“The conventional models of human response are based on the civilized world and, yes, there are common strands in all cultures but, for instance, when a death occurs in a tribal culture that has, like all animals, accepted death as part of life then denial is not part of the equation. Neither is bargaining – for how can you bargain with the inevitable?
When Elisabeth Kübler-Ross posited her model for bereavement, it was always going to a be a model for how the civilized human deals with death; it took no account of the way all humans deal with death, for not only are we all slightly different in our approach to everything – not just bereavement – we, as de facto civilized humans, are freaks.
Homo sapiens civilis never evolved. Civilized humans have been created in the image of the machine: we don’t behave as normal human beings any more.”
— Keith Farnish: “Underminers. A Practical Guide For Radical Change“
Pearls Before Swine
[…] Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the twentieth has amplified the din of information, until matters have reached such proportions today that for the average person, information no longer has any relation to the solution of problems.
[…] For most humans living today, it is hard to imagine life without technology – without second-hand intelligence-dependency. But on the scale of human history, the Internet and mobile devices are recent inventions, a few decades back, and the modern science and technology a few centuries back. Until just 5,000 years ago, we lived in small groups, hunting and gathering. While that life might seem to be ancient, it is also the life for which our bodies and our brains are adapted. So, we have something to learn from people who still live naturally, as we did for almost 99.9% of human life here on Mother Earth.
[…] In ancient Greece, even slaves had a deep social role as part of a household, unlike even higher class modern workers, who are valued as things, interchangeable as parts in engines of profit. Medieval serfs worked fewer hours than modern people, at a slower pace, and passed less of their money up the hierarchy. We declare our lives better than theirs in terms of our own cultural values. If medieval people could visit us, I think they would be impressed by our advances in alcohol, pornography, and sweet foods, and appalled at our biophobia, our fences, the lifelessness of our physical spaces, the meaninglessness and stress of our existence, our lack of practical skills, and the extent to which we let our lords (leaders of religion, government and market) regulate our every activity. They are sure to consider us as pitiful creatures.
|“Must go faster!”|
Famous Last Words
It can’t happen to us.
|Drone magic, by Mike Licht (CC)|
Empire is not merely territory covered, not just populations made into subjects. Empire rules not only through political, economic, and military force but through the very culture that gave birth to Empire. In other words, Empire rules the minds of its subjects, and it does so by defining what they can know — what is real. This may sound overstated to some, likely most, but the cognitive injustice created by scientific discourse is actually key to the question why social injustice does not spawn the kind of movements that would overthrow Empire. Marx had it wrong because we are not simply victims, we are co-creators of oppression. Awareness has never been enough; it takes an awakening.
The totalitarian exclusion of ‘the other’ from our view has turned it from a simple alternative into the deadliest enemy of the dominant culture, because once you start seeing it, awakening to it, you can no longer buy into the common dogmas around separateness, competition, materialism, utilitarianism, or scientism.
If you are still with me let’s foster cognitive justice now, by exploring an example which helps making the issue obvious: the relationship between science and the Sacred.
“A discourse provides a set of possible statements about a given area, and organizes and gives structure to the manner in which a particular topic, object, process is to be talked about. In that it provides descriptions, rules, permissions and prohibitions of social and individual actions.”– Günther Kress – Linguistic Processes in Sociocultural Practice, 1988
“Epistemology(literally, the logical discourse on knowledge) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge. Epistemology studies the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Much of the debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification.”– Wikipedia
“The whole notion of ‘discourse‘ and ‘discourse community’ is a circular one – the community is defined as those that share certain discourse habits and functions, while skill in the prescribed discourse is a prerequisite for being taken seriously by the discourse community. Hence, academic discourse is thus revealed, from the outset, to be a self-referential self-justificatory practice that determines what may legitimately beconsidered as knowledge.”– Karen Bennett – Epistemicide! TheTale of a Predatory Discourse. 2007
„In this era of increased knowledge the essence of religious phenomena eludes the psychologists, sociologists, linguists, and other specialists because they do not study it as religious. According to Mircea Eliade, they miss the one irreducible element in religious phenomena—the element of the sacred.“– 1996 introduction to Mircea Eliade’s book „Patterns in comparative Religion“ (1958)
“The dark side of modern science, and unfortunately it has one, does not arise from science itself, still less from any of the facts of nature. It arises from the impression we allow science to give us: the impression that we are merely biological machines in a meaningless material universe.Science has every right to confine its attention to the physical, i.e. the outside world. It has no right to say, when it has done so, that it has given us the whole story.”– Michael N. Nagler – Is there no other way?, 2001
“Cognitive injustice, the failure to recognize the different ways of knowing by which people across the globe run their lives and provide meaning to their existence.”– Boaventura de Sousa Santos – Epistemologies of the South: justice against epistemicide. 2014 (pdf)
The way that a particular culture formulates its knowledge is intricately bound up with the very identity of its people, their way of making sense of the world and the value system that holds that worldview in place. Epistemicide, as the systematic destruction of rival forms of knowledge, is at its worst nothing less than symbolic genocide […]There are others […] that view the encroachment of the scientific paradigm as a form of cultural imperialism […] They often experience the rationalization and objectivization of reality as a kind of reductionism that is inadequate to explain the complexities of human experience.”– Karen Bennett – Epistemicide! The Tale of a Predatory Discourse. 2007
“The modern age has forgotten that facts and information, for all their usefulness, are not the same as wisdom—and certainly not the same as the direct experience of Reality. We have lost touch with the intuitive wisdom born of silence and stillness, and we are left stranded in a sea of information that cannot deliver on its promise of ever-increasing happiness and fulfillment.”– Adyashanti – The way ofliberation: a practical guide to spiritual enlightenment, 2012 (pdf)
“The Way of Liberation is not a belief system; it is something to be put into practice. In this sense it is entirely practical.”– Adyashanti – The way of Liberation: a practical guide to spiritual enlightenment, 2012
“When we find those types of statements in Plotinus or Asanga or Garab Dorje or Abhinavigupta or Shankara, rest assured that they are not simply theoretical hunches or metaphysical postulates. Those are direct experimental disclosures issuing directly from te subtle dimension of reality, interpreted according to the backgrounds of those individuals, but issuing from this profound ontological reality, this subtle worldspace.
And if you want to know what these men and women are actually talking about, then you must take up the contemplative practice or injunction or paradigm, and perform the experiment yourself […]So this experiment will disclose the archetypal data, and then you can help interpret what they mean. And by far the most commonly accepted interpretation is, you are looking at the basic forms and foundations of the entire manifest world. You are looking directly into the face of the Divine.”
– Ken Wilber – A brief history of everything, 1996
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.
“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;”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Pearls Before Swine
“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.
“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:
Does it push political power up or down the pyramid?
How does it treat the Earth?
What are its cascading effects?”
“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.”
L&R: Many people are striving for a state of being beyond suffering. Would you suggest they better stop seeking?
SH: [sighs] I wouldn’t suggest anything to anyone because, what do I know? But for myself, the doing is the suffering. Psychological doing. The trying to change it, to make it better. The activity of always grasping out, that’s the suffering, and the real investigation begins when I don’t try to change it, but I just ask, what is it? It’s the absolute abandonment of improvement. This is a very different way of seeing life. It’s a deep curiosity about what life is, not the attempt to make it into something better.L&R: It sounds like, you are very OK with it. Is that your method?
SH: It’s not that I’m OK with it. The neurotic mind is never OK with anything. But if I see that I’m actually the expression of something, [then] for that expression to try to change itself is absurd. That’s like the sound of trumpets trying to change the fingers pushing the valves. But we might be very curious who the trumpet player is.
(Erleuchtungskongress 2016, Steven Harrison, interview w Ludmilla & Roland)
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.
“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.”
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.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.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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Pearls Before Swine
(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)
In her article “Spirituality and Mental Illness“, Kelly writes:
“They showed us the fact that loving creation allows them to love each other, and to love all that comes in their path. When the son asked me about my job, I seized up, certain that the notion of a psychiatrist would make no sense whatsoever to him. The idea that there are professionals trained to manage and alter the human experience through pharmaceutical drugs – to someone who has faith in all that comes, in the many ways that divinity can be expressed, and in the dividends of a commitment to integrity…to this person, Prozac would not compute.
This is what India showed me.
It showed me what my American soul had forgotten…which is that there is something more beautiful, more sacred, more wondrous available when we live connected to our trust in something larger. Because this something larger lifts us up out of our limitations, our smallness, our distractions, and holds us in a web of the collective so that there is never something random, awful, and unlucky that can simply just happen. So that there is always meaning and ok-ness.”
Regarding psychiatry, she quotes Charles Eisenstein who said, “The reason that conventional psychiatry – whether pharmaceutical or psychoanalytic – is powerless to substantially help the vast majority of patients is that it does not, and cannot, recognize the wrongness of the world we live in,” and I really couldn’t agree more. Though, in some way, there is no wrong or right, there is just existence as such, on a certain level we are beings that need a framework to live within. Some frames work better than others, and some are utterly destructive because they are dysfunctional from the start:
“It has never been more clear to me that the Guild of Psychiatry is one of the greatest threats to a soul’s journey, perhaps simply because there is no acknowledgement of the soul. This is why I believe that avoiding and coming off of psychiatric medications is the greatest form of initiation to self that exists in the West today.”
An article worth reading, an author worth following.
– “The situation is certainly going from bad to worse. At this rate, the water will last for only the next 90 days in most places. We are taking all possible measures, but irrigation is perhaps the last thing on our minds now as we need to save water for all other purposes […] The [Kerala] government decided to, for the first time ever, impose a water rationing system across households and industries.”“Farmers in Mandya district, part of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam ayacut area [Karnataka], have failed to harvest even a single paddy crop this year.”[In Tamil Nadu], “around 40 farmers protested outside the Trichy collector’s office, holding dead rats in their mouths, stating that over 47 farmers had committed suicide in the state in the last two months. [Chief minister] Panneerselvam declared all 32 districts drought-affected […] with the deficit [rainfall] ranging from 35% to 81%”“The numbers in the three states have raised alarm bells everywhere, and what is even more worrying is what they indisputably portend — the coming water wars that will stem from Tamil Nadu’s dependence on its neighbours.”
This is just for starters. We didn’t have a Blue Ocean Event yet, and we have merely seen a 1.6°C rise in global average temperature.
People need to be prepared, carefully, to expect this, and worse, to extend into the forseeable future, and to find ways to live on less. And not just in India — also in all other countries in the world, especially the industrialised regions. No one is going to deliver food into the cities when farmers are starving, themselves.
Whether our lives are predetermined or rather change their course according to our actions, is a question that has never been answered. The latter might trigger a chain of events, though, that is indistinguishable from deterministic fate. Like this:
Scientists have found out that carbon dioxide takes decades to have an impact on Earth’s average temperature. Today’s global average temperature is the result of carbon emissions back in the 20th century, and they already triggered seventy or more self-reinforcing feedback loops that increase temperatures further, without us having to push. A rise by 6C is already locked in and that means, our food base is as good as dead, and so are we.
Our worst onslaught against the previous climate equilibrium is yet to come, though — the even higher carbon emissions of the last few decades, and we are still continuing the pollution.
The sum total of our actions has driven the planet far beyond the treshold of habitability for humans; extinction is a done deal. I can only hope that this is not a problem for anyone. We all got our daily lives to live, deals to make, appointments to take, and scrape up some money for paying the carbon tax on our farts. Near-term human extinction comes somehow inconvenient, which is why many Americans tend to deny climate change. Europeans, ever so energy-efficient, don’t waste their time on denial; they just refrain from thinking the facts through to their very end, while the rest of the world truly doesn’t know what is in store for us. But ignorance is no excuse. Cling together, swing together, and we are just dead men walking.
“All individual organisms die. When the last individual of a species dies, the species is extinct. All species go extinct. Although there is no reasonable counter to these obvious statements, most people refuse to believe humans will be extinct in the near future. In this death-denying, death-defying, omnicidal culture, the thought of our own death—much less our own extinction—is a bit too much for the typical citizen to bear.” —Guy McPherson, Extinction dialogs„So when people dismiss global warming as “doomsday” they are doubly wrong. Firstly, they ridicule those who see how serious this situation is (using language of the absurd to dismiss it). And secondly, they presume the collapse-of-the-future won’t happen — when in reality it already did.“ —Joe Brewer in Extra Newsfeed, 9.1.2017