Not the Monthly Post

The Revolt of the Imagination, Part Three: Co-Creating the Future

As I write these words, the Russo-Ukrainian war has raged for a week.  To a great many people, crises like these make the theme of my recent posts here—the potential of the human imagination—seem wholly irrelevant.  That’s a common mistake, but it’s still a mistake. To begin with, let’s please remember that wars and the political and economic crises that drive them are normal parts of human experience.  Granted, for the last three quarters of a century there’s been very little open warfare in the industrial world, but in the nonindustrial world—which is after all where most human beings live—insurgencies, civil wars, and wars between nations have been very nearly as common as ever.

The industrial nations have been relatively peaceful because they’ve been subject to the global hegemony of the United States.  That hegemony is cracking around us, and the Ukraine war puts the decline in American power into high relief. As something like 225,000 Russian troops drive deep into Ukraine, supported on the ground by tanks and artillery and from the air by waves of fighter-bombers and cruise missiles, and Ukranian military units and civilian irregulars confront them on battlefields scattered across Europe’s second largest country, the US response consists of moving a few token forces to countries well out of the line of fire, and imposing yet another round of financial sanctions aimed at Russian politicians—you know, the sort of meaningless gestures that have reliably failed to accomplish anything when used against other hostile nations for decades now.  It’s a good question why this response remains so rigidly glued in place, despite its abject failures. I suspect that America’s ruling class is so monomaniacally obsessed with raking in money that it has never occurred to most of its members that the leaders of other nations might put other goals ahead of personal profiteering.

Yet one thing that’s been made very clear by the current crisis is that the US and its European vassal states no longer have anything like as much influence over events as they like to pretend.  How soon that influence will finish its decline into irrelevance is a good question.  As the global hegemony of the United States comes apart, wars are inevitable, just as they were when the global hegemony of the British Empire started coming apart a little over a century ago.  Just as the globalized economy of the Victorian era went to pieces as the British Empire lost its grip, the globalized economy of the American era will go to pieces as the United States loses what’s left of its ability to force its will on the rest of the world. Wars, revolutions, economic crises, and the rest of it?  Already being dished up for us by a short-order cook named Tomorrow.

What makes all this relevant just now is that most of the great works of imagination our species has produced came out of times no less tumultuous than the present. I’m not just speaking here about literary and artistic works, either. Consider the constitution of the United States, that astonishing work of political imagination.  The convention that crafted it met in the wake of a long, bitter, and destructive war, and that conflict in turn was simply one round of an age of struggle between the British and French empires, which was kicked off by the outbreak of the War of the Grand Alliance in 1688 and didn’t finally wind down until the Napoleonic wars ended at Waterloo in 1815. Global warfare—the Seven Years War of 1756-1763 saw British and French forces clashing across a battle zone that stretched from North America to India, and included every one of the world’s oceans—along with explosive political and economic turmoil were the order of the day, and yet somehow the delegates who met in Philadelphia found time for a work of visionary politics that still shapes much of the collective structure of today’s world.

So the mere fact that the world is lurching through yet another crisis hardly counts as an excuse for the disastrous failure of the imagination I’ve discussed in previous posts. Yet there’s another point to be made here.  The crises of our time are being driven by the failure of imagination just noted, and will not end until enough people shake off the geriatric delusions that still define the notional future of our time, and imagine something different for a change.

It’s been pointed out quite accurately that politics is downstream from culture.  In less gnomic terms, this means not only that changes in the political sphere are always preceded by cultural shifts, but also that the cultural shifts in question define the landscape of possibility within which political change takes place.  It’s much less often noticed, however, that in exactly the same sense, culture is downstream from imagination:  that is, changes in the cultural sphere are always preceded by shifts in the collective imagination, and these shifts set out the landscape of possibility within which culture then changes. This does not necessarily mean that what happens downstream is determined by the changes further up.  One of the great collective facts of our time is the hard fact that cultural change can generate political blowback.

Consider the rise of fundamentalism in the Muslim world.  Cultural change driven by the importation of Western customs and values into Muslim-majority countries redefined the political sphere, but not in the way that Westerners expected—that is, Muslims in those countries didn’t quietly put their religion on a shelf and become good little materialist consumers, ripe for exploitation by Western multinational corporations.  Instead, customs and values that had been a matter of personal choice turned into hot-button collective political issues as people identified them as instruments of American and European hegemony. The Iranian revolution of 1978 and the fall of Afghanistan last year are just two of the many consequences. There are plenty of other examples, including the one that’s currently making a mess of eastern Europe, but we can leave discussions of that point until the bullets stop flying.

To a very large extent, of course, these repeated displays of collective stupidity on the part of the neoliberal Western states are direct results of the tolerance for elite failure that John Kenneth Galbraith anatomized so mordantly in his fine and lively book The Culture of Contentment. In today’s industrial nations, the rule that overrides all others is the insistence that people in the upper end of the managerial aristocracy must never be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. That’s what lies behind the stunning incompetence of neoliberal governments and corporate C-suites in recent decades. No matter how clueless their actions, no matter how disastrous the results, the decisionmakers know they won’t have to pay any price themselves, so why should they care?

Yet that simply points out the depth of the failure of imagination that underlies the cultural and political failures just discussed. A ruling elite that fails to accept responsibility for its failures doesn’t remain in power indefinitely, because its incompetence quite reliably wrecks the society that it rules. (That was Galbraith’s core point—he compared today’s government and corporate elite, in fact, to the French aristocracy of the prerevolutionary era, and showed that the former is making all the same mistakes as the latter.)  This is precisely what the managerial aristocracy of today’s industrial nations cannot imagine. Confident of their supposed status as destiny’s darlings, sure that they and their lackeys are uniquely qualified to lead humanity forever onward and upward toward the best of all possible tomorrows, they are incapable of conceiving of a future that fails to pander to their collective sense of entitlement. It has never occurred to them that the future might just be more imaginative than they are.

In an important sense, the comfortable classes of today’s industrial world are busy acting out on a grand scale the trajectory of the New Age movement that budded, blossomed, and went to seed in the second half of the twentieth century.  The central theme of that movement was the claim that each of us creates our own reality. There’s an important truth in that statement, but over the years it got dumbed down into the claim that reality is whatever you want it to be. That’s not what the people who framed that teaching meant, but it’s the way that the teaching has been taken far too often, with results ranging from the embarassing to the catastrophic.

What the teaching originally meant is that your own thoughts, words, and deeds, though their consequences, play an immense role in shaping the world that you experience. Most of us, most of the time, go through life blaming other people and the world at large for miseries that we ourselves set in motion.  That can be overstated—it simply isn’t true that every source of human misery comes about that way—but it’s true often enough to be a valuable insight.  Look at the difficulties you face in life, remember that the one common factor in all your problems is you, and quite often it becomes possible to notice that a good many of those problems will go away if you stop doing the things that cause them and start doing something else instead.

In the hands of pop culture, on the other hand, the teaching that you create your own reality got turned into an insistence that the consequences of your thoughts, words, and deeds only matter if you want them to, and therefore you can keep doing the same thing and expect different results. That way lies disaster. If you decide that you create your own reality in this latter sense, to make up an example, you might convince yourself that it’s perfectly safe for you to go take a stroll across a freeway at night because you’ve decided that cars don’t exist. Do this and there’s a very good chance that you’ll create your own reality, all right, but the reality in question won’t be a pleasant evening stroll across the freeway. You’ll create the reality of being splattered across the pavement by the first eighteen-wheeler to come barrelling along.

As in small things, so in great. “When we act, we create our own reality,” neoconservative guru Karl Rove is credited as saying to reporter Ron Suskind. “We’re history’s actors, and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” That attitude didn’t exactly work out well in practice—the conquest of the Middle East that Rove and his fellow neocons launched with US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan ranks high on the list of history’s abject flops—but it remains at least as widespread on the leftward end of today’s political mainstream as it ever was on the right.  It’s also, in the strictest and most clinical sense of the word, insane.  Yet in one form or another, it’s the standard conviction of ruling elites in a society on the way down. It never seems to sink in, until the final crisis arrives, that the eighteen-wheelers of history will run them down whether the elites believe in them or not.

There’s an alternative, though it’s probably not one that the failing elites of our society will be willing to adopt in time, or at all. It starts by discarding the delusions of omnipotence so deeply rooted in the comfortable classes these days, but it can’t end there. Just as believers in perpetual progress like to become believers in instant apocalypse when things don’t go their way, avoiding the middle ground where something useful might be done, people who believe that the universe will do whatever they tell it, when that doesn’t work, like to insist instead that they can’t do anything at all, and neither can anyone else. In both cases it’s a convenient evasion, meant to run away from dealing with the need for significant change.

The New Age movement had another concept that’s relevant here.  It didn’t get anything like as much publicity as “you create your own reality,” and for good reason—it didn’t feed into the toxic sense of entitlement that’s dominated the collective imagination for so many decades now.  The concept is co-creation. Yes, it means what it sounds like:  your life as an individual and our lives on various collective scales are created jointly, by the mutual actions and interactions of the individual or community in question and the world at large.

Co-creation doesn’t mean you get whatever you want.  It means that you can negotiate with the world to get the best available results under the circumstances.  It starts by recognizing that all the entities involved in the ongoing process of creation, human or not, have their own desires and aversions, and that making sure that the other participants get at least some of what they want out of the situation is a necessary part of getting what you want out of it.

Gardeners do this all the time. If you have a garden, you already know that if you put a plant that needs full sun in a shady patch, it’s not going to thrive there, no matter how loudly you insist to it that it’s just being difficult and should hurry up and grow. You know equally well that if you’ve got acid soil, either you’re going to have to plant things that like acid soils or you’re going to have to add a lot of alkaline soil amendments:  the mere fact that you decide that you don’t believe that soil pH matters, because it’s inconvenient for you to take that into account, will not convince plants that need alkaline soil to thrive in your garden.  These points may sound like common sense. They are common sense, but ignoring such things and demanding that the world conform to the expectations of the privileged is far more popular just now.

I think this realization is very slowly beginning to dawn on a great many people who convinced themselves that the world was supposed to be whatever they told it to be. To my mind, that explains better than anything else the way that the comfortable classes of our society have doubled down so frantically on the future we’re not going to get.  It also explains the way that so many of them have become so obsessive and so shrill about finding something to fear and hate—Trump!  Covid!  Russia!  Anything, anything at all, other than the still small voice reminding them that the world doesn’t notice their existence and couldn’t possibly care less about what they want.  The dream is over, the wonderful future of fusion plants and flying cars isn’t going to arrive, and what mockers have termed “fully automated luxury space communism” was never more than a rather silly daydream in the heads of a privileged and clueless minority.

Meanwhile, the future is waiting for the rest of us to make it. The managerial aristocrats who think of themselves as the movers and shapers of the future aren’t going to play any noticeable role in that—they’re too busy pushing on a door marked “pull,” trying to force the future to give them the world they want rather than working with the cosmos to co-create something less dreary.  In a very real sense, that’s convenient for the rest of us. While the managerial class is still placing all its hopes and wasting all its efforts on the geriatric daydreams I’ve critiqued in past posts—space travel, fusion power, ftying cars, automated this, virtual that, and of course the perpetual rule of the managerial class itself over all, leading humanity toward bigger and better things and inevitably helping itself to the lion’s share thereof—those of us who don’t belong to that class, don’t share its values, and are unmoved by the tacky plastic Tomorrowland it offers, can get to work building something else instead. That work, in turn, starts with the imagination.

Politics is downstream from culture, but culture is downstream from the imagination. It’s with the imagination, therefore, that cultural and political change has to begin.

The condition of stasis that has gripped the modern industrial world for decades now is the direct result of the failure of imagination I’ve been discussing in recent posts. Collectively, we created our own reality—but that didn’t mean we got the reality we wanted (or thought we wanted), it meant that we got the reality created infallibly by our own collective thoughts, words, and deeds.  If that didn’t have much in common with the Tomorrowland fantasy, why, the reality created by the man who went strolling on the freeway in my example above didn’t have much in common with what he wanted, either.  We let ourselves get stuck in a mental rut, pretending that the only two alternatives were perpetual progress and sudden apocalypse, and that mental rut is one of the main forces that has created the bleak gray landscape of political dysfunction and economic decline in which we spend our days.

That doesn’t have to be the shape of the decades to come.  Get out of the rut, stop trying to pretend that the Tomorrowland fantasy hasn’t failed, and we can build something different.  Of course that’s going to require different ideas, different visions, different angles of approach, but that’s been inevitable all along.

Among the most important resources we have in the quest for a future less dismal than the present are the paths that didn’t get taken in the past. Central to the mental rut we’re in is the notion, as pervasive as it is false, that there was never more than one way that things could have unfolded. Au contraire, there were many points at which we could have done something else and ended up in a different world.  One of the reasons that alternate-history novels have become so popular in recent decades, I would argue, is precisely the half-repressed awareness that we don’t have to keep trudging down the track set in motion by the failures and bad decisions of the past. Things could have been different then—and they can be different in the time ahead of us.

Different in what ways?  We’ll start talking about that in two weeks.


  1. I recently searched ‘c-suite office design’ to see what the design trends were for executive offices. Apparently the 1980s Gordon Gecko, Master of the Universe, corner office – is going out of style in a big way. They’re moving much more towards open plan or cave and commons layouts. One of the explicitly stated reasons for this is to prevent the most senior personnel from becoming isolated.

    The fields of human factors and crew resource management are normally associated with the front line workers in high risk industries, and is often only connected to upper management in the sense of them letting the workers do it. I’ve been considering how much the boardroom or cabinet office could be equivalent to the flight deck, operating theatre, or control room of an explodey industry. Both in usual human factors concepts like perception, memory, communication, teamwork, shared mental models, psychological safety, the effects of stress and fatigue – and in the severe consequences of mistakes and failure. Some work along those lines has been done, such as preventing groupthink in the deliberations during the Cuban Missile Crisis. But there’s a lot more that could be learned from other industries.

  2. “Co-creation doesn’t mean you get whatever you want. It means that you can negotiate with the world to get the best available results under the circumstances. ”

    Replace co-creation with engineering and you have a pretty decent definition of the latter.

    As to the earlier question, “It’s a good question why this response [financial sanctions] remains so rigidly glued in place, despite its abject failures.” The answer is that sanctions allow for the demonstration of virtue at negligible cost. It’s quite similar to the way the activists from Seattle insist that there should be more wolves, but only on the East Side of the mountains. They get to signal virtue, someone else pays for it.

    On the sanctions, one other thought occurs to me. If you have the financial resources and can move them quick enough, sanctions will cause economic ripples that that might be quite profitable. Just like the recently resigned members of the Federal Reserve who were caught front running the announcements of interest rates they were about to make. And I’m sure you noticed that though they resigned, they kept the profits. Didn’t you mention something about not consequences for bad behavior?

  3. John – something you don’t mention but which I guess probably fits into your argument: the curious way society seems to be going app-crazy. I recently read that there are plans to make some supermarkets accessible only to those who have downloaded an app. Madness. We should be reducing, not increasing, our idiotic dependence upon computers and the Net, which will all get knocked out in the next sufficiently extreme solar flare.

  4. Well, imagination can be highly overrated…

    The deepest oil well was about 35k feet deep (offshore in the GOM) and drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig. We had reached the limits of being able to hold the wellbore open and not have it collapse due to formation pressure against the steel casing. Yet somehow, someway this latest imagining seems to make it quite the simple task to do this. It does not matter if the technology works if one cannot keep the well open and functioning due to limits of materials.

    I look forward to comments here and some ongoing imagining of things not remotely resembling flying cars and drilling into the mantle of the Earth to save us all from global warming.

    I am actually looking for opportunities locally, as the future seems to be telling me that transportation costs may be very problematic in the coming decade, or even fuel availability. Solar rickshaw anyone?

    Maybe I ought to get that limpet vehicle that magnetically attaches itself to passing trains?

  5. John, all–

    A small thing, but we have a group holding an additional local candidate forum (city council candidates for my small city, a forum in addition to the “regular” one held by the League of Women Voters each spring). This group is called the “Manitowoc County Constitutional Caucus” and looks to be of somewhat recent origin (possibly last fall). In the event post, it describes itself as follows: “We are a group of like-minded citizens who advocate for transparency in election and government processes and procedures and aim to educate the public with regard to their Constitutional rights.” I’ve not been to any meetings, though I may go to the candidate forum.

    I’m wondering if others have seen similar-sounding groups crop up in their locales? The question as I see it is this actual grass-roots localism or is this establishment astroturf? Are we talking about actual pushback against federal overreach (including an openness to forming the necessary coalitions to establish a political base) or are we simply talking about a rightwing version of the Green Party?

    If a localist populism is going to develop and embrace possibilities outside of the ossified bipartisan elite structure that dominates US politics today, it is going to begin with groups like this who then begin talking to one another. Rather like the Committees of Correspondence back in the day.

  6. I think that every single point made (or attempted to be made) by Pretendent Biden in his State of the (Dis)Union speech yesterday perfectly exemplified a complete failure of imagination, as well as a complete lack of recognition of the effects of the omnipresent failure of imagination.

  7. “people who believe that the universe will do whatever they tell it, when that doesn’t work, like to insist instead that they can’t do anything at all, and neither can anyone else. In both cases it’s a convenient evasion, meant to run away from dealing with the need for significant change.”

    This gave me a bit of a laugh: I have met tons of these people in the “non-dual” scene, which I have peripherally been involved in. Whereas figures like Richard Rose and Franklin Merrell-Wolff (tried to) talk about states of consciousness beyond the “doer” and encourage people to work diligently towards the possibility of direct experience of them, I have seen a whole crowd of people (mainly following neo-advaita conmen) confuse the planes and believe that they can’t really do anything and don’t actually do anything and in fact don’t really exist at all. These are often the same kinds of folks who twenty years ago were “creating their own reality.” As Rose would say, you’re supposed to question faulty beliefs, not hypnotise yourself back to sleep.

  8. “fully automated luxury space communism” – if only they’d replaced “communism” with “egalitarianism” they’d have had an awesome acronym “F.A.L.S.E.”

  9. Reading the coverage of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, a couple of things have jumped out at me. The biggest one is just how wholly unprepared the West was for dealing with displays of raw military power. We are dealing with a generation that has seen lots of dirty little wars but never had to deal with the prospect of a Dirty Big War on their doorstep.

    The second is how American talking heads are trying to explain Putin in the language of pathology. The only reason Putin is doing this is mental illness, or some kind of a recent breakdown that caused him to suddenly attack Ukraine for no reason at all. The idea that rulers sometimes use armies to take territory, and have done so since before the dawn of history, never occurs to them. Nor does the fact that there have been tensions between Russia and Ukraine since 2014, and tensions not infrequently lead to armed conflict.

  10. “Already being dished up for us by a short-order cook named Tomorrow.”

    I LOVE THAT! that’s one of your best ever lines! i’ve screamed it across the room to James ten times already with huuuuge happy laughter. who knew our current noir pulp fiction/reality could ever be so FUNNY through all the tears!

    good morning, Papa G!


    one more time!

    “Already being dished up for us by a short-order cook named Tomorrow.”

  11. @jmg — great essay!

    one quick point — I think the book you are quoting is “The Culture of Contentment”, not Complacency.

    thx Jerry

  12. Thank you for this post John. Your term “co-creation” – that we have the power to imagine and then create, with the help of others, a different future than the one we were taught to believe in- resonated with me. I live in Minneapolis, the place where George Floyd lived and died at the hands of the Minneapolis police. In the days of rage that followed his murder- over a hundred shops and buildings were either severely damaged or burned to the ground- it was easy to fall prey to the “apocalyptic” thinking that you describe. For about a week my community was quite literally a war zone. The images coming out of Ukraine right now look shockingly familiar, and remind me how tempting it is, when catastrophe strikes, to believe we are all alone. Why not just buy a gun, stock up on supplies of food and water and wait for the end of the world? But the world didn’t end of course. In fact we were all given a lesson in how a crises can bring out the best in people, not just the worst. People came out in droves to help clean up the mess, but more importantly to check up on each other, come together as neighbors and do the collective work of creating a future that benefits everyone, not just the lucky few. They established local food and clothing networks that are still in operation today- one small step in the process of co-creating a no-waste world of mutual aid, a world a bit kinder and gentler than the one we were born in to and told “there is no other alternative”. No, it won’t be a world of space colonies and flying cars but it won’t be a predatory “Mad Max” world of hell on earth either. As long as we stay grounded in reality I think we’ll be alright.

  13. Dear JMG,
    What a hopeful post! I love it.

    I have been working on a future where my friends have meat to eat. I started by feeding them lovely roast rabbit dishes that they all initially had reservations about but came to enjoy. My next ploy was to gift them breeding trios of rabbits. So far, one of our friends has 3 rabbits now and is expecting her first litter.

    Another friend is facing resistance from her husband but plans to forge ahead on her own and get rabbit cages. She thinks she will have to do all the work at first but I know her husband loves rabbit and will come around when he sees how easy it will be, She is also considering getting sheep as they have a large farm and no animals. Her husband is wedded to the idea of doing no work at all in retirement but I think this may change.

    I keep having hilarious conversations with people about rabbits. One young lady said she didn’t want to have any livestock but would just trade vegetables for meat. I wonder how she thinks she will grow vegetables with no manure?

    I keep plugging away and getting the word out there that I can set people up with rabbits if meat becomes too expensive.


  14. Here in NZ we just proved your point about managerial elites. Our Prime Minister, the much lauded Jacinda spoke to the nation about misinformation, protesters who didnt follow her official vzrson of the truth were just plain wrong. It never occurred to her that there is even a possibility that her version of the truth should not be universally adopted.

  15. ‘The managerial aristocrats who think of themselves as the movers and shapers of the future aren’t going to play any noticeable role in that—they’re too busy pushing on a door marked “pull”‘

    —too busy pushing on a door marked PULL! oh these are so good my skull is cracking with happiness!


  16. My first thought was a quote from the late George Carlin, “It is called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it!”
    To keep on plugging away at the ‘predicament’ [unsolvable with current thought and actions] is, in the long run, the only way to come up with a new way of relationships among persons, peoples, and the reality that we are totally dependent on the planet for our sustinance. My own grandkidlettes want more, and their ‘education’ and peer acclimation is much more powerful than anything I can suggest. But I shall keep on plugging away by my meager actions and alternative suggestions.

  17. Another failure of New Age ideology is that it never got clear on whether the point was to fulfill your desires or transcend them. It could have taken the Hindu approach and said both have their place, but instead ended up completely incoherent on the issue, even in the works a single author, at best treating it as if the one simply lead to the other without any issues or pitfalls.

    In the end it seems to have settled for promising to reduce anxiety and stress, much of which it helped cause in the first place, by dulling the mind. So now we have a political class who can’t think their way out of a paper bag, even with a big bold arrow in black marker with the text “THIS WAY OUT” written next to it.

  18. Yorkshire, hmm! That’s an interesting idea; we’ll see if the upper end of the managerial caste will put up with it.

    Siliconguy, of course — if engineers refuse to talk to the real world, bridges fall down and planes drop out of the sky (well, more often than they do anyway). So certain kinds of delusion are a little less common among them. As for sanctions, the thought that they’re being used as another gimmick for profiteering hadn’t occurred to me, which is silly of me — of course they are; is there anything that our kleptocrats don’t see as a chance to rake in the dough?

    Robert, that’s a valid point. Years ago, when I wrote about how industrial society had become obsessed with prosthetics — replacing ordinary human functions with technological imitations which don’t work as well — apps weren’t yet a thing. They would have made a great example!

    Oilman2, I wonder if the people who came up with that have ever heard of Project Mohole. Equally, I wonder if they’ve thought through the physics of volcanic eruptions, and realize what’s likely to happen if they create a nice fracture allowing magma under the fantastic heat and pressure in the upper mantle to vent to the surface. Actually, let me fire up my time machine here, and get you a nice clear photo of the drilling site a second or so after they complete the drilling…

    David BTL, fascinating. Either way, it’ll be worth watching how this plays out. Thanks for the heads up!

    Alan, I won’t argue!

    Isaac, oh dear gods, yes. I know the type.

    Gpagetx, trust ’em not even to be competent enough to get that right! 😉

    Kenaz, two good points. The pathologization of dissent is a common bad habit of leftist regimes — you’ll recall, I’m sure, that the Soviet Union used to do that a lot — because it saves their rulers the trouble of having to wonder whether the world isn’t exactly what their ideology says it is.

    Erika, good morning. I’m glad you like it!

    Jerry, it was indeed; thanks for catching that. I’ve corrected it.

    Kurt, thanks for this. That’s very good to hear.

    Maxine, excellent. Curiously enough, that echoes one of the things we’ll be talking about two weeks from now.

    Nick, no surprises there. I’m pretty sure Ardern could be replaced by one of those children’s dolls with a fixed vocabulary of mindless clichés, and nobody would notice.

    Erika, do you recall the Far Side cartoon about that? It’s what comes to mind first when I think about the current managerial class…

    Chuaquin, it is indeed — though as Jerry reminded me above, I misremembered the title a bit.

    Bruce, Carlin usually did have something useful to say. As for plugging away, that’s crucual, though it can also be a problem if you don’t learn from the inevitable failures.

    Slithy, another good point.

  19. I really don’t have any argument with anything you’ve said here. It makes sense, and I can see co-creation of the world I live in in my own life. Running headfirst repeatedly into new and old physical issues and limitations, plus what was going on in the wider world around me, caused me to pitch any idea of ‘you create your own reality’ with extreme prejudice in about 2009.

    That said, I can and do have a significant impact on my own life experiences. One way I’m trying to stack the deck in my favor at the moment is pushing the amount of exercise I’m doing a bit, in the hopes of increasing my strength and endurance enough to better cope with the gardening, baking, scratch cooking, making and selling jewelry, playing harp, and trundling about on a kickscooter I’m doing so I can do more of it. It does seem to be helping, though it has its limits, and when I do too much stuff or get overstressed I’m useless or the next day or three.

    So I find my experience of chronic illness and mental health issues to be a constant negotiation with the world around me that sometimes goes better than others. I can’t just do what I want, or I’ll crash. Again. But I can do more than sit around all day moping (well, most days) and trying makes for a better life overall. It probably also leaves me a lot more able to cope with decline and fall, too.

  20. Hey hey JMG,

    I’m a little surprised that you didn’t mention TINA There Is No Alternative by Margaret Thatcher and the rest of the global, capitalist, market based, industrial democracies in the west, as embodied by the WTI, IMF, World Bank, and the rest of the Chicago Boys neoliberal economic world order.

    It is not terribly surprising that it happened in the 80s when we actually had some viable alternatives that we collectively turned our backs on. In retrospect it looks like a deliberate choice and the notion that it was the only option is well described as a geriatric daydream.

    Thanks again for this series,

    PS geriatric daydream is a great phrase.

  21. Darn, “fully automated luxury space communism” is just shy of spelling FALSE.

    My imagination always falls back to the states extending a big, middle finger to DC and trying things out locally. The states got suckered into that Faustian bargain of taking federal dollars in exchange for compliance. Things will get better when the dollars stop flowing.

  22. My wife runs a small business in ornamental gardening. For many years, her No.1 client was a retirement community cooperative that had engaged her services for maintenance of the gardens and trees on the communal areas. All was well until there was a change of leadership in the community’s management last spring, with some older individuals being replaced by younger newly-retired PMC-elitist types. Then the business relationship went off in the proverbial handbasket.

    The focal point of the conflict that erupted was a particular project planned for the main entrance to the property. The physical location of the project was such that it involved some serious challenges with respect to soil, water, lighting, and climatic conditions – so only certain particularly hardy plants could survive there. She put a great deal of research and planning into it, came up with a workable and maintainable proposal, and had it approved – prior to the change of leadership. New management didn’t like it at all for reasons they were either unable or unwilling to communicate and – instead of discussing their concerns rationally so that a new plan could be developed – engaged another agent to reconfigure her work while the said work was still in progress, without first telling her that their intentions had changed. After nearly a month of unsuccessful negotiations she terminated the contract, and has since taken on more than enough new clients to make up for the loss.

    I just wanted to share this with you all, as it shows just how deeply rooted our society’s problems are – it’s not just big pharma, big tech, big media, and big government behaving badly: those organizations are only behaving badly because their leadership is made up of individuals who behave badly in every facet of their lives because the ‘I get what I want the way I want it with no adverse consequences upon me because it is I who want it’ philosophy is the very cornerstone of their thinking.

  23. Thatcher had a famous statement that summed up the death of the imagination :TINA – There Is No Alternative

    But if this war in Ukraine goes on for more than a few weeks, Putin response may be MALE – Many ALternatives Exist. Not only have the Russians been talking about closer ties with China and India (2.8 billion people) but also no longer respecting intellectual property rights form the west. And if they do that globalization can’t work for the USA. American produced Software, movies, books, music, pharmaceuticals, and patented products will all get a massive cut in cost outside of the west.

    (it looks like the Changer may be loose upon the whole world.)

  24. A number of Western companies are engaged in their own private sanctions, which I think might be the result of a failure of imagination. I mean, really. Does McDonald’s think they’re really hurting the Russian people by denying them carcinogenic obesity burgers? Absolute win for Russia.
    BP “pulled out” — oh, but they can’t take their equipment. The oil wells certainly aren’t going anywhere. So Russia keeps the fruit of BPs investments and doesn’t have to keep splitting profits with them? Absolute win for Russia.
    Paramount won’t release the next capeshale movies there? Oh, quelle horreur. I’m sure the Russian psyche will never weather the stress of war without the inspiration that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would have provided them. Will Russians have to watch Russian-made films that celebrate their own culture? Absolute win for Russia!

    I suppose it could be a virtue-signaling marketing campaign, but I think at heart is a massive failure of imagination. Nobody stopped to think what the consequences of these private sanctions might be– the PMC in the c-suites are certain that they are Good People(tm) so their works must be a force for Good(tm) in the world. By definition, denying them to those pesky Russians must be a horrible blow.

    Man, where were all these virtue-signaling multinationals when we were messing about in the Middle East? We coulda done with some sanctions like that! (Come to think of it, if we were cut off from the Hollywood teat, it might help reinvigorate a lot of people’s imaginations…)

  25. I also am fascinated by the hollow repeating on social media of totally inadequate responses to the Russian invasion, as if facebook posts and rallies at US college campuses are going to seriously change the trajectory. Either Ukrainians fight with substantial ongoing support in soldiers, equipment, and financing from the US and Europe (in which case this will be a nasty and very destructive war with uncertain outcome as most wars are) or they let Putin win in Ukraine (in which case there will be less short term destruction and more domination of the future by authoritarians following Putin’s strategy). There are not any good options to choose among at the moment. But choosing wisely among the bad options is extremely important.

    One of the ruts we have to learn to get out of is the rut of choosing leaders who project a positive, optimistic, “we can do it”, vision that satisfies our emotional needs for hope and a future where risks are managed and really bad outcomes don’t have to be considered. What would it look like in the information overload age for a set of leaders to seriously engage in choosing between options that they actually can hope to achieve? Likely the opposition would put them out of power with a carefully orchestrated media blitz condemning their negativity. Eventually anyone without enough realistic negativity will be transparently faking it and we can start having a more serious conversation. It is surprising that we haven’t been there for a few decades already.

  26. Hi JMG. Brilliant as ever! I know you are not one for movies, but I think modern movies are a good microcosm example of this lack of imagination. So many recent movies are remakes of remakes or sequels. I barely watch movies anymore because I’ve become so disappointed with the lack of creativity (exasperatedly “has Hollywood run out of ideas!?”). What I don’t understand is how there’s so much good content out there in novels and stories from other cultures, yet Hollywood just keeps churning out the same garbage. For example, I used to love scifi. Now I’m like, I can’t be bothered watching another ‘group on a space ship get lost and start murdering each other or dying in predictable ways from ai robots / aliens’. Or how many movies / shows do we really need about Anne Boleyn?! Sigh

  27. A couple of points which at first glance don’t look at all related but just maybe are. Firstly my very unfavourite thing is to see a politician speaking and hear him/her say, “I accept full responsibility”. Really?
    The second relates to our current floods here in SE Queensland, which may be receding but there is a thunderstorm brewing so who knows. Our dams are dual purpose – for drinking water and for flood mitigation. This presents bigger problems than might be obvious at first. We have just come out of a bad drought. Why do I say bad? We are always in a state of drought or flood. The bone of contention is the release of water to ease pressure on the dam wall. Of course this adds to the flood problem, not necessarily making water levels higher but making them last longer. So people get very irate with the government which only acts on the advice of the engineers and the protocols set down. If the dam walls give they won’t have anything to complain about because they will not be there. There is a very good book on this called “A river with a city problem”. We keep building on the floodplains.
    Flooding rain is important as it fills the underground water supplies on which our farmers rely so heavily. Our town has been surprisingly flood free this time (so far) and I was shocked to see the extent of the floods on TV, especially in Brisbane (not the only affected city) which is quite close to here.
    There is a bit of a conviction that THEY ought to be able to do something about it. Build more dams, very contentious, know sooner what the weather will do, omniscience, stop the flooding rains from falling, omnipotence.
    So we trundle on form flood to flood, puzzled. Such bad floods usually occur about every 40 years according to my calculations but this is only 10 years. There will be much talk afterwads and some things will happen but it is a bit late to relocate the entire capital city.

  28. The last two years also showed us one of the reasons why sanctions dont seem to work at all. All thanks to the sanctions various goverments imposed on their own citizens to get them to take the covid foxes. It barely changed the vax rate on a population level in the countries that imposed very strict mandates.
    The reaction from alot of people was: I see what you are doing with your bullying and now im even more against the foxes than before. Nothing you do will get me to take the fox now and the more you push me the more i push back.

    I would not be suprised if the politicians in country’s that are the target of sanctions have the same reaction and thought process. And as a citizen in that country i would be just as likely to be angry at the foreign goverment pushing the sanctions rather than my own goverment.

  29. And another thing. Sorry to be so verbose. People in Western civilization ( I know some would call that an oxymoron) forget that we still have a lot of personal agency. If I am concerned about the environment I can switch off those lights, shower for 1 minute, wash up in a small container, walk and use public transport, stay home instead of travelling to the other side of the world, not buy a wardrobe full of new clothes every season. And the list goes on.

  30. @Oilman 2 and JMG,

    You know when someone starts talking about accessing “virtually-unlimited” energy, they’re smoking their shorts. Articles like that actually display a failure of imagination: the author assumes that if we’re not using some source of energy, then the energy isn’t doing anything important. In fact, every Watt of energy we collect from a renewable source (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) is a Watt (actually more, considering inefficiencies) that doesn’t go somewhere else. Granted that the Earth as a system has high tolerances for deviations, they’re not infinite.

  31. @DarkestYorkshire

    I followed your lead and did a search for C-Suite design. Egads, there is nothing, absolutely nothing there that hasn’t been around since the 1960s. Don Draper’s office from Mad Men would fit perfectly fine in a modern building. The only thing missing are the orange chairs.

    Oh, wait:

    Serious imagination will be needed to replace the ultra-sleek, hyper-angular open spaces that have dominated the office for 60 years now.

  32. @oilman2 #4

    Interestingly I’ve been thinking a lot about sail boats for cargo transport lately. Being where I’m at (coastal Pacific Northwest) I fully expect that the movement of cargo under sail will eventually make a comeback. The wife and I just bought up a little trailerable sailboat back from a fellow we sold it to years ago. Time to start working on our skills and trying to learn the kids something employable!

  33. The recent book, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. by David Graeber & David Wengrow, does a great job of sketching out how things could have been different.

  34. “To a great many people, crises like these make the theme of my recent posts here—the potential of the human imagination—seem wholly irrelevant.”

    If anything, I found that it made it even more important. I see this latest war in Europe as confirmation that Spengler, and your work, is very much on the mark. The god known as Progress is soaking the earth in blood, and alternatives are urgently needed. It is too bad that more people don’t take note of the failure of the main myth of our time, and try for something better.

    My best friend, while recognizing how dire the current situation is (and has been), still adamantly refuses to believe that fusion and AI won’t arrive in the near future and save us all. That is sad, and bewildering, as he’s an irreligious atheist who dismisses religion/spirituality, while embracing the “rapture of the nerds” and a make-believe ST utopian future.

  35. HI Mr. Greer and all,
    It keeps occuring to me that there is something upstream from the imagination as well. The capacity and scope of the imagination are circumscribed by the kind of beliefs we hold.
    If we’ve convinced ourselves we’re the darlings of destiny, or that human beings and their dreams are at the centre of the universe, then for sure, our imaginations will never see past these self-imposed limits.
    Actually, I would take that farther and say that our scope of our imaginations is only as open and inclusive as to the extent that we have experienced life deeply.
    If I’ve never truly appreciated a sunset or a majestic banyan tree, then i’ll only know my own (actually picked up from other people) thoughts, beliefs and emotions.
    I believe I just made a case for the spiritual dimension of life 🙂

  36. Thanks for the posting JMG

    Here’s my, admittedly limited, imaginative thought: let’s make our so-called elites face the same consequences that they regularly impose on the lower orders of society.

    For example, when I screwed up at work, it eventually led to my dismissal regardless how significant the mistake was. That’s how it goes for us peons and it’s logical and not entirely unjust. In retrospect, it was a good lesson in responsibility.

    With regards to our ruling class, since they have repeatedly and disasterously screwed up, it is well past time that they be relieved of their responsibilities. This should be done peacefully if possible but by other means if necessary. I am fully prepared to offer them the same mercy that they have extended to untold millions of people who have been subject to their rule.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum (Let justice reign though the heavens fall)

  37. >We should be reducing, not increasing, our idiotic dependence upon computers and the Net, which will all get knocked out in the next sufficiently extreme solar flare.

    It won’t even take that. All it will take is Taiwan going bye bye. There was some story about how a bunch of German windmills went offline because they were remotely controlled via satellite internet and oops, they just stopped working. The internet is great for cat pictures and arguing about pineapple on pizza. Not so great for critical power generation or space guidance systems.

    re: People not being held accountable

    There is an old saying on Wall Street – IBG-YBG, and you can trace many bad decisions back to it. “I’ll Be Gone – You’ll Be Gone”, basically by the time the consequences hit, we’ll have pocketed the money and will have skipped town to avoid it all.

    People have come up with schemes to hold the PMC’s feet to the fire, to incentivize them to care about things after they’re gone but it’s an intractable problem that doesn’t have a complete solution.

  38. The whole discussion surrounding Ukraine in the west is full of staggering failures of the imagination. To name just one example, almost everyone I’ve seen talk about what the aim of the Russian invasion might be has said that it’s to enact regime cange, place a Kremlin puppet in Kiev, and keep an occupying force there to make sure it’s not over thrown, which would of course result in them getting bogged down in guerilla warfare against a Ukrainian resistance movement so they can keep their guy in office. In other words, they’re all expecting Russia to do exactly the same thing that the US did in Iraq and Afghanistan and tried to do in Syria. Even as they’re listing off the obvious downsides to such an approach, it never seems to occur to them that there might be a better, more efficient way for Putin to get what he wants.

    To me it seems more likely that Moscow will let the current Ukrainian government remain in place, but give them enough of a bloody nose to make them sit at the negotiating table and accede to whatever concessions Moscow might demand. Of course I might be wrong and, human stupidity being what it is, it’s possible that Russia might repeat some of the same mistakes that the West made in the middle east, but the failure to consider that it might not shows how committed the West is to the failed policy of Regime change that they can’t even imagine someone taking a different approach.

  39. I was struck last night watching Biden, how forcefully he talked about recreating our productive capacity and how that will reduce the price of everything. Of course that was Trump’s idea, but good luck reminding the privileged classes of that. Also, all I have heard from the privileged classes all my adult life is that jobs were shipped overseas to reduce prices.

    Of course Biden is right about one thing. We do need to rebuild or productive capacity, starting with food, water and shelter.

    Biden also had a 4 part plan for Covid that went vaccine, vaccine, Phizer drugs, vaccine. I think Biden and company are dead wrong though, if they think this war they provoked will stem accountability about Covid Policy.

  40. Clearly you have written this with the western elites in mind, but have you considered that the text describes their Russian counterparts even more aptly. That the war in Ukraine is going so bad (from the Russian pow) has a lot to do with the fact that their military budget has been spent on lining the pockets of the oligarchs instead of weapons and logistics. And I bet none of Putin’s cronies expected that EU would suddenly grow a apine; at least I didn’t see that one coming.

    As for imagination, I doubt that few in the Russian elite can imagine a future where the Russian Federation is dissolved into its constituent parts, any more than they could imagine the dissolution of the USSR thirty years ago. Can you?

  41. Here are some principles that may guide imagination towards potentially more peaceful futures.

    (1) Local Independence: If our lifestyles mostly depend on local resources obtained internally from a trusted community and not desired by others, then we are mostly independent from external instability and interference.

    (2) Mutually Beneficial Trades of Abundance: If our lifestyles depend on external resources that others are willing to exchange freely, those exchanges benefit both sides, and there is enough abundance for everyone to get their needs met through trade, then cohabitation is beneficial and stable.

    (3) Scarcity Competition: If our lifestyles depend on external resources, that others may not want to exchange, for which the exchange is not beneficial for both sides, or the resources are too scarce to allow all other parties to meet their needs through trade, then we get tension, instability, competition, and wars.

    It therefore follows that citizens looking for peace and prosperity should aim to meet their needs as much as possible from (1) and (2), and get away from (3). Resources do not intrinsically belong to a category and may switch over time: i.e. it is their relative abundance compared to needs, and their local distribution, that influences the kind of lifestyles possible. Obviously renewable resources have a higher chance of staying within (1) and (2), and non-renewable resources that cannot be recycled will inevitably foster (3).

    Information regarding availability, abundance, and distribution of resources are freely, easily, and quickly accessible over the Internet. So anyone today can quickly and collectively evaluate a wide variety of existing and, yes imaginary, lifestyles to see which ones belong to (1) and (2) and progressively build economies that can be peaceful and prosperous.

    There are many people actively working toward (1) and (2), and among many of those I would like to highlight the work of Sergiy Yurko, a Ukranian who has been working for many years on making heat and electricity derived from solar energy as cheap and accessible as possible, outcompeting on those fronts many industrial solutions in cost using widely available material. For those who do video, you can find him here:

    As a side note, I personally wish for a future in which Ukranians’ lives, such as that of Sergiy Yurko, help as many of us move towards (1) and (2), rather than serving to maintain just a little longer unsustainable (3) lifestyles for others.


  42. Something I think a lot of people miss about discussions of young people is that we usually have no reason to do anything we don’t want to at that moment. Simply put, if the world is going to be the same no matter what, if nothing is going to change for us, why bother? Why do something we hate in order to make a better future for ourselves if we can’t imagine one? And, given how much effort has gone into destroying the ability to imagine anything, which has gone into overdrive since about 2000, is it any wonder so many young people are feeling aimless?

    I’ve spent some time in recent weeks, ever since the first post on the topic went up, imagining a better life, and then sat down and figured out how to get there. While I have a lot of work cut out for me, I’ve already started and am looking forward to this adventure. It’s amazing how quickly things can start to change if you only reframe things a little.

  43. I am starting to read “Napoleon of Notting Hill” By G.K. Chesterton (
    The introduction makes fun of all the “wise men” trying to predict the future. Very familiar – I guess empires do collapse in similar ways.

    “But there was, nevertheless, in the eyes of labourers in the streets, of peasants in the fields, of sailors and children, and especially women, a strange look that kept the wise men in a perfect fever of doubt. They could not fathom the motionless mirth in their eyes. They still had something up their sleeve; they were still playing the game of Cheat the Prophet.

    Then the wise men grew like wild things, and swayed hither and thither, crying, “What can it be? What can it be? What will London be like a century hence? Is there anything we have not thought of? Houses upside down—more hygienic, perhaps? Men walking on hands—make feet flexible, don’t you know? Moon … motor-cars … no heads….” And so they swayed and wondered until they died and were buried nicely.

    Then the people went and did what they liked. Let me no longer conceal the painful truth. The people had cheated the prophets of the twentieth century.”

  44. Hi John Michael,

    Whaddya mean they’re not doing what they were told to do? Hehe! It would be funny if that sentiment wasn’t being expressed. I walked away from such viewpoints and went off and did something else more productive with my life.

    And of course, working on yourself is far harder than trying to break others. I’ve experienced a few work places over the years trying to pull that nasty little trick. Always unpleasant, but also always instructive on what to avoid.

    You know that the powers that be are weak when they announce their moves in the media in advance of making the moves. That action signifies failure, but in advance.

    Crazy days, and holy carp, them oil prices be crackin!



  45. re pathologizing evil–one of the basics of progressive thought is that human nature can be changed by environment. In Marxist/Leninist thought education and life under collectivization was supposed to create the ‘new soviet man’ who could be relied on to cooperate rather than compete and eventually be ready for the communist society that will not need a government. Anyone who rebelled against this vision must be insane, right? It was also, of course, a cover for suppression of dissident views. The Soviet govt. wasn’t like the Tsar, imprisoning intellectuals, without regard for justice, it was caring for the unfortunate whose mental illness led them astray. Ha! Conversely, conservative thought is leery of any project that relies on changes in human nature. Now most conservatives do recognize that culture contributes to behavior–otherwise there would be no point in wanting to conserve Western culture, and even trying to impose it on others. But they assume that every culture needs a legal system to control human greed, violence and destructive impulses.

    In the Western states it is civil crimes: murder, rape, child rape, etc. that have been pathologized. “You’d have to be sick [mentally] to do _that_!” is a common response to serial killers, serial rapists and pedophiles. I think this is a combination of the idea that humans can be improved by environment and training and a natural impulse to reject the criminal from society. Poverty can explain and perhaps excuse, crimes against property, even if they lead to killing–as in a robbery gone wrong. And I would bet that even the most upright citizen has some childhood memory of stealing candy or gum or a small toy from the grocery or from a playmate and being punished for it before they thoroughly internalized that “stealing is wrong.” But most of us have been socialized out of extremes of violence from an early age. So, anyone who hasn’t been “must be crazy.” The decline of religion and the rise of sociology and psychology has made it unfashionable to say “must be evil.” The late Andrew Vachss, a crime writer whose popular books financed his real cause of using his law degree to defend children from pedophiles, wrote several essays on this topic. He maintained that people with the desire to rape and torture children still had the ability to choose not to indulge those desires and that those who indulged their desires were evil. Here is a link to one of his articles.

    Of course, claiming that Putin is crazy, or senile, etc. also excuses Western leaders for failing to divine his intentions. After all, there’s no way to know what a crazy person will do–even if they have told you repeatedly–so there is no reason to blame our leaders for not foreseeing or preventing this attack.


  46. Something just clicked, and I think I might have figured out the roots of the utter inability to think currently gripping the comfortable classes. You hinted at it in The Twilight of Pluto, when you noted that in 2006 so many astrologers chose to insist Pluto was still a planet even though they ought to have known better, because the attitudes and ways of thinking Pluto linked with allowed them to cling to the notion that astrology could never tell anyone anything like “This will never work”. In other words, they had an emotional need for Pluto to be a planet, and though they likely didn’t realize it, they expressed it by insisting it still was one.

    Well, when Pluto was a planet those kinds of attitudes made sense, because as you noted Pluto as a planet pushes everyone in the direction of rejecting cosmos. It’s a very unhelpful attitude, but it made sense. I’m not going to say it was ever universal, but one thing which made Pluto’s influence seem so much stronger than it really was was that the comfortable classes who created most of the enduring material and made most of society’s collective decisions embraced it much more than the general public. Many in the managerial classes (and a good many others as well, it should be noted), thus have an emotional need to believe the universe is acosmic, because otherwise they have to live with the consequences of their actions. While Pluto was a planet, this wasn’t a serious problem: those attitudes were unhelpful and destructive, but supported as they were by the planet’s influences, they made sense.

    As Pluto fades and they make less and less sense, those people who need to cling to the vision it created are stuck clinging to a worldview they can no longer believe in, one that doesn’t make sense to them anymore, and they are reacting in a lot of ways, but one crucial one is that they are doing everything in their power to avoid thinking, to make sure that they don’t have time to really grasp the reality of the gap between what they emotionally need to believe in, and the reality of the fact that those beliefs no longer make any kind of sense to them.

    Of course, this state of affairs is temporary and will soon wind down as Pluto finishes the process of fading out, but it’s a fitting end to the Plutonian Era that even as most of the world moves on, but there’s a shrinking handful of people driving themselves ever more mad by desperately clinging to the fading influences of the planet, and a worldview they emotionally need to believe in but which increasingly doesn’t make sense anymore.

  47. The trouble with Ardern is that because the other main party was so nasty, we went and gave her more power than she should have had. She appeared to be more humane at least. No idea what will happen next but probably more of the same as she got 90% compliance….

  48. Archdruid,

    One item that is being discussed on such alternative media outlets as “Breaking Points” and “Rising” is the weird shift in managerial culture that was caused by one of the CEOs of GE. The shift toward profit maximization over all other things. The only adaptation corporate culture has managed since that particular shift was the introduction of “corporate/managerial ethics” courses in universities. The introduction of those courses has clearly not done anything useful since overall working conditions have worsened every year.

    I’m kinda wondering, what management books did they use before profit maximization became a thing? What was the ethnics that inspired them before the managerial class became fixated on single point of maximization? If the current conditions aren’t a clear indication of how stagnant imagination has become among our managerial elite, I don’t know what is.



  49. My, my. For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about alternative (imaginative, or at least, imaginary) models for the relationship between individual peole, and land. From outight unfettered ownership to tenantship to outright serfdom, most familiar arrangments tend toward harmful exploitation of either the land, the person, or both, or are unstably poised to fall into one or the other (e.g. stewardship).

    One idea that turned up, in this context, seemed too odd to describe clearly let alone make a case for, but I kept coming back to it anyhow. And now, you’ve laid out an a different and clearer path to that same idea. “The concept is co-creation,” a negotiation between the person and the world respecting the desires of both sides. Using land and the resources thereof productively but not not exploitatively (I hate to resort to “sustainably” but can’t think of a better descriptor) to get some but not all of what you want is clearly an act of co-creation.

    Now, what Is the most widespread and common co-creative relationship between two persons? That would be called “marriage.” Marriage ideally (though of course not always in reality) is a mutually beneficial and mutually respectful co-creative arrangement characterized by negotiation and compromise.

    You can’t literally marry a grove or a field, at least, not without inviting a torrent of raunchy jokes. But if thought of as a commitment between a person (or perhaps a family?) and the spirits of a place, with a corresponding commitment to the local community, the concept becomes easier to grasp, and even offers some real-world near-examples associated with e.g. Shinto shrines or certain aboriginal traditions. One difference is a change that just might echo something that might (by some accounts) have happened with marriage a very long time ago, when it became typical for ordinary individuals rather than only shamen or chieftains or aristocrats. Might a generalized moral preference for co-creative land use within the bounds of such commitments eventually arise, as it has (to varying degrees over time) for marriage? A small garden might be a mere kiss, but that mill dam or solar array had better be “legitimate” to find acceptace.

    It remains to be seen whether or not permanence and/or the equivalent of monogamy would be useful features of such understandings. And how do the nature spirits signify assent? More work for \he imagination.

  50. JMG,

    Now I’m really beginning to understand the intersection between magic and the world. Levi had written about Jesus creating new roads in the astral light and completely ignoring the roads created by the Romans.

    We are doing the same thing here. The PMC/elite respond to every problem exactly the same way because their minds are using the same roads that have been around for quite a long time. Some of those roads are hundreds of years old, some are only 25 years old.

    Our job is to avoid those roads completely. Let the astral light help us create the new roads without being stained by the current system. Personally, I need to stop reacting and just build something better (but not build back better, yikes.)

    Ye Gods, this is heavy stuff. Thanks for your mentoring. I’m starting to get it.

  51. @JMG,

    Possibly not contrary to this post, I feel the urge to retreat to the cave at Bryn Myrddin, as Merlin so frequently did in Mary Stewart’s books. As you know from my questions on Magic Monday, I’ve had some recent spiritual breakthroughs, possibly a preview of what I can achieve if I put in the work.

    I meditate, but I know I don’t have my skills up to par, although I do other things that strengthen mental plane faculties (I’m creative and speak multiple languages). It’s clear I don’t fully have the foundation to build on these breakthroughs and make them permanent. Now is a time to act and build, yes, but for me I think it’s time to enter the crystal cave.

  52. Just noticed over at Market Watch that oil has soared to $111.40 per barrel. Yikes! And this is WTI, so Brent must be about $115.

  53. @ Valenzuela #40 That is the first reasonable explanation of the invasion that I have heard. Putin doesn’t have to win. He just has to cause enough pain to get what he wants. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this for a week.

  54. Quick addition to my comment #46. Conservatives also assume that societies need an economic system that forces the underclasses to work. Can’t have hunters and gatherers only hunting when they need food and spending the rest of their time in ceremonies, gambling or just hanging out. Same in industrialized cultures. Even after their jobs have been deliberately taken away, we must reproach the unemployed for their idleness. Despite numerous studies of the homeless there is a general insistence that they are mostly mentally ill, or addicted and in many cases are assumed to have moved to a particular area because of lax enforcement of laws or because of generous government payments.

  55. I’ve been judging projects in our statewide science fair for the last two days and interviewing many of these bright young kids…The divergence between their native common sense and practicality and some of the Tomorrowland rubbish their project write ups are required to spout is impressive…I think the propaganda is starting to wear out after 50 years of no space travel, no fusion reactors and no flying cars…There is definitely hope for the real future of the country if the DC maniacs don’t blow the place up…

  56. To pick up on what Mohsin commented above, I’d propose that experience comes upstream from imagination which provide some kind of feedback loop, since obviously politics shape our experience. And here’s where I think what we are experiencing is not only a failure of imagination but also a failure of experience.

    After one week of holidays school started again today and what can I say – people are deeply shaken, teachers and pupils alike. While the staff room was unusually quiet, the classroom was unusually noisy and that noise clearly was a displacement activity.

    For example, I overheard a pupil who was visibly anxious and tired talking about watching something about Ukraine in TV last night since he could not sleep – I didn’t pick up the straw to get into that war topic which was the obvious cause for his anxiety but suggested instead to do something more sensible than watching television when it clearly does not benefit his well-being. Well, I got no answer on this one and forced some mathematics onto the class.

    But there you have it – for most people, there is almost no experience of anything external, of anything real. Experience is limited on the outputs of what lies downstreams of imagination which gives this feedback-loop an over-proportional weight and causes some nasty effects much alike to an acoustic feedback loop, but on a very different scale.

    If I am on the right track, the cure should be obvious – to experience something else than our on excrement. o dramatically increase our spectrum of experiences so that we have a solid influx of impressions that are not our own making and the feedback-loop does not consume the full bandwidth of our perception. In this place, it is most likely not needed to provide examples on how to do this, but most people seem utterly helpless in this regard.


  57. “The pathologization of dissent is a common bad habit of leftist regimes…” Pathologization of dissent is not exclusive to the left. During the election of 2018, it became common among the Brazilian right to use the word “esquerdopata” – literally “leftopath”. In a closed discussion group of university professors, somebody called any opponent of the extreme right presidential candidate a “esquerdopata”. Several people tried to point out to him that using such a word was very much beneath the degree of critical analysis that one would expect of our profession and was completely useless in making a rational argument. He was having none of it and kept using the word.

  58. Dusk Shine,

    One of the big things I’ve noticed about the whole Russian conflict is that western managerial elite really don’t understand the end goal of the Russian elite is to rebuild the Russian empire. Not just the territorial sphere, that is the physical area, but also the cultural sphere. There is a group of Russian elite who are in power that simply don’t care about the baubles that the western elite offer in exchange for a junior partnership in their empire. Neither do the Chinese elite. In fact, a greater number of other power centers are developing that are intent on creating their own spheres of influence.

    And if the local populations of those newly rising power centers should suffer during the process, well why would the local elite care about their peasantry any more than our elite cares about us?



  59. Clearly the first step forward for many people will be chucking the TV out the window. I felt my brow wrinkling as I read today’s essay, thinking, “But everyone in Japan still believes in ‘fully automated luxury space communism'” (what a beaut, BTW), and then realized that the only reason I think that is because it is the only version of reality the TV will let us see, and the COVID restrictions plus my reactivity to smart phones mean I’m not able to meet very many people. But come to think of it, it’s been years now since I’ve talked to anyone in Japan who was a full-on Disneyland-loving technofantabulist.
    The Net, which I’m sitting here using to socialize, if anything is even worse. My introduction to it years back was first as a news source, and second as a place where people with similar outlooks could come together to fantasize. I really do not know what the people poking and swiping all day as they hunch over a smart phone are actually engaged in, but just as long as they can somehow get food delivered to their room, they really can create their own preferred reality there it looks like, and Zuckerberg is currently encouraging that even further–talk about a Pied Piper.
    Sooo…to start work on my own alternative version of the future, there will be a new crop of empty rural houses this spring due to a very cold winter and other factors, and perhaps I can start work on a healthier space to provide for people wanting to get away from the techno-utopian nightmare. I wonder how soon the trickle in this direction will turn into a flood as people come to grips with the fact that the gap between their own lives and what the TV is showing them has become too painfully large to ignore.

  60. War is what happens when resources in general, political, ideological/religious, physical resources travel from one place to another to form the next superpower. The US was one such example of that and it created two of the most formidable documents that other countries, like France, have attempted to imitate, but failed because despite being exposed or being the founders of the the ideas that created those documents, they simply didn’t have the same experiences and culture that could withstand such a strain and it often resulted in multiple revolutions trying to replace the current “evil rich dude” that threw the one before him out. Europe was dying long before America, Scotland once being at the forefront of science and technology with France and Germany in tow for about two to three hundred years, and now about three hundred years later after the US Revolution, we are having that discussion of trying to overthrow the ” evil rich dude” that replaced the last one. Any politician or corporate executive knows that they cannot let that happen again, they’d try to wipe out as many people, twist as many arms, etc to prevent the next world rocking ideology from becoming a reality.

    To be honest this whole ordeal is confusing, and honestly I’d be like most people saying I don’t want to be stuck fighting a war that honestly throws my standards and morals away to chose between A or B, no, contrary to people’s opinions on that matter we’ve had to trudge our way through these so called wars on Poverty, Drugs, Crime, Terror , sexism, racism, etc to know full well that the social justice way of thinking makes things worse if not applied correctly and with discrimination. Personally sick of being expected to fight fights that are not mine to fight, and fake wars. Give us a good reason to fight because the best course of action, at least for now, is to simply stay out of it till the dust settles enough to distinguish a clear threat.

    From my point of view, The last few times America and Europe got involved with Russian and Eastern European politics and wars, their governments, organizations, and intellectual minds proven themselves to never be the solution to their troubles, in fact we did the exact opposite, and many an average person have seen that and been saying it for years only to be ignored or totally smeared as prudes, Far right extremists, Nazi sympathizers, or just Anti-liberal. These countries got ravaged by the worst social disease to exist and are liable to getting infected again, I don’t want them to make the same mistake by allying themselves with people who partake or support new and deadlier strains of the same social disease. NATO and C_C _P are not friends and it takes a desperate and mentally scared person seeking validation to actively become an active bug catcher or a victim of someone who gets off on infecting other people with bugs.

    The thing with imagination is that there is a time and place for it. one simply cannot be in la la land when death is knocking, but one simply cannot always be so Manichean in their world view that they’re stuck in perpetual war, God forbid you’re in both. Otherwise we’d just be more examples found in the footnotes of the books of Genesis and Exodus.

  61. I wonder if there’s a way to assess or weigh the effect of corruption or, to put it another way, blind greed, as a factor in civilizational decay. Probably not, every observer weighing things differently.

    I’ve been reading that the German upper crust is utterly discombobulated by events to the east. I suppose, to put it simply, it’s a case of elite capture by a foreign power. It appears that powerful and influential Germans in and out of officialdom are every bit as bought by Russian loot as the American elite are by Chinese money.

    I know all about German war guilt. And I suspect that the number done by Bomber Harris and his US counterparts on German cities during WW2 really solidified the notion In German minds that if you deem it necessary to bomb other people, they will bomb you in turn.

    So, as a result, while I imagine that the money from Russia was and is nice, the Germans have also been for decades desperate to avoid another catastrophic war, and perhaps in aid of that admirable goal, to believe the best of Russians, that they were really good and peace loving and humanitarian and all that.

    But now this. So, notwithstanding all the foregoing, it’s interesting that Germany bought into sanctions and put a spike in that pipeline. Now the question is how long their resolve lasts.

    I wonder if the German monied class is or was as incontinently admiring of Russian leadership as Americans like Cook and Zuck are of Xi over there in China. It does not bode well that two of the world’s more consequential peoples, the Germans and Americans, have leadership that’s been utterly subverted by money.

    Filthy lucre. From foreign sources at that, authoritarian, corrupt, disdainful of legalistic niceties like the presumption of innocence, due process of law, fair elections and all that jazz.

    It’s like Bernie said of the Clintons taking wads of Wall Street plunder, if it isn’t corruption, then what is it? How does it happen, this lucrative no-show job in a foreign country for a booze and drug addled nit-wit whose daddy is way up at the centre of things? If it looks and smells rotten, it’s rotten.

    Americans and others laugh at Italian and Greek legislatures which more resemble cattle auctions than they do political arenas. People say that you can’t really tell if the Mafia is the enforcement arm of the government or if the politicians are the administrative arm of the gangs.

    But the Bidens in their dealings in China and Ukraine showed how it’s done, by their own methods, a full frontal demonstration that left little to the imagination. Did they really think nobody would notice? I’ll bet those rascals in Athens and Rome are raising a glass.

    So, back to the question, is it beyond imagining that simple corruption can so thoroughly undermine centuries old intellectual trains of thought and behavioural norms that a civilizational tradition comes asunder?

    Maybe it won’t be over-run by barbarian hordes, but maybe it transforms year-by-year into something else, something unrecognizable, a caste-ridden, authoritarian surveillance-state that doesn’t abide dissent, that conducts sham elections, whose elites get away with robbery and murder. Maybe it’s not far off.

  62. One failure of the imagination is the inability of most people on either side of the political fence to consider a populist US president who is not Donald Trump. We are obsessed with political dynasties in the US, almost as much as Hollywood is obsessed with sequels and prequels. I would like to see the renaissance of the imagination include more new faces.

  63. I admit that while I have some trepidation about our future of technology/energy decline… I’m looking forward to having some of the old-fashioned skills I’ve accumulated over my lifetime become actually relevant.

  64. Hippy Viking #34 – You might find the Sail Transport Network an interesting site:

    I frequently wonder when the famous “Mosquito Fleet” will return to the Salish Sea. For non-locals that refers to the innumerable small boats that once hauled freight and passengers around the inland waters of the PNW.

  65. Yes, we need to imagine differently, act differently…or maybe we already have, and the obstacle we face is that the stars have not been aligned properly. I seem to recall some verses about Cthulhu that are reminiscent of that idea. I have studied astrology for over 50 years, and it seems to me that this is very pertinent to the discussion here. The ideas we explore here have to be kept alive, to come germinate and bear fruit when the soil is fertile and the skies favorable, so we have to keep striving. It may be that (barring a few very gifted people) no prognosticator can guess when that will be, outside of myth, and the bright dawn we hope for, seeded by the beautiful ideas of the past, may emerge as early as “later today.”

  66. I would be interested to know the history of the term “co-creation” and its variants. I first heard it via Edgar Cayce, who said that we were “co-creators with God.” I suspect a New Thought provenance.

    On Russia, I have struggled over the years to imagine what a man like Putin could possibly want. More money? That fits with some of his behavior, but what would he want with more money? He’s already super-rich, and getting old. A strong Russia? In that case he would have done a lot of things differently over the years. Instead, he and his cronies have bled the country dry. Of course he wants to remain in power, and I suppose Ukraine must figure into that (he probably thought it would boost his popularity). If he just wants to be remembered in the history books, then he should launch those nukes, and then he’d be famous forever, but then he has a family. Maybe his goals have evolved over the years.

    In general, occupying hostile countries for long periods is difficult, and likely to drain money and lives. (The exceptions tend to involve regions with low populations.) The Russian military in particular has chronic problems with discipline and competence, as we are now seeing, and are making up for it by sheer numbers. Looking forward a few years, Russia has terrible demographics and a perpetually underperforming economy. Sure, oil and gas are up, but not much else from there is in demand, and the banking / monetary system there is barely holding together. China is not worth much as an ally, let alone countries like Syria or Iran, which are in even worse shape than Russia.

  67. Quick question here: how will whatever Russia does in Ukraine affect us here in the U.S.? I don’t mean just going bonkers over the fact that it’s happening, I mean, in real-world consequences. JMG? Anybody?

  68. JMG

    One thing that our elites have in common with the communists is that they run everything via bureaucracy and bureaucracy is the organisational form which is least responsive to “the real world”. Thus, the soviet bureaucrats could dictate that X million tonnes of wheat needed to be produced and never learn that it didn’t happen. Our bureaucrats can order a safe and effective vaccine and never learn that it wasn’t etc. Most people assume this is wilful ignorance but anybody who’s seen the inside of bureaucracy knows that it’s a structural issue which cannot be overcome.

    @ JillN

    I imagine Dorothea Mackellar turning in her grave and muttering “what part of ‘droughts and flooding rains’ did you mofos not understand?”

  69. It’s been many years since I read The Scarlet Letter, that 19th century novel of 17th century Puritan colonial Boston. One of the bits that stuck in my mind is the episode in which the widely respected Reverend Dimmesdale is struggling with his secret guilt over having fathered an illegitimate child. He knows that what he ought to do is to confess his guilt to his congregation, even though that confession will cost him both his livelihood and the respect and reverence of the community which he had gained with his outward show of piety. He keeps resolving to confess and then losing his nerve. So he begins to mortify his flesh, fasting to the point of weakness, keeping vigils (that is, denying himself sleep) and beating himself with a scourge. The condition of his body is less important to him than his standing in the community and his fear of the unknown, so he tries to substitute physical suffering for the rejection and exile he knows he has a duty to accept.

    I can’t help seeing something similar in the leftist urging of people in traditionally advantaged demographics to “check your privilege”, especially in the way significant numbers of people in those demographics are going along with it. It seems to me that they are at least partly motivated by the desire to avoid checking the privilege that is destroying civilization, the privilege that we in the industrialized world call a middle class lifestyle.

  70. Yes, and they’re all already enlightened too.

    So I’ve been on a kick of reading some John Crowley novels (Aegypt cycle, Little, Big) and then Couliano’s “Eros and Magic in the Renaissance” and just finished “Hamlet’s Mill.”(what a doozy) First of all it seems like Crowley took a lot from both of those later books! Also, kind of disappointed in his last “Endless Things”… wondered your thoughts on that.

    But to the point, Couliano basically states that the reformation deliberately attacked imagination, destroying mental and imaginal techniques, laying the groundwork for the banality of scientific materialism and the imaginationless current elite. I know the elites go in cycles and in the beginning they have at least some imagination, but our culture seems to have a pretty complicated relationship with imagination in general! And it keeps coming back, from Golden Dawn style work to Jung’s “active imagination”… So much more important for us to practice these techniques, and since so many don’t bother, so much more powerful for those that do.

    This also links to Silthy’s comment (#18) about how the New Age can’t decided if they want what they want, or if they want to transcend… you can go either way, both paths have their potential dangers, but what I like about the Western Tantra of ceremonial magic is that you go for what you want, while still connecting to the divine and being guided through theurgy. To me it makes sense that you can’t really just “surrender to what is”. For some others this is probably not true. But for me, for now, you can’t surrender until you’ve given your best fight, and you can’t know what you really want unless you go after it.

  71. 30 years overseas working for USG, I often wondered if it could be another way. Play the tape forward a million times from the dawn of human consciousness, could it have come out much differently? How broadly peaked is the distribution of outcomes?

    Not very. It’s a boundary value problem, and the constraints are earth’s climate and resources, human nature, plus dumb luck. Humans dollarize everything, make scientific discoveries, and fight. The timelines of a million re-dos vary +/- thousands of years, but the broad strokes remain the same. Jimmy Carters materialize every run and are roundly ignored every time. There’s always a world war, General Relativity, and fossil fuel depletion.

    If any of your futures necessitate mass human cooperation, I hope you’ll explain how you’re going to nurture the species into that state of sapience.

    It seems impossible to me, but then again, feds famously lack imagination.

  72. Read an article stating that British and American intelligence agencies believe war in Ukraine could drag on for a decade or more. I wonder whether the expressions of support for the brave Ukrainian people is intended to distract from a hope that Russia be trapped in an expensive and demoralizing insurgency that will give US a rationale for crippling the Russian economy with sanctions. Ye gods, I am getting cynical.


  73. You sure called the oil price spike last year, JMG. I wonder how high it will go, and if it will crash the economy solidly into recession? The latter seems pretty likely right now.

    Oil prices, from Brent spiked to $112.16 at the close on Mar 2nd, and the latest price I could find was $116 from mar 3rd am. Which feels weird, given that it’s still march 2nd in my location. That’s what I get for living on the west coast of NA, I suppose.

  74. Patricia+Matthews

    Spiking global oil prices, for a start. Also a high likelihood of higher wheat and therefore baked goods prices if this goes on for a while, since both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of wheat.

    And impacts on the USA’s global reputation, and therefore the willingness of other countries to do things do things the USA doesn’t like… like maybe China going after Taiwan if the USA ends up looking either weak or too distracted to do much. Or flouting US sanctions to trade with Iran to get some cheaper oil.

  75. @Bei Dawei (#70):

    Have you considered the possibility that Putin doesn’t want anything for himself (or his cronies) at this point, but is waging this war against Ukraine only to uphold the centuries-old mythological history of Russia, starting with Riurik in Novgorod and his lineage of descendants first in Kiev, then in Moscow, down to and through the 900 days of the Seige of Leningrad — that is, to uphold and strengthen what occultists would call the egregore of Russia?

    At any rate, that’s how I read his 2021 article on “The Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” [One can read it in an English transation at

    Consider, too, the new Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces, built with Putin’s active support and dedicated (IIRC) the year before his article appeared. And the new monument to St. Vladimir the Great that Putin unveiled in Moscow in 2016. And so forth …

    I think these are not mere empty gestures serving as propaganda, but an expression of Putin’s deepest inner convictions about Russia and his own destiny in its service. When a person has been seized by such convictions, questions of material gain and loss fade into insignificance.

    If I am right, then no sanctions will deter Putin in the slightest on his present course–not even sanctions a hundred or a thousand times more painful than those the West has imposed so far.

    And, alas, the geopolitical games-men of the US and Europe seem unable to imagine how a man as powerful as Putin might be acting from such motives. They seem to be to be showing themselves as double-barreled brass-bound blunderbusses, nincompoops to the highest degree.

  76. I read Leopold Kohr. Small countries can’t wage wars. Or if they do, then the next two just ignore it or put a stop to it. I see a future with 9000 small countries…
    From there it is only a small step to responsibility and accountability, local solutions and swift adaptation.

  77. JMG,

    It’s not so much that our elite can’t see that “everything ends” it’s that they can’t see that “everything decays”.

  78. “One of the great collective facts of our time is the hard fact that cultural change can generate political blowback.”

    Political blowback can be especially challenging to those who are working for practical beneficial change at the grassroots level. All kinds of roadblocks are put in the way of those who dare to do something differently. The powers-that-be seem to be afraid of true innovation and want to commodify any good new initiative, sapping the life blood out of it while keeping a simulacrum thereof to show they ‘care’; or, if too threatened, kill it through over-regulation, unreasonable planning ordinances and other means (legal or not).

  79. Michael Perini,
    small countries can and do wage wars. For example, ancient greek city states sure fought a lot, both each other and Persia. ie. Peloponnesian wars. And when England was a patchwork of anglo-saxon states, they sometimes fought each other, and they fought the danish invaders. ie Alfred the Great. Then there’s the assorted european states of many sizes fighting during the 30 Year’s War.

    If you’ve got a system with assorted clans, they often raid each other – think Irish legends or the assorted small wars and raids all along the english-scottish border. And when the Kievan rus fell apart into city states, those states fought each other, as well as the invading mongols.

    You often get lots of small wars, if you have lots of small countries. And those small countries do often fight when invaded by empires, or if they get caught up in large wars involving many countries, even if they don’t have much hope of winning against the mongols or Napoleon or whoever it is this particular time.

  80. One of the things I have been impressed with is the how effectively the Russian military has been at limiting collateral damage and not hitting civilians. No heavy shelling of urban areas, very little accidental hits on residents, no troops committing reprisals, nothing. Considering the well documented brutality and atrocities of some of the militias in the east against Russians, I am not sure how its been done but it impressive.

    On a more disturbing note, though unsurprising considering her background, the Canadian Deputy PM Freedland was seen on camera carrying a Neo-Fascist groups banner at an anti-Russia rally. Ghoulish woman, but Ukrainian-Canadian diaspora tend to be quite awful. There was never a reckoning with the large scale atrocities and Nazi collaboration during WW2 and they have been a regressive force in the country for the most part since then with some exceptions. In a weird coincidence; the crackdown on the trucker protests seems likely to change that. Most of the Ukrainians live in parts of Canada that sent many people to the protests, or at least hate the party that Freedland is part of. Seeing this seems to be reaching people.

  81. #71
    In a SubscribeStar comment Dmitry Orlov said the US requires Mazut M100 heavy oil in order to supplement fracked shale oil, or else it can’t be economically refined. Dmitry felt that Russia should start asking for payment in physical gold as a geopolitical flex.

    Bloomberg confirms that Russia is the supplier now that Venezuela can’t produce it, and imports were increasing last year. The article was confident increased OPEC production would somehow get around the “problem”, but a year later nothing of the sort has happened.

    So a draw-down of North American fracking is in the realm of possibility, with possible permanent increases in the cost of oil and even higher inflation.

  82. Pygmycory, of course! As a co-creator, you have quite a bit of power to decide what you’re going to contribute to the project of creating your life, and that has a significant impact on the final result. I’m glad that it’s working out for you.

    Tim, I didn’t happen to get to it this time. I may mention it two weeks from now, because Thatcher and her ilk aren’t the only ones making that claim…

    Jon, that’s one useful thing to imagine. I’m going to suggest reaching a little further than that, however.

    Forecasting, thanks for this — I’ve bookmarked it to read as soon as time permits.

    Steve, many thanks for this example! Yes, exactly — here again, a particular kind of dysfunctional imagination had consequences that echoed downstream.

    Skyrider, I’ve seen speculation about Russia deciding to ignore US intellectual property laws, as payback for the sanctions. It’s a fascinating idea, not least because leaking it informally in advance might cause the gooberocracy in Washington to get cold feet; I’ve seen costs to the US economy estimated in many trillions.

    Dusk Shine, good. Very good. One of the supreme failures of US elite culture right now is that nobody who’s drunk that particular toxic koolaid is able to grasp that nobody needs what they provide, and most people would actually be happier without it — or them. Russia could demonstrate that to most of the rest of the world in a hurry if it so chooses.

    Ganv, thanks for this. Yes, exactly.

    Monk, one of the reasons I don’t watch movies is precisely that Hollywood has turned into a factory catering to the senile second childhoods of my generation, rehashing the same dreary Boomer clichés long past the point of nausea.

    JillN, I’ve come to appreciate the ancient custom, practiced in quite a number of cultures, of offering up political leaders as human sacrifices if they screw up badly enough. If they want to accept full responsibility, that might be a good start! As for floods, we have the same problem here in the Mississippi watershed; New Orleans will have to be abandoned sometime in the next century at most, but of course nobody wants to think about that.

    Heian, that’s an excellent comparison! I think you’re quite correct.

    JillN, it’s not that we forget that we have agency. Most people in the Western countries loudly insist they have agency when it comes to things we want to do, and just as loudly deny it when it comes to things we don’t want to do. Back when the peak oil scene still existed, I got to see this all the time — suggest that the people who were yelling for governments to do something might start by changing their own lifestyles, and the embarrassed backing away was something to behold.

    Slithy, excellent! It’s been too long since I’ve handed out a gold star, but you get one for a very sensible comment.

    Jim, true enough!

    Brenainn, your friend isn’t irreligious at all. He’s a true believer in the religion of progress, the established religion of modern industrial society.

    Mohsin, I believe you did indeed.

    Raymond, that sort of thinking is becoming increasingly common just now. I don’t think the privileged classes are going to like the result much.

    Valenzuela, I think it’s quite possible that Russia wants exactly what it says it wants — a commitment that Ukraine will not join an anti-Russian alliance such as NATO, and a commitment that it will not be used to base offensive weapons aimed at Russia — and that if the Ukrainian government consents to that, the war will end promptly. I don’t know that that’s the case, but the possibility should be considered.

    William, well, I predicted when Biden was elected that his administration was going to denounce Trump and then copy most of Trump’s policies, so no surprises there!

    Thomas, the dissolution of Russia into an assortment of weak nations that can be stripped of their assets by Western corporations has been the wet dream of the Davos set for a couple of decades now, so it requires no particular imagination to conceive of that. As for the war, let’s wait and see what things look like once the fog of battle (and the even thicker fog of propaganda) has cleared away before making sweeping claims about how it’s going.

    Viking, do you happen to know of any print or online text media that discuss Yurko’s work? It sounds very interesting.

    Gen Z, that makes immense sense to me — and I’m very glad to hear that you’re putting those insights into practice.

    NomadicBeer, I’ve been wondering where to start with Chesterton, so thanks for this.

    Chris, “failure is our most important product” could be the slogan of the industrial world’s leadership just now. As for oil — well, yes: Brent is above US$116 a barrel and WTI above US$113…

    Rita, a good solid analysis. Thank you.

    Anonymous, hmm! That seems very plausible, but I’m going to want to think about it.

    Vivien, I’m sorry to say you’re probably stuck with her, then.

    Varun, that’s a fascinating point about which I know precisely nothing. It might be worth some historical research.

    Walt, what a fascinating idea. Yes, and there are Celtic traditions that relate to it — in Pagan times the king was quite literally married to the local land-goddess, in a formal ceremony corresponding exactly to a wedding between human beings. The same thing also survived in Venice, where the Doge married the sea in an elaborate ceremony.

    Jon, excellent. Excellent! Yes, exactly. What we need to do is not “build back better,” but build forward

    CS2, I’ve been doing that pretty much since the beginning of the Covid panic, and it’s worth doing.

    Antoinetta, says Brent’s at $116.50, up $3.57 today. Ouch!

    Rita, true enough.

    Pyrrhus, thanks for this! That’s very good to hear.

    Nachtgurke, I’ve seen the same thing in other contexts.

    Aldarion, interesting — thanks for the data point. I wasn’t aware of that, as I don’t follow Brazilian politics.

    Patricia O, my worry is that a lot of people will respond to the gap between what they see on TV and what’s going on in their lives by digging themselves even deeper into delusion.

    Copper, well, that’s one of the causes of war, certainly.

    Roger, as far as I know, corruption is pretty much universal in human politics. If you read political books from a century or two ago, you’ll find that things were just as brazenly corrupt then as they are now — the Clintons are simply following in Boss Tweed’s footsteps. So I suspect there’s something else going on here.

    Ilovemusictheory, these days most of the populists I hear from are more excited by Ron DeSantis than by Trump, so you may just get your wish.

  83. Methylethyl, seems to me that if you use them and they work, they’re relevant right now.

    Clarke, maybe so. I’ll keep on chanting “Iâ! Iâ! and invoking the tentacled horrors, and hopefully they’ll show up one of these days. 😉

    Bei, I don’t happen to know the history of the phrase; that’s an interesting question.

    Patricia M, it’s likely to drive up the price of oil and natural gas considerably, as Russian supplies of both commodities are cut off from the US and its allies, and it may also drive up the price of food, as Russia’s a major supplier of fertilizer feedstock. Beyond that? I’m not sure yet.

    Simon, good. I see your crystal ball is in good working order just now. Stay tuned…

    Joan, excellent! Exactly, and thank you for the fine literary reference, too.

    Isaac, I didn’t find the Aegypt cycle particularly interesting; Crowley’s earlier genre fiction is to my taste his best work. As for Couliano, his point is very relevant, and important.

    Roy, no, human beings don’t dollarize everything. Only Americans dollarize everything. Western people make scientific discoveries; other cultures approach the universe along different angles. It’s doubtless very comfortable to insist that it all had to work out exactly this way, but you know, to me it smells like a cop-out.

    Rita, I think what this amounts to is that British and American intelligence agencies think that since we can’t learn from our mistakes, Russia can’t learn either. We’ll see if they’re right.

    Pygmycory, I expect US$150 later this year, and US$200 is by no means out of reach. Of course it’ll crash back down to $50 or $60 after that, but it’ll rise again thereafter. Its impact on the global economy will not be pretty.

    Michael, Leopold Kohr was smoking his shorts. Small nations are just as likely to go to war as large ones. You might pick up a book sometime on European history from the fall of Rome to the French Revolution, and find out just how many wars were fought by little bitty countries, or even by baronies and dukedoms!

    GlassHammer, maybe so.

    PatriciaT, a good point!

    James, if Freedland was carrying an Azov Battalion banner, I hope that picture gets splashed all over space and time, with explanation…

    Jeff, hmm! That makes a great deal of sense. Fun times…

  84. @ Ken #68

    Thank you for that! I will definitely be perusing it.

    @ Mohsin Javed #85

    That article rides in the back of my mind and occasionally surfaces. I have little doubt that wind powered shipping will be making a comeback in the future, I think the only real question is when.

    It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the next price spike in oil does. Here in the Salish Sea, as Ken put it, that rising price of oil is going to be yet another shock to an already flailing system (especially the state run ferries that supply the San Juan Islands). Also, at some point before too long I think the Olympic Peninsula is likely to face deteriorating infrastructure that is going to make water delivered cargo start looking better and better.

    Of course, whoever decides to start figuring out how to make it work in practice will have to deal with Washington States’s undoubtedly complex and probably strangling regulation. They will also have to deal with finding actual functional boats to use, small sailing vessels built for cargo transport don’t really exist at this point beyond a few very limited examples and I know of no one yet building them.

    Here’s hoping the rising price of oil inspires some folks though!


  85. I know its too early to say this with any certainty but for whatever its worth it looks like the Russians might be using some creativity with respect to military strategy. Everyone expected them to do the whole “shock and awe” blitzkrieg lightning attack. Instead they knocked out all the Ukrainian air fields and seem to be taking their sweet time wiping out every enemy insulation before advancing. Its almost as if they figured out that in order to actually win a war you need to break your opponent’s will to fight instead of just show off your fancy technological toys… If that turns out to be the case we might see far fewer wars that result in less failed states afterwards in the coming decades and more that actually accomplish the goals of the parties involved. This might be the end of European/American military doctrine.

  86. @JMG A quick DuckDuckGo search does not turn out any blog or personal website for Sergiy Yurko. If you can stand visiting YouTube, Sergiy does provide a full transcript of the video in the description (click “show more”), so you don’t need to watch the video to get at what he is saying.

    For example, this is one on a Parabolic Dish collector:

  87. One of the big changes over the next decade could be happening in Germany – the psychological hurdle of rearmament seems to have been crossed, and the US appears to be happily going along with it. That’s step one. Now, if Russia is idiotic and insists on humiliating Germany and/or the EU further… well, history shows that the Germans are big on holding grudges when it comes to national humiliations. The current elites there may not be the same as the elites of the 2030s. No, I am certainly not expecting a German Hitler type in power! What was the saying, history rhymes not repeats?

    More to the point, the current Germany military is a little bit like the 1990s Russia – weak, but unlikely to be stuck in a permanent malaise. They still have a huge manufacturing base, after all.

  88. Hi John,

    I agree with you on the crisis of tomorrowland. That is starting to take shape before our eyes. What is very interesting is how the U.S has been very ineffectual at actually stopping the conflict, with the only thing they have been able to achieve is inflicting economic pain on Russia.

    I would argue that it was U.S weakness that led to Putin thinking he could get away with it in the first place…

    Now the big problem now is that Russians do not trust the West. At all. Whilst most of them do not support the war, they are saying, “hey, its not our fault, why are you punishing us?”. I am going to go out on a limb here and say Washingtons stupidity has pretty much destroyed any much credibility and trust in the Russian population, especially amongst the pro-western youth.

    But what is interesting is the rise of China. Just as America and the Soviet Union eclipsed the European powers in 1945, so too is China eclipsing America. Everyone over here is now looking at China to call for an end to the war and bail out Russia with some sort of Marshall Plan.

    If China does this, several things will happen.

    1) China will be seen as the saviour of ending a major war, not America. This will make therefore China the leading diplomatic maker on the world scene, not America.

    2) Russia pretty much becomes China’s version of Great Britain. A vassal state, along with central asian countries.

    3) American influence will take a huge blow in Europe, with more European powers signing up to the Belt and Road iniative.

    Everything is in China’s favour now. Will they take up the mantle of the new world policeman? Or will they go back to isolationism and back down? It remains to be seen.

    But I do predict that this really will be the Chinese century. I know you predicted a crash in the near future for China but Im not so sure. I think they are less U.S 1920s and more U.S 1945 if Im honest.

    I wouldnt be surprised if China solves the Iran crisis at some point too.

    But whatever happens, this is a huge blow to Pax Americana.

  89. “A ruling elite that fails to accept responsibility for its failures doesn’t remain in power indefinitely, because its incompetence quite reliably wrecks the society that it rules.”

    This failure to accept responsibility for failures seems to be increasing. I was thinking of one specific example in this case. A decade earlier, we had some scandals in Germany with politicians who had faked their PhD thesis. Back then, they had to resign from their political positions and did not play a further role in politics (Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Annette Schavan). We had a similar case in the last few years with another faked PhD thesis. This time, the politician (Franziska Giffey) sat out the crisis until she could resign from her position as Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (in some circles called Minister for everything except men) without any financial loss. Then, she ran for the Berlin mayor position…and she won the election. So she basically did not suffer any major consequences for being a fraud. I am not sure whether the voters in Berlin did not know or did not care about this, but I found the whole story disgusting.

  90. @ Rita – no major argument, but a wee thought.

    When I read this phrase: “the ‘new soviet man’ who could be relied on to cooperate rather than compete” it struck me that this is the EXACT mirror image of the marketist caricature of the ‘rational man’ who can be relied on to compete rather than cooperate.

    Whatever human nature is, it is somehow much more irreducibly complex, and frequently surprising (which translates, for anyone seeking control over that human, to “unreliable”). 😉

    Like Ivan Illich, I raise a glass to surprises! 🙂

  91. Walt F #53 – that is a very interesting meditation, for which, thank you!

    I would add that it might pay to tease out the ambiguities in the word “belonging”. I might say a piece of land “belongs” to me, but do I also say that I “belong” to the land? I might say (or might have said in a medieval context) that a serf “belongs” to me, but would I have also said that I “belong” to the serf? I might say I “belong” to my husband, in a mutual sense where it does indeed follow that he also “belongs” to me, and we “belong” to each other. People are often said to want to “belong”.

    There is something in this word that refers to connection, and something that refers to ownership, and it can easily slip from connection to ownership when the “belonging” is only seen to go one way, and stops being a mutual negotiation.

  92. Jon Goddard #33, I was conditioned by 1980s tv shows to think organisations should operate out of mansions like the Foundation for Law and Government in Knight Rider. 🙂 The Sudbury Valley democratic school found out by accident that there are real advantages to that kind of building: There’s also stories like that in Stewart Brand’s book How Buildings Learn.

    Varun #52, the way I understand it, GE wasn’t so much a radical break with hte past but the logical conclusion of a process begun in the early days of General Motors and McKinsey. They used accounting to keep track of and control vast organisations. That did kind-of work, was an improvement at the time, but set the ‘managment factory’ in motion. In manufacturing some alternatives were the Toyota Production System and the method outlined in Eliyahu Goldratt’s didactic novel The Goal. Currently prominent in the field is John Darlington and you can read a couple of his Thinking Allowed articles here – (there is a third that I have but isn’t available online anymore. There’s also a webinar – The Vanguard Method is the alternative in service organisations –

  93. One thing that has gone unmentioned about the war in Ukraine is that it appears to have birthed a new form of warfare – the high tech insurgency, in which the insurgents have the technological edge. Not only do the Ukrainians have the most sophisticated anti-tank weapons, I strongly suspect that their tank hunting teams are choosing their targets via real-time US satellite data. It may even be the case that the battle is effectively being “managed” in the Pentagon. Notice also how quickly decisions to send weapons to the Ukrainians are being implemented – within 72 hours of European governments announcing their intentions the weapons are in Ukrainian hands. This can only be done via the most advanced just-in-time logistics systems.

    Alot of the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda is parly intended to obscure their technological advantage by giving the Ukrainians an organic “folksy” image, such as with the footage of tanks being towed away by farmers. On the contrary, I think that what we are seeing from their side is a very flexible and precise form of warfare that is only possble with the very latest communications, logisitcs and weapons systems. The Russian material advantage is effectveily up against the Western advantage in microprocessing power, and this needs to be considered when thinking about the potential outcome.

  94. Here’s a data point for you.

    I sent the following (fake) headline to a couple of friends, as a joke, and both of them asked me if it was real or not. It’s not like this was the first time I’ve sent them Babylon Bee headlines!

    It made me wonder—how far gone into unreality are we? That this now seems plausible?

    “Putin Receives Nobel Prize In Medicine For Ending COVID Pandemic”

  95. @JMG, True enough. But having spent countless hours gardening, sewing, baking bread, etc,, having put in the time and effort to learn to live decently without air-conditioning, do laundry by hand (even though I currently use a washer), write letters, etc… it is often frustrating that I don’t know a single other person IRL who is remotely interested in any of it. “You could save 20% or better on your electric bill just by using a clothesline!” is not a sales pitch that piques the interest of anybody I know. I write letters and get emails in return. I have the greatest method for growing pumpkins, they are mouthwateringly delicious, and I can’t give them away, because people don’t want the bother of cooking them! Nobody wants to know about it. Of course I keep plugging along, because I get personal enjoyment out of it, or because it saves me money and lets me live a better lifestyle on the same paycheck… but it feels very lonely at times. I don’t look forward to doing all my laundry by hand again, but I do look forward to the day when laundry day and baking day once again become communal social activities, the way my great-aunts described them, rather than eccentric solitary pursuits.

  96. re: fertilizer from Russia: if they stop sending us phosphate, Florida just became way more strategically important. It’ll be interesting to see if DeSantis realizes this and can use it for leverage. Florida is a major domestic source of phosphate for the US. maybe *the* major source.

  97. Power structures don’t leave much to the imagination. They seem primarily to differ in complexity and how power is shared. In my view, China and Russia have brought their timetable forward to shift the power balance and reshape the world to their liking. If/When Russia wins, or if the US decides to get involved, I expect China to make a move on Taiwan. What better way to ring in the Chinese century? It seems like the time for pretense is up. In the unlikely scenario of NATO vs RS/CN, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Turkey switch sides. A new (old) way of ruling the world: Top-down Tsars, Emperors, Sultans.

    It’s a shame our sociopaths aren’t as ruthless as their sociopaths. All the best masterminds seem to exist in fiction now. Perhaps we can coax them to come off the pages? Empires in decline are as much in need of astute managers as any others, if not more so.

    What is the lag between a shift in the collective imagination, the culture and the political solutions? How many years/generations has this process taken in the past (with and without access to cheap printing), and how long can one expect it to take with our current infrastructure? Has this been studied in any way?

  98. @James R

    Have you considered that what you’re hearing about Ukraine might be propaganda? I don’t follow MSM at all, so have no clue what they are reporting, but what I’m hearing through church channels from people who still have family in Ukraine does not match what you are saying. They report civilian areas and culturally important non-military historic buildings were bombed last night in Kharkiv, that the Gosprom area (of which there is confirmed video of bombing) is mixed residential, and civilians are having to evacuate to basement bomb shelters during the night-time raids, and that hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled to neighboring countries. To me, this doesn’t jibe with an admirable avoidance of civilian damage. I think we can safely assume there is a tremendous amount of propaganda being churned out by *both* sides.

  99. The U.S. has a much further drop in our standard of living than most other countries. I expect the imagination necessary to address problems with the related shocks to our culture will be stretched to the limit to keep us sane, if the past couple of years during Covid is any indicator of future performance.

    I’m looking forward to the next post on this subject, because right now I’m having trouble bridging the gap between a future imagined with the predicament we face, versus the more immediate concerns of just obtaining food, shelter, and clothing in full survival mode, which I believe are coming soon. It’s difficult to imagine the “systems” of the individual response and what to do, in the midst of the “systems” of society and how those changes are increasing their influences on the individuals. We can count on .gov and big business and the PMC to be of no help.

    @Steve #24 – your wife’s experience reminds me of my father trying to deal with the landscaping firm when he headed up the retirement community’s board out in Arizona 20 years ago. The previous firm was “fired” due to the cost of the contract, though the residents were quite pleased with the service. The replacement landscaping service was cheaper, but within a few weeks the complaints started coming in, and a couple of months later when they tried to fire the new service and replace the contract with the former company, all that fell through. Quite a mess from just trying to save a few bucks….lack of imagination, and lack of thinking through the fallout from change….

  100. @ Patricia M – Ukraine produces something like 12% of the world’s exported wheat, so if this war drags on through planting and harvest season, a bump in food prices is likely. It may not effect us, here in the US much, since we are wheat exporters too, but it will be felt in the food importing parts of the world.

  101. @ the commentariat – I’ve seen one or two comments to the effect of “the media pronouncing the name of the Ukrainian capital ‘Keev” is just virtue signaling”. It may serve that purpose, but the truth is that is how to pronounce the name of the city, both in Ukrainian and Russian. That’s how it’s spelled. K-EE-V. That blew my mind when I first started learning Russian in eight grade.
    I look forward to reporters pronouncing Moscow correctly. In Russian, it’s pronounced Mossk’vah. Moscow is a Germanization of the name, much like ‘Czar’ is a Germanized spelling of ‘Tsar’

  102. @ JMG – I hope I’m reaching too far here, and if you’re tired of Ukraine-centric comments, feel free to ignore this, but, I’m struck by the lack of imagination I’m hearing splashed all over the media right now, regarding Russian oil imports to the US. A lot is being made of the fact that we are not cutting off Russian oil sales, and how we need to replace those imports with domestic production.
    Setting aside that no US politician would shut 7% of oil imports out of US markets, I’m struck that next to no one is talking about using less oil.
    I’m not surprised, I just think it is a real failure of imagination, that no one has even considered just not using quite so much of the stuff.
    My state government, and our congress critters, are squealing quite loudly about how Oklahoma can much up that oil and gas production. Not one of them, all supposed ‘conservatives’, say a peep about, you know, conserving, oil.
    Again, I’m not surprised by any of this.

  103. Has anyone else noticed that the West is dealing with Russia via “cancel culture” techniques? They’re going after Russian financing the way SJWs get people fired from their jobs from bad politics. They’re also trying to apply intense social pressure and shaming in the hopes Putin will give a tearful “I am sorry, next time I will try to do better and own my oligarchical privilege.”

    I’m also noticing their actions are becoming increasingly shrill and performative as it becomes clear that Putin is not walking away from Ukraine. What frightens me is that we’re going to find ourselves in a global thermonuclear war because a bunch of idiots who couldn’t find Ukraine on a map wanted likes and upvotes on social media.

  104. Re: My friend: That thought had occurred to me. Talking to him about why fusion will fail or AI is a pipe dream (in more polite language, of course) isn’t any different than talking to a religious fundamentalist. “Heretical” idea meets brick wall.

    On imagining a different future, and on the individual level: this might sound odd but last year, I discovered how much of my yard is edible. I was never a yard guy, who maintained lots of lovely green grass. Wild strawberries now grow all over my yard. Clovers, dandelions, and plantain “weeds” grow all over the place. And they grow fast.

    When I realized this, I went out to my yard and made some salads from this mix. An acquired taste but one I can manage. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past year or so, and even more so in the past week, about how to reimagine my personal future in a way that is free of the utopian visions of the progress believers and the doom and gloom of the apocalypticists. Bit by bit, a new vision has formed.

  105. @HippieViking

    In my FL hometown, mail was delivered by sailboat within my grandmother’s lifetime, and bananas came in by steamer from Cuba. I don’t think it’ll be all that large a step to go back to that.

  106. On the subject of Trump, DeSantis, and other populist leaders: I get the sense that Trump is becoming something of a “godfather” type figure in the MAGA movement. His endorsement seems to pay real dividends in the primaries. He’ll wield considerable influence over the conservative populist movement but he might already becoming a legendary, quasi-mythical figure.

    I can’t help but remember your post about the Trump “Buddha” statues available in China. I actually own one (bought not long after you brought it to our attention), though I’ve yet to utilize it as more than a nice decorative/conversation piece. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump ends up a folk saint, of sorts, in coming generations. But his actual time in office might be over. I certainly love DeSantis, and could back him as gladly as I have Trump.

  107. Geothermal can work, of course, as Iceland avidly demonstrates. However, TANSTAAFL. Yes, pipes expensive and long. Yes, you can’t entirely be sure what you’re hitting, be it magma or a mudslide that closes the well. Yes, you likely have to keep drilling periodically. Those are costs. But there are other mundane costs: steam turbines, caustic minerals, abrasive particles, pumping costs, pumps, electric lines. So far from “free” energy, although in good conditions it works pretty well and we’ve only just started learning it. Contaminated, abrasive water is a pretty constant expense, however. How many holes can you drill and remain stable?

    Putin isn’t crazy, he’s been outlining exactly what the problem and the solution is for 10 or 20 years: don’t put 1st strike nuclear missiles a minute from Moscow. Not a big ask, really. He wasn’t in the position to stop it before now, knowing what it would require, but has to for Russia to survive. NATO and the West say almost every day that Putin is a “dictator” (he’s elected) that must be removed, they must become western uni-future, and all the extractive Neo-Liberal policies must absolutely be installed there or else. So while the West is busy collapsing with geriatric leaders, he finally can take a big risk for Russia to survive as Russia and not return to the 10-year shorter lifespan 10x poverty of the 1990s. The West is very upset he and Russia didn’t like how they “Got nothing and didn’t like it.” You’re required to like it or else.

    So what is he doing now? Has to be a surprise, or they would have expected it, and they clearly didn’t, Biden dumped all our oil reserves for a 50c drop at the pumps, and Europe had no army and no war materials. Russia was just supposed to play along in their part and be the victim. It would take just under a year to get those things in place, so Europe hasn’t got a forking chance. And they’re fighting the source of their war energy and war commodities, including food. How clueless PMCs are: they say Russia is losing in this situation.

    We have zero good reporting, but high-level maps say Russia doesn’t want to wreck anything (they would have to repair it later) and doesn’t want Kiev. Instead, they are taking the entire coast, landlocking the whole nation and half of Europe while our leaders signal with online choirs, shopping trips, and try to find Kerkov on a map. Once Russia locks the Black Sea, they control half of Europe and can do whatever they want, more or less forever. So any terms they wish will be negotiated and capitulated to, early or later. NATO hands all of Lithuania to them to make a land bridge to Kaliningrad? Why not? Poland takes half the Western provinces? There’s no Ukraine left anyway. Europe has the choice to eat or not eat. To heat or not heat. To exist to cease to exist except in dark 3rd world flats where phones are a distant memory. Those are their only choices. That was always true for 20 years now, but they live in such a tower of delusion they have forced Russia to explain the laws of physics to them in very stark and simple terms.

    They haven’t got it yet, but that’s why Russia is moving slowly and is in no hurry. Lacking imagination, the West cannot understand. This, or anything not on Twitter. They can only imagine Russia will do what they would have done, which is to smash things, kill people, and fail. Trying to not wreck Ukraine and not kill civilians is outside their reality. They’re so immune to reality and thought and resistant to facts it might take a year though.

    I guess if Russia cuts off wheat and fertilizer and embargoes half of Europe it will definitely have effects on the U.S. Europe will have high prices and be destroyed and just like WWII, we will love love love it and pretend we don’t.

  108. “I think this realization is very slowly beginning to dawn on a great many people who convinced themselves that the world was supposed to be whatever they told it to be. To my mind, that explains better than anything else the way that the comfortable classes of our society have doubled down so frantically on the future we’re not going to get. It also explains the way that so many of them have become so obsessive and so shrill about finding something to fear and hate—Trump! Covid! Russia! Anything, anything at all, other than the still small voice reminding them that the world doesn’t notice their existence and couldn’t possibly care less about what they want.”–JMG

    Ah yes, a variation of the common New Age belief that “The universe loves and cares for me, and supports my wants and needs by providing them in accordance with my belief”. Note that “wants” is the key word, not necessarily “needs”. I ran into this when I was reading a lot of New Thought/New Age literature from about 2000 on. Actually, I read a lot along those lines before 2000, when I was examining information about Charismatic/Pentecostal Christianity, especially the Word of Faith movement; just substitute Jesus in place of the universe and speak what you want into existence!

    I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised that this belief can crop up in other systems. Come to think of it, the few members of the PMC that I used to know probably did subscribe to this belief as they were sure that the arc of the universe was bent toward Progress. Of course, after the unmentionable virus caused the PMC to slobber shamelessly all over Big Pharma/Big Tech/Big Government, I think it would be more apt to say the arc of Science is what they look up to, not the universe or God.

    And, you know, Steve’s comment (#24) about the PMC’s “‘I get what I want the way I want it with no adverse consequences upon me because it is I who want it’ philosophy” fits in perfectly well. Progress will happen, darn it all, whether reality cooperates or not! (Angrily stamps foot)

    Joy Marie

  109. Dear Archdruid,

    I am curious as to your thoughts on this most recent article by Gail Tverberg. She’s usually very sober minded and not one to make hyperbolic comments.

    This bit at the end caught my eye with regards to no doomsday collapse and such:

    “The danger that we are approaching is that the top levels of governments, everywhere in the world, will either collapse or be overthrown by their unhappy citizens. The reduced amounts of energy available will push governments in this way. At the same time, programs such as government-funded pension plans and unemployment plans will disappear. Electricity is likely to become intermittent and then fail completely. International trade will shrink back; economies will become much more local.”

    I think what alot of people confuse as doom porn is just people warning, look we’re trying to avoid the doom porn and if we don’t do things differently and soon you’re going to get a lot of doom and less porn.

  110. Re. #76 and your response #89, you will note westerners and Americans are both human: You’re making my point.

    It’s westerners and Americans that are largely running amok, using the lion’s share of resources, trying to dollarize every last quark. A fair analysis of potential futures should take that type of unavoidable humanity into account. To ignore them or assume them away would be the cop-out.

    As you know better than most, history has run this experiment thousands of times. To propose a new result for humanity as a whole will require heretofore unseen large-scale changes to our nature and/or nurture.

    I’m definitely not saying it can’t be done, I’m just admitting I have no idea how to do it. You probably do, and as always, I look forward to reading your analysis!

  111. From our current theme of collective imagination, I think of last weeks op comment of Valenzuela about Samo Burja: “Ukraine is so good at social media, I worry that its leaders are addicted to social media…”
    Can’t help but to think if Ukraine has won on social media, let’s see if reality catches up.

    9gag for example is a major fun site, always a slightly liberal bias but a satisfyingly mixed bag still. Now of course its flooded with memes in one direction.
    What do these show? The gypsy has allegedly stolen a russian tank, a picture with a story..jubilant proclamation of donations to ukraine…
    comics depicting putin as crying because his war is going so badly…
    And jubilant applause that russia’s economy is supposed to go to hell.
    “They’ll run out of fuel!”, one commenter confidently declares.

    As one of the major oil and gas exporting nations in the world, and better at that as the US and Europe combined?Is russia capable of refining it’s own heavy fuels?
    Very popular in the nets now: that ~40-50ish old bohemian green, with his beret and saxophone he rides his bike to the end of the nord stream 2 pipeline
    where the pipe is gaping unfinishedly, and jumps gayly blowing his saxophone. Victory!
    Now if this isn’t symbolically ambiguous in so many ways, probably more than the sax man anticipates.
    Isn’t Annalena Baerböck coming from Greenpeace?

    The greens declare they are the authority on the environment and probably think they’re the authority over it too. They might get what they proclaim they want morally and ideally!
    Laughter on the nets: Chechnya’s Kadyrow threatens to sanction us. Haha little man!
    Chechnya is the upper part of the global strategic ellipse of energy resources, it spans to the south to sa and the gulf states, with Iran in between.
    Explains the brutality of the Chechnya war when a collapsing russia risked losing the most important asset.
    Probably comparable to Egypt’s antiquity wealth of wheat and it’s favourable waterway to rome.
    It’s difficult getting relevant news about the war in Ukraine. No surprise;

    China’s global times claims: The USA have 1000 of some unit excess gas while russia delivers per contract 210 units of that…something in the direction.
    And the USA want to deliver their gas to Europe, per ship, and somewhere it said that is 20-30 % more expensive than now.
    Gas prices in Austria have increased quite a lot, common people in fast food joints say that for example their cost for rent, gas, electricity etc has risen for
    about 100€ in one year. Those on the dole receive 800€ per Month plus some 100€ or sbth as a rent subsidy, while a supermarket full time wage is around 1200€.

    Russia exports oil, coal, gas and fertilizer raw materials to Europe.
    Will the war sever this ties fully? There’s claims the USA do not intend on refusing future imports from Russia.
    Sounds plausible. The papers say Iran is already exchanging for gold and China has built it’s own China Swift.
    Social media shows things like Anime Girls with guns, with a proclamation of killing Russians like in some action video-games-movie-etc construct. Will this imagination live up to reality still?

    If Europe is dependend from expensive gas form the US, it is also uncertain how long the US will deliver, and not just decide otherwise laughing about any “contracts” from the little man.
    But we’ll see. In any case, the life of the middle class Westerner now feels more and more like a real action movie, so maybe collective imagination IS taking shape after all!

    In the end a short question: what did they say about the new moon and the three days after? Something with letting go and curses?

    I wish you all well and thank you for your contributions!

  112. I have an agreeing, but slightly different slant:

    The belief = reality meme is a close cousin (sibling?) to the optimism cures all (or success) meme. It also is related to various religious beliefs involving purity/self attainment.

    All of these postulate a system where correct mental/spiritual effort leads to beneficial outcomes. The problem is that reality only haphazardly rewards these endeavors.

    The system response is to say that it is your fault that the good outcomes didn’t arrive: you didn’t try hard enough, your faith wasn’t strong enough, etc. The system didn’t fail, you failed. A prime example would be the Old Testament Israelites who were constantly getting slammed because they fell away from God.

    One important effect of this belief structure (right thinking = right results) is that while me may be chagrined at our own failings, it lets us feel an odd elevation in the fact that others are less well off than ourselves. Aomthing like: “I may not be perfect, but all those poor people can’t even be trying”

  113. @Kenaz re: #109 –

    I have noticed this as well – and this of course also reflects a failure of the imagination, and it’s striking the way a lot of people insist that the Western sanctions are “crippling” the Russian economy. Or, for that matter, that Russian oligarchs think along exactly the same lines as Western oligarchs do (or how conspiracy theorists surmise they do… even when the poster of the message is not themselves a conspiracy theorist).

  114. Hi JMG, many thanks for your post, very interesting serie

    I think what is happening in Ukraine is related to the depletion of cheap natural resources outside Russia, and as some historical character I don’t remember said “Russia has too many resources and too few people” and above all, not controlled by the western oligarchy.

    Apart of the constant bombing and vilence to the people in Donbass, I think the US steps that make Putin lost his patience were:

    1) 2017 – The US begins to arm Ukraine with more effective weapons, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles in massive amounts.

    2) 2016, 2018 – NATO missile bases deployed in Romania and Poland, ballistics and anti-missiles “defense”.

    3) February 2, 2019 – US withdraws from short- and medium-range missile (INF) agreement. That means if you deployed medium range nuclear missiles in Ukraine, you can target all the main Russian cities in the west or the Urals, the more populated and rich part of Russia.

    4) September, 2020 – Colour revolution in Belarus, this time stoped by the belarusian and russian governments.

    5) November 20, 2020 – The US withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty

    6) December 2021 – Russia, first through diplomacy and then publicly, passes on its demands and proposals to the United States and NATO. The most important requirements are for the United States to end NATO’s eastward expansion – including Ukraine – and not to deploy missile base elements near the Russian border. Of course US and his western vassals said NO.

    7) January, 2022 – Colour revolution in Kazajstan that fails thanks to Moscow.

    ALL the colour revolutions around Russia (Belarus, Kazajstan, etc…) are with the idea of putting governents in charge deeply hostile to Russia and with the idea of belong to NATO in the future, to have anti-missiles bases and US troops, of course to “protect” the country from the Russian “aggresor”, and at the sametime threat the very heart of Russia motherland,

    8) January 2022 – Both the US and NATO reject these most important Russian demands, and increase NATO troops in Eastern Europe and intensify arms supplies to Ukraine.

    9) February 19, 2022 – President Zelenský at a security conference in Munich declares that Ukraine is considering withdrawing from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; in other words, he is considering acquiring nuclear weapons.

    Yeah!, of course all is a “unprovoked russian aggression”. What do you think US would do if the chinese or russians install many bases with nuclear capable missiles and planes in Canada, Mexico and Cuba (as JFK in 1962)?, what do you think US will do with the “inviolable sovereignty” of those countries?

    The “project” is to convert Russia in a miryad of small indepent states, fully disarmed, governed by local oligarchs managed by the western financial centers with the natural resources managed by the western corporations and with US military bases to “guarantee” their “security” against the China “threat”.

    The russians and chinese know very well what is at stake and we are entering a very very dangerous phase of our history due to the resource depletion and the infinite ambition of our oligarchy.


  115. @ Methylethyl #111

    I think you’re right. In line with what I was saying above I think there are two things that will get in the way one being the regulation that, at present, is all geared towards bulk freight shipping at levels that sail craft can’t really achieve and would no doubt be ridiculously onerous to try and navigate (at least in my state) and two that there is a dearth of sailing vessels that are built or designed for use as actual cargo carrying craft.

    Sooner or later both of these factors will be overcome, I think it is really just a question of how long will it take?

    Having said that, I could almost see in the right circumstances, the mail being one of the first things to return to a sail dominated mode of transport in places with significant amounts of populated islands. As you said, it really wasn’t that long ago that sail transport fully lost out fossil fuels.


  116. @Alter Ego #93
    The Germans currently have a weak will to defend themself. If you don‘t want to defend your home, how far are you away from offensiv warfare? If they are not coerced by their rulers, they won‘t do anything. Maybe I am wrong, as the people currently seem to be affected by the state propaganda to an extreme degree.

  117. I was simply giving an example of a failure to engage with a political opponent by pathologization that I witnessed myself. There are surely examples of Americans on the political right who have employed similar techniques in recent decades or even do so right now. I seem to remember the use of words like “pothead”, “pervert” or even “degenerate”, all with the intention of blurring the line between a political opinion that is hateful to the speaker, and the utterings of a psychiatric patient.

    Not to distract from your point that it is dangerous for everybody when people who wield considerable political power deafen and blind themselves to disagreement.

  118. #47, #89

    Elon Musk quoted a Reuters article saying Russia is no longer delivering rocket engines to the US, as well as suspending access to their launch facilities for Western space agencies.

    Does this matter? In the short term, no.
    In the longer term, if those rockets can’t be economically re-sourced then the catabolic collapse of Western space infrastructure has begun.

  119. @ Scotlyn re “belonging” – I understand there are some languages with two forms of “belonging” words such as “my.” One form is used for property; the other, for intimate things like “my voice, my word, my family, my friends.” I may be wrong, but the concept got stuck in my mind long ago from somewhere.

  120. Stephen, good! It astonishes me that so few people in the West seem to have noticed that the Russian army is using its own strategies, tactics, and military doctrone rather than ours. Pay attention to the eastern front in Ukraine and it’s pretty clear that they’ve set out to pin down most of the Ukraine army against the Donbass, cut it off from its supply lines from north and south, and force its surrender or annihilation. It’s all very reminiscent of Operation Uranus in the Stalingrad campaign; we’ll see if it proceeds according to plan. (So far that seems to be happening.)

    May I insert a general comment here? The US and European media for decades now have been stunningly, pigheadedly ignorant of even the most basic elements of military science, but the coverage of the Russo-Ukraine war marks a sharp drop even from the previous rock-bottom standard. Not one map of the fighting I’ve seen in Western media, for instance, has bothered to include the location of Ukrainian military forces — they’re all babbling about how much territory was or was not taken, as though that matters one and a half farts in a cat-5 hurricane. Wars are won by defeating the other side’s military force, not by driving a tank or marching a platoon across a piece of real estate — but you won’t learn that from the corporate media. It’s really quite embarrassing.

    Viking, thanks for this! A transcript will do just fine.

    Alter Ego, I’ve been waiting for years for Germany to find some excuse to rearm. The next big internecine European war will follow in due time.

    Ksim, I find it exceedingly unlikely that China will do anything so foolish. Their leadership has shown a great deal of skill at the long game, and they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by continuing to do so. The most likely outcome of the war at this point is a Russian victory, followed by a new Cold War between Russia and the EU that will weaken both. That’s a win-win situation for China, and all they have to do to make it happen is keep buying Russian grain and fuel, and watch from the sidelines. (I’ve noticed that a lot of Europeans keep expecting China to intervene in European affairs in ways that benefit Europe, but of course that doesn’t happen, and it won’t; recall that China holds the nations of Europe to blame for what they call the Century of Dishonor, and the Chinese are very, very good at holding grudges.) As for the Chinese century, I don’t disagree; I think they have some economic turmoil to get through first, but just as 1929 was followed in due course by 1945, the approaching economic crises will not be a permanent barrier. As for the Pax Americana, stick a fork in it; it’s done.

    Secretface, yeah, that’s pretty embarrassing.

    Phil K., well, we’ll see. Right now both sides are pumping out PR at top speed, as combatants always do in wartime; once the smoke clears and the rubble stops bouncing, we’ll see if what’s going on is in fact something significant, or just another round of propaganda.

    Blue Sun, ha! You’re right, that’s quite the data point.

    Methylethyl, duly noted! All I can say is that I wish I knew more people interested in such things here in Rhode Island, too.

    Piglet, it really varies, depending above all on just how thoroughly the existing narratives have discredited themselves in the public mind. It can happen in a few years or it can take a few centuries. For example, it took Communism almost seventy years to go from an idea in the minds of a couple of German radicals to an ideology capable of driving a successful revolution, where fascism went from nowhere to global prominence in under a decade.

    Drhooves, the fact that we have further to fall is actually a source of relative stability, because we have such an excess of material wealth. We’re also a major net exporter of grains and other bulk crops, so starvation isn’t likely even when fertilizer shortages and drought are factored in — it’s the countries that are net importers that are screwed. That said, as the current kleptocratic system comes unglued, I expect to see a lot of serious craziness among those classes that have been sheltered from the harsh decline in living standards most Americans have been putting up with for years now.

    Ben, yes, I’ve noticed that. It’s always struck me as weird that the single most effective thing we could do to stabilize our economy and improve our position domestically and abroad — using less imported fuels — is the one thing nobody, but nobody, wants to talk about.

    Kenaz, ha! That’s brilliant. It bodes very poorly for Ukraine and for the Western powers generally, too, because one of the unmentionable realities about cancel culture is that it only works in a rigidly hierarchical situation — a corporation, say, or a university, where you can pressure somebody to fire the offender. Outside of that? “Get woke, go broke” works the other way around; every time a bunch of wokesters have set out to cancel me, for example, my royalties go up noticeably. Since only about 8% of Americans support woke ideology, and a big share of the remaining 92% are sick and tired of the posturing, that’s only to be expected. Mutatis mutandis, the same thing’s true in international politics; if Western elites set out to cancel Putin and Russia generally, they’re just guaranteeing that the governments of unaligned countries, and popular opinion outside the elites here in the West, will swing in a Russophile direction.

    Brenainn, excellent! I bet that salad was delicious. As for Trump et al., that’s my guess as well.

    Joy Marie, exactly. It’s the attitude of a spoiled toddler who thinks that shrieking loudly will get her whatever she wants.

    Mr. House, Gail is a very thoughtful writer and analyst, but she consistently misses the resilience of existing systems and fails to learn from her mistakes, which is why she’s made so many failed predictions. This is another of them. If she’d predicted that sequence of events as unfolding over the next twenty to one hundred years, depending on region, she’d likely be correct, but that’s not what she’s saying, of course.

    Roy, but all humans aren’t Americans or Westerners. That’s exactly the problem — most Americans and Westerners are convinced that everyone in the world thinks and acts just like them, which simply isn’t the case. Waiting for large-scale changes to nature or nurture — wait, where have we heard that before? No, what will happen is that the peculiar habits of thought and action that predominate in the US and its vassal states, which worked quite well during an era of unprecedented but temporary resource abundance, will sunset out with the culture that gave rise to them, and history will resume its more normal rhythm.

  121. I work in a corporate setting, and I’d love to have a dollar for every time I’ve quoted Joe Brady in the 1945 movie Anchors Aweigh by saying “I’ve got a theory called wishing don’t make it so.” And maybe another dollar for every time I received a baffled stare in response. Because after all, the world, like the Amazon delivery van, is supposed to send you exactly what you want and make it snappy. Sigh.

    Options for a future that is different from a dreary plastic space-age Tomorrowland and the apocalypse that I’ve been hearing about since my parents got religion in 1974, you say? Count me in. Let’s do this.

  122. Patricia Mathews – Thank you. Yes. There are those who speak of “my” property. meaning I can buy it, sell it, enhance it, destroy it, use it, abuse it, keep it, or give it away. But now, consider whether ANY of those actions makes sense when you are speaking of “my” mother, “my” friend, “my” hometown. “My” home, even – as opposed to “my” house.

  123. >The US and European media for decades now have been stunningly, pigheadedly ignorant of even the most basic elements of military science, but the coverage of the Russo-Ukraine war marks a sharp drop even from the previous rock-bottom standard.

    I think I’ve summed up all the media coverage and it’s this – “WE’RE WINNING!”. Who’s winning and how? Stop asking seditious questions and shut up. I guess if everyone is winning by holding a war, perhaps the whole world can win by holding a – world war?

  124. >Does this matter? In the short term, no. In the longer term, if those rockets can’t be economically re-sourced

    It was almost a mantra during the Great Outsourcing of the 90s, that “Om, we can totally do it here but it’s just cheaper to let them do it, om”. Except I don’t think that’s true – we don’t know how to make that stuff anymore and getting anyone to be bothered to figure it out again is too hard. Whether it’s rocket engines or chips or power transformers or power tools or batteries or….

    I think that was part of the plan – economic interdependency to ensure political stability and peace but I don’t think economic interdependency is going to ensure anything other than shortages and collapse. It certainly hasn’t stopped people from going to war.

  125. @Jon Goddard re: pumpkins: 1) Select a variety that likes to grow where you live. Where I live, Seminole pumpkins are a standout– extremely heat-tolerant, pest-resistant, delicious, and the vines root at every node, so by the time the vine-borers inevitably kill the oldest part of the vine, that vine has kept running fifteen, twenty or more feet further on, rooted in a dozen places, and is still going strong! The things can keep on the shelf for as much as a year, too. 2) I use the melon-pit method: dig a hole, put in the stinkiest, most foul nitrogen source you have around: fish guts, roadkill, cheap sardines, the contents of your rat traps, little Jimmy’s dead guinea pig, the half-picked turkey carcass you were gonna make soup out of but forgot in the fridge… it’s all nitrogen! Fill in the hole with carbon mass like wood chips or dry leaves to hold moisture, put a layer of dirt on top, and plant your 2-4 pumpkin seeds (or seedlings) around the edge of the hole. 3) Because I live in the sandy subtropics, with a crazy amount of rain and no real soil, I put charcoal in the pit as well– it keeps the nutrients from just washing away, and a layer on top keeps varmints from digging it up– absorbs the smell I think.

    This also works great for cantaloupes and watermelons: dang near foolproof even when I was growing them in a giant sandbox.

  126. Curt, all this resembles nothing so much as the propaganda-rich environment of a totalitarian society, in which whatever point of view is most convenient for the government is endlessly rehashed. That’s one of the reasons so many people in such societies stop trusting what the official media says. Outside the bubble of the chattering classes, the same is increasingly true here in the US…

    Russell, yes, and that effect of the belief structure is one of the main payoffs it offers. People will buy into the most amazingly silly ideas if those ideas allow them to feel superior to others.

    DFC, well, yes. The official line from NATO is that everything they do is right and good and just and unobjectionable, while Russian objections are just silly. I think the Russians can be forgiven for finding that hard to believe.

    Aldarion, here in the US, at least, one of the significant differences between left and right is the rhetoric they use to dehumanize and devalue their opponents. The left insists that people who don’t agree with them are crazy; the right insists that people who don’t agree with them are wicked. It’s quite a reliable litmus test. Of course both are ways of erasing disagreement, but there’s a difference worth noting between a pathologizing model of doing that and a moral-judgment model.

    Jeffrey, no, the catabolic collapse of Western space infrastructure has been under way for quite a while now. It’s just that at this point it may well have gone far enough that it can’t be stopped.

    Maria, oh my. Now I need to find a clip of Joe Brady saying that, to plug into a forthcoming post! It’s a good theory. 😉

    Owen, I wonder if it would make sense to find a couple of good out-of-copyright books on how wars are fought — something less philosophical and weighty than Clausewitz — and start encouraging people to read them. Since there are probably going to be a lot more wars in the decades ahead, a certain basic standard of military literacy might be well worth achieving.

  127. The most dangerous side effect of our collective fixation on Tomorrowland the Fallen is the degradation of all those things of yesterday’s that would really, really would have come in handy if we kept them around. Captain Erikson’s sailboats, for one. Yes, we can rebuild them, but make no mistake– something HAS been lost. Even if there are many people who know how to sail, even a few who know how to sail large ships, the combination of cargo handling and sail handling is going to present some unique challenges. Someone will have to relearn, the hard way, what it means when bulk grain in the hold shifts during a blow. (as an example.)

    What I see around me is that the last few years, everyone has been retreating and falling back not on the older, more workable ways, but the cheaper, more ephemeral ones, reaching for Tomorrowland. Just as we’ll need sail cargo as the motor boats run out of fuel, we’ll need a functioning postal service when the e-mail servers start to crash. Last month I had a bill come in more than 2 weeks late– on a trip two miles! You can guess what I was told: switch to electronic billing. We will need robust local food systems as the fuel and fertilizer dry up– but the farmers market here has priced both consumers AND farmers away. It’s mostly just overpriced trinkets, soap and dog treats, now. (Thanks to the epidemic of childlessness, there is no price ceiling on dog treats.)

    I knew this would happen– 15 years ago, I talked about “Walmartization” being the great threat as oil prices rose and people sought false economy. I was not expecting Amazon to eat even Wal Mart’s lunch; a failure of imagination, I suppose. Having expected this process doesn’t make it any easier to watch, though.

  128. @Ben (#107) on the pronunciation of “Kiev” in Russian and in Ukrainian:

    In Russian the city’s name is spelled (in Cyrillic) Киев. (I hope the Cyrillic makes it through the internet OK.) It is pronounced in two syllables, with the accent on the first syllable, roughly “KyEE-yif.” The “K” is palatalized that is, to English ears it sounds like it has a faint “y” after it. The vowel of the second syllable is reduced to something like the vowel in our English word “if.” The “v” becomes an “f” at the end of a word.

    In Ukrainian the city’s name is spelled Київ. It is pronounced in two syllables, but the K is not palatalized, and the Cyrillic letter и is pronounced differently in Ukrainian than in Russian. Its Ukrainian pronunciation is closer to that of the Russian letter ы, a sound that we don’t have in English (or in any of the more common European languages). It’s something like a blend of English “oo” and “ee” into a single vowel. Let’s conventionally transcribe it UI. In the second syllable the vowel letter ї is not reduced as in Russian, but is a full “ee” sound (like in English “coffee”) A Cyrillic в at the end of a word is pronounced somewhat like an English w. So in Ukrainian the city’s name sounds more or less like “KUI-yeew.”

    If your high-school Russian teacher said it was pronounced (in either or both) languages as a single syllable, he was mistaken.

  129. Archdruid,

    So I did a quick google search and came up with this link

    There are some books in there from well before the 1950s, I’ll have to track them down and see what they have to say.

    Another thought just hit me about imagination. On one of your previous posts (magic Monday maybe?) your mentioned how countries such as Japan and China basically ditched their native systems of magical practice as a result of their industrialization process. As a result western systems like the golden dawn are very popular among the laity in those countries. I wonder if another consequence of industrialization is that the leadership of industrialized countries stop using divinatory techniques such as numerology and astrology to guide their decisions. I know in India every major leader still consults an astrologer before making a decision. It could explain why leaders in the West, China, Russia all seem to make decisions based on their best trained experts that turn out terribly.

    Materialists can’t imagine that there may be forces at play that they can’t anticipate?

    Darkest Yorkshire,


    That actually makes a lot of sense. The Fasutian cultural impulse always seems to be to take the shortest route to power and then keep doubling down as it destroys you. The impulse toward profitability over all else had to start somewhere, but would have hit popularity right around the time GE did it’s thing. I’m going to read through some of that material, thank you!



  130. Mr. Greer,

    a few questions: (I didn’t go through the comments so apologies if someone already asked them.)

    As an example of a political blowback to cultural change you described happenings in the Muslim world. This might be one of those things which are easier to perceive from the outside, but do you think that there is political blowback to cultural change in the Western world as well? For example, British Secret Service silenced the country’s leading liberal media, see here – . Would that count as a political blowback to cultural change or is this something else?

    What is the reason for the failure of imagination in the Western world? It seems reasonable to me that the ruling classes don’t want to allow alternatives because that would challenge their grip to power, and that the imagination of the uncomfortable classes has been exceptionally successfully squashed by the political blowback. How do you see this?

    In your response to my comment two weeks ago, when I referred to a quote “It is easier to imagine the end of the world then the end of capitalism”, you said that you can easily imagine several ways capitalism could end. So, could you outline one in a few sentences? However, apocalyptic scenarios – like e.g. global nuclear war – don’t count because they would fall on the-end-of-the-world side (even though some humans would survive).

  131. ” I wonder if it would make sense to find a couple of good out-of-copyright books on how wars are fought — something less philosophical and weighty than Clausewitz — and start encouraging people to read them. Since there are probably going to be a lot more wars in the decades ahead, a certain basic standard of military literacy might be well worth achieving.”

    I have a copy of Patton’s “War as I Knew It” in my bookshelf. Like him or not, it’s an insight to what he was thinking about as events unfolded.

    Also very relevant to this topic is “Shattered Sword” by Parshall and Tully. If you’re not into the blow by blow of Midway then just read the first sections as to the culturally straight-jacketed reasoning that led the Japanese into thinking Midway was a good idea.

    And for equal opportunity you can read about the American short-sightedness that lead to Pearl Harbor, and to the obliviousness that lead to Savo Island. The latter was covered in “Neptune’s Inferno” by Hornfischer.

    And if you think that’s the military and not applicable to everyone else, remember the military is a reflection of of the society it comes from, unless you hire mercenaries.

  132. @Methylethyl

    Many thanks! The information is safely put away for planting season. If I am fortunate, I’ll have a real garden this summer.

  133. Secretface2097 (no. 95), I cringe every time somebody refers to “Dr.” King.

    Aldarion (no. 123), “degeneration” was a concept from 19th century eugenics. You often see it in political writings of the time, when Europeans lamented what they saw as the decline of their civilizations from the Golden Age of antiquity. It influenced literature, too (e.g. “Dracula”). Not sure when it came to be applied to teh gayz–it might be a simple euphemism, or it might allude to nonprocreative sex.

    Of course another spiritual milestone in the history of degeneracy came when some of the guys from “Devo” joined the Church of the SubGenius.

  134. I suspect historians will record PMC’s America’s lavishly funded push for LGBTQAI+ rights as the worst thing to hit sexual minorities since AIDS.

    In much of the world, rainbow flags are now associated with Coca-Colonialism and seen as attacks on indigenous traditions and religions. These are places with longstanding queer communities. (Burroughs and Ginsburg didn’t visit North Africa because they wanted to get arrested for homosexuality… ).

    Those communities were once tolerated even if officially frowned upon. But because we felt it important to export our Sexual Revolution, they are now becoming even more marginalized. They’re not just sinners, they’re prospective American spies and sympathizers.

    Within the United States, official and unofficial LGBT tolerance were at an all-time high. An openly gay man named “Buttigieg” made a credible run for the United States Presidency with minimal snickering. In professional circles, you’ll lose more standing by stating that the Bible condemns homosexuality than you will for showing your same-sex partner’s photo in your cubicle.

    Maybe these situations aren’t perfect. But they show that by and large the US is accustomed to or at least reconciled with the existence of non-straight Americans. Until Drag Queen Story Hour and Critical Theory came to their children’s schools. And until any reasonable objection they had was screamed down by people who spat at them and called them Nazis, TERFs, and Fundamentalist Christian Taliban.

    Now we have a cultural backlash in school districts around the place. And if America takes a swing Hard Right in response to a serious economic crash and/or military humiliation, you could easily see a lot of those cultural gains wiped away. And a lot of the people who were screaming loudly on social media for LGBT rights will just as happily scream for LGBT scalps if the algorithm makes that position the social default.

    I am not happy about this future, but I think it is a live possibility thanks to an ill-advised social experiment by Western oligarchs.

  135. A good friend of mine pointed out a big brain way to use the failure of imagination profitably. She is legally obliged to deal with certain bureaucrats semi regularly for complex reasons. It is a tedious obligation that involves answering double bind questions and sucking up, and making a mistake has nasty consequences. Says to me “I just make a neutral comment on politics if they bring up a question I don’t feel comfortable answering, then they assume I’m on their political side and just rant about politics until our meeting is over.”

  136. As a young twenty-something, my now husband observed his peers in art school trying to make their projects function in ways that were incompatible with the reality of the materials they were using. He decided he would “work within the limitations of his materials” instead; a rule of thumb I remember him repeating often in those days and it has stuck with me. I recall us observing how many wonderful, functional, creative projects could be done following that rule. It wasn’t actually a limitation on creativity or imagination—quite the reverse, in fact. It was the foundation on which creative ideas could be successfully realized.

    Put another way by a teacher of mine, “It is best to live with reality, because if you do not, reality will definitely come to live with you.”

  137. I’d like to hear people’s ideas for where will more likely than not be good places to live quiet, relatively safe life in the upcoming, say, 50 years. A walk-able town/city, functioning community systems, food grows there, etc.

  138. Varun (no. 135), traditional fortune-telling is alive and well in Taiwan. Hell, I had to get married on a “lucky” day, and I don’t even believe in astrology! Hardly anybody over here has ever heard of the Golden Dawn.

    Goran (no. 136), would Christian fundamentalism count as a political reaction to modernity? (Shmuel Eisenstadt, call your office!)

  139. Yes, it is quite delicious! It was a bit bitter the first few times I ate it, but my taste buds quickly adjusted to that. Also, perhaps by some luck (or maybe Providence?), right after I bought my home, my late father ate a peach and tossed the seed into the yard. Somehow, it actually sprouted, took root, and is now a small but steadily growing peach tree. The peaches are now just large enough that I think they can be eaten.

    Making conservative use of the edible plants in my yard, I think I can get most of my fruit and veggie requirements from foraging! Add to that the garden that I’ll be planting this year, and I feel pretty hopeful about affordable food sources. There’s also a number of walnut trees in my city park (which is within walking distance), and while I’ve never tried walnut, I will be soon enough.

    But something occurs to me. As little as five years ago, there’s no way that I would have attempted any of this. I was a gung-ho science fiction fan and believed that in my lifetime (much like my best friend), we’d have unlimited energy from fusion and living in space. I had a smartphone, kept up on the latest techno-gadgets, followed space news, etc.

    As I wonder what changed my thinking, and allowed me to imagine a different future and a different life, I suspect it began when I quit watching television. The decision to do so was politically influenced. All the new shows and movies were turning woke, and as an enthusiastic supporter of MAGA, I grew sick of that. When I quit TV, it seemed like a spell was broken, and my views, attitudes, even goals, quickly changed.

  140. Here is another an article related to sailing ships hauling cargo: Sailing Ships Hauling Cargo in 2021.

    I’m not sure that the skills needed to sail “tall ships” are entirely lost. “After World War II, tall ships were a dying breed, having lost out to steam-powered ships several decades before. It was a retired solicitor from London, Bernard Morgan, who first dreamed up the idea of bringing young cadets and seamen under training together from around the world to participate in a friendly competition. The Portuguese Ambassador to the UK, Pedro Teotónio Pereira, was a big supporter of this original idea and believed that such a race would bring together the youth of the world’s seafaring peoples. These two figures started discussions in 1953 and three years later they saw their vision become a reality. The first Tall Ships’ race was held in 1956. It was a race of 20 of the world’s remaining large sailing ships. The race was from Torquay, Devon to Lisbon, and was meant to be a last farewell to the era of the great sailing ships. Public interest was so intense, however, that race organizers founded the Sail Training International association to direct the planning of future events. Since then Tall Ships’ Races have occurred annually in various parts of the world, with millions of spectators. Today, the race attracts more than a hundred ships, among these some of the largest sailing ships in existence, like the Portuguese Sagres. The 50th Anniversary Tall Ships’ Races took place during July and August 2006 and was started by the patron, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who also started the first race in 1956.” Wikipedia

  141. Dusk Shine, unfortunately, that’s normal. It’s one of the core reasons that dark ages happen.

    Varun, hmm! I hadn’t considered that, but you know, it makes a great deal of sense. I’ll keep on putting out my astrological forecasts, and hope that political leaders will listen…

    Goran, of course there’s political blowback to cultural change in the West. We’ve already started to see quite a bit of it, and there’ll be more. As for the failure of imagination, that’s a complex matter, which I’ll be discussing further on. The end of capitalism — why, we’ll talk about that shortly.

    Siliconguy, these are useful, but they’re not what I had in mind. There used to be good basic textbooks of military science, the kind of thing that junior officers would study as part of their preparation for command. I’ll have to see what I can find.

    Kenaz, I’ve been watching that take shape for a while now. The one bright spot is that there’s been some bridgebuilding between the alt-right on the one hand, and some sectors of the gay and lesbian community (especially the so-called “TERFs” among the latter), which may help as the backlash builds.

    Ray, ha! I like it. Maybe others can put that to use.

    Erica, your husband is a smart man.

    Boo da, instead of trying to migrate somewhere, why not see if you can create such a space where you are?

    Brenainn, it’s been my consistent experience that once people get rid of TV, they remember how to think again. Thanks for the data point!

  142. @JMG

    “Brenainn, it’s been my consistent experience that once people get rid of TV, they remember how to think again.”

    Or as I say to the TV-addled, they don’t call TV shows “programs” for nothing!

    I am happily TV-free for over 20 years now. The clarity and relief is amazing. Do it, people! Get rid of the Idiot Box!

  143. Scotlyn #97

    It is ironic that capitalist economic theory is based on the concept of the rational man, as you noted, yet actually relies on the irrational response to advertisement to keep the economy growing. The rational man would say “I have no need for an SUV to run across desert landscapes and mountains since I only drive to work and shop and occasional trips to nearby Big City”. But the desired customer says, “OOOH cool, fast, tough, manly, must have.” What would an economy composed solely of rational actors actually look like?

    As I understand it NATO is supposed to be a defensive pact. Logically a defensive alliance is like a family that says, “You hit my brother, you deal with me and our uncles and cousins. You leave us alone and we have no problem.” But it is more like a family with a rogue member who starts fights and drags the rest of the family in (one guess as to who the rogue brother is). If it weren’t for that rogue member, Russia would have no reasonable objection to NATO members on its borders since I don’t think even Putin expects France or Belgium or Germany to launch an attack on Russia. If it were true that NATO won’t attack an outsider nation unless that nation has attacked a NATO member there would be no problem unless Russia were planning such attacks. But since the US has pressured fellow NATO members into supporting wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, Russia has reason to be nervous about NATO bases harboring weapons that can reach its major cities. It is like having a house inhabited by heavily armed meth users next door. But Americans are so convinced of the righteousness of our foreign policy that we are incapable of accepting that any other nation can have a rational objection to it. As when France refused air space to American warplanes headed to the Middle East and was mocked with a refusal to eat French fries, which must have had French politicians muttering “Are these people fracking serious?” I hope it is needless to say that Russia is no more entitled to attack Ukraine than US was to attack Iraq.


  144. @Kenaz: “Those communities were once tolerated even if officially frowned upon.” I’m sure you don’t need any examples, but if anybody else would like to see lively and detailed descriptions of public queer behavior in an Islamic country, you can find them in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet. This was Egypt in the 1930s.

  145. The lack of imagination in C suites has been on display right next to our house for six months. After the pandemic restrictions were eased, hotel employees renegotiated work conditions with their employers. All hotels signed up on a collective agreement, except the Hilton. For the last six months, sun or rain, snow or ice, even at -20 oC, the Hilton employees have been on strike watch in front of the Hilton’s door, blaring 80s rock music and sounding Vuvuzelas. According to their union, their one non-negotiable point is that all job openings must be announced in public so that they can be filled with regular contracts, not temp contracts.

    The representative of the hotel employers says bluntly that he doesn’t understand the Hilton’s refusal to sign the collective agreement – “they should not be in confrontation mode, but in seduction mode”. It seems all shops and restaurants in the region have “Wanted” signs in their windows. But the Hilton owners prefer to lose money every single day for six months because they have decided they won’t sign regular contracts. If that’s not delusions of omnipotence, then I don’t know what is.

    By the way, the truckers’ convoy congregated a few meters from the Hilton strikers. They were supposed to be representatives of the working class, but I don’t know of any mutual support between the two demonstrations.

  146. Regarding the idea that reality has to be whatever you want: I’m reminded of the habit some people have of calling “victim blaming” whenever anyone dares suggest that a person who suffered a misfortune might have avoided it if they had acted differently. To praphrase an actual argument I saw on Reddit, “You don’t deserve to get shot just for harmlessly robbing a store; human lives are worth more than any amount of money!”

    I’ve been seeing a lot of that sentiment surrounding discussions on Ukraine; whenever someone argues that Ukraine wouldn’t have gotten invaded if they hadn’t consistently elected to antagonize Russia and get closer to NATO, others respond by saying that Russia is morally wrong for invading Ukraine and Ukraine should have the right to join NATO if it wants and so on and so foth. Which, even if true, doesn’t matter one bit if what you want is to not have your country invaded by Russia.

  147. @David, by the lake

    A pretty good indication of an Astroturf group. Is Antifa and BLM. Who despite their rioting. Were not cracked down upon by the local government.

    And which had ample logistical support without the Government taking that down too.

    Compared to the protests against lockdowns and vaccine mandates

  148. Sgage, amen to that. I was delighted to see the following bit of common sense the other day:

    Aldarion, that’s a fine example.

    Valenzuela, yep. It’s an extension to everyone — or more precisely, to everyone of whom the managerial class approves — of the rule that the privileged classes must never bear any responsibility for their own dumb decisions.

  149. @ methylelthyl #101

    I doubt you are close to me. ( I am in Greater SF Bay area of Ca, in the unlikeleness that you are close )

    Locally, in real life, I find people into gardening, even appreciating and cooking pumpkins, although I usually just do butternut squash as I find it easier to process and use without waste ( even if you grow the large ones, they are long and if you cut off part of it, you smear the clear bit of ooze from the cut over the whole cut edge and can just keep it on the counter, to cut off more another day) and it makes a great pumpkin pie, as well as all the soups. One year I grew so much. SO many recipes, so much butternut and kale.

    But yes, I am crazier about it, or in a different way, than alot of them as I am more serious about seeing if I can learn to grow enough. SO, this is more of a “prepper” mindset and that I dont meet in real life.

    And, that isnt exactly same mix either. I also do not meet advanced energy saving people in real life. I used to be part of riot for austerity, the project to use 10% of US average in all energy use. That was a virtual group, it is not around anymore.

    So, I think it is most likely that we find parts of what we do in some groups in real life. But all discrete. a gardening group. A ham radio group. People to walk or exercise with. a quilting or sewing group. People at the range to shoot with. Around here, there are people who can, and bake.

    There is no one who takes the whole package to where you and I would want to go, especially about energy useage ! I was able to talk about my laundry experiment with one neighbor who told me that if we lost our washers, we would do it as a group, she did so in the past, she would help me with large items and knew how. But — they are moving to Florida I think, walking to relative freedom.

    In my own little way, I am trying to counsel the small number of rebuild neighbors I talk to to make sure in their rebuilds to have backups to being all electric ! The vision of progress here means that they think they should have all electric heat, cooking, etc… Whereas it is typical to have wood heat or wood heat backup till now. Maybe it will make some difference. But everything is realy driving these new house builds we will get to use MORE power. A heat pump heater is also used as a summer airconditioner, and yes, it gets HOT, unbearabley so some days, in the summer. But, most houses do not have airconditioning. The new ones will. Downed wood is a fire hazard we need to get rid of, and so that will get burned outside or chipped or hauled to the dumps and they will use the heat pump heaters. With state mandated solar panels on the roof. And no laundry line. And a dishwsher.

  150. Its very often that the managerial class like the CEO’s are often able to escape the wreckage that come for their companies through the Bonuses they pay themselves as they escape by their golden parachutes.

    Unlike the warrior aristocracies of old. Failure doesn’t very often lead to their own deaths or even losing what they have.

    Perhaps the stripping of corporate personhood like a kind of corporate death penalty will open those CEO’s and executives to accountability.

  151. Hello Mr Greer and his readers,

    This isn’t my most poignant observation, but from the snippets of MSM I’ve caught from family having the television on, the major networks seem to have already shifted to an entirely emotional appeal. For the first few days they gave at least gave hackneyed geopolitical analyses. It amounted to Putin personally invading a nation of unified carebears for the purpose of puppy murder, without any regard to complexity. Certainly no admittance that we may hold any blame with the Maidan Coup or NATO overreach, and certainly no possibility that the Ukranian government has been anything but morally upstanding in their treatment of Russian speaking citizens. But they have dropped even this analysis. They have moved entirely to heart wrenching pictures and selected interviews with refugees. They’re horrible to be sure, as war tends to be, but the media has entirely detached them from the possibility of having any reasoning or meaning. They have already taken their narrative to be an assumed fact for most Americans, with no more elaboration. They expect the entire reality of the situation to be captured in emotion. I can’t help but compare this to the late New Age as you suggested. The flowery focus on feelings and buzzwords without any connection to a structured metaphysics draws parallels. The idea that you can manifest something by simply believing it… and what better way to believe something than be emotionally invested? And without this structure you create or utilize things you can’t control or understand, you flail around. Which is why the US response will only lead to more suffering and conflict that can just be reduced to pictures on King 5.

  152. Hi all,
    I saw this article ( and as a practicing radio ham with a love of HF specifically, this seems impossibly forward thinking. Rather than rely on computerized social media the BBC is looking to revive shortwave broadcasting. Officially this is for the war in Ukraine, but it seems to a be a step that runs profoundly against the current of the ‘progress’ narrative. It will prove useful in a future lower energy per-capita future. A good crystal set can be made out of junk lying around your house, a smartphone or desk top computer not so much.


  153. Great article and great comments, everyone. I learn so much from you all. I am especially excited now about growing pumpkins this year!

    I want to report on a blossoming of the imagination that I have to credit to you, dear JMG. Thanks to your series on the early American occultists, I have become aware that I can tap into that rich history today to help us move forward. Here’s what’s happening in my neck of the woods:

    Our small band of deplorable hippies (we did not buy the covid hysteria), fed up with being excluded by mask and fox mandates from the community space we helped build over the years, decided to join our local Grange. We are now sharing bare-faced pancake breakfasts with our fellow deplorables – the rednecks, loggers and old-timers, as well as a new crop of soon to be impoverished pot growers (the bottom is dropping out of that market now).

    We are having a great time and our first project will be to attempt to grow corn and beans on an abandoned hemp field.

    Here’s bit about the the Grange: The Grange, also known as the Patrons of Husbandry, was organized in 1867 to assist farmers with purchasing machinery, building grain elevators, lobbying for government regulation of railroad shipping fees and providing a support of network for farm families. By the early 1870s there were more than one million members.

    I love the Grange motto: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” The Grange is a fraternal organization and it is not a model I have ever experienced before or thought I would be comfortable with, but thanks to JMG’s encouragement, I am excited about belonging to this group and I hope it can do wonderful things for our community.

    To close this report, please allow me to share this poem by Wendell Berry. This was recently shared by Heather Heying, whose podcast with her partner Bret Weinstein has been good intellectual fodder during these recent times. Here is the poem:

    Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
    by Wendell Berry
    Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
    vacation with pay. Want more
    of everything ready-made. Be afraid
    to know your neighbors and to die.
    And you will have a window in your head.
    Not even your future will be a mystery
    any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
    and shut away in a little drawer.
    When they want you to buy something
    they will call you. When they want you
    to die for profit they will let you know.
    So, friends, every day do something
    that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
    Love the world. Work for nothing.
    Take all that you have and be poor.
    Love someone who does not deserve it.
    Denounce the government and embrace
    the flag. Hope to live in that free
    republic for which it stands.
    Give your approval to all you cannot
    understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
    has not encountered he has not destroyed.
    Ask the questions that have no answers.
    Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
    Say that your main crop is the forest
    that you did not plant,
    that you will not live to harvest.
    Say that the leaves are harvested
    when they have rotted into the mold.
    Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
    Put your faith in the two inches of humus
    that will build under the trees
    every thousand years.
    Listen to carrion — put your ear
    close, and hear the faint chattering
    of the songs that are to come.
    Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
    Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
    though you have considered all the facts.
    So long as women do not go cheap
    for power, please women more than men.
    Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
    a woman satisfied to bear a child?
    Will this disturb the sleep
    of a woman near to giving birth?
    Go with your love to the fields.
    Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
    in her lap. Swear allegiance
    to what is nighest your thoughts.
    As soon as the generals and the politicos
    can predict the motions of your mind,
    lose it. Leave it as a sign
    to mark the false trail, the way
    you didn’t go. Be like the fox
    who makes more tracks than necessary,
    some in the wrong direction.
    Practice resurrection.

  154. The reference to Devo and the Church of the Subgenius sent me down a rabbit hole, which revealed a glaring omission on Wikipedia that has spread to a bunch of other pages that just copy Wikipedia.

    If you read about the Church of the Subgenius, it says a lot about their bizarre mythology but goes out of its way to not explain “slack” which is, in my opinion, their most important concept. “Slack” is extra time and extra money. You should defend your slack. You should strive for more slack. It’s the wiggle room in your life that takes the pressure off. It’s an important concept, because it’s a source of resilience and it protects your mental health. If you make a schedule or a budget or set quotas, you should include slack in your calculations. If we don’t value and defend our slack, we lose it. Our whole society is trying to remove slack and you can see the effects of tighter deadlines, higher quotas, tighter budgets. Just having the concept of slack helps you see where it is missing. Slack is empowering. The world needs more slackers. Ironically, most businesses would perform better if they embraced the concept and started to build more slack (up to a point).

    Frankly, the fact that its definition is totally evaded and downplayed on Wikipedia is suspicious.


    Jessi Thompson

  155. To the future melon growers who are reading here: here’s my little tidbit of workable knowledge; Put a piece of 1/2″ x 1/2″ hardware cloth (maybe 12″ x 12″ in size) down before you make the hill to grow your pumpkins or melons. This will keep gophers from coming up and pulling the young plants down. The roots will grow through the mesh and the melons will be safe. Just remember to pull out the mesh before you till in next year’s compost. Removing the wire from a tillers tines is an expletive producing task!

    Best wishes, Aged Spirit

  156. So here’s an interesting story, at least I thought so;

    My MIL (wife’s mom) is failing, which at 95 is not surprising. She cannot afford extended assisted living arrangements at her current home. So what to do? As I thought about this predicament I saw that the usual solutions would not be useful. She’s really had enough of this life and a sane response would be to find a way to help her leave this world in a mindful manner. But this is not allowed in this land (USA) at this time.

    Were it up to me I’d bring her to this home and talk with her about the choices she might have, be they legal of not. Now I know this is skating on thin ice as far as the medicos are concerned. But what the heck, often the edicts of mainstream medicine are far removed from the common sense of what is actually moral and right.

    So this morning’s meditation time did let me know that the solution will be far outside the usual box. This is OK. How it will all work out, I do not know. I’m afraid that the usual right of passage to the beyond will take place in intensive care. This seems to be the norm for those who have given little thought to the way in which they wish to die.

    So I thank you Mr Greer and the rest of the commentators here for presenting so many viewpoints on how to do just about everything. I’m looking for the way that is not binary to help this most deserving woman in her next great step forward.

    With respect , Aged Spirit

  157. @Bei Dawei #139
    I think that in the USA you don´t need a PhD to call yourself a doctor. A few days ago, I watched some videos by a guy called Dr. Berg. I found his videos interesting and wanted to know whether he is a credible source. When I googled for his name, one of the first hits was, that he doesn´t have a PhD, but is a chiropractor. Apparently, he is allowed to call himself Dr. Berg due to his profession. So, this seems to be some kind of allowed fraud. Maybe this also applies to “Dr.” King.

    In Germany, university degrees are very important for status signaling. Therefore, it is necessary that only accredited people have the correct degree. So, it is very bad, if someone is uncovered as a fraudster.
    Too bad, that a lot of university degrees are becoming worthless. When you look at the official unemployment charts, it always looks good for academics, as it is stated nowhere, whether they have an adequate job for their qualification or have to flip burgers at McDonalds (even though this task is now reserved for immigrants mainly from Asia). I could imagine that more and more university graduates will be in a constant state of depression due to this fact…or they become politicians.

  158. Bei Dawei (#144),

    Well, yes, but that was big in times of Martin Luther. Unlike in (some parts of) the Muslim world, in the Western world today the clergy is not the ruling class.

  159. @JMG and commentariat

    Another failure of the imagination is, to my mind, the repeated insistence on a ‘theory of everything’.

    We already know, due to Gödel’s theorem, that modern mathematics, powerful as it is, is neither complete nor perfectly logically consistent, and not will it ever be both together. This could possibly mean that (and I could be wrong about this, so I’d like to read the views of our host and the commentariat on this) a ‘theory of everything’ (especially as regards physics) is impossible. Also, if we factor in the fact that every aspect of human creative endeavour is subject to the law of diminishing returns, it’s not difficult to see that attempts towards even coming close to this are likely deep in the region of negative returns.

    But is this limited only to physics? I don’t think so. I’m thinking here about historical theory, and while I have great respect for Spengler, Toynbee, as well as the ecological historical theorists like Prof. Sing Chew of Humboldt State University, I am very skeptical about whether a ‘grand theory’ of history is possible.

    Take Spengler, for example. His magnum opus Decline of the West, while setting out a powerful theory of civilizational development, and how the arts, literature, religion, science, and culture of a civilization evolve, does not take into account ecological factors. While he did predict an environmental catastrophe in Hour of Decision, the influence of the natural environment on human history, especially the resource availability and its impact on cultural development, was generally left out of his analysis, best exemplified in Man and Technics, where he basically echoed the views of believers in Progress who say “they’ll come up with something”, when confronted with arguments about the resource shortage.

    It is thus tempting to say that a grander theory, which incorporates Spengler’s analysis within an ecological framework, could be developed. An even more ambitious attempt could be to bring in occult aspects to such a grander theory, and make it even more comprehensive. But is it even possible? I don’t know if there’s any equivalent of Gödel’s theorem in history, but I’m willing to bet that an analogous situation exists. To me, a ‘theory of everything’, irrespective of the field of study concerned, looks suspiciously like the secular equivalent of an Almighty Jehovah setting down a bunch of base laws, from which other laws unfold, and governing the universe strictly according to them (although I could be wrong about this).

    I think a way out of this failure of imagination would be to realise that models are useful approximations, and it’s best if they leave out some factors and include others, this reflecting different aspects of a given thing at a time, rather than attempting to reflect the whole thing at once. If I’m not mistaken, our host did precisely this with his theory of catabolic collapse, where he focused more on ecological factors and neglected others, thus highlighting a different side of the situation.

    Sorry for this rather long comment.

  160. In this new crisis, I feel like I am asked to pick a team, start hating the other, and anxiously wait for leaders to resolve the situation, while unconditionally accepting whatever my team is going to do because urgency.

    What if I disagree with the game in the first place because, however it is played and who wins or loose, it results in less *agency* for the vast majority of citizen wherever they are? I want a better game where I and others have the possibility to choose lifestyles that increase mine and others agency, especially for those that have the least of it now, and the opportunity to learn responsibility that inevitably goes with it.

  161. I have to file this under “Dream Whip.” There is no shortage of imagination in humanity. But the greatest imagining is in believing that logic, reason and imagination accounts for the quality of our lives and purpose of our actions. The obvious fact is that while mankind likes to take credit for “progress” in history, we are simply at the will and whim of nature. The vast majority of humanity lacks any decipline of their imagination or the will to do what is best for humanity at large. They are given to following emotion and voting for their interests. They bandy words about whose meaning they cannot even define. “Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Democracy, God.” They vicerally understand that force brings about solutions, often quickly, and from the standpoint of imagination, it is their initial, go-to solution. To quote the author, “Yet one thing that’s been made very clear by the current crisis is that the US and its European vassal states no longer have anything like as much influence over events as they like to pretend.” Eurika, gold!

    It is worthwhile noting that the “comfortable class” of any culture exists because of how it behaves. It is mobile, opportunistic, manipulative, and generous to the extent it furthers their comfort and power. They hold sacred the access to information and the ability to influence the masses of people and their (titular) leaders with the carrot or the stick. This has been the case throughout the history of mankind.

  162. I actually disagree about Russian rocket engines– once again, this is a case of sanctions being an absolute win for the sanction-ee. SpaceX builds equivalent engines for its own rockets. Rockets which are much cheaper, per pound and per launch than Boeing and Lockheed’s attempted monopoly that is ULA. Interestingly enough, ULA does have a new rocket under development, the Vulcan-Centaur, that is supposed to fly this year with all-American components. It would be replacing the RD-180 powered EELVs.

    Since they keep a stockpile of RD-180s for planned launches, I don’t know we’ll see much more than a hiccup to the US space program. This will only spur domestic investment. Say it with me: absolute win for America!

    I’m not saying here that the Space Age isn’t drawing to a close, mind you, but don’t hold your breath. There are as many American satellite launches scheduled this year as there were in the 1960s peak. (Paging Dr. Kessler…)

  163. I’d say that the largest road not taken by the Western Civilization lies in the transition from middle ages to renaissence: the merge of christianity and old neoplatonic magic that could have opened the western mind and healed the christian obssession with the One True Truth that brought the Thirty Years War and shattered the western mind forever. A lot of bad things derive from the religious wars that gripe the West since them, and liberallism, nazifascism and communism are just political religions, not much different from Richelieu’s Catholicism of the tyranny of Calvin.

    I dare say that if the West navigated the religious crisis successfully even nuclear fission would have been viable because without Total War there is little use for nuclear weapows and fuel reprocessing and breeding would be politically viable (it isn’t today and most nucelar fuels end as “waste” full of energy that could be reprocessed and reused or as plutonium cores for bombs where it decays away uselessly).

  164. @Oilman2 (#4)
    Why do people think that geothermal energy is renewable? If one is pulling heat from the deep the rocks will become cold around the pipe eventually and the generator will stop working. If one is pulling enough heat to actually be useful that means that one is freezing the rock faster. Pulling enough “free”, “renewable” geothermal energy will also mess with tectonics if done in a scale large enough to feed the Golden Future. I have no ideas about the consequences… maybe shifting Earth from plate to lid tectonics? Maybe paving the way to appearance of Large Igneous Provinces like the Siberian Traps?

    Oh well who cares? We have to feed AWS’s datacenters.

  165. JMG – I know that it is not directly related to this post, but I would like to share a disturbing little synchronicity with everyone. I have been wearing my Our Lady of Fatima earrings lately, yesterday I went online to review the meaning of the Fatima story. This morning, on Gateway Pundit, I see an article with the headline – “This Moment was Predicted – Liz Yore on Bannon’s War Room reminds us that the children of Fatima warned of this moment”. Now I’m rather spooked, because the Fatima story warns of a cataclysmic event. Fatima herself appeared to the children in a light brighter than the sun (oh-oh). Fatima told the children that she wanted Russia consecrated into the Catholic Church, which never happened. I know you hate apocalyptic predictions, but…

  166. JMG wrote: “That said, as the current kleptocratic system comes unglued, I expect to see a lot of serious craziness among those classes that have been sheltered from the harsh decline in living standards most Americans have been putting up with for years now.”

    Agreed. One of the personality traits that seems prevalent among the comfortable (for now) class is the extreme selfishness or self-centeredness which I don’t will make it any easier for them as the Long Descent hits their lives. As the reality they’ve “created” and believe they deserve crumbles, their true colors shine through. I’ve seen plenty of that the last couple of years.

    But, that’s hard to control. As you’ve stated many times, one effective approach to help others will be to lead by example – there’s plenty of room for expansion in those roles.

  167. I’m impressed by how America is showing the world its utter incompetence at diplomacy. When you’ve got a large and powerful enemy saying they are in a “hot war” with the West, you do everything in your power to make nice with neutral parties. So what are America’s foreign experts doing?

    New Delhi TV: “Sanctions For India Over S-400 Deal With Russia? US Diplomat Said This”

    ABC News: “In unofficial capacity, Pompeo urges US to recognize Taiwan”

    India is America’s back office and has established excellent relations with America after several decades when they leaned toward the Soviets. Bullying them over Russia could very easily backfire. And it’s painfully clear that China, a country mistrusted by both Russia and India, could easily become the kingmaker in this conflict by supporting one side or the other. So while we’re on the brink of World War III, let’s alienate the world’s #1 and #2 most populated countries and the #2 economy. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

    Regarding the LGBT counter-reaction, I also think/hope that activists have grossly overstated the amount of actual hatred toward ethnic and sexual minorities. Activism is only effective when there is a constant, looming threat to rile up the people. And so we get a lot of hysteria about the Racist Fascist Sexist Homophobic Bigots waiting in the wings to re-enact The Handmaids Tale.

    In the real world outside of social media, most people are not especially interested in taking the conflict to the streets or lynching anybody. They might prefer fourth graders not be taught about threesomes and bondage, but they don’t have any particular objection to consenting adults doing whatever they like to or with each other. I expect scattered ethnic conflicts to break out as America crumbles (they always do), but I expect to see more cooperation than conflict in most areas.

  168. I’d also like to add to my comment above – I was born in 1962, in Sedalia MO. My dad was in the Air Force, he was an MP, guarding the nuclear bombers at Whiteman AFB. I live in Boonville MO, which is only about 60 miles from Whiteman.

  169. Secretface2097 (no. 165), MLK was awarded a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1954. That his dissertation contains extensive plagiarism (which was not discovered until after his death) is acknowledged by all sides. Obviously there is great reluctance to admit that his doctorate was undeserved. The story is that he wrote these quotes down on note cards, then incorporated them into his dissertation, without remembering that they were quotes.

    Calling oneself a doctor is generally unregulated, except in very specific professional contexts involving medicine or psychotherapy. However, undeserving claimants (such as creation scientist Dr. Ken Hamm, who got his degree from a diploma mill) can expect to be mocked and possibly fired. Honorary doctorates are a borderline case, but widely tolerated (and surely one would not begrudge MLK one of those). There has been much debate over the years over who ought to be given the title of “doctor” socially–in some circles, this was a privilege reserved to MDs, apparently to avoid confusion–but nowadays people understand that there are different types of doctorate.

    Want to buy a diploma? Here’s one for like, twenty bucks:

  170. One thing everyone’s missing about Sanctions: they’re what a power does when they can’t do an actual invasion. If you can’t take property and remake a population into slaves of some sort using arms and bodies, then the thing to do is withhold what they need (and what you or your allies have) until “they’re ready to buckle under.”

    Which, if you ask me, is an admission of impotence if not defeat. Seems that almost every time the US puts a nation “under sanctions” that nation always seems to find a way (after a fashion) to meet those needs. Not only that, but often a group of other “non mainstream” nations comes to that nation’s help. It’s gotten to the point where the support has become a mutual aide club.

  171. Varun #52 I’m kinda wondering, what management books did they use before profit maximization became a thing? What was the ethnics that inspired them before the managerial class became fixated on single point of maximization?

    American’s shared a common belief based upon a Western Christian culture that the future was going to offer their children as many opportunities as their parents had enjoyed. However, this would only occur if the parents worked very diligently to make this so.

    This belief was shared by the PMC who managed business. Therefore they invested in the future. The great corporations of America supported basic research (Bell Labs) and worker training in order to insure the Corporation would remain completive through new innovations and skilled craftsmanship. Old workers were retained as mentors to new employees.

    This mindset ended in the “Revolutionary 60s” with so much else. The first things cut as profits were maximized was research and training. Welcome to the maximization of profits and “Financialization.” If we can not count it, it does not count. A rational approach to a better future was replaced by the enchantment of JMG’s Flying Cars and Cold Fusion. Selah

  172. nah, Papa G- never saw that Far Side cartoon from 1986, and it was cute, like the “Blah blah Ginger” one i still quote in daily life– BUT my oh my how that cartoon has grown from 1986 into a horrid belly laugh with time and TERROR because the “gifted kids” have grown up and taken over the WORLD and indefinitely pushing on a pull door globally… EEEK! my point is the way you wrote it had a much deeper voice as the testicles had dropped and it sounded like Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity.”


  173. @ Robert (135) – My middle school teacher was Lithuanian, so there is that. When I lived in St Petersburg, I don’t recall people pronouncing it any way other than K-EE-V. Not that it was a frequent topic of conversation. Maybe that was a regional accent? My friend group included a lot of mixed Russian-Ukrainians, so maybe that’s why I remember it being pronounced that way?

  174. Hey Methylethyl,
    Silent pumpkin lovers are taking notes, too. I just learned to cook them during lockdown & just got my seeds in the mail. You may have more people listening than you know.😉

  175. I’d like to thank the poster who mentioned Couliano, above. I picked up the book trying to find the reference, and came across this: “Science in the Renaissance … is a coherent system, based on the psychic (or rather, spiritual, pneumatic) dimension of things. This dimension … is a real one.” (p. xx). This immediately put me in mind of alchemy, a Renaissance science, and immediately made sense of the claims that Carl Jung made for it; it completely valorizes that whole approach.

  176. I think what we’re also seeing here has a supra layer of the clash of culture between a feminized West and the still-Masculine rest-of-the-world.
    We have had it too good for too long, which makes us complacent, assuming that everyone is going to behave according to our norms We assume that our values are universal, i.e. the “Universal” Declaration of Human Rights. The only truly universal values that I’ve ever detected is the desire to get other people to bow down and do as they are told, and the desire for a full belly and dry bed. Most of the world will tolerate what we consider brutal repression as long as they can survive with some hope of improvement, however chimeric.
    As women fought to be allowed to participate in public life outside the home, they have consequently changed the public values to accord more with their way of approaching the world. Men value and respect the threat direct physical confrontation one on one; women despise that and prefer the threat of social ostracism. This is what the Woke movement depends on: the ability to use shame to enforce behaviour.
    I observe how ‘Russia is a pariah’ is sounded as an ersatz triumphant victory-cry because the rest of the world is condemning them. (No, it’s not: most African and Asian nations aren’t condemning Putin at all, much to “our” moral dismay.) We’ll shame them into withdrawing, that’ll show ’em! (As in #metoo? As in the internet outcry so that guy who was caught on camera kicking a dog lost his job? Multiple university professors kicked out because they stated biological facts that are unpopular? Because those strategies have been so wonderful for the world.)
    What we’re seeing is the mewling moralizing of impotent intellectuals being b****-slapped by the aggressive reality that Bentham was right: you only have what you are either granted by those in power or you can keep by force. Since there is no supra-government who can force all the nations of the world to behave any more (i.e. Afghanistan), they are now confident they will go back to taking what they can from whomever they can, justifying it to themselves as they wish, and ignoring the finely conceived structure of a morality that ultimately declares that only feminine behaviours are an acceptable way to manage the world.
    We are moving back to that brutal world where it’ll be considered better to die with one’s boots on, rather than living on one’s knees, begging. This confounds people who are amazed at the resilience of the Ukrainians who fight on, even though the battle is “lost”, who won’t give up because they believe they have something worth fighting for, and, if necessary, worth dying for. We seem to think we can have what we want, just because we want it, and we don’t have to fight or struggle at all.
    What am I doing? I am re-reading my useful philosophers: Epictetus, Aurelius, Seneca. I am re-invigorating my mental toughness to be ready to face whatever life throws at me. I’m acquiring more basic skills and knowledge so that I can at least continue to survive as a useful member of society. I am girding my mental loins and casting away any remaining intellectual dross and wishful thinking that still lurks in the recesses of my psyche.

  177. Info, that’s why my imaginary future society in Retrotopia returned the corporation to its original use — a temporary funding measure for public goods — and had businesses organized as partnerships, with the people who ran things being personally responsible for the debts and criminal actions of the companies they managed. As Adam Smith pointed out, separating ownership from responsibility is a very, very, very bad idea.

    Jackson, many thanks for this. I avoid the corporate media the way I’d avoid a week-dead rat lying in the street, so — though it doesn’t surprise me — I didn’t know that the flight to mindless emotion had gone quite so far as that. You’re right, of course, that it has very close similarities to the twilight of the New Age movement; I suspect that’s a standard tactic when the ideology to which you’re overcommitted gets repeatedly falsified by events.

    John, good heavens. That’s excellent news. I hope other media venues less vacuous than the Beeb follow suit.

    Seaweedy, huzzah! As a Past Worthy Master of North Side Grange #727, Seattle, WA, and still a Grange member in good standing, I’m absolutely delighted by this. I hope more people follow your lead; the Grange — and the other lodge organizations and friendly societies — have the potential to be of immense value as the winding down of the industrial age picks up speed.

    Jessi, hmm! I hadn’t read the Wikipropaganda article on the Sub-Genii, but somehow this doesn’t surprise me at all. Of course you (and Bob!) are quite right about slack, and what’s being done to it…

    …and it occurs to me that while I’ve discussed the political, historical, and economic dimensions of Discordianism, I’ve unfairly neglected the Church of the Sub-Genius. An ecological-economic discussion of slack might be worth posting here sometime.

    Aged Spirit, positive energy en route for a graceful result to that very difficult situation.

    Secretface (if I may), you may not be aware of this, but here in the US there are accredited colleges of chiropractic that offer doctorate degrees. So Dr. Berg will have a DC (doctor of chiropractic) degree from an accredited college.

    Viduraawakened, a very good point. The thing I respect about Spengler is that he explicitly denied that his theory was objectively, transculturally true. He suggested that it was about as true as you can get from within the worldview of Faustian civilization — and yes, that set him up to miss the immense impact of environment on history, since the Faustian imagination is unable to conceive of the environment as anything but a blank slate on which triumphant Faustian humanity writes whatever it wants. With regard to catabolic collapse, yes, exactly — it’s emphatically not a theory of everything, it’s a model that allows the complex phenomena of civilizational decline to be understood a little more clearly.

    Viking, good. The first step is to walk away from the dysfunctional game. The second is to begin imagining a new game. The third is to find others who share the same interests, and see what comes into being as you and they co-create a new game together.

    Yorkshire, funny. I’m waiting for the corporate merger of Nike and Google; its slogan, of course, will be “Just Be Evil.”

    Derrick, of course. The question that’s been faced by the conscious minority down through the millennia is how to deal with that awkward but inescapable reality.

    Dusk Shine, I find myself wondering if a Kessler cascade may be engineered sometime fairly soon, with ample plausible deniability, as a move in the current Great Game…

    Luciano, I’m far from sure I agree with you about nuclear power — the obstacles there are economic, since nuclear reactors never pay for themselves — but the core of your case, well, there we certainly agree. There were several points along the trajectory of Western culture that could have helped us avoid the current mess, but the Hermetic Christianity of the late Renaissance was certainly one of them.

    Danaone, do we actually know what the third prophecy of Fatima was? Last I heard, it was still secret, though of course there have always been plenty of speculations.

    Drhooves, agreed. It’s going to get really messy as that unfolds.

    Kenaz, I’ve been watching the same thing with my jaw hanging open. It’s as though the gooberocracy in DC is deliberately trying to drive Russia and China even closer together, and to make sure as many other countries as possible are allied with them or at least in a state of friendly neutrality.

    Godozo, yep. It’s an admission of powerlessness — and it can also backfire, as (to judge by the current price of oil and natural gas) Europe is finding out the hard way right about now.

    Patricia M, I wonder when the storming of the Bastille will be reenacted in San Francisco. I really don’t think we’re that far from such scenes.

    Erika, I know. And they’re going to keep pushing, because they believe so devoutly that they’re the smartest kids of all.

    Renaissance, a harsh but necessary truth.

  178. @ Rita #150 “It is ironic that capitalist economic theory is based on the concept of the rational man, as you noted, yet actually relies on the irrational response to advertisement to keep the economy growing.”

    Yes, indeed. And there I think the word “growing” is the clue, since there is nothing the least bit rational about the idea of endless growth. 😉

  179. I think the San Francisco equivalent of the Bastille would be The Armory, which until recently housed a massive BDSM porn studio. Storming a massive BDSM porn studio may be the most San Francisco thing possible. 🙂

  180. JMG, I think you have said that peak oil makes it more difficult to maintain a global empire. Did it ever occur to you that the Russian federation is an empire that literally stretches across half the globe? Or does peak oil only apply to the west?

  181. Hi JMG, hi Siliconguy,
    Perhapse these classic textbooks from East and West could function as a stepping stone:

    Sun Tzu: The Art of War
    Vegetius: De Re Militari
    Strategikon of Maurice
    Niccolò Machiavelli: The Art of War
    Jacob De Gheyn: Wapenhandlinghe
    Antoine-Henri Jomini: Summary of the Art of War
    The Essence Of War: Leadership And Strategy From The Chinese Military Classics

    I hope this helps in pointing in the right direction.

    – Spork –

  182. @JMG

    The third prophecy of Fatima was allegedly revealed back in 2000. A translation can be found here.

    There’s been a lot of controversy over whether this in fact is the third secret, only part of it or is the Vatican holding back? I’m inclined to think this is in fact it. The Church held off revealing it for some time, I suspect because of its vagueness. But that’s only a conjecture on my part. The allegations of some sort of conspiracy of concealment will probably be going on long after we’re both gone.

  183. Kenaz Filan Re: 141, 176: I also seem to recall that attitudes in 19th century America might have been a bit more lax. At least as it was explained to me, James Buchanan and William R. King were roommates and rumored lovers in the 1840s and early 1850s. It was speculated by some of their contemporaries, anyway. Despite that, one became VP and the other president.

    The impression I get around my very conservative, working class Midwestern town is that no one really cares what happens in the bedroom, so long as it isn’t shoved down their throats as part of a larger, woke agenda. We might be headed toward an America where tolerance, in the older sense of “toleration,” might be the common practice.

  184. @ Jessi A – #162 – would you go so far as to say that a push for efficiency is an anti-slack attack?

  185. @Renaissance Man:

    Intra-group violence is not accepted at all in many non-agricultural societies – Inuit and Khoi-San first come to mind. Intergroup violence is also rather rare in these marginal environments.

    Shame and social ostracism were and are very powerful mechanisms throughout non-Western cultures. In fact, many people have suggested that it is only in the modern West (since ~ 16th century) that internalized guilt has partly taken over the role of externalized shame and social ostracism. Ancient Greek poetry celebrates the power of peer pressure and shame to make hoplites resist the enemy instead of running away. Ostracism was very powerful even in the most militarized epoch of Western history – just think back to the white feathers attached on non-enlisted young men by women during the Great War.

    So i don’t think it makes sense to contrast “masculine”, fighting cultures with feminine, “ostracizing” cultures. There was only maybe a rather short period of time in the second half of the 20th century when social shaming and ostracism partially broke down in the big Western cities.

    You can certainly point out the uselessness of applying intra-cultural shaming patterns to external adversaries.

  186. To Jessi at #162 – Your point about slack is so important. For years I have been watching people lose their slack and often feel so important because they are so busy. If every adult in a group is in overfull-time work there is no-one to tend the sick or the gardens. No-one to say hello to a neighbour as they pass. No-one to arrange an impromptu party and no-one to talk over the back fence and build community. I have always been a staunch defender of my slack.

    To Seaweedy at #161 – I love the Grange motto. I will put it in my important things book. I will probably add Wendell Berry’s poem. Am a bit of a fan of his.

  187. Kenez–your comments on acceptance of gays reminds me of the writings of the late Florence King. She humorously described the situation of the gay man in small Southern town: defended by the leading ladies because “he’s good to his Mama” who is a member of their garden club or church. And of course, the lesbian couples who wore tweeds and bred Irish Setters. As a parent I believe that society has an interest in every child receiving basic biological facts about human sexuality to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies. In addition, issues of consent need to be taught. But, as you say, many parents don’t think their 4th graders need to learn about bondage or threesomes.

    School board recall in SF was not quite a storming of the Bastille, but it did rock the blue city reputation as the most WOKE members were ejected by a large majority.

    On doctorates: PhD may be in any of the arts or sciences; JD is a doctor of law; MD is medical doctor; DC, doctor of Chiropractic; DO, doctor of Osteopathy; EdD, doctor of education (not to be confused with PhD in Education. Dozens of others.

  188. Yorkshire, I could see it!

    Thomas, in case you haven’t noticed, Russia still has plenty of oil — in fact, it’s the worlds #2 oil producer at the moment, and uses much less than it produces. The effect of declining energy availability on global empires depends, of course, on how fast any given empire loses access to surplus energy.

    Spork, thanks for this. I’m currently reviewing Napoleon’s Maxims of War, which were at one point very widely studied by aspiring officers, to see whether it’s a useful text to recommend.

    Jeanne, thanks for this. Interesting.

    Youngelephant, you’re welcome.

  189. @Bei Dawei and JMG
    Thank you for the clarification. I wasn‘t neither aware that MLK had a fraudulent PhD nor that chiropractors can legally get a doctor degree. For a German, this is really confusing, as you only can have a Dr. title after getting the required university degree.

  190. @JMG, I wholly agree with your response to me that people are likely to dig themselves even deeper into delusions as the gap between televised “reality” and their reality grows. I think even in the case of the Soviet Union, where people were taught a certain amount of resilience, a lot of people fell into helplessness and despondency as the official narrative crumbled. Those were generally not the people I was interacting with, because they just faded out quietly and mostly succumbed to alcoholism.
    In the case of modern western societies where convenience has resulted in a drastic loss of basic life skills and now on top of that, we’ve all been discouraged from engaging in physical interactions, I don’t even want to acknowledge what I fear. Roving gangs had the upper hand in Russia for quite a while during the 90s in urban areas.
    From what I see in Japan, a whole lot of people have become dependent on convenience stores for their food. I don’t know anyone who has become dependent on home deliveries but my “technophobia” may make me behind the times there. Those who wall themselves off completely tend to have a parent bringing them food, and those that don’t, make a quick run to the convenience store. Recently when one of those shut down temporarily for renovations in a community I visit, I heard the elderly living alone nearby were at a loss as to how they were going to eat during that time. But it is not just the elderly. People who have fallen through the cracks that are not living in large cities with large homeless communities where everyone knows where to dumpster dive, very furtively pick through the convenience store garbage bins. I’ve seen this twice, and the second time chased the poor guy down and gave him half of my lunch. It was not where I was living, or I would have sought further help for him. He looked really grateful for what I did. People in Japan tend to allow you anonymity in these circumstances, but these people are really lonely.
    I could easily see people staying holed up with their own tiny realities until the convenience stores fail. After that, I don’t know what they will do.

    On a completely different topic, I had a dream last night that gave me new insight. Some reporter was asking a Gandhi-like figure in India what he made of the terrible humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and in halting English he replied, “Uh…uh…I Do not Tink mySelf a Foolь!” (that’s a palatalized “l”)
    I see a lot of people wringing their hands that America is winning the information war. When a significant number even of your own people consider everything you say to be another attempt at manipulation, that is not winning an information war. All Putin has to do is demilitarize, denazify and depart like he said, and he’ll have won this battle.

    We must not let him do that! .(sarc)

  191. Jessi (no. 162, JillN (no. 198), JMG (no. 187), Who knew that the SubGenii were the sane, rational ones all along? Praise “Bob.”

  192. Aged+Spirit #162, if I may: try to ensure that your MIL has an advance directive on file with her health care provider (and her children have copies) specifying what (if any) medical interventions and end-of-life care she wants. The form I filled out offers several options to choose from: no interventions, food and water only, water only, etc. This will keep everything within the bounds of existing US laws, as well as providing peace of mind for her and her family.

  193. I deeply apologize for leaving that bit of profanity in my comment. I am embarrassed at missing it before I hit ‘post’.

  194. In 1995 the province of Quebec had a referendum on secession which the secessionists narrowly lost. If they had narrowly won would it be hard to imagine aggrieved parties, not least native groups in Quebec, challenging the result and demanding a carve-out? Would native tribes want to be governed by a triumphalist ethnocentric regime? After all if Canada’s borders can be changed, why not Quebec’s?

    And you had people saying that, had the vote gone that way, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Quebec asking France for military assistance in solidifying the territorial boundaries of this brand new independent French-speaking country.

    Can you imagine French paratroopers on the banks of the St Lawrence? I seriously doubt that the Pentagoons could imagine it. I could imagine the 82nd Airborne getting there first. This might shed some light on the situation in eastern Europe with Russia’s getting riled by NATO and EU encroachment. Yeah, I know, every country should be able to decide what club to join. So sez the idealist in me. The realist has a somewhat different take.

    I wonder if the Democrats ever imagined Mr and Mrs Lopez ever imagining any other vision for their own lives and that of their kids other than that imagined by the Blue intelligentsia with all their CRT and gender guff. You know, like reasonable prospects for their kids, decent paying jobs and reasonably priced health care so they’re not always worried about eviction and bankruptcy, or schools where kids actually learn to read and write.

    I wonder if the oh-so wonderfully enlightened in the Blue Bubble-lands could ever imagine being challenged for societal supremacy by these same humble, dark-skinned campesinos or their offspring. I only bring it up given the spectacular civilizations built south of the border by the not-so-distant ancestors of these folk whom the Democrats could apparently only ever imagine as low-paid lettuce pickers, janitors or chicken eviscerators. The Democrat thing seems to be putting people into racial and ethnic and class silos and then assuming they will be happy to stay in them. I wonder if the Democrats ever imagined Hispanics in their many guises getting sick of being played for suckers and wondering if maybe the MAGAs wouldn’t be a better bet? Or, for that matter, starting a new political movement which, like other upstart parties within living memory, gets up on its hind legs in a hurry. It’s never good to underestimate people’s capabilities or over-estimate one’s own.

  195. JMG and commentariat. Several people have asked about the origin of the current by American capitalists on profit maximization. From my experience studying engineering in the 1960s and working in American industry after graduation and from the comments of Johnathan Levy in “The Ages of American Capitalism” published in 2021, that has not always been true. Following WWII was focused on maximizing production and management believed that if you invested capital in plant and machinery and then efficiently utilized that machinery to the max there was profit to be made. That started to fail by the mid 1970s and by the 1980s American industry was deep into maximizing value by selling assets. It has gone down hill from there in terms of jobs and the focus on production that existed before. Levy’s book was an interesting read.

    A number of commenters have raised the question of rational planning and cognition in decision making. Antonio Damasio, an American neuroscientist has written a number of books that I have read the latest being “Looking for Spinoza” that discuss his work. In a number of his books he has observed that humans with brain damage that eliminates their access to their emotions destroys their ability to make functional decisions in life. They can be clearly articulate, logical and able to solve cognitive problems, in other words appear completely rational but cannot make functional decisions for life and almost always loose, marriage, jobs and careers. It strikes me this is probably true for cultures also. When cultures give up access to their magic, divination and the things cultures have that look like emotions, they are done for.

  196. Secretface, in the US, you can’t use any of the specialized labels — MD, Ph.D., DC, and so on — unless you attend a college or university that’s been accredited by a government-approved board to issue that specific kind of degree. The chiropractic colleges, like every other body that issues doctorates of any kind, has to pass a fairly stiff review by the accreditation board. So it’s not quite as freewheeling as it probably looks from a German perspective!

    Patricia O, I share your concern about all those people who have forgotten, or never learned, how to do much of anything for themselves. It’s going to be a harsh transition for them. As for the propaganda war — which is of course what “information” means in this context — increasingly all that means is that the shrinking fraction of people who believe whatever the corporate media tells them still believe whatever the corporate media tells them…

    Bei, praise “Bob” indeed!

    Patricia M, and the downsides will show up in 3, 2, 1…

    Renaissance, no prob. The occasional slip is not a crisis — not least because I can duck in and catasterize the offending word.

    Roger, I ain’t arguing.

    Tom, hmm! Fascinating. That makes a great deal of sense.

  197. JMG, if I may ask, where do you get your news on Ukraine from? It’s so hard to find anything trustworthy amidst all the noise and propaganda..

  198. @Aldarion

    “So i don’t think it makes sense to contrast “masculine”, fighting cultures with feminine, “ostracizing” cultures. There was only maybe a rather short period of time in the second half of the 20th century when social shaming and ostracism partially broke down in the big Western cities.”

    The Indo-European culture along with its warlike culture that influenced Europe. Emerged in the Steppe. Where people raised cattle, sheep, goats and horses. And farmland is quite impossible in those grasslands.

    In such an environment other people can much more easily steal your wealth. And that would tend to develop in the Men a degree of aggression and a strong sense of honor culture in order to not get robbed of one’s own wealth and get impoverished and die out.

    Plus expanding herds will also mean that you may end up encroaching on the neighbor’s pasturelands.

    Which drives up conflict. And to win those conflicts is to increase one’s own wealth through plunder.

    This will tend to develop warbands with a Conan the Barbarianeque culture and of seeking honor through great and heroic deeds.

    This culture is the progenitor of the ideals extolled in the Iiliad and the Odyssey. And of the Roman worship of Mars.

    “Shame and social ostracism were and are very powerful mechanisms throughout non-Western cultures. In fact, many people have suggested that it is only in the modern West (since ~ 16th century) that internalized guilt has partly taken over the role of externalized shame and social ostracism. ”

    Internalized guilt is a holdover from the Christian concept of the Omniscience and Omnipotence of God. Since God sees everyone and their motives completely. You cannot hide from God anything because he sees and knows everything intimately.

    Therefore you must come to faith in Christ to have your sins(shortcomings) atoned for lest you be naked at the Judgment Throne at the end of human history.

    And you must accept the gift of the spirit after repentance and belief to have your character shaped to be Godly. So that your goodness is organic and far more instinctive and not just the legalism and of simply following rules.

  199. It has been truly incredible to see other American people shocked at the outbreak of a major war in Europe similarly to the outbreak of the pandemic two years ago–that “these things just aren’t supposed to happen anymore, we were supposed to have moved past this kind of thing in the 21st century.” Perhaps the former being more incredible than the latter, since not only have there still been wars happening around the rest of the world while Europe has been mostly geopolitically stable for 70 years (Yugoslavia being a major exception, along with smaller-scale ones like the Troubles in Ireland), but the US has *literally been involved in some of those wars,* either as a participant invading Afghanistan and Iraq or bombing Libya and Syria, or as a financier backing Saudi Arabia against Yemen or Israel against the Palestinians. Talk about not just an overall failure of imagination, but just a failure of basic self-awareness.

    Granted, I should show some self-awareness myself and admit that 2 years ago I myself acted just as shocked at the outbreak of a pandemic in the 21st century as many other people did, since I still was more of a believer in Progress back then; had the Russia-Ukraine war started a couple years ago too, before I read the Long Descent and found Ecosophia, I would have acted more shocked then too than I am now.

    Hilarious that JMG brings up “fully automated luxury space communism”–did any of you know a book actually came out with almost the exact title (minus the “space” part) a couple years ago? I had always thought it was just a meme phrase until I searched it:

    Also, I’ve been catching up on recent posts and comments so I didn’t get to mention this last week, but I appreciated how you (JMG) responded to the commenter who was going on about “the masons as a tool of the Jews and the new world order”–not censoring his comment, but strongly countering and explaining with evidence why that was all a crock of crap. As a member of the tribe myself, I’ll make sure to put in a good word for you with some of my Judeo-Masonic contacts higher up in ZOG, so they can commend you for helping to combat anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (though the ADL probably would have preferred you deleted the comment outright).

  200. The Russian government is considering removing legal penalties for pirating western-made software.

    I bet none of the corporate bosses could IMAGINE that.

  201. @JMG, so true, depressingly! I met a few people in Russia in the late 90s who were still keen on Stalin…
    Way too early to say, but but just heard this from Andrei Martyanov, who is well regarded among those with a positive view of Russia, “VSU [Ukrainian military] used good ol’ “Tochka U” against Nazi (Azov) forces in Mariupol. Killed a [dumpster]load of those. This was VSU’s the revenge for attempt of Azov thugs against VSU’s general. Mariupol is on the verge of the humanitarian catastrophe and Nazis openly use civilians as human shield.”
    If this is true, the “special military operation” might be over earlier than I thought. I’ve heard elsewhere too that the Ukrainian military is not very happy with the Azov monkey on its back.

  202. During the Cold War, Moscow used to issue the party line which every communist around the world had to adhere to. Often the party line was counter-productive locally, but the faithful had to adhere to it because it was beneficial to Russia, and for the advance of communism it was essential for Russia to survive.

    In the West nowadays the party line issues from Washington. We see this most recently in the pandemic. The line is “Covid is deadly, only the vaccine and masking, lockdowns, etc can save us, all who say otherwise are malicious anti-vaxxers and enemies of the people.”

    The government and large corporations benefit through more control and larger profits respectively. These are essential if the Western democratic capitalist way of life is to survive.

    The new line is “Putin is the new Hitler picking on plucky little Ukraine, only more weapons and anti-Russian sentiments can save us, all who say otherwise are Russian dupes and enemies of the people.”

    Again, we see how government, the big arms manufacturers (German rearmament), and agribusiness (grain prices), will benefit. (Big Pharma had its chance already.)

    America is using the situation to lean on smaller countries. South Africa, which is one of the BRICS group of nations, was somewhat neutral in its reaction to the Ukraine invasion in the United Nations. The American embassy made it clear that it was displeased at the South African stance, and expected a more condemnatory line. Or else what, one wonders. As a sovereign independent nation we can in theory make our own decisions, but in practice the consequences may be undesirable. A lesson Ukraine is learning only too well.

  203. Hi JMG and all,
    Recently I’ve been reading up on the ancient 1990’s era ARG Ong’s Hat and it sent me down a rabbit hole of 1970’s-to-early-1990’s west coast psychedelic-New Age counterculture. The realization that has made itself manifest to me though as I read up on Discordian offshoots and radical zines and back issues of Mondo 2000 is just how influential this culture was on the emerging computer/internet industry, and how in turn that industry influenced the counterculture and in turn pop culture at large.
    The computer stopped being seen by the radicals as a centralizing force to be feared, but rather as some subversive revolutionary engine. A for-profit commune in cyberspace or something. I grew up hearing a milder version of that idea that as it was common in the tech marketing of the 2000’s and 2010’s but I didn’t know its origins. A lot of the people who would go on to become technology Godzillanares over the past 30 years came up in this west coast milieu in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Is this where the diluted New Age ideas so common in cybercapitalist revivals like TED talks and Davos came from, given the huge influence tech firms have on the business and policy wonk world?


  204. Hi JMG,

    Very thought provoking, I look forward to seeing the next blog in this series.

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Senneca curve and how that will play out in terms of energy depletion and peak everything into the future.


  205. Re: How to pronounce foreign words.

    I use

    Paste the word(s) in and it detects the language and gives a translation. Click on little speaker symbol and it will say the word out loud. For instance (my transliteration)…

    Russian: Киев -> Keev, maybe Kyeef (hard to tell)
    Ukrainian: Київ -> Koy-yoh
    English: Kyiv -> Keev
    I usually say: Kee-yev

    For a bit of fun you can make it speak English with a French accent, for instance, by telling it the English words are actually French. Or you can make up your own nonsense words and ask it to pronounce them. It will do its best.

  206. Hi John Michael,

    Your words: “people who believe that the universe will do whatever they tell it, when that doesn’t work, like to insist instead that they can’t do anything at all, and neither can anyone else.”, basically sum up our cultures relationship to the natural world. I see that glaringly in the centrally dictated forest management and environmental practices. You’d think that after 170 odd years of abject failure that realisation would dawn upon such folks that we’re doing something really desperately wrong and might want to try something different. Nope.

    Crazy stuff. Speaking of crazy, I spotted petrol yesterday at $2.06 per litre (3.8 litres per gallon). That is as much as I’ve ever seen the stuff cost. Those big cars that people so love, they must hurt to fill up. I wonder when rationing will kick in? We’re already in the early stages of rationing by price.



  207. Hi John Michael,

    One further thought is that as to your concept of co-creation (which I’m sympathetic towards and have also worked towards for many years) is that the health subject which dare not be named was aimed squarely to take a massive dump on that.

    Even now people working in retail and hospitality in this weird state, have to wear a mask all day long (or all evening as the case may be) whilst the public don’t. I am deeply uncomfortable with this situation as there is something creepily evil about it.

    I recall what you once wrote about your work experience and influenza. It is possible that they’ll try and wind the flu stats into the health subject which dare not be named. You read it here first. Please excuse the pun, but in terms of statistics, it’s a dead cert.



  208. Methylethyl #101:

    You and me both. As tempting as it would be to dump the laundry into the dryer – the first one I’ve ever had, left behind by the former owners – I just can’t bring myself to do it, the thought of paying the power companies for something I can do for free just won’t let me, so I’ll be outside in 4ºF weather hanging wet clothes. Since we haven’t any neighbors there’s no one to think I’m nuts. Well, except my husband and he knows better than to say anything. 😉 He graciously installed a clothes line configuration in the basement last year that I can use in really, really bad weather.

    (For those wondering: yes, clothes do dry outside in very cold weather, because there’s very little humidity and usually some wind. They also freeze to the clothes line. Sometimes there will be a little dampness that remains at the end of the day, but a quick hang downstairs or on the folding laundry rack by the woodstove takes care of that).

    My grandmas taught me lots of their very practical 19th century skills and made them feel ordinary to me, although nowadays they’re sadly anything but. Most of my siblings and cousins weren’t really interested so I ended up being the grandmas’ main audience. Their loss. Every so often I get a bit of a surprise when I see a friend or neighbor buying/paying for something that’s so simple and easy to provide for oneself, maybe it never occurred to them that they could. How do they imagine people fed, clothed, and cleaned themselves before big box stores?


    I have read in just the last day or so that Russia and Ukraine combined provide in the neighborhood of 30% of the world’s wheat, and if that becomes unavailable, it could create unrest in a number of countries that depend on those exports. This article from Zerohedge has a nice chart of the countries that will be hurt the most:

    The countries most impacted are – Surprise! – those already at great risk of destabilization by something like a food shortage, so a drastic cut in wheat imports could signal serious social and political problems in the Middle East especially.

  209. There was a documentary a while back about a boxing promotion and management company that was claimed to be run by organised crime. They tried to make it sound like the worst thing ever, but what stuck out to me was the company was being used to launder drug profits, so they didn’t need the boxers’ money. Neither were they interested in shenanigans like fight fixing. So the fighters were getting possibly the best deals in the history of the sport. Corruption in one area was allowing unheard-of levels of ethical behaviour in another. I got the sense that the gangster behind it genuinely loved boxing and wanted to do something good…while laundering his vast drug profits. This feels like a particularly appropriate morality tale for our time. 🙂

  210. JMG

    Great article. One very minor point of disagreement re “Politics is downstream from culture”. From what I see today the reverse is true. And, historically, politics is downstream of military victory.

    skyrider #25

    Wow, I hadn’t thought of economic warfare including rejection of the global IP and patent regime. I imagine that would be a disaster for the US, and California in particular. Since the PMC doesn’t seem to think things through–for reasons JMG alluded to–this might well happen. If it does then expect the Internet to fragment into regional blocks. Goodbye global Internet, hello Great American Firewall.

    Dusk Shine #26

    I wish these companies would “sanction” my part of the US as well. That could open up space to rebuild local institutions. They probably will at some point.

  211. Archdruid i have a question (sorry for my bad english). Is it just me or this whole ukraine- russia war bears all marks of a how did Jung said it- “psychic pandemic”.
    People are going literally insane here, some are wishing Putin death, others are want Russia to be nuked, It is just crazy, and the media keeps pumping out screaming news reports that don’t make a lot of sense.
    i am just tired of this and can’t escape this. It is like after COVID fizzled out people found another boggeyman to blame for everything. Personaly i stopped watching the damm thing, but my familly is becoming more into this and i don’t want to hurt them,i just don’t know how will this end. (Probably with Russians winning albeit with loses).
    Can somebody offer me advice some meditation or something i fell like i am losing my familly and my mind.

  212. The shipping people seem to be missing something. The boats and container ships are nothing. The investment is in the DOCKS. The infrastructure for warehouses, railroads, all that that goes with them, as well as dockworkers, etc. Every two-bit town on a creek used to have one and universally every one is destroyed, missing, in ruins. The cost of 200,000 tiny docks dwarfs the cost of a couple big ships or adding a couple working barges. I bet even the UK with a fabulous remaining (tourist) canals has essentially zero tie-up, gin poles, and steam cranes.

    You need them? Great! Where are you going to get the investment and materials in the middle of a crunch, where you shut coal mines, steel plants, and the currency has stopped? They refuse to even contract common mask factories with a long-term contract in the middle of a pandemic so the factory owner can expand without going bankrupt (again). What are the odds East Hobo-Town is going to re-build the 1910 quay at $200M dollars for tiny 10-tonne barges? Zero. So suck it: I hope you like shortages. It will take another 100 years to build it, just like the first time, and for the same reasons.

    And there are no cargo-holding sailboats. The sailboats in use aren’t even normal vessels. They have zero tolerance and no room as they are modeled on a very narrow and unreliable racing pattern. You need 5,000 of these:

    “economic interdependency to ensure political stability and peace”

    That’s how it was sold – or rather forced on everyone, but really it empowers all the INTERMEDIARIES. Financial or otherwise. Then the supra-national organizations, corporations, banks, etc, have total control because they can shut off any individual person or location anywhere, and presto! You can’t give us guff, you can’t make your own tanks. Maybe you have some tanks, but no food. As long as you have them by the shorts somewhere, corporations win. But who runs the intermediaries and corporations? Wood Elves? No, certain very specific people we can all find and name. Adding, that situation doesn’t stop shortages, it insures them. When the disaster they created inevitably strikes, they raise prices.

  213. Off topic, hope this is okay to post here: for those who were fan’s of Mr. Greer’s posts on the history of the occult in the U.S. and who will be in the area, the Minneapolis Institute of Art has a special exhibition through May 15 on the ‘Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art’:

    There are some examples of spirit photography, precipitated paintings, automatic drawings, rootwork, spirit boards, and a discussion of flying saucers. The curators did a good job of locating it in the North American experience, as the exhibit begins with a video work on the spirit of the bison and let’s put in the Native American galleries.

  214. Bei Dawei #145 Interesting! Do you know if Taiwan’s leadership also consult fortune tellers? I know it’s actually a thing even in Industrialized countries, just usually kept under wraps.

    Monk #181 The destruction of the US’s training ecosystem was a huge deal! I’m going to see if I can zero in on that during my research.

  215. JMG said:

    Gardeners do this all the time. If you have a garden, you already know that if you put a plant that needs full sun in a shady patch, it’s not going to thrive there, no matter how loudly you insist to it that it’s just being difficult and should hurry up and grow. You know equally well that if you’ve got acid soil, either you’re going to have to plant things that like acid soils or you’re going to have to add a lot of alkaline soil amendments: the mere fact that you decide that you don’t believe that soil pH matters, because it’s inconvenient for you to take that into account, will not convince plants that need alkaline soil to thrive in your garden. These points may sound like common sense. They are common sense, but ignoring such things and demanding that the world conform to the expectations of the privileged is far more popular just now.

    I read this and just had to share the following conversation with my mother just last summer:

    Mom: There’s something wrong with these roses; they haven’t grown or blossomed in years.
    Me: You realize that you planted them in full shade….
    Mom: I wanted to be able to see them from my chair in the living room.
    Me: But it’s in full shade….
    Mom: That’s got nothing to do with it. They’re just being difficult.
    Me: No; they are starved for sun….
    Mom: Nothing ever works out for me!!
    Me: [sigh]

    And the roses are still in full shade being… well… difficult.

  216. I am surrounded by those who are marching to the drumbeat of war. I am not at all equipped with adequate historical, geopolitical, or economic knowledge to present counter arguments, so I keep my mouth shut. One comment that keeps coming up – “how is Putin’s actions in Ukraine any different than Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939?” Can anyone in the commentariat explain how it is different and/or help me understand more about this particular question, or provide educational links? Thank you in advance.

  217. I’m sure many here have taken note of that inestimable twit – the Senator Lindsey Graham, – regarding his recent calling for someone, ANYONE! – but himself, of course .. to off the most evil of eviley evils: V. V. PUTIN!

    The stupid .. it burns.. HOT!

    Here’s hoping that his vapid utterances, as well as from those of his like mindset, don’t result in us ..some of us anyway.. from receiving a dose or several, of some ‘canned sunshine’.

  218. “The Russian government is considering removing legal penalties for pirating western-made software.”

    The Russians could strip out the copy protection and phone home feature from all sorts of pricey commercial software, then release the hacked versions into the world. Hit MIcrosoft and Adobe where it hurts.

  219. Valenzuela, I read the BBC and RT and split the difference — they both lie like dogs, but they do it in different directions. Then I fill in the gaps with assorted blogs and aggregators. Zero Hedge has some good material, for example, and so does Naked Capitalism. (They’re still hyperventilating about The Virus That Will Kill Us All — “OMG, it’s in the air we BREATHE!!!” — but it seems to be one of the laws of modern thought that nobody can be really hysterical about more than one thing at a time, and so their coverage of the Russo-Ukraine war has been pretty balanced.) Then I apply a fair amount of background from reading military history, and guess from there.

    Gray, no argument there. People are astoundingly blind to the fact that history didn’t stop just because they asked it to. As for the ranty-pants person going on about Jews and Masons and all, you’re welcome; as a 32° Freemason I field that kind of thing from silly people fairly often, and I take a certain pleasure in whacking them good and hard. Say hi to the Grand Luminous Panjandrum of the Illuminati for me. 😉

    Ecosophian, no doubt! I saw a back-of-the-envelope estimate suggesting that US companies could lose a couple of trillion dollars that way.

    Patricia O, that strikes me as a very Slavic way of expressing displeasure!

    Martin, back in the day, conservative columnist William F. Buckley used to say that the US was going to turn into the Soviet Union in due time. I get the impression our media has taken up the challenge…

    John, I somehow managed to miss Ong’s Hat — fascinating. Your broader point is, I think, dead on target.

    Sam, the Seneca curve is yet another tired variation on the same old fast-collapse theory that’s been failing over and over again for centuries. Meanwhile the long descent is proceeding steadily as predicted. I expect that people will still be waiting for a sudden crash when things bottom out a couple of centuries from now in a deindustrial dark age.

    Chris, a good point. I haven’t been past a gas station for a while now, so I don’t know what the price is like here, but I did a podcast yesterday and the host mentioned that in North Carolina, where he lives, the price jumped up 40 cents a gallon overnight.

    Yorkshire, organized crime is simply a sort of freelance government — protection money is the exact equivalent of taxes, after all — so that very interesting tale does not surprise me in the least.

    Starfish, the phrase “politics is downstream from culture” isn’t mine — it’s been in circulation for some time. It can go both ways, of course.

    Wer, I think you’re quite correct, and Jung would be taking notes for another essay on psychic pandemics if he were still around and watching the current circus. Any form of meditation that focuses the mind away from whatever the media is yelling about will help; so will avoiding the media as much as possible; so will arranging to spend some time, as often as possible, in a natural area with trees and plants, where you can pay attention to something other than shrieking human beings.

    Stevec85, hmm. I’d be more reassured if less of it was contemporary pop culture…

    Stephanie, thanks for this! I wish I could visit the exhibit.

    Debricfrost, good gods. I made that example up, thinking that it was an exaggeration!

    Kendra, you might want to scroll up to post #120, where DFC puts all this in context.

    Polecat, I wonder if Graham has considered the possibility that he, personally, might be on the receiving end of something awkwardly fatal, administered by a Russian agent. One of the reasons that assassination plays so small a role in warfare these days is that it’s a game that everyone can play…

    Siliconguy, or they could simply let it be known that they’ll do that if X red line gets crossed, and see just how much pressure the tech companies can exert on the US government…

  220. >That’s how it was sold – or rather forced on everyone, but really it empowers all the INTERMEDIARIES.

    I remember when the Soviet Union collapsed there was some mayo factory that kept on chugging, even though they weren’t getting paid for what they were making because all the – intermediaries – had gone away. The Soviets organized all their production along the company town model, it was all that particular town did was mayo. They kept going because nobody had any idea of doing anything different and as a last ditch desperate attempt to keep it all going, they started paying their workers in mayo, in the vain hope that if the guys at the top couldn’t sell it, maybe their worker bees could? I wonder whatever happened to that mayo factory.

    Things aren’t quite that bad here (yet)(yeet) but when the intermediaries go away (and they will), it’s a good idea to start thinking about what to do. Or, like the guys during Apollo 13 did, they literally chucked the flight plan they were using in the trash and started improvising. Or doing one thing and being THE BEST at it, is a recipe for failure. You want to be OK at a variety of things in this particular peculiar Era.

  221. >All Putin has to do is demilitarize, denazify and depart like he said, and he’ll have won this battle.

    The key is depart. That’s essentially what the Chinese did with Vietnam back in 1979. They declared victory – and then they departed.

  222. >back in the day, conservative columnist William F. Buckley used to say that the US was going to turn into the Soviet Union in due time

    Lol, something that Jello Biafra was also saying. He went on a whole rant about Murica turning into the new Soviet Union. To think those two would agree on anything.

  223. Mr. Greer,

    I grok what yer sayin – that kind of response has a history .. but the thing is .. if and when putsch comes to shove – and god’s know that D.C., London, and Brussels are playin with really hot tongs here – that I don’t want such an impromptu sunrise to ruin my day (note: I live very near a deep-water port – perfect X-ray marks-the-spot!) We in the West truly DO have loons at the helm .. and as such, the steering don’t seem to answer. At All!

  224. @PatriciaOrmsby
    “@JMG, so true, depressingly! I met a few people in Russia in the late 90s who were still keen on Stalin…”
    For all his immense faults, Stalin’s Soviet Union was at least sovereign and living standards for the working class were rising. Much of the suffering that people would remember in the late 90s was from the invasion by Germany and there was much pride in the Soviet Union having defeated Hitler.
    Russia in the late 90s was a colony of outside thieves and their local accomplices and the standard of living of the working class had plummeted so far so fast that the population was shrinking. In a nation that was not fully monetized and therefore ordinary folks did not have much savings, pensions had been reduced to less than 1/10000th of their former value and there were many elderly beggars. Friends in Moscow and St. Petersburg saw the Russian government of those days as an occupying force.
    Romanticizing the Stalin era might have been unwise, but it was understandable.

  225. @jasper @266

    > I bet even the UK with a fabulous remaining (tourist) canals has essentially zero tie-up, gin poles, and steam cranes.

    You are right of course. The equipment is long gone although the basic infrastructure remains. Depending on how quickly a crisis hit, it might be replaceable in a useful timescale. Initially block and tackle systems instead of cranes I’d have thought. Owners of undervalued land in the midlands backing onto navigable waterways would be sitting on a goldmine.

  226. @Info:

    Imagination is a good thing, but it is also necessary to root it in time and place. Nowadays, it is a common hypothesis that the Indo-European language family originated in the Kurgan culture of the Black Sea steppe (though not too long ago Renfrew’s Anatolian hypothesis was favoured). However, one has to be careful in positing a nomadic herding lifestyle at all times on that steppe. After all, nowadays it supports agriculture perfectly well! I don’t happen to know the evidence for a nomadic lifestyle in the Kurgan period, but Florin Curta in “The Long 6th Century in Eastern Europe” carefully sifted all the evidence for that period (6th-7th century CE) and concluded that no people of that period was nomadic.

    More importantly, culture changes over time. Before your nomadic, warrior-like Indo-Europeans became the heroes of the Iliad (reflecting the conditions of the 8th century BC Dark Age), they were palace-dwelling Mykenians who wrote down bureaucratic inventories in their Indo-European language, just as the Hittites did in their Indo-European language. It is dark ages, _after_ the breakdown of more organized societies, that celebrate a “Conan the Barbarian” warrior ideal.

    Mars was the Roman god of both agriculture and war, which should give you pause in equating Romans with steppe-dwelling nomads. While the Romans celebrated a few solitary heroes, their most important martial virtue was the courage to stand stout, in line with one’s companions, and face the enemy. One of Jupiter’s attributes was Stator, the one who makes you stand still instead of running away. The Romans conquered their empire through discipline and were proud of it.

    So my main point is that culture changes over time and that it makes no sense to me to posit some everlasting, masculine, aggressive spirit for those people who happen to speak an Indo-European language.

  227. Seems there’s some new imaginations, recently the Vienna tram screens suggested a childrens book with the message that “resources aren’t endless” and we use them wisely.

    In Autumn they suggested keeping old clothes and fixing them instead of buying anew.

    In the year before corona, there was a debate in Vienna’s waste disposal management that too big an amount of discarded clothes, of new and barely worn, clogged the

    Foreboding maybe.
    Could be there is a new imagination coming on soft paws.

    On the other hand, unfortunately not positively surprising is a animated picture on 9gag enlisted under category “awesome” with an old woman presumably in Ukraine beating
    a man tied with his face at a lamp post and his pants down on the streets. Title “That’s how we deal with looters here”If the goal is to go for the lowest lows….

    Promoting self justice has come into style lately?

    Of course, ethnic Russians in the classical music business are already being fired, all Russian products are dumped,reports of russians unwanted signs…
    Germany had once 5% ethnic russians more than a decade ago. “Russian Germans” – Russians who in some way could prove or feign german ancestry the fall of the soviet union.

    We will see what happens. There are also no flights from North America to Russia at the moment, right?

    In Vienna construction business is meanwhile raging with two megaprojects in and around the city scheduled for 2-3 years minimum…private homeowners capacity howeveris weakened by surging material prices, while construction firms and vendors suffer from fast increasing shortage.

    In wonder how my fellow greens and pmc members take the war at the moment. From what I saw today, calm outwardly at least.
    Vienna isn’t too close to Ukraine though it’s western part was also part of Austria once.
    However it has a strategic position as it lies between the end of the alps, the danube river and across the end of the carpathian mountain range.

    That’s two strategic points at each end of the mountain range, Vienna was realized because the Goths historically came from the West.That’s why the turks once tried to pierce through there on flat terrain. To avoid mountain warfare they would loose. The country has profited enourmously from Eastern trade since 1991.

    The alps and the carpathians together separate southern and northern Europe from each other.
    Between Austria and the Western tip of Ukraine lies Hungary, Austria’s one proxy to the conflict.

    Wonder how trade in oil, gas and coal with Russia develops.Austria and Germany are depended to a high degree, especially German industries.I heard in 2018 some major car makers were already quietly dispatching cars and selling them for scrap, later that turned out in public.
    So problems were already there before, probably still cushioned by something.
    Will the USA keep drawing from Russia? Will Russia stop giving Europe 100%?
    Can Russia give it to Asia? Does ist need additional infrastructure still?

    How fast could Russia go online with additional capacities to Asia, would the return be more favourable than what the US could give?From the media, we can assume almost nothing about many things revolving around the conflict and Russia.

    Looking at where you can see Europe’s gas storage capacities, Austria is now at its almost lowest with a lower point in 2015, in the past decade storage went upwards again around March31th or little later.

    Capacities this last year also didn’t reach to the usual heights between 2010 and 2020.
    Like a curve slowly sinking already as a whole.
    Has Russia timed the attack also to decide whether it wants to deliver this time or not?

    But we’ll see soon enough! If the numbers aren’t up by the end of April…expect a decision made!

  228. Further on imagining changes: The most dramatic change I have witnessed in my life so far was the breakdown of the Soviet bloc in 1989-1991. In East Germany, the demonstrations that ended the power of the government arose from Monday prayers in the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas church) in Leipzig, where I used to go to service years later. In January 1991, I was studying Russian at school in (formerly West) Germany, and we were planning a trip by train to (then-) Leningrad. The Baltic republics rose up against Soviet occupation, and nobody knew if there would be a bloodbath, so our teacher cancelled the trip. In the end, the dissolution of the USSR was pacific.

    My question to all commenters is: did popular unrest and nationalism contribute to the dissolution of the USSR outside the Baltic? To foreigners, it looked as if the central government simply melted away after the failed coup again Gorbachev, and the constituent republics took over by default.

    This is relevant for understanding the current war. Was there a widespread wish among citizens of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1991 to have their own country, or were they simply surprised by the end of the union?

    I find it very relevant for people living in all parts of the world to boldly imagine changes and then to reflect on which of those imagined changes are possible.

  229. Hi John

    Peter Zeihan has some very interesting thoughts on the latest crisis.

    The overall interview is fascinating but the most interesting bit is from 30 minutes in.

    Peter predicts that we will see:

    1) no wheat harvest in Ukraine this Spring
    2) localised famines from Q4 2022 in the most vulnerable countries most dependent upon Ukrainian grain.
    3) wider famines across the developing world over the next few years (now that Ukrainian and Russian wheat and fertiliser exports are severed/massively restricted)
    4) risk that the the US may ban oil exports, that will lead to severe oil shortages around the world and unravel the global economy.

    Bottom line, Peter vision is precisely what was predicted by LTG. Looks like we are tracking perfectly the LTG BAU model, with a collapsing global economy by 2030.

  230. “Yorkshire, organized crime is simply a sort of freelance government — protection money is the exact equivalent of taxes, after all — so that very interesting tale does not surprise me in the least.”

    I’ve been thinking more about organized criminal gangs. Mostly, about the ongoing situation down in Mexico and Central America, as well as the gangs in major American cities. It occurs to me that, as central authority seems to be failing in many nations, these kind of organized criminal gangs might already be the war bands that new political authorities will emerge from, in the coming dark age.

    IIRC, feudal lords arose in Europe, post-Roman collapse, as basically war lords who fought off threats to their local people, and collected tribute/protection money from those locals. They became the dukes and barons, and the tributes became taxes. Already, I’ve heard about how, in some areas, it is better to pay tribute to the local gang for protection, than it is to expect any help from the police.

  231. Thank you for advice I really appreciate it.
    But responding to others, I really think that a lot of people in my country Poland have enough of the EU, COVID etc.
    For example during COVID hysteria a lot of people died on the hospital floor near the city that I live because all hospital beds were reserved for COVID, then our goverment printed a lot of money and the prices went up (in my area by almost 20% i checked) and then blamed Russian Goverment for it.
    There is a growing EU skepticism among the young people, but i recently found myself banned from many forums on the internet.
    Why? because in minds of many (criticism of the goverment= you are a Russian paid troll), i was stunned when i heard that (I was never a fan of Putin especialy after Smoleńsk crash in 2010, yet they throw me out for allegedly “working” for him). For this reason i came to your blog because someone in my company told me about it. I just wanted to understand why people just went crazy out of sudden. I didn’t read Jung’s books but I read a article and watched some videos (one about projecting the shadow) and got interesed

  232. Found some very interesting posts on 4chan sharing (as a series of images) what is supposedly a translation of a Telegram post by a Russian military analyst with an anti-Putin lean, which talks about the Ukrainian government’s attempts at propaganda, among other things. To summarize:

    -Ukrainian propaganda may end up being counterproductive. Its government has been making up fictional victories, and if the Ukrainian people start to see firsthand that some of the supposed victories are fake, they might reason out that they’re all fake, causing a crash in public morale. To my mind, this is likely at least in part because this propaganda is meant more for foreign than for Ukrainian consumption; it is an attempt to galvanize suport from the West rater than boost Ukrainians’ resolve.
    -Ukrainian populations under Russian control are making the choice to trade “loyalty [to Ukraine] for security”. To these people, continued resistance from the Ukrainian army and other armed groups around their populations constitutes a threat to that security, and they may end up resenting these groups.
    -The Zelensky regime has been decrying the governments of these captured cities as Russian collaborators, which only serves to paint them into a corner and makes it more likely they’ll end up siding with Moscow for their survival.
    -Lastly, the author notes that the Ukrainian civilians were not evacuated before the attack, nor was there any plan to evacuate them, and theorizes that this may be an intentional choice by the Zelensky government. He believes they are hoping that the Russians will cause a humanitarian catastrophe against Ukrainian civilians which would boost support for Ukraine in the West and other countries and further isolate Russia, thus strengthening Zelensky’s position and weakening Putin’s.

    No link was given so I can’t verify the source, but the images with the translation may be found here:

  233. “Secretface2097 says:
    March 4, 2022 at 2:42 am
    @Bei Dawei #139
    I think that in the USA you don´t need a PhD to call yourself a doctor. A few days ago, I watched some videos by a guy called Dr. Berg. I found his videos interesting and wanted to know whether he is a credible source. When I googled for his name, one of the first hits was, that he doesn´t have a PhD, but is a chiropractor. Apparently, he is allowed to call himself Dr. Berg due to his profession. So, this seems to be some kind of allowed fraud. Maybe this also applies to “Dr.” King.”

    I don’t mean to be rude in responding, so my apologies in advance if this seems overly harsh: In the US, there has been a 200+ year battle over who has medical authority. You are right to say you don’t need to a PhD (or and MD for that matter) to call yourself a doctor. The title of “doctor” is not only reserved here for MD’s and PhD’s. The intense years-long schooling of chiropractors resulted in a degree that entitles them legally to be called “doctor” and to practice their form of medicine.

    The same is true for the (very few in number) Naturopathic Doctors, who go through a very intensive and board-approved program. They are entitled to be called “doctor.” There is a relatively new degree called “Doctor of Oriental Medicine,” whose graduates are also entitled to be grouped in the same category as medical professionals with the title “doctor. What we are dealing with is the question of who is, and has, authority to make medical pronouncements on medical issues. In the US, “regular” MDs know next to nothing about nutrition, herbal medicine, and so on–and in general they are rather proud of that fact. Dr. Berg is not a fraudster. He is legitimately entitled to use the term “Dr.”

    Germany (possibly along with other European countries) obviously has its own ways of handling those issues which are not universal. England, for instance, accords a great deal of respect to trained homeopathic doctors, such that they are among those who treat members of the royal family. Allopaths (standard MD’s) often consider this unscientific and quackery. However, a study of how medicine works in “the field” of actual patient care give the lie to such narrow-mindedness. I implore you, if you continue in our little patch of the rain forest of the mind, to study further rather than doing some minor internet research and making pronouncements based on your cultural preferences. In English, to accuse someone of “fraud” is a very, very serious business.

  234. “An ecological-economic discussion of slack might be worth posting here sometime.”

    Maybe for the 5th Wednesday this month?

  235. Hi Beekeeper,

    I’m with you about the clothes dryer. Don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em.

    We use washing horses, and over summer move them out into the sunshine. Over winter they get moved in front of the wood heater (the only option for heating the house and it also does the hot water). Clothes get dried one way or another.

    This stuff isn’t hard.



  236. Clarke #247:
    Thank you….i am a retired Chiropractor (practiced for 27 years in 2 states)….I too found the comments by Secretface disconcerting and Mr. Greer’s response helpful. But, I also want to add. In the USA one can NOT use the title Doctor in any state unless they can in fact diagnose and treat all illness….In other words, we were trained the exact same way as MD’s…anyone can look up the study we have to do. My instructors in the late 70’s were all MD’s who also taught at UCLA medical school and others. Same courses until the last year where we diverge to nutrition rather than pharmacology although we get enough of that too. Instead of surgery we delve into manipulation of the spine and joints. I performed OB//GYM exams, prostate exams, phlebotomy, labs and more…It was not unusual for me to discover cancer patients and refer them out for proper care after seeing many MD’s. A year in the dissection lab…I could go on. It was disheartening to see anyone in 2022 think that Chiropractors don’t deserve the title Doctor….It is not given out lightly in the USA..the same as any dentist, veterinarian etc. Thanks Mr. Greer..

  237. Hi JMG

    It seems that the CIA, helped by all the western countries, are calling for a fascist jihad against the russians in Ukranine, as in Lybia-2011 or Afghanistan in the 80´s, so for example the PM of denmark says:

    “It’s a choice that anyone can make. This goes for all Ukrainians who live here, but also for others who think they can contribute directly to the conflict”

    Similar statements by western leaders are beeing said all around Europe

    So the peace lovers western officials consider that encouraging their citizenry to “contribute directly to the conflict” as a positive step to resolve it, putting in danger the lives of their own citizens and fuelling the war against Russia and also, of course implementing devastating economic sanctions against that country, all of that would be considered a full declaration of war against a nation in the past.

    But as the Afghan insurgency taught us, after the end of this fascist jihad, with dozens of thousands of military trained fascists returning to their countries in the mist of a devastating economic crisis due to the resource depletion, what is the prospect of policital stability in the european countries in the future?

    This is the way the warbands form.

    The action of the european elites are completely suicidal to them and the societies they supossedly serve

    And Russia hasn`t even started to screw Europe with his capacity to cut or decrease the supply of nat gas, oil, coal, wheat, corn, potash, nitrogen fertilizers, etc… required to heat up your home and to have something to eat, because who will suffer more?: the countries that only have financial tools (tokens) as economic weapons or the country that has enough resource to feed and heat his own population?

    I bet on Russia in this economic fight


  238. On gas prices, since I’ve seen it mentioned, it’s just over 1.80CAD/L where I’m at– it jumped 20c just yesterday. I don’t know what it was at the start of the week.

    Fun fact about Canukistan: our glorious leaders refuse to see the facts on the ground and intend to continue with the planned carbon tax hike, which would have us paying at least a toonie a liter– call it eight bucks a gallon. Ouch!

    Nevermind that the Carbon tax was supposedly about raising the price gently, to nudge the market away from fossil fuels– IIRC, we were predicted to see something in the 1.40s with the higher tax, when the increase schedule was planned out. Seems to me the market is going to adjust just fine without that added pain at the pump, but! Far be it for me to interrupt the enemy while he makes a mistake. (OTH, with the media in their pocket, the Liberals might be able to blame Russia for the whole of the increase.)

    Still, I’m very glad no-one in my household has a car commute! I just wish it was easier to get to the grocery store.

  239. re pirated software—I am not clear why Russian joining in the piracy would do any more damage to US software companies than the Chinese already do. I have a friend who taught English in China in the 90s and he said that he could find “Adobe” etc. in the street markets at about the same time as official release. This may have changed, but we know China produces many pirated products, from software to videos to designer shoes and purses.

    Beekeeper in Vermont–when my grandmother was a teen, in the early 1920s, she was sent to Florence Colorado to live with her grandmother, who took in washing. She mused to me that it was a wonder she didn’t get pneumonia from hanging out wet wash on windy days. She said the front of her dress would be soaked and she would be thoroughly chilled. I, on the other hand, was chilled by the fact that she was sent to Colorado for her health (a chronic tubercular cough) and was handling other families’ clean laundry.

    Anyone who wants a view of the conditions that led to the rise of socialism in Europe might like to read “People of the Abyss” by Jack London. It can be found in the American Library collection of novels and social works together with “The Road”, his account of crossing the country riding the rails, and “The Iron Heel”, which has already been mentioned here.


  240. Clarke aka Gwydion (no, 247), we have to distinguish between the *legal* right to call oneself by the title “:doctor,” and the *moral* right to do so. In the USA, the *legal* right is largely unregulated, except in limited situations like medicine or psychotherapy (this would vary by state). Anybody remember the basketball player Julius Erving, aka “Dr. J.”? Of course this was really just a nickname, and he was never dishonest about his actual credentials. Or consider “Dr.” Ken Hamm, the creation scientist whose degree came from a diploma mill. He has the the legal right to prefix “Dr.” to his name (so does my dog), just as he has the legal right to call himself the pope, but morally speaking, he deserves very bit of the mockery he has received.

    Now about the title “doctor” as used in medicine: In the early 19th century USA, a distinction was made between “physicians” who had degrees from medical schools, and “doctors” who often did not (but trained through an apprenticeship, for example). This occurred against a background of controversy over whether the practice of medicine ought to be limited to trained professionals (this was widely regarded as undemocratic), or could be done by ordinary family members. This distinction between “doctors” and “physicians” gradually disappeared. There was also conflict among medical practitioners themselves, as they established medical schools with very different treatment modalities, and lobbied (state by state) for restrictions on who could practice medicine or grant a medical degree. The process continued through the early 20th century. Here is a good essay I’ve recently discovered covering this:

    The American Medical Association attempted to monopolize the field for MDs, and almost succeeded, but DOs (doctors of osteopathy) managed to win similar recognition. I believe all US states require one of these two degrees in order to practice medicine.(There are additional requirements.) Although superficially similar to osteopathy, chiropractic was less fortunate in the rights it won for itself. Although a “DC” (doctor of chiropractic) degree exists, and chiropractors can be licensed in the USA, they cannot prescribe drugs or perform surgery, as an MD or DO can.

    The issue of the different types of doctorate–Ph.D.s, Th.D.s, D.B.A.s, and so forth–is unrelated, and has to do with the evolution of colleges and universities as organizations. Briefly, most scientific and humanities fields award the Ph.D. (other fields as well, sometimes), which are research degrees, but there are also professional doctorates that prepare one for the clergy, medicine, business, etc., not just academia.

  241. Re: Doctor titles

    It may be helpful to add that in Germany, finishing any course at university, even “normal” medicine, by itself is not enough to use the title of Doctor. This title is earned by writing, defending and publishing a thesis. That said, it is funny how every single medical student, from the academically strongest to the academically weakest, somehow manages to turn in a doctoral thesis during their regular course (it usually takes them 6-12 months of evening and weekend work), while in the lab sciences, a thesis requires 3-4 years of full-time work. Laypeople are not even prepared for the possibility of a medicine graduate without that title. By the way, the quantity and quality of work required for a doctor title in fields like law seems to vary widely when the student in question has already started a prestigious career.

    In addition, homeopathy and chiropraxis are completely excluded and separated from the universities so that the distance between such fields and a doctor title seems much bigger than in countries where such education is more in the mold of conventional medicine. This is a bit ironic, since homeopathy first developed in Germany.

    Now returning to this week’s regular subject…

  242. @Jessi Thomson,
    Thank you for pointing out the importance of Slack! The single biggest barrier to exercising my imagination is the utter lack of slack in my life. When I filed my taxes this year, I discovered my income had gone up, way up, last year and that appears to be a continuing trend this year. I guess the first exercise for my imagination will be how to obtain some slack. OTOH, they say be careful what you wish for…I suspect slack will arrive rather abruptly some time later this year, but I also suspect the demand for translations will explode in the meantime. But when Slack shows up, I will welcome him in and give him a little space here.

  243. Rita Rippetoe #254:

    Your grandma was a trooper!

    If her dress was getting wet, the clothes must not have been wrung out well; wringer washers (the 1920’s are well before the availability of spin cycles) were reasonably good at getting out excess water, so was she wringing out the laundry by hand? Ouch.

    The only part of me that gets wet and frozen hanging out winter laundry are my fingers. I tried using gloves but they’re so clumsy while trying to manipulate clothes pins that it takes way too long to get the job done. The trick is to untangle the wet clothes indoors and put them in the laundry basket neatly so there’s no fumbling outdoors in the cold.

    It sure seems that our ancestors were made of hardier stuff.

  244. @Aldarion

    “After all, nowadays it supports agriculture perfectly well! I don’t happen to know the evidence for a nomadic lifestyle in the Kurgan period, but Florin Curta in “The Long 6th Century in Eastern Europe” carefully sifted all the evidence for that period (6th-7th century CE) and concluded that no people of that period was nomadic.”

    You mean BC?

    Because if it is CE of course it isn’t the right period of time. What counts as evidence in regards to the presence of the Mongols for example since that is another nomadic group?

    “Before your nomadic, warrior-like Indo-Europeans became the heroes of the Iliad (reflecting the conditions of the 8th century BC Dark Age), they were palace-dwelling Mykenians who wrote down bureaucratic inventories in their Indo-European language, just as the Hittites did in their Indo-European language. It is dark ages, _after_ the breakdown of more organized societies, that celebrate a “Conan the Barbarian” warrior ideal.”

    Correct. I think those nomadic warriors introduced their technology at the same time the introduction of chariots become prominent. And during the Dark Ages took over from the Palace-dwelling Mykenians as Dorian peoples:

    “Blegen follows Furumark[28] in dating Mycenaean IIIB to 1300–1230 BC. Blegen himself dated the Dorian invasion to 1200 BC”

  245. Owen, even a blind mouse can find a broken clock, or something like that.

    Polecat, no question, one of those can ruin your whole day. 😉 Since my divinations and other attempts to suss out the future don’t seem to predict that, however, I’m not going to worry about it.

    Curt, well, what did you expect from 9gag? As for Austria’s situation, to my mind all of eastern and central Europe is hip deep in kim chi at this point, and getting deeper — but we’ll see.

    Aldarion, I’ll be interested to see what answers you get.

    Forecastingintelligence, depending on your definition of “global economy,” that seems quite plausible. Certainly the economy of globalization is done — stick a fork in it — and any national economy too deeply dependent on it is going to get clobbered. What remains to be seen is which nations can downshift to local production and which can’t.

    Brenainn, that is indeed how it happens, and we’re well into the process.

    Wer, I imagine people in your country are getting very, very stressed right now. With Russia flinging missiles around on one side of you, and Germany talking rearmament and considering reinstating the military draft on the other side, there’s good reason for that! If you go back through some of the past posts here, you’ll find quite a bit of discussion of the current craziness; a lot of it comes from the way that faith in progress got turned into a surrogate religion all over the industrial world…and it’s a religion that doesn’t live up to its prophecies.

    Valenzuela, fascinating. Thanks for this.

    Miles, good heavens, I managed not to notice this. Okay, folks, we have a fifth Wednesday this month. What do you want to hear about? We’ve got one vote already totaled for an economic-ecological analysis of slack.

    Kristin, you’re welcome, and thank you for speaking up! I didn’t happen to know that, about the education of doctors of chiropractic; very good to hear.

    DFC, they’re doing what?? Hoo boy. The timeline for the next big European war just sped up by ten years. Warbands aren’t what I’m thinking of, not yet. What I’m thinking of is fascist parties and military dictatorships…

    Dusk Shine, I get the impression that Trudeau is too busy gazing in rapture at an image of himself as savior of the world to notice what’s actually happening anywhere outside his own skull.

    Rita, it’s one thing if China is producing those for their own domestic market. It’s quite another if Russia is producing them and shipping them to purchasers all through the undeveloped world.

  246. @ Ecosophian #213 If the Russians start pirating Western software, maybe they can fix Windows.

  247. @Jessica #238,
    What you are saying is entirely true in my experience–and thank you for speaking up. I’ll add that unless one actually witnessed what happened to Russia in the 90s and how that changed after 2000, it is easy to have the impression that Putin was just rotten from the beginning. I was in Siberia in 2002, and when I expressed some sympathy for how hard their lives must be under Putin (because all I was hearing overseas was very negative), regardless of whom I talked to–pensioners, national park personnel, average people working hard to get by, even environmental NGOs had nothing but praise for Putin. (OK the latter said they wanted him to do more about corruption, but that he was clearly trying.) After that, I paid close attention to what Putin was doing. All of the various crimes he has been accused of, that people have heard so many times with no opposing viewpoint expressed, to the point where most people can be forgiven if they think those are truths that even he himself has admitted, are nothing but allegations or military actions necessitated by national security. If he is a very popular president with 70% support, it’s not because people are too terrified to oppose him. The attacks on him started very shortly after he came into power and have never relented.

  248. @JMG

    For the fifth Wednesday, I’d like to put in a vote for anything about WB Yeats.

  249. I had some other options in mind for the fifth Wednesday but they can wait – lets do slack.

  250. Some news on Europe and it’s gas with numbers:
    Put into google translate for slovak:
    – Car makers starting to stand still in Europe as Neon, palladium and nickel are starting to be missing

    if not total collapse, it may turn a hard blow all the same for Europe.

    Maybe Russia also timed its offensive when construction efforts for pipeline redirect to China have reached a mature stage.

  251. Hi john,

    Your thoughts on China seem to have evolved a bit.

    Now you are saying you expect the Chinese to successfully become the next superpower. It fascinates me how diametrically opposed your views on China are from Peter Zeihan.

    What makes you think China – that is heavily dependent upon imported oil and food – can become the next superpower versus America, that despite its many internal challenges, is still strategically located, has ample resources and friendly neighbours (Canada and Mexico).

    P.s. did you see that America is thinking about sanctioning India?! That would be an incredibly dumb move, even I struggle to imagine the idiots in Washington doing that. Clearly I underestimated the elites stupidity.

    In regard to the emerging fascist jihad, I’m seeing a lot of ex-military or aspirational military types talking or actually volunteering to fight the Russians in Ukraine.

    Not sure how many are actual fascists, I don’t think most are, but certainly once they are out there, and depending on who they fight with (will it be nationalists or the neo-Nazi groups within Ukraine?) I could see those that survive coming back as fully grown fascists. Not sure which countries will go full-on fascist, some of the eastern European countries are already a bit nationalist/authoritarian but not sure they would go full scale fascism.

    I have started doing my research on New England. It looks lovely and Rhode Island or New Hampshire both look good places to base ourselves in the future. We would like to be within a short train ride from New York and New Jersey and ideally above ground to avoid future rises in sea levels. Any thoughts?

  252. JMG,

    you have suggested many times that the USA should bring their troops home, and that in any case the USA won’t be able to protect their European vassals much longer. Germany has the strongest economy and largest population in Europe outside Russia. In recent weeks, you have several times pointed out the considerable risk to neighbouring nations from a re-armed sovereign Germany, and I agree with you. An option that I am sure many German and other politicians are considering right now is to switch allegiance and become Russian vassals, but I am sure that a Russian suzerain would be less benign than the American one has been (towards European vassals!). My favoured solution would be an integrated European army with the double aim of stopping the member nations from attacking each other, and of deterring outside powers. However, I gather that you are writing a novel with a very negative role for an EU army.

    My question to you is very serious, without any snark: do you propose any solution in order to avoid, as far as possible, or at least to mitigate and contain war in Europe?

    Or do you think this is a predicament without solution?

  253. JMG and DFC,

    Re Europe sending its citizens to fight. In a bit of unintentional comedy the article that DFC linked had an add with title:

    “What should law makers do to combat terrorists”


    For the fifth Wednesday I would like to see a post about how to stay sane in an era of war propaganda. I expect to see the quality of news coverage decline even further with even greater polarization and misinformation from almost all quarters.

    So, for this month’s 5th Wednesday I would like a post about historical references and resources, logic, reason, evaluating information, and personal skills for keeping one’s cool in a culture that is losing its own cool. I even have a helpful resource:

    Propaganda the game by Wff’n Poof, Robert Allen and Lorne Greene


  254. @Duskshine B-b-b-baby you ain’t seen nothing yet. Check out BC: That’s 209.9 to 229.9 in Metro Vancouver today. It was 200.9/L down the street from me (Greater Victoria) last I saw. I haven’t gotten an email from the car share company saying they’d have to raise the hourly rates yet to compensate, since gas is included, but they must be having to do that soon.

    Diesel is at least 10c higher than regular gas at any station, which must be hurting transport a lot.

    Note that we also already have the highest gas taxes in Canada and Horgan has been firm that they will not change them. Probably because that is how we fund a great deal of our infrastructure at provincial and municipal levels, and some unfortunate events have made rebuilding the road infrastructure for the vehicles that buy those oil products necessary… People are of course saying if he doesn’t drop the taxes, he’ll be un-re-electable, but he appears to be intending to run again and banking on his man-of-the-people image to carry him, still:

    Since I was working in oil and gas at the time, I remember the last time Horgan was painted into such a corner on oil and gas, and I don’t have to imagine how that will turn out: They never did waffle on their “no” position, IIRC, and he still became Premier in 2017. Then of course he sued the feds to stop Transmountain and lost – despite that being our only remaining import link for oil from Alberta. And he still got re-elected after that.

    And then of course, in the end, it was a certain newly elected Prime Minister that axed Northern Gateway, and… he also got re-elected.

    On the other hand, he threw his support behind Coastal GasLink for natural gas, which I also worked on, and am very glad I’m not still, because while there were people threatening crew with machetes at the time, they hadn’t done this yet. Since it hasn’t been linked to any current Wet’su’weten protests, but the death threats to the band have now gone up in retaliation, it seems to have re-united the hereditary and elected chiefs, and the hereditary chiefs (formerly opposed and protesting the project) are now working with the RCMP and CGL, while all sides acknowledge that the entire project of fracked LNG is a financial albatross and this project is probably the last one.

    The merry-go-round continues…

  255. Dear Mr. Druid.

    What are your thoughts on using drugs or alcohol to enhance perception and imagination? Personally I try to avoid addicts in my life, but someone here introduced me to Ran Prieur – I find his pot induced writings fascinating from the safety of a keyboard, and he is a smart guy with some good insights. Would his insights be better sober?

    Note this is not a slight against Ran – he often brags about his consumption!

  256. Data points: (1). Driving past Gainesville’s most overpriced gas station, $4.49/gal. Other stations, all over the lot, from $3.69 to $3.99; average $3.81.

    (2) From The Week, February 25th, 2022. “Charity of the Week.” The National Council for the Traditional Arts,” American folk art, crafts, etc, etc, etc. National Folk Festival, since 19334, August 26-28 in Salisbury MD.

    (3) Same issue: “What’s Your Good Name Worth?” Repairers of Reputations actually exist; it’s a known industry, finding and erasing false information, trolls, etc online. Starts at $10,000 – $20,000 on up. Article notes that the same websites hosting these repairers, also hosts damagers of reputations.

  257. P.S. It’s amazing how trivial the hot-button issues of the February 18th issue of The Week seem right now, and to a lesser extend, those of the February 25th issue.


    I find Timothee Parriques thesis on degrowth very inspiring for my imagination of a future world. Here is a quote:

    Conclusions for Chapter 6
    DEGROWTH is a contested term that actively resists definition. It is also a messy academic field swarming with concepts of all kinds. In this chapter, I have synthesised that diversity into one single conceptual framework. The outcome of that process can be summarised in 1 idea, 3 values, and 15 principles.

    My choice was to interpret degrowth as a general process of de-economisation, that is the reduction in importance of economistic thoughts and practices in society. Applying to situations where the economy has reached a disproportionate size and importance, degrowth involves two movements:

    Cognitive: Rejecting the primacy of the economic rationale in the social imaginary. For example, this means downplaying monetary-seeking goals (GDP for governments, profits for firms, and income for individuals) so that activities are framed around a diverse set of social and moral motives and not only around moneymaking.

    Concrete: If economic growth is a process of expansion or/and intensification of the realm of commodities, degrowth advocates a reversal of this process, namely a shrinking down of the market domain and a slowing down of the production and consumption of commodities – the purpose being to regain a sense of proportion and harmony between the economy and the society and environment around it.

    Degrowth is not de-economisation for its own sake. Instead, it stands in defence of three universal values, which should underpin all economic practices in a degrowth society.

    Autonomy: A principle of freedom both at the individual level (existentialist self- institution) and at the collective level (directly democratic self-management).

    Sufficiency: A rule of distributive justice stating that everyone today and tomorrow should have enough to satisfy their fundamental needs, that no one should have too much in regards to planetary boundaries, and that socially acceptable levels of relative inequality should be autonomously determined.

    Care: A principle of non-exploitation and non-violence that promotes solidarity towards humans and non-humans.

    The last step consisted in deciding which economy-related institutions would best fit this threefold moral compass. Applying autonomy, sufficiency, and care to the different acts of provision (extraction, production, allocation, consumption, and excretion), I developed what I summarise here as a list of 15 universal principles regarding provision.

    (1) Resource sovereignty: Be a steward of nature.
    Those making decisions about resource extraction should be the communities who are most directly impacted by these decisions, who are knowledgeable about ecosystems, and who assume the responsibility of stewards towards nature.

    (2) Sustainability: Never deteriorate supporting ecosystems.
    The economy’s throughput should remain within the regenerative capacities of renewable natural resources, within the stocks of non-renewable resources that one has morally allowed oneself to consume, and within the assimilative capacities of nature.

    (3) Circularity: Waste not, want not.
    The flow of energy and materials within the economy should remain as circular as possible with the goal of minimising the extraction of virgin resources and the excretion of un- recyclable and unassimilable waste.

    (4) Socially useful production: What is not needed should not be made.
    Being only a means to an end, production should satisfy needs and contribute to well-being.

    (5) Small, not-for-profit cooperatives: People and planet, not profit.
    All businesses should be centred around the pursuit of a social benefit (including ecological missions), be small enough as to allow a directly democratic governance, and take the form of a cooperative.

    (6) Proximity: Produce local, consume local.
    The shorter the distance between producers and consumers the better.

    (7) Convivial tools: Technology as a tool, not a master.
    Technology should be fit for a purpose determined outside of itself. Technology should be democratically manageable, controllable, reversible, and easily intelligible.

    (8) Postwork: Work less, play more.
    The ultimate purpose of economic organisation is to liberate time for non-economic purposes. The time and effort dedicated to activities of provision should be determined autonomously, constitute only a small part of social life, and take place in decent settings, both regarding the condition of work and its finality.

    (9) Value sovereignty: Wealth is nothing but stories.
    The process of economic valuation should always be informed by social and moral values. What is considered “valuable” can vary in from one context to the next, with different values being fundamental incommensurable with each other.

    (10) Commons: Decide together.1
    Strategic resources should be managed as commons.

    (11) Gratuity: Communities instead of commodities.
    The provision of goods, services, and amenities determinant for the satisfaction of needs should remain outside of the market domain and be organised politically.

    (12) Sharing: Sufficiency for all, excess for none.2
    Any surplus should be treated with caution because it bears the possibility of inequality. When in doubt, liquidate the surplus in a way that benefits the worse off.

    (13) Voluntary simplicity: Outwardly simple, inwardly rich.3
    People should regain autonomy over their needs and wants and reflect on the consequences of their consumption. They should pursue non-materialistic sources of satisfaction and meaning and adapt their relation with possessions accordingly.

    (14) Relational goods: Less stuff, more relationships.
    People should consume with, and not against, each other. Consumption should focus on the ends (feelings, friendship, love, etc.) and not on the means (products).

    (15) Joie de vivre: If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your economy.
    There is no wealth but life (Ruskin). Economic organisation should be a means to guaranteeing joie de vivre and life should be lived by enjoying the abundance of nature and culture.

  259. It feels to me that the US / NATO pushing NATO closer and closer to Russia and then heavily arming Ukraine, backing their Donbas offensive and refusing to deny them NATO membership pushed Russia to the point they either had to invade or accept US world domination.I think the US was very likely expecting the invasion and hoping to destroy Russia with sanctions.It seems a fairly desperate attempt to retain unipolar world hegemony. If the sanctions don’t play out exactly as the US wishes, I think they have lost that game.
    I also feel it was a desperate attempt by Joe Biden & co to appear tough on Russia to improve their image and avoid being decimated in the Nov. mid term elections.
    I would appreciate anyone’s input on this.

  260. Following on from the comment from Curt #266, a note on UK energy prices for those in US and elsewhere unaware of them. The problems started last summer when smaller energy suppliers – who often undercut the larger established suppliers with prices 30-40% lower – fell into insolvency due to the first rises in the wholesale price of gas. I myself was with one of these – luckily just for my electricity – on what was supposed to be a fixed-price 2-year contract. The company ceased trading and I was transferred by the government to Shell Energy. The price instantly went up by 40%. At the end of this month the price will increase a further 54% in line with what the UK government call the energy price cap, the maximum the various suppliers are allowed to charge per kilowatt-hour for electricity or per therm for gas. No supplier is now charging significantly less than this. In July my gas fixed-price contract will end and the price will probably double. The next round of increases is due in October. Even before the Ukraine invasion it was expected that there would be another rise of about 15%. Now it is looking like that may well be nearer 40%, even if Russia does not turn off Europe’s gas completely. So if someone was paying say, £80/month last July on a low-price fixed contract with a supplier who went bankrupt – or if that deal came to an end – that would typically have gone up to £112/month late last year, then up to £172/month from next month. Another 40% in October would take it past £240/month, three times as much as a year or so before. You mentioned some time ago that people should be looking to halve their energy use in the future. For people in Britain that future is here right now.

  261. Patricia O, Viduraawakened, and Yorkshire, thank you — your votes have been tallied.

    Curt, Russia has been building pipelines facing east for a while now, and I read in this morning’s news that Pakistan has just placed a big order for Russian natural gas and wheat. I get the impression Europe still hasn’t noticed just how tiny a fraction of the world it is.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    Forecastingintelligence, I think China has a good shot at it, though I expect them to go through an economic and political meatgrinder first — they have a very large amount of unpayable debt and bad capital investment to get rid of, and my guess is that they’ll go through a period of economic depression and civil unrest first, before moving toward global-hegemon status in the second half of the 21st century. As for the United States, I think you partly answered your own question — a nation whose leadership is stupid enough to drive India into the arms of a Sino-Russian alliance is not fit to rule a midsized dog park, much less a global hegemonic system. More generally, the US has a long period of internal dissension and reorientation to get through before it’ll be in any condition to do much outside its own borders. That said, those corners of the US that are out of the way of the most likely conflict zones will probably do quite well; obviously I chose Rhode Island over New Hampshire, partly because Rhode Island has a long history of toleration for eccentrics and partly because the winters are much less harsh, but they’re both good options.

    Aldarion, the choice Europe faces in the decades ahead is between war and tyranny. The European subcontinent can avoid war by submitting to an authoritarian system, either homegrown (the EU is pretty obviously headed in that direction) or imposed from outside (Russia is one, but only one, of the options here). Alternatively, the subcontinent can avoid sinking into a bleak authoritarian empire by remaining a collection of independent states, in which case war is inevitable. If the EU does get its own army, it’ll see at least as much use enforcing edicts from Brussels on recalcitrant former nations within its borders as it will get squaring off against the Russians and the Turks, and imposing a Pax Europa on its don’t-you-dare-call-them-colonies in Africa; if it doesn’t, you can look forward to rearmament, the splintering of the EU, and the next major European war. My guess is that the latter is more likely, but it could go either way.

    Team10tim, so noted.

    Anaon123, I’d like to ask you to repost this question in the monthly open post, which will go up on March 23, or on one of my Magic Monday open threads on — I prefer to keep comments focused on the current post when that’s got a specific topic. Thank you!

    Patricia M, good heavens, an actual Repairer of Reputations! Hildred Castaigne would be impressed.

    BillyBob, so noted.

    Sisko, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Jbucks, so noted. As for people going to fight, it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out…

    Stephen, that seems like a reasonable analysis to me. There’s also the possibility that the Biden administration is desperately trying to distract attention from its disastrous economic and public-health policies, and military adventurism is always a convenient ploy for that purpose.

    Robert, many thanks for the data points! Is anyone yet talking about conservation and weatherization — the immediate, obvious, effective responses to this sort of energy crisis?

  262. Hi JMG

    You (and me) were talking about cesarism in the context of the spenglerian theory of civilizations, and I think Putin is a clear example of this dynamic, even much more than Trump, who seems to have been more like a kind of Crassus. He (Putin) ended the control of the state by the oligarchs, of course there are many oloigarchs in Russia, but they do not control the machinery of the state unlike in the western world.

    The main difference between the Caesars and other officials is that they cannot be bought by the global oligarchy, there is no money in the world to buy Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, he is the kind of man that cannot be bought or cornered by any diktat, this is also very dangerous “per se”, but it is the trend of the future due to the diminishing returns of the existing oligarchic elites.

    On the other hand I think this dynamic of arming the enemies of Russia, to kill russian soldiers, will not be forgotten by the russkies, if I were a US soldier in the ME I will be a bit affraid of the “change in the environment” around me, may be soon the “insurgents” start to be more assertive, using more advanced and lethal weapons against the US (+ vassals) garrisons, you know, the kind of things that happens when you have an empire with a thousand of military bases surrounded by quite hostile populations but nobody are helping or arming them, and then all of this suddenly change and the weapons start to flood to the population around those US bases.

    I think it is quite possible you will see wars by proxies in the ME with daring attacks against the US troops, with the final result of the retreat of US military assets from almost all the ME.

    The actions you made always have consequences, but as you said before, our elite really think that they can make what they want without any negative consequence, and for sure they will end with a bloody nose.

    This will accelerate the US retreat from empire


  263. @ JMG & others
    I am not in Europe, and have not been there for three years now, but the virulence of anti-Russian feeling there surprises me more than it does in the anglosphere.
    The blind faith that the US can make up any shortfalls from the cutoff in Russian gas and oil amazes me. Even if the US had the gas capacity, which I believe it does not, there isn’t the LNG capacity in the world to take up the slack, and it would take a long time and a lot of money to create it. The terminals to liquify the gas at super low temperatures, the special ships to transport it and the terminals to regasify it are complex and expensive.
    I don’t want to go too far down this rabbit hole, but it seems awfully convenient to be able to blame shortages on covid, supply chain malfunctions, and now war. I think, if the powers that be actually admitted to resource limitations, it would tank the perpetual growth economy.
    Unless the sanctions work exactly as the west wants then to, I think this will push the collapse timetable ahead four or five years or more, especially in Europe.

  264. @JMG re: ” Is anyone yet talking about conservation and weatherization — the immediate, obvious, effective responses to this sort of energy crisis?”

    So mote it be!

  265. Thought of the day;

    “Despite the risk of nuclear war, it makes sense to stay constructive on stocks over the next 12 months. If an ICBM is heading your way, the size and composition of your portfolio becomes irrelevant. Thus, from a purely financial perspective, you should largely ignore existential risk, even if you do care about it greatly from a personal perspective.”

    Does this qualify as fatalistic, stoic, or something else? It does make sense in a dark way.

  266. Hi John Michael,

    Mate, I’ve been carrying on like a two bob watch (my grandmother used to say that all the time) about oil prices lately. Thought it was about time I got off my duff and wrote about the subject. Mind you, my inspiration arrived because I was listening to experts talking about the subject the other day, and whilst they didn’t lie, I believe they lied by omission. Surely the experts must understand the predicament, so why pussyfoot around and produce soothing noises? To my mind, those folks do society a disservice because hoping for a solution, is not the same as working towards a solution – unless of course abject failure is the desired outcome? Many people display a failure of the imagination and I get the impression they’d prefer to see the world burn than get off their duff – it is possible that things have been way too comfortable for many folks for far too long.

    Anyway, given how foolish the experts sounded to me, I thought to myself, sometimes only the court jester can speak the plain truth: C-dawg talks Oil

    Hope you enjoy! It was fun to write. 😉



  267. @Aldarion and JMG about the future of Europe: As far as I can see, Europe will be the big looser of this conflict anyway. I read about the Pakistan-Russia deal on wheat and gas today and yesterday I read that India will pay Russia in some other currency than Dollar to circumvent US sanctions. We don’t need to talk about China, I think. Once Russia has fully turned its back on Europe (which it might already have), it might never turn back again. I don’t expect for any substantial support to come from over the Atlantic. The US empire has already lost the middle east and it seems that even Israel is trying to form other alliances to survive once US dominance is gone. Former German secretary of defense Rudolf Scharping once said that Germany must stop to act as the “aircraft carrier” for the US in Europe – and while it might have been very wise to stop this business in 1999 when Scharping proposed the withdrawal of US troops from Europe, it will now happen either automatically because the US simply looses its capability to operate its European bases or voluntarily if the US elites or whoever is going to rule that country in the years to come finally realize that there is nothing left to gain in Europe and nothing left to gain in the near and far east. At this point Europe will loose its purpose as a bridge head and be left alone.

    Historically, the United States did play a very important role for Europe and especially Germany after WW II. Even my father, who spent his youth in the Germany of the 60s and has been very critical towards the US ever since acknowledges that the US presence in western Germany was extremely important since after the war “there still were Nazis everywhere and we wouldn’t have made it without external help”. But somehow we missed the opportunity to jump of the train. In the late 90s there was a small ray of hope that we might follow the advice “collapse now and avoid the rush”, but we obviously didn’t. Now collapse is looming and I think it’s going to happen in a rush.


  268. Oliman,

    Let us know how the solar rickshaw goes! In the meantime, my wife and I are planning to trade our second vehicle for a pair of good commuter bicycles. And two new pairs of walking shoes. Just share our little pickup.


  269. They dropped an incredible amount of helicopter money last year in good ole USA. I am giving us until 2030 before massive economic contraction is recognized. But its here now. Rent extraction is unbelievable. Vacuum set to high. I think goverments are running scared too. But obliterating tax base and pursuing idiotic policies that hurt your productive base is a horrible coping mechanism. Gas will peak over summer. We are close to some mile marker. I keep thinking surely they notice THIS. Its baked in the cake. Celadon

  270. It will be interesting if one of the lads, encouraged by their government to go to Ukraine, joins up with the Azovv or another Nazi battalion, is involved in an atrocity, is captured, tried and convicted and executed or imprisoned. Oops. I hear there have been clashes between them and the regular Ukrainian army.

  271. Not really on topic, but since you had to synchronistically mention soil amendments…

    I missed this week’s post as I was busy receiving, organizing, and distributing 120,000 lbs of soil amendments – including at least 15,000 lbs of alkaline soil amendments – lime, ground oyster shell, dolomite, wollastonite – for raising the pH of western Oregon’s famously acidic soil.

    It’s a fun project and supports a lot of local-scale agriculture, but I also did a back-of-the-envelope calculation to discover that between the three trucks bringing amendments from a warehouse 85 miles away and 200 vehicles driving through to pick them up we burned at least a full pallet (~2000-2500 lbs) of fuel to distribute 63 pallets of amendments. And that’s not counting the journey to the warehouse or the processing to produce and bag them. The lime is at least from within the state but the compressed coconut husk fiber is from India and many of the other items have had journeys of a thousand miles or more. So it could well be one pallet of fuel for every 20-30 pallets of soil amendments.

    Bringing it back to imagining a different future…

    The “sustainable agriculture” movement as currently understood is a step in the right direction but is not really less fossil-fuel-intensive than its industrial scale counterpart, and in some cases (e.g. partially filled trucks traveling to distant farmers markets) may be considerably more fossil-fuel-intensive. On a cost basis, if the product is worth more then there is less incentive to maximize efficient use of still-relatively-cheap gas and diesel.

    If we want to maintain a significant amount of medium- and long-distance trade (which is certainly useful with regard to supplying cities with food and supplying agricultural minerals etc.) with 80-90% less energy input and minimal fossil fuels, we are going to need to imagine a revitalized railroad network (which is around five times more efficient than trucks) serving nearly all towns as was true in the early 1900s, with trucks and personal vehicles (and perhaps a return to horse-drawn carriages) used primarily for short hauls to the nearest rail connection.

  272. John Michael Greer, I have to respectfully disagree with you on the fracturing of the European Union.

    Europe really has no fossil fuel supplies of its own. Each nation, however rich its history is, is nothing, compared to the Juggernauts that are out there such as Russia, China, India, etc. I think the Ukraine situation has really made it sink in for every EU nation that, if they stand together, they have a chance. If they stand alone, they’ll surely be conquered. That fear, I think, will be more powerful than any historic animosity they might have had with each other.

    I would liken it to George Washington fighting the French and Indian War only to turn around a decade or so later and asking the French if he could use their Navy.

    You said the choice was between War and Tyranny? I think it will play out with Europe coming to terms with its own ecological limits. IE not enough fossil fuels on hand to run the current lifestyle.

  273. DFC, that’s exactly Spengler’s point — the Caesars rise up to contend with the plutocrats, and eventually the Caesars win. Exactly how the Russians choose to respond to the wholesale recruitment of Western mercenaries to fight them in Ukraine is an interesting question, but I doubt the answer will be to the taste of the plutocrats.

    Stephen, well, keep in mind I don’t see it as a collapse timetable — rather, a timetable of decline. That said, the decline’s likely to pick up speed pretty significantly in Europe over the next few months, and it may not slow down again for a good long time to come.

    Patricia, I’m scheduling some posts about that. It’s past time.

    Siliconguy, it seems eminently realistic to me.

    Chris, my guess is that the experts are basically like a bunch of Bible-thumping fundamentalists insisting that Jesus is going to show up next Wednesday at 9 o’clock sharp Pacific time, yes siree, you better believe it! Their ideology allows them no other options. Abject failure is what they’ll get, but that’s because they can’t allow themselves to think of any outcome other than the triumph of their mythology. Now if they listened to C-dawg! 😉

    JillN, so noted and duly tabulated.

    Nachtgurke, I can’t disagree. Until it made its great bid for world conquest, Europe was a cold, muddy backwater full of quarrelsome natives who were dismissed as ignorant savages by the great empires of the time. Now that Europe’s age of conquest is over, I expect things to revert to that condition.

    Celadon, crude oil just jolted up $10 a barrel in the last six hours or so. It’s not going to wait until 2030, because helicopter money ain’t worth squat if there aren’t the actual goods and services to back it up.

    Drew, so noted and duly tabulated.

    Stephen, I’ve also heard about those clashes. We’ll see how things go from here.

    Mark, that kind of math needs to be done much more often. Mind you, it’s going to be a lot harder to ignore going forward.

    General A., your disagreement is noted. Now we’ll see who turns out to be right.

  274. JMG, I think we agree more than disagree. However it is important to sometimes disagree.

    The question is can Europe learn to disagree about the things that don’t matter, and agree on the things that do? Like national security? (As long as Football exists and everyone in the EU is fanatic about soccer/football, I don’t think there will be much of a problem….)

    and as long as Europe agrees they all love German Beer, French Wine, Italian food, etc. polish food,

    And nobody likes eating the same thing all the time…. I live in optimism…. If Europe maintains cheap rail travel between its member states into ecological decline, I think the EU stands a chance.

    I view the EU right now as the Articles of Confederation. A form of purgatory if you would.

  275. I vote for energy saving/relocalizing/ things to do to deal with the $$ gasoline and everything else

    About soil amendments: Do agriculture medium scale and do it like the Amish, a system that works. Crop rotation along with stall cleanings.

    For garden level, I dont buy in inputs. I alter Ph by spreading wood ash from heating my home. I add organic matter from goat stall cleanings. I have done humanure in the past. I still do diluted Human Urine to add to the soil fertility. If I did not have goats it would still work if I mulched with leaves or dried grass I cut from other parts of the yard and used the dilute human urine and wood ash. I could easily go back to humanure composting.

    I dont feed or water the grapes, plums or apple/pear trees at all. I did water them when they were young until the roots went deeper, but not much water, barely enough, I wanted those roots to go deeper. They are not on dwarfing rootstocks. I get too many apples. I water the persimon tree some, not alot.

    Oyster shell you have in Oregon from Charleston on Coos Bay. limestone is all over. But the cocnut husk from India is crazy, use some local organic matter. GO back to using horses and you will have local organic matter to add into the soil.

  276. JMG
    Sorry, I actually meant decline not collapse, though there may be some moments when it looks like the latter to the punters on the ride.
    Interesting that amongst the countries that refused to condemn Russia were Turkey, Israel, Saudi and UAE. When those rats leave the ship, you had better check the water line. I have heard, though can’t confirm it, that Russia asked the Israeli pm to act a go between to Ukraine.

  277. For fifth Wednesday requests:

    1) I’d second basically any discussion of “slack”, whether economic/political or otherwise.
    2) Mircea Eliade and the pros/cons of his universalizing comparative method
    3) C.G. Jung as an occultist who successfully passed his work off as “science”
    4) More on the planes and/or subtle bodies
    5) Updated thoughts on how best as an individual to deal with living in a declining civilization with most of its economy made of castles of sand

  278. New houses in the UK are built to fairly good standards of insulation and energy efficiency, though not near to Scandinavian standards. The problem is that house building rates are low, the average house was built over 50 years ago and many people in old industrial areas which are now some of the poorest, live in houses 100+ years old which while usually small, are difficult to insulate at low cost – certainly the householders can’t afford it. The government had floated plans to ban new gas boilers in a few years time which had attracted a lot of criticism from the Tory right who think the current plan to make UK zero-carbon by 2050 is not practicable. It does not seem such a bad idea now! Unless energy prices start coming down again with a year I expect some sort of emergency programme of energy efficiency grants and subsidies.
    I am not sure whether to thank you or not for your thoughts on the future of Europe! Maybe Britain can stay out of the worst of it now we are out of the EU?

  279. In the high stakes poker game that is the Russo-Ukrainian war, look around and see who’s the patsy.

    The patsy is Volodymyr Zelensky. He has been suckered into staking everything he has on a poor hand, hoping to call Putin’s bluff. Alas, it wasn’t a bluff.

    They are high-fiving each other in Washington with every image of a damaged piece of Russian armor. Winning!

  280. Rabbi’s used to be required to take up a trade alongside their Jobs as the Pastors of their congregations. I wonder if that grounding that came from manual work helped to offset the world of abstraction.

  281. “Until it made its great bid for world conquest, Europe was a cold, muddy backwater full of quarrelsome natives who were dismissed as ignorant savages by the great empires of the time. Now that Europe’s age of conquest is over, I expect things to revert to that condition.”

    Europe did have a lot of practice I believe from their constant wars to make that possible and never had a century with peace.

    “my guess is that the experts are basically like a bunch of Bible-thumping fundamentalists insisting that Jesus is going to show up next Wednesday at 9 o’clock sharp Pacific time, yes siree, you better believe it! Their ideology allows them no other options. Abject failure is what they’ll get, but that’s because they can’t allow themselves to think of any outcome other than the triumph of their mythology. Now if they listened to C-dawg! 😉”

    Heh. If one actually pays attention to the Apocalypse par excellence in the Book of Revelation.

    What I see is that the 2nd coming would require absolutely obvious supernatural events that will convince everyone that God exists and Christianity is true.

    So obvious would be the evidence that they get to be able to end up hating and cursing him but being frightened enough to hide underground.

  282. Peter Van Erp #261:

    “If the Russians start pirating Western software, maybe they can fix Windows.”


    Vermont is a very small state with a small population so it’s inevitable that residents will stumble across their representatives – state and federal – and governor at one or another event, summer festival, etc. where they regularly show their faces. They always ask what they can do to improve life for ordinary Vermonters. (Translation: what new program can we create to waste more of your tax money?) Well, say I, you could try putting an end to those car warranty phone calls for a start, that would be a tremendous improvement right there.

    forecastingintelligence #268:

    I admit to bias, New England is a lovely place to live. I don’t know much about RI, but NH is really beautiful, there are four distinct seasons (five if you count mud season; be sure you own a pair of sturdy boots), the residents have a live-and-let-live attitude and there’s no income or sales taxes, at least not yet. Even here in ultra-woke Vermont, the rural people pretty much leave each other be. As for neighbors, we’ve lived a bunch of places and can say without reservation that the neighbors we have here are the nicest, most helpful, most wonderful people we’ve ever lived near, even though we hold vastly differing political views than many of them, and the only way I know that is from the election season yard signs. Otherwise it’s never a subject of conversation.

    The downside of New England is the cost. House prices and rents are unbelievable right now, taxes (property in NH, income and property pretty much everywhere else) are high and the general cost of living is more expensive than a lot of other places.

    That’s not to say you can’t live fairly cheaply with some strategic planning. We manage to live quite well on a modest income, but we also put a lot of work into providing for a great many of our own needs from our own land. We also get help from others; my husband is a conservative Christian, a rare breed in largely no-religion Vermont, and the people at his small church look out for each other a lot.

    If you do decide on New England and find yourself in southern Vermont for any reason, stop by sometime!

  283. @JMG

    Though it seems for wider Russia-Pakistan trade in gas at least, this may take some time to come on line:

    Hilarious, because this article was published shortly before the war:

    “Russia, China agree 30-year gas deal via new pipeline, to settle in euros”
    – well probably not.

    Am I wrong, or is shifting export capacities from Europe to Asia not that easy in the short term?

    What happens if all Russian exports of oil, coal, gas are blocked for Europe?

    Can these capacities be brought elsewhere, or do we have a storage dilemma by then?

  284. JMG said “Celadon, crude oil just jolted up $10 a barrel in the last six hours or so. It’s not going to wait until 2030, because helicopter money ain’t worth squat if there aren’t the actual goods and services to back it up.” I totally agree, it is here, it’s just that they elite won’t recognize it. It is going to eat a lot of us alive, or at least reduce us to semi-rubble. It’s just a question of how much pain, and how many affected: my point is, it will have to get pretty damn high before they do anything at all or even notice. 2030 is my guess at when a critical mass of pain and numbers make them existentially totally untenable. Totally agree, it is here. Jobs mean nothing, and money means nothing, if you can’t keep a roof over your head and food on the table, with it. The Big Reveal is already here, for anyone lower on the totem pole, or paying attention. There is no way to stabilize things, especially now the Sanctions have been jammed inside the spokes. We are going to jolt downwards. It is truly terrifying. As a Christian, I can only ora et labora. And be wise as serpent, if possible, harmless as dove. The gratuitous insanity and implicit violence in all of it is breath-taking. It did not have to go down like this.

  285. Slack? I’ll vote for that. I have extensive experience on the topic, having taken a total of 6+ years (and counting) of time off between jobs since going into the military in 1982. I thought for a long time I was just naturally lazy, but now my path is looking a bit wiser. I’ll be interested in more information of how the economy and ecology of the planet is changing, here in the Long Descent.

  286. @ Grover… & JMG, and all…

    Well, we are in a reasonably ‘bikeable’ area, but do need to get a trike or something similar. I had no idea that trikes were in excess of $1000 – it might be time to develop something less flashy and more practical at an acceptable price…hmmm…

    I am angling at getting a TDI VW in running condition – seems to be the best MPG without a battery pack (battery pack prices I expect to double again soon).

    Also considering battery bike – those look interesting too.

    The wife just quit her job with a 2 hour daily commute. She took a 5% cut in pay and now has a commute of 10 minutes daily. We did this expecting the current oil price mess, which we have all talked to death here. I expect once Russia ends things that oil traders will get things normalized, albeit at a higher basis until we have an oversupply – then crash again.

    I am still totally laughing at our government reaping unintended consequences – my oh my but a delegation to eat crow in Venezuela instead of just finishing the Keystone pipeline… and then there is the cessation of Russian rocket motors sold to the West…and titanium… and aluminum… it’s really quite a list of hard blowback.

    But looking ahead, assuming we eventually meander towards a GDP and lifestyle pre-WWI, we can fly without aluminum or titanium and trucks can run on lead batteries oh wait! Oops! Obama shut down the last lead mine in the USA, so who knows.

    Banquet O’consequences… It will be interesting watching AMZN stock with the latest oil prices. I’m already thrilled that FB/META is collapsing…

  287. >how the Russians choose to respond to the wholesale recruitment of Western mercenaries

    The Russians have stated they aren’t subject to the laws of war, such as they are. That could mean just about anything unpleasant, I suppose.

  288. @Celadon #307

    Given the rapid descent of our conditions in the US, I seriously doubt our clueless betters will be given a chance to remain clueless until 2030.

    Alot of eyes were opened after the fiasco in Affy, and now we’re having a war in somewhere known for paying off the first family and assorted friends on both sides of the aisle? If they were expecting a war bounce because of wagging the dog, they were sorely mistaken. Be on the lookout for ambitious majors and colonels, the war bands are already recruiting and those who chose to lead will have a very ready and willing force at their disposal almost instantly.

    I give us until Jan 2023 tops, after that all bets are off unless our elites suddenly develop a new respect for the rule of law applying to everyone.

    However, if Russia/China decides to hack well-known weaknesses, I’d give us about 24 hours before chaos reigns openly in some locations.

  289. >It will be interesting watching AMZN stock with the latest oil prices. I’m already thrilled that FB/META is collapsing

    It was the Nifty 50 back in the early 70s. And now it’s down to the Nifty 5, er, the FANGMs. And I guess history rhymes. Next stanza.

  290. Hi JMG,

    Thank you for mentioning Napoleon’s Maxims of War. I didn’t know about this one.

    – Spork –

  291. >trucks can run on lead batteries oh wait! Oops! Obama shut down the last lead mine in the USA, so who knows.

    At least you have some idea of how to rebuild a lead-acid battery. In theory you can regenerate the lead and recast it. With a Lithium-Ion battery – where the #@$%#$ do you start?

    You know what the U.S. is going to need in a few years? Something that can take 110VAC or 12VDC on one end and present 18VDC or 40VDC that all those Chinese cordless tools are wanting to see. And it needs to be simple enough to be slapped together by any standard issue good ol boy out in his shop.

  292. >Well, say I, you could try putting an end to those car warranty phone calls for a start, that would be a tremendous improvement right there.

    It’s really dangerous giving the wrong people bright ideas, and this could become a very dangerous bright idea in the brain of the wrong bureaucrat, but the telephone system really needs to be overhauled because it’s almost completely useless and quickly becoming worse than useless.

    By default phones should come with a whitelist and a way to deal with people you don’t know or trust trying to call you. Something like automatic to voicemail for strangers and then automatic hangup for the really bad actors out there. I think the current system we have was built back when people actually trusted each other to behave decently and those days are GONE.

  293. @DFC #281 And don’t forget that the Iranians have vowed to retaliate the killing of Quds Force general Qassem Suleimani.

    The rockets Iran fired on US army base in Iraq in 2020 where according the the Iranians, nothing but a light slap.

    – Spork –

  294. I’m a little late to the discussion but I just want to say something about PMC styles. Specifically in reply to Varun #52 and Monk #181.

    Keep in mind the one and only goal of a corporation is to accumulate wealth. That is done by maximizing profit. It’s always been that way. The lackeys (CEOs) that run the corporations have always seen that as their job.

    What changed 40 or so years ago was the advent of globalization. Prior to that, labor was a valuable, local resource for a company and part of being profitable was nurturing that resource. It was much more profitable to maintain a highly trained workforce than it was to simply cut wages and benefits.

    With globalization, labor became a simple, global commodity and profits could be increased by using the cheapest labor anywhere in the world.

    In addition to labor, the cost of regulations regarding worker safety, consumer safety, and the environment could be virtually eliminated by moving production out of the USA. Another win for profit.

    Another cost that could be eliminated was the social safety net, which relates to the idea of nurturing a valuable workforce.

    So I don’t believe the management handbook necessarily changed, but what did change were the variables they had to work with to maximize profit.

    The results are very obvious all across the USA.

  295. All – Random signs of crapitalization of American life

    1. I bought a new pair of blue jeans on Saturday, using a web-page because I knew exactly what I wanted, which was exactly what I’d bought two years ago: same brand (Levi), same style (505), same size. Picked up from the store, the fabric didn’t feel right, so I weighed the new and the old. (Doesn’t everyone have a milligram-calibrated triple-beam balance tucked in a corner somewhere?) The new pair was 20% lighter than the old pair. They were even lighter than the really old pair, where daylight was showing through the fabric in places! %20 less cotton; only slightly more expensive!

    2. A local apartment building was leveled by a gas explosion a few days ago. Investigation revealed that a plumber had cut through a gas pipe, thinking that he was cutting a drain pipe to clear a clog! (Fortunately, no one was killed; a dozen or so were injured.) This is wrong on so many levels: when the “drain pipe” started to hiss at him, did he think to put a patch on the cut? To ignite the gas, so it would burn off until he could close a valve? Did he even look for a valve? (I know how to shut mine off.) And how dumb do you have to be not to know the difference between a black iron gas pipe and a soldered copper or PVC drain pipe? (Maybe there’s more to the story here…)

    3. A not-so-near neighbor reports that the people renting the place next door are cutting down the Leland cypress trees lining the driveway between their properties. They don’t seem to CARE that they’re destroying someone else’s property, trespassing, etc. “Whadda ya gonna do about it?” And the police say “it’s a civil matter (don’t bother us).” If this ever goes to court, I suppose the renters will disappear entirely from the scene, without waiting to be fined.

  296. @Atmospheric River #197

    Agreed on the wood ash, that’s what I mostly use at home. A lot of what we offer for soil fertility is sort of the industrial agriculture equivalent of stall sweepings: chicken manure pellets, feather meal, bone meal, blood meal. As long as those byproducts exist it makes sense to use them.

    As for the coconut husk, it’s not for organic matter. Most farmers and gardeners start transplants in some sort of “soil mix,” which usually contains no actual soil. To keep seedlings alive in tiny pots it needs to be especially good at retaining water. The usual recipe is two parts compost, two parts peat moss, and one part water/air holding mineral (pumice, perlite, or vermiculite).

    There has been a lot of the typical left wing outrage about how bad it is to use peat (destroying peat bogs, releasing stable carbon into the atmosphere, oh my) which has led to the embrace of coconut husk fiber (“coir”) as a “sustainable” alternative. It’s a byproduct of monoculture coconut farming, and it’s useful except for the fact that it comes from halfway around the world. The cost has doubled in the past year due to shipping price increases and our sales of it not surprisingly dropped by a third, which means it’s quietly back to peat.

    Soon enough we will do away with “soil mixes” and start seeds in actual soil again, and the price changes driven by oil prices will have more of an impact than any calculations we might do.

  297. All – One MORE sign of crapification: My younger son’s truck would not drive him home from the movies last night. When he tried to get it out of the parking lot, it seemed that there was something wrong with the transmission. However, the on-line community of car guys helped him out. “Do the foot-dance” they said, describing some combination of pedal pushing and lever-shifting, something like a video game “cheat code” to over-ride something. I don’t understand it. But when he got back in, a few hours later, he went through the prescribed ritual and away they went.

    Today, he limped it to a garage, and for less than $300, the mechanic successfully completed some kind of over-the-air “upgrade” to the truck that had been interrupted the previous day, and now it’s running fine.

    You know, it used to be that you had to take your vehicle into the garage to have it damaged by a crooked mechanic. “Too bad about that radiator hose,” said the man with the boxcutter in his pocket. “But we can fix that up in no time.” Now, the manufacturer can damage your vehicle while it’s parked at a movie theater.

    As I understand it, these over-the-air operations rely on the 3G mobile phone network, so maybe they were in a hurry to push it out before the 3G network goes dark.

    He asks me, every month or so, “when are you going to get rid of that old car (a 2003 Saturn wagon)?”. And I tell him, “when I can find something better.” Now, the list of “better” includes “no wireless connectivity”.

  298. This future that we’re all co-creating together? Wheat prices have risen to the daily limit each of the last six trading days. (That is, there’s some circuit breaker that shuts off trading after an excessively large move, to prevent the market from swinging too wildly. I imagine that it’s something like the stock market trading halts that are invoked when the indices move too far, too fast.) After being below $8.00/bushel from 2019 through Oct. 2021, the March futures contract closed at $14.25 today.

    Now, a bushel of wheat is about 50 lbs. So, at $10/bushel, there’s only $0.20 of “commodity wheat” in a one pound loaf of bread, so I don’t expect the cost of bread to double merely because the cost of wheat doubles. (I assume that there’s value added, and cost, as the wheat is shipped, cleaned, milled, baked, etc.) Oddly enough, though, you can’t buy a 5 lb. bucket of wheat for much less than the commodity bushel price. (Living Sky Grains, 5 lbs., $10 today’s web-site price. Plus shipping, I’m sure, and perhaps not updated for this week’s soaring prices.)

  299. Of course it would be impossible to explain “slack” without also talking about the Space Orgies.

  300. So, upon my occasional flyover that 0 shrubbery, I find the header – ‘GOP (assuming mostly red dead rHiNos .. sands horns, of course!) to investigate FAUCI if they win the midterm elections in 2022’.

    And the first of my brain droppings to make cognitive stirrings is one of ‘as soon as they finally get around to opening up those plebeian ‘flash-shadowed’ fallout-shelter blast doors..’
    … right along with their surviving aisle mutants, the Blu monkeys.

    It would be just like them. They are, in imo, THAT indifferent and condescending to their respective voters. We appear as slaves and/or gladiators, whilst our ‘leaders’ have not the courtesy of flinging even a crust of bread our way. I have been,for years now, breaking away from that grifting non-imaginative tractor beam as much as I can – trying my meager no-GMO best, anyway..

    Rant … simmering ..

  301. Add in my vote for Slack. I have a basic understanding from the time I read the BOB book, but wouldn’t mind a deeper understanding.

  302. @JMG,

    I also vote for your analysis of slack, because I think it’s an important concept now and in the immediate future. I’m sure you could help me understand it better from a systems point of view.

    I’m sure some efficiencies could increase slack, but most probably reduce it. And many things create trade-offs of slack, like trading money for time, or vice versa. But you have to know what slack is before you can recognize where you are gaining or losing it. Now that you have been exposed to the idea, you will start to see it in your own life.

    Jessi Thompson

  303. What I think is implicit in the thinking of guys like Rove who like to imagine that they ‘create reality’ is that they are head and shoulders superior to other people, particularly foreigners, particularly non-white foreigners, and so these other people will do what they’re told like good little chess pieces.

    One problem in this line of thinking is that the supposed chess pieces have got minds of their own. The second is that guys like Rove are too few. Americans comprise something like 5% of the world population. They simply haven’t got the numbers of hands necessary for all this imagined control. The third and most important is that guys like Rove aren’t as smart as they think, they don’t know as much as they think, and much of what they think is true is just flat out wrong.

    I see and hear it around here all the time, that some flare up of trouble someplace in the world is because Americans are meddling, that it’s the dastardly CIA, or some string-pulling American oligarch, or some such.

    One example of many; what I kept on hearing and reading is that the 2014 unrest in Ukraine had Americans behind it, that the Flying Brick Fest at the Maidan was at the behest of Americans, shadowy figures giving orders, whipping things up and providing money. But is it impossible that Americans had next to nothing to do with it, that that particular kettle boiled over because of conditions there, because of what the locals did there, and never mind Vickie Nuland.

    Places like the Middle East and China are civilizational layer cakes a good ten thousand years deep. I read that the city of Jericho is at least that old, that even at that early date it had stone defensive walls and guard towers. I read that there are artifacts in China six thousand years old (or was it eight thousand) with markings that look like writing. The world looks to me like a very ancient place, that what we think of as civilization may be a lot older than we figure, predating the Holocene, a product of societies that were already thousands of years old when Rome and Constantinople were trying to civilize Europe.

    In such a place what really are neoconservatives or neoliberals going to accomplish? Look at guys in Singapore and Beijing, or, for that matter, in Moscow and St Petersburg, who may put on business suits and whose dwellings may have refrigerators and indoor plumbing, but do guys like Rove imagine that they think like Americans? Or are amenable to carrying out orders from Washington or Wall Street as if they had no agendas of their own?

  304. Hi Beekeeper in Vermont,

    Thanks for the kind offer. When America drops the covid vaccine requirements for entry we might look into a trip to America!

    Out of interest, is the blue politics of New England a fairly sane and sensible liberal variety or the more crazy woke variety?

  305. Do you have some special meditation/relaxation trick for surviving the “2 Minutes Of Hate” 24h/day Covidianism and Russophobia at the same time. Thanks anticipated, JMG and commentariat!

  306. I received Alexander Dugin’s book published last January on The Great Awakening vs. The Great Reset. It’s less than 100 pages of content and a quick read. I’d say it explains why Ukraine why now and how Russia could be viewing itself. I won’t detail it because its not worth discussing with new commenters who pop up to argue and didn’t read the book.

    I feel like I should be keeping an ongoing list of weirdness. If I had one, I’d add Curtis Yarvin on Alex Jones last week. One point he made there (which he’s made continually in his writing for over a decade) is that what the U.S. is dealing with is our unelected power centers across various institutions taking actions that they think will make an impact and then get them more influence and power. We haven’t had elected democracy for a hundred years. He’s said (and I agree) is we used to have competent people in charge of institutions as late as WW2 and now its just power hungry over educated people.

    It looks like Russia is tired of the American tentacles everywhere and its influence and is taking action. But yes, its also the third horseman as you’ve said, and the fourth feels like its rider is saddled and starting off as a slow trot.

  307. >You know, it used to be that you had to take your vehicle into the garage to have it damaged by a crooked mechanic. “Too bad about that radiator hose,” said the man with the boxcutter in his pocket. “But we can fix that up in no time.” Now, the manufacturer can damage your vehicle while it’s parked at a movie theater.

    I guess there’s a reason late 70s/early 80s cars and trucks command a +4x premium in price compared to late 90s stock. Carburetors and mechanical ignition may be old fashioned but they don’t break from some digital idiocy. I think a lot of what you’re complaining about will take care of itself when computer chips become too hard to come by and people are forced back to the old ways. Of course the lords and masters won’t ever back down or budge “well, if you can’t afford a $2 million equivalent of a Sentra with all the scarce digital idiocy, well go ride the bus” but I suspect that people will find a way to make their existing cars still run. Sort of like how they did in Cuba. In 2070 you could see a world frozen in time, that looks substantially like today, just shabbier.

  308. … H-hey g-guys…. remember as little as several weeks ago on JMG’s Dreamwidth COVID entry when we had all those statistically improbable “gets” and wondered what was coming down the pike? Remember that? I remember it.

    I’ve been reorganizing my life in a big way the past two weeks.

    First things first, I’ve been transferring much of my wealth to forms that cannot be easily confiscated by rogue governments.

    Secondly, I’m thinking long and hard about the value of land. Turns out that “hobby” farming can actually cost you money if not done purposefully and skillfully.

    What do folks think about the future of higher education? I’ve said for a long time, I’ll live on bread and water if I have to, but I will not skimp on saving for my childrens’ future, including saving money for their education – and yet, I’m no longer certain that higher education will be much of a thing. It will be either prohibitively expensive, or subsidized, I guess.

  309. This article has got me thinking of a few things;
    The Catholic vision of turning the world into a great garden city, the way the town I grew up in was stuck perpetually in 1985 and the radio stations predictably turned out the same music year after year ad naseum. Also the idea that arch conservatives of Karl Rove’s time believed there needed to be mythological narratives derived from war or catastrophic events to push nations towards their glorious future.

    Interesting that right after Rove said that infamous line, and after it was repeated in article after article, that this ‘creating new realities before you can act’ function he claimed his kind were capable of quickly diminished thereafter.

    If we look at our recent history through Karl Rove’s indiscreet admission, and use this lens to determine that maybe some of the big events that have happened, events that shaped our nations were purposefully sparked and maintained by the lesser powers that be, as Naomi Kleine outlined in her book “the shock doctrine” then I am inclined to say…

    Events like the freedom convoy that may not have had such innocent Roots after all, events that were perhaps co-opted by greater powers after the clandestine spark by the aristocracy are now becoming out of control juggernauts. Juggernauts in their realities, saviours in ours. This process is stronger and more evident now then even a few years ago.

    In the freedom convoys case the event was co-opted and became a juggernaut hurdling towards the heart of corruption in the Canadian capital instead of forming up as a ‘new Jan 6th’ that could be used to extend the powers of tyranny. Perhaps before Rove flapped his mouth this may have worked perfectly and we would have had no idea. The fact that the bones of these manipulations are being laid bare to be picked apart by everyone is ample evidence perhaps that the workings of the changer are in full swing. Is whatever going on in Eastern Europe right now perhaps a similar process happening on a very grand scale? Also The opportunities Covid provided the aristocracy, the opportunities they acted on to spark ghastly ‘change’ could easily be analyzed in a similar way.

    I much prefer this vision of a great Garden city and a working class freed from their bondage to vague and misunderstood energies that coalesced in the 80’s, of people who are not ruled by one trick pony manipulations and ridiculous pop culture images that fade after the song is over. Maybe I can imagine a Western world with a foreign policy free of deep state manipulations that don’t work, and are an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

    I heard story of a woman who refused to listen to pre-recorded music because it wasn’t part of the moment she was living and so wasn’t real in her view.

    Who will our new leaders be? They will certainly be born out of this mess we are in right now!

  310. @Lathechuck #320 – it may be difficult to find a vehicle that’s not wired up or dependent on a microchip. Just basic troubleshooting can require the diagnostic tool that some auto parts stores have, but not the average consumer. These “moats” if you will, by the manufacturers, have been under construction for a long time. The first time I heard of a similar problem to your son’s truck was back in 1986 when a co-worker’s new Subaru died on him one day – the “black box” failed. Turns your vehicle in a multi-ton paperweight. I’ve read where farmers are upset about the Deere tractors and the “you lease it now, we own it” policy, sort of like software subscriptions. It’s all about revenue streams, and I think the Long Descent will feature salvage skills around trying to repair or bypass some of the unnecessary complex “features” to promote the vendor’s bottom line.

    @Lathechuck #321 – Just yesterday while reviewing some of the market prices, I noted that a number of commodity futures were lock limit up (or down). This safety trip is more sensitive where there are limited contracts and can be in effect for the remainder of the day, versus the stock indices which usually are tripped by a large percentage move, and will reopen later that same day at various thresholds. A buddy of mine got hosed in the soybean or corn futures markets back in the late 80s, when some sporadic showers moved through the Midwest during a drought, and he couldn’t sell his contract for four or five days due to lock limit moves….

  311. Imagine a world without mobile phones! How did we ever manage it back in the day? This line of thinking was generated by an article on the energy efficiency of 5G:

    Since profligate energy consumption may again become a hot topic in the near future, I wondered how the energy efficiency of 5G would compare with that of “fiber to the home,” a technology I’d like to see deployed in place of “the Gs” numbered 3, 4, and 5 and beyond. I’ll bet the difference is drastic. Of course we’d have to give up mobile phones. And that is what I’ve tried to imagine.

  312. @ Forecasting Intelligence #327
    “Out of interest, is the blue politics of New England a fairly sane and sensible liberal variety or the more crazy woke variety?”
    It depends where you are. Here in Providence, the Mayor has just added a Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, and established the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission. I doubt they will do much beyond establish some well paid sinecures for the connected.
    If you do visit, let me know. I’d be glad to host you if you are in the area. I already host the Annual Ecosphia Midsummer Potluck around the Summer Solstice (Hi Beekeeper!)

  313. Ray, so noted and duly tabulated.

    General A, I have no objection to disagreement. As I said, now we’ll just have to wait and see who turns out to be right.

    Atmospheric, so noted and duly tabulated.

    Stephen, the thing that fascinates me is that the only countries that followed the US lead and condemned Russia for the invasion are our allies in Europe and the island/peninsula fringe of Asia (including Australasia, of course). Africa? The Middle East? The rest of Asia? Latin America? They’re not interested. I think it’s really sinking in worldwide that the American century is over and the rantings and flailings of US officials no longer count for much.

    Jeff, I’ll take your first suggestion as your vote.

    Robert, I’m not at all familiar with British residential and commercial buildings. Here in the US, insulation is well down the list of things to do for energy conservation — weatherstripping, installing insulated curtains or other window coverings to keep heat in at night, and other very simple fixes like that are much easier and have a very significant return in energy savings. If you’re interested, you can find the Master Conserver handouts from the 1970s here on the Green Wizards website — there are other good sources, but these are free for the downloading.

    Martin, well, yes. As a stand-up comedian, no doubt he treats it as just another gig.

    Info, sure. I forget who it was who pointed out that much of contemporary thought about the future consists of fragments from the Book of Revelations taken out of context.

    Curt, building pipelines isn’t a fast process, but Russia has other options; oil and petroleum products can be shipped by rail, via existing links, and since the Arctic Ocean is now navigable in the summer and autumn, oil and LPG tankers can also access Siberian oil and gas fields by sea from the north. One of the abiding rules of history is that if one country has something to sell, and another country wants to buy it and has the money, something will be worked out.

    Jerry, I’ve tabulated your vote. I’m glad you’re watching the soon-to-be-former Lake Mead closely. As droughts in the west become permanent, yes, hydroelectricity is one of the things that will go away — as of course will drinking water and food from irrigated fields…

    Celadon, you’re quite right that it didn’t have to go down like this. Still, I can’t think of a civilization that ever ended in a graceful fashion. Hang on — if history is anything to go by, the downward jolt will be followed by a period of relative stabilization.

    Drhooves, so noted and tabulated.

    Oilman2, for connoisseurs of schadenfreude, it’s quite a banquet, and I don’t think we’ve seen more than the appetizers yet!

    Owen, ouch. Yes, that means that they’re technically criminals, not combatants, and under martial law can be shot out of hand. I’ve also read that the Russians are busy recruiting mercenaries of their own from Syria, which has a lot of experience in urban warfare…

    Spork, it’s a good solid read! The edition that Project Gutenberg has was published in Richmond, VA in 1862 and apparently sold a lot of copies to Confederate officers — a detail which may help to explain the superiority in generalship the Confederate side had through much of the war.

    Lathechuck, the term “crapitalization” is a keeper. Is that your invention? If so, it’s brilliant.

    Bei, no doubt. Since a post about slack seems to be far and away the most popular option, I’m gearing up to review SubGenius literature.

    Polecat, oh, I don’t know. If the government threw Fauci and a few others to the wolves, it might do a lot to stabilize things — and I’m sure a lot of people in power are aware of that just now.

    Godozo and Jessi, so noted!

    Roger, exactly, Exactly.

    Forecasting, to echo Peter Khan, it really does depend on where you are. Here in East Providence, across the river from where Peter lives, the whole point of local government is understood as doing whatever is necessary to keep the residents happy. It’s liberal in a quiet sort of way, but not to any extent that would irritate the very large Azorean and Cape Verdean immigrant communities, which are devoutly Catholic and rather conservative. There’s a lot of corruption — Rhode Island governments have been gaudily corrupt since there were Rhode Island governments — but it’s the genial sort that doesn’t interfere with most people’s lives, and it’s balanced by attention to what people want, such as decent libraries, good public transit, and so on. But that’s this end of Rhode Island; there are other parts of New England (cough, cough, Boston, cough, cough) that are poisonously woke.

    Chuaquin, throwing your television out the window works wonders. I’ve managed to avoid the whole thing quite easily that way.

    Denis, I probably need to read Dugin one of these days, so thanks for this.

    Bofur, there’s an oversupply of people with college educations and a massive undersupply of people with practical skills. If I had a kid in his teens right now, I’d be encouraging him to ignore university and look for a good apprenticeship program instead.

    Ian, good. When Terry Pratchett claimed that the universe — well, his fictional universe — ran on the four forces of charm, persuasion, uncertainty, and bloody-mindedness, he left out two of the most important forces governing history, which are greed and incompetence. It’s when both of these rise together above a certain threshold that things spin out of control and history gets interesting.

    Phutatorius, I remember the pre-cell phone days quite well, not least because I don’t own one and get by very well indeed.

  314. Faustian and vacuous: From the MSN Windows start screen:

    “March is Women’s History Month, where, unlimited, we all thrive.”

  315. Lathechuck @ 318 About your neighbor and the tree cutters, it occurs to me that there a number of things your friends could do, starting with badmouthing the miscreants on social media. Post before and after pictures of the yard with and without trees. Point out that anyone who buys wood from the named miscreants might well be receiving stolen goods. Furthermore, your friends could file in small claims court for the value of the wood, not to mention suing the neighbor’s landlord for harboring thieves. It would certainly be worth a free half hour with an attorney to find out what one’s legal options are. Also, I have read that that real estate professionals place a value on trees that grow on properties they are trying to sell, so your friends might be entitled to more than just whatever the wood was sold for. Then there is the fence that will have to be built for which the neighboring landlord or tenants or both should pay, including any necessary permits. Police might not listen to your friends, but they likely will listen to the neighboring landlord, especially if he or she is a large property owner. Police might be salaried, but DAs are elected.

    I can’t agree with the MAGA folks on very much, but I do agree we all have a right to defend ourselves. I think it is time we all get over but I’m not that kind of person thinking.

  316. Hi John Michael,

    Glad you enjoyed C-dawg. So much fun to write. 🙂 C-dawg reckons our leaders have lost the plot. And WTI is pushing close to $125 and Brent is nearing $130. Mate this ain’t good.

    My observation is that most people don’t even understand the most basic concepts relating to oil. How did society become so disconnected from those basics?



  317. @Oilman,

    The collapse of the Metaverse sounds like something I can get behind. But long live the Iceland-werse!

    Your story shares pieces with mine. Wife got her dream job, an hour away, tried it for a while, couldn’t stand the commute, we didn’t want to leave the town we’ve been in for a decade now. These days she’s at home, taking care of the household economy, teaching the kids, running our (very) small business. Granted, we had to tighten up a little…

    But we bought a house downtown a few years ago, thinking that commuting even the 8 miles from our cabin might get sticky down the road, the children were outgrowing their lofts, and we saw the swell of people headed our way, so we grabbed while the grabbing was good. Turned out to be a good decision.

    Now that the luster of 1st-world life (the last 3 years have felt like a vacation in so many ways) is wearing off, we’re just trying to get a little closer to how we were living before. It was really good for us.

    Selling the 2nd car for bikes is part of that; a lot of new insulation in this airy house is another; more chicken poo for the garden…you get the idea.

    All the best.

  318. @ Lathechuck #318 – re: Random signs of crapitalization of American life. You talked about jeans.
    Thanks for an objective measurement! I had no idea that crapification was that bad (I knew it was bad, but still. Ugh!). I have a pair of jeans from way back that are too large for me now, faded, frayed around the cuffs, etc. I can’t bring myself to get rid of them, especially as the newer ones shred so much more easily and quicker. I still have a sweater from the 1990s (or ’80s?) that I still wear and just showing a bit of age. I try to get as many good used clothes as possible when needed to replace worn ones. The clothing/textile/fashion industry are great examples of failure of imagination: it is limited to extracting every last dollar in exchange for flimsy crap.

  319. Well Mr. Greer, perhaps your divinations will out .. but if by chance crazy .. huh.. ‘wins’, then I hope to be reincarnated as something worthy, say, as a honeybee*. And by extention, if mutation is where it’s at, may my newly acquired state develope a sting with a predilection for jabbing any and all surviving neoliberalcons aping around the temporarily scorched Earth!

    * no offence towards other crawlies, such as those misaligned creatures of yore – the roaches .. the REAL Roaches, not the human form .. colloquially know as politician$, media per$onalities, and hospital administrator$ .. to name but a few..

  320. @Phutatorius – I saw a great presentation a couple years ago by a man who had started an internet cable cooperative to get fibre optic installed in his rural municipality in BC.

    In the cities, here, all the cable is owned by one of two giant corporations, and you get it when they feel it’s profitable. This was making the business environment completely uncompetitive for smaller towns, and impossible for rural areas. My town just got our cable upgraded, and it made a huge difference to filling commercial space contracts (hard to tell how much is also optimism about covid restrictions ending…).

    But, it turns out the cable itself is dirt cheap, and it’s just glass – I’m sure there’s more fiddliness to its manufacture, but this guy said it was more straightforward than you’d think. So he put this co-op together and they bought a bunch of it and installed it, then just paid to link it up to the nearest larger network. Turns out lots of places do that: I think he was a retired engineer of some kind, but he’d become a municipal politician. And that was the other thing – he was presenting this all by zoom from his little remote municipality, while pointing out how many of the other small/rural delegates kept dropping out because they didn’t have the internet bandwidth to do the call. It was big deal between the rural/city municipalities – it was actually affecting whether the governments themselves could do their work.

    So I think that you’re right, it’s possible that a cable to home scenario could make internet/long distance communication capability last a lot longer and be more compatible with re-populating rural areas, and a lower energy future, than the obsession with wireless and satellite. It would allow smaller sets of networks to continue operating autonomously without the larger system, as well, so long as everything was still kept out of ‘the cloud’.

  321. Regarding corporations turning to pure profit motive:

    Wasn’t this around the time the tax laws changed? My understanding is that the corporate tax rate used to be VERY high. But you didn’t get taxed on your earnings, you got taxed on your profits. If you re-invested your earnings into the business, you could avoid paying taxes while still building value in the company. Once corporate taxes went down, that incentive went away.

    Have I got that wrong? It seems like it must have played a part.

  322. JMG said: “Exactly how the Russians choose to respond to the wholesale recruitment of Western mercenaries to fight them in Ukraine is an interesting question.”

    Well, my son tells me that some of the unsavoury websites that he accesses show Western mercenaries in various stages of decomposition. I think that answers the question.

  323. forecasting intelligence #327:

    I’ll second (or third?) what Peter van Erp and JMG said: it depends where you live. In my neck of the woods ordinary people are pretty sane regardless of their political affiliation; on the other hand, our legislature in Montpelier are fully on board with the full spectrum of woke nonsense and are completely nuts. Must be something in the water there.

    In general, those who have relocated here from an urban area (NYC, most of Massachusetts, anywhere in New Jersey or Connecticut) are way to the left of the natives/rural residents. Given Vermont’s reputation for being so far left, it’s surprising how many conservative people live in my immediate area – not a majority for sure, but more than you’d think, and I’m nowhere near the Northeast Kingdom which is the most conservative part of the state.

    Peter van Erp:

    Hello to you too!
    We’re planning to come to the potluck this summer – we missed last year – unless something comes up that we absolutely can’t avoid.

  324. The people elected (installed?) to run the U.S. the last 100 years (maybe longer?) have always been greedy, ego-centric, corporate-profit focused. In the past year its really become clear how much they loathe everyday Americans. From the wishing of death and suffering to the not vaccinated along with destroying their lives with mandates (I just got a threatening email from the National Archives that any researcher who dares to complain about the vaccine requirement to enter a public building will be permanently banned.), to what feels like intentionally inflating prices to cover the $26 trillion in money printing the last two years (Imagine going back in time and telling yourself in 2016 that the government would do that.) and purposefully taking oil and therefore gasoline central to working and living in the U.S. to record highs.

    And the government’s response to people’s upset at what they’ve done is shrugging it all off. I include the media as part of the government, because who are we kidding here. There’s no free press in the major corporate outlets. I never imagined that they all in unison would completely ignore the growing discontent.

    It really feels like an intentional destruction at this point. The regime hates Americans so much they’d rather destroy the country that actually deal with the concerns of everyday people. It’s like the bitter spouse who burns the house down rather than give their partner 50% in the divorce. Somehow they think (based on their snooping data collection from social media, polling, or what?) that people are not that upset and going to roll over and take it.

    I never imagined it getting this blatantly and intentionally bad. Jolts and rockiness on the way down indeed! I have friends planning their summer vacations and assuming they are just going to go fly off and see the world again. I can feel the ‘everything is fine!!!’ energy coming off them. Everything is tumbling downward faster than anything seen in recent history and there is no telling people to just cancel those plans and hold on.

    Thank you for creating space to express what we are experiencing and sharing your insights.

  325. JMG: Thanks for your suggestion for brain health, my problem is that TV at home is owned by my parents, ha ha ha…and they are so addiceted to TV. However, I won’t watch TV as I can. Thank you!

  326. I’m really thinking the old technologies of wood burning masonry heaters and the coppicing/pollarding of trees will be growth industries everywhere that has winter. People thrived all over Europe during some of the coldest winters without any fossil fuels using those technologies. I think we need about 100 times as many stone masons and arborists of the ancient type, or we’ll all freeze. If I was young, those are the apprenticeships I would look for.

  327. In regards to American military vets going to Ukraine to freelance war, there was an article in the New York Times with quotes from many.

    Some quotes:
    “Everything here is just kind of empty and it doesn’t seem like I’m doing anything important,” he said in an interview from an extended-stay hotel in Virginia where he is living. “So I am trying to go. I don’t think I have a choice. You have to draw the line.”

    “A lot of veterans, we have a calling to serve, and we trained our whole career for this kind of war,” he said. “Sitting by and doing nothing? I had to do that when Afghanistan fell apart, and it weighed heavily on me. I had to act.”
    “It’s a conflict that has a clear good and bad side, and maybe that stands apart from other recent conflicts,” said David Ribardo, a former Army officer who now owns a property management business in Allentown, Pa. “A lot of us are watching what is happening and just want to grab a rifle and go over there.”

  328. In my experience in the Army, most of the young men went in because they were looking for adventure and a break from the uncertainty that was their lives. (Can’t speak for women. Are there women clammoring to go to war) There have always been mercenaries. My guess is these people don’t have children or grandchildren of service age. People in that class tend to examine the motives of the waring factions more closely before diving into the fray. We people in their seventies can’t remember a time when Russia wasn’t considered our arch-enemy. Something is wrong there. And as for Ukraine, it is a ganster’s paradise. There is nothing there that any American should want to die over, let alone send his children.

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