian slip–it is all showboating for them”

  361. JMG said:’ “One of the things I found profoundly depressing about the response of the Left to the Clinton campaign is that so many women were so starry-eyed about having a woman taking on a formerly male role that none of them seemed to care that the role in question was “warmonger.” ‘
    I couldn’t agree more. I had been attending a Quaker meeting until then, but apparently the Quakers were less interested in pacifism than in having HRC for president. I stopped attending at about that time.

  362. It seems as though a scriptwriter at SNL has been inspired by the more recent blogs of our esteemed host. The skit even has popcorn!

  363. JMG – re last week’s ingress chart: 3 more court things to watch vs. the Trump administration

    1) California and 17 other states sue over the California EPA waiver “revocation”.
    (scare quotes because there is no statutory authority to revoke a waiver once granted).
    https://electrek.co/2019/09/20/california-automakers-stay-the-course-on-emissions-agreement-defying-epas-illegal-move/

    2) Trump is pursuing anti-trust action against 4 large auto-makers who side with California against Trump’s EPA gas mileage rollback.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/06/doj-launches-antitrust-probe-over-auto-emissions-deal-with-california-wsj-reports.html

    3) The Trump Secretary of the Interior is trying to raise Shasta Dam to benefit some of his former lobbying clients. California says not so fast.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/28/climate/bernhardt-shasta-dam.html
    https://www.redding.com/story/news/2019/08/29/order-stop-shasta-dam-raising-report-upheld-appeals-court/2157768001/

    Jim W, Martin – thanks for the pointer to Kohr.

  364. Hi John

    Well I think Trump is not “retreating from empire”, because to increase even more the +700 billions US$ “defense” budget is not to defend the country from external attacks, but to maintain the imperial rule in the world even more assertively (Trump said that the military was “depleted”, ¿?)

    I think the military are quite happy with Trump because they are tired of the forever wars in the ME where they do not know who they are fighting and who they are really helping; on the other hand the Trump focus on China is another matter, this is a real big “struggle”, as in the Cold War; the battle is with a peer power and full of moral content defending “the Free World” against “Tiranny” and with a much higher budget to buy and test toys…In fact I think the struggle against China, even militarily, is much more popular in US than anyother conflict in the last decades, after all the chinese “depleted” the US of jobs and industries and play “the opium war” against America with fentanyl, and for this reason and others, people are saying that China is the real enemy of the US, and also of our threatened friends in Australia, NZ, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, etc…

    It is like the roman legions that prefer to fight Carthage than some obscure germanic tribes where really you never win

    I think you will not see any candidate for president that promise a significant reduction in the military budget. For example Sanders voted in favor of the F35 project and he is the Democratic candidate most supportive of Pentagon budget reduction, but I am sure he will not run for president. Gabbard and Warren have voted positively in the majority of the very expensive military expending bills in the senate, so they are not “dovish” at all.

    I think the Praetorian Guard (MIC) will not allow a “retreat from empire” to any president in the existing form of the USofA

    Cheers
    David

  365. @Caryn Banker re video games,
    I’ll just briefly mention that both addiction and depression are among the well documented biological effects of various forms of non-ionizing radiation (radio waves and lower frequencies) put out by these devices. Both effects are complex in nature and there are other factors related to use that feed into these psychological issues, but the physiological effects give a good hard shove in that direction. I’ve seen toddlers screaming for use of a smart phone at supermarkets where I used to see them screaming for candy.
    I heard someone many years back patented a safer cell phone. What we ought to be doing is demanding safer technology like that, but too few people are aware of this problem, so there is not enough demand. The manufacturers rightly fear getting sued–no one will insure them against this. So they and other vested interests, possibly in some cases to attempt to control us, apply ridicule and in recent years, attacks on anyone bringing this up.
    Buyer beware.

  366. For Temporary Reality and anyone else wondering what we’re doing or if it’s enough: We are modeling alternatives to the status quo that will eventually need to go away. Right now, the status quo is the status quo because it is often the only option put out. Young people especially need to be able to see that there are other options.

  367. Walt,

    In my opinion the “let them eat bugs” thing the elite are promulgating is about class warfare and degrading the lower classes by making them eat a taboo food

    Since internal competition among the elites is so fierce and there is a catastrophic oversupply the only way they can get more status and the attendant dopamine rush is to lower the status of others

    Taking away cars, food, culture, jobs and everything else that makes them have even the remotest sort of equality is the only way they can gain that status in what they perceive to be a zero sum game. I eat meat, you eat bugs. Given fellow elites will squash them , the logical alternative is to go after the lower classes.

    It’s dangerous though, a renegade elite , Trump being an example can command a lot of loyalty from pissed off lower classes the and the US lowers, these days anyone middle and below are heavily armed and many trained in urban warfare and/or having understanding of the systems that keep everything running

    This is a risky ploy but by and large the elites have the moral baseline of a meth head at times and are capable of anything no matter how stupid.

  368. JMG: there is one section of the country that still remembers what losing a war was like. And they won’t be happy to be bumbled into another big loss by people in high and far away places.

  369. I’m a little late to the comment cycle, but just wanted to say the conversation this week has been great as usual.

    On the subject of places to live, and infrastructure, we just got back from a 1.5 week trip to the area my husband and I have decided to relocate to (in the very inland PNW, Eastern WA/Northern ID). I lived in this area as a teen, and still have friends there, and was treated with love and respect way back then, despite it being a very rural, very red, very conservative area, and me showing up as a punk from Los Angeles with lots and lots of family baggage. The area remains the same, full of wonderful people and extremely beautiful and abundant natural resources, amazing roads and infrastructure, little traffic, and happy people. The only thing keeping us moving now is a lack of inventory on the market! It’s nice to know every place on earth isn’t as insane as here.

    On the subject of the Bay Area, I have been here for nearly 25 years, my husband since being born in 1972. We have witnessed this area devolve into (for me) hell on earth. The energy here is unbearably negative, verging on scary. I have multiple times personally witnessed people shooting up, defecating, masturbating, and in one case literally dying on the streets.The streets of Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco (among others) are lined with tents, RVs, and garbage. While I was gone my constant head-aches and respiratory problems completely disappeared, along with a constant feeling of low level anxiety and panic. I’m not sure how people live here happily, but they somehow do.

    And lastly, on the subject of the environmental movement and Greta, I thought I would share these essays from today. I thought they fit well with the conversation, and with several of the theme JMG has been discussing.
    https://zeroanthropology.net/2019/09/28/trees-talk-and-sometimes-they-also-tell-lies/
    https://zeroanthropology.net/2019/09/29/girls-groupies-and-grim-reapers-the-religious-politics-of-mass-response/

  370. Nobody in the media seems to have noted… Trump went to the UN and said the US wasn’t going to war with Iran, essentially abandoning the Carter Doctrine… and it was only AFTER that Pelosi finally supported impeachment.

    Trump has made many dodgy deals. Why this one in particular? The timing is suggestive.

  371. Nanki,

    “A limited government is a good thing in my opinion.”

    Maybe so, but I think something needs to be clarified. As I see it, it goes like this. The wealthy people who own and control the corporations and/or who are very wealthy for whatever reason, do not like government interference or regulations. Those laws and regulations might stop them from treating employees like slaves, or tell them to clean up their mess.

    So they constantly get regular people to carry water for them by putting out memes about big government and regulations. Well, we all know that some governments have been big and oppressive and some regulations are indeed unfair and hamper people’s lives. So it gets sympathy. But in reality, we need a decent and sensible government because it is the only entity strong enough to stand up to the money power and protect the people or the environment from their unfettered excesses.

    The only way I can see to improve our government is to stop having all the congress beholden to donors for their next election. The money should be removed and campaigns publicly financed. They have become increasingly expensive and that plays into the hands of billionaires because what is a lot of money to us is laundry money for them.

    And so the congresspersons have a very divided duty in whom they must serve.

  372. Regarding birthrates,

    this site displays the current situation rather well:

    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2016/06/why-this-time-is-completely-utterly.html
    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2019/09/is-elon-musk-right-about-global.html
    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2019/02/two-worlds-wealthy-nations-population.html

    (thought you’d like that first title …and I’m not sure why he brings up Elon Musk in the second.)

    Before coming across this, I knew birthrates had been declining pretty much everywhere but I didn’t know that the entire developed world was below replacement and set to have its working age population contract in the near future.

    Another of his posts relates the issue to oil consumption:

    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2019/08/declining-quantities-of-consumers-vs.html

    Would you be willing to address this factor in your upcoming post on peak oil?

    The big picture still looks like the same ‘limits to growth’ model that gives us the long descent, though this collapse in the working age population seems sooner than what I was expecting. If one country or another is capable of subsidizing a fracking industry for another decade or two, the working age population in the countries that consume the bulk of the energy produced will be contracting ahead of the energy supply.

    The whole thing has me wondering if this is declining net energy, in one way or another, causing young people to delay having children, or if we’ve had such abundance for so long that we find ourselves inside the human equivalent of Calhoun’s ‘mouse utopia’…

    Either way, its good for the planet I suppose…

    -Jason P.

  373. Eat the Pests,

    I imagine a pellet gun, or failing that, a wrist rocket might do it! Either is pretty quiet. I’ve put the hurt on a few future dinners with glass marbles ejected at pace from a wrist rocket. A .410 obviously won’t do…

    The whistle pig in question was munching on a would-be friend’s kale patch when he was suddenly shot with a .22 round by my soon-to-be friend. My future friend had dug a beautiful grave for the little blighter and was just about to toss him in when we showed up to see our friend/his new girlfriend, and introductions postponed the act. I saw the fresh groundhog lying there by its grave and asked if I could have him. (He still had kale in his mouth.) I told him I had an urban forager friend in Atlanta who said they were good eating. New friend seemed amused and of course agreed, whereupon I whipped out my pocketknife and went to town. Not nearly as easy as a rabbit or tree rat, but not overly difficult. Nice red meat under all that bristly fur. Been good friends with that guy ever since.

    Cheers.

  374. Was it on this blog that several people mentioned seeing a loss of local insects and birds after 5g was installed? This is really frightening.

  375. Booklover, I wish I did. Anyone else?

    Duprau303, indeed I can. The title is Twilight’s Last Gleaming and you can order a copy direct from the publisher here.

    Rita, funny! I suspect that sort of thing is being said in a lot of places just now.

    Phutatorius, it baffles me that so much of the Left cashed in their ideals so readily. Call me unrealistic, but I thought some of them actually believed in all that stuff about peace.

    PatriciaT, I suppose it’s possible!

    J.L.Mc12, that settles it. Climate activism has now definitively jumped the shark; we can expect to see it implode over the next year or two.

    Sunnnv, many thanks for this.

    David BTL, I suspect you’re right.

    DFC, well, we’ll just have to see what happens, won’t we?

    Arkansas, true enough — and in fact one of the Chinese characters in my novel Twilight’s Last Gleaming discusses this with another, while the two of them are plotting the military campaign that will hand the US its first serious defeat.

    Tude, whereabouts on the eastern Washington/western Idaho border? My wife’s from Spokane and I spent a fair amount of time traveling in eastern Washington at a couple of points in the past, and always got a friendly welcome despite beard and ponytail. Many thanks also for the links.

    Kiashu, it is indeed.

    Jason, that’s a complex issue; many thanks for the stats. I’ll need to talk about the impending population bust sometime soon.

    Your Kittenship, true enough.

  376. I blew it.
    On the Risk Zone Map I should have checked what happens to California’s Central Valley at lower sea levels.

    At one foot rise there is ocean to Tracy and Stockton. To the north about an equal amount.

    https://ss2.climatecentral.org/#9/38.1993/-122.1693?show=satellite&projections=0-K14_RCP85-SLR&level=1&unit=feet&pois=hide

    If you click on “m” next to “ft” above “Show current coast” in the lower left it will show up to 30 meters rise.

    The aquifer under the valley has been over extracted. I would expect sea water to be absorbed and contaminate a much larger area – but I haven’t looked this up.

    Oops, now I look. Complex in depth. Saltwater intrusion gets mention.
    DRAFT Central Valley Region Climate Change Work Plan
    https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/board_info/meetings/1706_r5climate_wp_draft.pdf

    Rising Sea Levels Will Hit California Harder Than Other Places
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rising-sea-levels-will-hit-california-harder-than-other-places/

    If the sea levels do continue rising at an accelerating rate CA might not be the best place to be. Climate might not be very nice either.

    I find it odd that people dismiss agriculture. This is fundamentally an agricultural society. Subtract agriculture and ALL is lost except for a very few competent survivalists.

  377. JMG,

    Have you heard anything more definitive about the Michael Mann versus Tim Ball lawsuit that was dismissed with costs in Tim Ball’s favor? I did find one site reporting the judges ruling (See the ruling at this link https://www.steynonline.com/documents/9740.pdf) but the ruling does not make it clear as was asserted that it was the release of Mann’s raw data on which the court had been waiting…Just that the delays on Mann;s part / team were inexcusable in the judges opinion.

    I have to admit until you raised it in an earlier post I was not even aware that a lawsuit was underway nor had I seen Tim Ball’s version of the time period covered by Mann’s original Hockey Stick graph with a very different interpretation of whether current temperatures have ever been seen in the last two thousand years.

    I would love to hear your take on all of this as it’s quite difficult, at least for me, to make sense of both sides claims. Ball seems to be saying that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) from about 900 A.D. to 1300 A.D experienced temperatures in the range of those we have experienced over the last couple of decades. Of course if that were true it would at least raise the possibility that we would need to consider that factors other than the industrial revolution and commensurate CO2 emissions were the main driver for recent temperature increases.

    Mann’s position seems to be the opposite and this all seems to hinge on whose reconstruction of previous temperatures from ice cores, three growth rings and the like, is most plausible.

    Furthermore any investigation of this question also leads to articles on both sides pointing out that the CO2 emissions from natural sources in absolute terms dwarf those from human sourced activities. For example plant respiration and microbial respiration and decomposition and oceans emit 750 Gigatons of CO2 and humans activities about 30 Gigatons. There is quite a detailed discussion from NASA at https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/CarbonCycle which implies there are fast and slow carbon cycles and AGW is effecting the fast cycle. And an explanation at skeptical science https://skepticalscience.com/Human-CO2-Peddling-Myths-About-The-Carbon-Cycle.html

    Folks advocating for limiting CO2 emissions take the position that although natural sources of CO2 are much larger than man made CO2 they are normally in equilibrium more or less so the extra we are putting into the system really matters. Those who are skeptical that the effects of human sourced CO2 could be the primary forcing function to temperature rise seem to imply that the relative size means it’s unlikely to be the cause, plus water vapor has a much larger effect and as CO2 concentrations rise the increase in greenhouse effect does not rise linearly but rather at a small percentage of the increase..

    Thanks for any insights you can give on understanding the Michal Mann / Tim Ball case and the wider discussion of whether any of the criticisms of Mann’s paper and the science behind it have any validity in terms of temperature reconstructions and the relative effect on human sourced CO2.

  378. Jmg, dfr1973, RyanS, (and Onething, re: pollinators, below, though not 5G)

    Roger that (keep on with the personal work – and not giving in to the momentary crisis of thinking that personal actions are of little consequence when one has a small sphere of influence)

    I suppose too it’s a type of hubris to pretend I know what my influence is., actually.

    For example, I live in a tract of 1970s houses – a rather ugly-in-monotony ‘suburbia’ where you’d think there’s little biological diversity for all the lawns and pavement and proximity (2 blocks) to conventional monocrop ag fields, and neighbors with contracted fumigators… And yet I am amazed at the abundance of insect life in my yard*. SO MANY pollinators! At least there’s one more little haven in the world. Even if I haven’t inspired any neighbors to take out their lawns, at least I removed mine and I think the creatures and plants are glad of it. I just did the simple act of planting things, for enjoyment.

    So,yeah I’m not going to debate anything with anyone -those who like to do that can do so. It turns out that my actions express my opinions most eloquently anyway, and where they (the actions) fall short it’s just a chance to keep at it until I’m aligned with my deeper self inside and out.

    Thanks again

    *I am apparently THAT PERSON who,once started on the subject of her garden won’t shut up. Apologies. I’ll be mindful of not becoming the embodiment of comment-section Bermuda grass.

  379. J.L.Mc12 – I agree with John – that guy in Sydney is over the top.

    But thanks – in the same paper is this about the more sensible approach of minimalists:
    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/sep/29/i-sold-our-house-and-gave-away-our-stuff-the-minimalists-doing-more-with-less

    John – Speaking of giving things away, the Governator gave Greta (use of?) a Tesla Model 3.
    https://www.teslarati.com/greta-thunberg-tesla-model-3-arnold-schwarzenegger/
    https://thedriven.io/2019/09/30/arnold-schwarzenegger-arranges-tesla-model-3-transport-for-greta-thunberg/

    J.L.Mc12, Chris, any Australian – then I noticed this:
    https://thedriven.io/2019/09/30/sentry-mode-model-3-captures-car-thief-video/

    The text says “sprung a car thief” – so in Australian English, “spring” means to catch?
    In the U.S. in means to free.

  380. Booklover – my go-to book on hand sewing is “Hand Mending Made Easy.” by Nan L. Ides, a thin paperback that cost $15 USD back in 2005 (I got it second-hand.) I would quarrel with the statement that plain old polyester or cotton-covered polyester three ad will do fine: even if you have to mail-order it, go for the all-cotton thread that comes on thin 2-inch spools, unless what you’re mending is polyester. You might also want some heavy quilting thread for thick fabrics. Also it talks about sewing on a fancy applique for a patch. Lotsa luck finding one these days that isn’t iron-on and stiff with glue!

    One note: I am 5′ tall and can buy pants in any length I please, so if your dream pants are several inches too long, get out the old needle and thread. Circle skirts or cloaks? Easy as Pi.

    Good luck.

    Pat “Are you REALLY doing that by HAND?!?!?!” former SCA’er.

  381. “…encourage native pollinators, not just honeybees. I wonder how many people realize that in the New World, honeybees are an invasive species…”

    As are earthworms!

  382. “Trump went to the UN and said the US wasn’t going to war with Iran, essentially abandoning the Carter Doctrine” – I listened to that speech from start to finish and Trump said no such thing. He called out what Iran has been doing in the ME and said we would support our allies in fighting it. The absence of a statement about going to war militarily doesn’t mean he said the US wasn’t going to go to war. Absence of evidence isn’t evidence.

    Trump has said in the past he wasn’t going to announce his military moves before he makes them, saying that past presidents did it all the time and it was stupid. He seems to have stuck to his word on this and I haven’t heard the flexing of military movements in the media. But of course the media hates him so their coverage would be “Trump moved an air craft carrier and here are five people to tell us why this is the worst move at this time and shows his ineptness.”

    Trump did mention the rebuilding of the US military and requiring them and this is something that is curious. We haven’t has announcements of new flying lard buckets or other giant projects, so what is this new equipment?

  383. My 2c on Greta the Terrible:

    When I was a youngster, there was always a bossy girl around who appointed herself policeman and threatened to tell on us if we ever carried out whatever devilment we were planning. Greta seems to be such a type. I don’t know what motivates them, but it sure isn’t a desire for popularity.

  384. @Onething,
    I haven’t run into comments here from people witnessing problems from 5G, but I am here off and on. 5G is not widespread enough yet for many people to be noticing it. The preliminary reports are worrying.
    I’ve remarked on the loss of birds and pollinating insects in our field when 7 smart meters were installed facing it from adjacent houses. Smart meters are said to vary among models in the amount of damage they cause, and TEPCO’s seem to be pretty bad. It could also be that something else occurred at the same time–we appear to have lost all the cats in the neighborhood this year, too, including ours (we are grieving). A mass poisoning? But I saw all the kites gather and fly away, and there was one distinctive crow that moved to a forest edge at a few hundred meters distance. Today I saw a crow of a species common in urban areas that used not to live here. It came into our field, and less than five minutes later, left. Last year, we had mobs of sparrows at this time, feeding on grass seeds, with crows and kites occupying almost all power poles nearby. This year, I see a few now and then, but not in our field and never on the power poles. I’m hypothesizing the wires act as repeater antennas for the radio waves, and it is the abrupt changes in those due to the smart meters that is disturbing the birds.

  385. @onething: “Was it on this blog that several people mentioned seeing a loss of local insects and birds after 5g was installed? This is really frightening.”

    Insect populations have been dropping all over the world including places where 5g has yet to reach. Researchers are blaming it on higher temperatures.

  386. @OneThing

    re: 5g Yes, there has been discussion here, at least about wireless smartmeters + disappearance of insects and birds. Not sure if it specifically addressed 5G, but I think about it every time I see a gleeful article in the local news about how our town is going to be the first in our state to get 5G capabilities. I do not want to be the guinea pig, and had assumed that we are enough of a backwater that we’d be pretty far down the list, with the big cities getting it first.

    Apparently, concerns are mainstream enough to have hit Newsweek:
    https://www.newsweek.com/migratory-birds-bee-navigation-5g-technology-electromagnetic-radiation-934830

    Not sure how reliable the source is, but I found this alarming:
    https://www.wildculture.com/article/birds-falling-sky-knowing-how-5g-could-affect-us/1770

    I take some comfort in the fact that even though there is a giant cell tower visible from our porch, our yard still hums and buzzes with cicadas, mosquitoes, and dragonflies, and our pond and surrounding swamp is still full of frogs (so many that when rain comes, the frogsong is deafening). But… I’ve been really surprised at the lack of birds since we moved here. We’ve seen a couple of cardinals, there are usually buzzards somewhere overhead, and we hear great horned owls at night, but do not normally see any songbirds at all, when we go outside. This is weird, and not at all like our previous home.

  387. Onething,

    “Something that has been bothering me lately is how gullible people are to belief systems and how they hate to have them examined/interrogated. And how logic and reason have no sway over it. Perhaps this is part of the reason for that tendency.”

    Belief is so important it can be considered an instinct. Instincts don’t evolve in a vacuum. The fact that people the world over have this instinct to believe leads me to conclude that it is an adaption that evolved because it works exceedingly well.

    In the case of magic some would argue that belief in it is an odd misapplication or short circuit of the mental machinery of belief. If that were true though I don’t believe we’d see that misapplication happen in almost every single culture we examine. Over time the costliness of it would become apparent and it would disappear from populations. If anything we’ve seen the opposite.

  388. JMG, we are looking on the Palouse (I used to live in the Clearwater river valley, and sometimes attended a sister church in Moscow back in the 80s). There’s something very special going on in that area, although it’s been special as long as I have known it. We are specifically looking between Moscow/Pullman and Spokane.

    I go there and feel like I can breathe. There is a large growth in manufacturing and ongoing farming, and a need for skilled machinists and mechanics (like my husband). Not many know of the place, and those that do think of it as remote, backwards, boring. Everyone we tell here we are moving there asks sardonically, “why would you want to move there?” Our reply is….that’s why. I don’t know if it’s the perfect place or not, but it feels right to me. My grandparents (who raised and adopted me) both died there. One of my surrogate “mothers” lives in Orofino and is 85 and not doing well, so I’d like to be closer. And my husband refuses to leave the West. So it checks all the boxes. Now I suppose I need some sort of ritual to help me get there!

  389. Re Franco’s tomb. JMG and others.

    Why is exhuming him a bad idea? I don’t understand the nature of the problem.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  390. @Onething

    “Government regulations vs big corporations”

    It’s a double-edged sword. In reality big corporations love government rules and regulations because these destroy any potential competition from small and medium businesses. A big corporation can pay the price of conforming to rules, but a small company can’t. I’ve been in a small business destroyed by regulations and I’ve also been part of a corporation which benefited from the lack of competition; and when Big Money is in bed with Big Government they make sure that only the right kind of regulations get adopted.

    I agree that we need to get big money out of politics. But how? Easier said than done at this stage. We would need another american revolution to accomplish that.

    “Loss of birds and insects to 5G”

    I can see it happening. But I believe 5G tech will be mostly confined to big cities by economic factors. So we’re probably safe.

    @everyone

    “Eating bugs”

    I suggest that the UN officers that proposed that would lead us by example and start serving bugs at the UN headquarters cafeteria. I will stick to hamburgers, thank you very much, chicken salad sandwiches are also pretty nice. A bug sandwich? Probably not so much.

  391. @Booklover

    Are you looking for a reference on hand-sewing or machine-sewing? Good machine sewing references are easy to find: you just look for the old ones. I just picked up a Singer sewing book from 1946, and it is just lovely: everything you’d need to know about sewing and basic clothing construction, minus stretchy fabrics, zigzag stitch, and serger machines. Cost a dollar at a thrift store.

    It’s harder to find good references for practical hand-stitching technique, but a decent “vintage” embroidery reference will get you far. I’m fond of Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book, and used to have a copy of the Woman’s Day American Needlework book by Rose Wilder Lane (not quite as comprehensive an embroidery reference, but decent).

    If anyone else here knows of a good non-embroidery type hand-sewing reference, do tell! I’d love to have one!

    @Caryn

    re: electronic parenting: Everything you said. Yes. It kind of breaks my heart to see how much my kids’ same-age peers are owned by electronic media. The worst part of it is, I’ve worked so hard to get my kids to literacy and competence in the world of ink-on-paper, and hand-tools, and the outdoors/nature… and have succeeded reasonably well so far, IMO… and this alienates them from peers. My eldest, at 7, is really good at things adults appreciate: he’s articulate, he reads well, and he has a large vocabulary (for a kid in 2019. Probably about average for a kid in 1910). And I know perfectly well that, were he in school, that’d be three strikes against him, in the eyes of his peers. He’s also reasonably competent with a hammer and a hand-saw (and little brother is his devoted Igor on all projects), can tell the difference between the local water-snakes and cottonmouths from in-person observation, and spends most of his spare time outdoors (in the subtropics). We have found exactly zero other children who are willing and able to play(or even keep up) with my kids outdoors. “It’s too hooooot!” “I’m tiiiired” “There are bugs out here”… “Can’t we play inside?” This is conditioning (specifically: air conditioning), not biology. Are there going to be enough climate-controlled desk jobs for all these kids, when they grow up?

    I’m struggling with this. I KNOW that in the long run, literacy and physical competence (and good health!) will serve him well. But he needs friends, too, and I have no idea where/how to find him some. Other parents are kind of horrified that I let him use sharp implements and play in the swamp (OMG DANGER!), other kids aren’t interested in the things he likes to do (do boys not build forts anymore?)… his fellow cub scouts can’t seem to talk about anything but Fortnite (an online MMORPG). It’s like hanging out with aliens.

    I don’t know what to do about that.

    To the larger readership: Any ideas on low-tech socializing of children? How does one locate like-minded parents?

  392. JMG, I have a suggestion. I’ve been a fan of Retrotopia since it was on The Archdruid Report, and have hoped for additional stories since. So, I want to suggest that you do a short story contest set in that world. Thanks!

  393. Kimberly: thanks so much for that walk down vegan memory lane! I’d almost managed to forget about the veggie hot dogs in a can 😛 . Hot and spicy mock duck was a revelation to rival that of St. Paul when the Vietnamese arrived and started opening restaurants in my area…

  394. @ booklover and useful sewing books

    If you want to learn how to hand-sew really well, use a book written back in 1913 to teach little girls better needle skills:

    https://www.amazon.com/Frances-Sewing-100th-Anniversary-Story-Instruction/dp/1937564010

    You make doll clothes but the concept for hand sewing remains the same.

    After that, go to any large, used bookshop and start perusing their sewing and crafts section. Look for older books. The illustrations won’t be as complete but they won’t expect you to own a $2000 Bernina either.

    A very good title is Design It, Sew It, and Wear It: How to Make Yourself a Super Wardrobe Without Commercial Patterns. Duane Bradley published this little gem back in 1979. Work through all the chapters and you’ll have an understanding of how to force flat cloth into three-dimensional garments.

    Reader’s Digest published a great general sewing book. It’s very detailed and packed with illustrations.

    Because of the miracle of Project Runway, there are many new titles (ask at the library) on making your own wardrobe. Some come with their own patterns. They are aimed at a youth market so adjust fabric choices, necklines, and hemlines so you don’t look like the oldest teenager in the world.

    Another way to start is down at the thrift shop. Get a dress that fits reasonably well, cut off the bodice, and make it into a skirt. Carefully pick apart a shirt that fits reasonably well, iron all the sections, and use it as a pattern. Take two dresses, rip them, and combine them. The cost of entry is very low and you can see how garments are constructed.

    Sewing books are like cookbooks: sometimes you keep one because it’s the only one that shows the ‘right’ picture for a technique.

    Most importantly, you don’t have to sew a garment that looks exactly like the pattern envelope. You can make any hemline longer (or shorter). Put your buttons where you need them so your front placket doesn’t gap right at your bust point. Necklines can be made higher or lower without too much difficulty. Don’t try to alter how sleeves are set in until you have a lot of experience.

    Finally, start sewing garments with pj’s. Fit is relatively unimportant and no one will ever see you in public wearing them. Look for a pull-on top (to avoid the front placket and buttonholes) and pull-on, elastic waist pants. Polar fleece is very forgiving and warm for the winter.

    Expect to rip and resew every seam twice as you get the hang of it. I still rip seams and I’ve been sewing for decades.

    Teresa from Hershey

  395. Electric bikes: not every bike needs to be electric. I can ride around the center of my small town well enough but to ride from home to town (home to work) I encounter several very large hills over my ten mile trip. Not every place people live or play is as flat as the nation’s coasts or the midwest. I also live in a very hot and humid part of the country.

    I can make this trip to town and back on my unassisted gravelbike but once I arrive at my destination – there is a significant need for a recovery time. I need to clean up to be presentable – not soaked through with sweat – and I need time to rest as I am exhausted.

    The electric bike is a very good tool for getting people out of their cars for short trips. Like everything though the marketing is delivered to everyone whether they live in a place where they really benefit from battery boost or not. Its not that different from telling people that they “deserve” 350HP and luxury interiors in a vehicle they’ll use for commuting or shopping when a 75HP early 80s Toyota would get the same task done.

    Electric bikes are a growth market right now and everyone wants to profit.

  396. Greetings… I take a few days away from the computer, and so much great stuff shows up here…

    Dennis Sawyers – regarding insomnia, I’ve been inspired (by JMG’s other blog, in fact) to put together a little practice that seems effective for me. I meditate on the themes of “Earth, Water, Air, and Fire”. By rambling around with all kinds of associations, I distract my mind from immediate issues, and get some pleasing new insights. For example, one thread might go like this: “I thank God for the Earth that supports and nourishes the crops that we eat, for the Water from the sky that dissolves nutrients in the Earth and transports them through the crops, for the Air that carries the CO2 of my breath to them, and for the Fire with which we cook our foods.” Another might be “I thank God for the Earth as my vehicle for orbiting in the cosmos and for support to the paths that I travel; for Water on which ships travel, for Air that supports the jets we travel long distances in, and for the Fire that makes the machines move.” I haven’t reached limits yet.

  397. For all, regarding Hunter Biden – Some Democratic-leaning panelists were discussing the Ukraine issue on the radio, and one of them admitted that he thought Hunter Biden never should have taken the job in Ukraine, but, if his father used a *little* influence to help his son get a job, is that so bad?

    Either that’s a smokescreen, or a failure of imagination. It seems more likely to me that someone in Ukraine needed a favor, perhaps regarding a gas pipeline, from the US administration, and said “we can donate some money to the Clinton Foundation, but Mr. Biden… you don’t have a foundation. How can we pay you off? We need a vehicle…” Sources I’ve read today disagree on whether Hunter collected $30,000 per MONTH, $50,000, or $83,000 per month, but that might just be the key that explains why Hunter is talking to Ukrainians, while they engineer the cash pipeline for the real payoff.

    This is strictly speculation, of course, but based on reading about other instances of international corrupt practices.

  398. Chris at Fernglade – You claim that the recent “climate change movement” is just “talk, talk, talk.” I beg to disagree; in fact it’s “fly around the world, talk, and fly around the world again.” We’d be better off if it was just talk. Someone should introduce them to the telephone… but, we’ve seen what happens with phone calls. They can’t be as private as a face-to-face meeting, and you can’t pass an envelope of cash (or blackmail photos) through a video-teleconference.

  399. Justin Patrick Moore – When you said that SpaceX claims to have a great system for predicting on-orbit collisions, didn’t you also say that, when the USAF raised the alarm over a possible collision, they refused to ACT to mitigate the risk? They played “chicken” until the other guys spent their on-orbit fuel to maneuver.

  400. temporary reality – Take small steps! Only by taking small steps, yourself, can you set an example for others to take their small steps, and then maybe larger ones.

    I ride my bicycle to church (and back) almost every Sunday. I imagine that people know I’m eccentric because I’m not coated in Spandex cyclist gear. If the weather’s warm, my pant cuffs are rolled up; if it’s cold, they’re tucked into my socks. But, if anyone’s paying attention, I’m furnishing an “existence proof” that a bike can be practical transportation. And I know that some do pay attention, because I once heard this, from the sidewalk: “Ow My Gawd! There’s a !#*^** bicycle in the car lane!”

    Whenever I see “climate change activists” marching for “change”, I get the urge to ask them “what are YOU willing to CHANGE? Are you willing to … take half as many showers, and half as long? Hang your clothes on a line to dry? Find a carpool to your job? Just what do you expect the change you demand to look like?”

  401. JMG and BCV – someone mentioned “governing by concensus”. A friend of a friend has recently moved from a Washington DC suburb to an “over 55 co-housing intentional community” in Shephardstown, WV. It’s a mix of late-career and retired people, of course, and they have a weekly community supper, and (according to a local newspaper story) they decide all significant issues by concensus. According to my friend, who’s been out for a visit, they’ve only been fully built for a year or so, and they’re not keeping the grass cut in their common areas. The plan for sidewalk snow removal is “some of us brought our snowblowers from our old houses, so we can take care of it.” That might be fun for the 55-60 year olds, but run the calendar forward a decade, and I’m not so sure how that’s going to work!

    From my service on the board of a small church, even when we use Roberts’ Rules of Order, working people want to get things decided so they can get home, sleep, and get to work the next morning, while retired people find meetings to be an endless source of entertainment.

    I’m very curious to see how this will evolve.

  402. About basic sewing books: One needs to look in second hand stores or online. Earlier than 1980 are best, and before at least 1970 if at all possible are what one should look for. There is one exception, I have never found a use for The Vogue Sewing Book. Even back in the day when Vogue was a renowned company which did give value for money, their sewing book was on shelves but rarely consulted. In the period after WWII many companies associated with sewing put out good sewing books which covered everything from how to get started to home decorating. I have heard Reader’s Digest book of sewing referred to as “The Bible” by a designer. Singer company put out a good book of sewing as did both the Simplicity and McCalls pattern companies and there are others. More recent books can be consulted at a public library before one shells out $30-$60. Read the table of contents; everything up to tailoring and pattern drafting should be covered. Then look at the text AND illustrations. The illustrations should be clear and easy to understand. The text should use everyday language, not professional jargon unless absolutely necessary, and there should be both index and glossary. Sometimes line drawings are more clear than photos. A good one I recently came across is called ABC of Sewing by I forgot the author. The illustrations are in blue and black on white and are excellent.

    Sets of books on sewing and other crafts were popular in the 60s-80s. The Singer set is very good and lavishly illustrated. Singer Co. put out various sewing books, and most of the older ones are quite good. The books in the set turn up in various venues for not too much. I would not order the whole set for a lot + shipping, but they are worth having if you come across them.

    You tube has lots of good sewing videos, and some not so good. I am trying to watch the good ones while internet is still available.

  403. Booklover asked about sewing. Waybackmachine on archive.org has a book named
    ‘Manual of needlework and cutting out : specially adapted for teachers of sewing, students, and pupil-teachers’. It includes some sewing fundamentals.

    PLK

  404. @Simon Peacecraft,

    You might be right about the oligarchy’s agenda in general, but at least for the time being, getting poor people to eat insects isn’t part of that. Otherwise, edible insect protein would be cheaper than other proteins, rather than many times more expensive.

    When I started cooking for myself in the early 1980s, a good “stock up!” sale price on dry pasta was three or sometimes four for a dollar for standard one-pound boxes, and a good “stock up!” sale price on boneless chicken breasts was $1.99 a pound. Now a good sale price on pasta is a dollar a box (more or less following the general inflation factor since then), and a good sale price on boneless chicken breasts is… somehow still $1.99 a pound. Regional economies and ecosystems have been devastated to make that possible. The elite are degrading us with cheap chicken, not with insects.

    To me, there currently seems to be more willful degradation involved in persuading people not to choose less expensive options, to be ashamed or resentful or afraid of them. Drinking non-bottled water. Walking. Cooking at home. Repairing things.

  405. I just learned about “health care sharing ministries,” because a relative joined one. Apparently they’re an alternative to traditional health insurance, and they sound kind of like the old mutual aid societies that were described on the Archdruid Report.

    I did a web search for more info about them and found this: https://millennialmoneyman.com/is-a-health-care-sharing-ministry-right-for-you/ It says: “Health care sharing ministries are Christian-based health insurance alternatives that allow like-minded individuals to share healthcare costs among themselves.”

    That made me wonder: Are they all Christian? Does anyone know of any that are run by another religion? Is anyone a member of one (Christian or otherwise)? I don’t think they would work for me, but they sound interesting and I’d like to learn more about them.

  406. John Michael,

    Your insights are astonishingly lucid as always, but this week – wow! Your comments seem to be expressing many of the deeper lessons more clearly and directly than usual:
    “At the heart of the fixation on a brighter future is contempt for the present moment and its possibilities. That’s what I hoped to shake and, if possible, overturn.”
    “The core of what I’m trying to do here, and a lot of other people are working on in their own ways, is to start by changing consciousness, and let that work its way down the planes.”
    “It’s one of the great failings of modern thought to think that it’s enough to believe in the right things — if you lack the power of will and the self-discipline to do something about them, you might as well believe in the Great Pumpkin instead.”
    “Guilt and shame are not effective motivators for constructive individual action; their goal is to put the other person in a one-down situation where he can be made to submit to the will of the blamer and shamer.”
    “Information doesn’t cycle like matter or flow from sources to sinks like energy. It builds up or degrades, takes on complexity and loses it.”

    Are you feeling the shift I’m noticing, or is that shift taking place in my own reading? Has something you’ve been working on/contemplating freed up this week? Are you channeling an archetype or being ridden by a deity more than you usually are? Let’s face it, you’ve been channeling archetypes since you started blogging – the teacher, the master, the wise one, the changer, the watcher.

    Or is something changing this week in our civilization as a whole and our collective unconscious? Has something detached and come untethered in the deep currents within? Crikey, if that’s the case, changes might come crashing down on us much faster than what we’ve grown used to. When things start bubbling up on the fringes, the center is pretty likely to start boiling soon thereafter. If this shift is civilizational, hopefully your comments are pointing to an increased tolerance for clarity and directness across the board.

  407. “BB, true enough. Can you imagine her ordering millions of people to be shot in order to combat climate change? I certainly can.”

    Ok now you have to see this:
    ‘Greta Thunberg Sings Swedish Death Metal’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLxpgRqxtEA

    Apparently she’s now decided to drop the whole climate change thing and pursue a carrier in Death Metal (jokingly anyway)…
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/entertainment/2019/10/greta-thunberg-says-she-s-now-doing-death-metal-only-after-un-speech-remix.html

    Here’s hoping. It might be a healthier outlet for her rage once she’s dumped by the establishment…

  408. Since I missed Magic Monday…

    On Amazon, they are taking pre-orders for a book you have coming out called The Mysteries of Merlin. Is this a publisher re-titling of Merlin’s Wheel you mentioned in your Magic Monday FAQ?

  409. JMG, Re vinyl records:
    I never gave them up and still have a big collection of jazz, classical, ethnic, and classic rock’roll. Many of these are not available in any other format. When I was living off grid for 13 years in Big Sur CA, I converted my mains powered AR turntable to run on 12vt dc (easy to do as all electronics run on dc current). Yes, there is a difference between analogue and digitally recorded sound, and there is something special about the whole process of taking the record out of its cover (with all the artwork and liner notes), putting it carefully on the turntable, brushing it off before lowering the needle, and then sitting back, taking the time to actually LISTEN to the whole album, instead of treating all music as background muzak. Yeah, that shows respect for the composer and performer. These days every recycle shop has heaps of used vinyl, some in almost pristine condition.

    Speaking of which, a few minor clicks and other imperfections on a record are ok by me. Humans are imperfect by nature, and Its ok to be reminded of that. What I find really yucky is all those airbrushed and filtered “perfect” 20-somethings who populate cyberspace. They “all look the same“ to quote a 60’s song, like dead people lying in caskets after the undertaker has done the job.

    When I was living on my sailboat for 17 years, I used cassette tape copies of my favorite vinyl records (which I kept at my dad’s place along with the turntable and cassette recorder). Good quality tapes and a high-end tape player yield very good sound and the cassettes last a long time, if cared for.

    After moving ashore in NZ, I added CD’s. They are convenient, but the digital process used can never capture all the sound frequencies of a good analogue recording. And CD’s don’t last long if exposed to light.

    About a year ago I got a used iPod to hook up to my home stereo. (I would NEVER be caught dead in public bopping along with earphones on, ignoring reality, -how gross. Almost as gross as ignoring the real person you are talking to the moment your stupid cell phone rings). To be honest, I hardly ever use it. Its too abstract, there’s no physical joy in the process, its soulless and dead.
    Just sayin’

  410. @Booklover The older editions of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing is a good basic skills introduction. Mine was published in 1981, and I’m sure there are older ones. I picked mine up at a library sale. 🙂

  411. Darn, I left a nice comment day before yesterday with thanks to those who replied to my moment of “am I doing anything of use?” but it seems a tech glitch ate it. If it was just held in queue and then both get posted, sorry for the repetition.

    The gist (also somewhat connected to Onething’s pollinator question) was my realization that attempting to know the extent of one’s influence is hubris. I may or may not inspire others to do anything, but at least I do something. In a rather prosaic (if not ugly) suburbanish landscape, I’ve made room for beauty and the pollinators have responded – amazing in number and variety.

    So, yeah, just keep doing the life and beauty affirming things.

  412. otp,

    I do not think we have yet the temperatures of the middle age warming period. Can they grow wine grapes in England? Is the area of the Norse colonies on Greenland somewhat habitable to grow a few crops?

    The MA warm period is not the only one. Of course everything has cycles, and this interglacial is no exception. There was the Holocene climate optimum, the Bronze age warm period and the Roman warm period as well.

    “Folks advocating for limiting CO2 emissions take the position that although natural sources of CO2 are much larger than man made CO2 they are normally in equilibrium more or less so the extra we are putting into the system really matters. ”

    That seems supremely unlikely. It would mean that the ecosystem of planet earth is incredibly fragile and brittle. In a carbon based system, where absolutely everything contributes to the carbon cycle, there should at least be a range. Meanwhile, there have been two times in the past 600 million years when CO2 was at its lowest. The second time was around 12-20 thousand years ago during the last glaciation. It isn’t that much higher now…

  413. “Insect populations have been dropping all over the world including places where 5g has yet to reach. Researchers are blaming it on higher temperatures”

    Boy, is that ever unhelpful! Absolutely everything is blamed on higher temperatures. Talk about a thought stopper! A science stopper. Life is not that fragile. Horses live in the desert and they live in the far north. That’s about 100 degrees. Insects live in Siberia and they live in the topics. In 100 years, .8C temperature rise, most of which already occurred decades ago.

    So what about herbicides and insecticides?

  414. Violet said: I’m pleased to offer seeds I’ve saved to interested folks here at ecosophia.

    Violet, my emails have a bad habit of ending up in the spam folder for some reason. I emailed you earleir but saw no reply. What plants do you have seeds for? My email is green wizard dtrammel at gmail.

    methylethyl said: To the larger readership: Any ideas on low-tech socializing of children? How does one locate like-minded parents?

    I don’t have children BUT a while back we made a Learning Circle on Green Wizards specifically to talk about Family and children. If you don’t mind I’d like to copy your questions onto a new thread there and maybe we can find some way to answer your question.

    The Fifth Circle: Your Family and Your Children

    Lenn said: JMG, I have a suggestion. I’ve been a fan of Retrotopia since it was on The Archdruid Report, and have hoped for additional stories since. So, I want to suggest that you do a short story contest set in that world. Thanks!

    Second that suggestion. A Retrotopia anthology would rock!

    Teresa from Hershey said: If you want to learn how to hand-sew really well, use a book written back in 1913 to teach little girls better needle skills. You make doll clothes but the concept for hand sewing remains the same.

    LOL, that’s why I learned how to sew. My mother during the 60s made a bunch of money sewing Barbie doll clothing and selling it. I was fascinate by how she could make those little outfits to the point I asked her to teach me. I have two sewing machines that are going to come out of storage as soon as I retire.

    Barbie clothing and Ren Faire costuming will teach you alot.

    Lathechuck said: Dennis Sawyers – regarding insomnia, I’ve been inspired (by JMG’s other blog, in fact) to put together a little practice that seems effective for me. I meditate on the themes of “Earth, Water, Air, and Fire”. By rambling around with all kinds of associations, I distract my mind from immediate issues, and get some pleasing new insights.

    That is a great simple invocation to the Four Elements Lathechuck. If you don’t mind I’ll quote you in an upcoming post on the off Green Wizard site “Explorations in Shamanism”. One could do worse than seeking insight into those forces when needing some peace of mind (and a good night’s sleep.)

  415. (best for last)

    Bridge asked: @david trammel: Can you list your 2 other fav books on shamanism please? It’s something I want to explore.

    I have a big shelf in the library for various titles on shamanism.

    My first “go to” book is “Urban Shamanism” by Serge Kahili King. Not because I find his Hawaiian practices compelling or spot on. Frankly some of the later discussions in this book and the follow on, seem to discount the existence of actual spirits, and leans into “its a manifestation of your mind and will”.

    I come back to it for the two sections beginning on page 35 and ending at page 81, which discuss the three facets of human consciousness, and the elemental principles of a Hawaiian shaman’s world view. They so incredibly set forth a system which that just makes sense to me.

    The rest of the book isn’t bad, but I don’t find myself returning to any of that like I do for these two section.

    Explaining my second book choice requires a bit of background. Its actually two books together by an author and are not exactly on shamanism but on divination. Astrology and Divination are both ways to see what is going to happen in the Future. While I enjoy the periodic forecasts John makes I find I prefer Divination. Maybe I view it as the difference between passive and active forecasting. Divination. via the many means, like cards makes you get your hands dirty.

    The two books and card systems are “Sacred Path Cards” by Jamie Sams and “Medicine Cards” by Sams and Carson.

    These two systems are of North American Indian origin, but to me speaks to a broader animalistic (and plant & elemental) spiritual pathway of divining the Future. “Medicine Cards” especially allows for an expansion beyond just typical totems of Coyote and Bear by providing blank cards to be added to your deck. While I have among my spiritual allies both Bear and Spider, I also have “House Cat” (lol). I volunteer at a local animal rescue and I have discovered that the Named Spirit of the common house cat very much sees my effort to protect and rescue her children.

    Both books give you ways to divine the Future but also explain the myth of various animal spirits and to discover how they interact with you. Medicine Cards offers a reading to try and tell which animal spirits watch over you.

    Raven Kaldera wrote something to the effect of “why do so many people have big important spiritual guardians like Bear, Raven or Coyote and not Squirrel?” I’ll leave that discussion for a post on my off Green Wizard site “Explorations in Shamanism” but will say, I do have many rather mundane animal guardians besides Bear.

    (I’m a writer and Grandmother Spider is the one who first taught humans the art of written. She likes us spinners of tales, smiles, and we like her.)

    As for Raven Kaldera’s works.

    I’ve only read his book for neophytes but what impressed the heck out of me was his clear statement that this kind of work can be dangerous, and YOU better learn how to protect yourself.

    Too many books gloss of that.

    He lays out a simple system of grounding yourself, centering and then developing psychic shielding to protect yourself in the first couple of chapters that I think are critical to a beginning shaman. There are some additional teachings I recommend but will do that on my blog so as not to clutter this one, or the Green Wizard site.

    Those are the three books (or 4) which I’d grab off my shelf is my home was burning down.

    Feel free to email me or stop by the Green Wizard site and ask questions Bridge. Best of luck in your journey.

  416. Lathechuck: In Michigan we keep using our snowblowers far into old age. I’m 72 and, unless I drop dead first, will be snowblowing this winter. My neighbor is a good 10 years older and still runs his, although I admit he’s slowing down and maybe soon he’ll have his live-at-home son doing that chore. So, really! Give us old folks a bit of slack.

  417. Booklover –

    I have enjoyed learning from the 1970 copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, picked up for fifty cents from a used book sale, and a much smaller book, 2008 Visual Quick Tips Sewing, same price at same sale. I also just watched this short video on YouTube about historically accurate hand sewing that I found very helpful, called, “How to Sew a Simple Strong Seam by Hand: A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39C_oYPgTpY There are also simple videos to be found on making patterns from your existing clothing. I now look at the thrifted clothing that I own as cheap investments in future clothing.

    Methylethyl –

    I’m over here, homeschooling two girls the same way as you, five and seven years old. And I have no answers, other than to say that I am fervently praying for a friend for both of them. We belong to a homeschool co-op, and meet up twice a week. Sure enough, most of the parents are militantly STEM-oriented and have their kids schooling coming through a screen. The kids can only talk about Minecraft, Fortnight, movies, and television shows. Our girls are “odd” in that they have no screen time, spend hours every day in nature, and are getting a very old-school education at home through classic literature and Waldorf-ish methods. There is no intermingling – my girls seek each other out at break and play or explore together, as they have figured out that none of the other kids are interested in the world around them, Sigh.

    Christophe, (and JMG) –

    I noticed the same thing this week, and am hoping along with you that this is a deeper indication of change.

  418. @ Booklover; I have a copy of Complete Guide to Sewing (Readers Digest Books) and it has a lot of info. on the subject. Yours for the freight cost. Get an address to me and I’ll get it on it’s way. 4th class bookrate postage most likely. You can send the shipping cost on to JMG. I’m retired (that’s a joke, by the way) and don’t need the money.

    Aged Spirit

  419. Phutatorius – You’re right. My own father, in Michigan, is in his mid-80s, and still runs his snowblower. I shouldn’t have assumed that they wouldn’t be able in their co-housing community. But still, there’s the current issue of overgrown lawn plants (grasses and weeds?). If they can’t get that done, snow might be a challenge, too, and sooner than they think.

  420. My husband’s brother’s family belong to a Christian insurance group. They seem to like it..as they have been members for many years (they have a large family), but my impression is that it seems to be really just for those big emergency situations, so you are meeting your own health costs apart from that.. that’s just from observance and listening to comments. My sister in law asked her doctor to lance a boil she had himself rather than have surgery (which she told me would have been a couple of thousand dollars otherwise), which he did for her in a sort of backroom procedure.. and there were other minor family emergencies which they seemed to have to budget for and which constricted their finances for a bit.

  421. David Trammel – You’re welcome to use my “meditation on four elements” concept. I expanded on it, a bit, in the other blog, under Discursive Meditation, so check that out (bottom of the comment log). Let me be a bit mystical, though, and note that there’s a subtle but important distinction between “on four elements” (my phrase) and “on the Four Elements” (your phrase).

  422. @patriciaormsby

    Weird that your pillbugs tasted awful. Did you cook them?Perhaps it was the terrior? If you went through Air Force training where I did (a short way from Lackland) that is a much more arid environment than where I am now. I have noticed some variety in taste: the rounder ones are better than the flatter not so rolly ones. And yes, I love cilantro, but I don’t think it tastes like pill bugs! They made us eat grasshoppers and ants when I went through. The secret to grasshoppers is carry a little canister of cajun spice to dip them in. Ants I found citrus like and tastey as they crawl

    @those above commenting that “let them eat bugs” is an upper-class plot.

    That is a rather unfortunate attitude. I recall reading a thing on wild plant harvesting (I think it might have been Samuel Thayer) where the author tried to teach a foraging class in a poor neighborhood Rather than being happy that they could obtain free, nutritious, tastey foods, the people were angry and thought they were bring insulted by this guy telling them to eat weeds! Strange times we live in where healthy food is despised and white bread and feedlot burgers are considered superior!

  423. Hi JMG,

    This is a late in the day comment, and no need for a response, but I wanted to say here in public that I’ve just this moment finished the first of your Weird of Hali books. I was honestly not sure what to expect from it, and in fact I struggled to get into it for a few weeks after I bought it. Not because of your writing or the story– something just kept me back. Maybe it was because I’m a big fan of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, and I wasn’t sure what you’d do with the Mythos. But I’ve got to tell you that I enjoyed the book immensely. In fact, it’s one of the only books written in this century that I can say that I genuinely love, and I’m going to get the second one as soon as I finish posting this comment!

  424. @ David Trammel

    re: finding low-tech friends for kids: Sure, if anybody’s figured it out, I want to know!

    @ shewhoholdstensions:

    You have my sympathies. I was surprised and dismayed to find the local homeschooler crowd so tech oriented. At park days, the moms are all standing around booping with their smartphones (we keep trying anyway!). And yeah, the kids are all speaking minecraft/pokemon/fortnite (“Mama, I don’t know what they’re talking about”). We do use the computer for Spanish at home, because I can’t teach what I don’t know. But no electronic games. We have stacks of board games and they get a lot of use. We’re following a basic Charlotte Mason approach (so: old-school, literature-based) and we really like it. If we figure out a brilliant (or even humble) solution to the finding-friends problem, I’ll chime in on the next open post. Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be finding our tribe on Facebook 😉

    @ Cary

    re: Christian Healthshares

    We belong to one, we love it, and we actually passed up employer-sponsored insurance for it. It’s so nice to have affordable coverage that isn’t attached to a job, we don’t have to fight with an impenetrable bureaucracy to get things paid for, and nobody tells us what doctors we can see. Also, I feel like a part of my soul dies every time I have to fill out insurance forms.

    Healtshares are not for everyone.

    Most of them are explicitly Christian of one type or another, and require signing a statement of faith and/or getting your pastor to vouch for you as regular churchgoers in good standing. I believe there is at least one Jewish healthshare. Liberty is run by Mennonites and has a fairly broad statement of faith, and I think Freedom may be not-explicitly-religious.

    Ours is roughly equivalent to catastrophic insurance: high deductible, doesn’t cover routine office visits or medications, no pre-existing conditions are covered. But they’ve got your back if your kid breaks a leg, or you get appendicitis. Payment is not like insurance: you tell your medical care provider you’re self-pay, and you may have to pay at least part of a qualifying bill up front– they bill you directly. The healthshare reimburses you after the fact, once you’ve submitted your bills to them. Individual healthshares vary, but ours has a $5k deductible with incentives for negotiating your bill amount with the hospital or care provider: any amount you can get the hospital to discount from your bill, comes off your deductible. So if we rack up a $25k hospital bill, and we can talk the hospital down to $20k on it, the healthshare will cover all of it, we don’t have to pay the deductible amount on that. We’ve only had to invoke ours once, but it was surprisingly straightforward and hassle-free.

    Part of the reason they’re so affordable is that there’s so much stuff they don’t cover. That includes routine things, but also things not compatible with the healthshare’s particular religious ethic– ours doesn’t cover maternity costs for single women, elective surgery, sterilizations, drug rehab, problems incurred by habitual smoking/drinking, STD treatment, etc. You definitely want to check the list of what’s covered and what’s not, before you decide to sign up.

    There’s some variety between the different organizations, and different levels of coverage within each. It’s worth poking around to see if there’s a version that fits your needs.