Not the Monthly Post

Strange Days Dawning

Late in 2019 I wrote a series of posts entitled “Dancers at the End of Time,” sketching out certain weird and deeply troubling shifts in the collective consciousness of our time; you can read them here, here, and here, if you like.  They got about as much attention as my posts here generally do, and I went on to other topics. The shifts I was tracking at that time haven’t gone away, however, and at this point we’ve entered into a very strange landscape of thought.  Three data points, all having to do with climate change, may help provide some kind of orientation in the landscape in which the near future is taking form.

The first is a fiction contest launched last month by Grist Magazine, one of those glossy and shallow environmental journals that strain to put the latest fashionable spin on everything they touch. The editors are soliciting short stories in the genre of cli-fi—that is, climate fiction, science fiction that takes climate change into account; you can read about the contest here.  At first glance that seems promising, and it’s a nice omen that this came out right about the time that the first issue of New Maps, a new quarterly magazine of deindustrial fiction, was landing in mailboxes. If you haven’t checked New Maps out yet, do it—you’re missing a treat.

Ah, but what Grist has in mind isn’t that kind of cli-fi.  They’re explicitly not interested in stories about people adapting, or failing to adapt, to the harsh limits of a deindustrial world, in which the absurd affluence and inflated expectations of the present have had to be discarded. “Our mission,” they say, “is to make the story of a better world so irresistible, you want it right now.”  The things they expect in stories submitted to their contest are as follows, and I quote: “hope; intersectionality; resilience; a society that is radically different from the one we live in today, and how we got there;” and all the way down at the very bottom of the list, “a focus on climate, with creative and clearly articulated solutions that put people and planet first.”

Of course genuflections toward the latest social-justice buzzwords repeat themselves all through the announcement with the inevitability of a nervous tic.  It’s thus a safe bet that the contest will get plenty of those dreary little morality plays in which you can tell the good people from the bad people the moment you know their respective genders and skin colors, and the good people inevitably win through a heroic effort at virtue signaling while the bad people just as inevitably lose by tripping over their own privilege. That’s beside the point I want to discuss here, however. What interests me about this contest is that the people at Grist seem to think that this sort of onanism of the imagination is going to help solve the climate crisis.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone involved in launching this contest that there could possibly be a problem with encouraging people to confuse daydreams of the future they want most with meaningful responses to the predicament of our time.  They haven’t even noticed that you can’t “put people and planet first,” because there’s only one spot at the head of the line:  you can put people first or you can put the planet first, take your pick, but someone’s going to come in second.  (As mathematician John von Neumann pointed out a good many years ago, you can only maximize the value of one variable at a time. It’s precisely because our civilization has tried to ignore that hard fact that we’re in our present predicament.)

The readers of Grist are drawn almost exclusively, after all, from the comfortable classes of today’s overdeveloped nations—precisely those classes whose lifestyles are responsible for the great majority of greenhouse gas emissions.  In an era when those classes have to come to terms with the end of the conditions that made their affluence possible, encouraging them to think that they can have whatever future they find most scrumptious is hardly helpful. A strong case can be made, I think, that what Grist is asking for is not cli-fi but enti-fi, the fiction of entitlement, with no better purpose than to let their privileged and cosseted readers continue to wallow in the hugely counterproductive delusion that they can have their planet and eat it too.

There’s plenty more that could be said about the Grist fiction contest, but let’s move on.  The second data point I have in mind also surfaced last month, when my fellow peak oil blogger and occasional debating partner Ugo Bardi was more or less made a nonperson by Facebook. (You can read his comments here.) His crime?  Raising awkward questions about the latest round of hoopla about the hydrogen economy.

Let’s start by noting that Bardi is anything but ignorant about this subject. He’s a professor of physical chemistry at the University of Florence, and he’s published an impressive number of papers on alternative energy in peer-reviewed journals.  Assessing the prospects of a hydrogen economy is part of his job, in other words, and he’s far better informed about the subject than the social-media flunkeys who are now deciding what he is and isn’t allowed to say on Facebook.  Nor were the Facebook posts in question angry, abusive, or otherwise in violation of the terms of service. They were technical pieces full of number-crunching.

From a certain cynical standpoint, to be sure, it’s not at all surprising that technical discussions of the practicality of a hydrogen economy would be unwelcome to the social media barons. Those of my readers who have been following along since the days of the peak oil movement will remember that every few years, corporate interests have trotted out some new technological gimmick that they claim will surely replace petroleum and save us all. Corn-based ethanol, algal biodiesel, rooftop photovoltaic panels—well, the list goes on and on.  One after another, they’ve been deployed to the accompaniment of lavish claims, they’ve soaked up millions of government dollars, they’ve made corporations rich, and then they’ve folded or faded into the background, having failed to live up to their promises. It’s a familiar song and dance by this point.

Right now green hydrogen is being prepped for an identical role. Green hydrogen?  That’s hydrogen produced using technologies that don’t depend (directly) on burning fossil fuels. There are immense problems with it—energetic, economic, practical—but the same was true of the other nonsolutions just mentioned.  Like them, green hydrogen promises to be highly efficient at pumping tax dollars into the bank accounts of big corporations, and that’s the only efficiency that matters to its promoters. Since Facebook can expect to rake in a share of the advertising dollars that will be deployed to promote green hydrogen to the gullible end of the public, it’s wholly understandable that its censors would find Bardi’s critical thinking unwelcome.

Yet from any other perspective, there’s good reason to ask hard questions about the hydrogen economy, or any other proposed solution to the twin dilemmas of climate and energy we face.  If in fact—and I agree heartily that this is a fact—we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, squeezed by the depletion of fossil fuel resources on the one side, and the consequences of dumping trillions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere on the other, we need all available information on the costs and benefits of proposed responses to that predicament. Deciding in advance of the evidence that the hydrogen economy must be feasible because it’s emotionally appealing, and deleting expert advice to the contrary, is about as counterproductive a choice as I can think of. To be precise, it’s the same attitude that’s at work in the Grist contest, the insistence that the comfortable classes are owed whatever future they happen to fancy.

Here again, we could expand on that, but let’s go on to the third data point, which is an interview in the British newspaper The Independent from January; you can read it here. The interviewee was Sir David King, whom the paper billed as “a top scientist,” whatever exactly that very vague label might mean.  In there. along with a great deal of the same we-must-act-now rhetoric we’ve all heard endlessly repeated for the last forty years, is the claim that in order to prevent catastrophe, we need to refreeze the Arctic Ocean.

Reporters for the Independent routinely quote the most astonishing statements with straight faces, but this was a step too far; the reporter admitted that he burst out laughing.  King stoutly insisted that there’s a study indicating that maybe, if the clouds over the Arctic Ocean are sprayed with salt water, that might make them reflect more sunlight and cool the underlying oceans. (That kind of cloud seeding has had exceedingly mixed results in practice, and King conveniently ducked the hard questions about the cost of doing any such thing at the necessary scale; I don’t recommend posting anything about those questions on Facebook, however, or you’ll end up in the same digital Siberia as Ugo Bardi.)

While we’re at it, Sir David insisted, governments around the world have to halt all new carbon emissions as soon as possible and extract 50 to 60 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year from now on—or if they can’t do that, why, then at least they ought to stump up $30 billion for a climate innovation fund, which will go to fund scientific research. We don’t have to get into the reasons why a professional scientist might want so very tidy a slush fund handed over to his fellow scientists, at a time when other sources of scientific funding are running dry. What I want to do here is compare King’s rhetoric with the evidence of recent history.  Here’s a chart of global primary energy use from 1965 to 2018:

Keep in mind while looking at those lines that the Kyoto Protocol, which was widely ballyhooed as the turning point in the struggle against anthropogenic climate change, was signed all the way back in 1997.  Notice how much difference all the climate change activism and government initiatives since then have made to the pace of fossil fuel consumption—and also how much difference those have made to the gap between fossil fuels and renewables. Now think about the immense mismatch between these inconvenient truths and the wholly imaginary reality in which Sir David King thinks he can expect the governments of the world to shut down all fossil fuel consumption sometime soon, while he one-ups good old King Canute by standing on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, commanding the waters to freeze.

I probably need to make two points before we go on. First, I’ve picked on climate change activism here because it happens to have coughed up a trio of good examples, but situations in which the corporate establishment and its tame media insist that left is right, up is down, and sideways is straight ahead are anything but unusual these days. Visit a mainstream media website or a blog that retails officially approved opinions, for instance, and you can pretty much count on finding something that insists that some perfectly ordinary word— “racist” and “woman” are examples that come to mind—does not mean what it’s meant for hundreds of years; no, it means, and can only mean, whatever the privileged classes want it to mean.  For connoisseurs of surreal thinking, it’s a target-rich environment out there.

Second, as I mentioned earlier, I’m well aware that anthropogenic climate change is a reality, and indeed a very serious problem. It’s been a source of some fascination to me for decades now that a great many people caught up in climate change activism don’t seem to be able to process the idea that there’s a difference between recognizing a problem, on the one hand, and falling into line behind their proposed solution, on the other. Industrial civilization is in deep trouble, no question, and the consequences of our profligate use of fossil fuels are crucial elements of the predicament we’re in. The mere fact that the situation is dire, however, does not do anything to prove that the solutions to it being proposed by corporate-sponsored activists and ballyhooed by the mass media are viable—or even that they’re sane.

Here, though, we’ve circled back to the strange landscape of thought I outlined back in the last months of 2019, when I talked about the way that a great many members of our comfortable classes—literate, educated, prosperous people, all of them—have lost track of the fact that their ideas about the world do need to have some contact with reality now and then.  When Grist’s editors insist that they can further the cause of climate change activism by encouraging their readers to inflate their fantasies of entitlement to the bursting point; when Facebook censors a reputable scientist for asking necessary questions about a proposed technology; when Sir David King insists that the future of the world depends on something not too different from cutting down the tallest tree in the forest with a herring—or, failing that, coughing up a spare $30 billion to fund his scientist pals—strange days are dawning.

A great many people are of course aware of this to one extent or another, and some of them are trying to fight against some aspect of the craziness.  I understand their feelings, but I’d like to suggest that this may not be the most useful strategy just now.  One of the odd things about this kind of collective craziness is that it can all too easily infect those people who think they’re opposing it. (The sorry history of the QAnon hoax is a good example of this.)  The best advice, rather, is expressed neatly by the internet catchphrase “back slowly away from the crazy person.”

I mean this quite literally.  In several of his books, Carl Jung wrote of the dangers of what he called psychic epidemics, collective outbursts of mass psychosis that can take hold of entire societies and sweep them along to disaster. Having witnessed both World Wars, he warned that these were not unique events:  “the gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today,” he wrote, “are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events.  To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by psychic epidemics.”  The flight from reason I chronicled in those three 2019 posts, it seems to me, has become the kind of psychic epidemic Jung talked about, and it’s therefore crucial for those who want to stay clear of the collective craziness to take steps to distance themselves from it.

There are at least three things you can do with this in mind. The first, which of course a great many people have already begun doing, is to avoid the vectors of the epidemic.  Obviously this means spending much less time on electronic media, and choosing the media you use with care. Less obviously, it means putting more thought into where you invest your spare time and your spare money, even outside the media. This is a good time to walk away from activities that bring you too close to the collective mind, and to take up things instead that you can do yourself, or with family and friends. You might also consider turning to activities that were invented a good long while ago, and so are less vulnerable to the current strangeness.

The second is to put more time into your spiritual life. That’s a risky thing to suggest just now, because certain modes of popular spirituality function very efficiently just now as conduits for the psychic epidemic building around us, but the great majority of my readers already know what to watch out for. Provided that the spiritual tradition you follow hasn’t been infected, prayer, meditation, study of sacred or spiritual writings, participation in rituals, all the standard methods by which human beings ask for help from transcendent powers—aside from their many other values, these are important safeguards to individual sanity in a time of collective madness.

The third is to spend time outdoors in nature as often as possible.  The human mind evolved in a natural setting, and nature accordingly functions as a reset button for our nervous systems. No, this doesn’t require you to act like a celebrity environmentalist and dump tons of CO2 into the atmosphere to get to some fashionably exotic corner of the world; instead, a local park, an overgrown lot, or a backyard if you have one, are quite adequate, and an open window that looks out on trees and sky will do if that’s what you can manage. Sit, clear your mind, and pay attention to the world that human beings didn’t make.  In the Druid order I headed for twelve years, the standard advice is to do this for at least fifteen minutes every week, and that’s a good minimum for normal times; since these are not normal times, more might be a good idea.

Meanwhile, there’s something else I’d encourage my readers to do:  brace for serious trouble.

A headlong flight into fantasy is not a strategy with a high success rate, after all. To the extent that the editors of Grist succeed in convincing their readership that they can have the future they want, and therefore don’t have to change their own lifestyles and cut their carbon footprints, they’re making disasters more likely, not less.  To the extent that the censors on Facebook keep people from asking necessary questions about the latest heavily ballyhooed green-energy boondoggle, the more likely it becomes that nothing constructive will be done about the consequences of resource depletion and environmental disruption until it’s far too late.  To the extent that Sir David King and others of his ilk retreat into a dreamworld in which freezing the Arctic Ocean is a sensible strategy—there’s a joke in there about selling ice machines to the Inuit, but we’ll let that pass for now—the more certain it is that few or none of the steps that might actually be possible this late in the game will actually be taken.

Here in the United States, certainly, the infrastructure that supports modern life is becoming ever more fragile while the environment in which we live is becoming ever more volatile.  The rolling blackouts in California over the last two summers and in Texas a few weeks ago are foretastes of a broader reality taking shape around us just now.  Our establishment and its tame media exist in a surreal state of detachment, hiding in a bubble of Panglossian abstractions where all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.  We can likely expect this state of detachment to become even more extreme in the future, leading to policies disastrously out of step with the real world, and to serious disruptions as those policies run face first into the brick wall of a cosmos serenely uninterested in the fantasies of clueless elites.

Thus I’d encourage my readers to take a good hard look at anything in their lives that depends too heavily on the continued functioning of technological infrastructure and the vast and ramshackle government and corporate hierarchies that keep that infrastructure more or less working.  I’d encourage them likewise to put some effort into getting alternatives in place. I’ve already heard from readers of mine in Texas who followed the wry advice I offered in a previous post—“collapse now and avoid the rush.”  They made themselves noticeably less dependent on the fragile infrastructure of industrial society as a result, and as a result, they found themselves prepared to weather the recent crisis without any particular difficulty.

Exactly how the strange days now dawning will unfold is a fascinating and troubling question, and one I can’t yet answer.  A clear head and a close eye on the systems on which you and your loved ones depend would therefore be wise.

484 Comments

  1. Hi JMG,

    Fantastic and timely post. “Overdeveloped nations”. Haven’t heard that term before, and I’m going to start using it, early and often.

    I think you’re absolutely right about the critical inflection point we’re at, and if we’re being swept up in a psychic epidemic, it sure does explain quite a lot of the insanity we see today.

    Over the last several months I came to the conclusion that a couple of years ago when I moved from Portland back to the Midwest I didn’t collapse my lifestyle down far enough. Then COVID hit, and it’s accelerated the timeline of the Long Descent, IMHO. So I started looking for a new job, and am interested in transitioning back to the Earth Sciences from IT. Back in the ’80s I was a climatologist in the Air Force, and enjoyed that work.

    And what you describe is exactly what I’m seeing – both at my current job and in several I’ve applied for – a HUGE disconnect between the product goals, roadmaps and timelines of “solutions” versus real science. I see professional grant writers determining which “climate change” startup “products” are going to soak the most dollars from Uncle Sugar. I see endless references to “green” all electric devices, namely autos, when no such critter exists. I see younger workers loving the “digital transformation” and the ability to connect to work via their cell phone and tablets, when in fact that transformation has a very limited shelf life.

    I’m hoping to obtain employment at some sane company doing actual useful work, and while your blogs and books have pointed out the path forward in so many different areas, the majority of jobs aren’t remotely close to those options….

    Even just a year ago, I would have read this post and thought to myself, “well, Mr. Greer is obviously out of touch – the typical American person can’t be anywhere close to this level of ignorance….” Now I know who was ignorant, and it ain’t Mr. Greer.

  2. Dear JMG,

    Thanks for the voice of sanity in a world full of madness.
    Your three points are really great and inspiring.
    Implementation on my side is Work in Progress, so here some feedback to confirm your impact.

    1. Disconnect from the propaganda.
    Not so easy, but switching off TV helps a lot.
    Propaganda today is massive and hard to totally escape from it.
    Getting less of it, definitely improves the life massively.

    2. Spirituality.
    Roman Catholicism is quickly degrading into the psychic epidemic. The leadership is a mess. The local church still has some good points like a Gregorian Chant Choir.
    I am trying to go back to the traditions which worked.
    This one is definitely a nugget (Latin Version), hope it helps.
    https://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/b009rpMichael.htm
    But looking towards something more inspiring, I found this great attempt to marry Western Science with Eastern Tradition. Might be interesting for you: https://deeprealitybook.com/author/doug-matzke

    3. Spending time outdoor, walking or cycling definitely a good point.
    This is a daily practice, so I can tick this one off for me at least.

    Trying to implement the Great Reset on my own terms 🙂

    So thanks for your books and inspirations.
    It really helps.

    //BR

  3. Really glad to read this, coming from you.

    I have watched this steam roller coming at us my entire life, and planned accordingly. Interestingly, it looks like the grid will likely shut off rural service most rapidly, in order to service the urban areas where the upper classes reside. The use of electric powered natgas compressors means that natgas will no longer be supplied independent of the electric grid. We put in a 750 gal propane tank simply due to this – if you do not have the fuel, you will not be able to maintain leverage against the coming entropy overlong.

    If you are urban, you likely cannot source firewood locally – which means no woodstoves or fireplaces independent of the grid. The things that have been done in the name of “climate” have actually been far less sustainable than most imagined, and leave people more reliant on infrastructure than ever before.

    JMG – what are your thoughts on urbanites wrt this? What would you be doing if you were 25 or 30 years old watching this mess? I ask you this because your situation differs from my own – I opted for a rural escape – for my sanity, to be close with the land, to be free of the noise and unceasing din of humans all to close together, and to try and leave my offspring something of value in a world where oil is NOT plentiful.

    It’s not coming as quickly as most imagine, but sort of a slow roll of consequences from poor choices by those in positions to change things. But what this has done is to make the current systems more fragile, more complex and more interlinked. The result of this is that these systems are more easily upset or broken when something ‘black-swanish’ occurs.

    We are planting castor beans this year to get a few acres in over the next several years – diesel is something that can be made from plants, and although it takes some effort, the leverage of a diesel tractor or having fuel available is going to be important within the next few decades. I am also looking into buying a good percheron mare – there is no reason to avoid this when peering into the future where my kids will reside.

    We have our fruit and nut trees in, and glass greenhouses going in this fall – plastic hoop houses will not be popular or feasible when transport becomes expensive. We have 1000 gal diesel tank filled and will maintain that. We have oil lamps and plenty of good lamp oil in a couple of barrels – we used these when the power outage bit us last month in TX.

    I am going to try and find hand washing machine soon – there are still some out there to be had. And possibly get a boiler – that is fuel independent when set up correctly, and can be used for lots of things when there is no electric. But here in TX, that solar water heater is great….

    I know this is likely to upset a lot of folks, but for me, this is a fun challenge. And after this latest power glitch in TX, I have had people asking me where to buy these large oil lamps we bought at antique sales….LOL And lots of inquiries about woodstoves.

    I had my doubts I would be alive to see this coming, but it appears to me that with the breakdown of hyper-complex, centralized ‘everything’, it may be full upon us before I depart this plane. I intend to enjoy this challenge to find the ‘next equilibrium’ we all must inhabit. One critical look at the federal government should be enough for aware people to grok what must happen in the coming years.

    If anyone wants to talk about specifics, Oilman2 always willing….LOL

  4. Since the last election, I have been listening to NPR/Mn Public Radio, aka soft propaganda for the liberal set, just to check in on what liberals are deluding themselves about. The sneering sense of superiority is even more apparent than in the past, talking about reeducating Republicans, talking about conservatives like they are cockroaches or equivalent that we need not concern ourselves about experimenting on with Science. Domestic terrorism/white supremecy will be dealt with like Covid and wiped out from the body politic.

    My theory is, unconsciously humanity is aware we are well beyond overshoot. Those who are stuck in the ego, in the conscious self, in America particulary the ego trained to think itself primultimate, are becoming like prey to their own shadow.

    With the upcoming Chauvin trial in super-liberal Minneapolis, I feel like my fellow Minneapolitans are twisting themselves up with fears about angry white guys, while denying any awareness of a multicultural social underbelly looking half-unconsciously to tear this delusional society apart. I expect serious trouble. I feel like most people I know are pretending all will soon to be like “normal” again.

  5. It’s always some new tech gewgaw that is rushed out to be the ‘silver bullet’ that will allow us to continue our death march into the future, blissfully ignorant of the waiting fall. Politicians COULD theoretically do something, but they won’t. They never will. No matter how many ‘climate emergencies’ they declare they aren’t going to anything that could possibly effect a source of election funding, and will favor the interests of the military and industry every time. And the only ‘acceptable’ ways of dealing with this seem to be meaningless protest (This chant’ll really show ’em!), boot-licking denial (climate change was invented by the climate industry to sell more climate), or comfortable-class distraction.

    At least on a national level. I think on a local level more can be done. Every area (rural, urban, suburban) could be made more resilient, if local action can take place. I don’t know if it’s enough, but it might be a start? The cynical parts of me say that any local action that actually threatens the powers that be will be immediately crushed for having the temerity to be effective without prior authorization (look at how my current city is bringing down the hammer on the local carpenter who starting, by himself, making better shelters for the homeless). Maybe this is all more naïve hope.

    TIme to go get that van. I’d like to see something of this continent while there is still something left to see.

  6. Dear J.M.G,

    Since now I’ve been through three end of the world events in one year, at least according to the media, (Fire, Ice, and No Electricity) I welcome their next one. It has made life interesting, at least. While many may find that a curse, I find the constant “END OF THE WORLD!!!” Narratives that emanate from the imaginary screens to be quite entertaining. I imagine I will actually begin getting worried when the local golf courses are in any danger whatsoever from these events. Personal Rule of thumb: Golf course shut down = Rich Rats Running.

    What I find interesting is that every single corporate entity did just fine out of all our local disasters. No problems with THEIR power, or the big boxes being evacuated… Just the local trailer parks and private entities had to go… NOW NOW NOW… If of course this were a certain nation which will remain nameless for the purpose of avoiding algorithms, we would hear endless talk about how they were “shutting off the power to kill the peasants!” or some other such rot which would need military intervention.

    As a media buff, I think in that manner, so forgive me if I use film as allegory for spiritual points. I find that it’s the easiest way to communicate the shorthand that in ages past would have been part and parcel of liturgical drama or literature.

    If anything, I feel like we’re in the opening act of a Toei film about the Sengoku era. Of course, that is why I find it so hilarious that our elected officials keep ranting about everything being the fault of chaos, when what we actually seem to have is the exact opposite of that. Brittle Order, creaking under its own weight, about to fall into chaos and change, and remain such until the rightful heir and order returns… then gets old and corrupt and the cycle starts all over again. Of course, if they’re just stealing the imagery and trying to go with THAT for the new mythos… without changing anything… well, the old saying about be very careful about what you wish for comes to mind. Of course those films always feature false heirs, disguise, and hidden backstabbing and drama, which in our current Kabuki government seems appropriate as well. The problem is that the show only works as long as people keep attending.

    With your comment about spiritual activity… I’m reminded of the joke from the old 1978 movie “Convoy” with regards to the “Jesus Freaks on Grass AKA Church Of the Wayfaring Stranger”

    “Well Reverend, do you see this convoy as more of a Spiritual than a Political Event?”
    “Well, Life ITSELF, is a Spiritual Event. Amen! *Sings* When I was prayin’… somebody touched me… When I was Prayin’…”

    Of course, that answer DOES involve a lot of Marijuana and just trying to do good deeds. But it’s a lot of fun, I’ll definitely give you that, and saying a brief thank you to Lady Fortune when she does a good turn is not just prudent but entertaining. As long as you can accept that sometimes you’re the butt of the joke and that your most embarrassing moments might just be the ones on the highlight reel.

    What we do now echoes in eternity.

    Thanks for hearing my rambles,
    Brevdravis

  7. Thanks for making me giggle several times — with subject matter this serious, I needed it. I find that my own chosen career of private music teacher hangs in the balance these days. Down one month, up the next. It has been a roller coaster and it’s only because of my landlord’s graciousness that I have been able to hang on to my commercial space. Because of decisions I started making a decade ago (born of what I read in the Archdruid Report blog as well as Orlov’s blog and James Howard Kunstler) I now live in a modest old house in the poor part of town. The gardens are much, much finer than the house.
    Thank goodness I chose the affordable route, because otherwise I would not have been able to hold on to my music studio at all.

    I live in the Chicago suburbs. There are lots of people around here who have no idea how to be poor. To a large extent, they have authored their own demise by supporting the mask policies and social distancing that crushed the economy. They wholly supported the wealth transfer from the middle class to the .01 percent, not realizing they were pulling out the rug from under themselves. They also have the karma of all those people who killed themselves out of lockdown despair, all those who suffered and died alone in hospitals while nurses and doctors danced for TikTok videos, and the foul energy of a billion cancelled rites of passage. I wanted no part of their karma early on, so I wrote essays against what I saw them doing; I re-opened my business despite the real risk of the State coming down on me; I quietly stopped wearing a mask; I boycotted Amazon, Target, and other benefactors of the plandemic; and I started an online movement called Speakeasy that connects people who are against lockdowns, masks, and distancing. We recently had a gathering of 50 in a mom and pop owned restaurant that is struggling.

    There are people in my Speakeasy group who get it. They will not be getting the vaccine and neither will their children. They are homeschooling and/or looking into homeschooling. We all go into stores and restaurants without masks on and get yelled at, and the ones where we are left alone get promoted within the group. Texas and Louisiana are ending all flu restrictions as of March 10.

    The Baker’s Creek seed catalog people said in their blurb that 2020 brought unprecedented demand for seeds.

    I don’t know if I can trust my senses, but I think things are about to get really bad as well. Having not seen anything like this before, I don’t know how to handle it besides my usual Sphere of Protection, meditation, divination, and prayer. There is a mass psychosis riding the airwaves and it is nasty. I know a salary class woman who has not allowed her primary school age son to see his grandparents in a year because she is so afraid of the nothingburger flu. I totally get why a McMansion-dwelling salary classer would retreat into a indoor fantasy world of Zoom correspondence, video games, Amazon deliveries, Netflix, and takeout. That doesn’t change the hard fact that now is the absolute worst time to try and maintain that lifestyle. The nothingburger flu overreaction is a symptom of the salary class’s running away from pragmatic change. They believe if they can install luxury communism, they will get the future they ordered instead of decline. It also satisfies their appetite for fear porn.

    Thanks to Patricia Matthews who kindly asked about me on this blog! I have been a victim of my own success lately — so busy with my own projects I have not had much time for other stuff. One of the things keeping me busy… I bought my first digital piano! It’s a Casio Privia PX-870. I absolutely love it!

  8. Just recently I had a discussion with an engineer friend of mine who spent his career installing and operating big gas turbine power plants all over the world. He now manages crews who install wind turbines for a Danish Company. We were sitting around a wood fire in the open courtyard of an old grade school that had been turned in to a restaurant/bar several years ago. He described in detail what would have been going on in the power plants in Texas as the grid came near failure. As the grid neared failure the operators had to perform tricky control operations too retune the voltage, current and frequency of the current they put out. If these were pushed too far out of spec by the overloaded grid the main transformers or generators would overheat and explode . I asked him how this would work if a large portion of the generating capacity of the grid ( say over 25%) was in the form of wind or solar which was not really tweakable. He said such control would not be possible and the grid would fail, unless they had storage in the form of giant batteries. This just reinforces what my old thermo professor taught us back in the early 80’s. Wind and Solar will one day be our only form of electricity but they will create a world that is much different than the one we have now, and not one that is more affluent, and sparkly.

  9. Hi JMG & all,

    Please find below my submission to the Grist contest. I’m using a pseudonym for this one, so I hope that is okay. It’s all about future ancestors!

    A Harvard Elegy by J.P. Yance

    Once upon a time there was a man who was born into the kingdom of Harvard. His father had been a member of that kingdom before him as had his mother. They both continued to remain a part of the realm, even as they were apart from the physical boundaries of Harvard. They were a part of Harvard when they flew in to Florida or Lexington, Kentucky to ride horses with their friends, or when they attended galas to raise money for the various elective surgery funds for impoverished youth they supported. Rupert was expected to also attend the kingdom of Harvard -but he would have rather gone to University of Kentucky.

    It all happened one day through the miracle of KFC. For some inexplicable reason, one time on the limo ride between the private airport and the fields of the Kentucky Horse Farm where his father played Polo with other fine gents, the chauffeur took them on a detour through a drive through where they picked up bags of fried chicken, coleslaw, buttermilk biscuits and mashed potatoes. This food they brought to the normal repast they often had out in the fields. His father had brought it as a joke, saying he wanted to “slum it” a bit, and see how they other half, or other 90 percent or so, liked to eat. He thought the other gents would get a kick out of the extra crispy as well. Everyone had a hearty laugh, and young Rupert really enjoyed the KFC.

    After eating his greasy meal he found himself staring out at the fields of bluegrass. And after watching a basketball game of UK on the television that evening in their second, or was it their third home, he had trouble remembering, he was bound and determined to go to UK instead of Harvard.

    When they time came he had to beg and beg his parent to go to UK instead. He promised to look after the horses and continue riding in between his studies. After trying their best, with offers of Yale or Princeton, and they finally acquiesced to his incessant requests, er, demands. While attending this school far away from his usual haunts and from the people he had come to know from the kingdom of Harvard, he met some people from the kingdom of Kentucky. And through their dour and dastardly influence they led him down a dark path. A path that involved moonshine and music.

    On the eve of the summer holiday a group had taken him out to a local dive bar. He had never seen such repugnance in all his days, yet there was a part of him that liked the fact that people actually could, somewhere, still smoke cigarettes in doors. After trying to buy a few rounds of Pappy Van Winkle for his new friends, but learning the bar did not carry anything that top shelf, he settled for Makers Mark.

    Then the music started. It was the most ungodly twang he had ever heard. The pedal steel guitar seemed to slip him out of his chair and into another world. When the drummer and bass started thomping, people actually got up and danced and rubbed their bodies together. His feet somehow moved him onto the dancefloor and he found himself doing things he never would have done sober: gyrating his hips with a local girl whose accent had just as much twang as the guitar.

    One thing led to another and to an after party where the moonshine was brought out. It had been flavored like pumpkin pie and was much smoother than he had ever expected. Again one thing led to another and he found himself alone in a room with the women.

    The next day he woke up next to her. His was aching something fierce. After giving him a bit of hair of the dog mixed in with a tall glass of ice cold sweet tea, he started to feel a little better, and he pieced the night back together. Everyone else was gone, and after a breakfast of grits and fried eggs his strength had somewhat returned, and after which she invited him back into her bedroom for another round of what had happened the night before.

    Rupert felt his judgment was slipping but his judgment was no match for his attraction. And he soon found he wasn’t going home to Conneticut for the summer but staying in Lexington to be with Whitney Mae. His parents were extremely frustrated by this turn of events, as they had hoped to introduce him to some of the senior members of the law firm they worked for, and to those senior members daughters.

    Whitney on the other hand wanted to introduce him to her pa, Cecil. Rupert was afraid as can be the first time Whitney took him down to Paint Lick Holler. And yet it wasn’t as bad as he was afraid of. Of course he got hounded by the whole family who was waiting for him there on the front porch before they had him in for a luncheon of cold ham and fried potatoes. He was having trouble keeping up with all the cousins and how everyone was related, and yet, in spite of all the wealth he came from, they welcomed him in.

    And the longer he stayed in Paint Creek Holler, the more relaxed he felt. It was as if there was something in the hills, something in the water drawn up from the deep limestone wells, that just set his mind and heart at ease. And he knew then he never wanted to go back east. He’d fallen in love with a Kentucky girl, and he was going to do everything he darn could not to go back to the ways of his folks, even if they dispossessed his inheritance.

    Out in the woods, learning to hunt with Cecil, looking for the wild turkeys and the deer, he felt a connection to the land he had never known before. Away from all the politically correct talk, he learned to relax and be his self. Sitting on the porch for a spell at night, talking with the neighbors, was different for sure. Back home he’d never even known who the other people living in their gated community were.

    Oh sure, Whitney’s family joshed him all the time for his city slicker and yankee ways, but he was determined to learn how to put a lure on a fishing line, cook in an iron skillet, and if Uncle George agreed, to even learn how dowse with those sticks he was always carrying about.

    They hadn’t taken him back to the still yet, to show him how they made their shine, or to the fields where they grew the family weed, but he was determined. Hell, he told Whitney right there he’d drop out of school, and with access to his accounts while he still had them, buy them a nice double wide. He thought back to that day when he first ate KFC and knew his life had been saved.

  10. It sounds to me, like you’re giving advice on how to move into the gap left by the dissolution of negative patterns on the upper astral plane. I had the realization that there are most likely limits on how many people can occupy the upper astral at any given time due to the need for lower astral energy to possess/influence people. It seems like the pending psychic epidemic is an expression of turbulent lower astral energy. That implies that those who aren’t infected can slide right on up to the upper astral and live more peacefully, as you hinted previously. I have 2 questions.

    1) Even if we center consciousness on a plane above the lower astral/psychic epidemic, we could still become a casualty of it if we cross the paths of someone under it’s grips right?

    2) Is it correct that there are limits to how many can occupy any given plane at a time? Maybe due to a lack of the matter of that plane…

  11. So it seems that the ultimate purpose of “cancel culture” is to fend off cognitive dissonance.

    This is a train that has no brakes!

  12. Good timing with this post JMG!

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the UK budget announcement today, but it looks like the British government is preparing for the end of growth – although not in a constructive way, of course. Quite the opposite. They’re more than happy to double down on increasing their debt burden and making themselves dependent on a stagnant or contracting economy so that inflation doesn’t rise, driving up interest rates and forcing a sovereign debt crisis. Either our local overlords are well and truly lost in fantasy land or they know full well what’s about to hit them and they’re looting as much as they can from the system before it crashes down on top of them. Now even the tertiary economy of financial scams seems unable to grow any further in this country. Neoliberalism is reaching the end of the road. It might not be long before we have our equivalent of a Gorbachev figure arriving on the scene to reform the system by unintentionally dismantling it. Strange days are dawning indeed!

  13. “𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗺𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻, 𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝗸𝗲𝘆, 𝗽𝘂𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝘀𝗮𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝘂𝗽 𝗮 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗲”
    – 𝗔𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗪𝗮𝘁𝘁𝘀

  14. I’ve got a request for everyone who wants to come up with something to save us: please stop reusing things which were old before I was born! Given I was born in 1995, that means even if you can’t come up with an original idea, you’ve got a quarter century to work with, but the hydrogen economy? That was old even in 1995……

  15. “Barring the imposition of galling Nature, the best narrative wins.” The issue is just that: Nature often barges in and has demands that don’t jibe with our personal fantasies and desires.

    Those who insist otherwise remind me somewhat of those in New Thought or other occult practices that place the primacy on the operator rather that the operator’s situation with regard to the Gods and the rest of the cosmos–a belief that the microcosm supersedes the macrocosm, as it were.

    Axé

  16. I know ADJMG probably won’t watch this, but its a good rant by R. Brand on Bill Gates attempt to bring agricultural “Progress” to Africa, which (not so) coincidentally puts small farmers into debt and ultimately out of business. . I thought interesting because its one of the few mainstream criticisms of technological progress that I’m aware of.

  17. Esteemed Archdruid Emeritus,
    As ever, your advice is sane and valuable to those able to hear it. As a reader also of Professor Bardi’s blogs, I was aware of his having been deplatformed, but not too surprised in a (Western) world where craziness would appear to be the now acceptable norm.
    Your other examples were news to me, but again, sigh, not unsurprising.
    I feel grateful for my present existence, close to the natural world, in a reasonably functioning society and community, with a bit of solar thermal for a decent hot water supply, and a 5000 litre cistern for the dry season, a mate of my generation, and communication to the wider world.
    Source Dweller

  18. Hi JMG,

    Thank you for this post. For what it’s worth, both the warnings and the advice you’ve given here dovetails very closely with some of the issues I’ve been discussing on my blog over the last few months. I’ve specifically been paying attention to the ongoing psychic maelstrom and how to escape its influence, and the solutions I’ve come up with are virtually identical to your own.

    That includes your suggestion to avoid direct conflict with the insanity. I’ve been doing a paired reading of Eliphas Levi and Sun Tzu, and they pair very well together indeed. Levi discusses the way that psychic currents of all varieties have a circular motion to them. If you put yourself in their path while they’re still moving forward, you’ll only be destroyed or converted; wait until they’ve reached their fullest extension, though, and they’ll retreat all on their own. Jack Kerouac and Archbishop Fulton Sheen both condemned the hippies during the 1960s, and the only result was to strengthen the hippie movement. But by the late 70s the hippie movement was exhausted, and all the early punk movement had to do to conquer its space in the counterculture was to show up.

    My approach is to stay out of the way of the demonic currents sweeping the land, while at the same time working to build my own spiritual life and to try to create a community which will help others to do so as well. To that end, as I mentioned to you recently, I’ve re-started the work on the Druid Church we began discussing last year. The goal is to do the work entirely outside the American collective mind; once the chaos wind blowing through the land begins its return arc, we’ll have something put in place to help send it on its way.

  19. Dear JMG,

    Many thanks for this! In the spirit of doing interesting things with my mind I’ve been spending some time in the last few months studying mathematics. I started off with algebra, but found the text I was studying began spiraling off into a land of gargantuan abstraction that began to ick me out. During the past week or so I’ve been logging some serious hours with compass and straight edge, with an eye towards beauty and aesthetics. Something that I saw pretty clearly is that quite a few of the shape I created — shapes as simple as geometric proofs from a square with nothing but circle and straight edge — formed up into beautiful mandalas. Some of the things that I discovered really surprised me. My research and designs are posted here: https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/tag/geometry In the past two posts I’ve published all of the images on Wikimedia foundation under the public domain licensing should anyone want to deploy any of the images as hard and far as they can manage. In the past few days I’ve experimented with whittling compasses from ‘y’ shaped branches, with good results. This means that with a little fire to make one point charcoal and a flat surface I can draw hexafoils of any size.

    More broadly, I think that there’s much to said for the hobby of drawing. Certainly the practice of drawing things has shaped my capacity for abstract thinking tremendously. Drawing is an excellent reality check in terms of seeing if one can even model a representation of some idea, and allows for an absorbed attention on things other than the current round of craziness. Furthermore it is a remarkably low cost way of passing the time. Currently I experiment in a $1 ruled composition book and then when I find something I like I copy it to some white printer paper that I fasted tightly with binder clips to a hardback textbook cover I cut off from a book some years ago. Drawing also really does quite a bit to refine manual dexterity, something useful in any sort of future! Furthermore, with focusing on geometry many of the things produced are apotropaic and very good just to stare at and think about. Indeed, geometry can and does even touch on the spiritual that you mention, as well.

  20. I think something quite significant, and poorly understood, is going on here. It needs someone more skilled at philosophy than me to properly describe it, but, briefly, I think we are passing through one of those eras where Idealism rules. That is to say, only Ideas really exist, and the battle of Ideas is far more important than any mundane considerations related to real life. So, once the “conversation” about global warming has been changed, reality, insofar as it is important, will change with it. To invert Marx, activists only want to change the world; the point, however, is to alter the way it is viewed philosophically.
    You can obviously trace the heritage of this kind of thinking up through Plato and Hegel, to Gramsci’s war of position and Foucault’s theories of discourse, but I don’t think any of those gentlemen would actually have suggested that changing the way things are described genuinely affects reality; that changing the way people think about global warming will put an end to it. It’s a necessary condition, perhaps, but not a sufficient one. But I think that a lot of people today actually do think, insofar as they think at all, that it’s a sufficient one.

  21. @JMG,

    Needless to say, you’re far from the only person on the internet beating on the “we’re about to hit a steeper-than-usual section in the decline!” gong.

    For Rod Dreher, it is all about “Woke Totalitarianism” as more and more people get purged from America’s institutions for wrongthink. (And he is also very disturbed by the amount of people on the Right who hate the Left so much that they will believe whatever lies QAnon is spewing).

    For the Saker, it’s about America’s sharp return to imperial arrogance, from the killing of Qasem Soleimani to the (fraudulent) installation of Biden in the White House so that the neocons are back in power again – a move which he expects will conclude with the dissolution of the “AngloZionist Empire” within a few years.

    And then I couldn’t even name all the people who were saying last summer that the authorities’ tolerance for the George Floyd Riots means our society is on the brink of some sort of cliff.

    Well, I actually do agree with the overall mood that the 2020s will end up being a much more decline-ridden decade for the US than any of the decades that came before. Though naturally the people who have a feeling that decline is the order of the day will come up with completely different reasons for it – i.e. even people who don’t believe in climate change and peak oil at all are adopting views similar to your own about the coming collapse of the American empire and way of life. It is like the old story of the blind men and the elephant – they all can feel that there is a big, imposing animal in the room with them, but they can’t come to any sort of agreement about what sort of beast it is.

  22. Oilman2 at #4,

    Your place sounds great. I wish I had been able to get as much a head start (on collapse now, avoid the rush) as you did.

    Don’t overlook washing machines retrofitted to be powered by a stationary bicycle. I don’t have personal experience but have heard very positive reports about their efficacy.
    I believe plans can be found at Mother Earth News among other places.

    In my neck of the woods, all the young horse farmers and loggers use Suffolk drafts, as do the Amish for their heavy work. The Amish here use black colored Morgan horses for their buggies exclusively.

    I have a soft spot for the American Cream draft. A beautiful multipurpose farm animal that was only recognized as a distinct breed (and the only Native American draft breed) around the turn of the last century.
    Cheers!
    Courtney

  23. On a practical note, would also humbly suggest that, contrary to what some think about the horrors of urban life, and, barring some major disaster or “psychic” apocalypse like war, etc.–urban areas (small towns and cities) are, generally speaking, MORE resilient and offer more resource redundancies/are less prone to disruption than the rural, especially those community that predate the general Westward sprawl of the United States (that is, drive-centric communities). These places generally have geographic features (near water, etc.) that will potentially provide for longer-term sustainability, and focused populations may in fact make more efficient use of resources than those in out-of-the-way places.

    I mean, just because it’s possible to survive alone under the harshest conditions doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the best way to do things. Collapse your activities and footprint, sure…but be cognizant that the rest of society may not be collapsing at the same rate or scale. That is, dramatic, apocalyptic collapse may be less likely that a slow, staggered unraveling that yet allows a spot for humanity–and that means even “urban” spots. None of this is set in stone, admittedly, but when it comes to collapse, it may not be all zombies and chainsaws…

    Axé

  24. Millicently, you’re most welcome!

    Drhooves, I coined it. It struck me a while back that we constantly hear about underdeveloped nations and underprivileged people, and it’s high time we start discussing the fact that some nations are overdeveloped and some people are overprivileged. I hope you’re able to find a good position in the earth sciences — it may not be easy, of course, because these days riding the government gravy train is one of the few ways to make lavish profits.

    B3rnhard, thanks for this. I’m glad you’re pursuing all these! The prayer’s a good solid piece of invocation — I’ve bookmarked it so I can recommend it to Christian readers. As for the book, I was wondering when we’d see the conversation between physics and mysticism spring up again — it was a lively presence in the 1960s and 1970s, though it got swept under the rug in a hurry thereafter. Good to see it getting out there again.

    Oilman2, I’ve also been watching this for my entire life, of course; the question was always when, not if. You may recall that some years ago I predicted rural de-electrification as the great wave of the 2030s, just as rural electrification was the great wave of the 1930s; I won’t be especially surprised if it happens a decade early. My take is that all but the poorest urban neighborhoods will retain electricity for some decades yet — the whole point of letting the rural grid degrade and collapse will be to preserve electrical access for cities, manufacturing centers, and affluent suburbs and exurbs. I expect costs to go up steadily for all utilities, but service won’t become seriously intermittent in the urban centers until things are on the verge of the major downturn after the one we’re about to hit — say, in the 2060s or 2070s, at a guess. Of course it’s a fun challenge and a great adventure!

    William, of course they’re twisting themselves into knots. They’ve got to have someone else to project the shadow of their own hatred and greed onto…

    Andrew001, “death march into the future” is a glorious phrase — thank you for it! It occurs to me that at this point, the four magical virtues — to know, to dare, to will, and to be silent — are also crucial for any constructive response to our predicament. Any significant move toward sustainability will have to stay under the radar, because the establishment thrives on keeping people unable to sustain their own lives, thus dependent on the system. As for the van, by all means — the continent will still be there for millions of years to come, but the road system…not so much.

    Brevdravis, good! Of course big business and the privileged classes are protected while the rest of us get to struggle; that’s normal practice when a society tips over hard into decline, and the privileged classes are always baffled thereafter when the rest of us prove uninterested in rallying around to protect their privileges. Funny about that! I have to admit that I’ve never watched a Toei film about the Sengoku jidai, but I know enough about the historical period to get the joke — and yes, it works.

    Kimberly, glad to hear you’re still hanging in there. I don’t know how soon things will change where you are; here, with minimum fanfare, things are quietly being allowed to open up again — the local public library is open for business again, for example — but I expect the whole thing to be folded up in the near future and some new issue to become the approved target for the existential terror of the well-to-do. In the meantime, networks like your Speakeasy project are the wave of the future — covert arrangements to get around the flailings of the latest mass psychosis are crucial just now, and will become even more crucial as we proceed.

    Clay, exactly. Wind and solar are intermittent power sources, and cannot sustain a 24/7 grid — that’s been the unmentionable truth about green energy all along. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them; it means that once fossil fuels become too expensive for grid power, we won’t have a 24/7 grid any more.

    Justin, nah, read the contest rules — they want 3000-5000 words, with certain other requirements. You might consider writing something for them that meets all their requirements and submitting it. I already have, and I’m looking forward to the rejection slip!

    Youngelephant, good. (1) Yes, of course. (2) Not to any significant extent — no doubt there would eventually be a shortage of astral substance, but to judge by the profusion of astral phenomena, we’re nowhere near that point.

    Phil K, exquisitely phrased! Thank you.

    Ken, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Mr. White, I haven’t seen it yet but I’ll be reading it shortly — thanks for the heads up. I think you’re quite correct that the neoliberal era is almost over, and the strange days dawning right now may well be linked to that.

    Steve, funny! Apropos, too.

    Will J, every single proposal that’s been made to deal with the climate change predicament was something that was debated by my high school debate team in the late 1970s, and it was already old then. One of the big red flashing lights right now is precisely that nobody’s had a genuinely new idea about the future for half a century — thus flying cars, colonies on Mars, and endless rehashes of the Star Trek franchise.

    Fra’ Lupo, that’s what I call the megalomaniac end of New Thought, and yes, it’s a pervasive delusion these days.

    Dashui, the link didn’t come through. You have to include the full URL.

    Robert, thank you. It’s a good time to give thanks for the things that help!

    Steve T, the fusion of Eliphas Lévi and Sun Tsu isn’t one that I would have thought of, but stranger pairings have worked! Lévi is of course quite correct about psychic currents, and this is very much one of those situations where the t’ai chi strategy of stepping nimbly out of the way and letting the other guy’s motion slam him face first into the ground is wise. To put the same thing in another way: never interrupt your enemy while he’s making a mistake.

    Violet, delighted to hear this. These are classic; remind me, once Massachusetts comes out from behind the Virus Curtain, to show you some of the books that pick up on these same patterns and run with them.

    1Wanderer, good. Yes, and Giambattista Vico had a fine phrase for it: the barbarism of reflection. People who lose track of the fact that the world of ideas is not omnipotent over the world of facts very quickly fall into weird superstitions, and turn to violence when the world of facts fails to do what their ideas say it ought to do.

    Wesley, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing…

    Fra’ Lupo, of course. Look at any historical example of decline; the cities, especially the small to midsized cities, very often remain more or less intact long after large parts of the rural hinterland are desolate. That’s why I live in a city! Urban vs. rural is much less important than the more local factors that can make this city or this rural region relatively good places to be while others are not.

  25. Oh, dear. Do you think maybe if we all visualize a world in which people accept reality, we can make it happen? Maybe we can write some re-fi exploring how the world had a sudden awakening to reality, embraced limits, and how this headed off disaster and lead to a much more sensible world. 😉

    More seriously, it strikes me as particularly important right now to learn to accept my own mortality, to welcome it as a facet of life without turning it into an escapist fantasy of the “I wish I were dead” sort.

  26. Hi Courtney at #24- your Amish and their fancy black Morgans are more upscale than our local Mennonites, who recycle used Standardbreds to power their carriages.

  27. Hi JMG,

    This is an excellent post. While I’ve been watching of late, with some concern, the strangeness unfold around us I hadn’t put so much of it together the way you have, here. Thanks for this.

    You mentioned QAnon, and while I don’t want to set off a bunch of QAnon blather, I do want to say that the movement appeared to me to be, point for point, essentially a secular version of a millenarian religious movement. That includes the reaction of the “faithful” when the anticipated apocalypse failed to occur on time. Am I wrong about that?

    Also, here is a data point to add to the thing about people only accepting what they want to believe. I met a Tarot reader recently who told me about a woman she did a reading for. The woman refused to accept the reading because it was “not what I want to happen.” She even started riffling through the reader’s cards and when the reader asked what she was doing replied, “Looking for the answer I want.” Really?

  28. The idea you can only maximise one variable is like the slightly more forgiving ‘faster, cheaper, better – choose two’, and there actually is a partial way round them. While it probably is impossible to maximise all at once, you can improve across the board. The way to do it is eliminating waste. Waste doesn’t benefit any aspect, and detracts from them all. So removing waste does improve everything.

  29. Greetings JMC,

    This thank you contains much appreciation for your energy and effort in creating these posts and being host to such a supportive community.

    The ‘three things” you suggest doing is really the best self-care we can give ourselves.

    Propaganda’s language, forever to be know as “Trickster Discourse” (from Way of the Bushman) seems the most difficult to deal with. From reading to listening, I find myself in a fog of mostly vowels too high in pitch, if that makes any sense. It just permeates evvverything.

    Commenter #8 and Baker Seeds. Even though I am in a Nova Scotia seaside village, they are my go-to for rare seeds. Johnny Seeds, employee owned in Maine is another. Nova Scotia suppliers are having a booming business, plus encouraging folks to learn save their own and share.

    Trouble ahead brings opportunities never explored. I just need to remember that new adventures can bring out the best in me!

  30. @Oilman2. Looks like you are doing everything right, and perhaps enjoying yourself along the way. Keep up the good work. I’m not sure I agree about oil scarcity; I suspect we may get off most of the fossil fuels while there is still a lot left in the ground, and that’s where it will stay. Time will tell. That’s a whole other discussion…

    An interesting story about firewood in the city. A good friend of mine lives in Queens, NY. Not downtown with the skyscrapers – she’s in a private house but still NewYork City. She runs a wood stove for most of her heat. Being in a big city, landscapers and tree surgeons have to pay to dispose of their wood. They are more than happy to deliver to her cut and sometimes even split logs for free. She’s heated the house this way for decades now.

    Even funnier, 5 miles away in Manhattan, folks pay a fortune (used to be $250 for 1/4 cord) for firewood. We always joked that we could make a good living just collecting the wood in her yard and delivering it a short distance away.

  31. Mr. Greer,

    Thanks or this. I offer a data point to amplify your thesis.

    I had occasion recently to speak to an old friend who has gone off and joined some wackadoodle cult. And by that I mean he is finishing up a PhD in economics at an Ivy League university. We discussed the Coronavirus and the abject failure at all levels of government to have anything like a cogent response. He was staunchly on the side of Fauci-ites. I remarked that, even if you stipulate that the virus has a zootic origin and it was as bad as people believed (and there are serious reasons to doubt both points), it seemed to me that one of the primary duties of executive level leadership in a crisis is to manage citizens’ expectations. Else, what is the point of paying for a mayor, governor, or executive branch and their coteries of very learned experts? Instead, all we got was steer excrement about a 2 week vacation and $1,400 walking around money.

    As a result, here in the land of the (mostly) still free, an economist’s or public health official’s* opinion and 2 bucks can get you a cup of coffee at QuikTrip. Nobody is listening anymore– especially after the election. His defense? Average people are moronic sheep who can’t handle the right to determine what is best for themselves. That’s a direct quote. Admittedly, he went on, the feds botched the propaganda but that’s all Trump’s fault yadda yadda. To which I countered suppose that a truly lethal hemorrhagic fever or something like the the Black Death right now were to crop up. How would you get people in much, if not most, of the country to even believe you? He shrugged it off saying something like it doesn’t matter what they think; we control the policy decisions. To which I asked simply why aren’t many people taking the vaccine, then? You can guess the rest of the exchange.

    These people live in an utter fantasy.

    *of course, a public health official is merely an economist pretending to be a doctor.

    Hope you are well,

    Anonymous Millennial.

  32. What a very timely post, JMG!

    My main question here is: how come some of us belonging to the comfortable classes have been seemingly-immune to this mass psychosis? Using myself as an example, I come from the precise cultural background that TDS largely feeds from, liberal educated parents who have voted D their entire lives, a totally liberal-secular upbringing, left-wing dogma crammed into my head since I was a young kid, I was an obnoxious arrogant liberal in my younger adult years, ect. Yet when the ‘social-justice’ hysteria started rearing its ugly head around 2014-2015 I had an immediate memetic-allergic reaction to it and never for a moment bought into any of it; in fact within a few years of its onset I started questioning many of the fundamental presuppositions of post-‘enlightenment’ liberal ideology. I know of plenty of other people to a similar background to mine who never ended up jumping on the Wokester bandwagon. So what do you think gives?

  33. @JMG, yeah, I know. This was an idea I’ve had for a little bit and your post just compelled me to outline the story for the readers here. I may flesh it out, but I’d rather publish it somewhere people would actually enjoy it!

    So this was just for fun, but, hmmm. It wouldn’t take too much work to flesh this out and actually submit it Grist. I’m heartened to learn you actually did that!

    Otherwise, I very much enjoyed your post and reading the comments so far. Thank you as always.

  34. “Genuflections…”
    I caught the last five minutes of an interview on the CBC just before noon today (look it up, if you’re curious, I don’t want to risk libel by naming names) where the interviewee was conflating racism with climate change “ecological racism” and dragging in claims of higher rates of infection among ‘racialized communities’ and… OK, you get it.
    As I made breakfast, I was trying to sort that garbled rambling into anything approaching a logically rational train of thought. What I got was the image of someone pulling arm-lengths of multi-coloured threads off of spools and then balling them up together into a tangled mass and challenging someone to pick an thread and follow it. The most telling point that occurred to me was that there was no take-away; no ask; nothing for me to do; no practical suggestions on which I could act as an individual; just the continued vague accusation of “racism” everywhere, as if that were the sole explanation for poverty and environmental devastation and so on.
    It was followed by the next program talking about the current deteriorating political crisis between Canada and China, thanks to the neat political game the Conservatives just played, hoisting the Liberals on their own petard by getting a unanimous motion declaring the Chinese treatment of the Ughyurs as a genocide. This is a mocking echo of Trudeau’s “acceptance” of the idea that Canadian Governments were carrying out “cultural genocide” (a word tossed around a tad too lightly these days, I think) against the aboriginal peoples. (The motion is, of course, non-binding, i.e. they don’t have to do anything but squirm and stammer out embarrassed excuses for the entertainment of their opponents who get to play the moral rectitude card and who will never actually have to do anything themselves. The only thing it did was piss off the Chinese government.)
    This is what passes for intellectual thought these days, and it’s not just the educated elites who are spouting this, it’s now a sacred tenet of social activists all the way to the volunteers dispensing food in soup kitchens.
    Apparently, the only commonality that I could suss out of this tangled mess was: everything about the culture of heterosexual, patriarchal, Caucasian colonialists is “bad” and everyone else is a pitiable victim and if one does not wholeheartedly support the plethora of victim stories, one cannot be an environmentalist.
    (Henceforth, any time anyone tells me to “check my privilege” I’ll tell them to hang their their Victim-hood on the hook next to it.)
    This is something I first noticed back in the 1990s, and it has simply metastasized across all aspects of our culture. No one in the “environmentalist” world can separate out social causes and, as an aboriginal I know put it, “What the * does Black Lives Matter have to do with indigenous issues?”
    But apparently it is now completely de-rigeur to conflate all these particular myriad issues and it seems to me that the breast-beating is exactly the sort of thing that gives people a sense of being proactive without actually having to do anything to painful or even effective. This is not new, while everyone was fawning over Thunberg and her Friday Climate Strikes, not one enthusiastic environmental-social-justice-warrior could remember the name Severin Suzuki. That, I think, says it all.

  35. William Hunter Duncan:
    A fellow Minneapolite here!..or rather 2 blocks south…You are not alone in your thoughts….Frightening times ahead I am afrad.
    A fellow lurker for years and love the insight Mr. Greer….thank you.

  36. @JMG

    Thank you for the response and always happy to contribute a phrase. I’ve never heard of the magical virtues before now, but I like them.

    @Fra’Lupo and @JMG

    I’m intrigued with what you said about cities often doing better than purely rural areas, and about what JMG said about knowing what traits to look for. Has anyone done any writing on this specifically or are we forced to resort to observation, logic, and deduction?

  37. Agree with the poster above who wrote “fantastic and timely post.”

    Have been struggling especially with the psychic garbage around the Covid-wars, the sense of being surrounded by and smothered by crazy people, coupled with the sense of obligation to try to “do something” about it, and of course, the sense of futility engendered thereby.

    Working on the backing away slowly and bolstering of the spiritual supports, but don’t want to disengage too much because I cling to the idea/folly that there must be some societal value in the sane people not abandoning the crazies.

    John Waters at Unchained on Substack had a pithy piece addressing this yesterday: Court of Little Appeal – https://johnwaters.substack.com/p/court-of-little-appeal – with extensive quotes and analysis of Denis Rancourt’s work on the vulnerability of Western societies to totalitarianism, and the usefulness of even small individual acts of refusing to go along with the lies of the authorites, for the sake of giving others a glimpse of what sanity could be for them too.

    Interesting side note – logging into the SubscribeStar for the Aries ingress in Washington DC, I got a one-time log-in code and it was a “get” in the magical way, I think. The four-digit code was 1111. No idea what this means, but I noted it.

  38. I have a personal example of people insisting that reality is whatever they decide it is. My parents are filthy rich, and very obviously so. By filthy rich, I mean they are within the top 1% of Canadians by income. To give a sense of the sheer amount of money they have, they can decide on impromptu trips to Europe; they bought a house in Florida, in cash, a few years back; and at one point they were sending thousands of dollars a month to struggling family, without affecting their day to day life at all.

    My family still insists on railing against the 1%, insists they are lower middle class, and are constantly talking about what they’d do if only they had money. The entire thing is absolutely surreal. No amount of reason, no effort to point out just how rich they are, ever seems to get through to them.

    I am in the back away from the crazies stage, but this is how the privileged classes see themselves: they are poor and struggling! This does not bode well for the future at all.

    As for the no new ideas in half a century, what happened in the 1960s? I often feel it’s been a broken record ever since, but I can’t figure out what changed in that decade.

  39. You don’t mention much about the value of community for this next little bit. Friends and family was the closest you hit on which is, of course community of a sort but I’d say it goes bigger than that. Obviously easier with a bunch of people who have certain skills and outlook plus preferably some land as things progress I’d guess but something useful at least. Geography will regain importance for all this I guess.

  40. Dear JMG,

    Thanks for the essay. Ugo Bardi is great. Solid scientist and good writer. Faceplant exposes its priority on the advertisement revenue. Seems like a shot in the foot to me.

    Do you think there is some cyclic coincidence that the hyperinflation hit Germany in 1923 and seems to be heading our way in 2023?

    Heading out to plant some more trees…

    Goran

  41. Being in my 50s looks like my retirement years could get exciting. Doesn’t sound so good though for the 401K.

    Speaking of, my entire adult life I have been getting guidance I have been resisting. Don’t worry about a 401k and retirement “they” would say. My first career in early adult life, being a commercial pilot, didn’t take off. Now, I am looking at where I would be if I had gotten embedded in the airline career track. Being out of work, lots of airline bankruptcies, and bills to match the former high paycheck is not a solid position.

    I am good at fixing things and home repairs so there is that. Maybe time to start making some of those radionics devices for the locals. Mostly, I am doubling down on my skills in magic. What I have been guided to do all along. Being the neighborhood cunningman/astrologer/Coelbren caster may end up being my “retirement” career.

    As long as I can avoid getting burned at the stake.

  42. In the vein of “strange days are coming, I read this report from WECC recently: “Western Assessment of Resource Adequacy Report.” It appears to be public. I especially liked the Appendix B, showing the generation plants scheduled to be retired in the next 10 years. There is a lot of generation of various sorts in the queues of different entities, but nothing is listed in this report on account of I don’t think it is public info. Still, big changes afoot on the Western Grid, and maybe a few more hours of blackouts, now and then.

    Hopefully I got the link to show up properly. If not, you can shame me.

  43. For what it’s worth: David Kaiser sees the “cancel culture” and the cult of victimhood – and the response from the right! – as a return to “honor culture” (As exemplified by aristocrats, gangsters, Hatfields & McCoys) and a retreat from “Dignity Culture” – i.e. what most of us grew up in. http://historyunfolding.blogspot.com/

  44. Hydrogen fuelled vehicles? Hasn’t that been 10-15 years away at least the whole of this century so far?
    Is this being promoted as an excuse for not making meaningful change now? The idea of driving less, using a more fuel efficient vehicle just isn’t exciting sounding enough obviously.
    I remember there was one of the hybrid cars promoted a few years ago, which actually had worse miles per gallon than some pure petrol or diesel cars available at the time.

  45. Pfff. This explains what I saw the other day while I was watching the sunset that inspired a jumble of notes, a habit I’ve made of late, not only are we approaching the verge of change but it is getting increasingly hard to ignore. I think that collective histeria will kick in hard once that starts to happen for two reasons. The first is because the section of society that buys into the idea that reality is whatever they want it to be (Did you see that several issues of Dr. Seuss will stop being published because they are considered inappropriate now?) will have a cataclysmic case of cognitive dissonance (I don’t know if I am the only one that gets the sensation of astral rot emanating from the extremes cases of such mentality) and will either pop their heads or will back themselves to a corner with happy plastic music while they babble to themselves that this isn’t true; the second is that the section of society that hasn’t been infected will realize that what is coming is inevitable and the run to the hills mentality will happen leaving rubble everywhere.

    What I saw in that warm sunset of my hometown with a hint of an omen was a sun dancing under a rainfall of ash, I mean this quite literally, a giant cloud of ash from the nearby sugar cane fields which get mindlessly burned as the season ends was pouring upon me while the last glimpses of the Golden Disk went away behind the mountains. I didn’t get the sensation of sadness at all, it was actually quite cheerful for to me it signaled that much good is to come but it was impossible to miss the mix of emotions of a twilight. There wasn’t nostalgia at all either but rather the calm and cold whispering of the cosmos saying “The time is up, the next will come but this must go”

  46. With the idea that some places will lose service before others , one survival strategy is to find an important government or industrial facility. Then look for the substation that supplies that entity with power. Find a place to live that is connected to that same substation with underground or high quality aboveground power lines. That has been my approach as I live in an apartment fed by lines from the same substation that feeds the Biggest and most important Intel facility and is powered straight from the big dams on the Columbia. In our recent ice storm a third of the state lost power for several days but we had nary a flicker. Most of the affluent people with big houses on “view property” up in the hills lost power and water. We are entering an era where infrastructure will be triaged or collapse and never be fixed.

  47. Hi JMG,

    Thanks very much for this. It was just what I needed to hear!

    I have a few family members who are still suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, and have been able to just tune it out most of the time. What has been more difficult for me is dealing with friends on the rightward end of things who start off talking about sovereignty of the individual and the excesses of corporations. That is all fine, and I generally agree, but things often veer off into screwball territory with Bill Gates, George Soros, and Klaus Schwab in starring roles as the James Bond super-villans preparing to kick down the door and inject everyone with mind-controlling subscription-pay 5G vaccines.

    At times I feel dangerously close to the scene in Steppenwolf Harry Haller when he accepts the dinner invitation with his professor friend and demolishes all social conventions by telling his friend what he really thinks. Bad idea if you want to continue to be a part of society!

    There is no shortage of crazy thinking right now, and no one has ever succeeded in talking people out of it rationally once this sort of thing takes hold. Much better to keep my mouth shut and just get on with the important work and preparations needed for the storm that is coming.

    I really appreciate the sane message and it inspired me to take a 20-minute break in the back yard which was time well spent.

  48. I suspect that the recent move online and away from face to face interaction with other people and the world at large is amplifying the tendency for people to lose their grip on what’s happening outside their bubble. A whole bunch of negative feedback loops have been cut for a lot of people.

  49. Am I correct in the assumption that the astral gunk which has accumulated in the last decades is about to being earthed out? To which degree is a return to sanity during the declining days of a civilization possible or are there historical examples that such a return to sanity before the fall of a civilization has happened?

  50. @Ecosophia readers, @JMG
    I have something to relate that I think dovetails into today’s essay.

    I’ve been reading Lost Connections by Johann Hari and I’ve been blown away. This is literally a life changing book for me in ways I could not have imagined when I started. Have you ever heard of or read Robert Pullman’s book Bowling Alone? I’ve yet to read it though it’s been on my TBR pile for a while. But I have heard other people discussing it so I have some idea of that book’s topic. Well Lost Connections is the end result of Bowling Alone. It’s showing what happens when several generations severely over-prioritize mechanization (of which automation and A.I. are upgraded versions) and algorithms as the road to Progress Paradise. The result is Bowling Alone with a big dose of mental illness on the side.

    I sincerely think this book shows why fear is so rampant among all strata of industrialized countries but is especially among the ever-increasingly downwardly mobile PMCs.

    That oddball, centuries-long, European fascination with machines helping humanity conquer nature is having some seriously nasty blowback and all of Europe and North America too is reaping the whirlwind. According to Hari – 1 in 3 French are on daily anti-anxiety/anti-depressant drugs. Statistics which he got from the French government itself. Similar rates show up in other EU countries according to some WHO reports. In the U.S. 1 in 5 Americans is on such drugs. It turns out the medical industry has known for 50+ years that disconnection (Hari identified 9 primary kinds of ‘disconnection’ from meaningful existence) is a very primary cause of suicide/depression/anxiety and other mental illnesses.

    But starting in the 50s and increasing ever since the narrative of “the problem is with your brain chemistry” has been hugely pushed. Pushed not just in the U.S. but all over western societies. The medical industry has known for over 50 years that if one has certain kinds of life-stressors the risk of depression/anxiety goes up. If more than one life-stressors hit in the same year the risk of on-going lifetime depression/anxiety more than triples. If you get 3 or more in a 24 month period that risk shoots into the stratosphere (like…10x instead of 3). I repeat these known stressors are major risk factors for lifetime destabilizing depression and anxiety.

    Furthermore there is now pretty damning evidence that the whole “you have bad brain chemistry” has been thoroughly debunked. In all the years it’s been peddled by Big-Med it has always failed in trial-after-trial-after trial. 50+ years of failures and only a handful of successes. He was so blown away by what he’s uncovered it blew the wind out of his sails for awhile and threatened his finishing the book. It seriously shook his confidence. For myself I saw it as the same racketization of medicine in the U.S. is apparently thriving in the EU too.

    It was from this book I learned the criteria for drug approval. A drug can fail 98 times out of a 100. But if 2 trials show a slight improvement vs. placebo the drug qualifies for approval. This standard (only 2 passes are needed out of 100 trials) is written into U.S. law – written no doubt by Big Pharm itself and passed without significant opposition. It’s similar in the EU. Big Med (not just Big-Pharm) have stacks of research showing huge segments of society these days are being hit over and over and over with known multiple life damaging stressors but it’s taboo to bring this up. Hari said it was one of the things that just blew him away. The mountains and mountains of decades of data showing the “bad brain chemistry” hypothesis is a total failure and the fact it’s known industrialized societies are being hammered over-and-over with these known debilitating life-stressors – and the response is…peddle more drugs using a failed hypothesis to sell it to the patient as their light at the end of their tunnel of misery.

    In light of what I’ve read I can see why mindfulness has become so popular among the PMC. At least among a segment of people practicing it there’s actual successes that one can point to. But that doesn’t mean it’s a silver bullet for everybody.

    Interestingly, far east Asian countries make a good counter group. He toured there too to see what they say. Apparently the “it’s all a problem with your brain chemistry” never really took off there to the extent it did in Europe and North America and social circumstances are readily acknowledge as legitimate contributors to severe depression and anxiety with much lower levels of depression/anxiety problems. They have problems too of course but they don’t reach for an anti-depressant as the default option the way it is in the EU and North America.

    I think this ties in more than a little bit with the past few years of PMC-led fearfluenza that’s been hitting western civilizations. It also explains somewhat why Asian countries seem to have weathered the last year better than western ones in general.

    I haven’t finished the book but I thought it was worth mentioning – especially in light of today’s topic.

  51. @ Phil Knight: “So it seems that the ultimate purpose of “cancel culture” is to fend off cognitive dissonance. This is a train that has no brakes!” UNQUOTE

    I’ve seen SJW / PMC / identity-pols deny that cancel culture exists (the trans YT’er ‘contrapoints’ has been viciously attacked for criticising the excesses of CC, for example).

    Advocating the existence of Cancel Culture will itself soon be grounds for being Canceled.
    Gregory Bateson would have laughed. Or cried.

    Like JMG, I see this as a collective mental breakdown, and am taking aggressive steps to get as far away from ground zero as possible, as soon as possible. Gods willing in a year or two I’ll be back home to Ireland after 30 years in the USA, I cannot take much more of this. Some of the sewage does seep across the Atlantic to be sopped up and thrown around by Irish middle class ‘mini-mes’, but it’ll never be quite as bad there as here (Portland OR), man the hypocrisy is something else.

    Speaking (as a socialist) of Liberal hypocrisy, I’ve been sharing this amazing 60s protest song as much as possible. How did it take me so long to find Phil Ochs’ ‘Love me I’m a Liberal’? He’d be canceled in no time these days by ‘Liberals’. McCarthyites and Thatcherites with rainbows. I’ve taken enough hate from ‘conservatives’ in the early 00s, but hate from the ‘liberals’ is scarier. The first can damage a career, the second can end it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLqKXrlD1TU

    *

    BTW, amazing that so many people were so unprepared for system failure. Only a few months earlier their TV screens were full of people fighting over drinking water and toilet paper (enjoy those calories, Road Warriors). And then the long lines of cars queueing for food. I get it, many people can’t afford to prep, but I’d imagine many could, and just allowed normalcy bias to lull them back to sleep. Fool me once, twice, thrice.

    On energy and wind/solar, the UK power crash back in 2019 was talked about by COS (fantastic site for those missing the golden age of Peak Oil writers). He goes into the failure of offshore wind farms. Well worth following his work.

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2019/10/02/system-failure/

  52. I can definitely vouch for the garden/nature thing. My backyard garden has been a godsend over the last year. Being able to sit back and watch the usual antics of the birds, plant vegetables and harvest fruit as normal has been more than usually fulfilling.

    An unintentionally funny story from my work. We have all been working from home for almost a year now and the company HR department launched a ‘mental wellbeing’ program. Part 5 of the program led with research from the University of which found that replacing human-to-human interaction with screen-mediated interaction was as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. The article then went on with ways to tend your mental health, all of which involved looking at screens!

    JMG – I’d be curious to know what other psychic epidemics Jung referred to from history. I can definitely see the correlations with the world wars, did he mention others?

  53. Question for the commentariat. Does anyone know how to be a Customer Experience Manager? This is one of those fancy new PMC positions someone cooked up. Well, I always thought a customer’s experience was there own. But I guess even your own experiences are now something to be managed by someone else.

  54. Something just occurred to me. Every human being functions on all the planes the human condition allows for correct, even if so unconsciously, but could it be that they feel something moving in the Astral Light but reflects in their conscious mind tinted by their beliefs and degree of consciousness? What if that is one of the reasons people have been loosing their heads with the covid situation. There IS a pandemic and they somehow feel it, it is just not the pandemic they think it is. They feel the tides changing and the survival mechanism tells them to latch into it and solve it at all costs, that would explain for the “new normal” which they have used also to push other sets of delusional thinking.

  55. When it comes to saving the planet, the good news is that we can all stand down now. Bill Gates has heard the call, and has come up with a plan and is putting out there with evangelical fervour and all the clout he can command. The narrative roles left for the rest of us to play are few – we can cheer, we can help, or we can stand in the way of PROGRESS…

    /sarcasm

  56. thx John Michael! I am also seeing a very increased mention of UFO references as well in our strange days. I know you have written extensively on this. To me — this doesn’t “smell like teen spirit” but smells like desperation.

    thx again!

  57. @ JMG – I’m very glad you delivered this post, this week. You might even call it a synchronicity. Recently, my wife and I have been discussing the financial viability of putting solar panels on a sunny, south facing roof on our house. Without going into too much detail, we could do so at low interest, and even have battery back-up that can be disconnected from the electric grid. On the surface, this seems like a sensible idea. BUT then I got to thinking; if/when rolling blackouts become a permeant fixture in American life, might solar panels on the roof of my house make me and my family a visible target for unsavory characters?
    Setting aside truly speculative scenarios like, for instance, “the gubmint come took mah solar” or “Luddites are burning down houses of anyone using green energy”, I can’t help but think that such an obvious display of wealth, or at least financial solvency, would make anyone with solar panels on their house a target for mundane, run-of-the-mill crime, which frequently accompanies societies in free fall, collectively psychotic or otherwise. If crime becomes as widespread as in, to use the example I know best, the former Soviet Union during the 1990s, I can think of any number of reasons that houses with solar panels on the roof would be enticing targets. This nagging doubt has been running around in the back of my mind. On the one hand, I really want a working refrigerator when the power goes out, but on the other hand, I don’t really want to deal with criminals breaking down my front door. What are your thoughts?

  58. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I have been thinking quite a bit about trying to become more resilient lately between covid, political shakings, and this unfortunate wave of inflating in food costs across the globe.

    Thus, I found what looks like a gem. David J Gingery wrote a book back in the 70’s (well really it was 7 small books that were later compiled into one massive 850 page monster) titled “Build Your Own Metal Working Shop From Scrap”. The book has my attention both because you lamented in The Retro Future how so much of the basic, mechanical knowledge of the appropriate tech movement has been lost and because Gingery teaches you how to build each piece of equipment starting with a forge and working your way up to mills, drill presses, and lathes. I would love to build my own shed/garage sized hobby workshop. But before I dive into this venture I wanted to ask, do you know anything about Gingery or some of the other machinist/carpenters from the appropriate tech movement? Are there any I need to check out? Any that I should probably avoid? Thank you in advance.

  59. oilman2,

    ” glass greenhouses going in this fall – plastic hoop houses will not be popular or feasible when transport becomes expensive. ”

    Why is that?

  60. OTOH, when it comes to saving the people who know they live on a planet upon which they depend (the planet, after all, does not NEED saving!), your advice is timely. I find myself avoiding Facebook more and more, although it still contains useful links to family and friends…*

    I have adopted several positions of dissent with the mainstream that apparently now align me with the world’s worst, scariest and most genocidal people. Time for me to back away slowly, indeed.

    Meanwhile, the natural world is all around me.

    Thanks for the advice… and also the reassurance. No, it is not me that has gone a bit “funny in the head”… 😉

    *obviously it is time to comb through that list and write down everyone’s “real world” address, phone number etc into my real world address book – using a pen… 😉

  61. This community is a fine place to interact with others without necessarily being subjected to the mass psychosis you described. I wonder if it would be appropriate for us to share our Dreamwidth account names in this thread? I know some of your readers have their own journals, and I may get mine fired up soon. Would be nice to have a network of interesting people on a social media site that doesn’t yet seem to be deleting dissent of Progress.

  62. @ JMG: It looks like the cli-fi folks are copying your strategy of creating narratives to shape a collective future; the difference being that theirs isn’t physically possible and they haven’t included a call to action in their work. I guess that’s the difference between magic and delusion.

    @ Violet: have you come across Islamic geometric patterns? They go in for circles, squares, hexagons and octagons as mystical symbols: https://artofislamicpattern.com/resources/educational-posters/ A friend of mine finds the patterns very meditative and requiring intense focus to produce.

  63. On the discussion about rural vs urban vs small town vs small city etc – Off the top of my head, I quite like a small city. Many of the big cities are becoming or already are next thing to uninhabitable.

    Rural areas and small towns are probably great for those who live there and have relatives and friends all around them, but unless there;s something you truly love about one, well, how long does it take for you to be “from around here?” Four generations?

    And what region you’re in really counts for something.

  64. This brings a few more or less random points to my mind:

    1) A few months ago there was a nation wide test of the disaster alarm network in Germany. You still find sirens anywhere but of course the network has been downgraded by adding a lot of digital gimmicks to it. Guess which have been the only devices who did what they should? Still, I heard they plan to remove the sirens since the firefighters have some kind of beeper and the rest of us uses the app, of course…

    2) While I think it is absolutely impossible (and the graph you posted shows this very impressively*) to use solar and wind power to do what coal oil and gas are doing it can still be a huge advantage to have a few solar panels on the roof. But of course they are usually not meant to work off-grid. If the grid fails, the ac-convertor fails and when you really need them, your beautiful panels are useless decoration. It’s better if you are using batteries, since many models can work off-grid, too, but most people don’t use them since they are are economically disadvantageous.

    Other than that I fully agree with what you’re saying. I always had the feeling that the US is some years ahead of Europe in it’s way to insanity, but recently Europe seems to have put in a few sprints to catch up… As disturbing as it is to deal with all this and read about all this, reading essays like yours and the comments always feels like a short a vacation.

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

    * it’s worth noting that you need to add up the curves for oil, coal and gas to see what the renewables have to replace…

  65. Your first three pieces of advice remind me of Tolstoy’s “Resurrection”. In the first chapter, the narrator says (paraphrasing from memory, it’s been a long time): “There are three things that keep a human being sane, living with your family, with God and with nature, and [the duke who is the protagonist of the story] lived none of the three.”

  66. Apropos of my previous post, it has occurred to me that what we have all come to know and love as social justice ideology or “wokeism” actually relies on one very simple but devastating linguistic trick.

    That is, it uses the word “hate” as a synonym for cognitive dissonance. On its own, cognitive dissonance may be an unpleasant experience, but it can yield valuable lessons if you work through it. However, once you relabel cognitive dissonance as hate, then it cannot be worked through, but only forcefully rejected.

    In actuallity of course, the result is that the cognitive dissonance, rather than resolving itself, just snowballs, and
    the ideology and its adherents get further and further detached from reality. This I think is the root of the craziness of the progressives, and because these people tend to reside in the upper echelons of society there is no outside or paternalistic intervention that can set the problem straight.

    So this is why I suggested that this train has no brakes. Once you experience cognitive dissonance as the equivalent of experiencing hatred, then you are in a positive feedback loop that can only end in the most destructive manner possiible.

  67. @Raymond R – Heinlein underestimated the scope of “The Crazy Years” considerably. In an amateur writing I’m pursuing as therapy & clarification of things, I’m having my characters refer to “The Crazy Century,” against which there has been a considerable reaction. Enter a crazy great-aunt who insists that the only thing that keeps her from being able to have all the abundance and high tech etc is “The negativity of your mother’s generation.” i.e. the one hit with heavy unemployment, decaying infrastructure, etc, and was stuck with the rebuilding when all the dust settled. The child replies “Well, your generation SQUANDERED it all!”

  68. I suppose that psychic epidemics are something that humans do every so often as a form of depopulation. I consider the covid ‘crisis’ to be a psychic epidemic not a medical one. Statistics show that the death rate in 2020 was fairly average but governments insisted we had to be locked down (like prisoners) for our own good. Healthy people ‘quarantined’ themselves and took an experimental gene therapy potion for a virus they could easily survive. They also tried to shame those who didn’t want it as “selfish”.

    I am very glad to be outside the mainstream which is increasingly insane. In my job (local government) we are fed a daily dose of propaganda about the wonderfulness of the covid vaccines. Of course, if it was that good or that necessary, no propaganda would be needed. The latest fad is managers putting their pronouns in their signatures, to show how wonderful they are. However, a 39 year old man committed suicide by throwing himself off an internal stairwell in the office last week. He was a militant vegetarian but was able to kill himself, another animal.

    Our rulers are determined not to notice the wheels coming off the bus. As you wisely say, “back slowly away from the crazy person.” Except there’s millions of them and they control our governments, media and believe that if you question their wisdom and goodness, you must be cancelled as you are evil. There is no solution to this – most people believe in the religion of progress and they are also the ones easily infected with this psychic epidemic. Thanks for your work. It is much needed.

  69. Actually, Von Neumann was one of the first people to show us how to optimize multiple functions at once. This is what distinguishes game theory from normal optimization: many players optimize their own utility functions. Sometimes this is not possible and one player wins, other times it is and there is a coalition where perhaps the functions are not optimal, but are only optimal given the constaints of the other players (a coalition, in game theory lingo). For more on the discussion of when it is possible, and tradeoffs in general, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPJug0s2u4w. You may not have the patience to watch it, but I think Scmachtenberger is one of the most intelligent people alive, and I would love it if you, JMG (whom I feel similarly about) could engage with him.

  70. “If you are urban, you likely cannot source firewood locally – which means no woodstoves or fireplaces independent of the grid.”

    Adding to the firewood information, and thank you, Oilman2–you seem to be way ahead of many of us–I know of two places for firewood in Chicago; there might be more, but I know of two. One sells kiln-dried wood, and does business with restaurants (presumably including the forno a legna types) as well as ordinary consumers; the other sells seasoned wood. My experience is that kiln-dried wood is easy to light but burns faster; seasoned wood is harder to light but burns slower. The seasoned wood is also significantly cheaper. This season I opted for the seasoned wood and I still have some of my (half) rick left. As I was reading John’s post I thought to myself, I need to replenish the rick even though Spring is almost upon us. Reading John’s later comments I don’t think I’m facing an emergency where I am, but I don’t relish the thought of having no heat in winter when I need it. I want a backup.

    One thing to say, though, if you’re burning wood in a fireplace, as opposed to a wood stove, is to have the fireplace periodically inspected. We brought ours up to the modern code. I think it’s worth it. Also, one needs to have a fireplace to begin with, but friends of ours who didn’t have one installed a very nice, modern, impressive wood stove in their place, that generates a lot of heat.

    I don’t intend to stay in the city forever. After I wind down my professional life, it’s off to who knows where. I’ll live in the city for as long as I need to. After that, I’m heading out to somewhere; where that is, I have yet to decide.

  71. Archdruid,

    I think 2020 facilitated a greater transition to localization than most of us realize. I keep one foot in both political worlds and I can say that I’m seeing mutual aid societies pop up everywhere. People are adapting, just not among the management class. The working class sees the writing on the wall even if they don’t understand the meaning.

    Many socialist influencers are pushing their followers to take action and organize to protect themselves with mutual aid. Libertarians are heading toward small towns, cities, and rural areas.

    On the home front, my friends and I rapidly developing our mutual aid society. I’ll have an extension of that project to present to all of you sometime later this year, or possibly early next year.

    I’m taking the advice of one of your other posters from an age ago, and putting my intelligence gathering and analysis skills for people outside the management class. So stay tuned!

    You know at some point, many years ago, you said that peak oil held the opportunity for the greatest adventure of our lives. It hasn’t disappointed!

    Regards,

    Varun

  72. Slithy Toves, too funny.

    Chronojourner, you’re not wrong. The one thing that differentiates QAnon from your common or garden variety millenarian religious movement is that I’m pretty sure it was deliberately manufactured as a distraction — it’s got the sticky fingerprints of disinformation all over it. As for the tarot reader and her problem client, I used to get that now and again back when I did geomancy readings at Neopagan events to help cover my travel costs. It was always, by the way, women from the upper middle class who acted that way…

    Yorkshire, you can improve matters broadly across the board, and not just by reducing waste — what you can’t do is maximize more than one variable. You’ll find that if you push it far enough, maximizing one variable makes it impossible to eliminate waste, because eliminating waste is also a variable…

    Dmay, I have a higher opinion of the Trickster than that — sure, he lies, but there’s always wisdom woven through the tomfoolery. The current propaganda makes you stupid.

    Millennial, that’s the mentality of the managerial class. They’re trained to think that because they have advanced degrees, that makes them the overlords of humanity, and of course everything in the universe (and especially all other human beings) are passive objects that will respond mechanically to their manipulations. The mere fact that this doesn’t work never gets through the yard-thick layer of concrete that lines their skulls…

    Laughingsage, good question. I also come from the kind of background that feeds the TDS cult, and yet I simply rolled my eyes. In my case, part of it was the experience of watching so many of my contemporaries cash in their ideals in the 1980s — that immunized me against the claim that either my generation or the mainstream left has any particular claim to virtue or wisdom — but I’m not sure that’s all of it.

    Justin, consider it. If enough people do so, I might put together an anthology!

    Renaissance, you’ve put your finger on a crucial point. Yelling about “racism” is what you do instead of doing something real.

    Andrew001, as far as I know, observation, logic, and deduction, along with a slew of historical research, is what we’ve got to go on.

    KW, those little gestures matter. On the way home from the grocery today, I passed another guy who was flaunting his bare face in public. He grinned at me, I grinned at him; not a word was exchanged, but we both went our ways knowing that not everyone has gone crazy.

    Will J, that’s a great example of “reality is whatever we say it is.” Of course reason won’t work on them — it never works on the delusional. As for the Sixties…hmm. That’s a very complex matter.

    Jay Pine, during a psychic epidemic, community can be a trap — unless you can be sure that your community isn’t going to be infected, you’re safer in smaller groups.

    Goran, it’s an interesting synchronicity, certainly! If we do hit hyperinflation in 2023, I’m going to be worried come 2033…

    Eric, one thing you may not know is that astrology is one of the classic ways for occultists to make a good living in hard times. In the 1930s, a lot of people in the occult scene kept themselves fed and houses by casting and interpreting horoscopes, and doing other kinds of divination. Yes, that has more than a little to do with my decision to get serious about astrology… As for radionics, quite possibly, but don’t make any public claims about its healing capacities. Wilhelm Reich and Ruth Drown both died in prison because they weren’t careful about that. The AMA will do anything to defend its monopoly!

    Raymond, a case could be made…

    BCV, it didn’t come through. If you’d like to post the bare URL as text, I can put in the HTML.

  73. JMG – Awesome post – Thank you!

    So – what ‘Grist’ really wants is enti-fi in cli drag? This seems like a great opportunity for writer who is skilled in subtle satire – in other words submitting a story that only appears to have all the right markers for the ‘right people’, but in reality is subversive and might provoke productive thinking. So, maybe an idea for writer in need of a project? (This sort of project is beyond my writing abilities).

    For some reason the song ‘Strange Days’ by the Doors comes to mind.

  74. @Stephan D,

    I have made my living for 35 years in my own metalworking shop. I have had a big one with employees and fancy equipment, and now I have one with just me and a collection of manual ( and one NC) tools that I have collected over the years. While I admire Gingery and his grass roots approach I think it is dated if one is trying to build up a shop at low cost and not just have a hobby building the shop. Just a few tips, the charcoal forge and foundry are a good idea, do them first. Forget the planer, those are outdated and no tooling is available. Instead of building the drill, milling machine and lathe, find older damaged American, German or Japanese machines ( which can be had for less than the cost of the metal) and learn to rebuild them. In Gingery’s day manual machines were the bread and butter of industrial America so they were relatively expensive. Now ones that are worn or damaged sell for very little and the cast iron they are made of is far superior to the cast aluminum Gingery relies on. You will have enough learning for a lifetime just rebuilding these machine, learning to run them well, and making tooling and fixtures from scratch. Before starting on this project save your money and get the following, 1) a good set of files 2) a good quality hand drill 3) a good quality angle grinder and 4) a good quality hack saw.

  75. Oilman2, Well done. If I may, allow me to suggest, do, at all costs, get everything. land title and will specifically naming your children as inheritors of your land, drawn up, signed, notarized, with extra copies kept in secure locations and keep all tax and related receipts. Paranoid people are survivors.

    Again, if I may, for the person in last week’s discussion who lamented his lack of mechanical ability: If you are a plant person, your skills are needed right now, today. I would say, especially if you can propagate they are needed. Consolidation of the nursery business, and restrictive contracts, have meant that any nurseries in a given location pretty much offer the same species and varieties. ( I don’t understand why such contracts are even enforceable) You could be earning side money right now, or this summer, supplying plants not found at WalMart to gardeners. In my state a nursery license is $50. if you don’t use chemicals. Never mind expensive organic certification, merely state in your advertising that no chemical pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides are used, if you want to go that way. Anything you can supply locally means a gardener doesn’t have to pay shipping costs for plants that have been 2 weeks in transit in 3 digit weather–that really did happen to me. Or, if you are strong and healthy, you could put in and maintain gardens for seniors or busy people. If you are reliable, don’t track mud into someone’s bathroom, don’t show up accompanied by a small tribe of obnoxious friends and relations, worth your weight in gold.

  76. @Violet and JMG–The hexafoil is the basis for many Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs, which from what little I know are sometimes apotropaic and sometimes for drawing good fortune.

    Strange Experience: The Autobiography of a Hexenmeister by Lee R. Gandee has a hexafoil hex sign on the cover and several others as chapter headings. This memoir was published as a trade paperback in 1971 and is out of print, but used copies are somewhat available. It’s quirky, laugh out loud funny in parts (especially if you know botanical Latin), and well worth reading. Gandee was a Southerner, not a Pennsylvanian. Although he is not famous, he is worth including in the collections of original American occultists.

  77. I need to read this again, slowly… when my Smile-On-Front-Face day is over… but thought, to add to the stack of non-climate related things that show similar amounts of astonishing delusion on the elite mouthhorns… but this news article had my husband and I in fits over text today B.C. defends delay of 2nd dose of vaccine.

    The text is funny (the provincial health office and provincial science officer are at public verbal fisticuffs over the vaccine spacing – the former going hard for political expediency over science and drug manufacturer recommendations, which are usually at minimum the place to start…. The realtime implications if the vaccine is, in fact “leaky”, are not something to let oneself think about until it actually looks like they can succeed at all in their bugsplat crazy plan in the first place) but the real meat is in the graph entitled “Deaths per day due to COVID-19 in B.C., daily total and rolling average”.

    Observe how sharply that peak inflects the very second they start the vaccinations. Now check out the first graph again, and see that we have after 10 weeks vaccinated only 5% of our total population, and within the first couple weeks, only 1% (front line workers in hospitals and care facilities). Now, either they have vastly overestimated the number needed to be vaccinated to create population level protection from death, or we have had in our death stats and lot of people killed within hours to days after being cared for by front line care workers who had been showing up to work positive with no symptoms or positive test (which would be weird, since the average hospitalization time has been something like 2-5 weeks), or…

    We were just shaking our heads at the joy with which the Plandemic guys would view such an astonishing piece of data communication.

  78. Typing on my phone here – How do we go about sustainability covertly/under the radar? Getting a piece of land seems paramount to that and land prices are out of sight in the state I live in.

  79. Here is the bare URL:
    report

    you can also do a Google search of the title: “Western Assessment of Resource Adequacy Report”. The WECC page came right up.

  80. JMG,

    I was wondering if there was a strategic component to your increased focus on astrology. Very encouraging to hear it was viable during hard times and as recently as the 1930s, thanks.

    Along those lines after reading some of your past commentary I am enrolled in Christopher Warnock’s Astrological Magic course. My library has also been stocked with astrology books recommended by you and others. Hopefully, I am building a solid foundation for making talismans as well as casting and interpreting charts.

    Feels like I am in college again. Though studying much more interesting subjects this time around.

    Oh yeah, I also have The Cunning Man’s Handbook. I think it will serve well as a resource for, among other things, business development in a post-growth era. It is quite the resource. I am tempted to pick up the 6th and 7th Books of Moses for similar reasons.

    Finally, we’ve been using the government checks to weatherize our house. Nice to get the rest of these old windows replaced. Now, if we could move things along so our noisy street had a lot less traffic we could spend more quiet time in the backyard. One of the upsides of decline. Less road noise! I hope.

    Thanks!

    Eric

  81. Steve(15)-

    That is a wild encoding you have there on your message. May I ask how you did that?

    (btw, it came through just fine — some odd spacing between some of the glyphs — in my text-based newsreader)

  82. Patricia M, hmm! That’s an interesting suggestion.

    Mawkernewek, yep. No doubt the hydrogen will be generated by commercial fusion plants and used to power flying cars and jetpacks!

    Augusto, yes, that’s pretty much what I’m expecting.

    Clay, that’s certainly an option, if you don’t mind living under the muzzles of armed guards — and yes, it will come to that.

    Samurai, that’s why I noted that it’s perfectly possible to be drawn into the craziness by being too caught up in opposing it. There are people on the right who are just as delusional as the people on the left. I’ll be talking soon about that fourth magical virtue — “to be silent” — and its uses in this sort of context.

    Pygmycory, I think you’re quite correct.

    Booklover, it’s quite common for the decline of a civilization to involve periods of craziness followed by periods of relative calm and restabilization, so I think there’s some hope of that this time.

    Happy Panda, that makes perfect sense. When I was in college the first time, in the early 1980s, one of the grad students who was TA-ing my experimental design and statistics classes had drawn up a plan to do his dissertation on the role of loneliness in the etiology of schizophrenia; he was told by his advisor to drop it and do something more in keeping with the pharmaceutical model if he wanted to get a job after graduation, and he did so. I suspect that story has been repeated countless times since then.

    Erika, oh dear gods. Here we go…

    Simon, thank you for the story — that’s a classic. I don’t recall Jung specifying any others, but it’s not too hard to find them; every big speculative bubble, for example, is one; so is every apocalyptic mass movement (cough, cough, 2012, cough, cough), and Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds has a bumper crop of them for study.

    Justin, I know exactly what’s involved. You sit in a cubicle and write an endless sequence of bullshale memos, and then twice a day go to meetings where everyone talks and nothing happens. That is to say, it’s identical to most other managerial-class jobs these days.

    Augusto, that makes a great deal of sense. Those who normally operate on the lower subplanes of the astral — the subplanes typified by biological passions, other people’s opinions, and selfish interests — will be more sensitive to it than most, since those are also the subplanes where noxious patterns build up to be discharged by disasters. They may not be conscious of it — in fact, it’s unlikely they will be — but they’ll sense it.

    Scotlyn, nice to know that there’s a new high-water mark for self-serving balderdash.

    Jerry, I’m pretty sure the US Navy is testing some new secret technology. When there’s a rush of new UFO reports, that usually means the US military is testing something — think of all those “black triangle” UFOs right when the first stealth planes were being tested — and the Navy pretty much has to come up with something, since the new Ford-class aircraft carriers and the F-35 fighters have both turned out to be world-class duds.

    Ben, if your house is otherwise modest and doesn’t have any sign of conspicuous consumption, a few solar panels probably won’t hurt. One thing, though — have you considered solar water heating? You could cut your energy bills by 10% forever and have hot water for free much of the year, you know…

    Stephen, yes, I’ve heard of the Gingery books, and if my Aspergers syndrome didn’t come with a whopping case of motor dyspraxia (that’s spelled “clumsy as frack” in ordinary English) I’d have gotten them and had fun. I think it’s an excellent idea; people who have those kind of hand-tool and machine-tool skills, and can make useful things from scrap, are going to be essential in the preservation of useful technologies over the next five centuries or so.

    Scotlyn, Phil Knight’s comment below seems apropos — when these people say “hate” what they mean is “cognitive dissonance.” Your dissent is unbearable to them because it reminds them that the world is not doing what their belief system insists the world must do. Yes, a pen and a paper address book would be a very useful thing just now!

    Kyle, might be better for me to post something on Dreamwidth itself, where it will attract less attention from trolls, and have people respond to that there. Does that sound workable to you?

    Kfish, of course they are. They may even have gotten the idea from some of the same places I did! What they haven’t grasped, as you note, is that a narrative that’s sufficiently detached from reality can be disastrous.

    Patricia M, those are excellent points. (BTW, you’re quite right about Vivian L. Morgan; one of her other books is The Winged Elk…)

    Nachtgurke, of course it’s an advantage to have some solar and wind backup, especially if you keep it unconnected from the grid and use it to power a 12v backup system that can run a few useful things. That can be an immense advantage in rough times! That said, having hot water is even more useful, so a solar water heater system might be a better investment.

    Matthias, Tolstoy knew what he was talking about.

    Phil K, good heavens. You’re quite correct, of course, and I hadn’t caught that. In fact, all their “cold prickly!” words are ways of labeling cognitive dissonance so they don’t have to deal with it, at least in the short term. Oh, my — that opens up all kinds of possibilities for magical strategy…

    Bridge, it’s precisely because so many of the crazy people in question are in positions of privilege that backing away from them is so crucial — their privilege amplifies their craziness. There isn’t a solution, but walking away is a good way to stay clear of the blast zone; and as I’ve noted already, it’s good strategy never to interrupt your enemies while they’re making a mistake…

    Iuval, that’s why I said “maximize” rather than “optimize.” The distinction between those two is one of von Neumann’s most important conceptual creations.

  83. Just happened to turn on the local college station and got an AP News bulletin. They quoted a talking head about how important it was for everyone to keep wearing masks and to get vaccinated. Then they said that 200,000 people had opted for health insurance since Biden’s installment ahem I mean election and relayed great news about Obamacare being restored and about how it helps the working poor and the middle class.

  84. Something which I find frustrating is when the delusional decide to make something their pet cause, and is so doing make it very, very easy for sane people to conclude this is just part of the delusion, even when they are right. I’ll use vaccines as an example, since I fear this is going to be one of the major issues of the next few years. We don’t have the foggiest idea whether or not the Covid vaccines are safe, or effective; the backlash against it if it turns out they are dangerous is likely to include a massive increase in the anti-vax movement.

    Until this hit, I was a big proponent of vaccination: I’ve seen what some of the diseases we can prevent do, and despite having had adverse reactions myself, I think that in general, a lot of the vaccines are safer than the diseases they stop. I don’t know if this will hold for any of the Covid vaccines, and given the sheer number of them I’ll be astonished if none of them cause serious problems for at least some of the people who take it.

    The end result of this is that what trust I had in modern medicine has been shattered. If the rules are going to be bent and broken like this, I can’t trust anything any doctor says. I know I don’t have the time, nor skills, nor resources needed to assess every single medication I might be prescribed. I am thus in the position where I am going to need to refuse all treatments for anything. Sadly, this will necessarily include a lot of safe and effective treatments, including things like vaccines, and the consequences of millions of people making the same sorts of decisions I am will be a deterioration in public health.

    The results will be even more dramatic if any of the vaccines cause serious problems, but at this point we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. The problem here is that the backlash against modern medicine, especially vaccination, is a reasonable response to the current insanity: why should people trust anything anyone says about vaccines after this?

  85. Matthias (#69),

    For whatever it’s worth, this quote inspired me to request Tolstoy’s Resurrection from the public library this afternoon. I look forward to reading it soon. Thank you!

    Phil (#70),

    Wow! Oh, wow! I think you hit the nail on the head here. Thank you!

  86. PatriciaT, it would indeed be a great opportunity, but that’s not something I’m skilled at, either. What I wrote instead is a story that fulfills all their overt requirements but contradicts the covert ones.

    Deborah, and a fine book it is! Thanks for this.

    Pixelated, “bugsplat crazy” is a keeper — thank you. Yes, I’d noticed the curious fact that the case rate started dropping like a rock here in the US the moment that Joe Biden got inaugurated. Funny how that works…

    Poker Face, no, buying land is not paramount — that notion’s been pushed at you by the media for decades, precisely to keep people from doing anything more useful. There are many things you can do to make yourself and your family more resilient without doing that; my book Green Wizardry talks about some of them.

    BCV, okay, I think I know what the problem is — the blog software is screening it out. Still, it can be found quite easily on DuckDuckGo.

    Eric, excellent! You should be well prepared. Astrologers did quite well during the hyperinflation of the Weimar era in Germany, too.

    Kimberly, no doubt.

    Will J, exactly. A lot of good things are going to be discarded because of the collapse of public confidence in mainstream science.

  87. Call me gobsmacked, JMG. Your three examples are certainly signs of the times… and terribly ominous signs, at that. I had a distinct reaction to each example as follows:

    The Grist fiction contest: maybe I spend too much time with my prankster teenage son, but as soon as I read the conditions stated in the contest, I was hoping that you would raise a “call to arms” (or, rather, keyboards) for everyone to submit short cli-sci stories that violate every condition of the contest, thereby flooding the moronic editors of Grist with 1,000 submissions (oh, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they read yet another one of our submissions). Just a passing fantasy…

    FB’s banishment of Ugo Bardi: unfortunately, predictable, given FB’s predilections. The platform is chock-a-block with Flat Earth groups and bat-excrement-crazy conspiracy groups, but a scientist who knows his stuff questioning the fantasy-pseudoscience-fluff-du-jour cannot be tolerated.

    The interview with Sir David King: simply breathtaking… his “solution” to climate change is on par with the Monty Python skit about the mountaineering expedition to the “two” peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro!

    Your advice is sound considering the territory that we are now in. And I am glad that you brought up Jung’s warnings about psychic epidemics. By chance, less than half an hour after reading those words, I read the following from Orlov’s Reinventing Collapse (p. 138 for anyone who is interested): “…first a country goes a little bit senile, then noticeably demented, then completely stark, raving, running-about-naked-smearing-feces-all-over-itself insane. Then it hurts itself. Individual insanity is rare, but group insanity is, unfortunately, the bane of societies that are nearing their end”. Sobering stuff!

    I thank you, JMG, and the commentariat, for having the courage to look around with the rose-coloured glasses off while society boards the train bound for the Twilight Zone.

  88. Poker Face, if you search ‘urban farming’ on the Internet there’s a wide range of useful strategies for getting the use of someone else’s land. There’s a lot of people out there with large yards and no use for them who would be pleased to have someone else work it, and even more pleased to receive land rent in vegetables.

    For example, there’s a crew in California that will come and plant grape vines on your half-acre yard and then harvest and process the grapes, giving you back a share in wine that you can pour out to your rich buddies and boast about having your very own terroir. They’re a vineyard that own no land at all.

  89. Thanks for another great and timely post. It’s always reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one feeling that the world is going more than a little wonky these days.

    If you don’t mind a bit of a story, I just wanted to put in a word for physical exercise as a strategy which I personally find invaluable for helping to deal with the craziness. In one way or another, I’ve been exercising for pretty much my whole life. Lately that has taken the form of working out at the YMCA – weights, core/functional exercises, cardio – that sort of stuff, mainly at night while my kids were there doing their own activities. What with the lockdowns and a very busy year at our farmstead, I stopped training for the better part of a year. I thought the farm work would be enough but I was dead wrong. I couldn’t believe how terrible I felt without the exercise I’d been doing at the gym – miscellaneous aches and pains, dizziness, brain fog, irritability, fatigue – I felt like a completely different person. It was scary. I guess I’d never fully appreciated how much I needed to exercise, or how much it had been helping me all along.

    Anyway, our gym has been open again for the past few weeks so I’ve been able to get back to training, and I’m already noticing a massive improvement in how I feel – physically, mentally and emotionally. Loads more energy, a clear head, and perhaps most importantly, I feel as though I have a force field of energy surrounding me through which nothing can pass. Very similar effects as a good banishing ritual, actually. The world can go crazy all it wants and it doesn’t bother me. I feel a lot more resilient to it all, and I’m able to focus on my goals without worrying what other people are doing or saying.

    Also, in a future with less electricity, less petroleum, and less massive centralized systems to prop us up, it stands to reason we’re going to have to do more physical work ourselves. Not to say everyone has to be a farmer, but in a lower-energy world, something’s got to make up the difference. I think it makes sense to get in as good condition as possible now as part of trying to prepare for that aspect of the future.

  90. @b3rnhard #3

    First of all, thanks for the St. Michael’s prayer. It was not unknown to me, but it was in the edge of my awareness for the last few weeks. I will be sure to pray it before venturing in some etherically/astrally unhygienic location or another. Please let me reciprocate and offer you the Trisagion. See the link below.

    As for your mentioning: “Roman Catholicism is quickly degrading into the psychic epidemic”. Could you be more specific? I have not sensed Catholics getting much more (or, unfortunately, less) weird than the general population. I do not pay much attention to the everyday proclamations of the curia, but I assume they are pandering to the fads of the World, just like they have been for the last 50 years. What’s new that did catch your attention?

    @everyone

    Now that JMG has prescribed us with some solid spirituality workout, let me insert this shameless plug. Part four of my ongoing series on the Trisagion to the Holy Trinity. For those Christians among the readership, I think you will like it.

  91. Ben #61:

    My husband was lucky enough to receive a small inheritance and instead of losing it in the stock market he decided to have solar panels put on our house, part of our resilience plans. The panels are not sufficient to run everything, but they will keep the refrigerator, the water pump, the land-line phone battery* and some lights in the kitchen and living room on when the power is out. We opted for battery backup which increased the cost, but was worthwhile. It is grid-tied so Green Mountain Power gives us credit for our excess.

    Naturally, the panels are much more efficient when the sun is bright (spring, summer, fall) and much less helpful when covered with snow (winter), but all in all we’re pleased with the set-up.

    We are one of two houses on a dead-end, unpaved road so our solar array is not obvious; I would not let them put panels on the front of the house, they’re on the back roof and the side roof of the garage, both of which are not visible from the road.

    *Around here there is no cell service so everybody’s got a land line connected by fiber optic cable, not copper lines. If the power goes out the phone battery near the electrical panel will run the phone for about 8 hours, after which there’s no phone service in case of an emergency so it’s important to keep it charged.

    Patricia Matthews #67:

    We’ve lived in a bunch of places, almost all rural, and being not ‘from around here’ can be an issue. Our approach is to pay close attention to local culture and conform as well as we can, to get involved in local charities and town events, and not to stick out like a sore thumb. It helps that we’re working class and not PMC too. In almost every community there came a time when, although we were ‘from away’, we were accepted – even some of the natives came to think we’d always lived there. Beekeeper Family Rule: If you move to a new place it’s incumbent on you to make the effort to fit in; it’s not the job of the natives to change to suit you.

    The Original Poker Face #81:

    What JMG said.

    But if you really feel that you want to own a piece of land, you probably don’t need the expensive, flat acreage that is perfect for building your McMansion. Marginal land on which you can put a small dwelling, an animal shelter, and garden – especially if it’s not on a main road or it’s beyond the reach of power lines – can be obtained a lot more cheaply, but it’ll take some looking around.

  92. Hi John,

    In the most recent Magic Monday, you said “Notice in general how much “anti-racism” is racism with a smiley face painted on it…”

    I have been reading the French philosopher and Shaiva initiate Alain Danielou’s book “India: A Civilization of Differences: The Ancient Tradition of Universal Tolerance” and he made exactly the same point. He noted specifically how “anti-racism” is for the most part just another form of racism which differs from more traditional forms only in its choice of targets. He discussed in considerable depth how “anti-racism” and other “progressive” ideologies are often used as stalking horses to promote noxious economic and political agendas by multi-national corporations, intelligence agencies, the PMC, the investor class and certain other interest groups.

  93. My recommendation, along with that of the Archdruid’s, is to get away from screens a bit. Reading books is a good way, but also writing old-fashioned letters, away from a computer, where distractions are more prevalent. People enjoy old-fashioned letters, and the personalized messages within. They will probably long remain after the computers we are all working on are silent hunks of silicon and plastic, if you fancy leaving any personal thoughts to future generations.

  94. What I find fascinating is that the more apparent peak oil becomes the louder the screaming about “Climate Change” as if avoiding the Elephant in the Room that must not be named.

  95. @Stephen D – With regards to metal shops, do check out a local makerspace, if it exists. Some folks there believe that 3D printing will save us, but you’ll also find folks who teach the basics of woodworking, sewing, jewelry, metalworking, and a few other solid skills. It is also can help you be part of a community of DIY folks who learn how to get along with each other, critical in the coming craziness.

  96. “Dmay, I have a higher opinion of the Trickster than that — sure, he lies, but there’s always wisdom woven through the tomfoolery. The current propaganda makes you stupid.”

    Personally I always think back to the quote by Captain Jack Sparrow in the first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie: “Me I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Its the ‘honest’ people you have to watch out for because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid!”

  97. I find your advice this week to be so on-point. I had already cut my MSM consumption way, way down. The amount of gaslighting going on in our media and culture at large is just astonishing! The wokesters’ shenanigans have devolved into nearly naked power plays. To believe the tripe being profured is to experience cognitive dissonance, to have to ignore your own lyin’ eyes. The reason why all the SJW stuff is “unconscious” or “micro” or “systemic”, is because if you ask for specific, concrete examples, they have nothing, and will just launch into an acusitory tirade as a deflection. To hear a respected voice telling me that they see the mass delusions and gaslighting too is very affirming, thank you John

  98. I too am withdrawing from much online stuff, for my own sanity. Killed Twitter a few weeks ago. It’s very lonely with even less huma digital interaction – I spend most of my time alone at home due to ME – but it’s not like there’s anything of much value to be gleaned from the corporate digital fever dream.

    Pockets of the internet remain helpful, however, like here. I never stopped using a feedreader to keep up with all the scattered gems but it’s becoming increasingly more important that way more people do so. Don’t rely on apps to direct your online experience; curate it yourself.

    New Maps has wended its way to me here in Australia and sits waiting. I’m so looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recco.

  99. Ron, I’m not going to raise a call to arms, but I would certainly encourage you and your son to sit down and come up with a story to submit to the contest. Don’t violate every condition; it’s far more entertaining to give them exactly what they’re asking for…without giving them what they’re actually asking for. Once mine gets a rejection slip I’ll post it here; I think you and the rest of the commentariat will enjoy it. You’re welcome, btw, and thank you; that train heading for the Twilight Zone might as well be going someplace with Arbeit Macht Frei over the entrance gate. Me, I’ll gladly walk the other direction.

    Stefania, most interesting. For future reference, maybe you should get some weights and a few other exercise tools, so that you can keep up your exercises if the Y has to shut down again! (Full disclosure: I have an assortment of dumbbells, kettlebells, and old-fashioned Indian clubs here in my apartment…)

    CR, thanks for this.

    Galen, I didn’t know that Danielou discusses that, but I’m not surprised — a very keen thinker, that one.

    Peakfuture, a fine suggestion!

    Info23, entertaining, isn’t it? 😉

    BB, a case could be made!

    Selkirk, you’re most welcome. It’s really getting bizarre these days, which is one of the reasons why writing this post struck me as a good idea.

    Sue, well, you notice I’m still posting. 😉 The internet has massive problems but just at the moment, it’s the medium of communication we’ve got, and it’s likely to remain up and running for a couple of decades yet. Those who want to do so can build spaces for calm and thoughtful conversation there.

  100. What is the best advice for preparing for future collapse when one lives in an apartment? Most of the advice shared among us here seems predicated on owning one’s own home to modify and having some land for gardening.

  101. @clay dennis
    Wind and Solar will one day be our only form of electricity

    Wind and Solar can never be a major source of electricity. At present they’re only viable with the underlying subsidy of cheap fossil fuels, the resources necessary to scale them up simply aren’t there and their useful life is too short.

    Fra’ Lupo
    urban areas (small towns and cities) are, generally speaking, MORE resilient

    JMG & JHK both have correctly foreseen a future where urban living maxes out at small cities with no buildings taller than perhaps 4-5 stories. We’re essentially & slowly reverting to a pre-Industrial Revolution model. Even if the Great Reset somehow involved a 90% population reduction those remaining would still be in the same predicament, because all modern conveniences require the vast, complex society that Joseph Tainter noted ultimately collapses. All the easy resources have already been extracted, and recycling won’t change that.

    @The Original Poker Face
    Getting a piece of land seems paramount to that and land prices are out of sight in the state I live in.

    As JMG noted, not a requirement; otherwise, you already know the answer… move to another state.


    I’ve posited elsewhere that climate change is not an issue. Why? Fossil fuel energy production is already past it’s peak and thus it’s contribution will be involuntarily and inexorably declining going forward. Therefore… regardless if it’s anthropogenic or not, nothing we realistically muster politically or economically will matter a whit. The only idea worth pursuing is of course resilience, i.e. adapting to whatever the future may hold.

  102. Let me see if I can put to use some useful CosDoc terminology using this as an example. If the lower astral descends into the etheric as a discharge creating natural disasters and such, in this impacting dynamic something else in the etheric must’ve been sublimated right? Perhaps the etheric commons themselves and that is why it feels the vibes are better afterwards.

    I wonder though then, if this lower astral muck can be used intentionally by an experienced magician to do something more productive with it. Possible?

  103. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for the heads up! I can propagate like nobody’s business. I’m going to look into this!

  104. #3 B3rnhard — Speaking as yet another disillusioned Pagan who wound up back in my birth tradition, I have found it useful to focus on the Church Fathers and traditions. Roman Catholicism has a well-developed mystical tradition with abundant literature. Sts. Thomas Aquinas and Augustine have a great deal of philosophical and spiritual knowledge which was applicable centuries ago and will still be applicable centuries from now. The Rosary isn’t just good for your soul, it’s good for your mental health. Most medieval Catholic laymen knew there was a Pope but didn’t spend a lot of time discussing his administration for good or for bad. The Church has made it through far worse crises — and those who think Pope Francis is the Worst Pope Ever should just be thankful he didn’t buy the Papacy so he could make his illegitimate sons cardinals.

    As far as “crazy times” goes: what concerns me is not so much that the nation has gone crazy as that it has gone several different flavors of crazy. Right now a majority of Americans will only accept the results of an election if their preferred candidate wins and will only accept news they want to hear. And in the Era of Clickbait getting eyeballs has become more important than speaking truth — especially when inconvenient truths can reduce your audience to 0. From where I stand it looks like we’re on a fast track to civil breakdown followed by a whole bunch of local warlords arising out of the chaos. (Fast being a relative term: there were fragments of Romano-British culture remaining for a good century or two after the Romans could no longer hold Britannia, but there was a lot of unpleasantness nonetheless).

  105. “hope; intersectionality; resilience; a society that is radically different from the one we live in today, and how we got there;”

    I hope that when I’m intersectionally starving alongside my transqueer genderfluid Islamo-Latinx neighbors, there’s a bridge nearby that I can throw myself off of. Otherwise I may be forced to run the dreaded Privilege Gauntlet. (Those few who survive the Privilege Gauntlet aren’t awarded food, that would be silly. Rather, they’re granted precious phone service minutes, so they can Instagram their Axes of Oppression badges and organize their GoFeedMe campaigns.)

  106. If I can build off of Phil Knight’s observation that what drives the woke is seeing cognitive dissonance as hatred, this also explains why they are so passionate that it must be hatred which drives people not to jump on whatever their cause du jour is. The fact that some people are ignoring them, the self proclaimed people who matter, triggers cognitive dissonance. In other words, this is why they view ignoring them as equivalent to hating them. What a miserable way to live……

  107. @JMG said, Wesley, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing…

    Oh, certainly. (It’s a bit ironic to say it, but when I started my own blog about the decline of the American empire two years ago, climate and peak oil were nowhere on my list of reasons why decline was the order of the day; now, they are on the list).

    But that raises an interesting question: Since so many people are, at the present time, loudly blaming a very large range of causes for the decline they see going on around them, just how likely is it that, when future generations look back on our time at 50 or 100 years distance, they will identify the correct causes for what happened?

    I am recalling your trio of stories at the end of the first After Oil, the one where knowledge about peak oil is widespread enough that “to Hubbert” has become a household verb. That’s clearly on the optimistic end of possible scenarios. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if in the year 2100, the descendants of the Ludwig von Mises institute are still insisting that the free market would have prevented all the economic downturns of the 21st century, if only we had let it, while the privileged end of the Left is insisting that, if it weren’t for the racism/greed of the opposing political party, everyone would enjoy the same standard of living they do. And perhaps there will also be a few fundamentalist churches blaming “the Gaystapo” or what-have-you for drawing down God’s wrath.

    So how long do you think it is going to take before the inhabitants of whatever’s left of the United States have pretty-much come to agree that it was our drive for endless economic growth, and our belief that we all deserved what turned out to be a woefully unsustainable lifestyle, that did us in – if they ever come to agree on that at all?

  108. @ JMG – Our house is a modest late-1940s bungalow. The addition in back that holds up the south facing roof is not easily visible from the road. I have asked around about solar water heating, and the companies i’ve asked have told me the are ‘not in that business’. In principal, solar water heating is easy (black hose and corrugated tin), but i don’t have the expertise to make it work in the house i live in…

  109. @ Beekeeper – Thanks for this. Basic, essential, ‘keep stored food cold, maybe run some fans.” is my plan when great plains storms knock out the power, and the delays between getting the grind running again grow longer and longer. Cheers from Oklahoma!

  110. John & community: It seems to me the worst of this “psychic epidemic” (cancel culture, polarization, and the seething violence) are substantially ground zero US. If so, why? Also, if so, shouldn’t a solid plan for sidestepping it include getting out of country – perhaps to a less “overdeveloped” country? There are plenty of historic precedents, as John pointed out. In all those precedents I am aware of (France, Germany, Russia, Cambodia, China, Cambodia, etc.) getting out early was the only really winning choice: certainly ahead of not watching TV, spiritual practice, and spending more time in nature. No?

  111. Much to think about and respond to here, but for now, a quick comment just to say that “onanism of the imagination” is certainly a phrase I’ll be borrowing from you, JMG! 🙂

    All the best,
    Ryan M.

  112. Hi John Michael,

    Bravo! Yes, step back from the crazy person is not a bad idea.

    The weird thing about hydrogen is that from my reading in serious technical books on energy (not quite two decades ago), the realities were known even then. And none of the technical challenges look like they’ve been overcome since those days. It astounds me that the energy source is even being seriously mentioned. That’s something of a worry. What do they say about clutching at straws?

    It is worthwhile mentioning as a backdrop to this discussion that energy and climate aren’t the only predicaments. In much the same way that barrels of oil are being rapidly burnt and disappeared into the atmosphere, the soils are likewise being treated as an infinite resource with the minerals being dumped in the oceans. And the soils are most definitely a finite resource. And I believe that the soil mineral deficiencies are already impacting upon peoples health. Most people aren’t involving in growing plants for consumption, so I’m guessing that few understand where the health troubles they are experiencing are originating.

    Nature gave me a seriously good hard kick in the past year and displayed to me in no uncertain terms just how much agricultural lime and dolomite I need to get into the soils in the orchards (it was observing the differences in the growth rates of the three orchards which alerted me to the problem).

    And I’m not mucking around because in the past decade I’ve easily brought back 600 cubic metres (780 cubic yards) of composts and mulches. And probably 20 metric tonnes of coffee grounds not to mention everything organic which turns up on the property ends up in the soil – even my own wastes. The volumes are staggering, and I can only do this because society is so wasteful. If things tightened up, I’d be left to deal with things as they are, but fortunately for me at this point in time society is really wasteful. Anyway, if that happened, I’d be in a bit of trouble, but far out things would be far worse elsewhere. Oh yeah.

    At this stage I can address these soil mineral deficiencies, and it seems like a worthy activity.

    Cheers

    Chris

  113. @Laughingsage

    “My main question here is: how come some of us belonging to the comfortable classes have been seemingly-immune to this mass psychosis?”
    Maybe you remember another poster, two posts ago or so, who told his story of how he met a friend who was put on drugs for the questionable diagnosis of “ADHD” and took heavy damage.
    And how he subsequently started doubting progress and came to the Archdruid report – however exactly that happened in subsequence.

    My treading on the ADR was pure coincidence, somebody posted a link on a German forum called “heise”, a forum usually entirely unsuspected of thoughts against progress. Surprising.

    The gist is, when the offical mythology and reality diverge, individuals will start seeing the difference. Of course, as another said on the previous Open Post, they won’t necessarily start doubting progress for that but may resort to equally absurd theories.

    But O.K. being disenchanted is the first step.

    Me, I have been an outcast very early on, on the other hand received ample influence of nature love and intellectual faculties also in natural sciences, technology, biology and other topics, much much more than any of my peers back then.

    My position in society was pretty much being the fool, the crazy guy with a lot of personal problems who on the other hand directly adresses things usually not outspoken, because what is there to lose when your reputation has already collapsed (or never been built). And when the idea of bestiality and atrocities is something that you for some reason have pondered a lot since early childhood and seen as something real and existing.
    (having intrusive dark visions).

    For others it may not have been the same as for me, but I think I identify an important element: existential fear and social status.When you have something to lose, and when your vision of the world is purely materialistic, atheistic, and in a final consequence realistic, all that has value is hedonistic pleasure, fuzzy-warm feelings of emotional caring because you lack that, reassuring thoughts of how your ideas will “save the world”, because anyways, the fire always strikes someone else’s house.

    Some people though have gone through their personal crisis, have had to face fear and despair, or have always just WANTED to look at the dark side of life too.

    If you look at frequent contributions of violet, oilman2, Scotlyn, One thing or other’s in our noble ranks (hehe 🙂 ),
    they have all at some point brought stories of their disenchantment, of the cognitive dissonance they faced, of the various and very individual reasons as to just why they did not want to join-in on the queue with others.

    In 2015 a kurdish man asked me: “why is it that the wealthy always dwell so much in fear” (allegedly, he has seen the war in Turkey as a child). I replied: “they have never lived under difficult conditions, never learned how to settle in them, and deep down they know that, and they fear it, because they cannot deal with, where others can”.

    He greatly appreciated the explanation. He was not an academic, not a PMC member, but he and a fellow Kurd of him were people willing to accept disappointing realities, while all the same being humurous and intellectually sharp.

  114. “one of the grad students (…) had drawn up a plan to do his dissertation on the role of loneliness in the etiology of schizophrenia; he was told by his advisor to drop it (…)”

    The advisor was probably right. Even now schizophrenia isn’t well understood, and the name probably covers several different mental issues. Before the 1960s, iirc, here in France the majority of the schizoids were women. Since the 1960s or so, most schizoids are men. Nobody knows why. Schizophrenia isn’t supposed to be curable, but some patients do recover. Nobody knows why. Writing a dissertation on the etiology of something as ill-defined as schizophrenia is a risky business.

    This being said, congratulations for your post, Mr Greer, especially the three steps you recommend to distance oneself from the collective craziness of the present era. What happened to Ugo Bardi is one of many signs that we’ve entered an era of craziness, and those eras always end badly.

  115. I love this phrase “Back slowly away from the crazy person.” It’s most timely advice. Recently on Facebook I was imprudent enough to suggest that for Americans to insist on calling each other Nazis might not be the most constructive way to resolve our differences; as you can imagine, I was swiftly and savagely attacked. A few months ago on the same forum I questioned the probity and policies of the medical establishment vis-a-vis covid, and – of course – got nothing but name-calling and gratuitous abuse in response. In normal times discussion and debate seem like constructive, intellectually edifying activities, but as you’ve suggested attempting them now seems worse than useless. It just encourages the Wokies to try and suck you through conflict into participating in their protracted psychotic episode. No thanks!

    Five years ago I was a leftist, and had been for decades. Due to the conduct of the Wokies, the scales have fallen from my eyes.m, and I see everythingvin a new light. The mendacity industry – formerly known as the media – have also contributed to this process.

    The difficult thing is to know what best to do to prepare for challenging times. Nine years ago with much labor I started a rather ambitious backyard vegetable garden, with considerable success; then my landlords destroyed it, with extreme prejudice. So I’m thinking whatever I do would probably best be under the radar – a little quiet radionics, or some discreet window-mounted solar panels, perhaps…

  116. @CR Patiño #94:
    Thanks for the Trisagion. It feels pretty strong.

    About weirdness in the Catholic Church, just some data-points:
    Last March when the flu-panic started, our local church emptied the holy water and put a desinfectant bottle next to the empty holy water bowl at the entrance of the church.
    That day I wrote to the priest whether they stopped believing in the stuff they preach. No answer.
    From there it got more crazy like not singing and wearing mask in the church, which I of course will never obey. I am no member of that weird cult!
    My point is, either you believe in the stuff you preach as an institution and stand by the word “do not fear” or you can shut down your whole organization.
    I expected the church to stand their ground. They did not do so……
    So they lost credibility.

  117. So the psychological climate in a failing civilization is influenced by the principles of catabolic collapse, like the more materail aspects of that civilization.

    About how to deal with the mass madness of the current time, it is surely useful to be able to read between the lines – an art form which was useful in the Eastern Bloc countries of Europe to separate the reality out from the propaganda.

    Since the non-longevity of computer technology was mentioned, I can adduce as an example for the usefulness of preparation my own experience: In the late 1990 and early 2000s, I visited web sites and printed out things which interested me. I have still the printouts, bound to books, whereas the websited are gone, for example, everything which was on GeoCities is now gone from the Internet. Among the websites which I mentioned was an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel, which dealt with the invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan to topple Saddam Hussein and the Taleban and which made fun of the critics of the neoconservative politics of that time and of critics of Western civilization. Now, from the vantage point of 2021, this article shows a measure of hybris which was not as easily visible at the beginning of the 21st century.

  118. @barefootwisdom: I hope you enjoy “Resurrection”! It was the first work by Tolstoy that I read. With hindsight, I think it is a bit of a pamphlet, but powerfully written anyway.

  119. JMG, you wrote (once again, since this point seems particularly hard to get across): “Industrial civilization is in deep trouble, no question… The mere fact that the situation is dire, however, does not do anything to prove that the solutions to it being proposed by corporate-sponsored activists and ballyhooed by the mass media are viable—or even that they’re sane.”

    It just occurred to me that this is also my position with regard to Covid. I accept that the pandemic is real and requires action, but I disagree with a lot of the solutions that have been enacted in Western countries (reducing human interaction and exposure to nature even further, closing schools, diverting commerce to electronic retail giants etc.).

  120. Hello Stephen D @62,

    I have the David Gingery books, and they appear solid. He has other titles apart from those seven; several that I recall offhand include Build a Universal Coil-Winding Machine, Secrets of Building a Plastic Injection Molding Machine [and you can use recycled plastic], and another one on the English Wheel, which is used to shape sheet metal. His son Vince has also written along those lines, e.g. a title on making crucibles for metal casting. I do point out that these are straight project books without theory. I don’t think they are enough to learn metal working.

    They don’t cover skills per se, such as welding, foundry work with a cupola, grinding or forging, using a file or scraper, or even operating the machines. IIRC, Gingery uses a foundry, not a forge.

    But there is a whole line of metal working books published in the UK, the Workshop Practice Series, which encompasses about 50 volumes. Check this out:

    https://www.hobbymagazines.org/tags/Workshop+Practice+Series/

    They are information dense.The price for single books is reasonable, though all 50 is a pretty penny. I think they are also available as free pdf’s. They have theory, and together are quite comprehensive, and even cover things like manufacturing springs and bearings.

    There is a classic author from the 1890’s, Joshua Rose, who wrote several treatises on metal benchwork that are in reprint. He shows how to use a file, vice, and scraper. You will want handbooks on operating the machines you build. Lathe operation is covered in Workshop series, but shapers are no longer made (faster milling machines replaced them), so you will need vintage or reprinted manuals. (BTW, the advantage of a shaper is that they use a simple cutting tool same as a lathe, whereas a milling machine uses a fairly complex bit that you buy, there are many kinds of them, and they can get expensive…). Also get a handbook on using the drill-press, there is more to them than meets the eye. Another useful tool is an arbor press, and those are cheap.

    Don’t forget a grinder. You’ll need that at least to grind your own tool bits for the lathe (and shaper if you have one).

    Down the line, melting iron/steel with a cupola rather a crucible will save a lot on fuel. Speaking of fuel, Gingery does use a charcoal furnace, so you will eventually want to make your own charcoal. Once you have all your tools, you’ll want to melt down scrap metal to make your stock; e.g. use a pipe as a mold for your cylindrical stock. Oh, and you will want a powered metal saw to cut blanks off the metal stock; and Gingery (Dave or Vince) has a project book to build one of those. I gotta go.

    -Lunar Apprentice

  121. JMG,
    Wonderful! Before I showed her your post, my wife and I had been laughing over our the Canadian state-sponsored media’s claim that we should expect a roaring 1920s. Talk about wishful thinking! She reminded me that we both had German family, and that a repeat of the 1920s could mean quite a lot of things. So we decided they might not be wrong after all.

    @Violet,
    If I may suggest, re: learning mathematics.
    Find an old math textbook– from a library that hasn’t purged, if those still exist, or at least Gutenberg. The older the better, but I think anything before the last century will do. I can’t quite remember when the transition was, but there was a time when compass-and-straightedge proofs formed a key and core part of the maths curriculum. Proofs? Theorems? All that lingo, as I recall, goes back to Ancient Greeks. Whose idea of math was compass-and-straightedge constructions, because that was centuries before anyone had heard of algebra.

    Interestingly enough there’s some algebra that you can do by compass-and-straightedge, and I remember hearing it used to sometimes be introduced that way. I’m afraid I haven’t the foggiest idea where to find a text that might help you learn it like that.

    @Oilman2,
    30-something here. If we could have found work in a rural area and set ourselves up like you– sure, we would have. Everyone I know wishes they could. It just didn’t seem like an option. Spent years looking for somewhere that land prices and incomes met up. (If there were any jobs to be had, which… in rural areas, usually not.) Yes, even prices for marginal land, off the main roads. Didn’t. Happen. So we’re in a streetcar suburb in a small city with hydro power. It could be worse.

    For heat, we plan on insulating the house like mad, and if natural gas gives out, heating with very little wood. (The city is in the middle of forest that has water links running through it for moving wood. We’ll be good for at least a generation of wood energy here, even if it’s run an a purely-extractive basis. Anyway, a lot of that forest is sadly going to have to go to make room for farms if the population here is going to try and feed itself.)

  122. I’m gradually withdrawing from Twitter. I aimed from around the new year to only check in once a week, mainly for a little online quiz someone runs. I’ve not always kept to that but have noticed when I haven’t, my mental health seems to take a nosedive.
    @JMG: I’ll take your suggestion about the weights, I’ll put my smaller kettlebell next to my computer desk, and then I can exercise there, or maybe it will be a psychological prompt for me to question whether I should be sat at a desk right now and go outside instead.

  123. If people in the grip of mass psychosis went into a place that was as etherically and astrally pure as possible, would they notice a difference? What would it feel like and would it have any effect on them?

    Are there ways to reach people who aren’t in the best state of mind? I came up with a fictional scenario where bombastic late-night infomercials sold training courses in stuff like physical training, social skills, magic, and psychic powers. It looks really shady and the owner lives in a gaudy mansion. But it’s completely legit and people have life-changing experiences who wouldn’t have responded to something marketed in a more high-minded way. If divination could be sold as parlour games I guess it’s possible. 🙂

  124. @Will J, if I may. I would recommend you to do what our host does and look into alternative health (while exercising the recommended caution: treat the current system like a bear on a forest trail and back away real slow). I grow or forage my own medicines that have kept me out of the doctor’s office despite my environmental sensitivities. You have an open mind to vaccines–you won’t lose that just because of the current hysteria, nor will you lose your faith in decent doctors–they are out there. Lots of them. To whatever degree possible, you have to hunt and pick.
    You just answered a question that’s been nagging me a while. I’m a bit of a sorcerer’s apprentice and a couple of years ago I went and asked the gods to do something about America’s atrocious medical system, and when I had second thoughts about the wisdom of my request, they indicated eagerness to undertake the task, deeming it as crucial as I’d felt it. Their response appears to have been COVID.
    I couldn’t see how that would do the job. I mean, at first glance it appears to have consolidated the dominance of the conventional medical paradigm to an extreme degree. Ah, but now I see the wisdom of the trickster in the background. The medical system, in the US in particular but also anywhere else following that paradigm, has become such a total parody of its former proud self that only the deranged can take it seriously. When the dust settles, the good doctors and other healers out there will help pick up the pieces and set medicine on a healing path again.

  125. @shoemaker (#84)

    I honestly don’t know how I did that. It was a copy/paste from something someone else had emailed me a couple of days earlier, that somehow kept the formatting. I didn’t know how to strip it down to plain text like I wanted, so I just left it.

  126. JMG,

    Thank you for another excellent essay.

    Just to add two more data points: 1) Recently excerpts from Bill Gates new book on how to save the world featured in one of Canada’s major newspapers [Opinion: To avoid climate disaster, governments must take these seven steps – The Globe and Mail ]; and 2) Mark Carney (ex chairman of both the central banks of Canada and the UK) recently gave a series of talks in much the same vein [Mark Carney says post-pandemic ‘bump’ not enough for smooth recovery | CBC Radio ].

    Both demonstrated what I call the “arrogance of the specialist”. This brings to mind say Carl Sagan’s philosophical musing on the significance of human life or any one of the new atheists views on theology. Basically, success and knowledge in one narrow field of human endeavor emboldens those so blessed to speak authoritatively on subjects they know nothing about. Both Mr. Gates and Mr. Carney followed this well worn path. I do not for a moment doubt either of their intentions, sincerity, or expertise in their fields; and they both raise points that are undeniably true. Nonetheless, they are basically delusional. Specifically, both said nothing to the effect that “de-carbonization” of our economies means de-industrialization. They say nothing to the effect that there is no bright green future; unless by “green” one means way more of us being involved in manual agriculture.

    Your advice to back away from those off their meds is good advice. There are some, like Mr. Gates and Mr. Carney, who perhaps do not quite represent the lunatic fringe. Delusional yes; bonkers no. I take comfort in the fact that their more delusional recommendations will not be accepted for the simple reason that they can’t be. No response is required! Nonetheless, at least some sort of public discourse is taking place however flawed. I think this is a good sign. If they are not actually crazy, maybe people like Mr. Gates and Mr. Carney serve the role of “useful idiot savants”?

  127. @JMG

    Thank you for pointing to a truth forgotten. It’s appreciated.

    @ BB #100

    I so remember that scene, albeit a little late.

  128. It is a surreal time. The advice to “back slowly away from the crazy person” is often the best response. But it seems I often end up backing into another crazy person behind me. Many of us have jobs that require us to work graciously with some crazy people if we hope to keep getting paid and to succeed with initiatives not unlike the project in Grist magazine if we hope to have a path to promotions. Rhetoric that inspires while hiding inconvenient facts is extremely highly valued these days. Islands of sanity where truth is celebrated even when it isn’t good marketing are quickly disappear under the rising psychic epidemic.

  129. Contemporary liberalism can be described as willful ignorance, driven by cowardice, yet posing as virtue.

    I feel like I have lost a few friends over the past couple of years or so, as I too have perceived the normalisation of ‘cult-ish thinking’. This is the hardest part, not the likely shortening of my life, but witnessing the breaking of souls around me.

    I want to thank you John for your writing in helping me understand what is taking place. It has really helped.

  130. John, et al.–

    As much as it pains me to admit it (as a problem-solver analytical type and an engineer to boot), I feel that the strategy of selective disengagement is a prudent one. There is a significant risk on the one hand of exhausting oneself by slamming one’s head against brick walls repeatedly (*cough* city council *cough*) and on the other of getting swept up (or destroyed by) the psychic pandemic you’ve described. I fear this may mean that even as we keep our heads down and mind our own affairs, we may have to bear witness to much pain and foolishness that would have been otherwise unnecessary, the thought of which saddens me greatly. Looking out over the political and economic landscape, I cannot say that I’m encouraged by what I see, generally speaking.

    I’ve mentioned previously on how we followed your advice and got rid of our TV. I don’t do most social media anymore (this blog being a notable exception). I spend more time reading books and writing stories and less staring at a screen. I’ve stopped trying to fix a world which had no interest in listening to what I had to say in any event. I’ve walked away from the political blogs I was commenting on and left those unhealthy energies behind. I’ve learned to keep most of my opinions to myself, particularly when others wax optimistic about our technofuture. Instead, it’s about focusing on my own life, my family’s life, and my spiritual development. There are times to act and times not to.

    I suppose its rather like pushing a car. You have to rock it to get it started, which is all about timing your pushes properly. Well-timed applications of force are more effective than a straightforward application of force. We’re going to need a lot of patience (on the generational scale) to manage this passage.

  131. @Andrew001, agree with @JMG…observation and reason are key. There are no guarantees any which way, but my guess is that cities/small towns that survived from pre-Industrial times (I’m in the Greater NY area, which has been the most densely populated in the country since even colonial times) did so for a particular reason (usually, access to waterways, which means trade). Trade, for me, is the key; while it does enable a merchant class, and all the attendant crassness commonly associated with that, the existence of a merchant class itself generally indicates surplus wealth and, often, greater liberty in the most general sense. Again, just because it’s possible to hack out a living in the wilds doesn’t mean that’s the optimal long-term survival strategy…one you’re done with the hacking, is there any time “left over” for anything else? When it comes to access to increased learning and liberty, best bet, IMHO, is small towns and cities that have shown a historical resilience.

    Axé

  132. I never thought I would be grateful for having a brain injury and for living in Bridgeport CT for a number of years.

    Brain injury has me limit input from electronic devices and look for low tech options. I cannot manage a smart phone nor read Kindle books. Also, I see time in colors and words coming out of people’s mouths. What passes for news is very strange. If you get the vaccine, you can have small indoor gatherings with other people who are vaccinated. But you still have to wear masks, etc. Um, I thought vaccines made people immune… hmmmmm inquiring minds want to know about that contradiction.

    Bridgeport aka clown city has its notable citizen – P.T. Barnum. Barnum seeps into the aura of the city, where he was mayor and is buried. Barnum point of view was to prank the PMCs of his day since they were sooo serious and sooo the elite. He convinced the brightest bulbs in the group to pay him to turn Manhatten Island around since it was top heavy. Having Barnum’s sensibility has saved my sanity.

    I live in PMC central, i.e. Washington D.C. I guess we will be the last out of the building to turn the lights off. I have invested in my community since I am very vulnerate – i.e. no land, etc. I do cook and sew. SO there is that.

    A side note: I was in facebook jail for squirrel pictures. So, I haven’t a clue as to how their little minds work. Never thought squirrels could be upsetting to someone. But in today’s cancel culture, one never knows.

  133. Thanks for this post, JMG. It helps put some of my own current thoughts in order. A couple quotes that spring to mind – first, regarding the shutdown of voices arguing for critical thinking, it reminds me of an Umberto Eco quote I read recently that “Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.” In the same way, a culture that believes as part of its core mythos that it Scientific Progress will solve all of our problems won’t just “happen” to mess up critical analysis of a few issues – it will consistently undermine its own scientific progress because it won’t be able to look at the situation objectively! Lots to meditate on there….

    And as far as the second quote, I can’t find the exact words so I can’t seem to source it, but basically, “Everything Marx said about capitalism was right, but everything that he said about socialism was wrong.” It seems like (probably as a result of binary thinking), a lot of people can’t understand that someone can perfectly well analyze a problem without being any good at coming up with a solution. They’re two very different types of thinking. And so someone who’s being exploited by the the market economy figures socialism must be the answer, because who else is talking about these problems? In the same way, climate scientists have gotten very good at explaining that the problem exists – but their expertise in computer modelling, ice core sampling, and flood map drawing don’t necessarily help them come up with workable ecological/economic solutions that seven billion people can actually get on board with.

  134. Synchronistically– given the discussion so far in the comments here–tomorrow I’m going to be discussing the following passage from Sun Tzu:

    “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.”

    Sun Tzu and Levi pair quite nicely, especially if you take Levi’s description of the Great Work somewhat literally:

    “the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future.”

    ***

    One thing that I try to keep in mind is that the demon afflicting the collective American consciousness is two-headed. To struggle against one is, very often, to fall under the spell of the other.

    Of course, in the Cabalistic lore, we have a name for this: Taumiel, the two contending forces. As it is the Qliphothic shadow of Kether, the sphere of unity, it’s exactly the demon you’d expect for a nation whose slogan is “E pluribus unum.”

  135. It seems this reality we’re in is based on consciousness spinning ideas into reality. Therefore, it matters what is imagined, how well, how detailed, how plausible it feels, emotionally, to the aggregate. I think you’ll see this in Grist: the imagined future they describe is not one people want, not one they believe is plausible under our known rules of reality, but far more importantly, not what they FEEL to be true and real. And I propose that’s because it’s true, their reality is a pocket-universe composed of the mind alone, where only smart people convince and baffle themselves with their own boresplint that anyone who interacts with physical reality, spirit, and emotion couldn’t possibly believe. And so they are left on the sidelines. This is like “The Matrix” where the robots created a perfect illusion, but the people rejected utopia, needing trouble, drama, hardship, the usual, and they reject Woke Grist too.

    That’s why it’s a loose hobby of the comfortable classes: only they have time for stark nonsense, and they and only they have never had to interact with physical reality, spirit, and even emotion in their own childhood and lives. The rest of us have it crammed uncomfortably down our craw at all times. For us it’s impossible NOT to consider being beaten at any possible minute, by limits, reality, others, emotions, or most likely all at once in every minute we’re not sleeping. Not that I envy them. Being lost in a delusion devoid of all reality is the recipe for nihilism and suicide, lack of purpose, and clutching at all things that both feels and looks desperate. You know: Trust Fund Kids. Child Actors. It makes you look like a child, and be treated like one, constantly knowing your own inadequacy as being not a full man or woman, yet not knowing why or having the masochistic force of will to forego all, dive into the teeming, unsafe melee, and fix it. Lacking both backbone and having low self-esteem they are childishly led around by strangers peer-pressuring about “privilege” and what they and everyone else “should” that is, according to them, the smarter nicer people, say you are REQUIRED to be. And so their lack of spine and low self-esteem bulldoze the rest of us into nationwide misery, when they could as is said, just “Know Thyself” (and therefore fix it).

    Of course that’s why said comfortable classes have as their enemy any injection, any discussion, any member of the group that would introduce physical limits, physical laws, human emotion, or universal spirit into the equation and pop their comfortable bubble. They are a real, actual, mortal threat, that would — I do not exaggerate — destroy their comfortable world, and facing the truth at last, even their own lives, in despair and suicide, loss of place, purpose, world. Wrecking Ugo Bardi is a small price to pay to keep all aspects of physical, economic, and emotional reality far, far away. And their rejection is a clear measurement of how desperate and non-real they are. Hydrogen is an astonishing unlikely, unworkable solution even in Green Energy terms, and that’s really, really saying something.

    The only thing more anti-science than hydrogen is probably burning all remaining fossil fuel on earth in order to prevent the warming from burning all the fossil fuel on earth, so that’s exactly what they did. We could of course NOT burn all fossil fuel on earth and plant trees for free that would make everybody happy and accomplish something, but that’s so far from their minds and goals it’s laughed down without consideration. Who makes money, who maintains their unreal, undeserved, comfortable class bubble on THAT? No one, that’s who. You’d have to pick up a shovel, dive into the fray and get dirty with those OTHER people, and who wants that? There would be emotions, and worse: class mixing, unthinkable.

    Better to stay in the tower, locked and comfortable, until finally someone breaks in and chucks you out an open window for the disaster you’ve caused and the misery you’ve created for society. Then you can blame THEM, and avoid responsibility even to the last sidewalk rushing up to greet you, a true believer to the very end. A zealot of progress.

    Baker is tops, but Victory is simple and gives more seeds. Johnny’s is commercial-only due to demand.

    My guess is that QAnon is Military PsyOp as JMG says. However, the purpose is to forestall a civil war by forcing the one side they could reach – the side with 300 million guns — to be eternally patient. Would that be bad? We can always have a Civil war later. Wouldn’t it be better to let them destroy themselves first instead? The fall is a lot closer to the ground then.

  136. An update on deFacebook:

    I’ve noticed that, for the past few weeks, the post placed on top of one’s feed seems to be much more static these days. Hitting return or the refresh button is less likely to give you a new post, and has been for the past few weeks.

    Not sure if deFacebook is “instituting newer algorithms” with this as an (un)expected effect or if it’s intentional, but either way the change has been noted.

  137. Regarding Jung and historical psychic epidemics:

    Jung considered collective fanaticism to be a reaction to collective repression.

    He gives the example of “the witch hunt, that indelible blot on the later Middle Ages.”

    “But this was not the only consequence … the way was paved for heresies and schisms, against which the only defense available to the Christian consciousness was fanaticism. The frenzied horror of the Inquisition … came surging up from the unconscious ….” The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6, Psychological Types

  138. Mr. Greer:

    Like many others, I’ve never actually read any of Carl Jung’s books. I’m wondering if you could direct me to a good discussion of the “psychic epidemic” phenomenon. I’m lacking both the time & motivation to sift through the whole lot for that particular topic.

    I habitually read books (printed on paper) & the stack tends to grow faster than I can chew through them.

  139. Several comments here but first and foremost:

    JMG-
    my gratitude to you (again) for providing and curating this forum. The discourse I find here is a lifeline for me in this ever stranger world. I wish blessings for you and Sara.

    To my fellow ecosphians-
    I am sure many of us support our host through the purchase of his books but don’t forget about the “tip jar” located at the home page. It behooves us all to help JMG stay at liberty to keep up with his writing and blogging.

    Danaone-
    The Amish here are Schwartzentruber Amish. From what I understand, one of the Amish groups with the strictest “Ordenung” (sp?), or “rules for community living”.
    I find them fascinating and look upon their tight knit families and local church with not a little envy.

    Patricia Mathews-
    thanks for sharing the article about the demise of dignity culture. At least with honor culture we are getting a system with a detailed written history, considering that most human societies evolved and existed under just such a system.
    With regard rural vs small urban, (I think we can all agree large urban will likely be the least desirable) I have always preferred rural but I agree with

    Beekeeper in VT
    when she says that choosing rural puts the onus on you to get involved and make yourself known among the locals. If you moves to the countryside it may be your misfortune to always be known as “that newcomer” but it will be your good fortune to NOT be known as “that stranger”.

    Laughingsage-
    Your question about why some of us (raised in and comfortably ensconced in MSM and TDS primed culture) would abandon the prevailing narrative is interesting. For me, my awakening (not Woke, please, not Woke) started with James Howard Kuntzler’s book “The Long Emergency” quickly followed by anything in the sphere of peak oil. What I “heard” through my reading was not unlike St. John the Baptist “…and I heard a voice cry out in the wilderness….”. Basically a few people who were speaking out and saying things that went completely against the prevailing narrative. My own contrarian nature or maybe my Libra-ness made it easy for me to listen. Glad I did too.

    And lastly for all the gardeners-
    If you live somewhere with a very hot and muggy growing season (like I used to have in New Jersey). I highly recommend growing Malabar spinach if you can. It is s tropical vine, seemingly unbothered by any pests or disease, that produces an immense amount of large green foliage that is eaten raw or cooked, tasting very much like spinach. When just about everything else in your garden is wilting, bolting or just shutting down due to excess heat, Malabar spinach will climb like the proverbial beanstalk and offering enough tasty greens to feed a jolly green giant!

    Blessing to all here: you make the world a little less lonely for me!

    Courtney

  140. Hi, JMG – I’ve just spent some time searching for some info about Jung and psychic events and google is (as is the usual these days) less than helpful. Do you have a book of Jung’s to recommend that explores the subject?

  141. Thanks for the reply JMG – duly noted.

    Many here seem to take some joy knocking the ‘comfortable’ classes or the ‘professional’ classes. But ‘comfort’, at least of a fashion, is what we are certainly told we should be aiming for and I believe most generally seek, Indeed if you look at such models as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, it suggests you can’t hope to start ‘self-actualising’ without some comfort! I am aware that true ‘peaceful headspace’ is not neccesarily tied in with material ‘security’, but it seems all, even here, need to be careful with their thinking and feeling in light of the main message of this post. Quite the balancing act.

  142. A week or two ago, you suggested reading Jung’s “The Undiscovered Self”. I dutifully requested it from our still-shuttered library, and have found the first few chapters to be a wonderful expansion on these ideas, particularly the idea of psychic epidemics. I wholeheartedly second your endorsement.

    On the practical side of things, I have spent the last two and a half years caring for my mother through her terminal cancer and my father who was suddenly blinded in a car accident. My mother passed away at home last month, and my youngest sibling is now helping to care for our dad. I am continuing to homeschool and “garden-farm”, and while admittedly, the garden is looking better than it has in the last two years, I feel like we have done an ok job of preparing for the uncertainty to come. We have backups in place for water, food, heating, and lighting, although the water is the weakest link.

    One of the books that has helped me with that preparation, and with parsing the idea of rural -vs- suburban -vs- urban is Sharon Astyk’s “Making Home”. I started it again for the fourth time last week, and I was struck by this passage in the beginning of the book after telling my husband that my intuition says it’s too late to leave miserable California, (ironically enough, now that he is finally willing to go and my primary-caretaker role is over).
    “This is a slow and sometimes painful realization, that we are here where we are. It can be difficult to give up on the notion of moving on, to recognize that the next thing may not represent a substantial shift in our fortunes, that the next move may not be to a better life. It can be hard to consider that we may have chosen without choosing to stay, because we can no longer sell or no longer afford to move. We are here. We are home.”

    Hits like a kick in the teeth. Time’s up, so let’s adapt where we are at and get to the hard and fun work of making the best of what we have. Thanks, JMG, for showing us a way through the mess and for the messages of “collapse now and avoid the rush” and “LESS – Less Energy, Stuff, and Stimulation”. This has been my only place for like-minded conversation for many years.

  143. @Jasper – your most recent comment perfectly describes the world of the elite and the woke, which is not the world of physical reality (where there are limits, consequences, and only two sexes). They do not understand what it’s like to actually be oppressed, so they make up scenarios where they are; they will either claim victimhood or blame others of their own class for being the victimizers.

  144. @ Pixelated

    With regards to the rapidly dropping case numbers of covid-19, I saw an article right around that time that stated that the US followed the WHO testing policy and that the policy was changing. From what I saw the changes in policy were around the pcr test protocol namely that you would now need two tests instead of one and that a case would have to present with symptoms to be confirmed covid-19. They also may have lowered the number of cycles for the pcr test. I imagine Canada also uses the WHO protocol.

    I am not an expert but I do have a passing familiarity with pcr having used the technique in grad school quite a bit. From what I read they basically changed the test protocol from the equivalent of we are running a bar and if you have a pulse and can flash anything at us you’re good to we are checking ID’s at the door and no one over 21 is getting in.

    Low and behold the numbers have been dropping! I can’t find the article anymore, it never hit the MSM as far as I saw. I’m not saying it’s linked but…. the change in protocol came into effect the week before joe biden assumed the presidency….

    HV

  145. At the beginning of his book .”Human Scale”, Kirkpatrick Sale, recants a parable that goes something like this:In an ancient land the king learned that years grain harvest had been tainted in such a way that those who ate it went crazy. Having no other source of food to get his people through the winter the King stored the grain for all the people to eat, hoping the crazyness would only be temporary. But he put aside a small stock of the previous years grain for a few select people to eat, so that there would be a few people left that realized that everyone else was crazy. After this parable ( not sure where it came from) Sale made a list of those in modern society ( circa 1980) who had not eaten the metaphorical grain. As I remember the list included EF Schumacher, Murry Bookchin, Tom Bender and about 20 other of what you might consider green wizard heros. Maybe that is why it is once again time to disengage from the culture so a few of us will remember that everyone else is crazy.

  146. #96 Galen Diettinger: I think it is telling that Ayn Rand escaped Stalinist Russia, then set up a Cult of Personality which replaced state bureaucracies with the Free Market and had a Vanguard of the Productive in place of the Vanguard of the Proletariat. When we reject the Shadow we frequently wind up replacing it with something that looks an awful lot like the old Shadow. It’s not surprising that the people who think racism is the Worst Thing Ever came up with a different flavor of racism as a purported antidote.

    #120 Kevin: My story is similar. I’m an old school Progressive whose core beliefs haven’t really changed a great deal since I was 15 or so. I think an honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay without regard of race, color, religion, ethnicity, sexual preferences or any other irrelevant factors. I am a near-absolutist when it comes to free speech, even (especially) for unpopular speech. I don’t care what consenting adults do to or with each other in private. I am critical of immigration as a tool used against wages and workplace safety laws, but reserve my animus for the people exploiting immigrants and native workers alike rather than “those durn foreigners.” I am skeptical about megacorporations and plutocrats and leery of giving the government any more power than absolutely necessary. In 1980 this put me to the left of Walter Mondale: by 2015 I was a “White Supremacist.” I didn’t walk away from the Left, it ran screaming from me in floppy shoes and a rainbow clown wig.

    #141 Jasper: I read Tarot cards for a living for a while, and Q missed his calling. Most of the QAnon posts I saw were very well-done cold readings. Portentous but empty language that could be applied to multiple situations; talk about shadowy dark forces and threats which are ultimately beaten by the Forces of Good; promises that everything works out in the end when the Swamp is Drained and the bad people have been hit with the karma stick. Q could make a tidy living catering to the bored bourgeoisie.

  147. @David, by the Lake:

    Way way back in the 1500s a man named Sebastian Brant published a wonderfully insightful book of sardonic verses under the title, Das Narrenschiff (The Ship of Fools. In it he penned the memorable line, “Die Welt will betrogen sein / Mundus vult decipi.” In translation, this says “Thw World craves to be deceived.” In all my 78 years I have found fewer aphorisms more true than that.

  148. After reading the comments up to the point where they are posted, I am not sure there is much that I can add; nevertheless, I feel compelled to share some thoughts. My background is in Chinese medicine. This means that my tools of the trade are acupuncture, herbal medicine, therapeutic exercise, massage and diet. Much of what I prescribe are lifestyle changes. With this said, I practice Daoist cultivation (Tai Chi, Qigong, various meditations and such.) I also used to teach Yoga and enjoy calisthenic exercises.

    All of these forms of exercise require little or no equipment. As the pandemic forced people into their homes, this had little effect on my routine, except to make it stronger. I have been able to go deeper into my practice and avoid the crazies to a large degree, even though California is full of them.

    Actually, as some of you may have seen, my wife and I just moved to Guatemala by car. People are still cautious but I don’t detect much craziness among the country folk…just suffering financially from the rules enforced by the elites.

    Where we live, water is difficult. This is perhaps the largest difficulty we face, receiving water from the municipality sporadically and with little pressure to fill our 2500 liter tank. We will be building a larger tank lower on the property, but I am now sure that we will need to build a rain catchment of substantial size to ensure the long term viability of our home. As JMG recommends, we will also be building a solar water heater into the design and probably at least a few solar panels to pump water.

    With the comments on Sun Tzu, I am reminded of something I was taught in school: When Yang becomes extreme it turns into Yin. When Yin becomes extreme it turns into Yang.

    Also, while I still use FB to follow my family, I have completely unfollowed ALL my friends. I do follow a few groups that discuss things I consider important, but by unfollowing my friends I have virtually eliminated all the crazy in my news feed.

    I will add that something that has confused me is why I am not so susceptible to the PC, Woke and SJW propaganda. I have railed against it since I saw it forming in the early 90s, but agree that backing away from the crazy person is a much better tactic. I have seen that I cannot change them. And why would I want to engage in unnecessary drama?! I am just grateful to have this community as a sane outlet, but I do wish that I had more people in my “real” life that shared similar values and beliefs.

    To the one comment about Schmachtenburger and JMG; I feel that JMG has a better understanding and solution than Schmachtenburger. My take is that Schmachtenburger’s Plan B is futile and reeks of the Cult of Progress. JMG’s approach to ride the wave of history as best we can taking advantage of appropriate tech as society declines seems much more rational and practical.

    One last thought: I see the propaganda being promoted by the media as insisting that tech will save us, because we know that the current age has defeated nature and man’s technology is stronger than nature, which is why we need the vaccine instead of just relying on our innate and acquired immune systems.

    With this said, I refuse to cower in my home. Our immune systems have evolved over millions of years to deal with viruses. Also, my whole point in practicing natural medicine is to build an immune system that gives me the best chances of surviving for as long as I can, while not being dependent on Big Brother. Whatever happened to The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!?

  149. @Dusk Shine & violet about older math textbooks:

    Sixty years ago (“in a galaxy far, far away”) I was a math-and-chemistry geek, and I haunted the used bookstores near Sather Gate in Berkeley. One of them had an entire upper floor with dozens and dozens of yards of shelving filled with older textbooks, which one could buy for a quarter or so each. Book heaven for me back then! I spent hours rummaging through them.

    Anyway, I ended up buying a run of excellent math textbooks by one G. A. Wentworth: Plane and Solid Geometry; Teacher’s Key to Plane and Solid Geometry; College Algebra, Trigonometry. I still have them all, and I still think they are among the clearest and best designed textbooks I have ever found for any subject. Now they are all available here and there on line, as PDFs and in other formats.

    As for Latin:

    On those shelves I also found a series of three excellent Latin textbooks from the 1920s by Berthold L. Ullman, Norman E. Henry and Dorrance S. White. They, too, can now be found on-line. Latin was my first foreign language, begun in the 8th grade in ther Berkeley public schools; I made good use of these older textbooks as I worked my way through the 1950s textbooks we were using in school.

  150. Speaking of hot water, I remembered this twitter post by wrathofgnon, who lives in Japan and writes about traditional, sustainable methods of living. In this post he shows how water tanks used to be installed on the roofs of Japanese homes. For much of the US, this might be a viable option. Is there a company that makes these today?

    https://twitter.com/wrathofgnon/status/1322221852450717696

    Also, for those who love beauty, I think that smaller towns will make more beautiful towns.

  151. Kenaz Filan #108:

    I, too, have returned to the religion of my childhood despite being convinced I’d never have anything to do with it again.

    I recently bought the book, “The Magic of Catholicism: Real Magic for Devout Catholics” by Brother Ada. So far I’m only through the first two chapters and I’d highly recommend it. I wish I had learned/understood this aspect of the faith when I was a kid, would have saved a great deal of time and searching. 😉

  152. Curt, your post made something obvious to me, that you basically said, but I’m gonna rehash it. There’s major overlap between the comfortable classes and materialists. “Meaning”/purpose to materialists is in many cases is likely to come from hedonism, even if it’s subtle&tame hedonism, because they aren’t conscious of a higher purpose. Belief in progress gives them the false sense of security that their hedonic pleasures will continue until the end of time. So progress is sort of like a defense mechanism for materialistic beliefs.

    JMG, I planned a hike on the day you dropped this post because I thought it would make for some inspired conversation. The post wasn’t even discussed, but it primed my mind for good thinking&discussion. Had a great day yesterday, so thanks for your part in that.

  153. I just realized that Phil Knight’s observation, that what the woke call hatred is actually their cognitive dissonance, explains something I could never figure out: with actual klansmen, Nazis, Dominionists, etc, why was their focus always on the seemingly reasonable people? Why were so many of them so much more violently against “It’s okay to be white” than people shrieking obscenities at minorities?

    The answer is that it’s not just that they’ve conflated hate and cognitive dissonance: it’s that they’ve lost track of what hate looks like. Because they experience so much cognitive dissonance, it’s become their framework for what “hate” looks like, and something which doesn’t trigger it doesn’t register as “hate” to a lot of them.

  154. The people commenting that you don’t have to own land to grow food are correct. My landlady lets me grow vegetables, berries and fruit in her garden, and another tenant and I built an additional compost bin because one wasn’t enough. The other tenant built a plastic greenhouse thing, too, though that is hers alone. I give my landlady extra produce sometimes, and she seems quite happy with this. She did draw the line at chickens and a water barrel, though… when you rent, you are going to have to negotiate details with your landlord in a way you don’t if you own your home. You may be surprised what you can get done, though. I recommend asking, either when you are looking for a place to rent, or your current landlord wherever you are, if you are in a house with a garden or a basement suite or the like.

    If you live in an apartment, container gardening won’t fill your veggie needs, but you can learn a lot and get a surprising amount of food from a balcony. You could also try getting involved in a community garden, or starting one. I wound up running the one at church for years, but it was too much for me physically in addition to my own garden, so I’ve stopped doing that.

  155. I just realized the cognitive dissonance equals hate thing explains another major issue: whenever a black person is shot in the US and the media decides to run with it, there’s a curious situation: the more evidence that comes out, the less the simplistic “so and so was shot only for being black!” looks; and yet the more and more determined the woke are to insist everyone who says otherwise is racist. It’s precisely because the narrative is becoming more and more problematic that the Woke start feeling more and more cognitive dissonance, which they experience as more and more hatred.

  156. To follow up on my prior post here are the nine broad categories Johann Hari says medical research for 50+ years often leads to debilitating mental and emotional problems. Removal of the following causes typically means the mental and emotional illness dissipates on its own – no drugs needed. He was able to use far east Asia as the de facto control (he did not tour India so it is not included in ‘Asia’) because they often try to remove these factors first if possible and only resort to drugs much, much later if there’s no improvement.

    These are the chapter headings:

    1. Disconnection from meaningful work
    2. Disconnection from other people
    3. Disconnection from meaningful values
    4. Disconnection from childhood trauma
    5. Disconnection from status and respect
    6. Disconnection from a hopeful or secure future

    The following chapter heading is:

    7. Causes 8 & 9: The real role of genes and brain changes. To sum up Big Med ignores all the evidence for neuroplasticity and treats MRIs as permanent when really all they are is a momentary snapshot in time.

    Oh…I forgot to mention when these drugs are trialed vs nocebo (not just placebo) the evidence is that the drugs make things worse. The claimed benefits don’t exist but the side effects are very real. The industry on both continents strenuously avoids doing nocebo trials as it makes their products look very bad.

    Furthermore he found he could not rely on peer reviewed medical journals for a real sense of scope in reporting the results of trials. He had to go to the archives of the governmental drug approval bodies instead since they require all research results – favorable or not. Once he did that the disparity became a glaring, neon sign. The more he learned the more despondent he became but the oversight government bodies have been captured completely by the foxes (industry) so the hens (public) can continue being plucked. Here is an industry in the EU (and N. America obviously) that has been racketized for many decades and anyone trying to break it gets steamrolled.

    He says one day it just blew him away so much he sat paralyzed at his keyboard. He kept looking at a marketing brochure for a popular anti-depressant drug then at the mountains of research he had uncovered and sunk into depression over what he’d uncovered.
    See..he’d been one of those patients taking anti-depressants for over a decade and it felt like that whole time he’d done so had been a lie. He didn’t want to believe what he’d uncovered and he was going through severe cognitive dissonance. He’d begun to investigate for the book because his weekly psychologist (not psychiatrist) kept telling him for many years that he still had depression even though he was taking the drugs.

    Interesting to me is the chapter on how even tiny amounts of depression or anxiety deplete people so much all they want to do once they get home from work is withdraw from other people – often from even a spouse or their own kids. It’s as if their energy-body batteries have been depleted so much to do a crapified job that there’s nothing left after that except come home and veg-out – often literally in front of a screen. Millions are like this across the EU and of course North America too. Hence the withering of all kinds of associations like lodges or hobbyist organizations. Among people with this problem any kind of hobby and sharing it with non-family is a dead proposition. They don’t have the capability for it their misery is so depleting. Neighbors don’t know each others names anymore connections have withered so much.

    The interesting thing is that this has been going on strongly since the 50s but almost every decade has seen this withdrawal behavior metastasize to more and more of a country’s population. And it’s greatly increased in the past 15 years. Since the author is based in the EU he spent most of his time there researching this but he did spend time in the U.S. and Canada and far east Asian countries. One chapter he described going to a medical conference for psychiatrists and when he brought up the mountains of research debunking the drug therapies being discussed they let him know his questions and commentary were quite unwelcome.

    Judging from his book apparently the EU has far more depression and anxiety and other kinds of mental illness than I ever dreamed. (yes, he also referenced schizophrenia and loneliness as you did) 1 in 3 French is shockingly high. I never thought so many French are that miserable in their lives its driving them to take daily medications. He says there’s similar info on Germany, the Netherlands and other countries. That’s 1 in 3 people you meet on a busy city street or cafe on some kind of daily (supposedly) mood-altering prescription drug.

    It’s possible the U.S. is just as bad but since affordable health insurance is limited to mostly the topmost tier of the upper-middle class and upper class these days the stat is only 1 in 5 vs. the EU’s 1 in 3. Maybe if the U.S. had Medicare-for-All the stats would be similar or even worse. Bear in mind these stats are for prescription drugs. His prior book Chasing the Scream was about the illegal drugs – of which large numbers are taking to erase the misery from their lives. Example: the opioid epidemic. It’s just they don’t have the insurance for the legal versions so they resort to the illegal ones.

    But the industry keeps saying the answer to all of these causes is due to bad brain chemistry and they have the cure. So when I read this book it hit me maybe we’ve been living in a Brave New World more than we realize and we’ve been living in it for a much longer time than I ever realized.

  157. JMG,

    A heartfelt thanks for this post. Good to be reminded that it is the world around me, and not me, that is going insane.

  158. @b3rhard #122

    Thank you for sharing your view. I understand where are you coming from. History teaches us pretty clearly that the Church is not immune to craziness epidemics (ahem, Cruzades… coff, coff, Inquisition… etc, etc). I think it was St. Augustine who said that “the Church is both Holy and a Whore”.

    That said, I will ask you to consider, what is the next step after the Church refuses to play ball with the Governments of the Western World, regarding to the COVID19 pandemic. The obvious answer is that the Government will ban churchgoing altogether. Depending on the jurisdiction, they can legally put a lot of pressure very quickly. In Mexico, by example, there is a strict separation between the Church and the State, and it is the later that owns all individual temples, cathedrals, seminaries, prayer houses, etc. As a matter of fact, the only reason our legitimate government did not pull a Henry VIII on us, almost 100 years ago, is by the merits of the blood spilled on the Cristero War. You may want to check that out to see how bad thing can turn when we make decisions based on principles and purity with no regard for practicalities.

    Now, call me a pessimist, but I am not sure we will be able to pull the numbers needed for a successful Second Cristero War. I certainly would not be willing to throw the dice over a meager piece of fabric that inconveniences my breathing, but then everybody around here knows my stance on that particular issue. I have come to realize that the power of the masks over the population’s imagination are symbolic (e.g. astral) rather than physical, but still; I think it would be an overreaction to compare that to the eating of flesh sacrificed to the idols, if you know what I mean.

  159. Matthias Gralle (#125)

    I’m really, really glad I’m not the only one to think this. Frankly the response to Covid has been a very distressing overreaction, with a sizable fraction of the population then insisting there is nothing to worry about. It’s as if the idea of the middle ground has been erased altogether…..

    PatriciaOrmsby (#130)

    Sadly, I’ve had to walk away much more than I was expecting, because doctors in Canada have started losing their licenses for being “anti-vaccination”. In at least one case I have personal knowledge for (knowing both the doctor and patient personally), this was because a nurse overheard a doctor telling a patient that she was right that the NHS in the UK advises people with allergies to avoid the new Covid vaccines. Which is a factual statement, and worse, is merely confirming something the patient already knew.

    Sadly, what this means is that it appears I cannot trust any mainstream doctor. Which is exactly why I’m already on the task of learning some basics from alternative medicine, in case I need it.

  160. Hi JMG,
    remember me asking you about poetry blindness and joining OBOD on Magic Monday? I´ve taken your advice, contacted them, got a very helpful and friendly answer and now I´m going ahead with taking the course to join them. I have to admit that I´m still an agnostic at heart (albeit a very open-minded one), but I´ve definitely felt the desire/urge to hono(u)r the natural world by doing regular rituals for a long time now. My connection to trees and forests goes back all the way to my childhood: when other kids wanted to be astronauts, racing drivers, football players and the like when they grow up, I wanted to be a forester. 15 minutes a week? I spent about half of my free time as a kid in the woods, and to this day I consider a day spent indoors only as kind of wasted. I´m not money-rich, but I regard myself very privileged to own nearly two acres of land in the countryside on which I could plant plenty of trees, and I spend as much time out there as I can. I´ve even planted a Sacred Grove where I can have bonfires for the seasonal feasts, and I´ve made a smaller holy place for more private rituals where I do my occasional praying. As for backing away from the crazy person, I´ve instinctively done exactly that during the last two or three years: the more the political ´´debate´´ heated up, the more insults got flung across the divides, the less interested I became, thinking: ´´You´re all mad“. I haven´t watched televison for eleven years now and I don´t own a smart phone, both of wich I can thoroughly recommend; it´s certainly done me a lot of good.
    Ugo Bardi´s blog is one that I regularly read, too, so I´ve heard about facebook´s apalling behaviour towards him already and though not surprising it´s still rather galling. By the way, did you notice as well that he seems to engage more with spiritual topics than he used to?
    I´m working on getting more independent from tech-infrastructure, but beyond a certain point I find it really hard to do, and my weekday-job depends on it; but here´s hoping that with time I´ll step by step move into that direction.
    It seems that I´ve done a lot of the things you recommend here in advance already, which is of course largely thanks to reading your blogs and books for more than ten years now (especially regarding the spiritual bit), and I´d like to say: thank you for all that, Mr. Greer, I really think you´re making the world a better place with your work in a not so small way.
    greetings
    Frank from Germany

  161. JMG:

    The phrase ‘psychic epidemic’ really crystalizes it. In my opinion, deep down everybody knows the party is coming to an end, and many are turning to the crazy to shut that discomforting fact out of their conscious minds. (The ‘party’ being industrial civilization to be pedantic.)

    NPR is a case in point. Back before great shutdown, I used to listen to NPR “Morning Addition” on my drive to work. I went without for about 6 months. Then, one fateful day, I turned it on on my way to the office to pick up files and supplies, and good grief. I don’t know if it went full Trump Derangement Syndrome in the preceding 6 months, or if the 6 month hiatus gave me fresh ears to hear it. Regardless,I find it unlistenable for more than 5 minutes. I turned it on a week or so ago on a drive to the office and they were STILL complaining about Trump.

    NPR was the last broadcast media news I followed. I studiously avoided TV news shortly after 9/11. I find it much more pleasant to get my news from written sources, but avoiding any paper with ‘New York’ or ‘Washington’ in its name, particularly avoiding those that end in ‘Times’, ‘Post’, or ‘Examiner.’ Those papers can best be described as mental poison in my opinion.

    With respect to wokies, I highly encourage everyone to watch this video:

  162. A question for all:

    My wife recently came into a substantial inheritance, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with it. Conventional advice has us parking most of it with one of the big investment firms long term, but with the fragility of the financial system these days I’m not convinced that’s the best way to go. I’m thinking maybe it could be put to other uses to help us collapse now and avoid the rush. Does anyone have suggestions for alternatives? I will welcome anything that people are willing to share.

    Thank you, JMG, for hosting this space. If this is too far off-topic I’ll bring it back on the next open post.

  163. Tussey, first, work on methods of energy and resource conservation you can do without major structural modifications, such as insulated window coverings and lifestyle changes. Second, pick up and practice some useful skills — most people are very deficient in those, and having them will make it easier for you to land on their feet.

    Augusto, yes and yes. Using the gunk in the lower astral is a very risky operation, suitable only for experienced and competent mages, but it can be done.

    Cliff, are you sure we aren’t already there? 😉

    Will J, exactly. I’m finding Phil’s comment extremely useful as an explanatory tool.

    Wesley, people are still debating why the Roman Empire fell, so I don’t recommend holding your breath…

    Your Kittenship, positive energy en route.

    Ben, that’s bizarre. There are still quite a few solar water heating devices for sale, fortunately. As for your PV location, if it’s not visible from the road, you should be fine.

    Gnat, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the US has a worse dose of it than most other countries, but it’s far from the sole site of the problem. As for leaving, that’s not an option for a lot of people — and I really doubt other countries would want to see a swarm of Americans descending on them! Also, I’m far from sure it’s going to end up in the kind of situation from which flight is the only option.

    Ryan, delighted to hear it. Use it.

    Chris, mere practicalities never matter to the truly crazy. Did Don Quixote worry himself over the fact that his Golden Helmet of Mambrino didn’t have the magical powers he believed it had? Of course not — it was his hydrogen economy, and so long as it fulfilled a necessary role in his delusion, he was satisfied.

    Horzabky, au contraire, it’s because people like that grad student were told to drop projects that didn’t support the pharmaceutical model that schizophrenia is so poorly understood…

    Kevin, I know a lot of people who used to be leftists. They haven’t changed their opinions at all — they’ve just watched in horror as the movement they once supported lost its mind.

    Synthase, thanks for this.

    Booklover, good. Yes, I’ve been expanding my theory of catabolic collapse in recent months to include collective ideas and abstractions; Vico’s theory of the “barbarism of reflection” meshes elegantly with this. As for saving things, yes — that’s even more crucial now than it was.

    Matthias, that’s a good point.

    Dusk Shine, and it’s worth remembering what happened at the end of the Roaring 20s here in the US…

    Mawkernewek, it works well. I keep two kettlebells within easy reach of my computer in my study — they provide a great break from long hours of writing.

    Yorkshire, (1) depends on the people; some might come out of it, others would double down and flee back to a less threatening place. (2) Might be worth a try!

    dMay, you’re most welcome.

    Blue Sun, he comes so readily to mind…

    Ganv, in the occult community we’re used to that. I’ll be posting something on that down the road a bit.

    Mog, you’re most welcome. Yeah, it sucks to watch people drown in the psychic muck.

    David BTL, glad to hear it. To borrow a Mark Twain metaphor, trying to push common sense at this point in history is like trying to teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time, and annoys the pig.

    Neptunesdolphins, squirrel pictures? Okay, that’s a new one. Thank you.

    Steve T, and it also makes sense in a nation that’s never yet figured out that the opposite of one bad idea is usually another bad idea…

    Kyle, I’ll have it up later today.

    Jasper, that’s a crucial aspect of the point I’m trying to make; thank you for developing it. It’s precisely the flight from everything but abstract concepts that typifies the phase of history we’re in — the barbarism of reflection, as Vico called it.

    Godozo, thanks for this. I’ve never been on Faceplant, so don’t have a clear sense of what’s going on there.

    Laura, stay tuned; I’ll be talking about peak oil again in the near future.

    Likely, volume 10 of his collected works, Civilization in Transition, has several good essays on the subject; “Wotan” is especially important.

    Courtinthenorth, thank you!

    Hans, volume 10 of his collected works, Civilization in Transition, is a good place to start.

    Jay, sure, but when you seek your own comfort at the expense of everyone else, it becomes something rather different…

    Shewhoholdstensions, first, please accept my condolences — that’s got to have been hard. I’m glad you found The Undiscovered Self helpful!

    Clay, a case can be made!

    Clark, it doesn’t surprise me that your practice has worked well. China’s been through plenty of very hard times, and the Taoist sages and mystics who created the practices you follow developed and refined them while living in isolated regions and working mostly in solitude! Your point about the immune system is crucial, and one I’ll be developing as we proceed.

    Jon, thanks for this. They aren’t hard to make!

    Youngelephant, you’re most welcome.

    Will, it really does make sense of things, doesn’t it?

    Pygmycory, many thanks for these very useful points!

    Will, another good point.

    Happy Panda, good. Yes, and I hope you’re circulating this information far and wide.

    Monster, you’re most welcome.

    Frank, I’m delighted to hear all of this! You’re welcome, and thank you.

    Chris, I really think that’s at the heart of it. The era of progress is over. We are not going to Mars, we’re not going to get a Star Trek future or flying cars or any of the rest of it, and so millions of people who built their entire worlds around the notion that progress would take care of everything and give them the future of their dreams are wigging out. Of course they can’t talk about it — they can’t admit that the era of progress is over — so they have to find other things to scream about, and Trump was a convenient target.

    David C, if you invest it, keep it far, far away from the stock market, and if possible in investments that are not dollar-denominated. Meanwhile, you and your wife can have a series of conversations about what you want to do with your lives, and begin using the money to move in that direction.

  164. Curt said:

    For others it may not have been the same as for me, but I think I identify an important element: existential fear and social status.When you have something to lose, and when your vision of the world is purely materialistic, atheistic, and in a final consequence realistic, all that has value is hedonistic pleasure, fuzzy-warm feelings of emotional caring because you lack that, reassuring thoughts of how your ideas will “save the world”, because anyways, the fire always strikes someone else’s house.

    and

    In 2015 a kurdish man asked me: “why is it that the wealthy always dwell so much in fear” (allegedly, he has seen the war in Turkey as a child). I replied: “they have never lived under difficult conditions, never learned how to settle in them, and deep down they know that, and they fear it, because they cannot deal with, where others can”.

    This! Exactly this. THIS is why Johann Hari wrote Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections. Such people are scared witless and all they know how to do that’s left is focus that fear and anger on the targets they’ve been told are the causes. According to Hari the PMC class (from limited gov info) are quite enthusiastic anti-anxiety/anti-depressant/anti-insert-other-mental-illness-here pill poppers. They look around and see that despite all the gov-and-big-biz ‘build-back-better’ promises things are not getting better and a bunch of them will be in the next round of population to go down the precariat drain. The anxiety is that they don’t know yet if THEY will be among those flushed as ‘waste’ to preserve what’s left of ‘what’s-worth-preserving’ of civilized society. If they get flushed they know society’s self-appointed betters are justifying it as sacrificing them to preserve what’s worth preserving. I’m sure that gives many EU citizens anxiety when they go to bed at night.

  165. Dear JMG, I would love that! Further exploration with circles and vesica piscis in relation to each other has been extremely fruitful for me in the past day and I would love to see what serious geometricians have come up with.

    Dear Kfish, fascinating! There’s some sort of subtle difference between the geometric art that I feel drawn to and the designs that I tend to make which I imagine must arise out of differences in religious feeling.

    Dear Deborah, fascinating and thank you for the book recommendation! I honestly don’t know much about hexenmeisters besides knowing that they exist. I’ll see if my library has that book.

    Dear Dusk Shine, interestingly, the algebra book I studied was a leather-bound 1898 edition of Wentworth’s _New School Algebra_! I found it in a thrift store and snapped it up for $3 and began studying it in earnest, and then it zoomed off into these monstrous equations and tremendous abstraction. I’ve also studied more recent math text books, and they also zoom off into what I considered grotesque abstraction. Now I’m studying Euclid very slowly, which is about as old school as possible.

    Dear Robert, we’re following the same line of thinking here: about three weeks ago on my blog I linked to a bunch of free Wentworth textbooks! https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/92393.html
    That said, I’m extremely limited in my mathematical comprehension, and so I found his book _New School Algebra_ published in 1898 a bit advanced, once he zoomed into gargantuan abstractions of the sort of on page 64, question # 44:

    (4a^7 – 32ay^4 – 8a^5y^2 + 16a^3y^3) * (a^6y^2 + 4a^2y^4 + 4a^4y^3)

    After spending a few days doing these sorts of problems I grew to hate it so much that I put the book aside and focused on math that is more at my level and in line with my interests.

  166. Poor King Canute. He was just showing his sycophantic nobles that he wasn’t all powerful after all.

  167. An anecdote about the privileged class: I was venturing out of my rural refuge several years ago into the dystopian realm that is New York City. While in a bar I meant an investment banker. My first encounter with that type. A young guy you could tell came from money and intended to make more. We got to discussing the wider state of affairs and my suggestion collapse, in some form or another, was impending caused this guy to become incredibly defensive. He started telling me I’d not be enjoying myself if I really thought that was the case. Then he told me he wanted to end our conversation. Then he couldn’t help himself and asked how I could believe what I did when so much was being invested into green energy.

    Sorry about your friends experiences on Facebook. I had something similar happen during a conversation on Islam. I think in many ways it has lost any value it has as a platform. One of the benefits I think of the Trump ban from the major social media networks is that it is sending people searching for alternatives. Hopefully free discussion can flourish elsewhere but I’m not optimistic. I expect further clampdown on ideas and discussion not deemed PC to the point we might see people going to the dark web.

    Finally, excellent suggestions. I’ve always thought about being anti-fragile. No matter where I live I will always have a wood stove (specifically a chunk stove). Right now have plenty of apples and can keep a large garden when I see fit. Helps one feel closer to nature too which bring some magic into life.

  168. Is there an equivalent to a psychic epidemic in the theory of alchemy? Obviously not exactly the same thing, but can an alchemical operation fail due to a kind of runaway feedback loop?

    Has there ever been a school of alchemy that works on whole societies? What would that be called – the Opus Societatis? 🙂

  169. So much blasphemy in here, I love it! It soothes the wounds from the cacophonic blistering verbiage bursting out of everywhere.

    You know what else is a sign of the times? Britney Spears with a haggard face –just like the picture of your post The root of the madness — saying that her #1 goal for 2021 is “To meditate more”. God that was funny.

  170. Phil Knight’s observation has another implication worth mentioning: the thing the woke are freaking out about, “Those people are hating!”, is actually a very complex phenomena. First, something triggers cognitive dissonance. Then the woke feel it as hatred, and then because among our aristocracy you can’t allow yourself to feel hatred, they project it onto the source. In plain English then, it’s a projection of a misunderstood feeling! No wonder things get so weird so fast when something triggers the woke….

  171. As I contemplate the subjects raised in this weeks post, I keep thinking of the title of a novel by Kenneth Grant. One I haven’t read… but the name has always stock with me…”

    “Grist for whose mill?”

  172. My Rosicrucian friends believe in a coming Christian utopia. But I cannot see it. Neither do I buy into the Mad Max scenario. But we might be headed toward a gritty cyberpunk scenario with all its urban and social decay. I can see this because the world seems to be in a downward decline as the powers-that-be, such as the World Economic Forum, continue to push corporatism and transhumanism.

  173. @David C

    My advice would be to buy a modest house in a blue-collar city where people still know how to build, fix, and mend things. It should be in a city where most of the blue-collar voters won’t tolerate being “gentrified” out of their own homes and neighborhoods, so that they make sure that the city government knows that listening to developers is the quickest way to lose their council seats. Buy your house free and clear; or if you can’t quite do that, pay off your fixed-interest mortgage as soon as you can. (Make sure there’s no penalty for paying off your mortgage early. Penalties like that are all too common these days.) Having done that, follow our host’s LESS strategy: Less Energy, Stuff and Stimulation. If you have an exploitive job — most jobs these days are hugely exploitive — use the rest of your money to build a modest steady income sufficient to allow you to retire as early as you can — no financial speculations! Once you have that, retire. Figure out how you can enjoy your life in retirement in your own home and yard, using your own rich emotional and intellectual resources, without traveling anywhere else any more than absolutely necessary.

    That’s what my wife and I did, at any rate. But, of course, your mileage may vary.

  174. @HV, #151,

    You stole my thunder. Here is a good link that sources WHO’s admission regarding CT and the false positive rate:

    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/who-admits-covid-pcr-test-has-a-problem/

    I’m frankly surprised the rate hasn’t dropped far more. It would be interesting to know about the rate of testing, and how that’s been trending, as that also drives the total numbers.

    Last month, my 17 year-old daughter was exposed to friends who purportedly had Covid, and my (estranged) wife was scared about covid coming into the house. Daughter had no symptoms. Wife called daughter’s primary provider, a nurse practitioner, who then ordered a covid PCR test without having even seen her, and knowing there were no symptoms. Wife asked me to drive our daughter to testing lab. I had a cow. I called the lab to find out the CT they used. No one seemed to know, and it took 2 days for them to get back to me: Their CT was 35, well above the 30 you need for 95% confidence of detecting a lab-culturable infection. I talked to my daughter’s nurse practitioner, who was clueless about the false positive issue, knew nothing about CT, and saw nothing amiss with ordering a lab test for an asymptomatic patient who was in a demographic that was no danger, and no plan of care if she was positive. When I pointed out the high false positive rate, the nurse practitioner said “So what?”. She did not appreciate my concern for a false diagnosis being in my kid’s medical record, (“So?”) and did not know this data was collected by the CDC and in turn used to justify the lockdown, which among other things, destroyed my own medical practice (I’m a physician, and my clinic in a “non-essential” category). I forbade my daughter to have that test, which more than pleased her. Wife collapsed sobbing as if she’d been sentenced to death. Now it’s all forgotten.

    Bottom line is that because of the WHO admission, CT was reduced from 40 to 35 (based on my sample), which still allows for a hefty false positive rate. It needs to be 30 max.

    –Lunar Apprentice

  175. I’ve come to wonder if the official focus on climate change rather than peak oil is simply an attempt to avoid the appearance of helplessness. After all the climate can be ‘fixed’ if all but the PMC avoid flights, recycle religiously etc. Nothing is plausibly going to fix peak oil. The grid round here typically runs about 30% renewable which is way up on a decade ago, but the grid is only a fraction of total energy use. I still believe that figure will improve but whichever way you slice it we are going to be living through a relatively energy poor future.

    Oh well. The slope of my back garden that was reclaimed from encroaching woodland last year will have some terraced vegetable beds going in this month ready for a second year of learning how to garden. Some of that will be dedicated to medicinal herbs. Part of it will be left wild. I’m now saving up for the first of our multi fuel stoves that will mostly be burning wood. It takes time and more energy than I really have available but it is possible to improve the situation I think.

  176. @Cos.Doc readership

    Clark Said:
    With the comments on Sun Tzu, I am reminded of something I was taught in school: When Yang becomes extreme it turns into Yin. When Yin becomes extreme it turns into Yang.

    The above point has greater implication than merely Sun Tzu’s treatise discussing. This is how Moksha (Liberation) happens via guru to disciple. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says if there is extreme stillness in a disciple – liberation becomes effortless. The guru simply pulls out all the remaining ‘pins’ in the disciple in a single go (his exact phrase). If extreme movement in a disciple happens – liberation again becomes effortless. The guru simply pulls out all the remaining ‘pins’ in the disciple in a single go (he repeated the above). Both of these 2 extremes in a disciple mean liberation is assured – and you will not be coming back to earth again unless you voluntarily choose to do so (typically to provide guidance to younger souls).

    Master Nan Huai-Chin says movement is organized around the 8th Consciousness. There is that which is beyond the 8th Consciousness but that’s beginning to get into the realm of Meher Baba’s Beyond and Baba’s Beyond even the Beyond. Consciousness doesn’t ‘exist’ (not the typical mind-consciousness that most humans have but rather Master Nan is referring to Super-Consciousness – what the Dharma traditions call Citta – Sat-Chit-Ananda – Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). That is, it is purely non-physical. If it doesn’t exist (ie. non-physical) it is all-pervasive. If it is all-pervasive movement and power is born out of it’s innate stillness (yang becomes yin, yin becomes yang). Thus Shiv-ah (pronounced Shiv-uh) is not separate from Shakti (the Force to use Star Wars lingo).

  177. Lady Cutekitten – you have it. What shall I ask for and from whom? Michael? The Lady? Bast? Seriously.

    Pat

  178. I should have included my last comment that the nurse practitioner was following a “protocol”, which in turn originates from the CDC. These protocols often medico-legally define “standard of care” which practitioners ignore at their peril. This reflects part of a larger process in which doctors are deprived of independent judgement, making them more or less functionaries beholden to a system which manifestly has an agenda other than patient care.

    –Lunar Apprentice

  179. JMG,

    Thanks for writing this. You have historically been the person who says the trouble is coming but will unfold over centuries. This reads like a brick wall is very close. You have my attention. Any suggestions for a family with young kids?

  180. It’s simple. “What is the Best R-Value for Roof Insulation?” is the question I asked on Google. I got an Energy Star recommendation for the entire US. For my state specifically, there is line running horizontally through North Carolina. “North Half” North Carolina needs R-Values between R38-R60. “South Half” NC needs R-Values between R30-R68.

    One Energy Auditor could be hired for the state. All new buildings, yes commercial and residential, could be built according to the recommendations which are already available online. One 14July, while Trump was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Accord, I was standing inside a new, under-construction, sustainably-built cottage, where, with no doors or windows installed, the cottage inside was cooler than the outside, sweltering, humid, typical NC summer. The correct R-Value coefficient roof alone managed to keep the interior cool. In North Carolina, we are on the cusp of transition from passive heating to passive cooling.

  181. I’d like to share a story I’ve just read, for I think it fits into the theme of this weeks post. There’s a MD from Stockholm, Sweden, named Sebastian Rushworth. He blogs and writes quite a bit about our current favorite health subject. I like to read his posts, since he discusses everything with a very calm tone based on the available facts. He has summarized his research in a book called “covid: why most of what you know is wrong”, which is principally ready for purchase in a Swedish and an English edition.

    But, big surprise, Amazon refuses to sell it on their platform. Rushworth has written about this including the letter of decline Amazon has written to his publisher here: https://sebastianrushworth.com/2021/03/04/amazon-is-censoring-my-book-about-covid/

    Maybe you find this interesting.

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  182. Hi John Michael,

    But alas, practicalities are what constrain us all, although listening to nonsense talk (e.g. hydrogen as a fuel source) you get the distinct impression that many folks haven’t gotten that message. 😉 You did mention that ignoring limits was a good way of getting nothing done.

    Hey, speaking of the craziness of Mars, I spotted a good example of the sheer difficulties involved in upgrades to buildings in seriously remote locations (of which Australia has a few down near the Antarctic): Research station on Macquarie Island to undergo renovations. Not so easy to do and compared to Mars, the island is just around the corner, you can breathe the atmosphere and possibly eat those sea lions.

    I like how they intend to install batteries and solar. I’ve given those technologies a good go for a dozen years now, and they’re good, but they’re only just good enough in the depths of winter. Certainly there is little surplus energy for a few weeks either side of the winter solstice. And compared to Macquarie Island over winter, this place at the winter solstice would be a tropical paradise! Brr!

    Yeah, err, good luck with that renovation!

    Cheers

    Chris

  183. It is somewhat ironic that Bardi’s blog is called Cassandra’s Legacy. Cassandra would give sound advice that others would ignore no matter how accurate it is. That his blog was silenced is find of funny if it wasn’t so sad to see.

    @Drhooves and @JMG RE: Overdeveloped Nation.

    It is good to know the source of this. I heard of it via Michael Dowd a while back and thought it was an excellent way of summarizing it.

  184. Where I am, I wish I could attend church with a mask. The churches are closed and we’re all worshipping from home, online. Which isn’t the same thing at all, and I don’t know how long this is going to go on for. I got really depressed about it a few weeks ago – yes, I know I can worship God on my own, and I do, but they were my social life and I haven’t seen most of them in a year(the church was open during the summer services outdoors, no singing and masked. Very few people showed up like that. I only went once, I admit), and the online is a miserable excuse for the real experience, and I got upset enough about it a few weeks back that I couldn’t stand to use the online version. Can still read the bible, pray etc. Not that reading plays very well with my eye issues.

    Given it’s nearly spring, the vaccines, and the legal challenges that have started, I suspect that particular rule is on its way out. Restaurants are open and you can even take your mask off at your table, the whole thing feels a bit like religion is being unfairly targeted.

  185. @ courtinthenorth…

    I quite literally bought my land and then discovered JMG’s writings online. The whole “collapse now and avoid the rush” made quite the wide smile on my face when I read it initially. I had already decided to do that so my offspring might have a leg up as things drift down.

    I’ll have a look at those breeds, but percheron has short hair, and I am dead in the midst of the sunbelt…

    @ JMG…
    Our goal is to strip things down to drop electricity usage. To that end, we have a 4′ attic fan that draws through the house. Right now, with things in the 60 deg range, you can’t sleep without a blanket at night with it on. The rest is getting manual labor-saving things, like food presses and such. Next up we are going to try and make an old style pulley drive running through the shop – already bought a 30′ piece of bar to make it. Then steam engine, but cannot even find one these days. May have to McGuyver that.

    @ Phil…
    We disagree on that outlook regarding petroleum. There is simply nothing out there that packs as much punch in a small space and is transportable. And all batteries are made with diesel and plastics – from oil…

    The whole electric car thing has to be the biggest exercise in unreality and engineering masturbation I ever saw, and now they are trundling out the “hydrogen economy” yet again, IMO.

    Thanks for the pos feedback!

    @ Onething…
    in the early 1800’s, French perfume was terribly expensive in America – because it cam from France via sailing ships, and then had to be transported via rail and wagons to destinations. The cost reflected the expense of transportation and time. As oil prices rise, availability gets creaky or other events disrupt the artificially cheap transport of goods, then anything that isn’t regionally made or local will be more expensive.

    I would refer you to Belize, where 100% of their power is from diesel or LNG generators; they had to curtail electricity for days on end when the price reached $80/bbl. Also refer you to the link I put up in the last essays comments about the ‘plastic to liquid fuel’ device – which will eventually grow in use as resources deplete and people find petroleum necessary but hyper-expensive.

    @ Mary Bennet…
    Thanks – it’s fun doing this, even if people call me and my ilk “old nutters in the woods”…

    @ Dusk Shine…
    I searched for a year to find what I have for $2k/acre. It was clearcut recently and looked like a twister had run through it. But nature will return rapidly, especially if you can nurture a bit.

    You are unlikely to find anything within 90 miles of a city or suburbs that is inexpensive. My patch is 88 miles from my suburban door – I can get there easy enough with a 4-cyl beater without breaking the bank. Motorcycle works too.

    It’s the proximity to cities and suburbs that raise land prices – or places adjacent to rivers or lakes. And if you buy too close (my suburban home was in a development with 50 homes and was 15 miles from anything) then the sprawl chokes you out. I have to drive 22 miles to find something that isn’t a big chain store on the way to my farm. So my 27 years in this home I have watched the creep ‘civilization’ encroah and finally surround my suburban home.

    As for land prices not matching income possibilities – you just have to take the pain of doing more with less to get the land, and then living on less to be rural (some exceptions noted). If you have a career in medicine or some type of repair skills (plumber, welder, appliance repair, etc.) – you can make decent enough living. But the middleman jobs are just not common. Lots of truck drivers live in my area – because they don’t care where you call home if you are long haul. Further nore – several folks around here are renting single room dwellings for $400-600/mn. There is a dearth of small family options in the sticks…that could defray your costs.

    You might also look at partnering up with 1 or 2 others to buy the land parcel, and then subdivide it.

  186. to ALL…

    I was wondering how many people here have washed their hands of batting for the red team or the blue team? I am thinking this completely artificial division is the thing that makes a large chunk of the divisive forces swirling around us…

  187. Thanks for this! “Psychic epidemic” is a very useful term! About how long do you think it will last? The SJW craze honestly reminds me of accounts of the First and Second Great Awakenings, which left behind entirely new religious denominations-but the SJW world doesn’t seem to have anything nearly as productive to sink its energy into. Frankly, I wonder where it will all end up going.

    In the meantime, your discussions on internet censorship are reminding me of an article I saw a few days after the Capitol Riot (and unfortunately don’t have a link to) demanding that cable companies drop Fox News because by carrying it, they’re “profiting off lies”. Its a very short step from there to demanding that many of those same companies, in their role as ISPs, IP-block “problematic” websites. I’m honestly expecting to see demands to that effect start coming from SJW-land anytime now, at first focusing on hard-to-defend stuff like Stormfront but (as we can see from Facebook’s post-Capitol Riot antics) certainly not stopping there. Might be a good time to remind people that the ACLU of the 1970’s once defended the rights of neo-Nazis to hold marches in a legal case that went all the way to the Supreme Court:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Party_of_America_v._Village_of_Skokie

    Not, mind you, because the ACLU was ever a pro-Nazi organization, but because the ACLU of that era recognized that if you allow the government to repress any political group-even a reprehensible one that everybody hates-it will establish a precedent, which will invariably be picked up and used against groups far less objectionable that nevertheless offend somebody. But that was a different time, and a different ACLU.

  188. Will J–you ask “with actual klansmen, Nazis, Dominionists, etc, why was their focus always on the seemingly reasonable people? Why were so many of them so much more violently against “It’s okay to be white” than people shrieking obscenities at minorities?” I think it is related to a similar situation with animal rights activists. They will pour paint on a rich lady in a fur coat, but not on a biker in his leathers. Why? Because a biker may well dismember you for ruining his leathers while a rich lady will only shriek, call the police or threaten to sue.

    Just read an article in the New Yorker about the differing COVID rates of infection and fatality in different nations. Everyone expected Indian slums to be a complete disaster, but not the case. Same with some African nations, but not others. There was much discussion of the types of gene sequencing research being done to account for this. However, there was absolutely no mention of possible effects from use of non-Western medicine. India still has a strong tradition of Ayurvedic medicine as well as a strong tradition of homeopathy, with more than 200,000 homeopathic doctors. The homeopaths in India issued guidelines for prevention and treatment shortly after the pandemic started. I don’t know anything about traditional medicine in Africa, but I do know that even the largest cities have markets where herbs and so forth are sold. Obviously some percentage of the population uses traditional methods, either solely or in combination with Western medicine. However I sincerely doubt that there will be any coordinated research on the subject. I also wonder about northern countries where saunas and steam baths and natural hot springs are part of many people’s health regime, especially if they feel they are coming down with a bug. Have these facilities been shut down? if not, have they had an effect? One more question that will probably not be researched.

    Rita

  189. Very interesting, in that I have found myself instinctively withdrawing and backing away from the craziness. On a detail level it is nearly impossible to figure out what real and what is nonsense, the noise floor is well past any signal. I’m trying to get my family to disengage too, but it’s so easy to get caught in the current and emotions are high.

    Still, the training from TOD days is paying off. I know at a glance the issues with EVs and hydrogen, and whatever other fantasy gets pushed, although I find I often don’t have the energy to fight it. I ignore it if possible, or just smile and wish them luck if I can’t. It’s a rare thing to find someone receptive enough to try to explain it, and it makes me feel like a killjoy. I dunno, maybe it’s better to be blissfully ignorant – just because you can see the train coming doesn’t mean you can get out of the way anyway!

    I can’t help feeling like a stairstep is nearing, especially after your reading for the inauguration.

  190. A NYT worshipping friend of mine sent me the following article from the New Yorker in ernest . Its thesis seems to be that American Evangelicals have all become crazy conspiracy theorists. To me this fits right in with the Grist Sci Fi contest. The comfortable class progressives seem to be trying to construct an entire fantasy world view for themselves. In this view they are right about all things and everyone else is bad and crazy. While I am not an evangelical, nor especially sympathetic to their world view, they do represent a significant slice of America with beliefs that they hold for good reasons. To make yourself feel good by simply writing off a large chunk of the American public as unredeemable seems to have taken Hillary’s deplorable rhetoric to an entirely new level. This a level of delusion that is hard to grasp.

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-wasting-of-the-evangelical-mind

  191. @Laughingsage, Curt, YoungElephant,

    I am poster that Curt alluded to, who lost faith in Progress a few years ago due to seeing its rotten effects on-the-ground, as it were. (And yes, I am very much a member of the Comfortable Classes: I was raised by solidly upper-middle-class parents who could afford things like family vacations to Turkey and China, and I am currently a grad student in physics).

    But I think it’s worth saying (now that YoungElephant brought it up) that I never adopted a hedonis/materialist worldview. Now, I’ve strayed quite a ways from the Mormon orthodoxy in which I grew up, but I never seriously doubted the existence of a benevolent God, or the inadequacy of the materialistic worldview to explain either (a) the existence, diversity, and beauty of life on Earth, or (b) the various spiritual experiences which people all over the world have had.

    This was the case even during the phase of my youth when I admired Elon Musk and his Mars colony plans. It wasn’t that Progress itself was spiritually fulfilling, it was that I admired men and women in past generations who had gone on dangerous journeys and worked very hard to build a new civilization in a harsh environment – the Puritans of New England, the Mormon pioneers, the early Zionists, etc. And I thought at the time that colonizing Mars was an effective way to build upon their experiences, what with the future bound to be full of marvelous technological progress and all that.

    Once I came to see progress as a self-limiting and at times self-defeating phenomenon, I abandoned that view, and I now see the challenge of adapting to the Long Descent by learning and preserving sustainable technologies to be the best way to imitate the “civilization-builders,” if you so call them, of the past. Basically, I threw out a map of the future that I had come to see as inaccurate, and I replaced it with a better map, but my underlying spiritual goals did not change.

    Also, I can very much attest to our host’s comment that millions of the true believers in Progress are wigging out. I have a friend with a background very similar to my own – raised as a Mormon and a Reaganite conservative, studied physics in college, eventually came to doubt Mormonism and Reaganism, etc. The difference was that that, unlike myself, this young man went full materialist after giving up on orthodox Mormonism. Whenever I talk about peak oil and the Long Descent and my expectation that, by the century’s end, most people in the United States will not gave grid electricity and that the western half of the country will probably be ruled by Mexican warlords, this friend insists that I am the most pessimistic person he knows. The irony is that my friend is heavily dependent on anti-depressants and often lacks the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, while I don’t have those problems.

  192. JMG,

    We certainly live in strange times. I’m debating whether to stick it out in the U.S. or return to my wife’s home country of Japan. I’m concerned, however, because when the times get strange, Japan isn’t exactly the friendliest place to be for foreigners. I also don’t think most Americans appreciate how much our country is holding up the world order, and the crazier the American news gets, the more allied countries around the world start sweating and look to go it alone. But that’s a lonely path and the world is full of enemies.

  193. Darn, I did not set my video link correctly in my last comment. I recommend anyone sick of wokies checks out the video “When Wokes and Racists Actually Agree on Everything.”

    Great stuff.

  194. Hi Patricia, and anyone else,

    Pray to whomever you like, I’ll accept prayer regardless. Thank you!

  195. Violet, I’m delighted to hear this. The kind of geometry you’re doing is the basis for what’s come to be called sacred geometry — let me rephrase that: the sane end of what’s come to be called sacred geometry, as distinct from the giddy whackjob stuff being marketed by Drunvalo Melchizedek and his ilk — and there’s a substantial literature on the subject at this point, to which I’m about to add a few things.

    JilllN, yes, but you got the point of the reference, didn’t you?

    Sam, yep. A fraction of an inch below the surface they know they’re dancing on thin and melting ice, which is why they get so brittle when you admit that.

    Yorkshire, (1) not that I know of, and (2) yes. You might want to look up Gerrard Winstanley sometime; he was the chief theoretician of the Diggers in 17th-century England, and he devised an entire economic theory on the basis of alchemy.

    Augusto, okay, now I feel like the writers for the Onion. How can a satirist keep up with the real world?

    Will, exactly. I got to that analysis too, after thinking about Phil’s comment.

    Justin, funny. I’m going to take that as a comment about the magazine.

    Dana, good gods. I’d hoped that the Rosicrucian movement had been immunized against that sort of folly by what happened to the Elector Frederick back in 1620 — the end of their first and biggest utopian project. Oh, well, I suppose you can’t keep a bad idea down.

    Adwelly, got it in one. Remember also that the climate change narrative is a narrative about human power — look at us, we’re so powerful we can wreck the planet! — while the peak oil narrative is a narrative about human limits — we’re running out of fossil fuels and there’s not a thing we can do about it. Of course people would rather obsess about the first of them…

    Matt, no, it’s not a brick wall. It’s just a period of hard times. How hard? We don’t know yet. I hope you’re planning on homeschooling your kids!

    Jenxyz, excellent! That’s a constructive response — pun intended.

    Nachtgurke, we’ve reached the point at which all the big corporate media outlets have gone full Stalinist and are doing everything they can to silence dissidents. That’s how you know they know the situation is really desperate for the class and the interests they represent.

    Chris, thanks for this! That makes a fine comparison for the fantasies about Mars.

    Michael, yes, I noted that. Talk about prophetic…

    Oilman2, a pulley drive! Excellent!

    J.L.Mc12, I’m glad she’s noticed.

    Rita, well, I certainly don’t intend to give anyone else medical advice, but I treated my own case of the coronavirus last April with biochemic cell salts (Ferrum phos. 6x and Nat. sulph. 6x, 4-6 doses a day) and recovered promptly with no side effects. I’ve had bad colds that were worse. So I think you may be on to something.

    Twilight, it really doesn’t do any good to talk to people about it unless they already accept the reality of limits and the possibility of decline. I’ll be talking about this in an upcoming post, because we’re within a few years of having another price spike in petroleum, with predictable results.

    Clay, thanks for this. The shrill intolerance is palpable…

    Dennis, that’s a hard call. If you practice divination, that might be a worthwhile resource.

    Chris, it looks fine from this side!

  196. @Happy Panda, Namaskaram! I see you’ve gone deep on the Sg exclusive. So have I, it’s potent stuff. I truly wish some day I can go beyond drooling on what he says and actually experience it and learning how to work with it.

    @Clay Dennis, I saw that article today and was astonished and that one is only one of a set I’ve been seeing lately. I believe we are going to see much more of that in the coming months as an attempt to denunciate their opposition. To me it feels more like how we say in spanish “patadas de ahogado”, which means basically a frenetic attempt to hold on to what they know their are losing as they drown.

    @Violet, Oh I know that feeling! Regarding mathematics I mean, whenever mathematics becomes mechanical and loses touch with its meaning is becomes dry and boring. There is a book by the late Richard Courant called What is Mathematics? An elementary approach to ideas and methods which doesn’t go very deep into the technicalities but does a great job at explaining the beauty of advanced mathematical concepts like imaginary numbers, congruences, the logic of number systems and how they are constructed and such. It still has technicalities but there is also a lot of prose.

  197. I am PMC by training, but I was insulated from the current insanity by being raised in a family where both sides were farmers. In Australia, the outback is dotted with abandoned homesteads and small towns where people tried to fight Nature and lost.

    My folks were happy that I had a profession, but not worshipful. Two years into my law degree my grandparents took me to help them dig a hole for a new mailbox. When we had finished, they congratulated me on finally acquiring a marketable skill.

  198. Hi John,

    I was looking back over the Archdruid Report Mirror and rediscovered this little gem:

    https://archdruidmirror.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-blood-of-earth-or-pulp-nonfiction.html

    As a fan of Michael Moorcock, I am very much reminded of his tales of decadent aristocracies and doomed civilizations reaping the consequences of what they have sown. America is the Melnibone of our time.

    Hawkwind – Dreaming City

    Gleaming towers that touch the sky,
    Ancient turrets catch the eye,
    You stand so proud.
    Coloured walls that shine so bright,
    A monument to truth and light.
    You carry on.
    Fate is working fast to bring you down.

    Peopled by a master race,
    Living lives so cruel, so base.
    Unconquered souls.

    Their master knows not how to rule.
    Dark forces use him as their tool.
    He carries on.
    Fate is working fast to bring him down.

    Dreaming City
    your light is fading.
    Amidst the chaos that now is reigning.
    Uncaring beings come soon to raze.
    Your tall, fair towers to set ablaze.
    Fate is working fast to bring you down.

    Gleaming towers that touch the sky,
    Ancient turrets catch the eye,
    You stand so proud.
    Coloured walls that shine so bright,
    A monument to truth and light.
    You carry on.
    Fate is working, soon to bring you down.

  199. Hi JMG,

    Hoping you and the missus are “in the pink”. This comment is intended for you, if you feel it is of interest to your readership post as you see fit.

    I have intended to write this comment for some time but was reluctant until my situation was more relevant to your discussions, this particular blog post was the prompt. The “this sh*t is getting real” moment for me was way back on September 11 in good old 2001. It hit me like a 2×4 over the head exactly how determined and ruthless these folks are. Not sure when I happened upon the Arch Druid blog, but it was immediately obvious as a voice of reason and sanity in a sea of craziness (the internet) and I’ve been an ardent follower ever since.
    Always on the hunt or useful information, l was particularly impressed with your book “Retrotopia” (a copy of which resides in my growing library) and have recommended it whenever the occasion has presented itself since.
    I took to heart your sage advice to “collapse now and beat the rush”, it has basically become a mantra in my home. To get to the point, I am realizing lately how very timely my collapse unfolded and, by a good measure, have you to thank for that.
    As it happened, an affordable parcel of forested land that was in need of some good stewardship came our way near Algonquin territory in eastern Ontario, Canada, still fairly pristine area. A few years ago we sold our family home, along the polluted Great Lakes corridor and was able to rebuild an old derelict house into a cozy home, easy to heat and clean. Like Oilman2, I have taken pleasure and satisfaction in this endeavour and look forward to the future, particularly given that this area is home to one of the longest surviving communes in North America and the community has attracted a new generation of practical folk who are living well and are able to provide local people with top quality organic produce and meat. My wife and I consider ourselves quite fortunate.
    Your instructions for riding out the current situation we find ourselves in are played out daily when we walk our furry friends through the maples. A game of cards or scrabble is often in the mix of activities. Gradual disinterest in the illusory self has made traveling a lot lighter. It has been my experience that intention without expectations leaves room for things to unfold as they aught. Feels like the winds of despair are blowing hard right now but it doesn’t take very much disengagement from the prevalent narrative to discover that satisfaction is always right at our doorstep if we take the effort to engage. All in all, ironically enough, I couldn’t be happier during these very strange days indeed.
    Thanks for faithfully and freely sharing your considerable talents and wisdom with us all these years.

  200. I’m curious about the symbolic aspects of what’s going on. Some specific examples from here in Australia:

    – we’ve had images of police wearing stormtrooper helmets pushing little old ladies down the vegetable aisle at a market
    – we’ve got robots that look like Daleks being used by government
    – Klaus Schwab is essentially a mashup of every cheesy 80s action movie villain complete with German accent

    Now on the top of that we’ve got Dr Seuss getting cancelled. (I suppose they’ll come for Roald Dahl too and that would account for most of my childhood reading.)

    The stormtrooper helmet one is particularly interesting for me (I saw that police in France were wearing the same thing). The helmet is one of the more universal symbols in western culture. Everybody recognises it instantly as being a stormtrooper. Wouldn’t police want to avoid that association at all costs? Even if it really was the best design for safety, I’d have thought it would only be a last resort, especially in Australia which is probably one of the safest countries in the world for police.

    People opposing this stuff always point to the symbolic elements – ‘hey, look, our police are stormtroopers now’ – but mostly in a jokey way because we don’t take symbols seriously in our culture. For me, I wonder about the people actually supporting it and how that operates at a subconscious level. Would they believe on some level that they’ve ‘gone to the dark side’?

  201. Archdruid,

    Looks like the internet ate my last comment, but I get to lead this comment with this link.

    http://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/voyager-station-space-hotel-scn/index.html?utm_content=2021-03-04T16%3A14%3A02&utm_term=image&utm_source=twCNNi&utm_medium=social

    The elite and their hangers on may have their heads up their own rears, but I’m noticing people at the lower end of the white-collar world and working class start to take action. Several major socialist and right-wing influencers who I follow (to track the pulse of their particular brand of idiocy), are encouraging their listeners to take action to change their lives. One is Vaush and the other is Tim Pool, both have fairly large podcasts on youtube. On the left the push is toward mutual aid societies, while on the right its toward leaving the cities and crypto currency.

    People on the ground understand that the tower of babel is crumbling.

    The more detached the elite become from the ground reality, and the more the internet mobs set fire to each-others houses, the more options those of us on the outside of these bubbles of crazy have available to us.

    I’m going to leverage one of those options later this year, or early next year, by taking the advice of one your other commentators (patricia, I think it was?). I’m going to put my training to use for the service of the public, and make a go at rebuilding one of those grand old institutions that we’ve discussed upon this blog. I’m a little tired of the stupid coming down from the management class, and have suddenly realized they aren’t quite as big a threat to me as I thought.

    Regards,

    Varun

  202. I never learned geometry, darn it.

    I have a question. Someone mentioned growing up in what the person described as the secular-liberal PMC. Would a 19-year-old from that class understand common phrases related to religion, such as “Judas goat”? Sacrificial lamb? Washing your hands of something? Cutting the baby in half? Wisdom of Solomon? David and Goliath? That sort of thing. What about houses of worship? Do they go at all, such as on the big religious holidays? Do they wed in houses of worship? Who officiates at funerals, if not clergy?

  203. @Oilman2,
    I’ve long ago stopped paying any attention to red team vs blue team. As JMG and many others have pointed out, on the issues that are the bedrock of the country as it currently is, both “sides” do the same things and act the same way. And like so many other commenters here, trying to explain that to others is disheartening.

  204. Mr Greer,

    Is there any connection that you’d care to elaborate on between the development of a robust immune system and the 6 daily cell salts mad-science experiment? Curious as I’m nearing the lower third of my second bottle of 1,000 bioplasma tablets. Any benefits are subtle, IMO, yet I do note that my health and vitality shifts.

    If I may, I’d second the words of Clay (#77) about metal shop tooling. I have a number of older tools that I have rebuilt or repaired. My two favorites are a 1952 LeBlond metal lathe and a 194? Rockwell drill press. As it worked out I traded a newer drill press for the old Rockwell. After putting in a couple of bearings it is far quieter and more accurate than the newer (imported) one. As to hand tools, good files are a must and do not like to be just piled into a drawer or a box together. Like any edged tool a little care and respect is good protection for your investment.

    Jasper, yes to Victory. Excellent seed company.

    My best way to remember the gist of this week’s post is a file card over my desk that says: You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

    Best of fortune to all, Aged Spirit

  205. Wesley,

    I tried to be careful with my language to make it clear that I was presenting a model, I’m sure we could find plenty of believers in progress who aren’t materialists/hedonists. My dad is one of them.

    I’m mainly talking about what I’ve observed to be the Zeitgeist from working a salary class (guess I’m out of the closet now) job in a wokester industry. My background is similar to yours, minus vacations out of the country.

    [salary class justifications follow] I definitely want to escape into more sane work. I’ve waffled over a lot of things, one of which is Astrology. I got my natal chart read about a month ago, and similar to what Eric mentioned earlier, plan on taking an online course over the summer with the astrologer who read my chart. Currently reading the big A-Z Horoscope Delineator and Maker book too. Hopefully the long descent moves slow enough that I can turn myself into a more useful person in such a situation.

  206. A great post and a reminder to keep working.

    You don’t have to have a house in the country to become more flexible and resilient.

    Container gardening: you can grow a surprising amount of food in pots if you’ve got sunny locations. It won’t be potatoes or corn or squash but you can supplement your diet with herbs, lettuces, and other smaller stuff for vitamins and roughage.

    Insulation: you can’t have enough and it comes in every variety. I keep track of my fuel oil use. We have NEVER used as much fuel oil as we did the first winter we lived in our house in Hershey. After that, we started insulating (and turning down the thermostat, also important). Fuel usage goes up and down with the coldness of a given winter but we never used as much oil, no matter how cold it got.

    Spot insulation works in apartments too: down comforters, window quilts, lap quilts, padded headboards on beds, anyplace you can put a layer of stuff between you and the outside.

    Useful skills don’t demand owning a home. Cooking, sewing, first aid, repairing things, the list is endless.

    Start where you are.

  207. Hi Nochoice2021,

    If it makes you feel better, I don’t think the Islamists do want to destroy the U.S. If they wanted to, they would have—the infrastructure is almost completely unsecured and thus highly vulnerable, a fact of considerable concern to many citizens, if not to our leaders. I suspect that what they want is to get on the DOD gravy train and to detach the U.S. from Israel (good luck on that latter point, Islamists, you’ll need it).

  208. Galen, now there’s a blast from the past! To my mind, its central theme hasn’t lost any of its force, either:

    “Mulling over this question a few days ago, I started making a list of the more obvious features of the story in which we find ourselves at this point in the turning of history’s wheel. I encourage my readers to follow along, and see whether or not the answer that struck me occurs to them as well. We live in a world dominated by a vast, slowly decaying empire that gets quite literally superhuman powers by feeding on what we may as well call the blood of the Earth; that empire is ruled by a decadent aristocracy that holds court in soaring towers and bolsters its crumbling authority by conjuring vast amounts of wealth out of thin air; backing the aristocracy is a caste of corrupt sorcerers whose incantations, projected into every home through the power of the blood of the Earth, keep the populace disorganized, deluded and passive; entire provinces of the empire are ravaged by droughts, storms, and other disasters caused by the misuse of the Earth’s blood, while prophecies from the past warn of much worse to come; meanwhile, far from the centers of power, the members of a scattered fellowship struggle to find and learn the forgotten lore of an earlier time, which might just hold the secret of survival…

    “It was more or less at this point that the realization hit: we have somehow gotten stuck, all seven billion of us, inside the pages of a pulp fantasy novel.”

    And you’re right, of course. Today’s America is the Melniboné of our time, and of course — as I pointed out in another post back then — it’s also the Hagsgate of our time. A soundtrack by Hawkwind (speaking of blasts from the past!) seems entirely apropos.

    Nochoice, thank you for this! I’m always delighted to hear when somebody took my advice and did something creative with it.

    Marcu, of course! You can buy Mein Kampf on eBay but you can’t buy Dr. Seuss. Meditate on that one for a while…

    Simon, that’s fascinating. I wonder if…

    Oh dear gods. Of course.

    They’ve embraced the pop-culture archetype of the Bad Guys: stormtrooper helmets, totalitarian fantasies, and the rest of it. That means that, by definition, they will engineer their own catastrophic demise, and we’ll know that it’s about to happen when some head of state says the time-honored words: “No! This cannot be! I am invincible!!!”

    Aged Spirit, I can’t answer that question in the United States without risking legal problems — the AMA takes its monopoly over health care very, very seriously. I’d encourage you to draw your own conclusions based on your own experiences. That file card, btw, is great.

    Teresa, thank you for these!

    Info23, I’ll check it out. Thank you.

  209. @will j

    #40 I’ve noticed that people tend to view income in a weird way. Basically if one is gainfully employed then one views oneself as middle class, no matter how much money is in the bank. This can stretch to upper middle class for for the top 1-2% but unless you can retire comfortably (at whatever standard you’ve come to think of as comfortable) and never work again before turning 50 you don’t think of yourself as upper class. No amount of fine dining, big houses, multiple cars, 1st class trips to Europe, etc. will change this. Basically if ones parents worked for a living one thinks of themselves as middle class unless they sell their startup for hundreds of millions.

    #161 I read about a curious phenomenon where the most ambiguous cases of unethical behavior got the shrillest response. It was an article about rape on campus and the cases that made the national press were always dubious. To be clear, there are well documented and clearly provable cases that happen, but the ones that got the biggest flooding of outrage were not. The article speculated that the clear cut guilty cases didn’t need to be brought to attention because they would be prosecuted, but the unclear cases left some people feeling that justice wasn’t served so they took it to the court of public opinion. I feel that a lot of the identity politics and cancel culture happens for this reason.

    It has the unintended consequence of making the offending parties (perhaps legitimate offenders, perhaps not) seem reasonable and the accusing parties as seeming unhinged and unreasonable to outside groups who don’t have a dog in the fight. A very recent example is the Dr Seuss book “And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street” which was canceled because it has a Chinese man labeled with “a Chinese man who eats with sticks.” Which isn’t so much a derogatory stereo type as it is a well know cultural fact. The cognitive dissonance angle explains this. If the identity politics people were actually trying to win or advance some position in the court of public opinion they wouldn’t pick an example this ludicrous. Dr Seuss is the world’s 2nd best selling deceased artist (#1 is Michael Jackson) Its almost as ridiculous as one can get, barely a half step shy of canceling Mr. Rogers for micro aggression.

    Every time I think that this can’t possibly last any longer or get any crazier I think of the John Maynard Keynes quote “the markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

    Thanks,
    Tim

  210. @JMG

    “I’ll be talking about this in an upcoming post, because we’re within a few years of having another price spike in petroleum, with predictable results.”

    I am actually am sick of the current urban hellscape that largely resembles Mordor in its Aesthetics.

    So I am glad to see it shrink. And hope to see the return of beautiful built structures again rather than the grey hideous concrete contraptions that is so prevalent.

    It really makes me want to cause some cities of this world to disappear.

    Perhaps the Aesthetics are the result of Over-development to such an extent that it ended up cancerous. Just like how Cancerous cells are in the way they are built look very disordered and diseased in their own way.

  211. @Teresa #214, thank you for the suggestions. My husband and I have worked on our home and garden on an acre in a small university town. We have a generator and gas heating and rang in case of power outages. He taught me some wiring and plumbing basics, and I can do some basic woodworking. I can sew well enough to quilt and make clothes. I cook well and have been a librarian. But I had to leave my job (difficulties with a narcissistic supervisor), and the only job that I could land in my fields that didn’t pay $20,000 less is nearly 1000 miles away, at about $15,000 more than I had earned. So I am grieving that I am leaving what we had planned and created. I am looking for an apartment with at least a balcony or patio for container gardening. Barring that, perhaps one in a renovated mill with a lot of windows so I can grow plants indoors, perhaps vertically, given the high ceilings.

  212. The cognitive dissonance equals hate thing also explains why the Woke seem to have only two modes: calm, or fighting literal Hitler. Once cognitive dissonance hits, they perceive it as hatred; which, because they define themselves as the people who don’t hate, triggers more cognitive dissonance, which they feel as more hatred. Thus cancel culture: the only way for them to avoid feeling an incredible amount of hatred is to make it impossible to find anything which triggers cognitive dissonance.

    Rita,

    Hmm. I think you may be right about that being a factor. I don’t think it’s the only one though, as I’ve seen some Woke do some fairly risky things to attack whoever they’re going after….

  213. @oilman2

    I ran for a local public office recently so no name today, but even though I picked a team to run with (mostly because of the help they provided) I don’t think that the local elections should be partisan. Also, I voted for a third party president in 2020 and 2016, 2012, and 2000 and I vote for locals on a per person basis.

    The red and blue teams are both garbage these days.

    There is strong bipartisan agreement in favor of offshoring business, big bank bailouts, undermining states that won’t bow to the US agenda, and supporting moderates (can’t call them terrorists) in places we don’t like and crying about terrorists everywhere else. I hope and pray that Jon Stewart will run as an independent in 2024.

    no name today

  214. @WillJ #161 and #163. Regarding Nazis, klansmen and Dominionists: these terms have been redefined into what Hayakawa called “snarl words.” They carry little meaning other than “This person/group is bad and if you support them you are bad too.” I’ve met a few Hitler fetishists in the darker corners of the Internet, but most of the kids waving Swastikas are more Sid Vicious than George Lincoln Rockwell. They are looking to shock and offend, not to organize people for any sort of collaborative effort based on a systemic philosophy. The Ku Klux Klan hasn’t existed as a meaningful organization since the 80s if not before that: at this point anybody calling himself a Klansman is likely a federal informant or somebody being duped by a federal informant. And “Dominionism” is a specific set of ideas based on the work of R.J. Rushdoony, not a synonym for “working-class Bible-believing White Christians.”

    Appeals to emotion have always stirred the masses more quickly than rational arguments. When your entire political system rests on strong emotional feelings, anybody trying to throw facts into the mix is a threat — especially when those facts contradict your heartfelt assertions. I find it interesting that George Floyd got much more public notice than Breanna Taylor. The case against the Louisville PD was actually much stronger than the case against the Minneapolis police, but they didn’t have a heartwrenching image of a cop kneeling on her back so it got shoved to the back burner.

  215. Rita (#196):

    Don’t forget the dirtiness of Africa and the Indian slums. With all the germs and other infections dealt day to day, there’s a good chance that immunity to novel viruses can develop without a severe effect. Remember, COVID-19 has almost no effect on the youth.

    And whom else to quote but George Carlin on Polio:

    When I was a little boy in New York City in the 1940s, we swam in the Hudson River and it was filled with raw sewage okay? We swam in raw sewage! You know… to cool off! And at that time, the big fear was polio; thousands of kids died from polio every year but you know something? In my neighbourhood, no one ever got polio! No one! Ever! You know why? Cause we swam in raw sewage! It strengthened our immune systems! The polio never had a prayer; we were tempered in raw s**t!

  216. “Simon, that’s fascinating. I wonder if…

    Oh dear gods. Of course.

    They’ve embraced the pop-culture archetype of the Bad Guys: stormtrooper helmets, totalitarian fantasies, and the rest of it. That means that, by definition, they will engineer their own catastrophic demise, and we’ll know that it’s about to happen when some head of state says the time-honored words: “No! This cannot be! I am invincible!!!””

    After checking here, chuckling about this, I went to do some astrological work, looked at a Pluto transit, and suddenly came back to this…..

    Oh dear gods. There’s actually a very simple explanation to what’s wrong with the elite: they are embracing Pluto even as it fades. Pluto is the planet of fascism and communism; of biophobia; of lies, deception, propaganda and overwrought promises both good and bad; TV and the internet; alienation and isolation; ostentatious and absurd displays of wealth and power; criminal conspiracies; open secrets; “evil”; positive feedback loops; addictions; car culture and the electric grid; militant atheism; and of self destructive behaviours.

    Antifa, The Great Reset; the irrational fear of Covid; all of the propaganda; Mueller and Trump’s impeachment, or the chorus of “Mass deaths from Covid soon!”; the way that so many of the elite responded to the lockdowns by watching TV and using the internet for everything, while shredding the social fabric and leaving people isolated, or in some cases to die alone; the way so many people in the elite are still travelling, and not hiding it; the various criminal conspiracies of the last few years and how open they are about it; embracing the pop cultural Bad Guy archetype; the ways in which they’ve created feedback loops (ex: lockdowns cause death, justifying more lockdowns; or mistaking cognitive dissonance for hatred); the sudden spike in alcohol and drug consumption among the elites; gutting public transit and forcing everything to be electric; the hatred of religion; and just how quickly all of this is shredding the social fabric they need for their power.

    It’s all there…..

  217. With Phil’s excellent take on cancel culture, it is fascinating to see it desperately trying to dig into even the smallest details to try and find the next victim. Over the last few weeks there has been a focus on removing the ‘Mr’ from Mr Potatohead, various book sellers not supply six Dr seuss books over some aged stereo types and episodes of ‘The Muppet show’ being labelled 18+ restricted. The logic isn’t there it is just people trying to prevent even the smallest hint of counter thinking.

    That said, I do have a somewhat vague hypothesis on how this may pan out. Please poke holes in this idea however you please, I have not put that much thought into it but it just a vague concept.

    Back in the 1950’s and 60’s there was an air of cancel culture particularly when it came to the mentioning of communism in the US. Have even a passing support of a concept that may be misconstrued as being sympathetic to the communist parties and you could be black listed – essentially cancelled. It got to the point where even defending the right of others to say these things regardless of your position was enough to get you black listed.

    What came out of this however was a younger generation that saw through this insanity and did a total back flip. This is how you got movements in the late 60’s-early 70’s like the Hippies and Punks who didn’t dress, talk or act how the mainstream wanted them too. The punks could make music that sounded like absolute noise in the face of the typical and they simply didn’t care what other thought of it.

    As a pure idea they were really onto something big and powerful. You are free to express yourself however you wanted. It is probably why they got targeted to be taken down and co-opted into incredibly vague and weakened versions. Along with the Neo-liberal movements of the 80’s came the complete dismantling of anyone who thought outside the rhombus. And it did get co-opted, punk culture in the mainstream basically became everything it was against.

    Back in 2016 the son of the Sex-pistols manager, Joe Corre, set fire to $5 million of their memorabilia as a demonstration of because of what had become of its image. Mr Corre summarised it perfectly. “Punk was never, never meant to be nostalgic – and you can’t learn how to be one at a Museum of London workshop. Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need. The illusion of an alternative choice. Conformity in another uniform.”

    I do wonder if the opening themes of this back flip are already taking place, that this is where we are heading again. Talking to folks in their early-late teens, they seem to be looking at some folks in the older generations as though they are absolutely nuts. They see cancel culture and have rightly figure it has done far too much damage. That to flatten every mountain and raise every valley is to make hell on earth. I’m not suggesting we bring back the Hippies and the Punk culture, but that core ideal of allowing a thousand flower bloom regardless of agreement on what is being said is something that I hope to see flourish. A deep burning desire to be more accepting of others and their differences and not to be flattened an impossible goal of utopia. The things that unite us are greater than those that divide us.

    I don’t know. Just a vague rambling on other ideas here. Any thoughts?

  218. “It was more or less at this point that the realization hit: we have somehow gotten stuck, all seven billion of us, inside the pages of a pulp fantasy novel.”

    Or rather I would say, inside an episode of South Park…

  219. Hey hey JMG,

    I have an interesting, slightly off topic data point / notion that relates to energy, bubbles, techno optimism, and widely shared delusions. I was explaining bitcoin to a friend and I realized that it is bounded by a relationship to the material world, namely energy consumption. Bitcoin burns through a huge amount of electricity to crunch its algorithms. Most of the big bitcoin centers are located close to cheap renewable electricity sources, almost exclusively hydroelectric plus geothermal in Iceland.

    Nobody really knows how much energy bitcoin uses because the hardware that runs it isn’t reported, but there are a lot of estimates. In 2017, during the big run up to $20,000 per coin there were a few articles speculating that at (then) current growth rates bitcoin would consume the entire world’s electricity supply by 2020. Of course that couldn’t happen and it dutifully didn’t happen. There is again a big run up in price on newer generation of more energy efficient bitcoin optimized hardware.

    BUT, that energy efficiency translates into a specific case of Jevon’s Paradox. If it bitcoin mining gets more energy efficient then it is cheaper for people to mine bitcoins and more people pile into the bitcoin mining business until bitcoin ups the difficulty levels enough to equalize the marginal costs. What that means is that bitcoins long term price has an upper bound. Not a monetary upper bound exactly, an energy upper bound which is priced in dollars. And, again, not a temporary bound, bitcoin could shoot up to a million dollars a coin tomorrow, but it could not stay there because the high price would cause people to enter the mining market until the energy costs equaled the mining reward.

    So, when bitcoin prices increase the amount of energy consumed to run the bitcoin system increases to equal the value of the transaction costs (the mining rewards for processing transactions) Bitcoin is only used for speculation and illicit transactions (bads, not goods) and as its value increases so does the amount of energy that is directly converted to waste heat. That energy comes from our best, most limited, and cheapest renewables. Hydro and geothermal are not intermittent and can provide baseload, hydro can even scale up during high demand, but both are absolutely limited by geography in a way that wind and solar are not. And, hydro has been economically competitive with fossil fuels for over a hundred years.

    So here is the bottom line. Increased bitcoin prices (an economic bad: speculation and illicit goods) are going to convert energy to waste heat (a direct conversion of a resource to waste) in proportion to how far this collective delusion drives the bitcoin price bubble. I don’t know where to place that amongst the available categories, sad, fitting, ironic, or whether to be happy that huge amount of high quality renewable electricity will be freed up the instant bitcoin dies.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  220. Great post again JMG, and very timely–
    Lately it looks like half of North America has bought a One-way ticket on the bus to Crazy Town.
    I can second the comments of several, that more young people are getting put on antidepressants by their physicians–since I work in a pharmacy and I am filling these Rxs. It is very dismaying. My counseling includes details of the difficulty of stopping them if they continue for more than a month or two, and that they need assessment whether the meds are working for them in 2 to 4 weeks. These young people are often depressed and anxious that they have been told they are depressed enough to need meds for it– Second-derivative depression, possibly. To them I sometimes say, “I dunno–global pandemic, impending collapse of the United States. With that on top of our personal stuff, if you’re not depressed and anxious, there’s probably something wrong with you.” And, “You are not alone in this.”

    For the Grist writing contest, I envision a future where, due to lack of fuel, trucks can no longer visit our neighborhoods every few years to clear out the septic tanks. When the tanks overflow and back up into the houses, entire neighbourhoods will be abandoned. Tree roots, discovering the rich abundance, thrive and absorb the yards and houses. Broken pipes will trickle water into the ruins just like the aqueducts of Ancient Rome. Ahhh, the suburban paradise! 😉

    Re: Local economies;
    There is a self-sufficiency paradox–While it makes sense for all of us to gear up for a future in which all our food and medicines are locally obtained, in many cases current laws make this illegal. It would be beneficial for the future if I were to start brewing and refining antibiotics, right now. This is no more difficult than making whisky, but like whisky-making, there are some tricks to it, and experience helps a lot. Currently, it is illegal for me to do so without enormous amounts of money, expensive equipment and multiple licenses.
    The same can be said for alcohol-distilling, making cheese, and a lot of other things…

    @HappyPanda Re: loneliness and schizophrenia;
    There is a very interesting YouTube about a man who had his depression treated –successfully– with an African ritual that involved the whole community.
    His takeaway from that was that acceptance by a community is a very effective treatment for depression. There is an echo of this in the story of Game Theorist John Nash, whose schizophrenia was helped into remission by his acceptance into a community despite it.
    Here’s a link to the African ritual video;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UBgBpFGODI&list=PLDEBBCFDB7DC83378&index=1

    Oilman2– A steam engine! Very cool!
    In the 1870’s Augustin Mouchot, along with his colleague Abel Pifre, were able to run a printing press with a solar cone steam plant that put out about a horsepower–When the sun was shining, of course. If you don’t mind the intermittent performance, that could be one way to run your steam engine and your shop. They also won a prize at the Paris World’s Fair of 1878 for making several hundred pounds of ice with a sun-powered refrigeration plant.

    For heating and cooling, a combination of aiming one’s building towards the sun and running pipes below the frost line can provide passive heating and cooling year-round with very little power. There is a fellow who has been growing citrus fruit in Nebraska for more than 20 years, and heating/cooling his house too. It might be good to have a constant stream of 54-degree (F) air in the Texas Summer, and 54 degrees would have helped in Texas this Winter too — Here’s a link:

    https://greenhouseinthesnow.com/

    Lady Cutekitten
    Prayers on the way.

    Thanks to JMG and all for your fascinating and insightful comments!
    –Emmanuel G.

  221. @oilman2,

    Red vs blue. I would be on the left if there were still a left to belong to.

  222. @Rita Rippletoe @JMG

    “Will J–you ask “with actual klansmen, Nazis, Dominionists, etc, why was their focus always on the seemingly reasonable people? Why were so many of them so much more violently against “It’s okay to be white” than people shrieking obscenities at minorities?” I think it is related to a similar situation with animal rights activists.”

    I think also they are unconsciously trying to shape everyone not fitting their caricature of the opposing side into exactly what they are opposing thereby reinforcing their own us vs them situation

    By making such monsters reality people are forced into their side or against them. Lest they become lunch for the opposing side.

    Just like Prison Gangs force Whites to hang with Whites and Blacks to hang with Blacks for safety otherwise the other Gangs might kill them or take advantage of them in other ways.

    By taking out reasonable people everyone is forced into the Prison situation. In a similar way Communist Vietcong Guerillas used to force people to side with them enthusiastically or get killed either by themselves

    or force reprisals by the other side to force the neutrals to their side.

    Using terror to grow their own numbers and get rid of inconvenient people.

    Whats your thoughts JMG likewise on this?

  223. JMG,

    I’ve seen some lifelong and important relationship destroyed recently, seemingly because people were caught up in the current derangement. Two questions:

    1.) If simply avoiding the madness is not an option, because the people are sufficiently important to you that you can’t abandon relations with them, what do you recommend for Plan B?

    2.) What are some techniques for testing whether you yourself are remaining stable as those around you are becoming radicalised (in any political direction)? I ask because I find that those people who are radicalised don’t recognise they’ve been radicalised, and tend to believe they’ve always been the way they are now.

  224. I wanted to post a picture I took, but since I cannot include pictures here from my local drive directly, I by-passed posting it elsewhere:

    https://9gag.com/gag/a5Eo1oE

    -> That says it all! So seen in Vienna recently.

    @youngelephant

    It’s certainly true not all progressives are necessarily materialistic or hedonistic – a good portion of them are.

    There are many shades in between – people following spritual practices, but still in the progressive crosshairs.

    But important to note, existential fear is not necessarily materialistic.

    Searching for status, superiority, honorary badges is also not strictly materialistic, if ego-gratification is the sole goal.

    And then, many believers of progress are that, because that’s just what they are used to believe and they do not see contradicitions.

    Furthermore, many progress believers have found some digital hobby that fulfills their need to exercise their talents. If they know no low-tech alternative, why should they abandon the thought of the inherent value of progress.

    But for the herertics of progress like us, often enough the trigger is to find something of value in nature, in cycles unregulated by humans, in legacy technology, in old and valuable things that are being bulldozed.

    The experience of disappointment with the medical profession with its impersonal lens and entire lack of concept of self-responsibility, mind-body connection and various other things is certainly also a main stay of why people abandone the fanatic belief of progress.

  225. Regarding social media and its general tendency to perpetuate delusional thinking: it’s kind of funny. No more than about 3 hours before I read this post a couple of days ago, I decided that I was tired of the anonymous, upvote/downvote driven groupthink ideology that arises on Reddit. Sure, there are some interesting articles that get shared, but by and large each community there is driven by a handful of mods. As a result, only articles that happen to align with a given subs viewpoint tend to ever get shared. Any dissenting viewpoints? Well they get their own subs, usually run by people who insist that content posted there align with their own viewpoint. So you just end up with an anonymous echo chamber. Blah blah, this is all stuff that’s pretty well documented, and well known, but the promise of that dopamine rush and weird psychological compulsion to argue with strangers on the internet kept me there for a solid 7 years anyway.

    Something just kind of clicked, I decided I’d had enough, and I found a Javascript tool, wiped my entire comment history, and deleted my account. If I’m well aware that social media is helping exacerbate social lunacy, how can I justify the contradiction of being on there?

    Facebook for me has always been a different story though. I long ago unfollowed more or less everyone I know and left only a handful of groups related to identifying plants and mushrooms in my news feed. That’s educational, right? I’d have deleted the account a long time ago save for that. But really the main glue keeping me there, at least under my own name masquerading as a digital facade of the real me all these years, was the messenger feature and the fact that FB essentially became a massive address book, and THE way for me to contact a ton of different people. Sure, there’s some old photos of me floating around on there documenting my high school and college days, but that’s not the main appeal.

    But then after a few years of just not looking at stuff, periodically I’d pop on there to look at what some old friend/acquaintances/people whose memories give me a positive association were posting, and it was either a) a weirdly cherry picked and unrealistic vision of their own life, b) endless political posts that align closely with one of the small number of approved narratives allowed among people I associate with (primarily the contemporary “woke progressive” viewpoints so prevalent in the zeitgeist), or c) absolutely nothing, a ghost of a profile abandoned in like 2015 or something. Who are these people? Am I actually going to bother staying in touch? Is it even natural to still be, at 31 years of age, superficially in contact with THIS MANY random people from the past, most of which aren’t even being their legit self?

    I was on the verge of getting everyone’s phone numbers and emails and announcing my departure. Then I read your article and saw they deplatformed Ugo Bardi for daring to question hydrogen of all things. Now, I love Ugo’s blog. Between his blog and yours, you two are the only ones out of the “turn of the 10s” wave of peak oil bloggers I continue to hold in high regard. So that’s it. Enough is enough. You cancel Ugo, I’m done.

    I’ve gathered probably 30 or 40 numbers of people who I would still like to be able to reach, and probably later today I’m nuking the account. I’d have done it two days ago as well but I wanted to give people time to respond.

    What amazes me…really amazes me…is the response of people to this decision. “Why, I’ll miss seeing your posts!” “I’ll miss seeing pictures of your family and knowing how you’re doing?” “But Facebook is so great, I love the groups and how useful it is for keeping tabs on current events”. The irony being that I post maybe once or twice a year tops, and literally every photo of my younger two children on there was posted by my parents or cousins or something when I see them. Half of these people didn’t even know I had more than one child because I keep that stuff to myself! Is it that HORRIBLE TERRIBLE to leave Facebook?

    The “technosphere” as Orlov puts it really does have its tentacles in everyone, doesn’t it?

  226. JMG re: exercise

    Thanks for your reply. I know lots of people are able to exercise successfully at home (sounds like you are included in that group), but I have never been one of them. My workouts at home lack the intensity of those at the gym to the point of being ineffective. I’m not really sure why it’s like that for me; it’s just what I’ve observed over the years. Having said that, I’ll probably take your advice and get a bit of equipment together for use at home, while continuing to hit the gym, since it seems likely that the world will continue its downward spiral into madness!

    I think it’s helpful for each individual to pay attention to their body and determine what kind of exercise it needs to stay healthy. So many health problems could be prevented just by some exercise and simple lifestyle modifications, and in a world where healthcare may become less available and/or effective, having some self-knowledge in those areas could prove to be critical in terms of preparing for decline.

  227. One way to measure the level of racial violence in America: do blacks who can afford it invest in bulletproof vests and armoured cars? That would seem sensible if the threat was endemic, and is routine in places like Colombia. Also hiring a driver – imagine the police trying to escalate that traffic stop: “You stole this car…and this chauffeur!” 🙂

  228. Lady Cutekitten-

    Prayers from me for you winging their way to you…..

    With regard the under 30 liberal/PMC class, my experience is they often do not have any knowledge of the various idioms, expressions, and religious ideas you outlined above. They’re married by friends who get a $25 ordination off the internet (I have one from the Church of Universal Life, Seattle, Wa which I used to marry a nephew and his wife).

    Oilman2-

    With regard red vs blue nowadays, Bird @211 took the words right out of my mouth.

    JMG and all,

    “back slowly away from the crazy person” is great advice until you realize that sometimes the “crazy” is creeping towards you from inside your own head. That’s the way I was starting to feel this winter and I decided to reread the Weird of Hali series as an antidote. It helped me a great deal get out of the funk that a year of Covid and an insane election had landed me in. Now I am rereading “The Long Descent” and am bouyed by it.
    In times such as these, it is important to keep ones “eyes on the prize”, and for me the “prize” is holding on to my sanity, my humanity and living a life with as much love, laughter and good cheer as possible and helping those around me find the same!

    Blessings and peace to all,
    Courtney

  229. @ Lunar Apprentice – “This reflects part of a larger process in which doctors are deprived of independent judgement, making them more or less functionaries beholden to a system which manifestly has an agenda other than patient care.”

    This is a serious observation, that I cannot help but wonder if it is not readily apparent to EVERY doctor, as they either struggle against the bureaucratic processes that determine “standard of care” so as to apply their own [expensively] trained clinical judgments to the actual cases that come in through their doors, or give in and go through the motions*. But obvsiously, not EVERY doctor is yet in a position to say so. Burnout, drop out and suicide statistics among your colleagues are trending upwards, though.

    I wonder what would it take to develop a co-ordinated movement of doctors resisting being turned into functionaries, campaigning to restore patient care to the core of their practices, and incidentally to regain their own self-respect in the exercise of their professional and clinical judgment.

    To lose so many GOOD doctors to a poor system is one of the tragedies of our age.

    * I suppose there is the “extra credit” option, which is to entirely sell your soul and become part of the bureaucratic decision-making machinery, instead of the functionary serving up its end products.

  230. I haven’t read all the comments yet but I want to add some comments about the Catholic church losing its mind.

    Its been known since the New Order Novus Ordo that the myth of progress had become the reigning ideology of thr church. There had been a grassroots movement to Latin Mass to the point that the New Order has recognized the mass but states that the ideology is wrong. There are churches outside of the New Order who practice Latin Mass under the old ideas and belief in the supernatural.

    I belonged to a Latin Mass church which criticized the Catholic Church for prioritizing COVID over rituals and the spirit world. I agree with them however many are stuck in Satanic Panic right now. I think the Latin Mass churches won’t be able to contribute to society in a more sane way until they pass through the panic. Sadly I practice alone now even though I love mass. It was contributing to me having an apocalyptic worldview which is painful to live from. I still study and practice the old ways and find them infinitely comforting. It makes me sad to think I was offered a watered down version in my childhood.

  231. Oilman2 – In TX, gray Percherons would be a good draft horse choice. Gray horses were preferred by the middle eastern cultures because light colored or gray equines are much less favored targets for the biting flies that pester horses. Studies were done that indicated that the biting flies are attracted to large DARK shapes, and I believe that to be true, from personal experience. As for the short hair, if it is thick, it will be enough protection from the sun. Beware of pink skin on noses, or around eyes, or white stockings on legs, or you will be applying sunblock. If you are going to take up horsekeeping, you will probably want to get some instruction in hoof trimming, as there is a shortage of people now who can handle this very important and basic task.

  232. Aged Spirit,

    I’ve also been taking cell salts on a routine basis like vitamins since December and, for the first time in my life, have went through winter in Michigan cold free. I started taking them after my wife complained that I get colds too often this fall; she’s Japanese, and Japanese people blame people for getting sick much more than Americans do and the arguments were a source of stress.

    In addition to taking them daily, every time I feel a cold coming on, I take them every few hours, and the symptoms subside and never grow into a full-fledged cold. My immune system was quite weak as a child and has never been strong even as an adult, so I’m quite happy with these results thus far. Note that this is just my personal experience and I am not a doctor.

  233. About squirrels and facebook. As close as I can fathom, I was reported by someone. Apparently, they thought I was advocating squirrels as pets. This has happened to a wild life rehabber I know who has pictures of her NONRELEASEABLE squirrel on her feed. She was reported as I was. She has the squirrel as an animal ambassador to teach children.

    My working theory is about cancel culture, etc is that even the PMC feel powerless over their lives. They lack economic clout. Many are in debt over their heads and live pay check to pay check. If they had true economic power, they would not be fussing over little things like keeping squirrels as pets.

    Since they have little power or feel that way, they exert power over things that they feel they can. In the grand scheme of things, not publishing certain Dr. Seuss books or boycotting pillows (My Pillow Guy) really doesn’t uplift people from poverty. Black Lives Matter protests did not improve the lives of the people in Ward 8 in DC. The most Black and poorest ward. They did however get first dibs on the vaccines after the teachers, the health workers and people over 75. Not many took advantage of that since they still believe that the government flooded their ward with crack in the 1980s.

    So my theory is that people are flailing about to so something, anything to feel that they are the captains of their fate. The virus has accelerated that feeling of helpless with the mask wars. We must do something, but what?

    So having a grump former Arch-Druid natter on about the limits to growth and the long decline sends many of these folks into a tizzy of denial. As for me, I am helpless but I do what I can to at least allieviate some of the worst. Having a brain injury teaches true powerlessness and true power.

  234. It’s low down in this post, but I’m wondering if any of the usual commentariat can advise.

    “Strange days dawning” for me has meant many things I once took for granted slipping from beneath my feet. The current one on my mind: health insurance. I live in the USA (for now…) and have a husband and toddler. I was the only income during 2020, and chose the whole-family platinum-level plan without thinking much about it. Doing taxes this year, I realized abruptly that paying for that plan (which we never used) cost our family 1/3rd of its entire income. I wondered at several times during 2020 why we were struggling to afford food… my employer takes out the healthcare before it even enters our bank account, so during the worst of the stress, it didn’t come to mind. Well! Very expensive lesson learned, at least.

    Needless to say, we’re no longer in the position where we can spend 1/3rd of our income propping up the dying American healthcare system. But… what is the alternative? I have already confirmed that if we don’t cancel the plan (there are no changes allowed) we will lose another 1/3rd of our income. The laws and penalties on health insurance change so often, my head is swimming at the magnitude of the research task ahead of me. I am willing to cancel entirely and live without, but my husband isn’t, and I want my child to be able to see a doctor.

    Has anyone else here experienced this? Do you have any suggestions?

  235. @ Lunar Apprentice – to clarify my earlier thought, and in keeping with the tenor of this and other posts, I should say that the type of movement that I’ve been wondering about, is one that resembles a guild, operating to advance the specific professional aims of its members, outside of the limelight, more than a political campaign… 😉

  236. Any readers of Ken Wilber here? I find some of his observations in “Trump and a Post-Truth World” to be pretty insightful when viewing the crazy culture wars we have going on. Super duper short version: what he labels as the “green” wave of consciousness, which emerged strongly in the 60’s, has now hit an evolutionary dead end, with its massive internal contradictions and its embrace of the “evil twins” of postmodernism: nihilism and narcissism. Faced with that reality, this unhealthy green is collapsing back to prior levels of development, and is at war with the values that came out of modernity (referred to as the “orange” wave of consciousness). (excerpt here: https://integrallife.com/trump-post-truth-world/)

    There’s lots to unpack in his books, and I’ll leave my criticisms out of this comment. I would suggest caution though with anything coming out of the so-called “Integral community”, as it’s quite often full of blatant hypocrisies, projections, and easily falsifiable claims. Wilber’s models (an outgrowth of Spiral Dynamics, I believe) are inherently hierarchical, which is just too tempting for some to latch onto and then use as justification to reinforce their elitist world views.

  237. Thanks for this post, JMG. It gave me a laugh, although the end was quite sobering.

    I think we’ve entered some sort of dark period. The details are still unknown, but it’s going to be a less free world, in ways that matter to just about everyone. It wouldn’t surprise me if lockdowns became a yearly multi-week event (at the height of the flu epidemic) in at least some parts of the world. And that’s just the beginning of it.

    I’m sorry, I must have been naive, but I’m still astonished at how incompetently governments around the world have reacted, and at how much support for their incompetence they got from the general public. I’ve also been thinking about your response to me last week: “[R]emember that before the French Revolution, it took forty years of correspondence to repair a broken roof tile on a church. Societies in a state of rigor mortis lose the ability to adapt to sudden events, even in the simplest and most obvious ways.” Right. So, are we headed for (an equivalent of) the French Revolution?

  238. @ Simon – For context: I have never been a police officer, but I worked as a police dispatcher for six years. I got to know a few of the officers that worked beats on my shift.
    That said, I think that a great many officers understand the “stormtrooper symbolism” and embrace it quite readily, though not necessarily on a conscious, or overt level. I think they perceive their job as highly dangerous, which, as you point out, statistically, that may or may not be quite accurate. But either way, a great many believe that showing up looking like a soldier in a combat zone is a way to de-escalate many of the volatile situations they run into, and to make someone who might consider getting violent with them think twice. I would guess that in most situations, it is overkill, or even counter-productive. BUT, we had an officer killed, and another seriously injured, trying to resolve a traffic stop without pulling their guns on a citizen last summer.
    There are, of course, officers who are not comfortable with running around acting like a bunch of stormtroopers. I remember one conversation in particular, when a beat officer told me she does not like to work overtime in X side of town, because she does not like the way a great many officers at that station speak to the citizens that live in that area. Her comment was not isolated either, so, at least in Tulsa, there are those officers who feel out of step with the overall mentality that has taken over policing in America.
    Of course, no one publicly wants to take a nuanced view. People either want to ‘defund the police’ or you ‘back the blue’ and there can be no in-between….

  239. @ Lady LOLcat – I grew up in a secular, PMC household. At 19, I would have recognized the meaning of those common religious phrases. Though, growing up in the bible belt, it would have been difficult NOT to be familiar with basic Christian phraseology.

  240. Jackson, Mississippi — the State capital — has been without running water for last 2 weeks since the winter storm. Officials are unable to promise when the supply will be restored. City and state administrations are busy passing buck. Not surprisingly, it has not made national news.

    For many years, many times you had outlined this — how infrastructure will crumble bit by bit, and how most of it will never get rebuilt. But still, when you hear something like this, it is a bit unsettling. Decline is not a pleasant time. But thanks to you, we are mentally and physically prepared to deal with it as best as possible.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-jackson-mississippi-some-residents-have-been-without-water-going-on-two-weeks/ar-BB1eaa7H

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/jackson-mississippi-water-crisis-brings-to-light-long-standing-problems-in-city/ar-BB1eaQyc

  241. @ BIG JILM

    Re FacePalm

    I’m nearly a generation older than you and so wasn’t quite as deeply embedded in social media. However, I will say that deleting my FB account some eight or nine years ago is one of the best moves I’ve ever made with respect to my psychological well-being. Right up there with getting rid of the TV. Don’t miss it and never will.

  242. The hydrogen economy always makes me laugh. I spent 15 years at a chemical plant that pushed hydrogen around at industrial scales. And you are gong to turn it loose on soccer mom? To even get started takes a hard hat, safety glasses steel toed boots, and nomex coveralls. It’s hard to make a Sex and the City fashion statement with that get up.

    The other place I worked with hydrogen was in the Navy. The electrolysis plant on the boat (of the submarine type) split water into the oxygen (we kept) and the hydrogen we pumped overboard as quickly as possible before it exploded. And the device was still nick-named ‘the bomb’.

    One last note, the chemical plant I referred to made polysilicon primarily for the solar cell market. Or it did. The Chinese slapped a huge tariff on imported silicon back in the Obama years. Now they are putting their hope of restarting the plant on batteries for electric cars. Adding some silicon to the graphite stabilizes it so it can take a faster charge rate.

  243. Do you have pictures of the ‘australian police stormtrooper helmets’? I tried googling it, and got a bunch of pictures and articles of police arresting people who were togged up as stormtroopers. When I tried looking up ‘australian police helmets’, I got various types of headgear, none of which looked that much like stormtrooper helmets. The NSW motocycle police helmet was mostly white and closed-in, but I wouldn’t have thought of stormtrooper helmets if I wasn’t looking for it specifically. The likeness is not close.

    I’d really like to see a photo of australian police wearing stormtrooper helmets. It sounds farcical.

  244. Brian Kaller: The phrase “We will have to agree to disagree.” is very useful. It may sound like Sunday School and tea cups but, spoken in a carefully neutral manner, it can work. Another, more recent formula I have seen deployed with good results is “I can understand that but I am looking at things from the point of view that…” Also, whomever loses his or her temper first has lost the argument, and that gives the calmer person permission to exit the scene–“I can see this is making you very emotional, maybe we can talk it over sometime later.”

    Also, the present arrangements have allowed quite a number of folks, of many differing views and persuasions, to enjoy uninterrupted success; now they are having to grow up fast and it ain’t easy or pretty. Sometimes, MYOB is the only and best option.

  245. JMG, please post my next comment only if you feel comfortable doing so. I don’t want to get you into trouble talking about alternative healthcare.

  246. Kimberly, vw and the commentariat,

    This is from my own observations and experience living in an unspecified third world country, where health infrastructure is both sparse and expensive. There is no government sponsored or mandated insurance. So people are pretty much on their own. From what I have seen, people who follow some simple things generally manage to avoid going to hospitals for the most part, and those who don’t end up spending a lot on doctors. I will try to list them.

    First part is food. We avoid processed, packaged foods as much as possible. If possible, we stop eating them entirely. Carbonated drinks, chocolate, ice creams and cakes are consumed only on very rare occasions. Same for hard liquor. We also eat only those foods that were eaten by our grandparents’ generation or earlier. We avoid exotic foreign foods like pizza, cereals and cheese, even though they are freely available. Admittedly, this curtails your diet severely, not to mention being very socially unfashionable. Kids chafe at not being able to eat all knds of stuff. You may miss eating a variety of stuff. But the principle is, what worked for our digestive systems a hundred years ago should keep us healthy now. The more you feed yourself your body is evolutionarily unprepared to handle, the more your throw your internal systems out of balance and compromise your health.

    Second part is getting treatment when we get sick. Common ailments like seasonal flu, cold and sinus infections are treated with home remedies first, and then over-the-counter drugs (if home remedies do not work). Many pharmacists and nurses do simple diagnosis and treatment like stitches, injections, even bandaging fractures in a sorta gray market. The cost is quite low. Alternate healthcare providers are plenty. For more serious stuff we need to go to hospitals. That cannot be avoided.

    In USA, I guess you are kind of trapped in an official system. You are forced to pay a lot for mediocre quality care. I hear that a number of people drive across to Canada and Mexico to get non-emergency issues fixed, like root canal, getting a new set of eyeglasses etc. The viability of living like this will vary between individuals. Also, I expect a gray market will slowly develop, where the medical professionals will be ready to treat for cash, no questions asked. That could be the best chance to live healthy without going broke.

  247. @Emmanuel Goldstein

    I have had experience with community dance as a form of healing. I went to live in Italy when I was 19 with my family down South and was feeling homesick. After a month or so my family started an impromptu dance of the tarantella. I did not dance it since I did not know how but afterwards I was able to transition into life with them when it had been too hard to leave my life in America behind.

    Here is an example. I have read some articles that show the healing touch of the dance.

    https://youtu.be/PTi_hAdwsR0

    My family also sang to me when I was hospitalized for food poisoning. It seemed to be a go to cure.

  248. @ Bird…
    It is disheartening, but as a ray of hope for you, my 28 yr old son is hyper-aware of this false dichotomy, having swallowed the ‘black pill’ while working on building out our farm. He has friends actively talking about this. So there is hope, and my feeling is that the disconnected “DC/Coastal Bubbles’ of managerial classes are going to be surprised – again. Further, once it is pointed out, specifically via foreign policy actions, even die hard devotees, both red and blue, immediately assume ‘deer-in-headlights’ posture or else the dissonance resolves into further hate (as we have spoken of upstream). But it will have to resolve into reality eventually, and the giant push from the current Admin, combined with the massive pork barrel they just voted on, is likely to open eyes even more. Things alwasy get worse before they get better, right?

    @ Info23…
    We have something similar with a hand crank on it already, but will use the current wash/dry machines until it is needed, mainly because both what you posted and what we bought are designed for single person use. We gotta go BIGGER, as farming is dirty work!

    @ no name today…
    Unfortunately, if nothing else happened in this election, the value of owning the vote counting was certainly shown to be key in maintaining centralized power. However, we are going to have bigger fish to fry: https://www.worldoil.com//news/2021/3/4/opec-shocks-oil-markets-with-plan-to-keep-crude-output-constrained . When the economy tries to recover, it will be anemic at best.

    @ Emmanuel Goldstein…
    we currently are running solar water heater (made from scraps) ahead of the input to the propane heater – drops LPG use by more than 50%. The current greenhouse design we are looking at uses 3-1/2 ft cinder block walls so we can berm soil or sand or other things we use against them to maintain better temp control via mass. The cost of geothermal is high, but we just picked up a small PTO driven drilling machine, so that may come into play. Our main enemy is high temps in greenhouse ops down here, so cooling is paramount rather than heating, but…

    I am trying to get setup for a possible solar minimum, depending on sunspot action this year – we should know by fall which way to jump.

    Steam engine – trying to find one is the problem. Going to check for retooling of an ICE into steam and see what I get back later…

    @ Danaone…
    I know about the pink flesh, so you are right for Sunbelt animals. Gray coat preferred due to the summer sun down here as well. I got a friend who repairs tractors and is a farrier about 15 miles off – so will get the hoof knife and instructions in person! But we have to get a paddock fenced first, and just making H-braces for that. The plan is a Perch and a donkey – don’t want the Perch lonely and want the donkey as a natural alarm and defense partner!

    Thanks for the advice!

    @ JMG…
    you have an avid following, so if you actually know of some person or other who might be into the “steam club”, could you post me a direction?

  249. JMG,

    RE: young family. Yes, already homeschooling. We are in the midst of our fourth year (kids 12, 9, 6). One of the benefits of the the pandemic is that there is less pull to go anywhere so the focus can be on school and the “home economy.” We also appreciate your recommendation from years ago for the McGuffey’s readers. They are solid books all the way through the modern 12th grade.

    I’ll need to spend some time evaluating where we are and where we can sure up our situation this weekend!

    Thanks!

  250. Septic systems and collapse. Emmanuel (#231) mentioned septic systems and it sparked this memory.

    A contractor in Charlotte, NC told me over twenty years ago that septic leach fields and tanks have a usable lifespan. That is, after a given period of years as determined by the soil composition and how much use the septic system is used, the field “fills” up. It won’t drain anymore.

    Pumping the tank on a regular basis helps things last longer.

    But eventually, the septic tank and the leach field have to be RELOCATED. You have to have a new one dug within the property lines! Twenty, thirty, forty years later, whoever the current property owner is facing a major bill. Assuming, that is, that there is a suitable location for the secondary tank and leach field.

    How many homeowners don’t know this?

    It was annoying enough to replace the sewage line, something we did in South Carolina and that only cost about $700 back then.

    Every house in our neighborhood had been built at about the same time with the same kind of Orangeburg pipe. IIRC, that’s what the contractor called it. The pieces he showed me after digging it all up looked like tar-soaked paper. No wonder it failed after 50 years! You could see where it was failing up and down the street. There’d be a vivid green stripe of lush grass leading from the street to the house over each failing sewage line.

    I foresee a lot of failing infrastructure and it won’t be the kind that makes the news.

  251. In light of your comment earlier that you expect most urban areas to keep electricity until the next wave of crisis, I’d like to note that it’s common for third world slums not to have electricity, or to have only very intermittent electricity, and that several of the suburbs around Ottawa have started feeling more and more like slums. If the one I’ve been to since the lockdowns started is typical, this has accelerated since. So my guess at this point is that a great many suburbs will lose electricity with rural areas, probably within the decade, especially since the suburbs I’m seeing decline towards slum like conditions are, on paper, well off……

    The loss of rural electricity also raises the spectre of the revival of the incredibly sharp rural-urban divides of the 1920s coming back: daily life in the urban and rural areas were markedly different because urban access had access to electric grids, with differences in politics, religion, and lots of other things unfolding from it. Of course, the new divide could be even sharper, with cell phones, internet, refrigeration, and TV all shaping urban areas for decades to come, while rural areas lose all of those. The potential for this to cause major cultural and social conflicts, extending for decades to come, seems fairly high.

    TeamTim10,

    Judging from my family, I think you’re right to say the cutoff is hundreds of millions. Also, I’d be much less inclined to view them as delusional if they said they were middle class, but it’s the lower middle class part that gets me. That’s the part that’s surreal.

    As for the issues where the less clear issues get attention and the clear cut ones don’t, I’ve had a number of people I know complain about that. But when it reaches the point of banning Dr. Seuss, I think it’s clear that things have completely lost touch with reality….

    info23,

    That makes a lot of sense. Thank you!

  252. Exercise you can do at home and not the gym: try the Royal Canadian exercise program.

    I do it and it doesn’t need anything but your own sweet self and a book or paper print out.

    There are two programs, one for men and one for women. They take about 15 minutes per day and are a very intense series of calisthenics done in a given order.

    You should start at the feeble old person level and gradually work your way up the ladder to much more strenuous and aggressively athletic.

    The books are widely available or you can download a copy of the exercise program which is what I did. The program is just complex enough that you won’t remember all the exercises.

    It works, it’s free, and you can do them in your living room.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Canadian_Air_Force_Exercise_Plans

    Just remember to bend backwards after doing any of the exercises that bend you forward like the situps.

  253. >Jackson, Mississippi — the State capital — has been without running water for last 2 weeks since the winter storm.

    A key point to take away from TX as well – this isn’t the first winter storm to hit TX and this isn’t the first time that their electric grid has had problems coping with it. People have a sliding window of consciousness about 2 weeks wide. They managed to keep it all together so it didn’t all burn out – this time. But next cycle, it’s likely that the current warnings about 6 months out of power from transformers melting will happen. But I bet Texans will make do.

    So this is how collapse happens, you keep getting periodic waves of unexpected events, and it really isn’t the events that are important but the crumbling infrastructure that can’t be maintained that becomes the real problem.

  254. Oilman2- fencing for the paddock-Please avoid cattle panels or barbed wire! Cattle panels killed my horse Dusty’s mother Goldie. Goldie was a fine Arabian show mare that belonged to our friends. She was stampeded into a cattle panel fence by the herd, and got her front legs hung up in the panel, panicked, and thrashed around until her tendons were destroyed. What an awful way to lose a fine horse! Barbed wire and “T” posts are dangerous too, and have killed or maimed many good horses. My fencing is a pipe corral and high tensile hot wire supported by fiberglass rods, which is about as safe as you can get. In 20 years of keeping horses in my backyard, I have never had a serious injury from my fencing.

  255. Oilman2 re: steam engines

    In the small town of Athens, Ontario which is right around the corner from us, they hold a yearly fair called the Farmersville Exhibition aka the Steam Fair. Old steam engines are one of the centerpieces of the fair. Sadly it’s not running this year (probably a bit far for you to visit anyway) but I bet if you got in touch with them you’d be able to talk to some oldsters with a lot of knowledge of steam engines who may prove helpful.

    http://www.athenslions.org/steamfair/

    (not sure if that link will work but you can always copy and paste)

  256. >Steam engine – trying to find one is the problem. Going to check for retooling of an ICE into steam and see what I get back later…

    I think you would have more success converting a gas engine to run on ethanol and build a still to make ethanol on site and as you needed it. And you can use the ethanol for other purposes too, like preserving food and entertaining yourself. Murica used to be perpetually three sheets to the wind back in the day…

  257. Info23, you and millions of others. Have you noticed how many people are fleeing the big coastal cities at this point?

    Will, the brittle emotions of the woke are also a sign that the cognitive dissonance is very close to the surface. If you’ve ever dealt with schizophrenic people — I have — you know that the further you stay away from whatever it is they’re frantically not thinking about, the calmer they are; the closer you get to It, the more tense and agitated and brittle they become. The same thing is true in a social context; the harder it is to evade the cognitive dissonance, the more brittle and crazy the collective mood becomes.

    As for Pluto, yes, exactly. Another fifteen years and it’ll all be a memory…

    Michael, I think you’re quite correct. The eternal desire of teenagers to shock their moms is a social force of quite some importance, and right now, what’s the most mom-shocking thing you can do? Say something nice about Donald Trump. Thus the next counterculture is already forming around MAGA hats and American patriotism.

    BB, I never watched South Park — that was after I got rid of my last TV — so I’ll stick with the pulp fantasy!

    Tim, fascinating. That makes an enormous amount of sense — and the Bitcoin bubble is one of several giddy speculative bubbles that are inflating rapidly just now. I hope you’ve got your copy of Galbraith’s The Great Crash 1929 handy…

    BB, too funny.

    Emmanuel, do you think you could write that up as a 3000-word story? I’m sure they’d love to read it. 😉 As for local economies, well, I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone to get to work quietly in a basement lab doing something like that…

    Info23, that makes perfect sense, of course. If they’re trying to minimize cognitive dissonance, forcing everyone and everything into extreme categories would help.

    Brian, er, remember that I have Aspergers syndrome; I’m very nearly the last person you want to ask about how to deal with relationship issues. As for the latter, that’s one of the benefits of daily discursive meditation and other practices that maximize self-knowledge.

    Curt, funny!

    Seidemadr, no, probably not. I would have been cheering it on if it had happened when I was twenty years younger!

    Big Jilm, excellent. The best way to deal with manipulation by social media is unquestionably to walk away.

    Stefania, oh, I get that. Some people, and some kinds of exercise, work best in groups. That said, when you can’t get to the gym, a couple of kettlebells and an exercise mat will give you a stopgap. As for your final point, yes, that’s crucial, and I’ll be talking about that in an upcoming post.

    Yorkshire, of course it would be, but that would be logical, and logic has nothing to do with the current situation.

    Court, that’s one of the reasons I wrote those books; I’m glad to see they’re getting good use. More generally, finding books that keep you sane, and reading them regularly, is good therapy for these times.

    Neptunesdolphins, thank you — your theory fills in one of the missing pieces of the puzzle.

    VW, I haven’t had health insurance in my adult life, and it’s frankly been good for me — it’s forced me to take responsibility for my own health, to look into alternatives, and to return to a lot of old habits from the pre-antibiotic era. You might see if you can find a different plan, not through your employer, that will cost less and keep your husband happy; alternatively, have you looked into a health care savings account, where you can put the money you’d otherwise put into insurance?

    BK, interesting. I find Wilber’s stuff very problematic for a lot of reasons, not least the way that he privileges some ideologies as “more evolved” than others — his thought is right up there with Social Darwinism as a crass distortion of evolution. Still, even a broken clock, and all that.

    Irena, whether it’s an equivalent of the French Revolution or one of the other ways that a moribund political system collapses, it’s going to be colorful. My hope at this point is that blood red isn’t one of the colors that gets splashed about too freely.

    Brian, good heavens. I hadn’t heard about that, so thanks for the data point — but no, I’m not at all surprised. Welcome to the Long Descent!

    Mike, those are of course among the excellent reasons why the hydrogen economy will never amount to much more than a way to pump tax dollars into corporate bank accounts. Let’s all recall for a moment another famous event in the history of hydrogen:

    Matt, glad to hear it. I’ll have some other suggestions in upcoming posts.

  258. Regarding singing and dancing as forms of healing:

    These are examples of things that will need to be consciously preserved and cultivated by those of us who understand their usefulness and indeed, their necessity for human survival.

    If you’re feeling lost and confused, soul-sick and in need of healing, start by asking yourself, “When did I stop singing? When was the last time I danced?”

  259. @ Danaone…
    We use goat wire for all fences due to the insane number of feral hogs. We put a strand of barb wire at 2″ off the ground and another at 6″, across the top of the fence posts. For the horse paddock, already bought the electric wire for the top run of wire, replacing the barb wire. I will have to grade and tidy up the paddock zone from hog damage or else risk broken legs from the hog ruts.

    I have no plans for more horses – just the Perch and a donkey for company…

    @ Stefania…
    Thanks for the link – I will chase it, but have resigned myself to a trip to the northeast just due to the lack of steam near me! Then, if fortunate, I find something usable and have to bring my big trailer to drag it back here…

    @ teresa from hershey…
    Thanks – I’ll have a look later tonight. Ideas are always useful or else spark further cogitations….

  260. Hello Scotlyn at 242, 248

    As to what it would take to create a doctors’ movement to resist bureaucratic dominance of the profession, that’s one tall order.

    First, one needs to define whose interests heads the marquis: The doctors’ or patients’? Those sets of interests don’t overlap well, and as soon you call one set out, you lose maybe half your movement. The AMA already exists, and clearly, forcefully, is a doctors advocate. Any new organization that doesn’t toe its line will have a powerful, ferocious opponent. And I hate to say this, but many doctors do not regard themselves as patient advocates outside of the medical setting.

    Second, doctors do tend to be an independent-minded, cantankerous lot, but they are human beings subject to the culture they live in, just like anybody else and succumb to its influences. For example, more than half of all physicians are consenting to, even hustling to get, the Corona-virus vaccination. I am incredulous, but it appears to be a fact. I know one of them, and I had to bite my tongue to not ask him how he weighed the unknown risks (I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and am so tired of getting my self into sticky situations with my mouth, that I’ve learned to shut up, when a more skillful person might not have). There are plenty of woke doctors. I’m one of the few truly ‘Deplorable’ doctors out there. Implicit in this observation is that many doctors buy into the MSM understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong with medicine, and that understanding will not admit of a need to organize doctors.

    Thirdly, doctors are terribly overworked. You have got to be a genius of organization and time-management with an iron will to get all your work done, and take care of the necessities of life. To work on this huge problem is yet another load, and to many, it would seem quixotic.

    Lastly, with respect to employers, regulatory authorities, payers, and such, doctors live in a fishbowl. Anything you do will get documented and made part of your paper trail (and we are regularly asked questions under penalty of perjury about facts of our personal history in order to maintain our licensure), and your history WILL haunt you.

    My take is that this system will collapse nastily of its own accord when conditions dictate.

    There’s my 2 cents, take it for what its worth. I’d be curious what JMG thinks.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  261. @ Will J:
    “what happened in the 1960s? I often feel it’s been a broken record ever since, but I can’t figure out what changed in that decade.”

    In the 1960s they said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” thus breaking a chain of respect for the lessons of the past stretching back to forever.

  262. @ VW…
    I have dumped health insurance several times. It makes SWMBO nervous though, so she carries her own policy from work, the smallest she can get. I have been without insurance since my joint replacements a couple of years back.

    Health insurance has slowly been morphed into ‘health care’, but there is little to no ‘care’ involved – it is simply treating symptoms and prescribing the latest item that the pharma cos trout out while docs take their “fully paid symposium” trip somewhere nice.

    It has now gotten where SWMBOs policy doesn’t even begin to pay until she reaches $6000 of expenses, and she is restricted to 8 office visits yearly. So we are having an insurance discussion because she needs a new knee – and the insurance is restricting her to a certain hospital – which has no separate joint replacement wing. This is important because if you happen to get ANY blood-born infection when you have an artificial joint, it is with you until death. Without circulation in the artificial joints, they become a reservoir for infections that you cannot alleviate, ever.

    I am pretty sure we will forego health insurance due to this, rising premium expense and the ‘care’ falling. But alternatives exist for most maladies – like hyperglycemia; berberine is actually better than the drugs currently being prescribed, and berberine does not foment fungal infections as the current drugs do.

    It’s a bit of work to track down alternative meds, but you have to look at it as part of saving you the cost of the premium every month. Yes, you will have to try and see what works, but we all do that anyway – especially Doctors! Don’t wait until you have to choose rent over health insurance…

  263. Regarding Pluto, I should point out that the USA’s Pluto return is next February (2022). Coincidentally(?) that month will also witness the USA’s Neptune opposition.

  264. @ Emmanuel Goldstein & teresa from hershey…
    We installed a gray water system to reduce load on our field lines – only black water goes to the septic. Gray water is treated using two large, shallow tanks with various swamp plants, (cat tails, elephant ears, etc.), and then piped downhill and used to water the pawpaw patch.

    If you think about it, it’s the gray water that mostly runs through your septic; poopy water is much lower in volume!

  265. @ Owen…
    We currently produce about 100 gal a year of wine, and already own a still. The problem with ethanol storage is that it is hydrophyllic – it waters up nearly as fast as you can drain it off the still. So we are planting castor beans for feeding a small biodiesel op, which stores MUCH better. And our tractors, farm truck and genset are all diesel.

    Besides – I view being a couple sheets in the wind as a better use for ethanol!! That’s a key thing, so TYVM!

  266. Brian Clark, about Jackson, Miss., there is a bit of a back story there. Mayor Lumumba, first Black mayor I believe, has used his office to facilitate, enable and not allow city govt. to get in the way of this organization:

    https://cooperationjackson.org/

    If Jackson is anything like the small and medium sized towns in which I have lived, that organization must be making a lot of the “nice people” mad and uncomfortable, partly because some of them might stand to lose money, and partly just because. ‘Cooperation’ might sound like a nice anodyne truism, but for some, it means no more weekly shopping trips. Sometime stop and think about how many folks are making money off impoverished neighborhoods, and I don’t just mean lefty poverty pimpers. Used car dealers, furniture rental places, property owners, so called convenience stores are only a few. The list goes on.,

  267. Oh good gods: the last fifteen years have seen the equivalent of the five stages of grief at Pluto’s fading out, much as someone diagnosed with a terminal illness would react. This struck me before: denial (Pluto is still a planet; or astrologers shrieking that Pluto is still just as powerful, if not more, since 2006); anger (seeking scapegoats and the frail bitter defensiveness so many displayed when major Plutonian themes, such as TV, or progress, were questioned); and now bargaining (which is what the lockdowns seem to be: See?! Pluto is still important!!); but it just occurred to me to ask a simple question: who, or what, is doing the grieving?

    The pathological fear of death as a major cultural force seems to be a 20th century phenomena, which to my mind always at least suggests a Plutonian link. Fear of death always existed, but not on this scale, and further it ties in with various other Plutonian phenomena, such as crime, pollution, cancer, and the delusional promises of Progress. If we follow the idea, which I’ve found to be true for the Classical planets, that their spirits and intelligences have the same basic personality as their manifestations in the world (ex: Saturn is very serious, conservative, and cautious; Jupiter is generous and dynamic; Mars is always in favour of action; etc), then it follows that any major cultural phenomena based on personality traits which link to a new planet will manifest in the planet’s personality; which seems to imply Pluto is afraid of its death!

    What this means is that a major cultural, political, and social reality we’ve been living with for the past fifteen years, which we aren’t even aware of, is the working out of Pluto’s grief at the fact that he is dying!

  268. The more I think about story ideas for the Grist contest, the more befuddling the “core value” of “intersectionality” becomes. Intersectionality is defined as “the interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage” (that’s Oxford, but others’ definitions are generally congruent). This is often also phrased as “multiple axes of oppression.” Doesn’t that mean Grist wants to make sure our narratives of the “next 180 years of equitable climate progress” preserve discrimination and disadvantage and oppression? After all, there’s not much point in emphasizing characters’ “intersectional” qualities if they’re merely equal to everyone else.

    But it gave me an idea anyhow. My entry will be about, or will at least involve, transplants. Take that last word very literally.

  269. In my above comment, instead of “See?! Pluto is still important!!” it should read, “See?! Pluto is still important to us!! If we can make everyone else live like it too, we can keep it around!!”

  270. Dear JMG,

    Once upon a time I believed in a tech-topia future with hydrogen-powered vehicles and the rest of what Silicon Valley propaganda promised. My father’s father was a chemist who worked for Fairchild Semiconductor, one of the first manufacturers of transistors and integrated circuits. My mother’s father was one of the first commercial airliner pilots for PanAm, flying passengers over oceans in luxurious, fuel-guzzling aircraft. My entire family benefited greatly from the beginning of the modern era.
    In no small part thanks to your work I was empowered to choose a different path. I strategically settled in rural Oregon, but still close enough to a medium-sized city so as to have access to its perks. A sustainable farmstead was, and still is, my goal, but it has taken over a decade of trial and error to find out what works well and what doesn’t. The trouble is, even with a highly-efficient system, trying to pay the bills and taxes with farm-generated income turns an otherwise spiritually-rewarding land-based lifestyle into an overwhelming grind.
    What’s more, every day I hear the logging trucks racing up and down the roadways, cracking the air with their jake brakes, their drivers rushing to haul as much as they can as fast as they can so they can make more money for themselves and their corporate overlords. From four in the morning to evening, even now as I write this, it is a constant reminder that the entire state of Oregon is managed like en enormous timber plantation for corporate profit. No matter where I might live, this is the reality and the madness of our entire society.
    When the native Kalapuya people were driven from their ancestral homes, many got jobs in the logging industry because no one else would hire them, and they worked for pennies cutting down the very trees their culture holds as sacred. They were more fortunate than other indigenous people of this continent because their reservation is at least still part of their ancestral lands, and they have made great strides in rebuilding their institutions. But while settler-colonialism is especially cruel to those it conquers, even the people who benefit from its evil become victims, entrapped by its corrupting power.
    I received training from the OBOD in my early twenties and have been a practicing Druid for as long as I have lived here, but my understanding of what it means to be a Druid in these times has shifted radically. I feel it is not enough to simply plant trees and recite prayer, but at the same time it seems that no amount of effort or sacrifice can ever be “enough”.
    As I understand it, one of the core beliefs of Druidry is a love of Justice; not punitive justice but restorative. How can I live a just life if I claim stolen land as my own? How can I live under the rule of systems of white supremacy and still heed the cries of injustice from the oppressed?
    I didn’t want to see it in years past, but now that I’m paying attention, white supremacy is like high fructose corn syrup: if you taste it directly it’s obviously disgusting, but it’s cheap, effective, and it’s in everything.
    How can I do enough for the love of Justice and still be a “landowner” to support the lifestyle I crave when I don’t really believe that land can be “owned”? Am I just being a hypocrite for holding onto the land and wealth I could never have were it not for receiving the benefits of settler colonialism that cause others so much suffering?
    I don’t expect your or anyone to be able to answer these questions for me. Sometimes I feel everything I do to feel good is just a coping mechanism for living in a society firmly based on denial and greed.
    It is my hope that one day I will not hear logging trucks, but only the soft clack and low groan of horse-drawn carts down the road. Even exploited land is still sacred, and the land will endure beyond all exploitation. It still hurts my heart to see it being mistreated, and it is agonizing to think that the evil will continue so long as markets are free and the oil is available to fuel endless demand.

  271. @ pygmycory

    Had a hunt around for some pictures which are quite hard to find. This article probably has the best ones.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-13/victoria-coronavirus-anti-lockdown-protest-arrests-melbourne/12659410

    This one also has a nice angle on the helmets – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-54139669

    Of course, they are not actual stormtrooper helmets. In fact, they remind me more of the exaggerated Vader helmet that Rick Moranis wore in Spaceballs.

  272. Just a friendly word of advice to those considering the use of wood stoves and/or steam power: check local by-laws and regulations before you spend any money on it.

    Operation of a steam engine usually requires a licence; without said licence, you can still legally go ahead and get one, you’ll just be busted to Kingdom Come And Beyond the day you fire it up. The ethanol-powered internal combustion engine will be less powerful and more inconvenient to fuel, but also less likely to land you in jail.

    Many large urban centers have outlawed all solid-fuel combustion appliances, typically citing fire safety or environmental regulations as justification. (Though the motivation is obviously more related to providing guaranteed revenue streams to the energy utilities.) If you already had one in use before the law was passed they will probably leave you alone, especially if you don’t use it much, but don’t expect to get a building permit to have one installed. In most of these places, it’s actually easier to get a permit to refine cyanide.

    Smaller towns tend not to have the same kind of problem with safety regulations, but it’s creeping in. The one nearest to us had some Concerned Citizens pushing for a woodstove/fireplace ban in the wake of a house fire there a couple of years ago, but they didn’t get it through that time – only because of the high proportion of voters that still rely on wood as a primary heating fuel. Next time we might not be so lucky….

  273. Brian, to add to your news from Jackson, MS: no one outside of Louisiana seems to know or care that Lake Charles, a bustling small city, still has not–and probably never will–recovered from the two hurricanes that ravaged it this Fall. Since it isn’t New Orleans, it isn’t sexy to report on, and only locals and perhaps Texans who remember the generosity of the Cajun Navy during the Houston floods are offering aid, though the people are doing a fine job of taking matters into their own hands from what I hear.

    Cameron Parish, just south of Lake Charles and on the Gulf has long been a welcome mat for hurricanes. The population over the last 50+ years in Cameron has dwindled severely, as each storm causes more families to permanently abandon it to Nature.

    Louisianians are a resilient people, though. The Cajuns in particular lived very happily off the land for a couple hundred years befre industrialism. I’m confident if anyone will collapse now and avoid the rush, it will be them.

  274. JMG: my everlasting thanks for your Schopenhauer essays on the Archdruid Report! I’m currently working on the Grail section of “The Cross, The Grail and the Ring” and you can’t understand Wagner’s *Parsifal* without understanding Schopenhauer. Your pithy explanations will make it much easier to slog through the morass which is Schopenhauer’s writing style.

    #246 Neptunesdolphins: The Woke Left has also done a great job of mobilizing the most marginalized and using them as signal amplifiers. A lot of the people screaming the loudest for cancel culture and various once-fringe ideas are unemployed and unemployable. (They brag about this by listing their various diagnosed and self-diagnosed physical and mental illnesses as an integral part of their identity). When you have 10,000 people screaming X, it becomes much easier to convince the world that X is a good idea — or, perhaps more importantly, that X is what everybody else believes.

    I would note that if the Woke Left wins and follows the usual script, those people are going to see their social safety net cut with quickness. Victorians discriminated between the deserving and undeserving poor: Communists distinguish between those who can work and those who cannot, and generally show very little concern for the needs of the latter. So a lot of these people are screaming for a system which will destroy them should it gain power.

    It’s also no coincidence that after 2011’s Occupy Wall Street (which focused on income inequity and the disproportionate power of “the 1%”), we saw a lavishly funded move toward Identity Politics which focused its attention on problematic mascots, distasteful monuments, and microaggressions. Poverty was dismissed as a side effect of “White Supremacism”: we were cautioned against “poor-shaming” but never given any concrete suggestions on how to lift them out of poverty. And instead of occupying Wall Street, we cheered when Wall Street corporations funded LGBTQ+ Pride parades and put “Black Lives Matter” icons on their Twitter feeds.

  275. @ Ben

    Thanks for that perspective.

    It was very surprising in the Australian context to see police dressed that way. As I mentioned, violence against police is very rare here. The use of the outfits was also a massive overreaction in the context. There were almost more police than protestors.

    If the police show up looking like they expect a war zone, that sets an implicit expectation. It’s almost an invitation for violence. A bit like in nature how if an animal runs away from a potential predator the predator will chase it even if it’s not hungry.

    I’m not sure if they still do it, but I remember how in Britain the police (bobbies) are unarmed. That sets an expectation of non-violent confrontation which, in my opinion, reduces the chance for violence. It’s the police’s way of saying they trust the public. Showing up in combat gear sends the opposite signal and invites the question – “Why don’t you trust us? What are you doing that’s so bad that you expect violent revolt?”

  276. A personal statement about some of these issues – not for general application, but for information:

    Not all of us who mask and obey the rules that say to,or even these who believe some things you all have analyzed and found ridiculous, have drunk the kool-aid. I mask for reasons I find compelling. First, the only people I know well enough to count on down here are my daughter and her family. I’ll gladly wear a mask in the car if it means keeping contact with her and hers. And they’re very sensible about needing them outdoors, at the table, or at most distances indoors. And her mother-in-law is immune-compromised.

    They sincerely believe that driving electric cars is “green.” They try very hard to be green, even though their house leaks energy like a colander. They’re very well aware of it every time the heating bill comes in. OTH, they just as sincerely believe that travel, the more extensive the better, is very good for children and other people.

    My other daughter is distressed that her son would prefer an in-state college, and has made him look at rural (his preference) engineering colleges in other states int he Rocky Mountain region. He’s a true Taurus.

    I also, while agreeing that cell salts and herbs,etc, could be very useful, and may be better than conventional medicine, am up against the fact that I have no knowledge of them not experience with them, and at my time of life, choose not to experiment. On the magical front, my guts feel that the “white man’s healing rituals” work, and belief is a powerful factor in healing. Sooner than change that, I’m focusing my limited energy on the stoic meditations, and am putting them to very good use.

    I do not argue with my kinfolk, nor my best friend online (who has swallowed a fair amount of the kool-aid) alas, for the same reason you don’t try to teach a pig to shake hands. It only annoys the pig, and you end up covered with muck. However, I will ask quiet questions about costs, and about effects on the people who do the world’s work. And contrary to the general opinion of the PMC, they care about the people who do the world’s work and treat the ones they deal with very well.

    I’m sure Sun Tzu has something to say about picking your battles, especially from a position of relative weakness. (If it were really nasty, there’s always the method of Kipling’s Picts, a classic example of asymmetrical warfare. Which I’d never get away with anyway.

    Okay – I now return you to your usual discussion of the Crazy Decade, the climax of the Crazy Century.

    BTW – has anybody here found themselves thinking of 2019 as “last year” as if 2020 never existed? I had to correct myself at the dentist when asked about the latest cleaning. Yes, that was 2 years ago. Amazing how yesterday’s cleaning seems to have lightened something in the astral for me as well!

  277. re: Dr. Seuss

    Several people have commented on the latest news of Dr. Seuss enterprises abandoning publishing six of Dr. Seuss’s books for racist elements. As someone who works in the public library, and often in the children’s section, I’ve been contemplating this during the past two days. (I’ve noticed that lots of holds and check-outs for these six Dr. Seuss titles in our system have happened recently, maybe because of the news. I guess since they’ve gotten inquiries, the library system is planning a statement on this. I sure hope they will not cave in to censorship pressures, especially since they’re a proponent of Banned Books Week every year. And yes, we have 8 copies of Mein Kampf in our library, and there’s never been any effort to pull that!)

    Whatever you think of the six Dr. Seuss books, there are tons of children’s books that I find to be far more biased and offensive than Dr. Seuss’s that do not get negative media attention. For instance, there are some very popular Disney princess and Barbie easy readers that I find biased and promoting terrible values, much more than the Dr. Seuss books, but I hear no one arguing to cancel those. More than anything else, when our library was fully open, I found the computer games with machine gun shooting and constant imagery of indiscriminate killing that children would play on the public computers way more offensive than any item in our book collection. And plus, such computer imagery was impossible for families to ignore, unlike a book sitting quietly on a shelf one can just decide not to pick up.

    I do not support censoring literature. That said, I’m all in favor of promoting greater diversity in children’s literature. However, to me, diversity encompasses a wider range of meaning than often what people mean when they say “diversity.” Diversity includes racial diversity, yes, but also class diversity, diversity of ideas; also, diversity of time periods of literature was written (when one only promotes recently published literature, that reduces a certain kind of diversity in my opinion and contributes to certain biases), diversity of how known works are (it’s good to have lesser known works of value amongst popular titles in a library’s collection and not decide collection decisions solely based on popularity…but increasingly I find I’m a heretic for thinking that!), etc. etc.

    Something I often think of: What may generations 50, 100, 500, or 1000 years in the future think of present-day literature that most of us think of as innocuous and unbiased? People are quick to condemn the past but are blind to the widespread accepted biases and unethical practices in the present and as reflected in contemporary literature. That’s one reason why it’s useful to read past literature, despite whatever biases and imperfections we find there, so that we may reflect more critically on what’s accepted in present day that may be viewed differently in the future.

    I have thought of writing a short story set sometime in the future (100 years, maybe more, maybe less) with some community’s debate about what to do with some past piece of children’s literature that many deem unacceptable. It would be some children’s book published in our present-day, that mostly no one in our day has a problem with, but people in this future time find deeply offensive (I have to decide still which particular book I would choose). Perhaps this children’s book implicitly glorifies fossil-fueled, high consumption industrial society, which in this future time people see as evil, having contributed to many horrors that their time period is still dealing with. But in this future time, people debate if it be censored. Some think it doesn’t belong anyone near children while. Others agree that while the book is offensive, but it should not be censored because it’s a product of our age and educational to read, and the certain book, despite its flaws, still has some literary value. I could model this debate amongst current debates, yet it would be in the future about a published book in our age.

  278. Mr. Greer,

    in your post “On the Metaphysics of Sex” you wrote that the inner planes are populated by spirits – living, conscious beings that don’t have material bodies. That there are many classes of spirits, that some of them are malign and are traditionally called demons.

    Do you think that they are involved in Jung’s psychic epidemics? Could you pinpoint which class of demons is involved in a mass psychosis which results in a war?

    To take it step further, do you think that demons could be limited to possesing individuals, while it takes a malign god to cause a mass psychosis, to influence a whole society?

    For example, it seems to me that Moloch fits well with the madness of WW2 fascism. Another example: Mammon, as a god of greed, might be the force behind the humanities predicament today (if you allow that collective action which as its goal has unlimited hoarding of riches by a miniscule minority in power while impoverishing everyone else and destroying the planet along the way, that it can be called a mass psychosis). However, Mammon does seem a bit too stupid, too base for such a feat so he must be getting help and support from a god of lies, deceit and evil – Satan.

    Do you think that from the moment when Christian church came to power and went after riches, it all but invited entryism by Satanists? That might explain the sordid details of its two thousan years of history as well as the persistent Satanic influences in society today, which you have splendidly revealed in your post “A Christmas Speculation”.

  279. Several comments:

    There is a hydrogen refueling station located in a supermarket parking lot about a mile from where I live. It’s about 4 years old, all shiny stainless steel. I believe it generates hydrogen by splitting water molecules with electrolysis: I know there’s a big transformer on a pad right next to the installation. I decided to look it up on the Alternative Fuels Data Center of the US Department of Energy. Of course, it’s not even listed, so if you depend on the AFDC to find places to refuel your hydrogen truck, you’re out of luck. The kicker is, of course, that I have never seen any vehicle actually using it.
    It’s a real 3 for 1 of our current system: First: some ambitious federal program is announced to speed the development of the New Energy of the Future, including generous grants to early movers to accelerate the technology. Second: a shiny new piece of the technology is built, and opened with attendant hoopla, and the developer pockets a nice profit. Third, no one in the well paid Federal Department actually puts the location in the database, and no one uses it. Finally, some years hence, a slightly beat up (former) electric company truck will pull up, and a couple guys in work clothes will disconnect the transformer and truck it away, since getting a new one is almost impossible, and recycling this one for the cost of a couple hours of labor sure has a nice price.

    I have recently been bothered by (an inconvenient and embarrassing physical symptom). A month ago, I went to my annual physical, for which I had blood & urine tests. My physician diagnosed the problem as an infection of (xxx), and prescribed an antibiotic. Generally, he is a wait and see type of doctor: we’ve decided that the possible problems with hernia surgery are worse than the hernia. I actually read the information sheet for the Cipro, (in 6 point type). Amongst other things, I found that I should not take the antibiotic at the same time as zinc, part of my daily regimen. I also found weakness in legs and joints as a known side effect, as well as chills. I finished the course, still have the original symptom, and have now developed weakness in my legs and joints, and more chills than explained by the weather. When trying to look up any possible alternate on the internet, of course, only the Approved Medical websites come up. Best Healthcare in the world, baby. And no, I’m not in any hurry to get vaccinated: my excuse for the incredulous is that I want to wait until I can select the J&J because it uses a more tested system of vaccination.

    When I was a young college student at RISD, planning to study architecture, the first year consisted of Foundation courses: drawing, 3D design, etc. In one course on materials, the professor gave us a hunk of steel, about 4” x 6” x ½”. We then hand filed it square, rounded one corner, beveled some edges 45º, and finished off by drilling (on a drill press) and hand tapping a bolt hole. I still have that beautiful little piece of steel, to show me what I can make by hand.

    Lady Cutekitten – I will do as I can.

    @ Oilman2 #193 & 194: About 45 years ago, I was in the second oldest industrial building in Rhode Island, originally build as an ironworks. The top floor still had the pulley drive, although whatever machinery it powered was long gone.
    In the last election cycle, I threw myself headlong into support for Tulsi Gabbard, and ended up with 282 votes as a delegate to the DNC, somewhat fewer than the 27,000 the delegates for the selected candidate got. OTOH, I did get more votes from the public than our Vice President did (129 in NH, since she withdrew too late to be taken off the ballot) I will not make that error again.

    And last, from a church bulletin: “Join ………. on Sunday, March 21 at 4pm for time to gather and let some fresh air into our lives. We have been under the spell of the pandemic for a year now, but there is light ahead. Let’s get together on Zoom and find some ways to take in and share that light.” I can only shake my head in wonder.

  280. I’m wondering if the major new oil fields discovered recently in Iran, Guyana, and the Permian oil and gas basin change the calculations for the arrival of Peak Oil. Will this give us more time to prepare, or will these new fields not amount to more than a few extra years to prepare?

  281. Seidemadr,

    Had it been 10 years ago, I would’ve been happily cheering on the chaos and collapse of the system. Starting 9 years ago, I started using magic more in my life and used it to actively get into the salary class and enjoy a privileged lifestyle. It worked. I’ve found that, objectively speaking, salary class life is much more privileged than I would’ve imagined in my 20s living paycheck to paycheck with meager savings. Subjectively speaking, the tendency is to compare yourself only to people higher up on the ladder than yourself and forget about people below you, thus a lot of the system rigging to allocate more and more resources to yourself.

    I was hoping that Trump would get reelected so more of the spoils could be shared with the working classes to extend the viability of the current system, but it was pretty hard to convince other salary class members that Trump was benefitting the working class specifically and our system in general. My plan was to get wealthy enough to be able to build my own onsen inn (a hotel that features a public bathing area sourced from a hot spring) in Japan and spend the rest of my life raising my daughter there (she’s half Japanese) with my wife.

    What I am hoping for is that the trends foreseen in JMG’s mundane astrology reading for the Biden presidency are short lived and Kamala Harris takes over as soon as possible so we don’t get the worst of it, and the country can hold itself together long enough for my plan to bear out. Chaos only benefits people with very little to lose, and, unfortunately, we’ve created a society where far too many have far too little.

  282. If you haven’t seen Mr. Kunstler’s blog for today (Friday the 5th), it’s worth a gander. It’s all about our about our newly enlightened culture’s rich and ever-deepening appreciation for literature.

  283. Violet, in the matter of math:

    If I may use myself as an example, you are quite right not to fret about limited math ability. I am decent at math, and enjoy doing algebra. Having had a low-end PMC career, mildly tech oriented, I have used algebra less than 60 times in the 60 years since I learned it. I also learned geometry, trigonometry, and the rudiments of calculus, and I have never used any of these at all. Careers in science, engineering, or medicine (which I like to bug MDs by calling “engineering based on the life sciences”) would actually use math, and a few other specialists like actuaries and Wall Street quants eat, sleep, and breathe it. The rest of us just need to know it is there, and ask somebody who is good at it on the rare occasions we need it.

    No harm in stretching your mind in an unaccustomed direction, if you want to. You might be building a potential for some future life!

  284. >BTW – has anybody here found themselves thinking of 2019 as “last year” as if 2020 never existed?

    More like FINALLY. They’ve been spectacularly good at delaying the inevitable for the past 20 years. And made the consequences 100x worse.

  285. Lunar Apprentice, about Covid testing and reported new cases:

    Thanks for squeezing until you got the 35 CI: I was wondering what they really went down to! I’ve heard that many European countries used 45, which would give a positive test if you rode a bus with an infected person four months ago, even though you didn’t catch it.

    I saw an investment newsletter a couple of days ago (sorry, reference not saved) which reported that the total number of Covid tests being administered is down by half, and almost half of the tests being given are now looking for actual Covid antigens in blood samples, instead of running a PCR. Mysteriously enough, positive test results are down 81%! That just goes to show that what stops a reported pandemic is a Presidential inauguration…

  286. Simon S,
    those look quite like star wars navy trooper helmets, not like stormtrooper helmets. The latter are the really iconic ones. The navy troopers are usually in the background somewhere, doing something not closely related to the plot, or occasionally being murdered by Vader or beaten up by the heroes. Still recognizable if you’re a star wars fan, but not the instantly-recognizable stormtrooper helmets.

  287. That weird floating island project I mentioned last week is supposed to have hydrogen batteries, to store solar and wind power (from the solar panels and wind turbines it doesn’t have in the visualizations) for later use. As far as I can tell, that means a subsystem that electrolyses water and stores the H2 and O2 to later recombine in a fuel cell (or a gas turbine) when the power is needed. Similar to what Mike Spangler described earlier in submarines, except used to store power instead of make oxygen, so you have to store the hydrogen. Who could possibly object to having that underneath their floor on a floating island hundreds of miles from shore? (I don’t mind the concept so much for power storage at e.g. remote wind or solar farms. Like all such power storage methods it’s expensive, but at least it doesn’t involve moving hydrogen long distances in pipelines or pressure tanks.)

    Regarding preparedness for service disruptions, one aspect that often seems to be overlooked is simply knowing and understanding the existing systems and devices in your house (or apartment). Stories of Texans who just watched while their toilets froze solid and cracked reminded me of this. You don’t need plumbing tools or expertise to shut off the water to a toilet, and then scoop the water out. Draining your pipes requires more know-how but usually, only minimal tools (e.g. a bucket and perhaps pliers). If you still have oil or gas supply but no electricity, a small backup generator can keep your heating system working, if you know where and how to connect it. During a five-day ice storm outage a few years ago, I didn’t have a backup generator, but I knew which window shades to open and close at different times of day to make the most of solar warmth. The temperature stayed well below freezing, and the house wasn’t designed for solar heating, but it was enough that I didn’t need to drain the pipes.

    A good starting point, if you have your own house, is going through its “spider territories” (cellar, attic, crawl spaces, utility closets, outside around the foundation) and finding out what every object you see does and what it’s connected to. If it blows air, where does that air go? If it’s got wires coming out of it, what do they connect to? If it’s a valve or a switch, what does it turn on or off? You can look things up on the Internet or ask for help from e.g. a DIYer friend.

  288. @JMG
    As an example. The Bolsheviks in their Red Terror had moderates and others who aren’t even truly on the side of the Whites. Yet opposed to Bolshevik extremism labeled counter-revolutionaries and killed.

    So if the CTRL-left does end up in power the non-CTRL left end up in mass graves or gulags as much as anyone they believe oppose them.

    Either with us or against us.

  289. A question to any health care professionals among the commentariat:

    A young woman of my acquaintance is just into the second trimester of her first pregnancy. This lady is a pharmacist and had decided against getting the covid jab until after her baby is born. Her ob-gyn, however, encouraged her to get the shot, told her it was safe. She followed the doc’s advice.

    I understand that neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna shots were tested on pregnant women. Would that not indicate a lack of available safety information? Knowing that, how could a doctor assure a patient this treatment is safe? Are doctors under pressure to tell their patients to get the shot?

    We experienced this when my husband’s neurologist told him that it was perfectly safe to get the vaccine. The CDC, however, warns that there’s no safety information for people with autoimmune diseases, so there seems to be a disconnect here too.

    Anything that might shed some light? I’d have thought that medical people would tend to err on the side of caution or is that no longer the case when it comes to the virus?

  290. Advice from JMG and the commentariat please.

    I live in my own house in a large city in England (with family and young kids).

    Among other aspects (physical resiliency, health, etc), I am looking specifically to future proof my house and get it ready for the decline to come. Any advice, or pointers to books/websites to read appreciated.

    I am a card carrying member of the PMC with a desk job, and have no DIY skills to speak of, but fortunately, I have quite a bit of savings I am willing to spend specifically on doing the house up and hiring people if necessary. My budget is not unlimited but for now I’m more interested in learning what I could ideally do, and then figure out later what is affordable and what is not.

    The house is a decent size for a family, with a small garden, and in a reasonably safe, “nice” area. Lots of public transport (we don’t have a car – we use Uber and public transport). The city has been here since before the Industrial Revolution and I am confident it will be here after the Oil Era, but no doubt greatly diminished in size (although we live in the centre anyway).

    All I’ve come up with so far is:

    -Max out structural integrity and insulation, glazing etc for the house (I have no idea what this involves or where to start)
    -Backup power generator to run essentials with plenty of fuel and/or solar panels (although obviously the English weather is not great for solar).
    -Maybe crime proof the house? Reinforce the front door and back door, make sure windows etc are solid and it is difficult to break in? Stuff like that?
    -Perhaps an underground safe in the garden or hidden in the basement or something for valuables?
    -Of course, it’s useful to have good “prepper” storage of water, essential food, medicines and all that, but that comes later– I’m thinking now of more structural stuff.

    I have no idea where to start or even if I’m thinking in the right direction -any suggestions?

  291. @JMC ” Thus the next counterculture is already forming around MAGA hats and American patriotism. ”

    This summaries the point wonderfully. We will move to something that has a similar base of individual freedom but more grounded in something that people can collectively work towards. It won’t be a wonderful fun land and endless dreams being fulfilled, but it will something that is achievable and a better alternative to the proposed bucket of crabs business as usual that gets pushed out endlessly nowadays.

  292. Team10tim, about Bitcoin energy usage:

    The yellow-eyed wolves who finance Bitcoin mining are looking for the cheapest dependable power in the world, so a large and growing minority of their power comes from stranded power plants, not yet connected to a working grid, or with capacity greatly in excess of the current market. If your hydro dam is ready to produce power, but the national power authority fouled up the line to carry the power to market and they won’t be ready to buy your power for three or four years, here comes a Land Rover full of Bitcoin miners with a contract; 1 cent per KwH, for three years with optional one-year extensions.

    Most of the altcoins are moving away from the “Proof Of Work” concept, if they ever used it. Instead of cracking a gnarly math problem, blocks of transactions are confirmed based on “Proof Of Stake”, where the owners of the existing coins can vote on whether the new block of transactions are valid, and the people making the transactions pay them a fee. If you do this right, it is only slightly less secure than the Bitcoin method. Not everybody will do it right. Likewise, the Bitcoin blockchain often runs very slowly, but many lesser cryptos are applying the principle of “sharding,” multithreading transactions until they are committed to the actual permanent blockchain in batches. That makes it possible to buy a cup of coffee with crypto with a waiting time of one second instead of ten minutes, but again, you have to do it right, and not everybody will.

    The real people problem with the Little Cryptos is that most of them have nothing like the limit on total coin issuance built into the Bitcoin cryptographic algorithm. Any of them could end up getting inflated away just like a national fiat currency; this is not in the interest of the major stakeholders, but that’s just company policy.

    If anybody is curious about the results of the last wave of optimism in cryptos, I bought small amounts of 25 altcoins three years ago, plus some Bitcoin and Ether. I made a small profit, but the altcoins were little better than breakeven; I made all my money in the Big Two. The experience of buying cryptos, finding wallets to hold them, and then selling them was agonizing. Cryptocurrency may have a medium-term future, before rising electric rates and declining internet service make them impractical, but that future will not start until after the next price crash. As of now, this is a market which is not ready for prime time.

  293. Erudite as always John! Having recently weighed in on the “woman question” (which now means something very different to the 19thC meaning of that term), I suspect your advice to “back away” is what I may have needed to hear. It’s impossible not to be infected by it, you’re right. But, my conscience says breastfeeding isn’t “chestfeeding”, women are not queer men in dresses, girls and women need their own change rooms, not to be told bad luck. I’m bothered that many women at my friend’s workplace won’t use the public toilets (in a major city) because now they run into men who say they’re women). Do we just ignore this or is it worth fighting back? This is my vexed question: how do we act ethically and with integrity without being drawn j to the hyperbole and polarisation?

    On another note, having also taken your advice a few years ago (collapse now avoid the rush), it is interesting how simplicity is so much more fulfilling than all the “fun stuff” – films, art gallery, cafe, exhausting, expensive trips away etc. Down here in the Southern Hemisphere, its blackberry season. We’ve been picking every weekend for weeks now. Ditto with apples and plums. It’s hard work, but honestly so wonderful, especially with kids and dog in tow! Wouldn’t trade it for the old life ever.

  294. JMG,

    When you discuss “psychic epidemics,” as contrasted with ordinary psychoses, are these different in kind, or merely in degree? In other words, are we simply dealing with the ordinary sorts of psychoses, but where more people (some critical mass?) are experiencing them, or are we facing an utterly different kind of psychosis?

    “Collective” suggests that the phenomenon is applying at a different level: it’s the society as a unit, rather than individuals taken collectively, that’s going crazy.

    And on what’s probably a related note: What “red lines” or other deciding criteria are in play, when you suggest that this is a time to back away and distance ourselves from the craziness? Some years ago, your work had an attitude of much more deliberate and careful engagement. I share the vague sense that something has changed in the wider circumstances, but I’m trying to be more clear on the exact metrics for that evaluating change. And this, too, a difference in kind rather than just in degree?

  295. Goldenhawk, a fine point!

    Lunar Apprentice, I’m not sure what to say. I’m frankly astonished that so hopelessly dysfunctional a system has continued as long as it has.

    Phil K, which foundation chart for the US are you using?

    Varun, thanks for asking! I found two of them in the trash folder, and I have no idea why. I’ve put them through — #76 and #215 above. I’m very glad to hear that people outside the comfortable classes are beginning to take action on their own — that’s the only way anything useful is going to come out of this.

    Will, you know, that makes a lot of sense.

    Walt, I’ll look forward to that story. If enough people write stories for that contest, once we’ve all gotten our rejection slips, I’ll see if an anthology might be an option!

    Azoulas, you’ll have to settle those questions for yourself. I don’t find it useful to try to flatten out the complex landscape of privilege in today’s industrial societies into a simplistic formula based on skin color, especially when (as it usually does) that involves the erasure of the overwhelming role played by social class. Still, your mileage may vary.

    Kenaz, you’re most welcome! I’m a little startled you find Schopenhauer opaque, though — compared to Hegel, he’s light itself. (If you want to take that as a smack at Hillary Clinton, by all means…)

    Beneaththesurface, Dr. Seuss’ books are being targeted precisely because they aren’t especially offensive. Remember that competitive offendedness is an Olympic sport to wokesters, and finding something offensive in a book (etc.) that everyone else loves is the classic way to prove that you are more virtuous than anyone else.

    Pixelated, I like it. Thank you.

    Goran, the best way to find out if that’s the case is to see if formal exorcism changes the situation to any significant degree.

    Joshua, new oil fields are always being discovered. Please take a look at M. King Hubbert’s original chart:

    Look at all the space under the curve marked “future discoveries.” the oil fields in Iran, Guyana, et al. are included there.

    Kevin, I’ll take a look. Thanks for the heads up!

    Walt, big tanks of hydrogen under the floor — yeah, that sounds like a fine idea. Your other point is also an excellent one.

    Info23, exactly. If you’re an extremist, you have to eliminate the moderates first, since most people will side with them against you.

    RPC, all those are good steps, but insulation should come first — get a thorough conservation assessment to figure out where you’re losing heat, and insulate the bejesus out of the place. Also make sure you have a backup heat source for when the power goes out, as it will. Hiding places for valuables aren’t really a good idea — remember that in a really messy situation, they can simply start torturing your children in front of you until you tell them where the safe is. Yes, that happens…

    Michael, here’s hoping!

    Petra, there’s no simple answer to that question. Sometimes confrontation can’t be avoided, but it’s usually better to take evasive action — for example, women can network with one another to make home bathrooms available to those who need them. Also, remember that extreme situations like the present rarely last long, and are usually followed by a whopping backlash. In the meantime, enjoy those blackberries!

    Barefootwisdom, they differ in degree, simply by being collective rather than individual. I find that Gregory Bateson’s theory of schizophrenia, for example, fits the current situation very well. As for where the red lines are, that’s a matter of personal assessment; I’ve simply noted that the great majority of people caught up in the current craziness are quite literally unable to respond to a difference of opinion without lapsing into a shrieking meltdown…and that strikes me as a good time to back away.

  296. RPC #314:

    I, too, know little about construction, but my husband has worked in the trades since the late 1970’s so I kinda surf along on his expertise. I have gotten plans for some small projects to build (a garden bench, vegetable supports) that I think I can handle – with him as a spotter – in order to learn to use big, noisy, power tools without losing fingers.

    If I didn’t have a live-in expert I think I’d be looking around for adult instruction classes to take in order to get some supervised experience. I live in a very rural area, yet there are still such programs available here throughout the year. Is there an adult education option in your city? It might be worth the time and (usually reasonable) fee to learn to do some basics not only to save money, but also for the satisfaction of being able to handle small issues for yourself.

    It may be profitable for you to do a little research and reading before you engage a contractor. A book like “Building Your Own Home for Dummies” or something similar could give you a non-technical overview of how a house comes together, how the parts are integrated, how things work, so that when the tradesman shows up you’ve already got some understanding of what he’s going to do and why.

    As for a safe to protect valuables, my husband had considered having a large-ish safe permanently installed somewhere in the cellar. I wasn’t thrilled with that; if someone breaks into the house and can’t get in the safe, he’ll put a gun to our heads until we open it. Instead, we bought some smaller fireproof lock boxes and have them placed in difficult-to-access spots throughout the basement. Somebody would really have to trash the place to find them. Also, there are tons of websites that explain how to make really clever hiding places to stash valuables that are unlikely to attract anyone’s attention, so take a look around online.

    (As a kind of insurance for our kids, we photographed the general spots in the basement where the boxes are hidden and gave each of them copies: a photo of the tool shelf that one box is behind, for example. If we drop dead, they’ll know roughly where to start looking to find the valuables.)

  297. I took the idea of “Pluto working through grief at dying” as a theme for meditation, and found it explains why things are getting so crazy everywhere, seemingly affecting all social classes, nations, and, somewhat more surprisingly, lots of spiritual traditions as well, albeit to different degrees. An astrological planet, even one fading out, is among the most powerful entities we interact with, affecting, as far as I can tell, essentially the entire astral plane, as well as possessing a very powerful presence on the mental and likely on the higher planes as well. What this means is means an astrological planet wigging out will affect literally everyone, everywhere, as well as the entire astral ecosystem, a good portion of the mental plane, and who knows what effects this might be having on the higher planes!

    The reason why spirituality and religions are being drawn in is simple: although many gods exist in part above the astral, any entity we interact with has to have a body in a plane we exist in, and the entire astral and large swaths of the mental plane are currently being disrupted heavily by Pluto’s efforts to avoid dealing with his death! The same effect could very well be playing out in the higher planes as well, but we’d have no way of knowing. The reason why religions aren’t protecting us from this as well as they could is thus that many of the spirits, gods, angels, devas, etc are just as caught up in this as we are: even those that rise above the astral and mental planes have to have astral and mental bodies for us to interact with, and even if their higher presences are not be getting caught up in it, their bodies on the planes we can interact with are susceptible to the massive tides induced by Pluto’s increasingly frantic flailing……

  298. @Goran #302

    Oh boy, here we go! Please keep in mind I am no clergy and no sage, just a guy on the Internet.

    Please keep in mind that there are many categories of angelic beings. We identify them as “angels” in general, but Angels proper are the lowest category (the 3rd chorus of the 3rd hierarchy). Arguably that makes them the closest and more relatable to human beings. Think of the Maiar of Tolkien’s mythos. Angels are “the messangers of God”.

    Within the 3rd hierarchy, which concerns itself with human affairs, there is another higher chorus called “Princes”. They are closer to the Valar, though I’d include both Princes and Archangels in that broader category. What makes this relevant to our discussion is that, as Angels work with individual men an women, Princes work with large collectives of people, in particular with Nations. Lady Liberty of America, if she pledged allegiance to the Christian God, would probably qualify as a Prince (Princess???); she certainly qualifies as a Vala at least.

    It is my understanding that during the Test and the Rebellion, angelic beings of all choirs sided with Lucifer against the Creator. Therefore, there must be Dark!Princes. There’s biblical evidence about that. In the book of Daniel, St. Michael Archangel is depicted fighting against the Princes of Persia and Greece. IMHO, this is not a question of the nation being pagan or not. I do think, – and it is an unfounded opinion that may not be heretic just because no clergy has bothered to analyze it, – that there are Good!Valar who did not sign the Covenant but nonetheless remain on “the Light Side of the Force”. However, every nation that falls for the seduction of Empire will do so under the banner of one Dark!Prince or another (regardless to them being nominal Christians or Jews).

    So, there is that. There’s some precedent to think that these widespread waves of craziness and degradation might have more behind them than our Garden variety selfishness and shortsightedness. If this is the case right now, and more importantly what to do about that, is something that would require an expert in Defense Against the Dark Arts (a.k.a. an exorcist) to answer.

  299. I think one of my comments may have got eaten too. (Or was bringing up the Skokie case off-topic?)

  300. Will, interesting. That makes a certain amount of sense — though it’s worth noting that being demoted from planet to dwarf planet isn’t quite the same as being erased from the heavens.

    Tolkienguy, I found it in the trash bin as well, and it’s been posted. Hmm. I wonder why that’s happening.

  301. As soon as I submitted my little vignette, I realized that it didn’t meet the criteria for “a society that is radically different than the one we live in today.” Ah, well…

    I’ve found that the Sierra Club magazine is a pretty good venue for the sort of disconnected thinking you describe in your essay. There was a piece a few years back by Naomi Klein about trying to maintain hope in an era of grim environmental news. Fair enough, but at one point she wrote that in order to stave off the worst of global warming, every power plant built in the next two years has to be carbon-neutral.

    Reading that was like reading a garbled text from an alternate dimension. It was like a crazy uncle declaring that every child born in the next two years has to come out of the womb gold-plated. It was never even remotely possible, and arguing about it obscures some very important questions, like “just what do we need all of those power plants for?”

  302. @oilman2 –
    Re: Steam engine–
    Perhaps what you need is a steam tractor–
    I googled “Steam Tractor for Sale USA” and got the following link;

    https://www.tractorhouse.com/listings/farm-equipment/for-sale/21251761/1922-j-i-case-65

    If you have enough scratch to get one or two of them, even different models, it might be possible to get a machine shop to make missing/worn out parts — Or possibly you could copy the designs and replicate one with the aid of its US Patents.

  303. Hydrogen is generally a very large fish in a very small barrel (and mainly a way to ruin perfectly good methane) but there is something weird about it. How many people must be burned and blown up every year by petrol, diesel, jet fuel, and natural gas, but we still use them. Hydrogen has one very public failure and people are still terrified of it going on for a hundred years later.

    For those looking into steam engines, consider model engineering societies. They regularly build steam trains big enough to ride on round a park or garden.

    With wood burning stoves, we’ve got a Burley Debdale. It called to us the moment we stepped into the showroom. 🙂 It’s small but insanely efficient and powerful. We got a heat-powered stovetop fan to blow warm air around and I’m considering a larger thermoelectric generator that could charge small electronics and an electric firelighter (heat gun or plasma match type). That’s significant as it breaks the dependence on matches and makes the stove self-lighting. The stove also has an intake at the back that you can adjust depending if you’re in a clean air zone or not.

    Any time friends or family need a bush or tree reduced or removed, it ends up in the stove. But the majority of the wood comes from construction and demolition waste, brokenup old furniture, and decking, fences, gates, and sheds that have reached the end of their lives. To make a wood stove really viable you need a chainsaw. I got a couple of books on how to use one and they’re mainly accurate. I’d just add that the best kind of saw horse is a pedal clamp – mine’s a Triton Superjaw. It makes everything so much safer and faster. Also the best way to split logs is to pack several into an old tyre before hitting them with a maul. That keeps them together and is far less aggravating than having bits flying all over the place.

  304. @ Joshua Anthony…
    You might also want to note the appx year of Hubberts projected peak in discoveries – as we are a couple of decades past that. The shale oil we are currently producing is very light weight, and has to be mixed with imported heavy crude to even fit into our refinery systems, which were designed for medium to heavy crude inputs. Anything you hear about our country being “energy independent” should be taken with a wagon load of salt, as we haven’t ceased importing – ever.

    Us oil guys are good at finding oil, but the economics to bring it up MUST be there. The deeper and more difficult it is, the more it costs. Even if it is shallow and easy to get to, it takes a high price for small volumes to be economical as well. We are currently able to drill 15,000 feet in 4 days in south Texas – so we are good at getting it out also.

  305. @JMG

    Speaking of optimization and John Von Neumann, there’s an interesting book called ‘Catastrophe theory for scientists and engineers’ by Robert Gilmore (published by Dover books), in which there is an interesting section on why engineering optimization is not always good (law of diminishing returns at play here?).

  306. Hi John Michael,

    Out of sheer curiosity, could the magical virtue — “to be silent”, also be applied through the art of misdirection of other peoples attention?

    Cheers

    Chris

  307. Great post John.

    Generally agree that the de-development of America continues at a pace.

    https://www.ianwelsh.net/jackson-mississippi-in-3rd-week-without-water/

    Ian Welsh is an interesting writer, from the left and I don’t always agree with him, but some of his commentary is spot-on and very Greerist.

    Interestingly he comments on the increasingly failed state and the failure of the American governing class to ensure basic services like clean water!

    He also predicts a GOP populist win in the 2024 presidential elections.

    One final point, have you picked up any data points in regard to the vaccines and any early signals of health impacts and do you have less concerns about the Oxford vaccine compared to the Moderna/Pfizer vaccines (that use revolutionary new technology)?.

  308. To vw, re: health insurance –

    My family went without for five years and we barely ever needed to see the doctor, but funny thing – you still CAN go up the doctor without insurance, and frequently it costs only as much as you would have paid in copays. Funny, that. Just call around and ask doctors for their cash rates. Catastrophic things can be taken as they come – often there are hospital programs to help the uninsured regardless of income. We have a market place plan now, that’s another option for you. Losing your work insurance would qualify as a life change and you can sign up anytime – but I’d try it without for a year. What is the worst that can happen, and what is likely to happen? Don’t let fear ruin your life.

  309. >how do we act ethically and with integrity without being drawn to the hyperbole and polarisation?

    >its blackberry season. We’ve been picking every weekend for weeks now. Ditto with apples and plums. It’s hard work, but honestly so wonderful, especially with kids and dog in tow!

    I think you’ve answered you own question. Pick more blackberries with your kids and dog and husband. Maybe make some blackberry jam when you get back. I’d make the small modest suggestion of keeping your kids out of school. Let’s chant the 21st century mantra. If you want a job done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself. Om.

  310. I see a “tragedy of the commons” aspect to what we’re seeing now in the energy/environment arena. As in the classic framing of this theorem, addressing the issues in this arena requires individual actors to limit themselves. But the thinking is, why should I give up my car, air conditioner, on-demand hot water heater, central heating, etc., etc. The energy I save will just be used by the next guy. So in the end, everyone just keeps muddling along and the elite jet off to Kyoto or Paris or wherever the next Earth Day festival de riguer will be held to wring their fingers over the state of the world.

    And it’s difficult to retrench. Back in the pre-Homo Colossus days, society was organized to live at a low-energy level. Houses were smaller and closer together and neighborhoods were walkable. Towns that supplied daily needs were within horse and buggy ride of most people. Cottage industries supplied the needs that were impractical for people to supply for themselves. People grew up knowing how to grow and process food. Education was adjunct to the growing-up process, supplementing – rather than replacing – the lessons learned from life at home and in the community.

    Now? Good luck taking a horse and buggy on any road in the US east of the Mississippi outside Lancaster PA. And if you can find anyone who even owns a sewing machine anymore that isn’t in the back of some closet – does anyone remember which one? – I’m willing to bet hard cash that they use it mainly for quilting. My old high school doesn’t even bother to teach home economics for girls or industrial arts for boys anymore. The shop was torn out years ago and replaced by a “media lab”.

    Even if people wanted to retrench, there’s a “Parable of the Tribes” aspect at work here that mitigates against them. Energy is used by people in positions of power to organize society to their benefit. Giving up any fraction of that energy used to bolster their position — and that includes the energy used by their subordinates, supporters, clients, customers, etc. — will put them at a disadvantage to their rivals. And at this level, rivalry is very, very real. In the end, they will lose out to those who keep pushing the growth agenda. These folks are definitely not going to go willingly. Ronald Reagan pulling down Jimmy Carter’s solar panels off the roof of the White House is a classic example of this attitude and dynamic.

    We’ll get there eventually. But it’s going to be a bumpy ride. And a lot of people are going to get butt-hurt along the way.

    Sorry if this is off-topic to wokesterdom, but I thought it was relevant to the issue and wasn’t covered elsewhere.

  311. @ Azoulas – please consider. What if you let the land claim you, let the land “own” you, let the land teach you, let the land interact with you, and teach you right relationships with it, with your neighbours and with the wider world? How would this change the dynamic?

  312. beneaththesurface – Perhaps the “Disney Cars” film/literature/marketing complex would be a good topic for post-carbon cancel culture. I’ve only seen the marketing, not the actual works, but I feel confident in assuming that the post-carbon audience would marvel at either the casual consumption of fuel, or the complete invisibility of fuel, in their world. (“Disney cars” was the search phrase I used to research the topic this morning.)

  313. Walt F – When preparing a property for very cold weather, you probably don’t want to remove water from the toilet bowl, but add some alcohol or anti-freeze to the water that remains. You need water in the drain pipes to seal the living space against foul-smelling and possibly dangerous gases (and, possibly, rodents) in the sewer pipes.10% alcohol lowers the freezing point 4C, 20% lowers it 9C (to 15 degrees F).

    I suspect that some of the property damage from freezing conditions could be blamed on overhead sprinkler systems for fire suppression. Not having one here, I don’t know what might be involved in draining them, but it might be tricky. And, if you do drain them, you might sacrifice insurance coverage if your neighbor’s improvised heating system burns down both of your houses! I would HOPE that a legal case could be made that draining the sprinklers was the right thing to do, so they could be recommissioned after the crisis passes… as long as you remember to recommission them ASAP.

  314. “exactly. If you’re an extremist, you have to eliminate the moderates first, since most people will side with them against you.”

    Now the question becomes how do the moderates preempt the extremists.

    Like the Vietnamese population that was forced to side with the Viet-Cong for survival through or else die at their hands thereby terrifying them into compliance?

    Or in a Prison like situation that has occurred in real life very often?

  315. @Petra
    Recommend this website:
    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/pyramid.html

    http://nononsenseselfdefense.com/five_stages.html

    http://nononsenseselfdefense.com/FEARvsDANGER.html

    Remember that we all are Mortal. We are fragile and its easy to get hurt. The best defense is not being there.

    2nd Best is being aware and evading all danger.

    Only when all else fails and no escape there is fighting. And even then there is a very bad roll of the dice where you end up dead.

    There is also the ramifications of winning and having to deal with future revenge and being unable to live without looking over your shoulder and legal issues too.

  316. I want to recommend this music video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwi1qgSaxZY
    KAS:ST – Hell On Earth (Official Video)

    In my opinion this is a masterpiece, bith in music and in the quality of the narrated story. Superficially, a popular culture techno video telling a crime story, but it is actually much more.

    The protagonists are boys from the middle class obviously in a provincial setting in France, the futility, emptiness and dreary mood their harbor is put into a picture. The title says it all-

    Over the last decade, there have been dark signals in popular culture.

    “Lily feat the Prick – prayer in C” – I hward this song last summer in Austria, realizing that 95% of listeners will not even understand the underlying lyrics, which is actually the condemnation of our contemporary society and its consequences for nature and the people.
    Even though the accompanying music video is seemingly nothing more than western middle class kids dressing up and having fun, but I belive that enigmatically, it actually points to the darkness behind the curtain.

    Also look at “Stromae – Alors on Danse”

    Another thing I’ll point to is the “Tomorrowland” festival in Belgium over the last decade.
    Not because I am a fan or because it is great; on the contrary, I think there’s barely a better way to show the utter wasteful decadence of the past years in the West!

    If you look at the numerous videos of “Tomorrowland”, you will see that this is a mass gathering of people on drugs. The logistics of the substance abuse alone is something that CANNOT possibly be unknown to the authorities – I think this is silently allowed, as a way to let these people blow off their steam unpolitically.

    Interesting though, at one point (unfortunately I don’t remember where), there is a manifesto recited druing this festival, where it states something along the lines of “our lives are dreary and meaningless, we do not believe in this world or this society, therefore we value drugs and concerts above all else!”

    I find that utterly remarkable.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-

    My final conclusion about these things is:

    The people you see in these videos are definitely middle class, but NOT part of the PMC.

    Over the past years I have gathered the notion that the unpolitical non-PMC part of the Western middle classes has turned into an entirely nihilistic, hedonistic direction. For those few I have come to know, they actually do not support the PMC in any way, they feel helpless and powerless, angry, and turn to ritual substance abuse to compensate for it, BUT the dark messages, the dissent to this reality actually seeps through.

    If THAT isn’t a huge load lingering in the collective subconscious in the West!

  317. About the current wave of devotional wokesterism, Benjamin Studebaker makes the interesting point that a major factor ramping things up lately is the emergence of a quite large number of folks eee pushed out from the professional managerial class (PMC). These are folks who often have a credential-generating degree, even from a top university, and certainly have the debt to prove it, but for whom there are simply not enough slots in the PMC for all of them, so they are proletarianized. So there is a large body of folks who are PMC only aspirationally. Since they don’t have the actual privileges of membership in the PMC, it is all the more important to keep up all the cultural symbols of their (now only aspirational membership). Of course, it is very much in the interest of the folks who are in the PMC and their overlords that the new downwardly mobile keep themselves separate from the folks who have been thrown under the bus by our leaders for the past 4 decades and more. Crudely speaking, if the Trump supporters and Bernie supporters joined hands, they would form a large majority.
    Another factor in the intensity of wokesterism is that the bottom rungs of the PMC are full of people with very sharp elbows. Pushing out a few of your rivals with accusations of insufficient devotion to the cause can be a useful career move. Add in a bit of generational resentment and voila and suddenly there is a not-Woke-enough bullseye on those folks who have been at it longer and are a few rungs up the ladder and who are old enough to have track records that can be turned into skeletons in the closet.
    By the way, I am using PMC imprecisely. I suspect that the real division in society now (outside the very top rungs) is more between people involved in actual production or actual services and those involved in the broad apparatuses of propaganda and supervision. The folks who actually drive for Uber or Lyft versus those writing the algorithms, for example.

  318. I’ve been appreciating these discussions greatly, though I haven’t participated as much as I used to. Keeping up with the comment thread is these day’s beyond my time allotment. This seems like a good post to touch base on though. First off I want to mention inflation and its consequences, I’ve noticed lumber prices doubling at the local hardwood store, ‘peak hours’ electrical usage is shooting up 160% from last year, though off peak electricity is not much changed. We are getting to rush hour on collapse methinks, a lot of preparations that would have been very sensible a year ago would be very hard to budget for now. I spent the winter scraping together a few electric bikes, which I am betting will be good aces to trade, borrow, or sell as commuting around the county gets pricey to do with gas, and my region has no energy efficient fall back for getting around. Our furnace needed repairs this month, price ouch, and I am looking into alternative heating methods for future seasons, but on funds and craft time I am tapped out, I hope the summer is mellow enough I can get something figured out by winter. I’ll be alright regardless, we have emergence heat and I am a master of living in a blanket house when too broke to pay to keep the house as warm as I’d like.

    I am looking for advise from all who would offer it!
    As I am volunteering to help a successful local veggie farm up its resiliency. This involves getting an extra acre into production mostly expanding into bulkier cheaper veggies than their current staples (not scaling up lettuce for a crisis, more winter squash, onion, potato). I think the market is sketchy for supporting more fancy costly veg, but hoping that the demand for plate fillers will do good. Also Remodeling one of their greenhouses to passive solar, so its natural gas needs can be slashed greatly. I got the technical for these projects on point, but I would love to hear thoughts about what produce is likely to be most needed, and ideas about how to do business with folk if cash flow is tricky for people. One thing we are trying to increasing the CSA, that is to say pre-bought veggie shares for the season, I’ve pushed this on the logic that we can take the early money and use it to finish crisis hardening the infrastructure at the farm, also that folks who are cash poor can trade stuff or skills for a season of veggeis and it is more efficent that bartering at a carrot by carrot scale. Thoughts on how to small business during a economic strange time.

    Fun fact: most readers of this blog live within a shore commute of some group of people growing food who would respond to an earnest volunteer and helper with enthusiastic loyalty.

    In order to scale up the farming we had to reach out to a friend to share crop a fallow field. It makes me think of Greer’s pulp non-fiction take on the world, as I am so often finding myself cast in the role of negotiating agreements between outcasts and folks rejecting the mainstream who are just and diverse in background as the cliche adventure fellowship. It sometimes involves something close to mental health work, and is the most brittle part of most arrangements, working with new people is like betting on a pair of Js, don’t put in chips you cannot afford to lose. I also say its very important, because if the official channels of working with folk are clogging up we got to start exploring alternative arrangements.

    I’m almost done rolling tangents together, just a couple more. On mental health I put onto social media a quote from last weeks comments about Bateson’s theory of schizophrenia. Someone who is very enjoyable to argue with, because he is feisty and don’t take losing personally, shot back with a ipse dixit claim that schizoid thinking is caused only by genetic-biochemical sources, and that Bateson was wrong “These conditions are not produced. They arise. “. We went round robin for a while and I started teasing him for stating his conclusion with out even offering argument or evidence, as I laid out the reasoning of Bateson’s argument, his clinical evidence, my experience as a caretaker for a schizoid client . We agreed to hang out soon are argue it out over a beer. But it was funny, and if I had respect for the never named authorities implied by the passive voice who claimed my experience working with a schizoid client was invalid it would have been a passable case of a double bind. As it happens I have respect for Bateson, and work in a domain of my choosing where the judgements of such authorities need not concern me, but I am in rare gift to live in such a place.

    Finally, that leads me to the mental insight of this week’s comments started off by Phil Knight. What would be the cause for confusing hate with cognitive dissonance? More precisely, under what conditions would that association be the adaptive thing to learn? It seems very near to the kind of short-circuit connections that lies at the base of schizoid thinking. So what double bind would be require such an association to avoid a no win situation? The predicament of decline is a no win situation, given the assumptions of progress. The power of your class, or the class you aspire to is based on the promise of progress, your hopes for your future and your status in society are based on the acceptance at face value of those promises. Mentioning the double bind that our society isn’t progressing, or cannot progress beyond any particular frontier threatens the authority of all classes who base their authority on progress, and threatens one’s own membership in that class as it does as it must to protect itself from this internal threat. Wokeism is a manifestation of this double bind that rests on the mental structures that generally support the rescue game; but which focuses on progressing society beyond any limit of convention that a candidate victim could chafe at. A very very progressive acquaintance of mine was recently booted from an activism group for expressing doubt about the existence of dragons. Hate might have piggied back in because resistance to racial hatred a lifetime ago was one of progressives last archetypal victores. So then is it my theory that the cognitive dissonance of the failure of progressiveness before decline is the source of one side of the association, and ‘hate’ got pulled in as the Great Enemy of progress (Fritz N. pointed out that a cultures tablet of virtues is its victories over what is most difficult) because of the success that MLK managed to set in motion; and the durth of successes ever since? Once they are conflated shadow projection gets in their and bob’s your uncle madness. What’s really tricky is that folks stuck in the same cognitive dissonance, but based on the failure of American Exceptionalism rather than progress more generally, are in a place of accepting the projection from the progressives, which sucks.

  319. John, there are still Pansophic circles within the Rosicrucians that hold onto the utopian reformation. I guess that I’m more of a Gnostic in the sense that I’m a pessimist and believe that the world will always be screwed up to a lesser or greater extent.

  320. Dear JMG,
    Many years’ reader here, online and books. Thank you for your great work. And thanks also to your commenters for replies often as good as your original post. This forum is a pleasure to visit. My wife and I are farmers, which means long hours, but now and then I visit here, while I should be sorting seed or fixing beehives: nights, rainy days.
    Three good pieces of advice in good and direct English; nice to see actions and non-actions my instinct or spirits had guided me into years ago put into words and summarized rather than “felt”
    The extra tip is very valuable too. Brace for impact indeed. My grandparents were WW2 survivors… I grew up under a military dictatorship… to some degree, I’ve always known serious trouble is never too far away. We’ve had the longest period of stability, prosperity and relative peace. But our numbers have exploded, resources are becoming scarce.
    There’s change in the air. You have the antennae to detect it, and the discipline and intellectual chops to recognize complex and seemingly unrelated patterns and present your map to many of us, lost in unfamiliar territory. A great service, much appreciated.
    Since you mentioned Grist, I was reminded of a story I wrote and sent to you a year or two ago. It was about a farming family in rural FL, food scarcity, the temptation of potential immortality through transmigrations to vessels; it was called “the Goddess of Immokalee”, and you seemed to like it but said it was not right for the particular issue and would be used later. Do you think I should send it to the de-industrial fiction mag? Do you know of anyone else that might like that sort of thing?
    Thank you again for the rich, thick food for thought you’ve been dishing out all these years.

  321. Just got a chuckle. Reading the Amazon best sellers list this morning one author dominates the top 100. Looks like the market place disagrees with censorship of Dr. Seuss.

  322. All–

    Re work/careers in these coming times

    For those looking for work and career suggestions, I’d like to put in a plug for the utility industry. Maintaining power, water, and sewer facilities is rather fundamental (though, as we’ve been discussing, the first may become more and more optional in less populated areas as the decades roll on). While I would hesitate to claim these jobs are “recession-proof,” I would certainly argue that they are “recession-resilient.” One might be able to make better money elsewhere, but the pay is decent, the work steady, and the benefits pretty solid. Particularly for those who in the earlier part of their careers, there’s some significant opportunity yet as these industries are still seeing the Boomer generation retiring, leaving openings for new blood.

    It can be very interesting work, some jobs requiring college but many positions requiring only post-secondary technical training and/or state certification. And there are lots of opportunities to expand and learn. I believe I mentioned in a previous open post that I had signed on to some additional part-time weekend duties in water and wastewater (basic stuff: doing rounds, filling in the appropriate logs, responding to system alarms) and this weekend is my first “on call” shift. And as of this morning, I now know how to reset a faulted variable frequency drive lift station pump, something I had never done before…and no one died 🙂

    In any event, just some food for thought. I’ve been in the industry as a whole for over two decades and in this particular job for 16 years. I’m still learning new things and I generally look forward to going into work in the morning, something which is worth a fair amount in my book.

  323. #311 and Walt,

    While you’re at it, tag everything out so you and future owners know what that valve is! You can definitely get oaktag hangtags online. They are big enough to write on (in PENCIL so it doesn’t fade) and have wire ties so you can attach the tag to the valve, pipe, display unit, electrical box, gauge, conduit, etc.

    It’s really helpful which is why the Navy does it. We tagged everything out in our basement soon after we moved in and sometimes, twenty years later, it comes in handy.

  324. #315 RPC

    Do all the infrastructure stuff but also do the personal, we’re part of the local community stuff.

    Get to know all your neighbors. Talk to them. Smile. Wave. If there are local groups like gardening or supporting the volunteer fire department, join them. Just remember to not roll your eyes when your resident green talks about the joys of gas being $10 a gallon, who then goes on to discuss how heartwarming it is to volunteer at the local foodbank.

    (Hey Kate! You think there might be a connection between ultra-high gas prices and needing food from the foodbank?)

    You’ll have far fewer problems with your neighbors if you are a valued asset.

    That mean old man next door is the one who’ll call the fire department if your toolshed is smoking.

  325. My take is that dwarf planets astrologically function as what they are: members of the class of bodies called minor planets, which is to say not much, if at all. I found a number of anomalies in my chart made sense if Eris was a planet, and have a very prominent Haumea in my chart which seems to matter not at all. I tried working out what it might indicate by its position in my natal chart and have also toyed around with tracking transits and progressions to it. It doesn’t seem to mean anything, and even the most dramatic progressions and transits do nothing special; so I think that dwarf planets don’t matter as a class: rather, I think Pluto and Eris matter because they were planets.

    I think we’ll see Pluto fade out completely over the next fifteen years; but I could be wrong. Pluto’s grief and terror certainly seems to explain a lot of otherwise very odd phenomena over the last fifteen years or so, and I think it’s around dying: that certainly would explain why so many people suddenly got caught up by this wave of existential fear around Covid: it’s a projection of Pluto’s, which is why it’s affecting people from all social classes and countries, albeit concentrated in the people frantically trying to cling to the planet.

    Martin (#283),

    I’m not sure that’s it. That might play a role, but it would also accelerate the trend towards novelty and culture veering off in weird, unexpected, and unpredictable directions; what happened instead is that we got a burst of new, weird, and in many cases terrible ideas in the 1960s, and have been playing them on repeat ever since.

  326. JMG: I don’t know if I would call Schopenhauer opaque so much as wordy. (And I will certainly grant you that he’s less wordy than Hegel, though that is faint praise indeed!). He never seems to miss the opportunity to use 20 words where 10 would do. I am guessing that a little more reading will help me get in tune with his style and learn to live with the verbiage but he’s certainly not an easy read. Though that might not be a bad thing: Nietzsche is an excellent writer who generally states his points concisely, and as a result many more people read him than understand him.

    #333 Phil Knight: That article is interesting, but I’m not sure I buy into Gidel’s idea that “we are entering a 199-year period I call the Air Economy, which values ideas, cooperation and global community. We are leaving behind the Earth Economy that has prevailed since the mid-1800s, which valued physical things, manufactured goods and earth-borne resources, such as crude oil.” Ideas, cooperation and global community are nice — but you need earth-borne resources to provide the energy to DO anything with those ideas and cooperation. The Internet doesn’t run on ideas and cooperation, it runs on electricity. World trade doesn’t run on ideas and cooperation, it runs on the resources used to make goods and the fuel used to transport goods.

    I think Gidel has Fish In Water Syndrome. She is so used to our technological world that she takes it for granted. She sees all the advances (for some value of “advances”) the Internet and globalization have brought us, but she has never stopped to consider what is required to keep those advances advancing. She takes it as a given that “green energy” is just around the corner and soon we won’t have to worry about things like oil and coal. And I’d wager a sizable sum that she doesn’t have a lot of friends and acquaintances working in the manufacturing sector, so has no idea of the human costs of this transition. I’d argue our gutting of the American manufacturing sector has effected our working classes the way the Highland Clearances affected Scots crofters.

  327. RPC, the first books I got were The Housebuilders Bible and The Green Building Bible. I think new editions are still coming out every year. I’d also recommend going to the Homebuilding and Renovating Show https://www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/. If you want a company to consult with, Halifax Renewable Energy Company http://www.halifaxrenewable.co.uk/ did a great job with our refit and now operate nationally. They market themselves as mainly heat pump and biomass installers, but they do it all.

    I’d suggest you just keep reading, books, websites, whatever – and don’t take anybody’s word as final. That way you keep finding new ideas. For example if you pack rockwool around your bath, it’ll stay warm longer. You can now get ridge-mounted wind turbines https://www.zestenergy.net/ridgeblade-turbine.html and domestic-scale flow batteries https://www.stortera.com/, https://voltstorage.com/en/vanadium-redox-flow-energy-storage-technology/, https://redflow.com/products/redflow-zcell/. Besides the rockwool I don’t have experience of the others but I like the look of them – they claim to solve problems of previous systems and I’m keeping an eye on them. In time you’ll find your own favourite ideas. 🙂

  328. on the latest examples of cancel culture:

    I sometimes think they myopic media focus on finding bias and correcting speech that has gone to really absurd levels is a way of detracting from much more real issues of injustice that do exist so that these very real issues get less attention. For example, Potato Head removing Mr. from their brand in an effort to be more sensitive and correct bias. To me, it’s a corporate-made distraction from the elephant in the room that the corporation would never admit to. Regardless of whether there is a Mr. in front of their name, the production, consumption, and disposal of Potato Head toys (along with numerous other corporate products, of course) likely benefit from sweatshop labor and contribute to unnecessary consumption of resources and fossil fuels driving many our of present-day and future crises. But of course there’s no media attention on this kind of insensitivity!

    This relates to something written by the herbalist Stephen Harrod Buehner in one of his ramblings of thoughts posted on his website, that resonated with me:
    “I always think it funny in a terribly grim sense of the word when a social justice activist confronts me or anyone else about a word we have used or the food we eat or the color of our skin or our sex or our profession or our hair style or our spiritual path because everyone of them (as they confront others) is holding a modern cell phone in their hands, the components of which were almost certainly mined by children and enslaved laborers in Africa.” https://www.stephenharrodbuhner.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Coyote-Ramblings-two.pdf

  329. Dear John Evans,

    Thank you for you kind comment! Here’s the thing — I work with math a lot. For instance, last night I posted some analysis on my blog of some of the mathematics of vesica piscis circle constructions that work with the quatrefoil as their base. Because I have studied algebra I was able to come up with a notation system within the algebraic model to describe a system for calculating the number of circles in an hourglass construction. I wanted to know how many circles I had drawn while absorbed with paper and a compass! What’s even better, by abstract analysis did indeed yield the correct number of circles. And the visibility of this math shows a distinct relationship between triangular numbers and square numbers. My notes on this math are here: https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/98596.html

    In addition, all throughout my life I’ve done and participated in a good deal of carpentry, especially but not limited to set-building at theatres. With carpentry, the power of math is far from distant and abstract. There was one time when I more or less rescued set-builds at my community theatre with a level and protractor when people rushed in pall-mall with 2×4 during Mercury Rx!

    Algebra is good because it allows one to create equations for unknown quantities, and this allows for far better abstract mentation and also can have direct utility, as I demonstrate in the post I link to. Geometry is really important for building things. Of course, professionally as it stands all I need is to know how to swing a hoe, and what’s a tomato plant and what’s a weed.

    It is not utility in terms of career that causes love for math in me. Rather, I love math how men love beautiful women. That is, I love math not because math is merely useful to some particular end, but for more so because it is sexy, intricate, and dangerous.

  330. I don’t understand the relationship between cognitive dissonance and hatred as discussed here. I assume that the people doing the hating are experiencing cognitive dissonance caused by the people they are directing hate at? Or are they assuming that the people giving them cognitive dissonance are the ones doing the hating?

    So would that look like person a trying to tell person b that you can’t have indefinite growth on a finite planet, we’re already using too much, and that the entire world can’t live a middle-class lifestyle and that they have therefore decided not to take a foreign holiday this year, and person b saying that person a is racist and wants to keep the rest of the world poor or even commit genocide?

  331. Just remembered something else important if you’re using a chainsaw, that wasn’t in either of the books I read. Always wear anti-vibration gloves with gel in the palms and fingers. I once lost the ability to grip for a week. I use Silverline impact gloves now, and they’re good for any tools that vibrate, as well as absorbing the shockwave back up the arm when using hammers and axes.

  332. Violet, while putting a new floor in the little bedroom I found I could naturally do the maths and geometry of joinery, without really knowing how I was doing it. But then I saw this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PV7XBY0-KM and was reduced to sputtering “Wait…what…how…?” 🙂

  333. Cliff, put some thought into it and I’m sure you can come up with some radical changes to society that will make the folks at Grist acutely uncomfortable. 😉 As for Naomi Klein and the Sierra Club, I know. It fascinates me that people can babble away along those lines while ignoring what’s actually happening — and you know as well as I do that Klein doesn’t have a low-carbon lifestyle!

    William, thanks for this.

    Yorkshire, oh, I’m quite aware that hydrogen is only moderately more dangerous than other fuels. (It is a little more dangerous, because it’s harder to keep it from leaking and it’s so very reactive, but not by that much.) I post the famous Hindenburg photo when it comes up, partly to remind people that it does have its problems, and partly as a metaphor for what’s going to happen with the soi-disant hydrogen economy once it has to pay for itself without vast energy subsidies from fossil fuels…

    Viduraawakened, hmm! I’ll put that on the look-at list.

    Chris, excellent! And that’s all I’m going to say about the subject… 😉

    Phil, fair enough. I’m aware of the return; I was interested in which house you expect it to affect. The link you posted assigns it to the second house, which is plausible given the current economic situation — but oh dear gods, what drivel that author pushes! “Pluto has a heart, and only wants what’s best for us.” This is the kind of sloppy feel-good idiocy that gives astrology a bad name.

    Forecastingintelligence, thanks for the link. Deindustrialization is picking up here — a bad sign for those dependent on it, a good sign for those who are resilient enough to cope. As for the vaccine, I haven’t heard anything significant — of course our mass media and social media are both very strictly censored these days. As far as the different vaccines, I don’t claim to know enough about the subject to have an opinion; I don’t plan on getting any vaccine, as I had the coronavirus in April of last year and treated it with alternative medicine, and it was about as problematic as a bad cold. But we’ll see what happens.

    Helix, oh, unquestionably there’s a tragedy of the commons involved, but there’s another side to the story as well. I’ve spent my entire adult life without a car, a television, a microwave, or a cell phone, and I’m happier than most of the people I know who have these things — not least because not having them meant that I could pursue the career I wanted, rather than being forced into something higher paying to pay for those things. The people I know who have discarded energy-wasting technologies are doing better, not worse, than the people who cling to those technologies. The parable of the tribes takes on a very different shape when you realize how many of the things mass culture expects you to buy and use actually make your life worse, imposing financial and practical burdens that greatly outweigh any benefits they provide!

    Info23, there are situations where not much can be done. There are other situations where the extremists can be isolated and encouraged to turn on each other, as of course they will do at the drop of a hat. Which one of those categories are we in? I’ll leave that for you as a theme for meditation. 😉

    Curt, thanks for this.

    Jessica, that’s an excellent point. As the US economy contracts in real terms — a process that’s been under way for decades, though it’s been covered up by the mass production of fake wealth in the form of unpayable IOUs — the number of slots for high-paid flunkeys in the machinery is contracting as well, and you’re quite correct that it’s normal for the unsuccessful contestants for those positions to cling to the signals of their notional status. Do you have a link to Studebaker’s analysis handy? I’d like to cite it in an upcoming post.

    Ray, thanks for this! Your comment combines with Jessica’s, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, to cast a highly useful light on the roots of our present situation. When I discuss this in an upcoming post, I’ll be citing a lot of my readers!

    Dana, I’ve somehow managed to miss that end of the Rosicrucian scene, which is probably just as well.

    Avocadogrove, you’re welcome and thank you. Thank you also for the reminder about “The Goddess of Immokalee,” which was an excellent story! It would have gone into the next After Oil anthology if I’d gotten enough workable stories to make that happen. Since that wasn’t the case, please by all means send it to New Maps — I think it might be very well suited for that magazine.

    Eric, I note with great amusement that the latest self-serving drivel from Bill Gates and Barack Obama is far below The Cat in the Hat just now, in terms of sales ranking!

    Will J, fair enough. I wonder what will happen when the phase of depression arrives…

    Kenaz, you’ll be amused to learn that I read Schopenhauer for pleasure. Admittedly, he’s not as good in English as he is in German — I’ve read that he’s considered one of the three great German prose stylists of the 19th century, right up there with Goethe and Nietzsche — but I enjoy reading him. Of course it doesn’t hurt that his ontology and epistemology make up the unstated foundation for Lévi’s Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic and a great deal of 19th and 20th century occultism! Nietzsche translates better, granted; I’m currently rereading Human, All Too Human with as much delight as ever.

    Beneaththesurface, Buhner is as always spot on. I think you’re quite correct that one of the goals of wokesterism is to allow the privileged to pretend to be virtuous.

    Pygmycory, fair enough. The thing to remember is that when somebody’s in a state of cognitive dissonance — when the world is not behaving the way their ideology says it should behave, and they can’t bring themselves to question their ideology — that’s a source of major stress, and people who are under stress get brittle and angry. Screaming about someone else because they’re supposedly a bad person is one way to relieve stress. Of course it doesn’t work except in the short term, because the cognitive dissonance is still there!

  334. Teresa #352:

    Yes.

    One of the Beekeeper family’s charm offensives for when we move into a new area is to deliver some sort of home-baked goods to the immediate neighbors, in person. We moved here in late fall so it was Christmas cookies that year. We just showed up, cookies in hand (or rather, in a tin), spent a few minutes chatting and we had instant goodwill. Not once has any of those neighbors referred to us as ‘flatlanders’ (the derogatory Vermont term for people from elsewhere). Turns out that a couple of those neighbors are diabetic, which we did not know at the time, but they were pleased and so gracious with the unexpected gift anyway.

    A small effort can reap great rewards.

  335. @JMG

    My understanding of Pluto from those astrologers that take it seriously is that it is a general eliminator of all that is obsolete or outdated, so I would expect it to aim for those elements in the US that are the most decayed, rather than those relating to the specifc house it occurs in. This, of course, is a target-rich environment.

    One thing I note is that Great Britain’s Pluto return (Leo + 7th House) seems to have been circa 1955 (i.e. 1707 + 248 years), which was one year before the Suez Crisis. So Britain’s Pluto return might be worth investigating to see if it gives a window on what the USA can expect.

    If Pluto still has any real power, and if the USA follows the example of Great Britain, then what should happen is that the US will be suddenly stripped of all its illusions about itself, and be presented with its real status in the world.

  336. Chris at Fernglade: The art of silence is an essential survival skill for us dyed in the wool freethinking weirdos. I have been using it for years.

    Helix: Do you not think that your parable of the tribes might have application to understanding what is happening in Jackson, Miss.?

    About PMC wokesters, I don’t like them any more than the rest of this commentariat, but, I can live under their rule and I almost can’t live under Trumpist/conservative rule. I have found that the PMC/Ws are so clueless that they can be avoided and there are ways to deal with them when one has to do so. OTOH, my experience has been that the T/Cs actively look for and hunt out any and all nonconformity they can find., Nonconformist being defined as anyone who has in any way managed to divorce themselves from our mass consumption economy. Obnoxious as they might be, the wokesters don’t demand that an old woman should have to dress like she is still trying to be sexy; they don’t generally object to gardens, crafts and other forms of self-reliance, and they don’t take it as a personal insult if a person prefers books to sports, cable TV and nascar. And they don’t demand to know how you voted.

    Ray Wharton: about the CSA, everyone loves peanuts, watermelons and corn on the cob. I know corn isn’t always a good use of land. There is a growing interest in herbs, for food and medicine. There are now some new OP melons for short growing seasons. Might small fruit be possible for you? The kid who won’t eat veges usually likes fruit.

  337. Fossil fuels have given us such a luxurious life-style that I can’t imagine us giving that up voluntarily. The chart you’ve posted of fossil fuel usage points to that. But what I never hear discussed is the fact that the problem of rising carbon dioxide levels will solve itself when we run out of fossil fuels to burn. At that point the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere will gradually drop as plants convert it to oxygen and carbon containing plant materials. Any comment about that?

  338. My own suspicion of the source of the cognitive dissonance of American progressives is China.

    This is the first existential enemy that the USA cannot beat. It is also the first existential enemy that can beat the USA but not vice-versa. All the USA’s previous existential enemies (the British, the Confederacy, the Nazis, the Soviets) were the target of what were effectively progressive crusades. This cannot be done against China, because China cannot be overcome. China is de facto the end of progress.

    One of Trump’s greatest sins was to draw attention to the power of China, and the fact that this power was effectively faciliitated by Ameican elites. China therefore cannot be rallied against as an existential foe to unite Americans because (i) it cannot be beaten and (ii) it prompts awkward questions about how it became so powerful in the first place. The failure of liberal progressivism as a universalist ideology (the End of History) is due to the fact that China is essentially an ethno-nationalist state that has no interest whatsoever in becoming liberal. China represents the end of the imagined liberal world order, and American progressives were deluding themselves in thinking that it represented anything otherwise. This is too painful to absorb, so the effective defeat of liberalism is attributed to nebulous domestic forces that represent “white supremacy” et al, which at least offer the illusion of being beatable.

  339. A story from the guardian that discusses the downsides of modern liberal anti-racism as it is is practiced, and some fairly jawdropping incidents at universities.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/06/racial-equality-working-class-americans-advocacy

    Direct quote:

    “It’s convenient for the enemy to be a white worker committing a microaggression on the job while earning $12 an hour and voting for Donald Trump than a chief executive spouting platitudes about diversity while earning $12 a second and donating to Republican Super Pacs.”

  340. Unappreciated Rationality,
    there’s several reasons for what you point out, some better than others. Starting with the good ones:
    1)it takes a while for heat to build up even after the CO2 is in the atmosphere. ie. the deep ocean takes quite a while to heat up, and the ice caps require heat to melt. This means the highest temperatures will occur some time after emissions from all sources are less than absorption by all carbon sinks.
    2)closely related to 1. There are some positive feedback loops that have or will likely be triggered that can keep greenhouse gas emissions and warming going for a while even after humans have stopping dumping fossil CO2 into the atmosphere.
    Examples- sea is darker than ice, and absorbs a lot of energy that the ice reflects. So open sea increases warming.
    -warming tundra and arctic ocean results in methane clathrates releasing their methane to the atmosphere. Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas for decades in the atmosphere, until it decays to CO2.
    -increased fires as areas that are now too warm and dry for the biome on top of them. Already happening, not fun to be downwind of, let alone caught up in.
    There are also negative feedback loops, but the likely balance between positive and negative feedbacks is not very well understood, even if our understanding is improving by leaps and bounds.

    3) There’s enough fossil fuels, even economic to extract fossil fuels, to do a real number on industrial civilization and the biosphere more generally. So they don’t worry about fossil fuel depletion because they figure that by the time we use all the available fossil fuels, we’re already wrecked.

    less good reason:
    too often, I think people don’t understand resource depletion and how that’s likely to affect things. And they don’t factor it in when considering if some of the worst-case scenarios are actually likely.

    That’s my two cents, anyway.

  341. “Will J, fair enough. I wonder what will happen when the phase of depression arrives…”

    I confess I’m wondering that myself. I suspect it’ll make for quite an interesting time……

  342. I can attest to the whole “credentialed lower class” phenomenon people have been talking about-I have a degree but spent some years working in retail and distribution centers, and a lot of my co-workers were in similar situations. This was especially true of the large electronics store I worked at-about half the people selling $5000 flat screen TV’s for $8 an hour, or talking to angry customers over the phone, seemed to have college degrees, and several even had business degrees. (I mean, imagine-training to be in a corporate hierarchy, spending your whole life thinking you’re going to end up running the world…and then winding up working near minimum wage in a giant store where, if you’re lucky, you’ll one day run the cell phone department.) Not surprisingly, these people were quite bitter, and tended to be hardcore Bernie supporters. Since this was in the South, they also tended to complain on and on about how “racist” the population was and talk about how they were going to move to some other region of the country just as soon as they got the money together.

    I still “know” a lot of former co-workers from here, and not suprisingly, pretty much all of them went full blown TDS/Wokester over the last few years.

  343. It seems like this week has a bumper crop of crazy, JMG. Check this out:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/first-ever-space-hotel-begins-construction-2025-operational-2027

    I don’t know where to begin with this… it is such a target-rich environment! Let’s say that Mr. Musk is able to get the cost of sending stuff into space at the cost of $1,000/kg (currently it is double that price).

    Alright, so all the materials to build the 650 foot-wide space wheel needs to be taken into low earth orbit… 24 modules… if each fully furnished module weighs about the same as a standard empty train box-car (30 tonnes), we’re talking about 720 tonnes that comes to a $720,000,000 shipping invoice.

    And then you’ve got to build all the robots and send them into space to build the dern thing… that’s gonna cost a pretty penny!

    What about the humans? The cost of flying a heavy-set man (100 kg) to the hotel will be in the order of $100,000. Say the hotel will prefer to hire underweight staff (like horse-jockeys at the races) their commute will cost $50,000 each. I sure hope they get paid more than minimum wage!

    Everything the guests consume needs to be shipped into space. $1,000 to ship one litre of water (and no bulk discounts!). Guests can expect to pay maybe $1,500 for a cup of coffee and $10,000 for a continental breakfast, with no option of nipping around the corner to grab a cheaper coffee and muffin at the local coffee shop. Want to take a shower before dinner? No problem, sir – we’ll just add $60,000 to your tab.

    A family of four can expect to fork over maybe $2,000,000 or so for a nice weekend getaway in space (this is just my absolutely wild guess).

    And the start-up company has managed to raise $1M so far – hey, that’s enough to send half-a-tonne into space! Amazing! Either this start-up is a scam, or they are absolutely nutters, or they are really bad at math.

    But don’t let all this pessimism get in the way: reserve a room now so that you can be one of the first guests in the “hotel in the heavens” in 2027!!!

  344. @Unappreciated Rationality (no. 365):

    Some as yet difficult to estimate fraction of the released CO2 will no doubt be incorporated into additional living matter, e.g. as vegetation advances further north. However, the earth can sustain different equilibrium states for millions or even tens of millions of years. The average CO2 concentration and the average temperature of the last million years (and even that of the last 10 000 years) are rather low compared with most of the last 600 million years.

  345. Phil K, I’ve seen a vast number of inaccurate predictions made that way. It was precisely because Great Britain’s Pluto return was in its 7th house that the return had 7th house effects — that is to say, having to do with its relations to other countries. With ours in the 2nd, I’d expect what effects it has to be largely economic in nature.

    Mary, clearly we know different wokesters. The ones I’ve met are frantically concerned about who I voted for. and their tolerance for nonconformity is zero if it doesn’t happen to be something in the narrow range of “nonconformist” conformity they’re willing to accept. Meanwhile I’ve met quite a number of MAGA types who have no problem with the fact that I’m a longhaired, bearded Druid…

    Rationality, I’ve discussed that at length in previous posts. The adverb you used — “gradually” — is the one that matters; it will likely take several centuries for all the excess CO2 to be absorbed, and in the meantime we get to deal with major shifts in climate belts and significant coastal flooding; the seawater in the streets of Miami Beach whenever there’s a high tide and an onshore wind is a harbinger of hard times to come.

    Phil K, that’s certainly one plausible source.

    Dermot, yep. Funny how that works.

    Pygmycory, thanks for both articles. If the Grauniad’s starting to talk like that, the wind is definitely shifting.

    Your Kittenship, thanks for this.

    Tolkienguy, many thanks for the data points!

    Ron, too funny. My guess is that they’ll do the same thing the Mars colony scam did — scoop up a lot of money, spend it on salaries and studies, and then quietly file for bankruptcy.

  346. @ Cliff RE: Naomi Klein.

    It was only last year that Klein jumped on the bandwagon against the film ‘Planet of the humans’. A film that showed in clear detail just how much organisations like the Sierra club are failing to live up to their stated goals and are acutally promoting technologies that cause far more damage than good. That they are part of the problem, not the solution.

    The odd thing is that Klein has made some similar accusations in her earlier books but it is very apparent that she has since been co-opted.

    As JMG said, Klein does not live a life style like most people do. In the last chapter of her book ‘This changes everything’, she talks about taking a few months off in her secluded cabin so that she can unwind from potential health issues – not exactly the most viable option for many folks nowadays. That is a solution that comes from being a part of the higher classes.

  347. Mary Bennet, glad you’ve had good experiences with that crowd. It might look different elsewhere (and yes, I am assuming that the mask Fan group overlaps with the Woke group):
    https://www.faithwire.com/2021/03/02/teens-in-moscow-idaho-face-13-criminal-charges-for-posting-protest-stickers-opposing-mask-mandates/
    They actually proved the point of the protest.

    JMG, Other night, there was a highway electronic sign up that said “pavement failure ahead”. The potholes were pretty impressive. That pretty much sums it up. JH Kunstler pointed out that roadways have to stay pristine, or they fail rapidly. Hard to motor your luxury car if there isn’t a road to motor on.

  348. When I read the phrase “equitable climate progress” in the Grist call for submissions, I rolled my eyes so hard I almost fell out of my chair. That phrase alone says so much, but one of the main things that occurred to me is that the future will, Grist’s attempt to “fix” things notwithstanding, likely be one in which we all equitably make do with living on the current world-average income of just under $10,000 per household. There are a lot of ways that scenario could be a lot better than what we’re currently experiencing (all the ways there are to find joy and peace in life on little money but in the company of loved ones and a connection to place and heart/spirit) but oops, I guess Grist’s “progress” is unidirectional (and “futuristic,” and equitable for thee, but not for me in my interectional disadvantagedness that needs special treatment). Ouch, I’m rolling my eyes again.

    As to the advice to back away slowly, I have to say that I’m happy I’ve played my cards close to my chest my whole life and that I’m not necessarily a quick thinker on my feet in the middle of a conversation – for that’s allowed me to become quite good at the “to remain silent” part of the equation with a bit of buttressing from expressions of ignorance and an “oh really? huh, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll have to look into ____ [the Green New Deal/experimental vaccine/my white privilege/cause du jour], why don’t you tell me YOUR opinion?” Let others talk, they love to do so and it can be quite educational.

    Lastly, Shewhoholdstensions, if you’re still reading. It sounds like you reached the same point I did late last year with regards to recognizing the unlikelihood of being able to leave CA. Like you, I’m working to adapt (inner and outer work). If you wish to commiserate by email, I can be reached via my handle here, using gmail. If not, that’s fine too :).

  349. @ Simon – I missed that you were writing about the Australian context. To your final point, in the USA, trust in the police varies wildly depending on where you live and what you look like. How the cops dress almost doesn’t matter, and most of our cops dress like they are trying out for a supporting role in “black hawk down”.

    I do wish they would dress down, as is the case in other English speaking countries, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Too many societal forces pushing in the militaristic direction right now, unfortunately.

  350. On further reflection, the woke censorship doesn’t seem like strange days to me. It seems exactly like the portion of my childhood spent in an Evangelical home filled with pamphlets on “Christian worldview” and how to go through every single piece of media, every book that your children were ever exposed to with a fine toothed comb looking for tiny details that were unacceptable – problematic, you could say. They had great huge list of “cancelled” authors and all media intake was strictly censored and regulated.

    It just gets more attention now because the faction that has adopted this behavior has control over more of the media.

    I think it is like a ping-pong ball of an egregor that probably comes from our puritan heritage and gets bounced back and forth across the political spectrum every generation or so.

  351. What would make a “better world so irresistible” for me would be a world where the promise of irresistible is made in good faith, is in keeping with nature of actual reality, and then kept. A world where the “better” is truly delivered.

    Since the Mad Man era plenty of work has been done on the making it irresistible part. So, maybe we have this down, but … well, I was a kid when everything started to be made out of plastic, and it always seemed that what showed up was distinctly shoddier than the picture that the ad guys worked so hard to create.

    I think you quoted Roszak on this a while back: “… like a world’s fair in its final days, when things start to sag and disintegrate behind the futuristic façades, when the rubble begins to accumulate in the corners, the chromium to grow tarnished, the neon lights to burn out, all the switches and buttons to stop working. Everything will take on that vile tackiness which only plastic can assume, the look of things decaying that were never supposed to grow old, or stop gleaming, never to cease being gay and sleek and perfect.”

    At first I thought the resulting cognitive dissonance was due to something wrong with me. I mean, everybody seemed to think what appeared to me as cheap crap was the real deal. Much later I started reading things like ‘limits to growth’ and the bit about physical constraints started sinking in.

    Anyway, for me, an irresistible world would be one where “better” is delivered, in any form, really, from an apple that tastes good to “heath care” that really does provide care for our health (I must admit I have given up on the flying car …). A world where I am not constantly having to deal with this gap between what I am asked to believe and what is experienced, a gap grown grown so large now that we routinely refer to our third world (and sinking fast) country as the “Greatest Nation On Earth.”

  352. @pygmycory
    3) There’s enough fossil fuels, even economic to extract fossil fuels, to do a real number on industrial civilization and the biosphere more generally.

    Regular oil peaked over a decade ago and shale — which was never truly economic — is already past peak. When you consider the entire world runs on a fiat debt ponzi scheme underwritten by ever-increasing energy, well, the party’s already over. IOW, most of those remaining high-cost reserves may never be tapped because the very definition of “economic” is shifting. Wile E has already run off the cliff and his predicament is only now dawning on him.

    Why Collapse Occurs; Why It May Not Be Far Away

  353. JMG, I totally agree with your less-is-more view toward consumption. Very much in keeping with Thoreau’s admonition to “Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!”

    But… you — along with a number of others here judging by their comments — are an unusual person in that regard. Most people just aren’t like that. They’ve been raised with the idea that cars, microwaves, and TVs are practically necessities. Some believe this can continue indefinitely (“We CAN have our cake and eat it too!”). Others have an uneasy feeling that this can’t go on forever but dialing back runs against the grain of American life and they really have no idea where to start (“No CAR! How will I get to work?”). And still others just don’t care as long as they’re getting theirs. Thus the tragedy of the commons.

    Mary Bennett – I’m not up to date on the issues underlying Jackson’s water issues. It’s my impression that needed maintenance has been forestalled due to lack of resources. Is this due to tax cuts or a declining tax base? I can see how the Parable of the Tribes could apply in either case. Promising tax cuts could be a fruitful avenue to political power, perhaps even to the extent that candidates vie with each other to promise the very best (i.e., deepest) cuts. Good for the candidates, perhaps, but terrible for the city. And an eroding tax base would certainly result from corporations based in Jackson outsourcing their operations or seeking tax incentives to remain in the city, either of which could give them a competitive advantage over their rivals. Great for the corporations, but once again terrible for the city. Is this what you were referring to? As I mentioned above, I’m not at all familiar with Jackson politics.

    For those not familiar with the Parable of the Tribes, 0a good synopsis can be found at https://www.context.org/iclib/ic07/schmoklr/

  354. Perhaps this a nice bit of synchronicity: the term “Overdeveloped Nations,” was coined by economist Leopold Kohr. If I remember correctly, he also coined “Small is Beautiful.” He was a mentor to both EF Schumacher and Ivan Illich. His best known books are: “The Breakdown of Nations”, “Development Without Aid” and “The Overdeveloped Nations: The Diseconomies of Scale.”

    His basic premise is that all social misery is caused by size rather than government, culture or cruel people in leadership. He called it his atomic theory of power: when a nation reaches a critical mass, it becomes aggressive.

  355. @Brian Kaller

    My plan B (but only for people I really want to keep, like my dad) has been to develop a reputation for being a ‘quiet person who’s a good listener’ and I mumble a lot. If really pressed I’ll say something like: ‘oh, I never feel like I have much extra to add to what you’ve said’ (or something equally vague people can project on what they want).

  356. Re vaccination outcomes,

    I believe the US database that tracks such things is VAERS, although the level of adverse incident reporting is reputedly very low and there is rarely definitive proof that the vaccination caused the following incident. Nonetheless, it may be instructive for people to compare for themselves the adverse incidence rate of the various covid vaccines to eg flu vaccination. There have been miscarriages and stillbirths, though again hard to know causation.

    A second factor is that there just has not been sufficient time for any of the vaccines to have established long-term safety. My major concern with all of them is ADE – notorious as an issue with all previous coronavirus vaccines, no matter what type. The lack of long-term safety data is why they only have emergency use dispensation in the US and the manufacturers will not sell to a country unless completely indemnified for liability. I have also seen several apparently reputable (I have looked up their qualifications), quite mainstream scientists and doctors question the short term initial safety tests that were conducted. There appear to have been very few elderly people tested, let alone pregnant women, people with allergies or people with significant pre-existing conditions who were mostly excluded. .

    The safest way to deliver these vaccines would be to do serum tests to identify people who are already naturally immune and also avoid wasting vaccines on people who don’t need it. The media and many governments’ official messaging seems to completely gloss over all this. The fact that the reputable scientists and doctors raising these issues are also getting actively deleted off social media, youtube etc makes me even more leery.

  357. Re RPC’s comment about improving the resilience of a house via insulating etc.

    I do not want to be a downer in this regard but I wanted to note that houses are complicated systems. Other than possibly deserts, it is critical to understand how yours handles water vapour to avoid mould and eventual structural damage. Older houses run as they were originally designed have very aggressive ventilation and zone (generally) wood heating fed with indoor air, they also had a lack of frequent hot, steamy showers and gas stoves. They take heaps of energy to deliver modern expectations of thermal comfort, but sealing and insulating to reduce this requires significant attention to mechanical ventilation and maintaining the ‘breathability’ of the building elements.

    Other older houses (especially in poor areas) may never have handled water vapour well (Glasgow tenements were notorious for streaming water and mould). Some of these have been made liveable using aggressive modern tech but it might be better to avoid these altogether in the long descent.

    Moving to more modern building systems, I am confident very few of the standard brick veneer houses in my temperate city will survive long without central heating. The older ones aggressively accumulate mould in any room heated to less than 14 degrees Celsius in Winter. They could be sealed and insulated like the newer ones are. However, nearly all of them new or old are built on small poorly ventilated crawl spaces. Wood rot will destroy all of the joists and bearers and only accelerate if there is minimal air leakage through the floor. This is not to say it’s not worth putting in ceiling insulation, solar hot water heating, water tanks and alternative cooking options to cope with outages. However, they are fundamentally unresilient long-term (in my climate).

    Having badly screwed up a couple of building sustainability projects, I think it is worth trying to find someone local who has had demonstrable success dealing with your particular type of building system.

  358. I’m thinking that the COVID theater is (among other things) a desperate attempt to rescue the faith in progress. We were faced with a deadly enemy, we pulled together, people in white coats came up with a miracle (=vaccine), and then once it’s over, we get to party, drunk on the glorious victory against the invisible (literally; you need an electron microscope to see it) enemy. Russians are playing the game, too. Why else did they name their vaccine Sputnik?

    Hmm. Assuming these vaccines don’t cause debilitating side effects to the vaccinated or their not-yet-born children, and assuming they (the vaccines) aren’t neutralized by new strains, do you think it’ll work? In my gut, I feel that it won’t. But what do I know? I never did believe in “progress.” All that blogs such as this one did was partially vaccinate (hehe) me against the belief in apocalypse. Progress? What progress? I’ve seen very little of it during my a-little-less-than-forty years on this planet.

  359. The latest fad in the potemkin village that is modern capitalism: Non Fungible Tokens (NFT).
    What are they? It’s a digitally signed certificate of a picture or a video clip that is authenticated through blockchain. Someone has sold a 10 second animation video for over 6 million. Here’s the truly ridiculous part: the video is freely available online for everyone to watch. So someone just paid a fracking fortune for a few bytes that says they own a few more megabytes that everyone can access anyway.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/retail-trading-nfts/insight-how-a-10-second-video-clip-sold-for-6-6-million-idUKL8N2KV6X9
    https://www.theverge.com/22310188/nft-explainer-what-is-blockchain-crypto-art-faq

    And the Chief twit — er, CEO of Twitter is “auctioning” the first ever tweet he made. Bids are already up to 2 million.

    If they keep at this for a while, pretty soon The Onion will be out of business.

  360. After taking in post replies from Oilman 2 a few months ago in particular, I am of the thinking this strange time will probably last roughly the time it takes for this to come about: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Pandemic-Could-Lead-To-A-Major-Oil-Supply-Crunch.html
    I’m just starting working on organising the communal garden and restarting our local repair cafes for the summer here with our local ‘Transition’ group. I’ve decided to use the KISS principle for the next little while (origins from the American Navy?): Keep it simple, stupid. 🙂

  361. One last post this thread…

    My son and 2 of his friends were eating ham steaks we roasted over our fire pt, drinking the last of the 2020 beer we made. They all see and agree the descent is coming for them. The 2 friends have standing offers to homestead on our property, as they both contributed to the building of our farm.

    We were discussing what the likely harbingers might be for stages of collapse. They boiled it down to companies that actually make something vs those who do not. In the first group lay energy, food and economical transport. In the second lie most of the American corporations. Only the rich and the terribly stupid are playing on Wall Street – and they are pursuing 1929 with vigor. But that particular group has oversize influence on everyone via insurance money pools, so insurance companies going bust is a pretty big deal outside of Wall Street.

    Then you have ‘entertainment’, which is 100% not needed in hard times, as you are trying to survive – what use are reruns of Seinfeld or The Office? Starbucks and many other ‘boutique’ type chains will retreat – Starbucks may be the first as coffee prices are soaring already. They also brought up medicine and big pharma – because that balloon has yet to be punctured due to Covid profits. All agree that outside of county politics, the rest is useless as government simply takes care of its own – which my son the park ranger is gleefully aware of – and likely to be the last to downsize.

    Of note to me is that one of these guys is leaving to work in a vineyard in France next week, and the other is working as a city maintenance manager. Both are going to try and ride the storm, but also wanted to make sure they would be welcome if something goes sideways for them. One of them said, “I’m going to try and ride the ‘new normal’ horse as long as I can, but if it starts to limp, I may need to bail!”

    These young men have been black pilled, and that in itself was not via my preaching – they just all arrived at the same point via different paths of reading and thinking. I will take credit for pointing them to certain books..LOL

    I just wanted to put this out for your group to view. The current crop of 20-somethings is NOT composed of the types we are reading about in media. For the most part, they see the “rough beast” slouching towards them, and many are more cognizant of their future than people who have healthy portions of current media madness in their diet.

    My counsel was that rather than worrying about this coming slide, they should be nimble and have things on hand they may need, as things regarded as ‘normal’ begin to shudder and shake.

    And yes – I again told them they will always have somewhere to go to, even if we have to build a few small houses…

  362. RE: the question of health insurance and health savings accounts

    After not paying for health insurance for many years (Even though I didn’t feel poor, I worked part-time out of choice and I used to make little enough income that I qualified for Medicaid), for the past year, I’ve opted for health insurance, but I have chosen the highest deductible option. My employer pays 75% of the cost, so it’s pretty low expense for me, about $75 a month. After having a number of medical visits in 2020 following a presumed Covid illness last spring, I had wondered if it would make financial sense to choose a more comprehensive plan for 2021. However, based on my calculations, a higher deductible plan with paying more out-of-pocket expenses was still a little better financially for me than choosing a different plan, so I stuck with it.

    The nice perk with my plan is it comes with the option of a Health Savings Account. Because HSAs can be pre-tax, it’s like getting a discount on health expenses. This year I’ve chosen to contribute the maximum to my HSA, $3600. I’ve calculated that my tax savings are over $600. And the nice thing about my HSA is that I can use it for some alternative health expenses that most insurances don’t cover. I’ve used it to pay for naturopath appointments and acupuncture, which are allowed. So that’s another plus that makes me recommend HSAs to others.

  363. Arkansas: I don’t say I have had good experiences, but I have found that the wokesters can mostly be avoided. When I have to deal with them, I keep it straightforward and impersonal. As for the DT/C crowd, I am speaking from literally decades of experience with what I privately call the Cultural Conformity Police, with their never ending demands that Everyone must participate in upholding the wonderful consumer economy by spending money we don’t have on crappola we don’t need. And I truly have seen folks of this persuasion become angry and unhinged upon learning that someone else does not share their cultural preferences.

    temporaryreality: You typed something like Let others talk, it can be quite educational. Exactly. Something I have been doing for years. There is plenty to be learned from our enemies, though not usually what they want us to learn.

  364. TJandTheBear,
    that’s why I was talking about economic extraction as well. Assuming that we are already past peak oil extraction, we’ve still got the whole downslope of extraction ahead of us, as well as the remaining natural gas and coal, which have their own depletion curves to follow.

    There’s still enough extractable fossil fuels to make the climate situation a lot worse than it already is, and we’re already seeing substantial problems. Where I am, the most noticeable one is increased summer drought, forest fires, and resultant choking smoke. I had never experienced ‘smoke days’ like this until maybe 2015, and we’ve had multiple days->well over a week 3 out of the last 4 years. Elsewhere… I’m sure you’ve seen coverage of things like sunny day flooding in southern florida, receding mountain glaciers, reduced arctic ice, melting permafrost wrecking infrastructure in the arctic, etc, etc.

    Of course, climate change isn’t acting alone, and there’s also fossil fuel depletion, the senility of elites and social strife related to economic inequality, other pollution, overpopulation, groundwater depletion, other resource depletion, an economic system dependent on growth, overfishing, soil erosion and salination of agricultural land etc. Collapse has a lot of causes, and even if we were to magically solve climate change, we’d still see our civilization run out of steam and start falling to bits.

    To my mind, climate change is one of the top two or three reasons for collapse, and ignoring it is not a good idea. If you live in Miami beach, it will likely prove impossible! But treating it in isolation, especially ignoring energy issues and assuming renewables will solve all our problems won’t fix our society’s problems. Nothing will, entirely.

  365. @Azoulas, what @Scotlyn said. “My” land is close enough to sea level for there to be no illusion that ownership is some permanent objective condition. For some reason the land and adjacent river wanted my wife and me here to accompany them (perhaps only in preference to others who might have ignored or mistreated them); we both felt this the moment we first set foot here. So far they seem mostly to want to teach us a series of hands-on insights. This winter they asked for honeybees, so I’ve been going through online courses (live ones being shut down) and books on beekeeping in preparation for the spring. I don’t know if they want them for their own sake, for the bees’ benefit, or for another lesson for me. (Honeybees aren’t native here but neither are many of the currently significant species. And of course neither am I. I’ve seen no indications the land cares about or even perceives such distinctions.) From what you describe it appears you’ve been enrolled in a tougher curriculum for much longer.

    I’m thinking of a parable of a man who moves into an abandoned partly-ruined temple. Perhaps at first only to take shelter, but he feels at peace there, so he returns and eventually lives there. Perhaps his own ancestors were the ones who drove the temple’s original worshippers out, or perhaps he arrives as a complete stranger to both groups. After a while, having studied the surviving reliefs carved on the stone walls (all books and tools being long gone from the ruins) he begins performing some small rites, just to show respect to the gods formerly worshipped there and request forbearance for his intrusion. He can’t tell exactly what all the carvings mean, but he gives names and identities to some of the more prominent figures, and fashions some crude implements resembling the ones shown in the carvings and bearing some of the symbols, and devises some simple ceremonies and prayers for mercy and guidance. As this is happening, work teams from villages miles away continue (as they’ve been doing for years) showing up from time to time to pull down walls of other parts of the same ruins and cart the stones away to use elsewhere. The temple has no meaning to any of them. But our hermit persists in his devotions, finding more clues in the carvings and debris and in his dreams, filling out and embellishing his rites. Unless gifted with visions he’ll never be quite sure whether he’s truly honoring the original temple or profaning it, but his heart remains at peace and he takes that as a promising sign.

    At your home it must be really hard hearing those logging trucks all the time. Do you have a prayer or some verses to recite, at those times, to honor or comfort the spirits of the destroyed trees? Maybe that’s part of the reason you’re there.

  366. @Ron

    Haha, oh that space hotel is great. Looks just like the one from “2001: A Space Odyssey” I’d say its a great topic for long term bets. See if you can find someone who will bet that it will actually happen on schedule. Might be hard though. The comments on the website seem to be entirely people making fun of the project and calling it a scam. That would be more heartening if a significant percentage of them weren’t arguing its a scam because the earth is flat and space doesn’t exist.

  367. Augusto wrote, “If the lower astral descends into the etheric as a discharge creating natural disasters and such, in this impacting dynamic something else in the etheric must’ve been sublimated right?…. I wonder though then, if this lower astral muck can be used intentionally by an experienced magician to do something more productive with it.”

    As John Michael advised in the post, don’t go near the muck any more than you have to — instead, back carefully away from its craziness. What can be used productively (without all the danger of getting sucked into the deranged muckiness) is the balancing pull towards sublimation that is manifesting so powerfully right now. The opportunity for new understanding and spiritual growth is particularly high at the moment. Alas, so is the potential to crash and burn quite spectacularly.

    Our passing age’s obsessions with myths of unlimited control are impacting down in unwanted consequences all around us, not only from the astral, but from the spiritual and mental planes as well — dying myths tend to topple rather messily. When the idealized outlook of a reigning worldview begins collapsing in earnest, all sorts of formerly convincing delusions come crashing down by impacting into physical manifestation. For every one of those dying illusions to ground out, an already manifested energy must sublimate up to balance it.

    You could be one of those already manifested energies rising up. There is so much pull towards mystical enlightenment now that it is almost like grabbing hold of a ski rope and finding oneself easily carried up the mountain. Care and skill are still required to avoid wiping out, but somewhat less effort than was needed in the recent past. Hence why so many people are suddenly able to see through the constantly-hyped illusions of the Progress cult and its high priests in their scientist or unquestionably-democratically-elected-politician drag.

    The pull towards mental and spiritual sublimation is strong enough that even those who have grasped the other side of the ski rope and are hurtling down the mountain into impaction believe they are somehow bringing enlightenment and creating utopia in their messianic fervor to purge and cancel. Hence the wisdom of “back slowly away from the crazy person.” It is far too easy to get drawn into the seductively self-justifying power of their delusional utopian frenzy, mistaking it for the upward pull toward spiritual understanding. Like everyone else, they feel the dawning of a new age, but, by clinging to and protecting the trappings of the old age, they end up accompanying those delusions in their downward trajectory.

    The most fervent acolytes of Progress are getting impacted into ever more restrictive vortices with their dying worldview. As their idealized world tumbles down into the mundane dysfunctions of physical manifestation, they shriek and gnash their teeth most menacingly to frighten off the intolerable cognitive dissonance that they are not heading toward any type of bliss-filled utopia. The closer their delusional dreams come to smashing into the physical manifestation of their consequences, the stronger the lure becomes to reverse that descent through disintegration. Alas, that is the fate awaiting far too many of the most crazed converts. Equally disturbing is how many balanced and balancing ideas, myths, and people the Progress addicts will succeed in dragging into disintegration with them. Back away, now!

    The myriad horrors of living through the death struggle of a passing age gets balanced by the myriad wonders of living through the miraculous birth of a new one — the death of one age is, by definition, the birth of another. That tipping point is nauseatingly, thrillingly near. The age is dead; long live the age!

    Allow the sinking muck to settle wherever destiny has chosen for it, as you continue, unperturbed, on your journey back toward the light. Once that muck has finally settled all the way down, it too will then be ready to begin its climb back up — some cycles are so sublime they should be savored rather than rushed. Besides, the muck of the passing age deserves a good long recovery on the physical plane after the ordeal it has been through (and put the rest of us through.) May it rest in peace!

  368. @TamHob: Thanks for the information about insulation! I’m in a wet, temperate climate, so knowing those things are useful. Do you know of any further sources of info on the topic for lay people such as myself? I’d like to learn more.

  369. Arkansas, if you can snap a picture of that sign sometime, I’d love to use it for a post!

    Temporaryreality, no argument there. My eyes rolled so hard when I first read the call for submissions that I’m quite sure I saw the underside of my own brain. 😉 I’m pretty sure that what they mean by “hope” is “the privileged classes get to keep all their goodies.”

    Breanna, fascinating. I didn’t grow up in that context, so didn’t think of that, but it makes perfect sense.

    William, well, there’s that! It’s precisely because so many of the promises of progress have failed so embarrassingly that, I think, many of us are aware of the gap.

    Helix, of course. My point is that people — a minority so far, but not so small a minority as it once was — are beginning to figure out that all that consumer crap isn’t worth the pot metal and cheap plastic it’s made of, and the lifestyles that go with said crap are no better. More and more often these days I hear from people who have ditched some aspect of the officially promoted consumer culture — who’ve deleted their social media accounts, dialed way back on consumer goodies, turned to natural healing modalities in place of fantastically overpriced industrial medicine, etc., etc. — and I think that may be the wave of the future at this point. Still, we’ll see…

    Tom, thank you for this! I’ll credit him from now on.

    TamHob, ADE is certainly one of the things I’m concerned with. I’ve seen enough odd results in the biomedical field, though, to have an eye out also for black swans.

    Irena, that’s a plausible analysis. I think you’re right, too, that it’s not going to succeed in rescuing the myth of progress. Too many other things are so visibly in decline!

    Brian, yes, I just read about NFTs this morning. We now have all the ingredients in place for an orgy of speculative lunacy on the truly grand scale. I advise investing in popcorn futures!

    Jay Pine, excellent — you’re ahead of the game, I see. Yes, I’ve been watching oil prices rise and supplies falter for a while now, which is why I’ll be talking about peak oil again in an upcoming post.

    Oilman2, and having a couple more hearty young men is a good investment on your part, of course. Nicely played.

    Beneaththesurface, that seems very sensible. If I could get health care coverage for that kind of price I’d probably go with it — though it would be used only in emergencies, of course.

  370. Dear JMG ~ I very much appreciated this week’s blog post. Thank you. As a board of director for a rural electric coop out on the prairie, I can tell you that we pay great heed to the quality of our infrastructure. As a cooperative, there are no shareholders to pay or cater to. Our sole focus is our member owners. We invest mightily in our lines, poles, tree trimming, and underground lines. We diversify above ground (vulnerable to ice storms) and underground (vulnerable to water and gophers) lines so that we have a mix of both. When we have a ‘profit’ we return it as an annual dividend payment to our members. We are now doing strategic planning and looking at the energy transition and trying to figure our how to make our rural place (3700 members spread out over 100’s of square miles) resilient, at least for electricity supply and demand. We source electric power from three wholesalers, including western hydro. And we are looking into power storage that we could deploy on farms and then back feed into the system when we have a heavy load. Likewise, our rural electric coop bulk purchased a number of propane generators which we sold/distributed to our members. Those farms have the backup generator power plus we can control centrally, in a relatively low tech manner, so our coop can remotely turn on those farmstead generators and feed back into the grid if we are in need of power. Our coop installed a small community owned solar array and we have about 25 members with farm scale wind.

    Not all rural electric coops are as fastidious about the infrastructure and lucky enough to have the diversified power sources and back ups that we have. We don’t even have power ‘blinks’ anymore!! And this is in a part of the prairie with blizzards, gale force winds, and thanks to climate change a lot more ice storms.

    How our system holds into the future is the question of our times. Our area has lost 50% of its population over the past 40 or so years (the 80’s farm crisis 🙁 But the center still holds with a lot of plucky farmers.

  371. What do a Mars colony, an orbiting hotel, a floating island resort, the Hyperloop, gigantic “vertical forest” skyscraper arcologies, and dozens of other recent impractical mega-project pipe dreams all have in common? Elaborate CGI visualizations, usually on video.

    I doubt “CGI oversupply” is the only or the main reason why these concepts get press coverage and funding, but I suspect it’s a significant factor. The creators get to do just the fun parts of a mega project, the conceptual design and the visual details, without having to get their hands dirty making construction blueprints or cost schedules, let alone doing actual blue-collar construction work. The sponsoring corporations get the good press of being associated with a technologically advanced project without risking the bad press of cost overruns, accidents, or operational failures that come with actually building something real. The magazine and web site editors don’t have to go hunting for stock photos to illustrate the story they copy from the press release.

  372. Ron @ 374 re: Space hotel.

    Something about this story seemed familiar, then this morning it hit me: I remembered not long after the first Apollo moon landing, that Pan Am Airlines offered presale tickets to the moon! This was in 1969, though they did not charge for them I gather.(I was only 10 or 11 then, but I’m mighty pleased to have remembered all this!) I did a bit of Duckduckgo-ing, and there isn’t much to be had on this spot of historical trivial, though it appears Popular Mechanics has a feature article behind a paywall, and I did find this:

    https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-1989-09-03-8903010181-story.html

    Of course Pan Am withdrew the offer in 1971 after nearly 100,000 reservations, and Pan Am itself became history in 1991 or so.

    I’ll wager $20 the space hotel will not get any closer to reality.

    –Lunar Apprentice

  373. JMG

    You wrote “Bridge, it’s precisely because so many of the crazy people in question are in positions of privilege that backing away from them is so crucial…. it’s good strategy never to interrupt your enemies while they’re making a mistake…”

    I agree but the sad thing is their lunacy will drag us all down. They are creating illth (opposite of wealth iirc) so while they make the mistakes, and we pay the price. There doesn’t seem to be any way round it. The era of the barbarism of reflection has to crash and burn. I suppose the main advantage we have over the normies is we have a fair idea of what’s coming; they still believe technology, science, hydrogen etc etc will save us. Mentally we are stronger and don’t have their cognitive dissonance. I guess it’s about accepting the serenity prayer –

    grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    courage to change the things I can,
    and wisdom to know the difference.

  374. Everyone,

    So to all of you who were worried about the Dems and their antics this election cycle, it looks like they’ve managed to score a massive self goal with the Covid relief package. $1400 instead of $2000, massive means testing, and fewer people getting money than last year. They’ll get trounced in the midterms.

    In a totally different topic, does anyone know if there is an internet archive with material from correspondence courses from the 1900s to basically the internet age?

    Regards,

    Varun

  375. Hey JMG,

    first off, I want to say I’m very grateful for the AMA’s and discussions in the comments section you hold. Reading this weeks post was really illuminating for me, particularly regarding psychic epidemics taking hold. I have to admit that I think I was getting caught up in them because for quite a while I had been resisting wearing a mask when going into shops and using public transport,resulting in one physical confrontation with a security guard and then the police being called. I’ve stood in front of buses that wouldn’t take me because I wouldn’t wear the mask, then another bus driver refused to drive the bus after I got on,paid, and took off the mask on the top deck of the bus. He looked on the security camera’s and stopped driving the bus, and then just sat in his compartment and just kept pressing the FaceMask reminder button. I started getting into arguments and standoffs with other commuters arguing that he’s not allowed do that, and everyone just kept saying “IT’S JUST A MASK”. I didn’t budge. Everyone got off the bus and no one said anything to the bus driver!? I couldn’t believe it! I actually went on a tirade against the mask wearing bus driver behind his plexiglass compartment (they don’t have to wear one when they’re behind the plexiglass), until the next bus arrived. The bus arrives and I’m fairly agitated at this stage, and I rhetorically and angrily ask the bus driver where his mask is. He asks why I am getting angry at him, and I apologized and told him what happened and he agrees that’s not on. He then pulls down the plexiglass window and urges me to sign the Great Barrington Declaration. I nearly got upset when he said that. That was probably back in October/Novermber 2020. After December/January, the police started getting more aggressive and handing out fines etc. I stopped going to certain shops around January. I wear the mask now only when absolutely necessary, but feel horrible doing it.
    I also actually refused to wear one to my grandfathers funeral in November just passed, and was the only one in the Church not wearing one. The disgust I felt from some people there felt like it didn’t even warrant words. It was a weird day, and I still sometimes wonder should I have just worn it, but I also like to think my grandfather would have been on my side. (His father was stationed at the Four Courts in the 1916 Easter Rising, maybe I cant’ help it eh).
    Anyway, after reading this weeks post and thinking about it, I think I can feel myself mentally or emotionally stepping back from it. I feel like when I see people donning their masks outside and making sure people around them can see that they’re wearing them, I see me on the bus in October/Novermber 2020, and I was just one person possessed by that energy, now, it’s the “Good People” who seem possessed by that energy. That’s just how its feeling to me at the moment just now, but again, really helpful post on making sense of what’s going on right now.

    I got a few your books recently and am halfway through The Long Descent, and it’s a toss up between Dark Age America and Retrotopia next.( LRM and Lost Keys of Freemasonry are sitting on the shelf).

    I was a bit surprised about one of your replies to a comment above regarding land. I myself am looking to get some land for the purpose of producing…something! Goats milk, herbs, duck eggs, seeds, whatever! But I’ll look to source a copy of Green Wizardry in the mean time.

    Finally, apologies if you’ve already answered these questions, but do you think air travel will ever return to what it once was, even 50% of what it was? And do you think a proof of injection related to the current virus be a permanent hurdle? Thanks.

  376. Will J., JMG, and any others interested in Will’s question: “…what happened in the 1960s?” in relation to not being able to come up with new ideas, try this on and see if it fits:

    “…Still another pronounced tendency of an inflationary boom is to channel its growth into fringe activities, which means activities that constitute the overhead of society and do not directly generate any well-being for its members… [its] most prominent characteristic is feverish hyperactivity… for its own sake and without any considered connection to a useful purpose.

    [Activities like securities trading, financial and other services including paperwork and office work, distribution, management, etc.] showed the largest growth [and] the most price inflation which meant that they were generally more lucrative than productive work. [Yet] very little of all this activity added anything to the well-being of the citizen-consumer if he did not hold a job in these activities.

    In inflation, the first faculty that becomes anesthetized is the ability to weigh up real gain against real cost, and consequently the fringe activities blossom and become positively parasitic…. the essence of inflation is distortion. The invariable habit of inflation is to stimulate nonproductive activities at the expense of productive ones….

    …The unnerving quality of an inflation is that no one knows anything for sure — how much his money is overvalued, how much of his prosperity is illusory, how much of his work is useless and would not even exist in conditions of stability. All standards are lost. In the same way that inflation overstimulated useless activity and dampened true production, inflation had a way of turning all values upside down and all principles inside out.”

    This is Jens O. Parsson (pen name of Ronald Marcks, some info here http://web.archive.org/web/20200811065825/http://dyingofmoney.com/Home_Page.php), in Dying of Money: Lessons of the Great German and American Inflations, writing in 1974 about the US inflation of 1960-68. He might as well be talking about today, but this may go some way to explaining what happened in the sixties.

    In this space we frequently talk about the forces and powers of various planes affecting the course of human activities, and though we talk about money and economics and greed here, this book really clarifies just how powerful a force money is and how monetary policy can make or break a culture.

  377. Re: Health insurance and insurance of any kind

    If you don’t really need it, it’s there and works relatively well. But you don’t really need it and they are a middleman, taking a cut. If you do need it, guess what? It ain’t there. They will find a way not to pay for the serious stuff you need, leaving you to deal with the car dealer, I mean, hospital by yourself.

    So, if they’re just going to cut and run on you anyway, why give them any money to begin with? And yeah, I know PPACA was supposed to fix some of the more egregious abuses but all I see is that it implemented about 2000000 meters of red tape that stopped everything in its tracks and made everything 300x more expensive. Here’s my simple PPACA – hospitals are now illegal. You are on your own.

    I bet if the medical system in this country had to go black market, it would probably function better than it does right now.

  378. Re the singing Slavs: is anyone else intrigued by how different areas of the world have their own unique rhythms, with a few slopover areas along natural trade and invasion routes? If you heard instrumental versions of the Otava Yo songs, with no linguistic clues, you would still know they’re not performing Pacific Island music, just from the rhythm. I like the Hu, from Mongolia, but they don’t cause my good hip to lift and sway the way Middle Eastern rhythms do. I wonder how these distinctive rhythms came about. Does anyone else?

  379. I think I’ll avoid submitting my own post industrial short stories to Grist. I don’t think they’d enjoy tales of piracy, slavery, sailing ships , dying cities and frenzied bloody combat in a post industrial future even though its probably more plausible than the hopium they are peddling.

    My advice beyond the prepping advice to many have given is to stockpile books. Even before this woke madness a book-apocalypse will be coming and those wonderful paperbacks and hardback will get harder and harder to find.

    Also for your sanity’s sake don’t feel bad if you enjoy the good things we have while we have them. Posting on this board, playing video games, Netflix if you must . There is nothing wrong with liking material wealth or nice and easy living.

    The badness comes in not understanding the cost for it and paying the proper cost for it. The stupidity comes in not understand its fragile and preparing you and yours accordingly.

  380. Dear pygmycory, Matthias Gralle and Mr. Greer,
    Thank you for your remarks.
    It occurred to me a year ago that I shouldn’t worry about CO2 induced climate change because it’s going to solve itself when we run out of fossil fuels to burn.
    But the points that pygmycory bring up make me believe that the situation is far more serious than I thought it was, what with my flippant solution to climate change.
    Matthias, if I understood your point correctly, it confirms what I have been thinking occasionally; that all of the carbon in our fossil fuels must have been in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide at some time in the past.
    Mr. Greer, I hadn’t considered how long it would take for the plants to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, so thank you for pointing that out.

  381. Fra’Lupo wrote, “There are no guarantees any which way, but my guess is that cities/small towns that survived from pre-Industrial times (I’m in the Greater NY area, which has been the most densely populated in the country since even colonial times) did so for a particular reason (usually, access to waterways, which means trade).”

    Don’t overlook the earth currents running through those enduring urban areas. Whether those energies get called ley lines, dragon lines, or songlines, they have a profound impact on the vitality of the human settlements located along them and, most importantly, at their intersections. New York City is particularly optimally located in relation to those currents.

    Earth currents can be positively or negatively charged (Thankfully there are way more positive lines than negative!), so paying attention to how the planet’s energies affect our behavior is as important as looking at any visible topographical features in terms of predicting how a region will endure decline. Settling along positively charged lines is great, but avoiding the more powerful of the negative ones is even more important.

    People who find themselves tempted by the chaotic void of the death force will have that trait amplified around negative earth currents — it isn’t pretty. On the other hand, people approaching internal balance will have that delightful trait strengthened around positive earth currents. If you really want to curse yourself, settle at the crossing of a major positive and negative line — everything in your life will turn chaotic and get completely snarled up!

  382. @pygmycory
    that’s why I was talking about economic extraction as well.

    Please re-read my comments as I addressed that. Whatever’s economic today won’t be economic tomorrow. We’ll never extract all that oil, and soon the use of what we do will no longer exceed the environment’s capacity to recover.

    Did you read the linked article?

  383. @ Breanna #318
    Exactly! I’ve been telling the exact same thing to anyone who will listen since my days of bumping up against the politically correct in a liberal private college in the early 90s. As someone who suffered greatly as a youth under the influence of the Southern Baptists, I recognized immediately that it was the same methods and tactics. Somewhere there is a great quote by the author Margaret Atwood that says something to the effect that Marxism (which is what I consider Wokesterism) is just another branch of Christianity. Interestingly, my “wokest” friends are those who grew up in fundamentalist Christian households.

  384. Temporaryreality,

    Thank you for this. I’ll need to see if any local libraries carry the book: it looks like it’ll be quite interesting.

    Varun (#405),

    It’s even worse than that: they’re basing their means testing it based on 2019 income. Um, the entire point behind the aid is, in theory, to help people suffering from loss of income in 2020. So means testing it based on 2019 income is a terrible idea on so many levels…..

  385. Hi Himself,

    Here in the midwestern U.S., or at least my little corner thereof, most stores will not let you on the premises without a mask. Shrug. It’s their country, when in Rome…

    I was actually born in the U.S., but at some point around 1980, They took it away and replaced it with this oddball nation in which I now dwell.

  386. Kayeoh. Its not a surprise some of you ex fundamentalist friends are super Woke. They have the urge for faith but like for many American Fundamentalism doesn’t fill the gap.

    Woke itself is essentially a Protestant heresy, lazy mans Nice Christianity without Jesus or any real spiritual work combined with Cultural Marxism. It reminds me a tad of Liberation Theology as well.

  387. Tolkienguy wrote, “‘Psychic epidemic’ is a very useful term! About how long do you think it will last?”

    Estimating from the end of the West’s previous organizing worldview, the Medieval period, we’re probably looking at a couple hundred years of rolling psychic frenzies. Sorry, there’s no way to sugarcoat that. The Medieval age was modeled on the body, so, when it began panicking about its impending doom, it just kept trying to destroy the bodies it imagined were threatening it, rather than paying attention to the thoughts and minds that actually were. Didn’t do it much good, since the rising Humanist age was modeled on the mind.

    Similarly, our mind-based worldview, now panicking about its own impending doom, keeps trying to destroy the minds it imagines are threatening it, rather than paying attention to whatever the rising age will be modeled on (won’t be the body or the mind this time.) Our mind-melting hypocrisies and cancellings will be no more effective at slowing the fast-approaching new age than the Medieval body-destroying burnings and tortures were. A new age is dawning, with or without our approval.

    The irrational, thought-stopping, mind-melting drivel we’re being continually bombarded with becomes much easier to tune out once we realize that it is actually designed to destroy our minds, not inform them. When enough people quit voluntarily yoking their minds to Progress, Bernays and Goebbels perfected propaganda to enslave our minds instead. Now that their propaganda is no longer compelling our obedience, destroying the threat of our disobedient minds has become the new goal.

    The constantly changing “facts” and narratives are features, not flaws in the battle to eliminate the threat of uncontrolled mind. Erasing broadly known histories to replace them with delusional fantasies and redefined terms is meant to destabilize functioning minds. Once destabilized, mindlessness meditation doesn’t have far to go to obliterate whatever remains of mind. “You’ll think nothing, and you’ll be happy.” Empty minds are also much more vulnerable to psychic epidemics (another celebrated feature of a well melted mind.) We might as well get used to psychic waves regularly inundating portions of the population in obsessive epidemics — in fact, it’s a pretty normal human trait.

    I date the end of the hierarchical age of Medieval precedence and the start of the progressive age of Humanist questioning to a year or two after Joan of Arc’s burning and Henry VI’s disputed crowning as ruler of France in 1431. In an age of body, crowning a weak boy-king was a pretty self-destructive act. In a new age of mind, burning an improbable hero’s body turned her into a permanent symbol of visionary strength. Oops!

    Hundreds of years of psychic epidemics ensued. In 1453, the fall of Constantinople led to increased pogroms of Muslims and Jews. The pope inaugurated a new craze for burning witches’ bodies in 1483. Savonarola burned the bodies of work of various cancelled artists in 1497 in his bonfire of the vanities. The Edict of Worms declared a schism with Martin Luther’s body of teachings in 1521, launching the purges and wars of the Reformation. The Inquisition considerably increased its torturous influence over the ensuing few centuries.

    Will our humanist age similarly end and its subsequent age begin just a year or two after Donald Trump’s erasure and Biden I’s disputed crowning as ruler of America in 2021? In an age of mind, crowning a demented old-man-king was a pretty self-destructive act. In the rising new age, eradicating the thought (rather than the body) of an inconceivable hero, who temporarily turned the tide of a hundred-year war between rivaling aristocracies, may turn him into a permanent symbol of an as-of-yet-unrecognized strength. Was that our “Oops!” moment?

    Imagine the unimaginable — a new reality is about to be born. And the old one is not at all happy at all about that fact!

  388. Prairie Drifter, distributed generation and energy storage – this is what I like to hear. 🙂 What energy storage methods are you considering? I have a soft spot for flywheels, liquid air, and industrial compressed air (where spare power fills an air bank, which later runs compressed air equipment).

  389. @Lady Cutekitten,
    Thank you for that link to Otava Yo. They are gifted and hilarious. Most of the songs there seemed to have at least a short explanation on the content. The tempo was too quick for me to catch much except the last word of each line first time hearing it. I’m bookmarking them, and if I find a slow song by them I’ll teach it to my Russian student.

    Incidentally, we got a couple of kittens late last year, and one of them shows every sign of having been my pet bullsnake 36 years ago, the one that stuck around with me on some plane from about 30 years ago, when I urged him to try kittenhood. I guess he finally decided to take me up on that, perhaps intrigued at the potentials of linear thinking, after what seems to me to have been at least two more lives as a snake. He was totally dazed at first and we were afraid he wouldn’t last. His instincts worked fine–but he didn’t seem to know what to do with them! He sits around on the floor like a puppy. Sweet passive creature. I’ve been coaching him through this, exercising his legs and teaching him to jump, and he seems to be getting the hang of it. I think the hardest thing for him has been the need to compete when you’re a cat. I’ve wondered if urging doghood would have been better for him, but probably even more of a shock in different ways.

  390. Thank you to all the people who replied to my question about preparing my house for the Long Descent. I’m a bit overwhelmed – so much to take in! Thanks to JMG, Beekeeper, Teresa, Yorkshire, TamHob and anyone else who I may have missed.

    I can see I have a lot of research and reading ahead of me.

    I’m not in any hurry but also don’t want to get stuck in the rut of endless research with no action.

    We are already on decent terms with some neighbours (my kids play with some of their kids, collect mail for each other etc) but it could always be improved.

    Learning some DIY skills and adult education for myself is on the list, but at the moment my priority is physical fitness (I have a serious focus on that) and earning money at my job. It won’t last indefinitely, but for at least the next couple of years or so, I have a temporary opportunity to make a lot more money than usual so I figure the priority is to build up a good chunk of savings and reserves towards retirement and enhance physical resilience (my wife is also working on her health, plus she is an excellent professionally trained chef, although she’s never worked as one, but that kind of skill will certainly be useful in the Long Descent). But “learning practical skills” is definitely on my list in the next phase when I can focus less on work in 2-3 years (also the time when I want to start taking up magical practices more).

    Actually, I have another related question since the house advice has been so great.

    Are there any suggestions for how I can help my kids (two under 10) start adapting to the Long Descent? There’s a lot of social pressure and the “default” option if I do nothing is to let them become regular PMC kids. Not bad people, but just unprepared. But especially in an urban environment it’s harder to give them the kind of adaptability I want.

    This is what I’ve done so far:

    -Insisted on having both of them in a (good) state school where they meet a wider range of kids, even though we could probably afford private school. I may be forced into private school when they hit secondary age though because the local secondaries are awful.

    -They are still on the young end, but I will make it clear to them they don’t have to go to university if they don’t want to and I won’t pressure them over it, but that is not an excuse to waste waste age 18-21 (this will be very hard given the pressure and expectations in our demographic).

    -Both of them attend boxing classes quite seriously. I put a lot of effort into finding a gym that taught actual skills instead of merely being “for fitness” or glorified day-care like many kids martial arts. So they learn the very valuable life (not just boxing) lesson that actions have real consequences and if you drop your guard, you will get thumped, and it will hurt. As a bonus, real self-defence skills, and interactions with a very socially mixed group of kids and adults outside the PMC (I’m often the only adult who has been to university when I take the boys to their class).

    -Someone here on the blog posted a link to a great guy who appears to take kids and families on country walks and teach them tracking skills in England – I’m definitely doing that when lockdown ends if he’s close enough to us.

    -Other things along those lines, but a focus on socializing and interacting with a mixed group of friends, learning independence and that actions have consequences, teaching healthy eating habits (and my wife is starting to teach them basic cooking) limiting iPad time as much as possible and not giving them phones till they are 12 or later (limiting screen time is the biggest battle of all – I know we do far better than average – when restaurants used to be open I was always shocked at how many parents will take kids out for dinner and let the kids stare at a phone at the restaurant just so that the parents can have some time to talk in peace – but they still have a lot more than I would like).

  391. Hi Jbucks,

    If you just want to know the standard advice re insulation, sealing etc, it’s pretty generally available on the net eg: http://www.superhomes.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Eco-Retrofit-Beginners-Guide.pdf. Also, there was a link to an old Master Conservers Handbook floating around on one of JMG’s old sites which was pretty good.

    The technicalities of what can go wrong are more house specific. The OP said he was English – the English have a lot of houses with solid masonry walls (brick, stone, even earth). Having read some horror stories about spalling walls, water condensing and running internally down between the insulation and the old wall or just mould forming, it seems those types of buildings can be tricky to retrofit.

    Anyway, these sites briefly mention some of the traps: https://www.building.govt.nz/building-code-compliance/h-energy-efficiency/h1-energy-efficiency/retrofitting-insulation-in-external-walls/risks-with-retrofitting-wall-insulation/, or https://homeefficiencyguide.com/insulating-old-brick-house-walls/. Some builders also have blogs and like to put up case stories to discuss DIY horror stories. Then it’s just a matter of trying to work out if the problem actually exists in your location/type of house.

    Also, you can just ask around about what has worked in your area. In my area, with brick veneer, extra bulk roof insulation and reflective sarking stapled between trusses are both good for a few extra degrees and don’t seem to cause issues. However, blown in cavity insulation, no matter what type, always seems to cause problems.

  392. “take up things instead that you can do yourself,” -indeed. To me climate change rhetoric (for or against intervention) seem to target a stalemate that leads to an inaction that upholds the status quo. The benefit to the elites is that it takes resources and attention away from environmental interventions that nobody disagrees on such as drinking water tests for lead of the sort that inspire inconvenient and effective industrial regulations.

    Do you think that the elites have learned to divert our attention away from achievable goals and interventions by amplifying the hopelessness of unachievable fantasies? If so, do you think it might be intentional or unconscious?

    (I apologize if this came off off more as a statement then a question, I’ve been asking smart people this to guard against inappropriate cynicism.)

  393. Pxelated, and others, I love the coinage “bugsplat crazy”. There is a loose equivalent in German: “krachdumm”. The word “Krach” means “loud noise”, and “dumm” means “dumb, silly”. I read that word quite a while ago in connection with a critical paragraph about neo-nazis in a book “Das Wörterbuch des Gutmenschen”, literally “the dictionary of the good-human”.

  394. Brian, I wouldn’t dismiss NFTs so soon.

    It’s certainly true they are in a speculative bubble right now, but (like the 19th century railway boom and the 1990s Internet boom), there is actually useful technology underlying it, and the technology and new use cases will remain after the bubble bursts (which it certainly will).

    To put it another way: until now, we have always acted under the assumption that digital content of any kind. (text, pictures, video, whatever) could not be unique. That it could and would be mass-copied identically.

    NFTs for the first time allow true digital scarcity – or the creation and transfer of unique digital items which can only be held by one person at a time. It’s true that the associated picture or video or copy of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet etc can be copied – but that is in the same category as copying the Mona Lisa – no matter how perfect the copy, it is only the original which has value.

    This kind of digital scarcity has huge implications for (as we are seeing right now) the art world (people own it for much the same reason that hedge fund managers pay $100m for a work of art when they can buy a perfect print of it for $10), but also many others – it will revolutionize online gaming and sale of items in virtual worlds etc.

    TL:DR: While the space is certainly in a bubble right now (and the bubble will burst), the actual advance in creating unique digital items and scarcity is an important and valuable one and there will be a lot of usecases for it that we don’t even know yet.

  395. @Will re “What happened in the 1960s?”

    I can think of a few things: First was the Kennedy assassination with the attendant murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the emergence of the Zapruder film, and the Warren Report whitewashing of the whole affair. I think this event caused a seismic shift in our and beliefs about the integrity of our government and our society and largely destroyed the positive and forward-looking outlook brought to the table by “the greatest generation” among those in their developmental years. What followed was a deep reevaluation of our ideas about how society actually works and the relationship of our government to the people.

    That suspicion was further deepened by the Vietnam war. Not only was the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” clearly bogus further damaging trust in our government, but the ensuing war stoked a conflict between “patriots” who supported the war (“My country, right or wrong, my country!”) and the “resistance” (“Tune in, turn on, drop out!”) on the other. Thus was the solidarity of our country broken, and remains broken to this day. The assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. added fuel to the fire.

    Along with this was the Civil Rights movement. Up until this time, US culture was unquestionably dominated by whites of European extraction. The Civil Rights movement gave blacks and women a voice in the national conversation. It forced our culture to consider these alternative viewpoints and to adjust to the legitimate demands of those who had heretofore been largely excluded from the discussion.

    None of these factors were totally new. Presidential assassinations want back a century before. Working class people always knew that society and government worked against their interests, slavery had been abolished in a bloody war a century earlier, and women won the right to vote decades ago. What was different was the fact that these forces all came together in the span of a few years and altered the consciousness of the middle and upper middle classes. The search for explanations brought them to Marx and Gandhi, Betty Friedan, Timothy Leary, and Malcolm X.

    One thing that was new was The Pill. Suddenly, having a love life didn’t automatically bring children along with it. IMO, this, as much as anything, fundamentally altered the relationship between men and women. Having smaller and more manageable families and controlling when they had children, women could now much more fully in commercial, professional, and civic life. I think it’s hard to overestimate the impact this has had on our society.

  396. JMG,

    Maybe I’m crazy for thinking Bill Gates and Mark Carney are not crazy.

    If so, you have taken your own advice.

    Come to think of it: where are my meds? 🙂

    Cheers,

    Dave Coulter

  397. @JMG

    Speaking of hearty young Men. Have you read Manthropology?
    https://www.booktopia.com.au/manthropology-peter-mcallister/book/9781250003225.html

    Having done studies on skeletons and historical records he found that historically Mankind has far more force exerted on his skeleton. And therefore in general Men of the past were far faster, stronger and could jump higher on average.

    Manliness of the Physical Kind was off the charts compared with today’s flabby Males.

  398. Ignore the snotty title: a believable take on the Great Dr. Seuss Cancel. P.S. – for anyone noting the anti-Japanese caricatures, as this article did, I want to shout “We were at war with them! A war to the death on both sides! There were a lot of anti-Nazi caricatures published as well, including a beautifully bawdy song to the tune of Colonel Bogey’s March, about their top leaders. Anyway – believable under the rhetoric etc:

    https://theweek.com/articles/969981/republican-grievance-perpetual-motion-machine?utm_campaign=afternoon_newsletter_20210304&utm_source=afternoon_newsletter&utm_medium=email

  399. “Brace for serious trouble.” Indeed. My folks were caught in the less publicized ice storm power outage in Oregon. 10 days without power and subzero temps. They did have natural gas, but the central heating fan is electric. Oops. They had a fireplace but only enough wood for fun. They resorted to sitting by the stove or just staying in bed bundled up all day. Neighbors pitched in and gave them a cord of wood. Lesson learned: neighbors are important.

    Down here in (coastal) Northern California, a saving grace is that there’s no need for heat or a/c. However, I’m worried about the water infrastructure. Hetch Hetchy is technically gravity fed but what if it ruptures or becomes contaminated? I’m considering moving to the Sacramento uplands to be closer to the American River (not to mentions farms, more moderate politics), but then I have to deal with extreme heat. Wildfires are easy to avoid (don’t live in the hills!) but air pollution is not.

    Bottom line, there’s no easy solutions or perfect place. Of course, don’t make your stand in an exurb of Henderson, Nevada. But beyond that, think about what tradeoffs you’re willing to deal with.

  400. Walt F, your stry of the hermit moving into the abandoned temple is my kind of thing. Have you ever seen the paintings of Hubert Robert? His whole theme is people camping out in the ruins of once-great civilisations. Some of them have spiritual themes. Three involve hermits:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Hubert_Robert_%28French_-_A_Hermit_Praying_in_the_Ruins_of_a_Roman_Temple_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Hubert_Robert_-_At_the_Hermit%27s.jpg

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Hubert_Robert_-_Hermit_in_the_Colosseum_-_32.2019.3_-_Dallas_Museum_of_Art.jpg

    But it was his ‘Egyptian Fantasy’ that had the most effect on me: https://pixels.com/featured/fantaisie-egyptienne-hubert-robert.html (highest detail image I could find). It looks like a bunch of Druids set up shop in a sinister post-Pharonic, pre-Islamic pyramid.

    There’s also Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘Abbey in the Oakwood’: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_The_Abbey_in_the_Oakwood_-_WGA08240.jpg/1200px-Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_The_Abbey_in_the_Oakwood_-_WGA08240.jpg. These two paintings really convey the idea of spirituality as the last source of warmth in a darkening world.

  401. pygmycory-

    An experiment for you. In conversation with social justice advocates, try saying at some appropriate point, “there are too many people on the planet”. You’d think that this was a pretty safe statement, but watch out!

    I’m reliably told, in response, that there are plenty of resources, and that I must secretly want to kill off and oppress black and brown people in order to secure more resources for myself, just like Europeans have been doing for centuries.

    Bringing this back to Phil’s point about cognitive dissonance: people know that this planet is resource constrained, they know that *they* personally are using more than their share of resources. They don’t want to give up what they have, but they want to feel like good people: cognitive dissonance. The response is that *someone else* must be the bad people, and since you said the thing that made them feel bad they’re going to say something back that makes *you* look like the bad person/racist.

    So, yes, the cognitive dissonance causes people to see others as hate-filled. From there, it’s “what you contemplate, you imitate”. IMHO.

  402. @Irena #389
    > [the vaccines] … do you think it’ll work?

    I think some will benefit a bit, a minority will suffer from debilitating side effects (maybe mild, maybe grave, it is impossible to tell just now), but ultimately it will be too little to late to have much effect into the unfolding of this pandemic. Much of the World will receive too little doses to have an impact short term and herd immunity will be achieved the old fashioned way. Your mileage may vary if you live in one of the overdeveloped countries who are immunizing large swaths of their population, or if your region ends up with a long term endemic strain of the virus. On the other hand, vaccination will allow politicians to lift some restrictions that should have not be enacted in the first place, and to do so without loosing face in the eyes of their constituencies.

    What I think will be a more lasting impact is the attitude towards immunization in general. There was a door that should have not been opened but was: the use of experimental treatments in large populations. The people with nuanced views towards vaccination in particular, and invasive treatments in general, will face an increasing pressure towards signing off their health to the hands of the experts. Most will conform to the norm, but those unable/unwilling to conform will be forced into the camp of the extremists: you either have to wave off concerns about treatments that have not even invented yet, or forego time tested technologies like tetanus shots and blood transfusions. Not a decision I’d feel happy to take, but certainly not one I’d see taken in my stead.

  403. Ray Wharton –

    This may sound crazy, but are you sure that all of your potential produce-market customers will actually knows how to prepare and cook their own food?

    A lot of young (and not so young) people have never learned to cook at all, to quite a shocking degree.

    Something that had caught on pre-covid (with people who have money anyway) were those “Blue Apron” type businesses that send boxes with pre-measured , cut-up ingredients and a step-by-step recipe, so that buyers could cook a whole meal at home all by themselves, despite having no idea how to cook without spoon-fed instructions. Yes, it’s….bizarre, But obviously, it filled a need.

    You might want to think about offering a much simpler low-end version of that service. It could be as easy as putting “how to cook what we’re selling this week” information or links on your business’s website, or offering to include with each produce purchase a photocopy of simple step-by-step directions for cutting up and cooking the item in question.

    Maybe I’m wrong about how may people literally don’t know what to do with a squash or potato, but….well, you might be surprised by what I’ve seen.

    Perhaps if you can be the farm stand that goes above and beyond by helping people who never learned how to cook understand what to do with the food, you can attract more customers.

    just a thought!

    -El

  404. TJandtheBear,
    as a matter of fact, I have read many articles on that blog by Gail Tverberg, dating back at least the past ten years. In my experience, she has a tendency to argue that things are about to collapse, year after year after year, and she makes very similar arguments each time. I am thoroughly familiar with her arguments, and I disagree with her on the likely speed of collapse on the grounds that she keeps being too fast, too soon.

    And yes, I was aware that you were talking about economic extractability – so was I. But because we seem to disagree on the speed of collapse, we’re going to come to different conclusions about the relative importance of CO2 emissions, and how much there is likely to be left.

    Please don’t go assuming that because I don’t agree with you on every detail, that I haven’t read or understood your argument. I have.

  405. @Lathechuck, good points about those water damage issues. I’ve never dealt with fire sprinklers in any way. Most private homes don’t have them, and apartments that do have them are not going to have their utilities accessible to tenants anyhow. Seems like it could be a real dilemma for small business owners who own their own buildings. Freezes, like floods, elevate fire risks dramatically. But frozen sprinklers wouldn’t do any good anyhow. Hmm.

    (A bit of superficial research confirms this is a tricky issue. Fire sprinkler pipes can indeed be drained, but doing so might generate an automatic fire alarm, and/or require special arrangements with the fire department. There are dry sprinkler pipe systems designed for unheated spaces, but few of those would likely be in use in a situation like Texas’s where other breakdowns cause normally heated spaces to go unheated. A small commercial/industrial building owner relying on gas lines and/or grid power for heating might be wise to invest in a portable kerosene torpedo heater and a fuel supply for it. When needed, run the heater from outside, and don’t try to occupy or use the space while the heater is in use.)

    As for toilets, treating the bowl water against freezing will work, but you don’t have to scoop the bowl completely empty (which is also hard to do) to prevent damage. Just get the water level low and there will be plenty of room for ice to expand without cracking anything (and you need less alcohol or antifreeze if you want to prevent that too). The more likely freezing problem for a typical home toilet is the tank, which you can empty by closing the supply valve and then flushing. (Some water will be left in there too, but again not enough to cause damage if it freezes.)

  406. Actually I think Grist is wanting something like:

    Skyriders to the Rescue

    Follow the adventures of Airship Nevermore:

    The Nevermore is a fourth generation graphene, koi shaped airship: a solar powered, hydrogen filled, community of 300 ecologically trained thespians with a side line of search and rescue.

    Her captain Stratus – our hermaphroditic, half-Algonquin / half-Bantu, wise and fearless leader (who has a weakness for attractive green skinned slaves: men or women)

    Zep the first officer: she is big, black, and beautiful with the voice of an angel and temper of a daemon.
    Bo-wing the chief engineer- he can’t walk but he keeps the Nevermore flying!

    Donner -artistic director soft spoken, immaculately dressed, compassionate, gay genius stage manager.

    Tern the part human part amphibian prima donna.

    Dandelion – the completely hairy orphaned genetically modified boy/sea otter. (you will fall in love with this one legged scamp)

    And the rest of the crew.

    While on the way to the Momma Chestnut Festival in SinC the crew of the Nevermore must cross over the ungoverned regions of Appalachia in the aftermath of hurricane Xander. Captain Status and the crew have their faith in the transformative power of narrative shaken to its core.

  407. Jessica, that article was brilliant. One wonders if it hasn’t been a deliberate strategy, it’s certainly worked well for certain classes of people. The game changer could be that enough people switch camps, from the fallen professional class, after understanding the dynamic, which could possibly happen given hard times and the Left over playing their hand too early. Then you have a Coriolanus scenario, where he leads the Volscians in a march on Rome (see Curtis Yarvin’s analysis on that, Substack). It’s possible they can “educate” everyone into ideological hegemony, but that seems like a strategy with a lot of possible backfires.