It’s moving time again

With the massive censorship wave sweeping through social media I decided to move to safer places.

Find my video account with its brand new home-made Swabian comedy show on bitchute every fortnight, and enjoy, from now on, the latest English-language essays of my blog here, on this WordPress page. I also consider moving from fb to Diaspora.

I started blogging in July 2004, on 20six, moved to Livejournal in 2008 (‘Wüstenzeitung’), and again in 2010 to Blogspot (‘Mach was!?’). So “Canary’s Dead” is the fourth version. Along with 177 older articles all of your comments have been imported as well.

Let me know how you feel about the new look and which features you would like to see.

The arts are no exception (Yurugu series #7)

The Yurugu blog series attempts to uncover some of the myths the dominant culture is based upon. As we have a hard time seeing the things we take for granted the view from outside, through the eyes of a different culture, may help with discovering our biases and enable us to act more consciously.
Marimba Ani, the author of the book Yurugu. An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior,is not involved in putting up the series and does not necessarily agree to its contents. The series is also not meant to present the book’s central thesis, or to agree one-hundred percent with it; rather the blogs are inspired by the deep thoughts Marimba Ani has put forward, and offer some of them for consideration.

[previous article]

As my readers, by now, may assume – and rightly so – that no part of European thought, life, and culture has escaped Yurugu’s influence, it is safe to say that the arts do have a role to play in exerting power over the “Other.” The forms of expression and the institutions of our civilization are thoroughly shaped in the image of Yurugu.

John Zerzan writes about the origins of art,

Art, like religion, arose from the original sense of disquiet, no doubt subtly but powerfully disturbing in its newness and its encroaching gradualness. In 1900 [Yrgo] Hirn wrote of an early dissatisfaction that motivated the artistic search for a “fuller and deeper expression” as “compensation for new deficiencies of life.” Cultural solutions, however, do not address the deeper dislocations that cultural “solutions” are themselves part of. Conversely, as commentators as diverse as Henry Miller and Theodor Adorno have concluded, there would be no need of art in a disalienated world. What art has ineffectively striven to capture and express would once again be a reality, the false antidote of culture forgotten. – Running on Emptiness: the Failure of Symbolic Thought

As art must reflect the nature of the asiliwe can expect a society deeply split into the haves and have-nots, to produce an equally split-up arts scene. Indeed, observing developmentsover the millennia, we can seea clear division between an elitist “sophisticated” conception of arts on the one hand, and the “kitsch” itemsthat ordinary folkscreate on the other. Of folk music, I once heard somebody say that, “Pigs can’t help oinking.”
While professional forms of art historically often served to establish a certain story of people’s nature and place in the (hostile) Universe, namely their position in a society’s hierarchy, today’s arts degrade the vast majority of people to consumers. The artist, though, cannot perceive herselfas a pure dominator. She, in turn, is subject to the overarching power of economy, and she is, thanks to the strong premise of separation, fundamentally alone with herself. When she expresses her visions in her art she will help to proliferate that premise. Her expression is perceived as uniquely hers. Whether she can reach anybody else, and whether anybody else is able to deeply relate to what she expresses, cannot be made sure. Following the fashion of the day is the only way how she hasa chance that she can make a living from her work. Marimba Ani writes,

European art becomes increasingly “a commodity manufactured for the market” tending toward the vulgar. We should point out that the interesting contradiction in European culture is that its art may be commercially inspired (“the artist must live, after all”), geared to consumption, inspired by the desire for recognition, and at the same time remain an elitist form, that is, essentially separated from the people, because the art, like culture, creates (controls) the people, rather than the reverse. According to Sorokin, in the artist’s tendency to disregard religious and moral values, the art itself

“comes to be more and more divorced from truly cultural values and turns into an empty art known euphemistically as ‘art for art’s sake,’ at once amoral, nonreligious, and nonsocial, and often antimoral, antireligious, and antisocial.” [Pitirim Sorokin, The Crisis of our Age, 1941, p56]

(Marimba Ani: Yurugu. An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior,1994, p205)

Strolling through Indian villages, the only obvious kind of art we can see consists of expressions of the religious. The notion that people, nature, and gods are closely interrelated, is still very strong in rural areas. Yet in the cities – the gates through which the floodwaters of Western civilization press into the lives of average Indians – the scenery has become overgrown by a jungle of industrial design – advertisements, economic buildings of concrete, steel and glass, and political monuments – to which the spectator is no one but a subject to power: the power to dictate order, and the power to trigger desire. Bearing only few reminiscences to India’s pre-colonial culture, the form which art, music and design take are dictated by international standards nowadays.
It sometimes seems impossible to escape the omnipresent public cacophony of such products, and I wonder why all these people here simply accept the violation of their mind space. Perhaps they cannot stand the emptiness of a plain surface, or the loudness of silence any longer. Perhaps the lack of attention-grabbing artifacts would make them aware of that other gaping, hurtful void – the one inside. So, “It’s got to be Rock’n’Roll to fill the hole in your soul.” (ABBA). When the flooding of the senses ceases to work, when one day it “doesn’t bring the same reaction from inside your brain” (Savatage), it’s time to end that specific kind of division of labour which condemns the majority of people to stay passive consumers of the arts.
Let music, fine arts, sculpture, architecture, theatrical play, and storytelling come into existence by using your own imagination. What are the values of your community, what are the stories that connect and empower people in your place, and what is the fertile ground on which humanity’s purpose in the Universe can grow? Wouldn’t you like to express, for once, something that is truly important to you? What would art look like when it works towards the ending of the need for art?

[next article in the series]

The Empire Express, 15 July 2017

Editorial

What transpires from many of the following items is the indication, the plea, the outcry, and even the demand for rising up before too long. The writers, speakers, and interviewees agree more or less in their view of the complete corruption of civilization’s institutions but they differ in what to do about it. The more despair is involved the more violence is being calculated into the equation. The more compassion rules the more the change becomes a matter of individual inner liberation.
Jensen, Hedges, Eisenstein, Adyashanti, and Macy each make solid points for their case. Some are giving a flaming speech, some are invoking kindness; all of them are asking, Will you be a part of the solution?

Ongoing Assault

Barbarians, that’s what the Elite calls the general population. A long read.
The uninhabitable Earth (annotated edition) – David Wallace-Wells, New York magazine, 20170714
Now that major magazines and newspapers are picking up on reporting from the climate front articles like this (first issued July 9th) come as less of a surprise. Still, there was an outcry both in the mainstream media, and the scientific press, not to talk about the dumbstruck ignorant population, about how someone dare painting such a dire picture (“climate change porn”) and thus found a “suicide cult”, without substantiation. On July 14th, five days later, the magazine issued an annotaded version which provided sources for the information given.
Though the threat of human extinction still looms at the comfortable distance of almost a century to go the description of the consequences of global warming in this long essay feel more realistic than most of what can be read elsewhere.
Heat increases municipal crime rates, and swearing on social media, and the likelihood that a major-league pitcher, coming to the mound after his teammate has been hit by a pitch, will hit an opposing batter in retaliation.”
Ok, quoting this paragraph wasn’t fair of me. The extent and depth of what climate change will mean to us as a civilization and as a species has been covered as good as it gets. That is because the author has obviously done some research and also spoken to a number of scientists personally. If you’ve seen the piece about those four Australian concerned climatologists, this is your follow-up story, this is what they are scared about.
The old paradigm is crumbling, something new emerges. I am not entirely sure whether the author would agree with seeing ecosystems in terms of communities or if we have to take the word ‘system’ in its mechanistic sense in which humans still can ‘trigger’ desired events, but the general direction sounds fine.
Some very practical consequences of global warming: How is life changing in Alaska (and Canada and Siberia), what becomes of human settlements and infrastructure? Remote was yesterday.
Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA – Tom Secker & Matthew Alford, InsurgeIntelligence, 20170704
US military intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows”
Imagine– Derrick Jensen, Tlaxcala, 20170703
Jensen straight forward in his critique of industrial civilization and people’s lack of imagination that stands in the way of overcoming it:
‘Imagine for a moment that we weren’t suffering from this lack of imagination. Imagine a public official saying not that he cannot imagine living without electricity, but that he cannot imagine living with it, that what he can’t imagine living without are polar bears.”
Humans in 2167: Internet implants and no sleep – Bryan Gaensler, Down To Earth, 20170630
From an author who is affiliated to the University of Toronto, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, comes a vision for the next 150 years that misses out on none of the classic memes of science fiction. Among the many excellent articles featured by Down To Earth this is one of incredible naiveté. Sorry for spoiling the party, but Earth is already going through the early stages of her sixth mass extinction to which humans are not exactly immune, while the future envisioned here simply extrapolates the destructive course of civilization into the next century as if there were infinite resources allowing for infinite growth on this finite planet. The article describes an impossible future that fails to amaze me with its dull promise of technological progress and a lifestyle that is completely devoid of meaning. I cannot find it “sad” at all that this “will never happen in the real world.”
Take it as a reminder that, despite the trillionfold pain afflicted to life’s community by visions like this, this is still the official story of Empire’s destiny and that, as long as you are dreaming of technological golden ages, you are literally asleep to what’s real.
There will be an extremely painful oil supply shortfall sometime between 2018 and 2020. It will be highly disruptive to our over-leveraged global financial system.”
The convergence of crises reaching its peak point.
Corrected satellite data show 30 percent increase in global warming – Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 20170630
Orbital mechanics and other overlooked factors influencing satellite observation led to a difference of 0.17°C in temperature measurements. The actual global average temperature thus amounts likely to around 1.7 to 2°C, depending on the baseline applied.
When ideas become a commodity public intellectuals like Chomsky have a hard time. On the other hand, though, hard times are the fertile ground on which ideas thrive organically. Out of all the confusion created by an overabundance of ratcatchers emerges a growing certainty;
What intellectuals need is the same as what everyone else needs: a society that prioritizes human flourishing over private profit, and strong political networks that guard public goods against the prophets of an atomized, high-tech future. However difficult that society may be to achieve, one thing about the present gives hope. We are finally getting clear about who its enemies are.”
Stop Fascism – Chris Hedges, 20170526
His Portland speech finds clear words for what civilization has done to the planet, calling for strong resistance to the madness which has taken over governments, corporations, and all of humanity’s institutions.

Pearls Before Swine

Personality; not just for people anymore – Carl Safina, Huffington Post, 20160828
Humans have human minds. But believing that only humans have minds is like believing that because only humans have human skeletons, only humans have skeletons,” the Stanford professor says.
He is talking about insights gained from wildlife observation, and I concur because my experience with farm animals like goats, cows, and chickens completely matches Safina’s descriptions.
We usually see “elephants”—or “wolves” or “killer whales” or “chimps” or “ravens” and so on—as interchangeable representatives of their kind. But the instant we focus on individuals, we see an elephant named Echo with exceptional leadership qualities; we see wolf 755 struggling to survive the death of his mate and exile from his family; we see a lost and lonely killer whale named Luna who is humorous and stunningly gentle. We see individuality. It’s a fact of life. And it runs deep. Very deep […] Humans are not unique in having personalities, minds and feelings.”
I find it important to stress that individuality does not equal separateness of the individual from her environment. But that is a story for another day.
After one became three: working the work that is love – Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, 20160822
An autobiographical account of one human being’s place in the web of life that is not about living in the green. A love story that is rather enchanting than romantic, addressing climate change without counting carbon molecules.
Darcia Narvaez – Derrick Jensen, Resistance Radio, 20160228
An interview with the professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, IN, on child rearing in primitive and in civilized communities, and how the differences affect the moral development of human beings. To me this is one of the Wow! sources with regard to the human condition.
Grief and carbon reductionism– Charles Eisenstein, 20160203
Here is what I want everyone in the climate change movement to hear: People are not going to be frightened into caring. Scientific evidence-based predictions about what will happen 10, 20, or 50 years in the future are not going to make them care, not enough. What we need is the level of activism and energy that we are seeing now in Flint. That requires making it personal. And that requires facing the reality of loss. And that requires experiencing grief. There is no other way.”

Ruminants and methane: not the fault of the animals – Alan Broughton, Green Left Weekly, 20160115

I suspected as much. Something must be done about greenhouse gas emissions. But bovines are an integral part of Earth’s life community. If there is any harm in what they are doing it is the result of our abusive relationship to them. This goes not only for ‘cow farts’ but also for goats as desert makers, and other myths. Our hysteria with finding someone to blame for Earth’s predicament is twisting the discussion and hurts those who have done least to bring it about: subsistence farmers and their symbiotic species.

Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say– Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 20151202

Less destructive forms of forestry and nurturing kinds of food creation could do a lot to stop or even reverse the trend. But ask yourself: Can that happen within a system that depends on economic growth? Does morality have a chance below the bottom line of profit? Will we apply technology to restore what we have pushed off-balance for the sake of better technology? Can we ever prefer the well-being of other beings over our own as long as we believe in our own superior importance?
The courage to see, the power to choose – Joanna Macy, Naropa University, 20141017
What if we could look the pain, the suffering, the fear in the eye? Are we able to overcome the paralysis that befell us and do something about the rampaging injustice and the destruction of the living world? A celebration of the joy of being alive – and the grief that brings it about.
The space race is over – Paul Kingsworth, Global Oneness Project, 20140501
What is to be done about this? The answer to this question, as so often, seems to me to be personal rather than political. There is no way to prevent this society from Romanticizing progress and technology, and there is no way to prevent it coming down hard on visions of human-scale and ecological development. It will continue to do this until its own intellectual framework, and probably its physical framework, collapses under its own weight […]
But what we can do, when presented with a vision which projects an ideal onto either the future or the past, is examine our own personal need to be deluded […]
This is the work of a lifetime, but perhaps in the end it is the only work.”
The essay could have been written in response to the above-listed article about humans in 2167 but it is three years older and it can be applied to anything we identify with, from apocalyptic warrior to space age hero.
Adyashanti: complete interview– Global Oneness Project, 2009
The interviewee describes how in the development of human consciousness, there comes a shift from a sense of a separate self toward the experience of unity. He points out that the fear of losing our individual identity keeps us from making this shift. I’d have named this piece “On fear,” though it might as well be called “On activism.”

Cartoon

The train of civilization
“Last orders, please!”

Famous Last Words

Go shopping!

The Empire Express, 2 June 2017

Ongoing Assault

Recent news
A relation of love with the land – Manu Sharma, Ecologise, 20170530
When humans love the earth they live upon, when they truly see each part of the ecosystem as equal and valuable, when they build a non-violent relationship with it, something magical occurs […] Balance is restored in a matter of years.”
One week’s headlines on abrupt climate change – Robin Westenra, Seemorerocks, 20170526
One fine analyst you should have heard of if you are concerned about global warming is Robin Westenra. Many of the articles I have been wading through on collecting interesting material for the Empire Express are gathered in one of his latest essays, a digest of news on research on, and results of, abrupt climate change. Though it shows just one one-week’s segment of a really huge pie, the headlines illustrate the rapid decline of the situation, an unraveling which goes on week after week after week at increasing speed.
The empty brain – Robert Epstein, Aeon, 20170518
A very interesting piece on the history of the cognitive sciences and the myth of the brain/computer analogy.
The willingness to face traumas — be they large, small, primitive or fresh — is the key to healing from them. They may never disappear in the way we think they should, but maybe they don’t need to. Trauma is an ineradicable aspect of life. We are human as a result of it, not in spite of it.”
The extent to which the planet gets turned into trash and poison is truly staggering.
“We need to drastically rethink our relationship with plastic,” [Jennifer Lavers, a research scientist at the University of Tasmania] said. “It’s something that’s designed to last forever, but is often only used for a few fleeting moments and then tossed away.”
The globalization of misery: Mosul on my mind – by Tom Engelhardt, Information Clearing House, 20170515
“The globalization of misery doesn’t have the cachet of the globalization of plenty. It doesn’t make for the same uplifting reading, nor does skyrocketing global economic inequality seem quite as thrilling as a leveling playing field (unless, of course, you happen to be a billionaire). And thanks significantly to the military efforts of the last superpower standing, the disintegration of significant regions of the planet doesn’t quite add up to what the globalists had in mind for the twenty-first century. Failed states, spreading terror movements, all too many Mosuls, and the conditions for so much more of the same weren’t what globalization was supposed to be all about.”
I’m not so sure about intentions. After all, it is the difference in wealth that keeps the shareholders happy.
How do you degrow an economy, without causing chaos? – Jonathan Rutherford, Resilience, 20170515
Well, how do you? I guess we never had a nation willingly walking away from progress, and doing so without leaving plenty of shards. Our timeframe is pretty short, and we are living in a system that is based on growth, so you can’t just slowly adapt to no-growth or negative-growth conditions. Grassroots movements may have to play a role here; if they gained traction, the state might hook up by nationalizing corporations, Rutherford says. (topic relates to the Ted Trainer interview; see below)
Prepping for the end of the world – Mike Sliwa, The Good Men Project, 20170514
Maybe dying has a lesson that outweighs the frantic struggle to survive?“
Recent studies have shown that there’s a direct correlation between climate change and CKDu [chronic kidney disease of unknown origins]. The disease affects farm workers across the globe […these]are the very people who provide the basis of our economies and lifestyles. Climate change will impact our entire economic system and CKDu is potentially a canary in the coal mine, a warning of what is to come.“
There is a large contingent within the biosphere that would love to see ants take over after humans step down,” said Eldridge, who cited the insects’ tireless work ethic, longer tenure on the planet, and ability to work well in groups.“
Hilarious!
Where have all the insects gone? – Gretchen Vogel, Science, 20170510
Observations in the wild in Germany show that insect populations have dropped by 78% in 24 years. That’s worse than the decline in vertebrates.
People acquainted to me know that I have a pretty simple, radically downgraded lifestyle. I go to bed shortly after the sun sets; I get up at dawn. My place is more or less a roofed platform with grills for walls, so it’s very open to its environment. Most of the wake times in bed I just listen to the birds, crickets and frogs, and though their numbers have audibly fallen we still have a huge biodiversity existing in our farm. I enjoy being with those fellow creatures every day. After all, “you only get so many Mays in your life”,says ornithologist Tony Whitehead who invites people for forest walks at dawn. I know what Tony is talking about, and he’s right. How many of those Mays do we actually remember? I confess, I have difficulties recalling even one. Springtime memories, yes. But how old was I back then? And, was it May, or April? It’s really better not to reduce one’s nature time to Sundays or, worse, to postpone it till after pension, but to be out constantly, consciously.
“Only now, once you’re outside and engaging with this stuff, is the basis for a meaningful engagement and then a meaningful advocacy for the natural world can come about. You have to get out here”.
Especially recommended article.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley explained, “[W]e can’t honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them, and those of us that are good, trying to keep peace and safety not to have them.” North Korean president Kim Jong-un could have said the same thing about his seven nuclear warheads, especially in view of US bombs and missiles currently falling on seven countries.”
Commercial opportunities are vastly outweighed by damage to the climate,”the unknown author subtitles his or her considerate article. Several problems standing in the way of an Arctic gold rush are described. “Nothing, however, looms larger than the potential for environmental calamity.” Given that countries were unlikely to keep within the limits of the Paris Agreement, more radical measures – various ways of geo-engineering — needed to be taken. But,
Even if such ways to cool the planet could be managed on the vast scale necessary, other unwelcome outcomes cannot be discounted. When volcanoes release vast amounts of aerosols and sulphates into the air, they damage the ozone layer—might the same be true for geoengineering?”
Overall it seems that the time has come for climate change to hit the mainstream press, which is quite surprising, but truly astonishing for a magazine like this is the article’s summary:
To ensure political and commercial stability in a defrosting Arctic, and to limit the harm caused by and to the warming pole, countries need to pay it far greater attention. The danger is that it is already too late.”
With all the natural sinks exhaling their carbon quickly, the (non-existent) efforts of mankind to curb emissions have exactly no consequences for the outcome.
This high-level waste must be isolated from the environment for one million years – but no container lasts longer than 100 years. The isotopes will inevitably leak, contaminating the food chain, inducing epidemics of cancer, leukemia, congenital deformities and genetic diseases for the rest of time. This, then, is the legacy we leave to future generations so that we can turn on our lights.”

…provided there are future generations.

Pearls Before Swine

A collection of older articles that – obviously – didn’t change the world.
Towards a unitive life: An interview with Shyam BalakrishnanS. Sharath & Jayan P.M., Ecologise, 20151105 [as featured in Keraleeyam Magazine; translated from the Malayalam by the interviewee]
The interviewee became famous in India after he has been falsely accused of being a Maoist and has been harassed and arrested without warrant by the police. Kerala High Court acquited him, ordering the state to compensate him, because “being a Maoist is not a crime”. Balakrishnan does have radical thoughts, though. He talks of the irreconcilable relation between democracy, nation-state, and capitalism, advocating the fostering of a non-dual, unitive existence which respects life.
The essential truth about us is our oneness… Those living in the delusion of a private life are missing the greatest beauty that nature holds.”
Since the nation-states contradict the natural and basic principles of life, they must fall. The sense of otherness and territory are the prime capital of nationhood. We must fully accept that every community has its own culture and unique characteristics but this doesn’t make it necessary to have a territory guarded by armed human beings.”
we have to integrate all the values ranging from food to freedom scientifically and we must live that through infinite diversities.”
Ted Trainer Interview on ‘The Simpler Way’– Jordan Osmond & Samuel Alexander, The Simplicity Institute, 201511
The current crisis can be taken as an opportunity to shift to a simple lifestyle. The Australian academic explains why there is no way capitalism could be reformed, and why there is no need for fear of an impoverished existence. There are indeed ‘benefits’ from ending consumerism…
What it would really take to reverse climate change – Ross Koningstein & David Fork, IEEE Spectrum, 20141118
Two engineers at Google report on their failed attempts at tackling the climate issue by providing cheap renewable energy.
Those calculations cast our work at Google’s RE<C program in a sobering new light. Suppose for a moment that it had achieved the most extraordinary success possible, and that we had found cheap renewable energy technologies that could gradually replace all the world’s coal plants—a situation roughly equivalent to the energy innovation study’s best-case scenario. Even if that dream had come to pass, it still wouldn’t have solved climate change.”
So even if we listened to our best experts, started right now, and put all our energy into it – we are still running against a wall, one of them being the financial bottom line against which they fought an uphill struggle.
There are, no doubt, all manner of unpredictable inventions that are possible, and many ways to bring our CO2 levels down to Hansen’s safety threshold if imagination, science, and engineering run wild.”
One may dream, of course, but when our lives depend on it we’d better come up with something more solid, no?
We’re hopeful, because sometimes engineers and scientists do achieve the impossible.”
Hopium, Hopium. Some day I might win the lottery, but from my experience, it is rather like, sometimes you lose, and sometimes somebody else is winning.
We can’t yet imagine which of these technologies will ultimately work and usher in a new era of prosperity—but the people of this prosperous future won’t be able to imagine how we lived without them.”
There! The golden age, lingering just around the corner. Let’s face it: money is one of the major problems in the game, and most people rather believe in fantasy tech than to imagine a world without currency. What it would really take to reverse climate change is for industrial civilization to cease existing, and for mankind to survive and wait a few million years until the planet finds a more human-friendly mode of operation again.
Why Capitalism makes us sick – Dr Gabor Maté, 20140928
From the perspective of a physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder, Dr Maté explains the connection between psychological and physical sicknesses, and inhowfar those are being caused by the way we organize work and society. No surprise there, but this is a well presented analysis. See also his interview “Attachment, Disease, Addiction“.

Cartoon

The train of civilization
“Dear Passengers! Travelling at our current high speed, we are going to get term… uhm, I mean, arrive at terminal before twenty-one hundred, faster than expected.”

Famous Last Words

“What do you mean, crash?”

The Empire Express, 15 April 2017

Some of the more ‘interesting’ articles regarding systems in collapse, especially climate, global civilization, food & farming, human consciousness and ecology. I recommend them for either their illustrative information on the state of affairs, or their profound insight into what said information might mean.

Ongoing Assault

Recent news
A long catalogue of crimes committed against the ocean makes sure that the near-term collapse of Indian society due to food crises becomes inevitable.
Exiting the Anthropocene – Roger Boyd, Resilience.org, 20170410
Seems like the Anthropocene is over before it really started. The author writes up a realistic description of the factors that will bring the curtain down. Too bad we cannot read such essays on the front pages of our favourite newspapers and magazines, because,While the evidence that the door to the end of the Anthropocene is opening wide mounts, our society seems unable to grasp the scale and urgency of the danger.”
Is this the start of runaway global warming? – William P. Hall, PhD, Kororoit Inst., 2017,0408
“This essay focuses on observations of what appears to be the start of runaway warming in the Arctic that may have profound effects on global climates over the next few years;”
A fine introduction and comprehensive overview on the climate situation and the outlook for the near-term future.
The end of ice – Dahr Jamail in an interview with Jennifer Hynes, Extinction Radio, 20170405
Independent journalist Dahr Jamail talks about the research for his upcoming book on climate change. Both the state of affairs and his personal outlook on the future are discussed.
What’s scarier than the Permian Extinction? – Robert Scribbler, 20170405
Burn all the fossil fuels to find out…”
America’s farmers face uncertain future – Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 20170405
Worldwide, scientists have repeatedly warned that climate change driven by human dependence on fossil fuels presents serious problems for farmers: many crops are vulnerable to extremes of heat, and climate change presents a hazard for harvests in Africa, Asia and Europe.
America in particular could face substantial losses, and, at the most basic level, the grasses – almost all the world’s staple foods are provided by the grass family – may not be able to adapt to rapidly changing climates.”
Not to forget Yemen and Nigeria, along with several countries that are standing at the edge. “Ethiopia has learned from previous droughts and took adequate precautions. Yet the scale of the current drought is too great for Ethiopia, and indeed the entire region, to cope with,” says German development minister Gerd Müller.
Extreme heat threat rises for megacities – Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 20170403
If global warming is contained at 1.5°C – the ideal target identified at the 2015 climate summit in Paris − the researchers say the number of megacities, with populations over 10 million, in the danger zone will double from today’s figure […] Other scientists had already established that if global temperatures rise by 4°C this century − in the notorious business-as-usual scenario in which humans go on burning fossil fuels and depositing ever more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere − then some parts of the globe could become intolerably hot for at least part of the day, and potentially uninhabitable.”
Vital groundwater depleted faster than ever – Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 20170402
The study’s authors say excessive abstraction of groundwater for irrigation – part of the wider virtual water trade – is leading to rapid depletion of aquifers in key food-producing regions, including north-western India, the North China Plain, central US, and California.”
Despite international efforts to address food insecurity, around 108 million people in the world were severely food insecure in 2016, a dramatic increase compared with 80 million in 2015, according to a new global report on food crises released in Brussels on 31 March 2017 […]

The dramatic increase reflects the trouble people have in producing and accessing food due to conflict, record-high food prices in local markets and extreme weather conditions such drought and erratic rainfall caused by El Niño.”

Pumped dry: India’s accelerating and invisible groundwater crisis – Asit K. Biswas et al., Ecologise, 20170326
India is now facing a water situation that is significantly worse than any that previous generations have had to face. All Indian water bodies within and near population centres are now grossly polluted with organic and hazardous pollutants. Interstate disputes over river waters are becoming increasingly intense and widespread. Not a single Indian city can provide clean water that can be consumed from the tap on a 24×7 basis. Surface water conditions are bad. However, the groundwater situation is even worse.”
This includes natural and anthropogenic pollution, sea-water intrusion, explosive growth of tube-wells, and farmers pumping like there is no tomorrow.
Nearly half of India’s jobs are now in the agricultural sector. If the current trends continue, by 2030 nearly 60% of Indian aquifers will be in a critical condition. This means that some 25% of the agriculture production will be at risk. This would aggravate India’s employment situation.”
Well, let’s not worry about jobs. As stated elsewhere, in 2030 there will likely be no one to get laid off. In the meantime, climate change is unfolding, developing from rapidly to abruptly, and the Indian subcontinent, together with the heart of Africa, might evolve into one of the first regions to become uninhabitable for humans.
The Russian-American writer on his new book about our physical and psychological dependence on global infrastructure and hi-tech for daily survival, and about needing to return to pre-fossil-fuel driven lifestyles and technologies. Both book and podcast

Pearls Before Swine

Discoveries of older articles that – obviously – didn’t change the world.
Seeing Wetiko: On capitalism, mind viruses, and antidotes for a world in transition – Alnoor Ladha & Martin Kirk, Kosmos, 20160511
This is not an anti-European rant. This is the description of a disease whose vector was determined by deep patterns of history,” it says in the essay. The Wetiko, or Wendigo, is a native American concept of an infectious and self-replicating mindset that acts like a virus. It is responsible for the Western culture’s hunger for more, its destructiveness and its denial of it all.  

“This approach of viewing the transmission of ideas as a key determinant of the emergent reality is increasingly validated by various branches of science, including evolutionary theory, quantum physics, cognitive linguistics, and epigenetics.” 

Highly recommended for reading.

False solutions? 3 ways to evaluate grand climate proposals – Jeremy Lent, Patterns of Meaning, 20160322
We need a way to distinguish authentic pathways to a sustainable civilization from false solutions. I suggest three ways to consider any proposal you might come across:
  1. Does it push political power up or down the pyramid?
  2. How does it treat the Earth?
  3. What are its cascading effects?”
‘Civilization’ and ‘sustainable’ in one sentence makes me cringe. Apart from that, when we are pursuing right action, these three questions might make sense. The text contains several good points like,
Geoengineering proposals are based on the notion of the earth as a massive piece of machinery to be engineered for human benefit. Not only are these approaches morally repugnant for anyone who sees Nature as having intrinsic worth, they are also fraught with massive risk, since the earth’s systems are in fact not machine-like, but the result of complex, nonlinear relationships that are inherently unpredictable.”
I elaborated on that, not so long ago, in my article Doom-dee-doom.
Only sixty years of farming left if soil degradation continues – Chris Arsenault, Scientific American, 20141205
58 years to go. Plenty of time to make some money and to think of how to create soil in industrial labs…

Cartoon

The train of civilization
“What if we used bio-char instead of coal?”

The Empire Express, March 2017

A world in collapse, it turns out, is a busy place. One has a hard time keeping up with all the breaking news of mid-term and long-term significance. “May you live in interesting times!” is one famous Chinese curse that Westerners usually fail to understand. We are currently learning the hard way what it truly means. Though not consistently. Often times I want to cry out loud how the worst of desasters still pass us by as though they were scenes from the movies. And really, all that rapid change can just make you dizzy.
With my own writing, I can only cover a small spectrum of topics. At its foundation lies a worldview, or rather, an understanding, that expresses itself in essays whose contents get inspired by the overabundant information flowing in.

In this digest, I would like to present some of the more ‘interesting’ articles I came across recently. I recommend them for either their illustrative information on the state of affairs or their profound insight into what said information means.
Starting out as a monthly category, the frequency may change if needed.

Make careful choices on what you invite into your consciousness and take your time taking in, exploring further, and processing it.

Ongoing Assault

What if all I want is a mediocre life? – Krista O’Reilly Davi Digui, No Sidebar, 201703x
Is a simple life a good enough life?
Can democracy save us? – George Barrett, CounterPunch, 20170327
“Here in Germany there is a term for the (inadequate) proposals of the Green Party to change popular thinking about environmental issues: the Greens’ suggestion in the last national election that it would be a good thing for everyone to refrain from eating meat for one day every week was scorned as attempted “Öko-Diktatur” (Eco-Dictatorship). The Greens were lampooned mercilessly in the press for wanting to control the behavior of Germany’s allegedly politically conscious citizens, and sustained losses in the election as a result. That is the mentality faced by anyone who seriously believes democracy or dialogue can save the environment […] Of course, I am aware that this sounds like a plea for authoritarianism, and I suppose that it is, although I am fully aware that it will not win me many political allies. But I believe that a deluded optimism is far more dangerous than a clear view of a frightening future. In spite of my anarchist heart, I want life on this planet – not only human life, but especially plant and animal life, which it appears ever more likely we would destroy along with ourselves – to survive. And that means, as I see it, in fact, some kind of Eco-Dictatorship.”
Fukushima: government guilty of destroying Pacific Ocean — Daniel Newton, NeonNettle, 20170327
The Maebashi district court ordered government and operator to pay some commpensation.

“Radioactive Debris from Fukushima approaching North America’s western coast. If that weren’t bad enough, Fukushima continues to leak an astounding 300 tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean every day. It will continue to do so indefinitely as the source of the leak cannot be sealed as it is inaccessible to both humans and robots due to extremely high temperatures. It should come as no surprise, then, that Fukushima has contaminated the entire Pacific Ocean in just five years. This could easily be the worst environmental disaster in human history” and “will likely continue affecting wildlife and humans for the next 250,000 years.”

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle

Near Term Human Extinction has saved my life – DareToBeDifferent, 20170327
“This [Guy McPherson] lecture sent shock waves through me and of course sadness, numbness, but also validation. Validation because I could see how this war machine, deteriorating capitalistic, species slaughtering, ice cap reducing system was all leading to something […] The most important thing is now I am trying to live a life of excellence and I am definitely living here now. It’s changed my life completely and I feel like looking back on it all finding out about NTHE saved me.”
Why being realistic feels like doomsday thinking – Joe Brewer, Medium.com, 20170325
“To avoid the negative has a name in psychology — it is called denial. And far too many among us are in denial right now.”
[Regarding the discussion on climate change] – Charles Eisenstein, 20170324
Although I sometimes get the feeling that figures do not matter enough in Charles’ perspective — after all, without figures we couldn’t state that there is more to the weird weather all over the globe than atmospheric hickups and freak occurances — I absolutely support the points he makes about climate change (and all the rest of our huge pile of civilized trouble) not being physical events merely. There is an emotional dimension to it, a spiritual dimension, and elements that speak to us as biological, tribal beings. Having neglected those has played a huge part in getting us stranded in our predicament. Now, Charles means to say that, if there is a solution, it might be hidden within the neglected and the denied aspects of our lives. For certain, pursuing life not as a supposedly flawed machine but as the wholesome human being that I am, to me, is worth whatever it takes, regardless of outcome. And that is not at all as anthropocentric as it sounds at first. For us to live like humans, to feel human, and to be human does not require our cultural ‘achievement’ in the first place, but our embeddedness with the living planet. Even in its wrecked state there is nothing we can do to improve it.
“This year, NOAA [the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] predicts that a weak to moderate El Nino may form which would further exacerbate climate change driven water stresses in India.
These are tough conditions. But the worst may be yet to come for 2017.
April, May and June is the hottest, driest period for India. And the state is entering this season with almost a 150 million people already facing water stress. Moreover, the warming of Equatorial waters in the Pacific as another El Nino is again expected to emerge increases the risk that the 2017 monsoon could be delayed or weakened. So with a water crisis now ongoing in the south, conditions are likely set to worsen soon.”
We may change to less water-intense crops, but those are not suitable for feeding everyone. The human population needs to go down. People need to understand that it is basically the amount of irrigation water that determines the amount of food available, and that, generally spoken, to reduce the amount of water used for farming results in the reduction of human food. Think about it.
“Climate change is out for the time being,” officials say.
Key issue of climate change: the not at all surprising state of affairs.
Failed government policy regarding electricity and a growing population wanting to eat are meeting changing climatic conditions that impact the Monsoon as the main provider of water.
A recently published study looked into how life recovered after the “Great Dying”, the end-Permian extinction event during which more than “90% of all living creatures went kaput” and found interesting analogies to our current 6th mass extinction.
“This is what makes it so interesting,” Foster told me, “Because you have this huge volcanic eruption that releases all these gases, and then you look at what’s happening today [with climate change] and they’re all the same gases. They’re causing the same effects. So we can say, ‘This is what it did in the past and this is what we might be looking at for the future […]
We don’t think we will reach the threshold we reached in the Great Dying,” Foster told me. “Or, we hope we won’t, anyway.”
Well, one can hope, of course, but for hope to have a tangible efect we need to hope much harder than before, it seems. The article in The Atlantic in which the above-mentioned study was reported describes a few of the conditions we could have found back then — and maybe again tomorrow — if only we were able to survive them for longer than a few minutes.
Adrienne Lafrance did a fine job here because she doesn’t come from that arrogant point of view that ‘this can’t happen to us’. She writes, “the story of life on our planet isn’t the story of a single species at the top of the food chain, but ultimately a tale of relentless adaptability.”

Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years?Eurocentric modernism has unhinged us from our human nature, argues Rajani Kanth in his new book – Lynn Parramore, Films for Action, 20170314
The article doesn’t fully go to the root of our predicament, but it has some damn good points about how our culture does not work out – and where to look for solutions. A must-read.
Revolutions Are Bloody, But So Is Doing Nothing – Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy, 20170314
I concur. Staying silent is a political act that supports the ravaging of the living planet.
The convergence of critical climatic tipping points in a brief overview, and the bleak outlook on near-term developments. 1.2C increase since 1880 baseline as mentioned in the article translates into 1.6C increase since 1750 (real) pre-industrial baseline. Beware of snow jobs.
Yemen and several African states across the continent are facing severe droughts. Early stages of abrupt climate change – 1.6C above pre-industrial baseline – and we already see the world burning.

Pearls Before Swine

Discoveries of older articles that – obviously – didn’t change the world.

12 Life Lessons from a Man Who’s Seen 12000 Deaths – Deepak Ramola, Uplift Connect, 20160621
You may have heard of Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who wrote about the top-10 regrets of the dying. Here is something similar from an Indian perspective. They share certain insights, but there is also a specifically South Asian understanding that Westerners can learn from, like, “Acceptance is liberation”. Facing death consciously liberates from the all-pervasive background fear we often carry around all our lives, and so helps with experiencing life more intensely, more joyfully.
From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love – Cory Morningstar, The Art of Annihilation, home, 201703x
How the environmental movement has been hijacked by the mainstream and turned into the activist arm of industrial interests.
Sustainability is destroying the Earth – Kim, Stories of Creative Ecology, 20120828
Similar to Cory Morningstar’s article, Kim shows how sustainability is an expression of the unwillingness to let go of our destructive culture.

Cartoon

The train of civilization
Economic Joyriders
(August 27, 1891 Statesville, North Carolina: A passenger train of the Western North Carolina Railroad derails upon entering Bostian’s bridge, plunging to the creek below)

Deep into the spiral

Welcome to 2017, a year that is going to be different from what we are expecting for it. We all know that our hopes and fears rarely stand the test of time and that the future is a place unlike anything we have imagined. But what if the world was already a different place from what we perceive it to be? What if we are missing some vital information, like, there is a price tag attached to the way we live which we have overlooked – or rather blinked at – all the time? Won’t the creditor show up at some point to collect the debt we have piled up so recklessly? Is 2017 our last chance to save our face by stepping forward to mend our ways?
With all the busy-ness around the xmas season, have you had an eye on the news? What were the headlines in the past few days? Did you get the following one?

This could easily be the most alarming piece of information in all history of mankind so far.
Why?
Because the sun over the North Pole has set three months ago, yet temperatures are rising both in water and air and have locally been crossing the melting point of ice – for the second time in two months, and it is happening within the second consecutive winter.
Average air temperatures on higher latitudes, while still below freezing point, are way above any reasonable deviation from standard.
red line shows 2016’s average temperature north of 80° latitude;
green line shows 1958-2002 average temperature north of 80° latitude.
This is not just freakish weather. Last time the red line roughly followed average records was in 2004, so we are looking at a long-term heating trend here. 
–click to enlarge–
This means, instead of building up, winter sea ice is stagnating slightly above already-reduced summer extents and volumes. Thin, broken-up and slushy ice is going to be very vulnerable to the return of spring. The Blue-Ocean Event, an ice-free Arctic Ocean, becomes quite likely in 2017, and it would not be mistaken for a blue-lagoon event.
 [source: Polar Science Center/APL]
The Arctic ice shield is being battered since decades already, and its volume and extent reduced so much that scientists are talking about a death spiral.
–click to enlarge–
 [source: Polar Science Center/PIOMAS]
The loss of albedo along with reduced cooling of the surface water and its direct exposure to sunlight will rapidly heat the sea surface, and an increased mixing of surface and deep waters thanks to wind-driven movement subsequently allows for the heat to reach the methane clathrates in shallow places like the East Siberian shelf. It is to be noted that minimal increases in water temperature may allow for a burp of 50 gigatons of methane from that area alone, with thousands of gigatons more distributed all over the Arctic.

[interview with Russian Arctic researcher Natalia Shakhova]

Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas of which there are currently 5 Gt in the atmosphere. The amount likely to be released would increase atmospheric levels from currently 250% above pre-industrial standards to significantly higher levels, resulting in an increase of global average temperature by another 1.1°C or more within weeks. Thanks to about 70 self-reinforcing feedback loops that have already been kicked off, runaway heating as calculated by the next graph seems guaranteed.

–click to enlarge–
 [conservatively adding up a few sources of heating]

All of which affects our ability to grow food due to heat waves, water shortages, more severe storms, erratic weather patterns, and the outpacing of crop plants’, bees’, and soil micro organisms’ ability to adapt.
The consequences of impaired food production are all too obvious.
Wars over water, arable land, and other resources would destroy even more habitats and bring down civilization for sure. Once we enter the slippery slope of a downward population curve, through wars or through starvation alone, there is no turning back; humanity’s estimate lifetime from there on is numbered in months. 
The prolongation of our lives is depending on an exceptionally cold arctic spring and summer 2017 to allow for fresh ice to be built up which would postpone Blue Ocean for another year or two, but I wouldn’t bet a lousy penny on that one. It is not that I don’t like to live and see this planet thrive in turn, but industrial civilization has consumed Earth’s life forms to the point where our own demise has become due, and overdue, already. Climate change is just one of a myriad of destructive forces unleashed by our culture, from social disparity to plastic pollution to structural violence to frankenfood to endless wars to animals’ habitat loss; we cannot drive hundreds of species extinct each single day and expect our own survival to stay unquestioned. At one point it is going to be our own food chain that is collapsing.
Notwithstanding probable effects of a Blue Ocean Event, few people seem to know that the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to paleoclimatic records, already subsribes us to a 6°C rise in global average temperature.
They don’t know that current temperatures are the result of pollution from decades ago, and that, since then, we have significantly increased emissions again, the consequences of which are yet to manifest, and that’s unstoppable. 6°C. You cannot go back to undo it.

Carbon dioxide, followed by Methane, followed by Temperatures; graph covers last 420,000 years and establishes close link between greenhouse gases and global average temperatures
–click to enlarge–

The figures are public, their relation to real-life consequences established and in its first stages already visible as predicted — just way earlier than expected (haven’t you noticed how often this phrase pops up recently?). Yet we don’t hear about the polar situation on TV; they missed it three times in a row already. Nor are politicians setting out to doing something — and they never will, like they never did. As a matter of fact, the opposite is happening: economic growth (and therefore pollution) is being fostered and promoted while the climate debate is being trifled. Apart from very few counter examples, scientists are afraid to speak up, while IPCC and COP conferences are playing down the issue: outdated figures that are conservative to begin with are being fed into inadequate climate models which do not consider powerful feedback loops like methane and water vapor; those models therefore soften probable effects and postpone them into a distant future. On top of all that, draft reports have to pass through a lengthy consensus-making process including both scientists and politicians. This has consequences of its own:

First, the scientific goal of 1°C maximum temperature rise has been changed into the political goal of 2°C.
Then, pre-industrial baseline has been shifted from 1750 to 1880, a date when most of Europe and America were heavily industrialized already; this removed 0.3°C temperature rise from the IPCC’s calculation, yet the 2°C goal has not been corrected to 1.7°C.
Baseline has been shifted again, this time to the average of 1951-1980, and we can see already attempts to shift baseline yet another time, to the average of 1979-2000, from the date when satellites allowed for gapless observation of Earth’s surface. The upper limit for warming, 2°C, has once more not been adjusted accordingly for the temperature rise that has happened between 1750 and the new baseline dates. In other words, public debate is engaged in window dressing.
In truth, we are talking about an already-reached 1.6 (Carana) to 1.95°C (Mann/Beckwith) temperature rise since 1750, a good proportion of which has happened within the last three years (roughly 0.5°C in 2016 alone).

Neglecting the discussion about precise figures, it still remains a fact that, with the relatively small rise in temperature so far, we are experiencing a massively increased amount of droughts, wildfires, superstorms, floodings, temperature anomalies, monsoon failures, crop failures, algy blooms, ocean acidification, landslides, animal die-offs, ice-sheets melt-offs, methane releases from permafrost and see floor, etc. In such a situation, not the slightest temperature rise is desirable, yet it happens — and it happens quicker than expected.

graph shows a doubling in catastrophic events since ~2000, a quadrupling since 1980.
[Source: © 2016 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of July 2016]
–click to enlarge–

Following political and economic leaders, many ordinary people are in denial, though most are simply ignorant of the data and its meaning.

If you are one of them — that’s fine; Godspeed, and may you enjoy a long and happy life. Sorry I bothered you. Be free to proceed business as usual.
This summary of current events is based on the work of some of the foremost scientists and journalists, crosschecked with my personal observation of weather patterns as well as my understanding of the World, and it is meant as a warning to those who do have a basic understanding themselves; people like my mother of 65 who immediately got the point and who wanted to know more. She said she had guessed we were in trouble because she had sensed something was wrong with the World, and that the TV was feeding her lies instead of explanations on the disquieting things she had seen. “I’m not stupid!”, she grumbled.
Bottom line is, Time is short; it always was. Our lives have always been limited in extent, yet we are wasting so much time on fighting for peanuts. Extreme events, though, reveal extreme evil. If abrupt climate disruption, if collapse of civilization is a reality you share with me, it makes a lot of sense to prepare for near-term impact so that we get through the turbulence with as little violence and with as much dignity as possible. Each of us can, and should, work to direct public outrage into constructive channels, withdraw our support from war preparation and management, share knowledge and resources, and do our best to reduce suffering for others — humans as well as other beings. This requires us to stay calm ourselves. It can only get achieved through acceptance of our predicament. If, thus far, you haven’t grieved for the Earth and what humans have done to it, this is your place to start.


It have been those rare scientists who did speak up and preceded me in concluding that abrupt climate change leads to near-term human extinction who made this blog possible, first and foremost professor Guy McPherson, but also Sam Carana, Peter Wadhams, Paul Beckwith, and a host of great writers and speakers like Dahr Jamail, Carolyn Baker, Robin Westenra, Jennifer Hynes, Kevin Hester, Deb Ozarko, Derrick Jensen, and Mike Ruppert, as well as courageous news anchors like Thom Hartmann and Paul Henry.

Define distraction

With all the debates about “fake news” going on, I think it is important to realize the attempt to blinding out information which one kind of people don’t like to see, though it really matters to the lives of other people and the more-than-human world. Freedom of speech and choice must remain as first steps to a deeper kind of Freedom.
Yes, the obituary for the Great Barrier Reef, as an example, was a straight hoax, yet it served as a means to shake people out of their dream state; the reef’s advancement in bleaching is being covered more closely by the press now. Though not as closely as it deserves, which is also true for the hundreds of animal mass deaths each year which rarely make it to the front page and never produce the kind of questions they should invoke:
What the hell is going on here? Would we still think that money, economic growth, and jobs are more important than lives if those dolphins washed ashore were ourselves and our beloved ones?
Many serious events never make it to the front, if they make it at all. Instead, what we are confronted with are truly fake news: world championships in sports, allegations of espionage, yet another bird flu, threats of one president against another, stock market developments, or the isolated acts of terrorists(?) overshadowing mass death and mass destruction resulting from the war on terror, from alcohol abuse, from motorized traffic, from air pollution etc pp.
All of which are fake news by themselves because nothing about any of the above-mentioned subjects, fake or true, is new(s) at all, but rather long-standing predicaments. Nor do we ever see the full story. What’s really real is hard to tell. So neither politicians nor economists nor religious leaders have an answer to the pressing – no, killing – issues of our time. We are just hanging on hanging on, patching patch on patch, because nobody dares to look at the most obvious of facts: That this whole civilization is a fake paradise based upon the most ridiculous of post-truths – separation. 

“Don’t worry about fake news. The whole scare is, itself, fake news. Don’t believe a word of it.
Could it be that the news media is still trying to distract us from their own poor performance? After all, if inaccuracy makes a thing “fake,” then all the pundits’ and pollsters’ pre-election day predictions were pretty bad offenders.” –Jordan Shapiro in: Forbes, 26.12.2016

If life seems often so surreal, it is because, as a society, we have turned our backs on reality like 10,000 years ago. Comparison with any of the other, indigenous cultures we have gathered information about (and for most part driven into extinction) leaves no doubt in me.
You may agree with me so far or not, yet the discussion around “fake news” is a distraction from that which is not televised and that you are not supposed to see. Run a Gogle search on Facebook & Fake news & funding to see the hand of the 1%, and don’t miss out on the billion-Dollar trace leading to climate change denial.
Exclusive broadcasting of certified information, more commonly called censorship, is based on the the post-factual assumption that Uncle Sam knows better what is true and good for you. To keep people from making their own choices, even if those choices are “wrong”, means that most people may never learn to distinguish truth from illusion, and that those who do are being showered in government and corporate propaganda with very little sanity to hold on to, apart from their own internal Selves.
Though… who knows… this might help with focussing on a Truth that is deeper than words.

To nobody in particular

“I’ve thought hard on what was emotionally so different about McPherson’s short timeframe versus my unquestioning belief in a much longer one. Obviously, the longer timeframe means I’d get to live out my natural life.

I had never, for one second, consciously entertained the idea that human extinction was conceivable in the near term.

In other words, I’m basically okay with the sadness and anxiety about some far-off future generation seeing the collapse of humanity. Just not this one. My one.”Rachel Stewart: What to do when your days are numbered. We carry on, as humans are no good at facing up to possible extinction. New Zealand Herald, 30.11.2016

A great introspective piece by a journalist, mentioning a few thoughts I had as well in that first moment of dawning, showing that, even as we are expected to stay professionally distanced and objective, we are still human beings wanting to live, wanting to thrive and be happy.

I recently caught a few questionable remarks from the Aurobindan community which really make me think that the stage of ossification into a religion has been reached. Something along the lines of, “XY foresaw another future, so it cannot be true”, or, “If you do this kind of yoga you cannot believe this pessimistic stuff”, or even, “You are doubting The Master. What are you doing here?”

Well, I’m not a pessimist; I don’t live in the physical world alone. I don’t “believe” in that stuff because believing is really a bad idea when it makes you stop looking for yourself. Read your master’s works; s/he will tell you a word or two on “a life divine, but no religion.”
Scientific data, as well, can only take you so far before you are on your own. Words, figures, opinions, predictions, holy scriptures — none of those is truth as such, At best they can point at the truth. Every time we try to limit reality to a guru’s, a teacher’s, a politician’s, a philosopher’s, or anybody else’s words we step off the path of truth.

I see what is going on around, and inside of me – not just since this morning; I do that because I have a rotten gut feeling about people’s ways as far back as I can remember. I look at the world, I look at the data, and I think to myself, “Hm, that McPherson fellow got a point. Thanks for offering this perspective” — which means I go about finding out what it means in relation to my life.

Does it mean I cannot enjoy a joke? Does it mean I despise people with a different opinion? Does rejecting “The Master” as my supreme master mean I am off the Path? — No, no, and again no, quite the opposite in each case. I am still among those of goodwill; more than ever, I’d say, because this thing literally shook me up.

Do I fail sometimes? — Yes, absolutely. Quite often.
Can my assessments be inaccurate, or otherwise wrong? — Absolutely. It wouldn’t be the first time, either.
Yet it is I who has to find my way, like you have to find yours, and no one else can walk the walk for any of us.

Breathmatch

With fracking, mountain-top removal, the Athabasca tar sands, millions of acres of burning forests, hundreds of species disappearing each day, oceanic trash vortices, nuclear desasters, the sputtering Gulf stream, both polar ice caps melting at the same time, and sky-rocketing greenhouse gas emissions, what more does it take people not only to see, but to… act? And then again, with so many inescapable avalanches like the clathrate gun triggered, what’s the point of activism, other than making a point of one’s will to change the world? What would be the right way to act, anyway, when it has been for the idea that human activity could improve on creation that everything became so ugly? And if you knew how to act appropriately, how would you stand up to an omnicidal system that – until now, though not for much longer – provides you with everything you need for survival (and therefore makes you complicit in the destruction)?
So many questions with nobody to answer them on TV. We’re not exactly lied to when the talk is about probable human extinction until 2100 in case we don’t curb emissions, are we? Five to ten years from now, no matter what we do, matches quite well with it. The someone who came up with postponing all issues to the next turn of the century was a genius. 2100 is far off into the future. In 2100 none of us will be around anyway. 2100 sounds so much more comfortable than 2030, doesn’t it? 
But it is not like we are going to leave our children and grandchildren a mess which they would bitterly complain about. They’ll be extinguished, too. No one there to complain, no one there to take the blame either.
Grief is now with me all the time. Accepting one’s own mortality is quite a different thing from being faced with the probable near-term eradication of all life. Yet as both human society and the community of life are unraveling, each day a little further, a little faster, I function well thanks to having switched to a saner lifestyle some years ago. I can take my time to look at this feeling more closely: This grief is not of the depressing kind. It rather feels like a looking glass with regards to everything I do or think about. I take joy in simple tasks like cleaning the floor. I find meaning in suffering, direction within chaos. All relationships have greatly intensified in the face of impending collapse.

I breathe in. I breathe out. I am alive right now, along with most of the species supposedly dying out somewhen today. I do not deserve another day; yet I receive this gift and I am grateful for having been given premonition; the chance to witness, to understand… this – neither in panic, nor in denial, but consciously.