Universalism as power (Yurugu series #4)

Frantz Fanon

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]

Throughout the elaborations of this series it shows that universal values take a problematic position in the matrix of European civilization. We believe that values, such as “freedom,” “equality,” “humanism,” “rationality,” etc., are not just the values of our culture; we claim their universal validity, i.e., other peoples must naturally want them and abide by them.

This expectation plays a role in international relations, when our so-called Western “community of shared values” demands of other governments that they respect the civil rights of citizens. Very few governments squarely rebuke that notion, among them China which holds that her culture functions in different ways. Now China is a nuclear power, a state of more than one billion people which cannot be bullied into submission. Other nations for most part cannot afford open rebellion against “universal” values. They usually resort to paying lip service when they rather tend to disagree.
Think of the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”in 1948: “Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote”[Wikipedia
It’sa case study of cultural falsehood in which neither Mao’s China (aye vote) nor the Apartheid state of South Africa (abstained) nor the autocratic regime of Caríasin Honduras (no vote) dared to disagree. In each of these and all othercases the intent to disregard civil & human rights was clear from before the declaration’s coming into effect. Then why did nobody vote “nay”?

As Marimba Ani explained in her introduction to the book Yurugu. An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior,

The secret Europeans discovered early in their history is that culture carries rules for thinking, and that if you could impose your culture on your victims you could limit the creativity of their vision, destroying their ability to act with will and intent and in their own interest. (Yurugu, p1)

Lip service works fine when it comes to adhering “universal ethical values,” as globalized Western civilization is not based on their proclaimed values; those in power heavily rely on them for veiling their true intents from the general population both inside and outside of their immediate sphere of influence.

Within the logic of European humanism one can talk about “morality” that is not reflected in behavior. One is considered to be highly moral if the language that one uses is couched in the syntax of abstraction and of universality; that is, of disinterest. This makes no sense in other cultures where morality is concerned with behavior only and is meaningless unless it is indicative of a behavioral norm. Which is the more “human” – the way of life that dictates respectful behavior or the one that attempts to encourage an “abstract affection for humanity at large,” which has no relationship to behavior and to which the individual cannot relate? (Yurugu, p543)

Well, the answer seems obvious to me. In the same way, I have no doubt about freedom, equality, and brotherhood, as defined by our culture, being just carrots on a stick, meant to give hope in the light of an everlasting enslavement, inequality, and competition which are intrinsic “qualities” of Western civilization from its very beginning.
I know that words like “freedom” do have a deeper meaning, or else they would not have inspired widespread revolutions; yet the values can never come to true actualization under the paradigm of the forked tongue. As the French of the late 18th century acted from the same basic assumptions as the parasitic elite they overthrew it is no wonder their revolution so quickly turned into immense bloodshed, devouring its own children.
Fanon says in his famous testament which we also find quoted within Yurugu:

Europe talks… and kills. And while Fanon, like Marima Ani, speaksto people of African origin, the same logic goes for us Europeans (I assume here that most, or all, of my readers are of Caucasian origin, or, like many people of colour today, live by the same basic “universal” values). Our liberation must start with noticing the harmful European asili, the core of the dominant culture, then continue by its wholesale rejection and its replacement by an asili of sanity.

We cannot mobilize for effective resistance to our physical destruction unless we are ideologically liberated. What impedes that liberation is cultural imperialism. European “universalism” and its attendant spurious “humanism” are very dangerous and effective forms of European cultural imperialism.

Universalism, when translated scientifically, becomes objectification. The illusion of objectivity promotes the myth of universalistic commitment, that is, it is a stance that disavows political or group interest. It thereby services group interest more subtly by calling it something other than what it is. We can conclude that this universalism semantically represents European value, is not a universally valid goal and, as an “imperative” serves the interest of European cultural imperialism. (Yurugu, p551)

Real revolution, which Jiddu Krishnamurti so famously coined as a term, is not concerned with people taking to the streets, in the first place; it is a revolution of the mind – not in order to fill it with new contents, but to make different use of human consciousness. Translated into everyday behaviour, we would livein closely interrelated community, rather than talk about community in terms of a collection of individuals (as in, European Community, United Nations, Facebook community etc.), with similar implications for other words like “prosperity,” “democracy,” “brotherhood,” “peace,” “love,” and so forth, which, today, are merely hollow shells, shallow concepts being invokedwithout consequence.

[next article in the series]

* Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), photograph taken by Pacha J. Willka, Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Frantz Fanon*

Leave this Europe where th

How to identify imperialistic thought (Yurugu series #2)

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]

With all the many groups of people and their many ideas on what it means to live a good life, it has become increasingly harder to tell who are the ones we would like to identify with, help along, and promote in their efforts to make this world a better place. With so many people lying through closed teeth, so many others pretending to be someone they are not, and with yet so many others not understanding the implications of their own words, how can we tell the real deal from fake and delusion?
The answer could be something like this: look out for the imperialist mindset.

Why is this important?

European rationalistic ideology has “created” a particular kind of person who can be expected to behave in certain characteristic ways. If the uniqueness to the culture is not understood, the positive possibilities of other cultures will get lost, and, whether consciously or not, this is a thoroughly Eurocentric objective. For this reason, we assume the particularity of the European form and therefore the need to explain its development, not as the result of some “universal” process, but by understanding its asili[cultural core] – a unique combination of factors that in circular relationship generate the personalities and ideological commitments that form the influencing matrix.

This explanation is all the more compelling since Europeans represent an extreme minority culture. It is the realization that Europe is in fact a culture in which imperial domination of others does indeed become a “comprehensive world-view” that is important. This is unique in the world and the characteristics (themes) of European culture – its “rationalism,” violence, and lack of spirituality – are not merely isolated pathologies; rather these characteristics are linked to each other in a developmental matrix (asili) that is itself “pathological” in the context of human societies.

(Marimba Ani: Yurugu. An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior, 1994, p392)

While the drive for power permeates all of European-based thought, philosophy, and religion its presence, in most people, goes unnoticed by its carriers. In any case, apart from rather rare displays of unmasked power tripping, it hides behind a shroud of idealism, altruism, alleged necessity, or “universal” values such as humanism, humanitarianism, equality, freedom and democracy.

Nevertheless, there are quite a few signs by which the imperialist mindset can be identified in somebody’s speech or behaviour, one of which is againstness, which results in kind of a war mentality. When you notice someone pointingtheir rhetoric against evil politicians andmad scientists, professing to be Anti-this orAnti-that, concludingthat a certain group of people or certain circumstances were the cause of all evil and need to be singled out and fought against, exterminated even, you may already be on to recognizing the imperialist mindset’s workings.

Saito Musashi-bo Benkei,
the Buddhist warrior monk
But be careful: there is also such a thing as legitimate, productive criticism, a legitimate form of liberating rebellion, and the spirit of the consciousness warrior as described by Joanna Macy and others. Today, I will not go into describing what they are about. Instead, I want to point out in relatively simple terms how to identify the imperialist mindset. Here we go:

1) Differentiation
As a first step, the imperialist mindset is looking for differences in opinion, clothing, preferences, size, religion, or anything else people (and other beings)may differ in. There is no problem with this in itself. People do have different skin colour, accents, opinions, possessions, etc. The imperialist mindset is actuallydifferent from everyother mindset, and any serious analysis must point this out. Yet people also have many things in common; basically we are the same, or even one. And this is what the imperialist mindset denies when it takes the next three steps, which are almost always veiled in moral statements or rational argument:

2) Separation and Othering

In the second step, the imperialist mindset seeks to separate itself from the ‘Other’, claiming to not be (like)that, and to overemphasize differences to the degree where differencesovershadow any common ground onemight have with the ‘Other’.

3) Devaluation

In a third step, the imperialist mindset devalues the ‘Other’, makes it a less-than-human object, seeking not only to compare its ownvalues with those ofothers, but to devalue and negate the latter. So we could also talk about objectification and dehumanization.

4) Crusading
As the ‘Other’ has become something bad, a less than human object, there is morally no problem with trying to control, oppress, or extinguish it. The ‘Other’ can now be fought against by all means available, from ridiculing to verbal character assassination, to torture, to literal slaughtering of its body.
Daniele Ganser. Photo: Ingo Wösner
Daniele Ganser, a Swiss historian and peace researcher, describes the process in three steps only, “Teilen – Abwerten – Töten,”(Divide, Devalue, Kill) when he talks about how governments, with the help of mainstream media, convince us of the necessity of warfare against “terrorists”, “dictators”, and other evil-doers of the day. In short, this is Ancient Rome’s two-step programme divide et impera, but I found it important to indicate that its first necessary step is differentiation, that differentiation is also a necessary step for us in evaluating a situation, and that it can have a positive effect when diversity inspires us to create a new synthesis of pathways and views.
Were I to say, To liberate our communities from imperialist rule (the enemy without), and our minds from imperialist thought (the enemy within), we must destroy Elitist agency, you should by now be able to identify such a statement as speaking from an imperialist mindset. This is what we need to become conscious about. What we seek is not elimination, but deep understanding that inspires us to act from a different place. Marimba Ani who could be described as a warrior for decolonization and African self-determination says about that place:

While one functions pragmatically within a profane reality, that “reality” is never thought to be the essence of meaning. In spiritual conceptions there is always a striving for the experience of a deeper reality that joins all being. Learning is the movement from superficial difference to essential sameness (Na’im Akbar). This “sameness” is spirit; beyond and ontologically prior to matter. It is the basis for human value. One’s spirituality involves the attempt to live and structure one’s life on national, communal, and personal level in accordance with universal spiritual principles. (Yurugu, p368; emphasis mine)

 [next article]

P.S., Bébé Vundermann has written a companion article titled, A Yurugu Mirror & the Role of Consciousness Warriors for our Time, which I recommend reading.

In Churchill’s words

“No man is free if he fears death. But the minute you proffer the fear, at that momentyou are free.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

When people speak of Gandhi and Martin Luther King with great reverence, as role models for successful non-violent resistance, what is often being overlooked is the fact that not only did those resistance leaders apply counter-intuitive methods and not only did they speak with great charisma. What made those protests successful back then was the protesters’ complete determination to their goals, a determination so complete they would go to great length and would take all kinds of personal discomforts and disadvantages on themselves, willing even to go to death for their conviction. The symbols of freedom they created and held up have not just been mere declarations of preference, taste, ideas, or moral indignation. It was the protesters’ perseverance in complete determination to their goals that gave power to those symbols, and only through determination was it that they were able to touch the hearts and minds of their fellow men, and inspired them to support their plea.

The situation today is of similar urgency, yet we don’t see that kind of determination and perseverance much these days. Have we given up the struggle for social and environmental justice because we’re tired? Is it because we don’t believe in our cause any longer? Are we, as a society, as mankind, too fragmented, too deeply lost in identity politics, in selfish strive for personal happiness? Is it that we believe, instead, in a materialistic world view which has all but killed life’s spirit within us? It might be one of those, or, more likely, all of them together. The Gandhis and Luther-Kings of today run by the name of Vandana Shiva, or Arik Ascherman, or Ahed Tamimi, people who did not surrender to injustice, did not get scared into silence by threat of violence, will continue to speak up for what they know is right, and continuously take action in favour of their proclaimed goals. It’s not that their number was small – it isn’t. What is missing, though, is the support on the streets, with the determination to withstand anything it takes to end the evil system which is devouring the world.

As a protest, Standing Rock has been standing out because there was an urgency to it, and an international solidarity rarely seen these days. Standing Rock has also been a complete disaster, not because they’ve been overrun, but because there has been no public outcry, no follow-up activities, no spreading of civil disobedience across the US and other industrialized countries.

In the same way, Occupy and its sympathizers have failed to continually block and boycott the powers they were up against. It’s like the late sixties all over again, like the stone-throwing student protester Joschka Fischer who, thirty years later, as Germany’s first Green Party foreign minister, in breach of international law, sent soldiers to Serbia, into the country’s first war after WW II. This transition from fringe opposition to conformity just happens so much faster now. All of us, we’re back to work; all of us, we’re populating shops and malls and sales, as if our indignation and our lust for something new had been just a passing phase and as if our continued functioning as cogwheels in the Machine didn’t contribute to the very injustices we’ve been pointing out. As if it weren’t our lives that are at stake now. Or aren’t they? Is this just me making up worst-case scenarios or is our planet actually getting dismantled right at this moment? And if this is so, would we let ourselves get shepherded to the butcher’s block, or would we rather stand up and shout at the top of our lungs, “I shall not surrender! We will never surrender!”, just like the people of Palestine do in their seventy-year struggle against Israeli occupation and apartheid policy?

I’m not saying that, “if everyone had joined the protests the problem would have been solved”, for the fact remains that this kind of logic doesn’t work, neither hypothetically nor actually. Still, there lingers the question why, at a time when our survival as individuals, as a community, and as a species stands under immediate threat, our eyes and ears stay closed, our minds stay numb, our mouths stay shut, our hands stay deeply stuffed within our pockets.

Is it because we’ve sold our bodies to the man for a little bit of dough, we’ve sold our minds to the establishment for a little bit of hope, and we’ve sold our spirit to the likes of Adam Smith and Richard Dawkins, for the promise that selfishness will continue to make the world go round?

If you plan on not letting yourself get silently led into the dark, bloody night of the slaughterhouse, your time for making a statement is exactly now, and you better make it a matter of life and death – because that’s what it actually is.

The Empire Express, 4 August 2017

Editorial

The reason the ‘Train of Civilization’ cartoon works so well as a running gag is civilization’s actually being a train going in a relatively straight line from a beginning to an end at an ever-increasing speed. We are bridging gaps and penetrating obstacles to keep it going where it’s heading. This behavioral linearity and this eschatological directedness is mirrored in the inability to explore off-track territory and to turn back to previous, more functional ways of being. The machine is not going to stop speeding up until we are running out of building materials for bridges, or are simply too fast to stay on track, or lose our ability to tunnel into reality’s fabric. In any case, the train of civilization is going to catastrophically crash, either by jumping tracks, falling off of a cliff, or hitting a wall at full speed.

Most activists and their supporters and sympathizers may have a sense of such an event coming up rather sooner than later, but how close are we actually, and how will we respond when, finally, the day has arrived?
This recent collection of links has its focus for most part on how to face this world in all its beauty and decay, and whether there is something left for humans to be done. We get diverse answers from the Pentagon, Brian Calvert, Keith Farnish, and Confucius, among others. Words like ‘apocalypse’, ‘dystopian’, ‘collapse’, and ‘doom’ are popping up a lot, and SF author William Gibson has an explanation for this trend (see below), but the presence of such a word in an article does not keep most writers from promoting an active stance. Let yourself get surprised. The differences in view between the authors presented here are quite telling and I hope they help you make up your mind about where to find your place in the scenery.

Ongoing Assault

The end of the world is universal shorthand for whatever we don’t want to happen. We have very little control over anything much at all, individually, so fantasies of staving off the end of the world are fairly benign fantasies of increased agency.”
Are we doomed? Let’s have a conversation – Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org, 20170727
Even if – in all unlikelihood – we tackled every single one of our many converging crises with a technological fix civilization may still crash because of unintended side effects to those fixes. And there is no technical solution for social inequality anyway. So the lifestyle we are used to is basically toast. But that doesn’t mean we are doomed, says Heinberg. If we collapsed consciously there’d be something left to rebuild upon. This conversation, though, is happening among few only.
Headline says it all: just your normal climate insanity being confirmed by dumbstruck scientists discovering that Earth’s systems are unraveling faster than expected. Make no mistake, it’s going to pick up even more speed and will exceed the damage projected in this study.
Withdraw,” Kingsnorth advised, “so that you can allow yourself to sit back quietly and feel, intuit, work out what is right for you and what nature might need from you. Withdraw because refusing to help the machine advance — refusing to tighten the ratchet further — is a deeply moral position.”
The unhappy ape – Ben Kadel, Medium, 20170720
The irony is that a raft of recent research in positive psychology has basically rediscovered everything you already learned in kindergarten: money can’t buy happiness; it’s better to give than to receive; bullies are actually scared wounded souls. Science has confirmed what most traditions already teach about how to live a happy life […] Look around at the excesses and the misery, side-by-side. Look at Trump. This is what it looks like when you only care about yourself.”
Then what is science good for, when the things it teaches us about ourselves and the world just confirm what’s commonplace, and when the technology it underlies alienates us from ourselves and the world? The article doesn’t provide an answer, but maybe that’s also not necessary. The path it promotes may lead you all by itself to some insight about the implications of civilized life.
Not in front of the children: liberal meditations of the apocalypse – Chris Shaw, Wrong Kind of Green, 20170719
The nature, problems, targets, and solutions to climate change are being discussed among middle class white men mainly. They bear the mark of cultural narcissism and fail to involve both decision makers and ordinary folks. A Scottish experiment came to interesting results when breaking these limits.
Men unlike gods – John Michael Greer, Ecosophia, 20170719
Similar to Shaw (see above) JMG explores how the myths of a select few drive the development of societies – into the abyss. Awareness of the drivers may become essential when being confronted with historical patterns.
Our study suggests, first, that thinning permafrost in a warmer climate may not only result in the frequently reported and discussed increased emission of biogenic CH4, but also in increased emissions of geologic CH4, that is currently still trapped under thick, continuous permafrost, as new emission pathways open due to thawing permafrost.”
Which is to say that the findings of Shakhova et al., from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, are being confirmedby research results fromother parts of the Arctic. Subsea Methane deposits are already in the process of breaking open, about to release significant amounts of greenhouse gas.The authors conclude that the results indicate that geologic CH4emissions may contribute strongly to the permafrost-carbon-climate feedback, especially in permafrost areas vulnerable to thawing and therefore warrant much more attention.”
It is to be noted that the data has been collected in 2012/13 already. For an easier to understand description of the issue, read Robin Westenra’s article Methane seeps out as Arctic permafrost starts to resemble Swiss cheese.”
The planet is warming. And it’s okay to be afraid – Margaret Klein Salamon, Common Dreams, 20170717
While I think both Mann and Holthaus are brilliant scientists who identified some factual problems in the article [“The uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells], I strongly disagree with their statements about the role of emotions—namely, fear—in climate communications and politics. I am also skeptical of whether climate scientists should be treated as national arbiters of psychological or political questions, in general. I would like to offer my thoughts as a clinical psychologist […] I hope that every single American, every single human experiences such a crisis of conscience. It is the first step to taking substantial action. Our job is not to protect people from the truth or the feelings that accompany it—it’s to protect them from the climate crisis.”
Brilliant!
There are only two elements here that I disagree with:
a) “dire discussions of the climate crisis should be accompanied with a discussion of solutions.”— What if there are no solutions, or if the problem-solution dichotomy is invalid? That would be part of the truth, wouldn’t it?
It is not the duty of Cassandra to discuss escape routes, but to point at the things she alone seems to be able to see.
b) Salamon’s “Victory plan” is a top-down approach requiring all the world’s political and economic leaders, and especially their superiors to mend their wicked ways. Hand on heart: how likely is that? Are you willing to bet your life – and all life on the planet – on the outside chance that this is going to happen?
While the author correctly proposes that for kicking people into action truth must be told, she basically reduces them to consumers of solutions that Cassandra and the world’s leaders are asked to provide. One more example of why someone being able to perform a brilliant situation analysis may not necessarily be as able deducing suitable actions.
Apart from repeating the “2100” myth Wallace-Wells’ “The uninhabitable Earth” has done a great job at bringing runaway climate change to public awareness. The hysterical outcry across the whole spectrum confirms as much. The rapidly warming planet will tell the truth about the time frame.
Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’ – Nafeez Ahmed, Insurge Intelligence, 20170717
The US military knows a few things the government denies, but its strategy proposes more of the same elements that brought about the crisis of Empire in the first place.
This is a war, then, between US-led capitalist globalization, and anyone who resists it. And to win it, the document puts forward a combination of strategies: consolidating the U.S. intelligence complex and using it more ruthlessly; intensifying mass surveillance and propaganda to manipulate popular opinion; expanding U.S. military clout to ensure access to ‘strategic regions, markets, and resources’.”
The military, of course, wants to justify the budget it got allocated and the actions it is about to take against perceived enemies of US national security. There may be an element of exaggeration in this report, but they might as well understate some of the trouble the government doesn’t want the general public to be aware of.
Simultaneous harvest failures in key regions would bring global famine.
‘We have found that we are not as resilient as we thought when it comes to crop growing,’ said Kirsty Lewis, science manager for the Met Office’s climate security team.”
Not news. Just for the records. Another July article reported an acutal 25% loss in olives and an acutal 75% loss in grains from Italy and Spain. That’s a currently happening, observed, real life decline in food supply, due to climate change, and similar events have been reported from all continents.
The truth is that these other beings wouldn’t need to be saved if civilization weren’t killing them. The truth is that they can’t be saved so long as civilization is killing the planet. And the truth is that in this culture there are certain topics which must never be discussed, certain self-perceptions and perceived entitlements which are never negotiable.
We would rather kiss ourselves and the entire planet good-bye than to look honestly at what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will, so long as we have this supremacist mindset, continue to do.”
Voluntary poverty as a way of life is millennia old. Wise men know for a long time already that material wealth has its downsides, especially regarding peace of mind and its consequences on human behaviour. It’s true, “some lifestyle choices matter more than others”, yet one has to be careful with jumping to conclusions. Passing judgments is easy, though not at all helpful when deciding how to deal with runaway climate change.
Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t. The author uses the “BP statistical review of world energy” to graphically emulate the information about how much fuel the world is burning or, in other words, whether anthropogenic carbon emissions actually stopped rising. The bad news is, they didn’t. The good news might be, from my understanding, that emissions from natural feedback loops were not as severe as thought – which doesn’t mean they haven’t been kicked off already. But I guess this doesn’t change a tiny thing about our collective inability to stop the runaway train.
The buildup of tensions between US-led countries and Russia comes neither surprisingly nor accidently.
At times, I have found myself performing activism more than doing activism. I’m exhausted, and I’m not even doing the real work I am committed to do. It is a terrible thing to be afraid of my own community members, and know they’re probably just as afraid of me. Ultimately, the quest for political purity is a treacherous distraction for well-intentioned activists.”
A call for tolerance towards different paths rather than black&white points of view.

Pearls Before Swine

As a poet with major depression,” the author writes about seeing an owl in chains, I knew these eyes well. These were the eyes of a creature pushed beyond pain into numbness, overwhelmed with despair, and fading into the void. These were eyes I have seen on the street. These were eyes I have seen in zoos, in aquarium tanks, and in cages. These were eyes I have seen in prison, in psyche wards, and at funerals.

I knew these eyes because I have seen them reflected in the mirrors I have peered into before trying to kill myself. I knew these eyes because I have seen them in myself.”

Viewing human mental health through the lens of deep ecology he writes, We are animals and animals are an ongoing process of relationships. When those relationships become impossible, we lose ourselves. I do not believe I go too far when I write, We are no longer human. By weI mean civilized humans who live much like I do.
Confucian-inspired family values: a moral vision for thee 21stcentury – Henry Rosemont Jr, Huffington Post, 20160510
The autonomous individual simply does not exist in our daily life. Confucians view other persons not merely accidental or contingent to my goal of living a full life, they are fundamental to it. My life can only have meaning as I contribute to the meaningfulness of the lives of others, and they to me,” Rob de Laet writes in his summary of Rosemont’s blog. Gratitude, respect, loyalty are important values that when practiced on a daily basis towards all our relations cultivate their own meaning, their own sense of joy and happiness, so this is not some form of altruism or selflessness. In our yearning for a different society built around collaboration rather than competition we may assume that,Each of us comes from a family, and thus the revolution begins at home.
What does the end of our world look like from a Buddhist perspective? What is left to be done?
Those following my blog do almost certainly see that something is profoundly wrong with our set of living arrangements. Some if not all of you may agree that something must be done about it, and that it were basically better for it to go away. You heard me saying that building alternative structures while starving the old system of our contribution — distributed denial of servitude — was the way to go. That does not mean, though, you should fully ignore the system’s doings; knowledge about how it works and how you can extract yourself from its grip may be of vital importance in defining your own paradigm and successfully develop into actually living it. The same information may be important when it comes to a showdown, intentionally or not, between your life plan and society’s plans for you.

“Underminers” is a seminal comprehensive work in this field. The book which is available as a webpage, as a pdf, or in paper meticulously shows how the system undermined human faculties completely, but also how we in turn may undermine its hold on us and bring it crashing down.

Don’t think about going into noble lines of work, think only of doing what you do best. Because that’s where you’re going to make the most difference in the world.
Action is the antidote to despair. The author of “Ishmael”on the question what every single person on Earth could do.

Cartoon

The train of civilization
“Waiter! There’s a fly in my soup”

Famous Last Words

Humans are not like mice!

Return from Friesenheim

Some thoughts on ‘the other’ and on ‘being different’

The following is a synthesis of some thoughts collected at a three-days discussion at the Friesenheimer Sommeruniversität last week-end and at another discussion simultaneously happening at the facebook group “The Six Blind and the Elephant.”
I think it is necessary to point out that, if we are actually desiring human unity, the path to its realization cannot imply divisiveness and fighting-against. In my community we are talking about ‘unity in diversity’, meaning, we accept that we are born, and have evolved, differently; all of us are diverse expressions of the One, and it doesn’t take for all of us to look the same, think the same, act the same. We are already one, whether we notice this or not. In the early stages of becoming aware of it, as an intellectual concept only, there is sometimes the desire to manipulate or force others into complying with this concept. What if we got everybody, every single individual, to accepting this idea? But that’s not unity, is it? We’d get a collection of seperate beings at best, mental tyranny at worst, so there is no use in this.
The Universal Consciousness oberves itself through the varied lenses of our individuality. It laughs at our attempts to stuff parts of its infiniteness into arbitrary boxes arranged into random hierarchies of ‘better’ and ‘worse’, and it is amused in the same way about efforts to counter the unfolding fragmentation with levelling differences down. Both movements, discrimination of differences and denying differences, are an expression of the notion that we are separate, independent beings.

Mountain Chief
listening to recording
with Frances Densmore
1916 (public domain)
The path to unity leads through acceptance of, and respect for, our many differences, our diversity. There are no two people on the planet, no two stones, no two trees, no two bacteria, or even two electrons that are the same. There is always something to distinguish two entities by, if only by their position in space. There are things that make us alike, though, which allows us to say, This is a human who is sharing common human traits, and this is a tree showing similar characteristics like others of its kind. To focus on the set of attributes which makes each of the readers of this essay a human being means to focus on our fundamental unity as humankind. But to value those attributes over other sets of attributes separates us from other beings. And to value certain characteristics like white skin, leftist ideology, or middle-range income, higher than other characteristics, again, results in separation. Yes, we are diverse; but it’s the judgment of our differences as higher or lower, better or worse, that sets us apart and makes us think we were incompatible with each other.
As for ‘narcissists’, ‘thieves’, ‘destroyers’ and other groups we have identified as ‘problematic’, it helps when we apply different language. Instead of sticking a label to somebody and thus saying that eg. thiefing is a certain person’s particular character, we could say that s/he has stolen, or that s/he has shown thiefing behaviour; this small change in grammar changes our own reality big time and allows us to believe that this person has other character traits as well. S/he is not only about stealing and s/he has the capacity to change their way. Instead of prohibiting (and finally eliminating the ‘problem’, and the person with it) we may ask, which unfulfilled need drives this person or group to acting as they do, and what can I do to help meeting this need differently.
This, of course, takes some time and is a matter of personal interaction; it can rarely be achieved on a large scale with thousands or milliions of people, though a supportive environment may help with fostering change. On the other hand, from what I understand, it is important to know that manipulating somebody into doing something, the top-down approach, and the demand for immediate satisfaction are part of how the world arrived at its current state. Do you see how all of this has implications for what we can or cannot do to establish a more balanced, harmoneous situation?
When we perceive ourselves as different from, let’s say a ‘thief’, or when we are being labelled ‘thieves’ , it always takes a reference point perceived as ‘normal’. But that makes the ‘other’ and the ‘normal’ obverse and reverse faces of oneand the same leaf. So, in all our diversity we are basically one. We could say that the common denominator of being normal and of being different is being — what an amazing realization to have…

To the organizers and participants of the Friesenheim event, I’d like to express my thanks for the many questions put, help offered, food shared, kind words spoken, and inspirations given, and all of that so freely. This was one great gathering of people willing to support each other in our search for truth and freedom, and I guess most, if not all of us agree that there is an intimate connection between the two.

I’d love to offer those who’d enjoy to continue our discourse on ‘Being Different’ — contact me by commenting to this blog or by writing me a mail. Marianne and Reimer know my address and may pass it on.

On another note, a few copies of my booklet on life in rural Tamil Nadu are still available for free. Would you like to have one?

V for Violence

Not so long ago an Ecuadorian told me that he appreciated one thing about the dictatorship that once ruled his home country — things got done; instead of chaos there was order, instead of dispute there was ‘peace’. My grandparents and other members of their generation used to say that not everything had been bad about Hitler’s Germany; there had been full employment for everyone, the riots in the streets that were so common during the Weimar time would have stopped, and there had been the Autobahns, of course, of which everybody was proud. This perception overlooks that comfort came at a high price — the misery and death of thousands, even millions of perceived enemies of the regime. Yes, you could live quite comfortably at that time, have a family, a job, a home while your freedoms were stripped from you and you were lied to at a grand scale which of course you knew and accepted as necessary. Others, though, had to pay for your wellbeing. Full employment came through the remilitarization of the country, in preparation for a war that cost sixty million lives, the highways were built by political prisoners, and the riots went away because they happened only in order to destabilize the state, to pave the way for tyranny.
Germans today say, Thank God we are living in a democracy, we have everything we need, and there hasn’t been a war in decades. Now, like then, it is others that pay the price for our wellbeing — other humans as well as non-humans. Now, like back then, or even more so, the perceived benefits of the regime sugarcoat the tremendous violence and fear that constitute everybody’s lives. And now, like in the not-so-good old times, we simply deny the fact that this is so. Every German, back then, helped perpetuate the tyranny through their thoughts and deeds, by just doing their jobs, by obeying immoral orders, by repeating the propaganda in their conversations, by shopping politically correct, by voting for the right guy, and by keeping their mouths shut in the face of injustice, and that has not changed the slightest bit since.
What has changed, though, is the scale at which these things happen — now globally — and the lengths at which both governments and subjects go to cover up the violence their comfort is based upon and comes along with. As violence has become omnipresent, this can only succeed through its normalization. Both those who say they cannot see any violence in their environment, and those who have a dislike for their situation but don’t know what to do — listen, read. I got something for you.
made by Banksy
Violence is not just wars and molotov cocktails and truncheons. It is not just the blood and guts and gore you see, either.
Violence is built into the fabric of our daily lives, as structural violence. And even that is not the whole story.
Violence is in the food you eat, not only the obviously murderous meat, but the greens as well which get beaten out of the ground with the help of pesticides and poisonous fertilizers that kill the soil; Daniel Quinn calls it totalitarian agriculture. Yet food violence does not stop there; day by day we ingest up to one hundred thousand different chemicals that ‘accidentally’ have entered the ‘products’ and we never get told about it. Those in power think you don’t need to know because it’s not all that bad. Maybe it ain’t, if we ignore the ever rising number of cancer cases. Food violence continues in the notion that you must not eat if you do not pay, or you will go to prison. But who cares after all the violence dished out right from the start.
Violence is in our drinking water, treated with chemicals, often bottled in plastics made of oil. Violence is having to pay for a sip of water.
Violence is in our politics that divides us into left and right and reduces us to fanboys and fangirls of cardboard characters who verbally beat each other up. Politics is the science of dehumanizing the ‘other’ so they can justify ripping them off, exploiting them, and, in case they resist, killing them in the name of national security.
Violence is in our relationshipswhich for most of us are nothing else but contracts. Give me what I want, then I give you what you want. If you don’t agree I’ll take it away from you anyway; unless I can’t, then just go to hell.
Violence is in the law and its thousands of paragraphs that rule into your life. You don’t agree, you go to jail.
Violence is in the constitutionthat makes you a subject of the state, thus takes away your freedom so it can pretend to generously providing it to you in the first place.
Violence is in the mass mediathat tell you lies about what is going on in the world and keep you hynotized with manufactured information and entertainment that have no relevance to you.
Violence is in education, the schools you must attend, sitting still for hours that pile up to years, the useless curriculum you must learn while at the same time you don’t know how to take a shit outside the million-dollars sewage treatment systems. Violence is the marks you get and the detention you receive. Does getting pressed into a standard mold for the sake of making a good wage slave of you violate your well-being? Hmmm.
Violence is in the books you read which normalize everyday violence and banalize it to pointless stories. The same goes for films and music.
Our whole culture in all its aspects is violent. We are all sick with it.
Violence is the deprivation of the ability to create and repair items by our own hands.
Violence is the right denied to copy and modify pieces of art or technology.
Violence is in the polluted air of our cities.
Make no mistakes, violence is everywhere.
This daily struggle for money, the rat race and the competitive dog-eat-dog life are getting us depressed, enraged, hateful, aggressive, narcissistic, drug-addicted, obsessive, split-minded, and/or we suffer from attention deficit. Who do you turn to for help?
The shrink and the loony bin who tell you that it’s your own fault that you are mad, when all you ever wanted was to better adapt to this violently insane society. Come get your detention spell in a sanitarium, with lots of colourful pills that knock you out, kill every coherent thought and make a good student / worker / consumer / tax payer / citizen of you again.
And our hospitals are no better, with their suppression of symptoms and their war against germs, led with chemical weapons that make you sicker than you have ever been before. Medical science is guaranteeing as much.
Violence is in science when it claims there is no other truth than scientific fact, that there is no sacred dimension, no meaning in life, no soul, and that love is just a bunch of chemicals and neurons in your brain. Most scientists claim that they were not responsible for the violent use of the outcome of their research through technology. I don’t know if this can be called violence but it sure is a sign of cowardice, and it is outright wrong.
So violence is in technology; the machine guns and bombs, yes, and also the vending machines, the cell phones, and the tv sets which disconnect us from each other and thus destroy our every relationship;
Violence is at your workplaceto which you are a human resource only; remember the many times when you wouldn’t go to work in the morning, but you did anyway, for fear of getting laid off. Remember the many times when you didn’t dare to tell the truth, for the same reason.
Violence is in the economyto which you are a consumer only, and to which the whole world is just a pile of stuff to be extracted for profit.Think of the many jobs that do not get done because there is no money in it, and the many destructive things done just for the sake of profit.
Talking about money, that’s violencein the form of paper bills and computer digits, the debt of somebody in a Ponzi scheme who will never be able to pay back and thus will lose everything to the bank.
Last not least, violence is in the state that treats you as a subject and a tax payer.
The German word for violence, Gewalt, is contained in the word for the state’s authority, Staatsgewalt, and in the word for checks and balances, Gewaltenteilung. Language establishes a connection between governance and violence and sort of justifies the structural and also the physical brutality from above that runs by the name of ‘monopoly of legitimate use of force’. In its German translation, Gewaltmonopol, we have yet another phrase which includes violence. You can’t get more explicit about it.
As the state is not a person but simply a supersized group that consists of individuals, it is not far-fetched to say that the violence of the state is an amplification of the violence in all of us. I believe this has ramifications for how to go about it.

A bus and a truck: The multiple crises of civilization

Last December, I posted a concise explanation on the state of affairs regarding abrupt climate change – Deep into the spiral – and I concluded that the drastic rise in global average temperature might do homo sapiens in from this year on, due to the inability to grow enough food for our overshot world population. Plenty of research supports this statement. First signs of such a food crisis are failed crops in the US, Australia, Western Europe, India, and several African states within recent months. At the same time we see massive die-offs of sea animals big and small in all the oceans. As the perpetually rising temperatures and ever more numerous weird weather events might not allow for a return to normal, the ensuing mass starvation will wreck societies around the planet, thus leading to the collapse of global industrial civilization. With 435 nuclear reactors in operation and 1200 basins for cooling spent fuel rods, the loss of human capacity as well as the disappearence of the fossil-fuel-driven grid energy for maintaining these structures operational for another ten, or even hundreds of years, will result in desastrous nuclear explosions followed by catastrophic decline of all life on Earth.
Some governments might try and capture some vital resources beforehand, staking out their claims with ABC weapons. Needless to say that this would shorten humanity’s lifetime even further.

One can regard humanity’s multiple crises from many angles, social, environmental, cultural…, all of which point to cataclysmic events in the near future, certainly within my generation’s lifetime. Based on a report by HSBC bank, investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed wrote on 6 Jan. 2017 that we should Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018 because, “80% of the world’s oil has peaked, and the resulting oil crunch will flatten the economy”. While he might have the date wrong, we should ask in the light of modern research when, almost fifty years after the Club of Rome’s analysis, industrial civilization is going to hit the wall that the limits to growth posit. With the converging crises in mind, what is the timeframe we are talking about?
Recently I came across a study that described the thermodynamics of our culture’s energy consumption and their interaction with financial and economic mechanisms. You need to know that there are no freebies. It takes a certain amount of energy to do what you do. It takes a certain amount of energy to extract oil from the ground. Conventional petroleum originally came at very low energy investment, and that left the lion’s share of energy per barrel for industrial activities. As the world’s industrial productivity increased over time, more inconvenient deposits with lesser and lesser energy yield have been drilled into, and we also saw the decline in conventional oil production happen from 2005/2006 on. More expensive unconventional sources with even lesser energy yield became attractive – speaking tar sands and fracking, among others – but since 2015 they seem to be in decline as well.
So a rising demand hits a declining production. With fossil energy getting sparser, prices should rise, yet the declining harvest of net energy per barrel reduces the value for the customer. Once the energy used for extracting, processing, and transporting equals the energy content of the extracted raw material, it will no longer make sense, both energetically and financially, to pump the stuff, no matter how much we would like to have it.
As carbon is an irreplacable raw material that is needed for packaging, insulation, pesticides, jet fuel, powering of mining machinery, lightweight mechanical parts etc etc, the end of affordable oil will bring industrial activities to a sudden halt. Even so-called renewables and alternative energy sources are depending on oil for parts.
Read the details in, End of the “Oilocene”: The Demise of the Global Oil Industry and of the Global Economic System as we know it. 22 Jan. 2017 by FEASTA, the Foundation for Economics of Sustainability.
The bottom line is, energetically, 2021 is very likely the year we hit the wall, and again, political mistakes and military acts of desparation might both shorten the remaining time and worsen the consequences.
See the bus’ destination? [cc by Seattle Municipal Archives]

While I can follow the line of argument of the study it is hard for me to check the validity of the math. Whether the authors have nailed the date, or not, isn’t so much the point here as the fact that the multitude of crises converging on us are an unmistakable sign that our culture, global industrial civilization, is coming to its end, and soon. It is not like we had an awful lot of time to waste. From my understanding, it is late in life, and regardless of what you are intending to do – starting to push back the power of corporations, enjoying your time, or proceeding on the path to awakening – you need to do it right now. Unless we get run over by a bus and a truck, the collapse of civilization is for us to witness, front row & popcorn.

As mentioned above and in previous blog posts, our species is likely to exit the planet shortly after civilization collapses. This is not a question of which countermeasures we employ, which social systems we adopt, or which side in the eternal battle of Good vs Evil you and me are on. We cannot survive without all those species that create oxygen, purify the water, build up soil, and constitute the food chain we depend upon, yet we are utterly destroying those not only directly but by exposing them to an abrupt climatic change that unfolds tenthousand times faster than biological evolution. This is the singularity the techno freaks and futurologists have been talking about, but it’s coming at us from an unexpected angle.
You cannot live in a future that never arrives. Every day, every hour and minute counts. That I personally prepare for collapse before 2020 does not mean I had absolute proof from the data, yet combining all the information I have makes it highly probable to me that impact is imminent. I might be wrong on this account, yet it is an undeniable fact that lifetimes are limited. The recent passing of a beloved one only emphasized the understanding that all we have is just the moment, and that the one thing worth filling it with is love.
So the question remains, what are we going to do with the short time that is left to us? Are we living with urgency? Does it matter to us what we do today – the people we meet, the relationship we have with them, the joy of being alive we feel?
Or are we still working a job we don’t care about, meeting people we despise, and worrying about bills we have to pay? If so –Why?

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.