Truth or the Abyss

The Devil whispers to the Antichrist; detail from Sermons and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, 1501, Orvieto Cathedral

Exploring the Problem of Evil

Part 4/4 of the Auroville & Natural Law series

Obvious lies turned into truth, malpractice purported as state-of-the-art technique, all-encompassing injustice, or the normalization of collective insanity during the past couple of years, they leave many of us speechless. What the hell is it, that plagues us in these times? Isn’t it a bottomless …. evil? Our naive forefathers would have used that word without the slightest hesitation but us 21st-century internet-wisened know-it-all techno cracks, we have a problem with it. Why is that? Is it because it reminds us so much of religious superstition? Of dark fairytale forests logged out of existence long ago? It might be a mistake to deny the existence of Evil, I’ll argue, because although religious scriptures from around the world have a lot to say about the nature of evil the matter is not at all a religious one. It doesn’t require you to believe in any creed specifically, to align yourself with what is true and real about Good and Evil.

Today, on August 15th, 2022, India, and especially Auroville, is celebrating the 150th birthday of Sri Aurobindo. India’s cherished freedom fighter, philosopher and yogi, born by the name of Aurobindo Ghose, and his spiritual companion Mirra Alfassa back in the 1920s founded an ashram in the south Indian city of Pondicherry. Aurobindo developed his “Integral Yoga” philosophy there, a school of thought that teaches the integration of body, mind and spirit aspects of the human existence. He and Alfassa, which he called “the Mother”, were concerned that the convergence of systemic crises, which became pretty obvious after World War I, would lead to a catastrophic collapse of civilization in the mid-term. Aurobindo and Alfassa were neither the first nor the only ones to say so but in their time they were among the few who attributed this existential crisis of our culture to a problem with the mindset, a lack of consciousness, they said.

The ashram and from 1968 on Auroville as well were set up to prepare the human body and mind for taking in the Supramental, as they named it, the highest form of consciousness. The inhabitants of both the ashram and the city were to live a life in the practice of the Integral Yoga, to bring about this transformational goal and to give an example to people all over the world. Alfassa, the Mother, provided guidelines for the architectural setup of Auroville under the usual provisio that the specifics were to be worked out in the light of the most progressed knowledge. From December 2nd, 2021 on, staff appointed to leading positions in the Auroville Foundation by the central government in Delhi used those guidelines to dis-empower the residents, the very key element which ought to work out the conscious transformation. The alleged goal is the quickening-up of building “the City the Earth needs”. Were that true the Foundation bureaucrats would sacrifice the indispensable natural-law preconditions of the Integral Yoga, to build its architectural vessel with brute force.

From observing the Takeover crew’s behaviour it is safe to say that their purported reasons are just pretense. On every single occasion when the Foundation and their supporters took steps they played a foul game while shrouding their actions in pseudo-legal, pseudo-lawful, pseudo-moralistic and pseudo-Aurobindian pretexts. Had laws, morals or the scriptures anything to do with sincere, albeit a bit misguided intentions there would have been no need for ploys, lies, violations of rights and physical violence against those who disagree. Journalist Ashish Kothari, early-on, could rightfully state in one of his pieces,

“Bulldozers knocking down trees and threatening built-up structures at 1 am: such action can only come from a source that has no legitimacy to work during the day.”

What a stunningly clear insight. If only all of us had had it, the Foundation Office would have created much less confusion by means of misinformation and pseudo-lawful violent surprise strikes.

People ought to stay unabashed by those events. In order for us to prevail it takes focus on knowledge of objective Morality and unwavering dedication to the highest form of Truth one has access to. This is why my four-part series on Auroville & Natural Law explained at length 1) the basics of Natural Law, and briefly described how Auroville’s residents’ failure to live by that Law causes social suffering, and 2) some basics of Auroville’s founding principles. The failure of many residents to study and live by those principles deserves an in-depth discussion within the community. There is no question that, should we succeed in reverting the takeover, the very future of our township depends on our collective awakening. This won’t be for consumption by a public, though, which cannot stomach first principles even.

“But what this community, Auroville, is going through has implications that go well beyond the destruction of a few trees and structures, and well beyond even India. There are serious ramifications linked to global trends in cultural and economic authoritarianism.” – Ashish Kothari: Bulldozing a dream? Auroville’s importance as an experiment in alternative living, January 9th, 2022. meer.com

Worse than that. We will see that ramifications reach far beyond global authoritarianism even. “It’s Truth or the Abyss,” the Mother warned all of mankind fifty years ago. What she meant by ‘Truth’ has been described in the second article of this series. In short, it is one of the many terms for That-Which-Is, Ultimate Reality, Universal Consciousness, the Creative Force, the Divine Will, or, if you don’t shy away from a loaded term, God. In the above quote ‘Truth’ is shorthand for recognizing, surrendering to, and serving THAT – or else getting consumed by its antithesis. Similar to the widening disparity in wealth a disparity between the conscious and the unconscious, between the servitors of Truth and the servitors of the Abyss(another word for Hell) divides humanity. In the long run most of the middle ground will get consumed by either one side or the other. Staying ‘neutral’ equals complicity with Evil. Choosing to stay ignorant of the forces at play equals fostering Evil. Following rules without ethical discernment equals fighting for Evil. Sounds epic? Wait, there is more.

Revelations

When you ask people who have quit the System – meaning, they fell out of the shared reality of mainstream society – how their dropping-out happened they tell you the story about one distinct moment in their life when it dawned on them that they have lived a lie. Usually the catalyst for that first step in ‘awakening’, as some describe it, was the dissonance between the very tools by which the false reality was created, the media, and the undeniable truth which they themselves experienced. The eye-opening moment felt like a revelation, shocking, overwhelming, stunning, frightening… and liberating. Suddenly so many question marks disappear; suddenly you realize that consensus reality is just one grand illusion; suddenly the world starts to make sense. It is obvious now, the emperor has no clothes on. You cannot make it unseen. This is what crises can do for you: You go through tremendous pain and suffering that may feel like dying, and you come out, newborn, on the other end of it, grateful for the experience you got to live through. You hear such people speak thanks to 9/11, you hear them praise the Corona plandemic, and you hear Aurovilians acknowledging that the Takeover is a huge wake-up call, a chance for transforming our minds and habits and for transcending our condition.

Did you know another word for ‘revelation’ is ‘apocalypse’? Yes, indeed. apocalyptic times are historical moments which reveal the truth about something existential. An old worldview – along with the world it created – collapses, a new world becomes possible. Which way humankind will go depends on the choices we make collectively; whether it’s Truth or the Abyss. The pathways that lead to one or the other outcome may look quite similar; in fact, the line between the two is as thin and as sharp as a razor blade, almost invisible. This is no coincidence. For it lies in the interest of the Antagonist to stage himself as the Real McCoy: to install tyranny under the guise of freedom, to establish fascism while pretending to be anti-fascist, to realize Asuraville waving the banner of Auroville, or to open the gates of Hell for all the misguided believers who anticipate Heaven. The latter may perhaps serve as a metaphor for the choice between a world of suffering and a world of complete consciousness. Sri Aurobindo remarks,

“At every moment of the spiritual life until one has got fully into the higher light, one has to be on one’s guard and be able to distinguish spiritual truth from pseudo-spiritual imitations of it or substitutes for it set up by the mind and the vital desire. The power to distinguish between truths of the Divine and the lies of the Asura is a cardinal necessity for yoga.” – Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Volume I, Section 4; all following quotes from Section 6.

evil fisherman (1902, pd)
evil fisherman (1902, pd)

The Asura

The word Asura mentioned throughout this article series is used in the sense of an antagonistic or evil principle which works against the movement towards ultimate Truth. In religious traditions of Indic origin it stands for a class of beings envisioned as chaos-creating demons, evil spirits and adversaries of the gods. According to the Indian sage Sri Aurobindo who has worked intensely on the problem of Evil, “These Asuras … resemble the devils of the Christian tradition and oppose the divine intention and the evolutionary purpose in the human being.”

When Asuric forces take over a human body or get born in human form, “the Asura has no soul, no psychic being which has to evolve to a higher state; he has only an ego and usually a very powerful ego; he has a mind, sometimes even a highly intellectualised mind; but the basis of his thinking and feeling is vital and not mental, at the service of his desire and not of truth.” An Asura’s desire is insatiable and therefore he or she effectively seeks “to rule the world”. For that purpose he or she appears in “forms often false and always incarnating falsehood, sometimes pseudo-divine.”

“Yes, some kinds of Asuras are very religious, very fanatical about their religion, very strict about rules of ethical conduct. Others of course are just the opposite. There are others who use spiritual ideas without believing in them to give them a perverted twist and delude the sadhak [spiritual seeker].”

The Anti-Christ

The problem of Evil haunts our species since forever, so every culture sought to find its origins, explain its workings, and accomplish its abolishment. Myths, fairy tales, paintings, sculptures, novels, poems and plays allegorize it, psychological, sociological and historical literatures rationalize it, modern cinema and crime fiction normalize it. But none of all these, today, does much to help discern and eliminate it. Quite frankly, modern science and culture add to the confusion and so become part of the conglomerate of dark forces our individual and collective lives have converged into over the Millennia.

Although human conscience can discover immoral actions quite easily, Evil has become a matter of extensive myth-making in the hands of theologians of organized religions. By their self-proclaimed two-fold authority, both as law-making rulers, and as experts on all things divine and anti-divine, they were able to turn a simple matter into a complex subject which ordinary people couldn’t and shouldn’t understand. The secularizing effect of the Enlightenment only added to widespread ignorance because it allowed for a plethora of definitions, concepts, even philosophies, of Evil to arise, including the view that it doesn’t exist – which, most remarkably, both materialist scientists and spiritualist New-Age gurus agree upon.

Evil takes many human forms, for instance the cowardly order-follower, the mindless bureaucrat, the selfish opportunist, the ignorant denier, the bloodthirsty murderer, or the type we are exploring in this article, the malicious deceiver.

Alongside the above-mentioned Asura, the Anti-Christ figure described in the New Testament constitutes another powerful allegory for the Deceiver. Christ stands for the path of true Morality and Self-realization, the Anti-Christ represents its immoral counterpart. After having denounced the scribes and Pharisees who have usurped the word of God, Jesus predicts the end of their corrupt rule. When the disciples want to know how one could recognize the impending end, he answers,

“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet… Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24, KJB)

So the Anti-Christ is someone who takes the place of Christ while opposing Christ’s teachings. He is an antagonistic deceiver whose entrapments those on a truly Christian Path will recognize and avoid even as this implies sacrifice, while those who have preferences other than Truth will fall for the deception. In the name of a false morality they will hate, denounce, persecute or even kill the sincere disciples of the Path. But soon enough the Antagonist reveals his actual nature, and those who maintain ties with him forsake the Kingdom of Heaven.

Once again, we are not talking religion here. I am not a religious believer. Let’s take the New Testament, the Dhammapada, the Bhagavad Gita or Sri Aurobindo’s writings as culturally-coloured deep-spiritual descriptions of identical fundamental insights. We are also, at the same time, looking at archetypal workings of the psyche. Ancient religious scriptures reveal age-old knowledge on the human condition which modern science only begins to verify. To reject this knowledge indiscriminately from an atheist, anti-religious, materialist point of view marks the denier, himself, as a victim of the Deceiver.

“One of the artifices of Satan is, to induce men to believe that he does not exist.”

John Wilkinson, Quakerism Examined, (1836)

Evil’s disappearance from public awareness

The Anti-Christ is a biblical figure representing the forces of Evil in their most sneaky manifestation, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing harvesting the lambs. As such he was an avatar of Satan, the Lord of Hell, you could say. People were familiar with the Anti-Christ concept until the late 18th century when the Enlightenment philosophy and the revolutionary movements began to secularize European societies. Until then numerous political and religious figures such as the Roman Emperor, the Pope, the antipopes, or the Protestant reformists have been accused of being the Wicked One. The inflationary use of the term made a laughing stock of him. Both clerics and laymen progressively dropped their guards against Evil incarnate, and eventually the Anti-Christ became a mythological figure, of no significance to anything tangible at all.

This was, in a sense, a big step forward in understanding the nature of Evil, because it eliminated its externalisation. But throwing out the baby with the bath water did not serve humanity well. No longer “a thing”, evil forces, firmly anchored in the human unconsious, continued to undermine the fabric of Creation with increasing efficacy, and modern secular culture with its ultra-greedy hardcore-materialist never-enough worldview drove humanity at top speed to the edge of a cliff. The Anti-Christ in today’s terms would no longer act as one powerful individual – though Evil in the form of malign egophrenia or sociopathy sure has a tight grip on those in “authority”, and through them, on their order-followers. It manifests in collectives. While Evil, through dispersion, all but disappeared from public awareness and discourse in Christianity-based societies, other cultures maintained a clearer understanding of what was going on here. They looked at the worldview and the culture of Western civilization and identified those, in totality, with their own brand of the Antagonist.

“Europe is a cultural statement of Yurugu, the male being, arrogant and immature, who caused his own incompleteness, and so is locked into a perpetually unfulfilled search for the female twin-soul that would make him whole, the part of himself he has denied.” (p561)

writes Dona Richards in her book Yurugu. An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior”. She goes on to explain how Europeans use spiritual terms such as ‘Harmony’ and ‘Order’ to express perversions of those concepts.

“Rational and harmonious order … represent two radically different modalities of being. […] The struggle to control can never lead to harmony – the essence of spiritual well-being. Rational ordering is predicated on the assumption of conflict and opposition and, in European intensity, becomes a sublimated form of violence. Rational order can never be more than a creation of human beings in partial recognition of who they are; that is, in partial recognition of their cosmic significance. […] If they limit themselves to this order, which they have created, they and their world become distorted. (p562)

Native American academic Jack Forbes names Western culture as “the central problem of human life today.” He calls Western civilization a “culture of Evil.” Native American philosophy, in comparison, acknowledges the right of every being to life and self-determination. Apart from meeting basic needs, Native Americans therefore avoided initiating unnecessary suffering and harm to humans, plants and animals alike, Forbes says, and they empathized with those who suffered. In other words, they lived by Natural Law. He also notes that, “Lying is also almost always a factor in wétiko behavior, and in fact may represent a key strand in the entire epidemiology of wétikoism.” But “How to live in this life? is the real question we all face. All other subjects are insignificant when compared with this one,” Forbes proclaims.

How do people who follow that path behave? How do they behave towards other humans? How do they behave towards the earth? How do they behave towards other living creatures? Are they doing evil? Are they free men and women who will stand up to evil? Or are they passive foot-soldiers trained to surrender their minds and hearts to their masters?” – Jack Forbes: Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wétiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism, and Terrorism (2008)

Paul Levy who in his works explores the problem of Evil named it, in psychological terms, Malign Egophrenia (ME), but later also used the Cree Native-American demon Wetiko to explain it.

“Whichever name we use, we are in the midst of a collective psychosis of titanic proportions, and one of its most stunning features is that very few people are even talking about it. Does that seem as crazy to you as it does to me? Our madness has weirdly become normalized, to the point where we don’t even notice it.” – Paul Levy, Dispelling Wetiko. Breaking the Curse of Evil, 2013

Overcoming Evil

In a previous article I highlighted that the Good still does exist. One must add, so does Evil, necessarily, like Sri Aurobindo or Carl Jung pointed out. Jesus himself says: “If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin.” (John 15:22, KJB)

Once Christ is established in our psyche, Jung writes in Aion, “the coming of the anti-Christ is not just a prophetic prediction – It is an inexorable psychological law.” He is „an imitating spirit of evil who follows in Christ’s footsteps like a shadow following the body.“

“Every intensified differentiation of the Christ-image brings about a corresponding accentuation of its unconscious complement, thereby increasing the tension between above and below.” – C. G. Jung, Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self

C. G. Jung (1935, pd)
C. G. Jung (1935, pd)

The disciples of Truth need to realize two understandings. First of all, Evil, although it manifests in impressing phenomena and dwells in people’s minds, is not itself a separate thing nor is it a person you can kill. It is none of God’s creatures. Go(o)d doesn’t create Evil; the ultimate Truth didn’t create the lie; Divine Consciousness didn’t create the unconscious. Those dark aspects are shadows arising from the absence of THAT. God, or the Universe, if you will, provided all beings with freedom, and established the Laws of cause and effect which dish out the consequences of our free-will decisions. Satan is the son of God, just like the Christ, but the Wicked One decided to disregard the Law and so became the “fallen angel.” Evil, according to this allegory, is never happening by an act of Go(o)d, but comes into existence by a free-will decision, or a negligent falling into unconsiousness.

“Evil is not a natural thing, it is rather the name given to the privation of good. Thus there can be good without evil, but there cannot be evil without good, nor can there be evil where there is no good.” – Augustinus, Dialogus quaestionum, quaest XVI

So the simple truth is,

Evil is the denial of Go(o)d in the minds of people.

There is an active and a passive form of Evil. With your freedom to decide you can consciously choose to defy Good – which usually makes you an Asura or Anti-Christ – or you can fall unconscious of the Law and become a disciple of the Anti-Christ.

The second thing to be understood by the Truth seeker is, in the psyche like in physics, each force meets an equal counter-force when it comes to head-on confrontation. Neither attacking nor ignoring or denying the power of Evil will do anything to overcome the Antagonist but will only provide him with similar counter-strength – because both movements are basically the same force, directed against itself. Once understood, the age-old dualism Good vs. Evil dissolves. We may embrace and transcend Evil in a spiritual Jiu-Jitsu which picks up the Antagonist’s force and uses it in service to one’s own aspirations towards Truth. “The soul is never lost, there is no eternal hell,” writes Nolini Kanta Gupta, one of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples. “But man, the human soul, has to go through hell, that is to say, through trials and tribulations and ordeals in order to reach heaven.”

Conclusion

“Evil is evil, no doubt; it is not divine and it is not an illusion. It isa real blot on the fair face of creation. Its existence can­not be justified in the sense that it is the right thing and has to be welcomed and maintained, since it forms part of the universal symphony. Not even in the sense that it is a test and a trial set by the Divine for the righteous to prove their merit.” – Nolini Kanta Gupta, The Yoga of Sri Aurobindo

Evil is also not the flipside to Good but the shadow which results from the absence of the Light, the illusion that expands in the absence of Truth. Evil is a choice which can be undone by choosing Truth. It is that simple. This is the task before anyone and everyone “who aspire to a higher and truer life,” be they spiritual seekers or the ordinary citizen discontent with the coldness, corruption, chaos and coercion all around. The first step towards eradicating Evil should be obvious: Stop lying. Stop lying to others, even with good intentions, but most of all,

Stop lying to yourself.

To choose Good over Evil is not at all complicated; it becomes only complicated when one considers the sacrifice that might come with the decision. A truthful life remains Utopian only for so long as one is waiting for others to join in. And Truth stays a Fata Morgana only until one is willing to admit that, for some reason or another – usually lazyness, selfishness, or cowardice – one has let oneself get fooled by the fake reality of “authorites” of all kinds.

“Before dying, falsehood rises in full swing. Still people understand only the lesson of catastrophe. Will it have to come before they open their eyes to the Truth? I ask an effort from all so that it has not to be. It is only the Truth that can save us, truth in words, truth in action, truth in will, truth in feelings. It is a choice between serving the Truth or being destroyed.” – The Mother

Postscriptum

Throughout parts 3 and 4 of this articles series there has been a lot of talk about “us” and “them”, moral and immoral, Good and Evil, the Takeover gang and the residents. These dualistic phrasings do, of course, not represent the oneness aspect of (human) existence, but the diversity of its expressions. Discerning the fundamental differences in views and ethical positions is merely a necessary step in the process towards right action. They do not, by any means, establish a difference in value of one group of people versus another. A perpetrator is no less a human being than her victim. We are one, and that got to show in how we treat each other; but it doesn’t mean we become blind to destructiveness. Pain and suffering are real, and so is the Evil who benefits from it. As we have seen many times In history evil has no boundaries. Good does not always win. For it to prevail it takes our active pursuit of it. Understanding Natural Law is one fundamental faculty to start from, but that’s by far not sufficient. While the knowledge of objective Morality is indispensable the pursuit of Goodness also requires other elements such as the voice of conscience, the cultivation of empathy, the capacity to forgive and reconciliate, general goodwill, or the belief in higher planes of consciousness that guide us – which is why Natural Law rarely comes as stand-alone philosophy but is usually packaged in broader world views such as the teachings of the Christ, the Buddha, Rudolf Steiner, or Sri Aurobindo. The absence of its central tenets (the bare minimum of which I have discussed in the first article) proves the evilness of philosophies, ideologies, religions, persons and societies which deny the real nature of That-which-is:

Morality is Freedom.

Freedom is Life.

Life is Yoga.

The Auroville & Natural Law series

  1. Festering Lillies and the View Over Lush Lakes
  2. Nietzsche is dead
  3. Asuraville – The Anti-Thesis of Auroville
  4. right arrow Truth or the Abyss left arrow

Asuraville – the Anti-Thesis of Auroville

Notes From A Superfluous Man, Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935)

Hostile takeover of Utopia

[Part 3 of a 4-part article series on Auroville & Natural Law]

… In their dreams, though, the first settlers imagined the future city of 50.000 as designed by Mother’s architect, Roger Anger: a circular town in the shape of a galaxy, with huge kilometers-long structures, up to sixty meters high, spiralling out from the Matrimandir, the spiritual center, to the periphery, where a greenbelt consisting of forests, parks and farms would surround the actual settlement. Roger Anger who would have liked to become a better LeCorbusier designed his Auroville draft with no respect to the actual ground realities such as pre-existing settlements, topography or local culture. In Mother’s mind the plan had to reflect an ideal shape that, as with all her teachings, would have to be adapted to new realizations as those unfolded over time…

Changes

Early-on, though, and despite the Mother’s warnings her teachings – and, most importantly, the Galaxy plan – ossified into a religious matter with a small portion of the residents. Time and again attempts have been made towards nailing down Roger Anger’s Galaxy once and for all. A so-called Masterplan has been drawn (and re-drawn), presented for residents’ ratification (and questioned), proposed for application with the UNESCO as World Heritage Site (yet not submitted), and projects with the goal of building the so-called Lines of Force, vast mega-structures representing galactic spiral arms, have been initiated (and stopped). Fifty-three years came and went; the township grew slowly but steadily to 3300 residents from sixty countries. Trodden paths, alternating between dusty and muddy conditions, become plastered roads, concrete and rammed-earth structures replaced the simple organic dwellings of the early days. Tropical dry evergreen forests overgrew the once barren plateau and cooled it down significantly. Sunburnt scantly-clad youthful pioneers became “old Aurovilians” who got crowded out by middle-aged middle-class newcomers indulging in uplevel comforts. Our common dream shattered into numerous interest groups, solidarity-based sharing-economy gave way to book-money-powered shopping, and consensus decision-making has been given up for sporadic majority voting while most of the decisions are taken by a de-facto government of committees, the so-called working groups.

In effect, the Natural-Law-compatible Integral Yoga philosophy, for most part, increasingly became seen as describing a Utopian goal to be achieved somewhen in the distant future, among the post-human supermen Sri Aurobindo had envisioned. Mother’s dream still carries some weight today but it has come under severe pressure on the one hand from the left-brainy materialist city builders whose main concerns are money and power issues, and on the other hand from the right-brainy New Age head-in-the-clouds self-improvers who couldn’t care less about the economy so long as they may dwell in spiritual experiences. In this situation, in the township’s fifty-fourth year, India’s central government sent their demolition crew: a new Secretary to the Auroville Foundation and newly-appointed members to the “Governing Board”, one of the three interdependent constitutive bodies of the Foundation. Their mission: Unknown. Their purported goal: To build The City At The Service Of Truth. And henceforth unfolded the coup against Auroville’s right to self-determination which we, the residents, refer to as “The Takeover”.

Foundation

During the period after Mother’s passing (1973) relationships grew tense between the few hundred Aurovilian pioneers on the barren plateau and the Sri Aurobindo Society in the city of Pondicherry who legally owned Auroville’s lands and buildings. Those interested in the story may read a pamphlet titled “Genesis of the Auroville Foundation Act”. You will find stunning similarity between the SAS’s attempt to keep the emerging township under their thumb and today’s Takeover through the Auroville Foundation. SAS made ridiculous claims which led the whole project into absurdity such as, Auroville were a religious body, despite the Mother’s unambiguous statements to the opposite.

In 1982 the Supreme Court of India transferred the governance of Auroville from the Sri Aurobindo Society to the Government of India (GoI). It did not resolve the conflict, though, and so GoI, in 1988, introduced the Auroville Foundation Act, to provide the framework for Auroville’s development according to the Charter given by the Mother.

In the introduction to the AV Foundation Bill it says:

“As far as the day-to-day activities are concerned, they will be looked after by the residents through appropriate autonomous arrangements, which will include Residents’ Assembly and its Working Committee. The idea underlying this arrangement is that the residents of Auroville should have autonomy so that activities of Auroville can grow under an atmosphere conducive to harmonious growth.”

We obviously have a problem here: On the one hand, Aurovilians ought to be free from external pressure or rule in order to be able to align themselves with the Divine only; on the other hand, there is no law-free place on Earth. Rather than belonging “to nobody in particular” Auroville has been founded in the jurisdiction of the Republic of India, which mandates the registration of land ownership just like every other country on Earth. The closest Auroville could come to its principles, under such conditions, was its anchoring as some kind of state-approved entity which would allow at least collective land-ownership. Chapter III of the Act again emphasizes the importance for self-determined organization for the purpose of advancing Auroville’s goals as defined by the Mother:

“21(4)b: the residents of Auroville are allowed freedom to grow and develop activities and institutions for the fulfilment of the aspirations and programmes envisaged in the said Charter of Auroville.”

The Foundation was supposed to serve as a sandbox within which the residents were sheltered from all the things that come along with the old ways, such as taxation, policing, governing, wage slavery etc. The problem, though, with the obligation to register collectively-owned land under either a trust, a society or a foundation is that these legal entities have to have a governing body, and that this body is endowed with rights and duties determined by law. From there arises a conflict between the duties of the governing body – following man-made laws – and the residents’ freedom from all external rules, to follow a higher Law. It is in this space of opposing requirements that the forces antagonizing Natural Law step in, to seed confusion instead of Truth, randomness instead of Discipline, mistrust instead of harmony, and selfishness instead of Goodwill.

Auroville lines of force
“…with huge kilometers-long structures, up to sixty meters high, spiralling out” Pic: author

A flat-Earth understanding of writings

The inversion of terms and the false reinterpretation of principles is a typical sign of the decadent stages of a civilization. I have written to this phenomenon a few times already, using the term Dictionary of Falsehoods (see e.g. The Negro Debate All Over Again) Many residents’ own contribution to the undermining of Auroville’s goals, as described in part 1 of this article series, comes about through this channel: by having an erroneous understanding of what is at the core of the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s teachings, twisted by intellectual blindness or ideological biases, such as hidden religious or materialistic assumptions. These express in literal application of the relevant texts, and the interpreters often neglect the fact that the teachings are not Truth as such; nor do they represent Truth – they are pointers to that-which-is.

Readers who still ask themselves which news media can be trusted to report “the truth” might wonder what I mean by the above sentence. In essence, Truth, in Aurobindan context, is that-which-is – Reality; not yours or mine, THE Reality. Yes, there is such a thing, but one cannot reduce it to words; to its overwhelming part it is not even physical. Words can point out, though, what to look for and where to look for it. Imagine you are on a walk, and as you walk around aimlessly you get hungry. Where the path in front of you is forking you see a signboard pointing to the right; it says, “Restaurant.” Now, the signboard does not fill your stomach – the food at the restaurant does. So you take the right hand path and walk all the way to the real thing, where the actual food is. Only an idiot would stick with the pointer in the hopes of getting satisfied. And yet the world is full of fools obsessed with words instead of dwelling in Truth. Seeking Truth in spiritual texts is just as fruitless as seeking it in any other kind of media, and a literal interpretation of spiritual sources is akin to taking the map for the territory.

And yet the literal interpretation of bits and pieces from the teachings and from the Act is what the forces behind the Takeover of Auroville currently apply – a flat-Earth understanding,” as one resident aptly called it, of the writings.

Decision-making in Auroville

Within the Foundation’s framework Auroville’s decision-making rests on three pillars, a) the Governing Board (GB), a group whose members are appointed by India’s central government; its role is to support Auroville in achieving its goals within the legal realities of the country; it may “coordinate activities and services,” “review the basic policies and the programmes,” “secure proper management of the properties,” “prepare a master-plan of Auroville” and “authorise and coordinate fund-raising” “in consultation with the Residents’ Assembly”; b) the International Advisory Council (IAC) which consists of five members nominated by India’s central government; its role is to “advise the Governing Board on any matter relating to the development and management of Auroville”, securing the encouragement of its ideals and the freedom of the residents to fulfill their aspirations according to the Charter; and c) the Residents’ Assembly (RA), the entirety of the adult residents. Most decisions taken require the collaboration of at least two of the three pillars, and the RA needs to get involved almost every time. From this fact, from its general liberties granted by the Foundation Act, and from the tasks the Charter requests of the residents follows that the RA is the single most important part in the decision-making of the town – apart from the Divine will.

Due to the before-mentioned obstacles in place it is no wonder, though, that Auroville today, in its actual organization, could not be much farther removed from Mother’s ideal. With the legal establishment, under Indian law, of the township as the property of a foundation directly attached to India’s central government, a legalistic view of Auroville’s functioning progressively permeated throughout its residency and institutions. An expanding Residents Assembly, growing unable to meet regularly, without face-to-face discussion could not come to consensus any longer and switched to majority voting as a decision-making tool. Few residents received that as helpful and the vast majority withdrew from participation in the plebiscites.

A number of working groups which have been established, and get staffed, by the RA execute the work mandated to them by the RA, such as town planning (TDC), conflict resolution (AV Council), funds and assets management (FAMC), Entry etc.

The more the residents lost interest in direct decision-making, naturally, the working groups began to perceive themselves – and became perceived by many residents – as a quasi-government. As a result, the working groups began to make decisions which were not theirs to make, such as a network of surveillance cameras which has been installed without the residents’ agreement, with nobody signing responsible for it and no information provided on who is watching the footage or how long recordings gets stored. The groups became more bureaucratic and less transparent in their functioning over time, keeping secrets from the residents while asking them – under threat of consequences – for data. Despite numerous attempts at reform, they turned into a tool in the hands of a corrupt few, a nearly-closed circle of cronies and a caste of bureaucrats cycling through the revolving doors of the various groups.

Two examples for how rotten things had become

In late 2019, a would-be newcomer who got cheated royally by an Aurovilian and received due attention by neither the working groups nor the Foundation complained to India’s central government and its police authority. He provided evidence for hundreds of cases of corruption and other wrongdoings. Yet again, no thorough investigation ensued, neither by the government nor from within Auroville. A high-ranking officer of the Foundation accused of being in the know got absolved after what looked like a spurious inquiry.

When Corona hit in March 2020, government orders were passed “down” without any consideration of an Aurovilian way to handle such a crisis. All the numerous health practices adopted from around the world – Ayurvedic, Naturopathic, Chinese, Tibetan, Homeopathic etc – were forgotten overnight and the residents were told by the self-appointed Corona Committee that, while everyone was entitled to have their own opinions, people should keep those to themselves and simply follow the fear-based official prescription.

Far removed from the Mother’s teachings, unaware of our role in the Auroville project, and caught in a severe disequilibrium of power, we, the residents, were easy prey for the government coup that unfolded from December 2nd, 2021 on. Some say – especially those siding with the hostile forces – that we deserved it; that we should simply surrender and let Mother have her will. I disagree. Yes, by disregarding Natural Law as a collective we sort of invited further abuse. But it is not the Mother’s wrath that came upon us; she has never been aggressive. And neither us nor anybody else deserves the violation of their Natural Rights. Under the guise of “manifesting the Mother’s dream for Auroville”, “sweeping out the resisting forces” and “putting an end to corruption” a wrecking crew consisting of one handful of officers and a select few rogue Aurovilians began the dismantling of our system of self-governance.

Auroville Takeover

The Takeover. Tactics from the textbook

Short notice

On December 2nd, 2022 Auroville’s Youth Centre and adjacent forest plots receive a note from the Town Development Council (TDC) that, within a week, trees and buildings would be cleared along the designated Crown Road, a feature of the Galaxy footprint in the so-called Masterplan. On the following day Youth Centre asks for a stay, pointing out that recent visioning meetings had come up with creative solutions that would result in less damage to forest and buildings.

Surprise attack

Nevertheless, bulldozers arrived already on the very next morning. Without work order they start felling trees. Within the hour, hundreds of Aurovilians peacefully block the destruction. The Foundation Office (FO) calls the police. They gather information and leave again – only to return at 1am, after consultations with the FO.

Disproportionate application of force

While the bulldozers proceed with the destruction the police block access to the site, arrest resident teenagers and assault some approaching protesters.

Calling the police against peaceful protesters was in clear violation of Mother’s guidelines for Auroville as town planning is an internal matter which should be decided and handled solely by the residents. The unprovoked use of violence, again, was in square violation of Auroville’s guidelines, as well as unambiguously immoral under Natural Law.

Bribery and ultimatum

After staunch protest notes from a community gathering and Auroville’s international support network, AVI, to the Foundation, the Secretary of the Foundation offers money and relocation support to the caretakers of the concerned plots – provided the protests stopped. The response had to be given within twelve hours. The caretakers declined the money but agreed to collaborate if they could dismantle the buildings themselves.

Creating confusion

TDC and Foundation office gave a reply that differed from previously offered agreements.

FO’s spokespersons announce a community meeting exactly at the same time and place the residents announced their own.

Canceled freedom of speech

FO then gave a gag order to Outreach Media, Auroville’s media relations service, and appointed two official spokespersons of their own.

Needless to say that the oppression of differing voices is a deeply immoral act. While the behaviour of the police might have been in their own responsibility the FO violated Natural Law with their gag order and so for the first time unambiguously showed their disregard for Auroville’s principles and the self-determination of its residents.

Divide and conquer

The Residents Assembly asked their Working Committee to organize an emergency decision-making event. Four of the seven WC members, siding with the Foundation, refused the request. In the long run, this results in the duplication of working groups and a division among the residents. A direct attempt at dividing Aurovilians of local and non-local origin is made by the Secretary’s addressing the Tamil residents only in a public speech.

Employment of extra-legal external forces

Meanwhile the bulldozers return to the Youth Centre along with about one hundred hired unknown goons who aggress and harm protesters, women and children among them. More trees and buildings than planned are getting taken down. In the afternoon, the crew moved on to a different plot where events repeated. To add insult to the harm done, the Secretary later thanks the goons publicly during Auroville’s birthday celebration.

Ignoring court orders, laws, decisions and petitions

The National Green Tribunal of India issues a stay order. The work, especially the felling of trees, must be stopped. The destructive works go on nonetheless, up until this day. For justification the TDC refers to older working group decisions made in breach of the Foundation Act.

The Foundation continues to violate the Foundation Act on many instances and across its content; it attempted the restriction of the residents’ freedom of speech and assembly, the right to self-governance, the Residents Assembly’s participation in all matters of administration and self-organization, the constitutive processes of the working groups and so on. The hijacking of Auroville’s institutions usually happens by an order of the Secretary or one of her allies, to hand over keys, accounts, passwords, and equipment; it includes the phrase “issued with the approval of the Competent Authorities” but neither names those authorities nor mentions any legal rules it might rest upon.

The FO and the groups it has taken over completely ignore every request by the residents, to meet and find a way forward together. Communication flows only one way, from the FO to the residents in the form of orders, and from the FO to the media in the form of propaganda which is demonizing the residents. Residents ought to answer to a barrage of demands for data, but critical feedback attracts negative sanctions.

Petitions from supporters of the residents, such as the International Advisory Council (one of the three pillars of Auroville’s self-governance), the Auroville International supporters network, or the more than 50,000 signatories of a petition at change.org consistently get ignored as well.

In an unusual landslide decision of 89% in favour, the Residents Assembly determines that all work must stop until the policies and regulations regarding the infrastructure development of the town have been reviewed. Although the RA’s call is binding the FO doesn’t care; instead, it started the direct Takeover of working groups and other institutions of the RA from the following week on, in early February. All of the relevant orders are violating the Foundation Act, established procedures, Auroville’s guidelines, ethical principles such as the right to self-determination, or general goodwill, and they disrupt the functioning of the town’s self-governance.

Man enshrines in him the individualised Godhead, the personal Divine: the possibility of the incarnation of the Divine lies in him alone. Hence the struggle between Gods and Asuras for the possession of the human vessel.

Nolini Kanta Gupta

The hijacking of Auroville’s institutions

February 8th, 2022 – Outreach Media which had been subjected to a gag order already two months ago, became the first victim in a long series of hijacked institutions and facilities. An order directed the handover of assets. The place was then physically sealed.

March 15th, 2022 – Auroville’s construction firms are sidelined by a contract between the Foundation and an external business “for the execution of Projects related to Making of Auroville City”. Our Water Service gets sidelined by the same business which is now taking over the sludge processing.

April 27th, 2022 – The four members of the Working Committee which sided with the Foundation illegally “dismiss” their three colleagues who stand by the Residents Assembly (the RA decides who can be a member in the WC).

May 7th & 9th, 2022 – Foundation and the Governing Board order the RA to stop all decision-making processes for the time being, until the Register of Residents is updated. The reasoning is legal nonsense (see below, “General intimidation”), the order as such is illegal because it lacks a basis, and it is immoral because it infringes on the right of the residents, to meet and to decide on their actions.

May 10th, 2022 – The RA decided in another landslide vote, with 92% agreement, that the four WC members siding with the Foundation are dismissed. Nevertheless, on May 12th, the four occupy the WC’s meeting room and appoint three more members. So there are effectively two groups calling themselves Working Committee now. The WC of the Residents is able to occupy the room a few days later, but Foundation calls the police on the 18th; they shut down the whole Townhall building. Complaints are filed against the residents’ WC members, for “illeagally taking over the WC office” – sheer mockery!

May 17th, 2022 – The Foundation, claiming “anti-government activities”, demands administrative access to Auroville’s intranet facilities; they claim “anti-government activities.” They provide no further details, nor does anybody specific get accused until now. An administrator hands over the passwords under duress.

May 20th, 2022 – Using the extorted passwords, Foundation takes over the intranet of Auroville, Auronet, and SYSOP, the service in charge of the domain name of Auroville and related email addresses of the working groups, services, units and all Aurovilians and of Auroville web services. These are later misused to restrict or deny active RA supporters access to or free use of the bulletin board, to hijack working groups’ email communications, to unveil details of such communications, and to block emails coming in from, or going out to, RA supporters’ accounts. The names of the new admins and sysops have never been published.

May 27th, 2022 – Foundation hijacks the Funds and Assets Committee of the Residents Assembly (FAMC) by “releasing” the RA-selected members and replacing them with personnel of the Foundation’s choice, one of them even a non-Aurovilian. Needless to say that this was illegal, unlawful, and immoral, all in one. The members of the FAMC of the RA refuse to step down, though, so it became the second working group in duplicate.

June 1st, 2022 – Using the commandeered intranet facilities Foundation hijacks Auroville’s mass bulletin service by locking out the admin with no previous announcement. This means that the lawful working groups can no longer inform the community through that channel. The RA’s institutions replace the lost resources with external services and addresses; Foundation warns that the outsourcing of information could have negative legal repercussions.

June 22th, 2022 – Foundation hijacks Auroville’s archives by another order and replaces part of the personnel.

June 24th, 2022 – Foundation hijacks ACUR, the management of the Townhall, by yet another order.

June 28th, 2022 – Foundation hijacks the Land Board by one more order; FO dismisses two of LB’s members and replaces them, partly by non-Aurovilians.

July 1st, 2022 – Following the takeover of ACUR, several tenants, among them working groups such as Human Resources, Auroville Council or Land Board receive short-notice terminations; they have to vacate the premises within 24 hours. No replacements or support with finding new places are offered to them. Council decides to defy the order and squats its own meeting room.

July 15th, 2022 – The Sri Aurobindo Centres in India, Auroville and the Ashrams in Pondicherry and New Delhi, were informed that the Secretary of the Foundation would now be the funding coordinator for government support to Sri Aurobindo’s 150th birthday celebrations, and the grant payments would be routed through her office. Moreover, the funding would not come in the form of a simple grant but a more complex financial arrangement involving bond schemes.

July 29st, 2022 – After the actual takeover of the Finance and Assets Management (FAMC) on May 27th,, and the rerouting of the celebration funds by the Delhi government, a cold takeover of the Budget Coordination Committee (BCC) takes place. Another office order from the Foundation demands “to immediately stop all BCC disbursement of funds to all projects except maintenance [i.e. basic income] with immediate effect.”

Personal intimidation through abuse of office power

Peaceful protesters of foreign origin witnessing the destruction of Youth Centre have been denounced as “violent” persons partaking in “political” activities to the visa registration authorities (FRRO); they receive visits from FRRO officers.

Residents and workinggroup members who inquire a group of Foundation-instructed road workers breaching the National-Green-Tribunal stay-order get threatened with criminal charges, for “obstructing government works”.

General intimidation

The Secretary sends out letters to foreigner residents that their visas will only get extended after they signed a demand that, among other things, they “abide by the Masterplan of Auroville based on the Galaxy Plan conceived by the Mother”. (60% of Aurovilians are of non-Indian origin.)

A short time later, all residents are called to update the Foundation’s “Register of Residents” that supposedly had been neglected since 2005. At closer inspection, the Foundation has live access to the so-called Master List which is kept up-to-date on a daily basis. The registration form demands, mandatorily, an AADHAAR card number; that card is a unified biometric ID which, for the obvious problems it causes towards personal privacy, has repeatedly been ruled by India’s supreme court as voluntary-use only. Another issue with the Foundation’s registration form is an attached three-pages questionaire; the combination is not permissible. Foundation warns of severe consequences later, though, to people who do not fill the form. Nevertheless, only about half of the residents follows the request, many of them due to fear of consequences only.

Meanwhile, more than half of current visa applicants, through no fault of their own, experience difficulties; the processing of their applications gets delayed significantly, the period of visa validity gets reduced drastically, or they receive no visas at all. Such an amount of arbitrary trouble only occured in the 1970s, during the conflict with the Sri Aurobindo Society.

trainjack (free to use)
trainjack (free to use)

Judge for yourself

One could extend the list of atrocities perpetrated by the Foundation Office and their commandeered working groups by a number of further events but that wouldn’t add significantly to the picture. (Get the full & up-to-date timeline of events from the website Stand For Auroville Unity, which I used for my article.) The ill will and contempt shown towards Auroville’s residents is so obvious and the contrast to Auroville’s principles is so stark that, in order to judge sincerity and moral correctness of the Foundation Office, it is not necessary to consider the points each side is bringing forward; the methods in and by themselves are abominable and delegitimize any claim to virtue that could perhaps be made. The Takeover collaborateurs compound their foul play with gleeful remarks against those they have violated, and by glorifying their ‘leader’ (Madam Secretary, of course) with quotes from Machiavelli’s cynical book “The Prince”.

In terms of democratic values the balance sheet looks nasty as well: those who constantly violate the law while claiming to defend it apparently couldn’t care less about ethical consideration or morally correct acting. It seems that they think that the ends justify the means – in unambiguous indication of their spiritual poverty.

The individual strikes dealt in the coup were obviously illegal. But whether they were or weren’t is irrelevant to Natural Law. Legality does not establish morality, nor does illegality equal immorality. I cannot help but notice, though, that a trail of lies, theft, violence and suffering closely accompanies the steps undertaken by the Secretary since her taking office in mid-2021. I find that telling, from the perspective both of Aurobindan spirituality and your garden-variety interpretation of Natural Law. How shallow her understanding of Auroville’s principles actually must be would normally not concern anyone else but herself. Since she imposes her view on everyone else, by enforcing quick “development”, her ignorance becomes an issue.

In their blatant immorality the Takeover crew are akin to the petty tyrants currently running the countries of the Western bloc. As we see

  • the same methods applied as during the Plandemic – hijacking of institutions, misinformation, fear mongering, doling out unprovoked violence, causing division, demonizing dissidents, mirroring and projecting one’s own misdeeds on opponents,
  • and as the same denial of communication is happening like in other countries such as currently against farmers in the Netherlands,
  • and as the means and measures taken by the aggressors actually are in direct violation of their own proclaimed principles and harm their own purported goals,
  • and as the heat is coming from persons who are answerable directly to the central government,

it is not too far-fetched to assume that the Takeover of Auroville, rather than serving the development of the town along Mother’s guidelines, is part of the globalist predator’s agenda: the takeover of national states, land ownership, and natural resources around the world. Whole populations lose their subsistence, get driven off the land, fall into dependency from large corporations, and their communities dissolve. The case of Auroville may serve as a stark warning to all those who still think that governments have the best of their citizens in mind and that they were willing and able to work for a better world. Their interests are fundamentally different from those of their “constituency”, and so they lie to the people, always, everywhere. To protect the lie, to enforce their orders, and to keep themselves in power they use structural and physical violence and the threat thereof. It doesn’t matter whether it’s monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, socialism, theocracy, fascism, democracy, or what-have-you – all governments act immorally by default, all government is tyranny, no matter how comfortable it might feel to the average person.

Video: Mark Passio on government, authority, freedom, and determinedness

And this is why the idea that the human condition had improved over the millennia is an illusion; it only become smarter, and so much so as to make us beg them for more of the stick and less of the carrot. Today, we are standing at the edge of a cliff. One step into the wrong direction will bring unprecedented suffering on a global scale.

It is government which orchestrates the drive towards Hell, but make no mistake, it was the majority of the population that allowed for it to happen: the corruption of some, and the ignorance, the laziness and the lack of courage of almost everyone else. It was order-following that brought us here. Auroville has been founded to experiment with positive ways, based on the capacity of free individuals to discern truth from untruth, and to voluntarily collaborate for the realization of the fact that all men are basically one. To establish any kind of governance that forces its rule on the residents by external means can only result in total failure of the township’s objectives. To do so under the guise of fostering those objectives is duplicitious, if not malicious, because it leeches people’s creative energy for an evil goal while destroying their confidence in the Good.

And, as far as the residents are concerned, to help the putschists, actively or by surrendering to their orders, is equally despicable. It’s not what you are here for, dear Aurovilians!

“Auroville is not a project of the Government of India. It is a project of Sri Aurobindo and Mother.
I support the power of Auroville’s decision making process residing in the Resident’s Assembly. Every other part of the Foundation should be at the service of the RA, not imposing their will or their budget or their timeline.”

Julian (an Aurovilian)

The name Auroville deserves for as long as it rests in the claws of government and its herd of cowards is Asuraville, the city at the service of Evil, because it has become the anti-thesis of what it ought to embody.

New Age fallacies

And so it is of high importance that Aurovilians and the world’s population alike understand the significance of events like the Takeover, no matter under which guise the strikes take place: in response to a “financial crisis”, a “pandemic”, an “invasion”, or to facilitate the “development” of towns into “smart cities”. The governments’ “measures” happen always against our personal and collective interest as they do not keep harm from us (which is a lie), they inflict harm (which is violence). We have every right to resist.

But due to a misguided understanding of scriptures, and supported by erroneous New-Age “wisdom”, many believe that the utmost we may do about events such as Auroville’s Takeover is to send protest notes. From their view, to get hit by violent crime invites the question what you have done to attract it; to point out wrongdoing is called “projecting”, and to distance oneself from the perpetrators is perceived as a form of divisiveness. To involve courts will be seen as illegitimate aggression. When you occupy your place despite orders not to, you are coming dangerously close to getting chastised as a violator. Let’s put things straight:

1) A receiver of violence has usually not called for it, and he certainly doesn’t deserve it. To say otherwise is to tell a rape victim she “had it coming.” Inflicting harm on somebody else – taking their property, freedom, health, mate, life, self-determination, or ability to judge – without their consent is always immoral. To speak the truth about what happened is a Right, and it is usually the perpetrators who project their guilt by shaming the victim. There is a clear distinction between the person who is doing harm and the person that is done harm to; to treat them as “equally involved in conflict” feels fundamentally unjust – because it is. Trust that feeling. Well knowing that they have done wrong to another the perpetrators usually avoid clarifying talks at all cost; called out they react verbally aggressive or even physically offensive. In such circumstances, when all other peaceful attempts for rectifying the wrong have failed, forcefully incapacitating them or appealing to a court or a jury for support can help with ending an oppressive situation. Courts generally are advised against both under Natural Law and in Auroville, but if the antagonist is a legal entity rather than a living person I would certainly keep that option. And the forceful response to an immediate threat or to an attack is, of course, not to be equated with violence; it is legitimate self-defense. The application of force might be wise in some cases, rather not advisable in most others, because the damage inflicted invites retaliation and has unwanted implications for years, sometimes centuries to come. Self-defense is definitely legitimate under Natural Law. Listen to your consciousness, and consider non-combative conflict resolution first.

2) Living in abidance by Natural law opens up potentials for a peaceful life. And yet, unless you don’t care about your family, your neighbour, your community, your habitat, or your guiding principles – not to talk about serving Truth – you will without a doubt fight to secure their well-being when they come under attack. Pacifism is a completely different animal; it claims that there is nothing worth fighting for and that you should leave your hands in the pockets while all that has been built up is getting damaged, stolen, or destroyed, and your loved ones are getting driven out, enslaved, raped, tortured, or murdered.

3) And for whom exactly did pacifism ever work? Has it worked for the Caribbean tribes who welcomed Columbus with a feast before they got enslaved? Has it worked for New England’s Indians when they helped the first colonists survive before those turned on them? What about Appeasement politics in the 1930s – it stopped the War? Has petitioning ended Pol Pot’s genocide against the Kampuchean “intellectuals”? Pacifism’s effectiveness, when it comes to preventing the worst, horribly fails to meet expectations.

Tyrannical regimes often times don’t start with genocide, but rather with simple immoral or illegal acts guised in rationalistic, moralistic or legalistic shrouds. A wrong sense of staying peaceful and civilized in the face of injustice only helps the perpetrators drive their inhumane agenda to its bitter ending. To prevent the worst one has to note the similarities early-on.

Considering the havoc wreaked by the plandemic measures one cannot seriously sustain doubts that most of the world’s governments would absolutely sacrifice millions of their citizens in pursuit of accumulating and perpetuating power. So I have to ask the Aurovilians who would still stay silent about the wrongness of the Takeover, Do you really think that they, the Takers, will stop the dismantling of Auroville’s self-governance before you get affected? Do you think they would not expel one thousand or more residents, and use the rest of us as walk-ons pretending to be happy inhabitants of a spiritual tourist trap? Do you think they will stop before something really terrible happens that will remain as a dirty stain on Auroville’s Karma for centuries to come?

I have to ask those who would collaborate, even, with the Takers whether you actually think that any good can come from the way you treat others? Which kind of Auroville could possibly emerge from coerced collaboration when the very first point of the charter emphasized willing servitude?

Conclusion

Yes, Karma will restore balance eventually, by extinguishing immoral societies – it’s called the Sodom & Gomorrah solution – but for you to collaborate, or to just stand by, means you are becoming a willing servitor of the Asuric forces. Deny it all you want; Karmic Law won’t consider excuses, only sincere confessions and redemption.

As pointed out already, Auroville’s state of affairs has parallels in the global context, which hardly surprises anyone who lived their lives somewhen during the last 3000 years and paid attention. We’ll explore this thread of understanding in the upcoming fourth article of the Auroville & Natural Law series, Truth or the Abyss.

“No system indeed by its own force can bring about the change that humanity really needs; for that can only come by its growth into the firmly realised possibilities of its own higher nature, and this growth depends on an inner and not an outer change. But outer changes may at least prepare favourable conditions for that more real amelioration, — or on the contrary they may lead to such conditions that the sword of Kalki can alone purify the earth from the burden of an obstinately Asuric humanity. The choice lies with the race itself; for as it sows, so shall it reap the fruit of its Karma.” – Sri Aurobindo: War and Self-Determination

[title image: The Princess and the Goblin (1920), Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935)]

The Auroville & Natural Law series

  1. Festering Lillies and the View Over Lush Lakes
  2. Nietzsche is dead
  3. right arrow Asuraville left arrow
  4. Truth or the Abyss

Never Again is Now

Nuremberg Court

Considering the Basis for and Purpose of Another Nuremberg

Explaining the findings of the German Corona Investigative Committee regarding the so-called Covid-19 pandemic, attorney-at-law Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, in October 2020, spoke of “crimes against humanity“. The filmed statement has been shared widely and was watched millions of times. At the same time, there were first demands in the resistance movement for “another Nuremberg”, a tribunal that would legally investigate the Corona complex. A first article in February 2021 told the story how I myself arrived at the conclusion that such a tribunal is badly needed. This second article deals with preconditions and possible objectives of such trials.

Early in 2021, the call for a comprehensive legal reappraisal of the injustices of the Corona régime became increasingly audible. One driver was of course the enormous extent of the “collateral damage” of the measures to contain the alleged pandemic. Another source for the demands was the hard-headed refusal of decision makers to take seriously indications of the complete disproportionality of their actions. The request to take note of alternative opinions and expert reports was and to this day still is answered with a constantly intensifying volley of measures, with unjustified defamation against dissenters and persistent silence about differing information. In those few trials in which judges around the world have ruled on pandemic facts rather than administrative correctness it has turned out time and again that the governments’ files contained no documentation of factual evidence. At the same time, indications are mounting that the adverse consequences of the measures were consciously accepted, and in some cases must even have been the actual goal of administrative decisions. Critics of the Corona régime have pointed to the structural similarities to the emergence of totalitarian societies, especially of course during the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich. That some kind of denazification as well as “another Nuremberg” is needed to put a society gone rogue back in its place quickly seems almost obvious. Numerous furious comments on internet platforms demanding the harshest punishments for perpetrators and intellectual arsonists testify to this.

On the question of necessity

For its illegal, unconstitutional and destructive measures the Corona state – more precisely, its agents – must be called to account before a special court; thorough reappraisal is necessary for a number of reasons, legal and other.

Firstly, the Corona complex is about crimes that occurred in lockstep worldwide; they affected billions of people in a similar way. We faced – and still face – the systematic breach of fundamental moral, legal, professional and conduct norms. Therefore, there must also be a systematic analysis that looks into the question of how it could come to this and by which factors, structures and actors this onslaught of harm was triggered and fuelled. How was it possible for all government agencies, parliaments, administrations, courts, associations, institutions, organisations, corporations and media in large parts of the world to be brought into line? How could the collective psychosis develop? How could the inhumane measures have been tolerated or supported or even actively enforced by the majority of the population? Which participants acted deliberately, and who acted indifferently or negligently, and for what reasons?

Secondly, the tribunals are necessary for practical reasons because individual sentences on a mere case-to-case basis would generate a labyrinth of contradictory legal decisions that would shroud the causes and mechanisms in twilight rather than shine a spotlight on them. Due to their high number, the proceedings would drag on for several decades; many of the aggrieved would pass before the verdict was pronounced, and some would fail to get through with their complaints. The timely clarification of historical events and the legal assessment through landmark judgments can help the law to prevail while it is still relevant to the victims.

Thirdly, the tribunals are of course a matter of justice. This includes the recognition of the damage that has been done. The suffering of the victims of measures becomes public. Getting heard plays a crucial role in justice perception, and this in turn allows the victims to let go of negative feelings; one becomes free to heal one’s psychological trauma and seek reconciliation with the perpetrators. As I have written elsewhere, I consider this to be one of the central arguments for “another Nuremberg”, because it was only because of the unprocessed psychological traumas of earlier catastrophes – Wars, Imperialism, Slavery, Industrialism, “Development”, Ecocide – that the world once again sank into wholesale barbarism. Justice also requires that the perpetrators be confronted with the victims so that they have the opportunity to become aware of their personal responsibility for what happened. This is often enough neglected, on the one hand because the perpetrators usually refuse to accept it, and on the other hand because trials are often brought for the purpose of deterrence and retribution only.

Judges at the benches of the International Military Tribunal 1945/46 (US Army, public domain)

Schopenhauer once said: “To forgive and forget is to throw precious experience out the window.” So should one never forgive? That would be neither wise nor humane. At the latest when those who have acted show insight into the consequences of their actions and when they seek to make amends, it is advisable to let go of the pain inflicted. But we should not forget, either personally or socially, because it goes without saying that valuable life lessons must not be lost. The enormity of the Corona complex therefore deserves – fourthly – a memorial. A sign must be set that we are determined to learn lessons from history. This historical phase must be given a special marker in the collective consciousness that will have a positive impact beyond the generation concerned. Humanity is currently going through an apocalyptic crisis, the successful overcoming of which the tribunals will stand for as boundary markers and monuments. A new era is beginning, a new form of society is dawning on the horizon. Understanding the deeper causes of the crisis will be of enormous importance in building a more humane way of life. The very way in which the tribunals are conducted and the outcomes they produce could set an example for our future togetherness.

Therefore, “another Nuremberg” cannot be primarily about punishment. I believe, given deeply held humanist and spiritual values in much of the resistance movement, that we will not go for death sentences or public executions, even. This would only add another traumatic wound to the nightmare already experienced. Instead, the tribunals should serve the primary purpose of restoring justice and peaceful coexistence. Perpetrators, victims, applauders, acquiescents, silent onlookers and those somewhere in between can use the insights gained with the help of psychologists, sociologists, historians, economists, medical experts and so on to gain understanding of each other’s motives. The new state must promote personal, national and international reconciliation through various programmes; it must give every individual the opportunity to learn conflict management strategies, awareness and techniques for handling uncomfortable feelings or information. Still, perpetrators have to be liable with all their assets, lose their unlawful privileges and must be stripped of their decision-making power over people. Only where perpetrators refuse to restore peace with their victims arises the need for their removal from society through appropriate means, such as imprisonment or banishment.

Why “Nuremberg”?

Would the trials take place in Nuremberg again? If they are so different in focus, scope and purpose from the war crimes trials of the 1940s, why evoke this historical setting?

It is questionable whether the city of Nuremberg can provide the appropriate setting that such an elaborate undertaking requires. Probably one would conduct several series of negotiations in different places all over the world, separated according to problem areas, levels of responsibility and cultural aspects of the Corona complex, and one will probably coin a new name for it. Preliminarily, however, the word “Nuremberg” is a suitably short term for communicating the idea of having a tribunal that is investigating crimes of unheard-of proportions. Now and then, an ideologically hypnotised majority of the population supported unlawful government action that has claimed the lives of many millions of people and ruined the lives of countless others; it is not quite impossible that the same currents and circles of people are behind it, i.e. that there is continuity with the crimes of the twentieth century, as Holocaust survivor Vera Sharav, for example, believes.

Trivialising history?

Does recourse to historical events of the 1930s and 40s trivialise Nazi crimes? Some are of this opinion, but I myself believe that no inadmissible identity is being claimed here. The crimes of the Third Reich and its collaborators were unique in their historical dimension. The Corona crimes are not to be equated with them, because they have their own character and context. However, in my view, the reappraisal will undoubtedly make the structural parallels of both events visible and adequately acknowledge the suffering of those affected. The documentation of the Corona complex might help to prevent future generations from making similar mistakes. Numerous Jews, for example, pointed out that Holocaust remembrance must above all help preventing the beginnings of another genocide. For decades it was “Never Again!” Well, if we are to succeed with stopping the train to Auschwitz, “Never Again” has arrived. It took eight years for the targeted discrimination against Jews to culminate in systematic extermination. Comparisons are not equations, they are the necessary juxtaposition of events, in this case for the purpose of keeping history from repeating itself.

While the first Nuremberg Trials could not prevent the re-emergence of a totalitarian regime – more comprehensive and profound even than its fascist predecessor – they have been the inspiration for a far greater, quicker and more determined resistance movement as compared to the 1930s. We do not yet know whether the tide can be turned in time, but the day will come when the régime collapses. We’d better prepare for it.

Is there a sufficient data basis?

The documentation of the crimes around the Corona complex is especially important to the German resistance. Since July 2020, the Stiftung Corona-Ausschuss (Corona Investigative Committee Foundation) is working on establishing the factual basis for the pandemic and the measures implemented to combat it. Another initiative called Corona Cases has recently started to collect relevant judgments and legal opinions. Corresponding lawsuits are sometimes deliberately initiated by lawyers in order to have core questions of the critics of the measures clarified or to highlight weaknesses in the current functioning of society. At the beginning of December 2021, a Centre for Reappraisal, Clarification, Legal Prosecution and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity Based on the Corona Measures (ZAAVV) was founded as a necessary main pillar for collecting evidence that can be used in court. They will not run out of work for a long time. The number of publicly accessible materials alone is incredibly large. The film testimonies of victims of the measures, for example, probably count in the tens of thousands already. Tragically, the mounting “collateral” goes unnoticed by large sections of a population which clings frantically to the story of a new kind of killer virus.

Evidence archive at the Nuremberg Trials 1945/46 (US Army, public domain)

Is there a legal basis?

Lawyers will be able to provide far more in-depth answers about the legal basis of Corona tribunals than could be discussed in a cursory examination like mine. Nevertheless, several noteworthy points stick out.

As already mentioned, obvious fundamental violations of laws and national constitutions have been committed by numerous actors, ranging from false statements about a drug, incitement, corruption, profiteering, medical malpractice, abuse of office, obstruction of justice and bending of the law to dehumanizing treatment, deprivation of liberty, child abuse and homicide. Criminal and civil law, as well as state and national constitutions, already provide sufficient basis to initiate investigations in all countries.

The Nuremberg Trials themselves provide the precedent for a tribunal of international stature. They also created – at the time – new law, first and foremost the Nuremberg Code, the worldwide ethical standard for medical experiments, which emerged from the medical trials. A whole series of other international treaties resulting from the experiences of the 1930s and 1940s would have to be directly applicable, including the United Nations Charter. The UN, for all the criticism that can be levelled at its role in undermining our communities, also holds relevant norms such as the Convention against Torture, or the Convention on the Rights of Children. Whereas in the 1940s, international ethical regulations existed only with regard to war crimes and breaches of treaties, meaning that Allied judges had to retroactively declare obeying immoral orders unlawful, most of the ethical norms relevant to the Corona complex have long since been transformed into applicable law in most countries. In Germany, for example, there is a duty for state employees, such as teachers, police officers and soldiers, to refuse unconstitutional orders. The Constitution itself, Article 20.4 enshrines a general right to resistance when the democratic order as a whole is in danger:

In the absence of other means, all Germans have the right to resist anyone attempting to do away with this [constitutional] order.

So the judges of the Corona tribunals do not need to refer to some fictitious universal morality, which the perpetrators would not share anyway; they can judge on the basis of existing law that applied at the time of the crime. Therefore the perpetrators cannot plead ignorance, they cannot claim that they simply followed orders and they could in principle be held accountable in any country in the world.

Pending questions

Since the considerations of having “another Nuremberg” already arrived in places outside lawyers’ forums – some take tribunals almost for granted – it seems to me that the time has come to discuss the idea publicly and, if necessary, to flesh it out. If it’s just a matter of settling accounts with the regime, there’s no need to go to great lengths. Kangaroos can’t make mistakes. However, a unique opportunity opens up here to use the instrument of the tribunal for the improved reconstruction of our societies. The “Nuremberg” reference may seem exaggerated or inappropriate; admittedly. But it is the most memorable term at the moment for addressing the necessary reappraisal of the Corona complex.

Of course, in a short essay like this, no conclusive recommendations can be made and certainly not all questions can be answered. For example, it must remain open how to seize hold of the perpetrators, who the judges will be, whether juries will be involved, in which places the sessions will be held and who should decide on all these things in the first place. As a very general recommendation it might be good advice to seek broad international consensus, including from non-lawyers. Principles of humanism and compassion would have to be the benchmark from the beginning.

[Title image: The Nuremberg Palace of Justice at the time of the Tribunals, 1945-46; US Army photograph, public domain]

Killing Sophie Again

Sophie Scholl

haGalil, a German webzine on Jewish life, announced a demonstrative performance “under strictest observance of the mandatory Corona protective measures, including the testing of the participants” and “in close consultation with the appropriate authorities.” And thus, three days later, a spooky scene presented itself on May 9th 2021, the 100th anniversary of Sophie Scholl’s birthday, to onlookers at Munich’s Königsplatz (The King’s Square) as well as the viewers of a live video stream.

A definition of cognitive dissonance

At a distance of about twenty meters from the visitors, Dr. Hildegard Kronawitter, the managing director of the Weiße Rose Stiftung (White Rose Foundation Germany), was giving her emotionless opening speech by reading from her notes. She explains that she wishes the actors much joy at the performance and that Sophie Scholl may accompany them in their everyday lives. She thanks “the audience which has shown up in exactly the numbers permitted” by the authorities. Then she proceeds with reading a short welcoming speech from Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter who couldn’t participate personally “because the conditions to be observed under Corona made that impossible for him.” His text honoured the theatrical artists’ upcoming performance as “a living monument” for Sophie Scholl whose actions “have broken the Nazis’ claim for monopoly over public opinion.” He proclaims that “Remembrance today means that we stay vigilant and do not remain silent when people get affronted, ostracized or attacked on confronting cheap propaganda” and closes his address by emphasizing how “fundamentally important it is to stand up for freedom, peace and justice – every day, and in every situation.” So far, so good. But then…

What follows would have been a bizarre sight even before 2020. One hundred young people come walking through the side gates of the Propylaea, a monumental arch in Greek classicist style. They are dressed in black pants, bright red shirts and … dark FFP masks. A few years ago one would have correctly guessed that those masks were symbols for abolished freedom of speech; today you’ll be cut short by the managing director of the White Rose Foundation if you assert as much. The youth march to their positions in front of the gate, exactly two meters apart from each neighbour, where, for about forty minutes, to the sound of Scholl quotes, they go through their theatrical motions without moving much from their places.

It is not up to me to judge the performance which has surely been given with the best intentions and in a spirit of devotion by the students, but as I said already, the scene felt utterly spooky and bizarre when seen in the light of the occasion, the celebration of a young woman who has been killed for committing simple acts of non-conformity to government orders. Set to the recitation of her demand for freedom a group of one hundred students – “under strictest observance of the mandatory Corona protective measures” and “in close consultation with the appropriate authorities” – through their large-scale demonstration of obedience make a nonsense of the very matter to be celebrated: an individual’s decision to follow her conscience even under the threat of death. If you need a definition of cognitive dissonance, here it is. And if you ask me whether it is justified to quote the words of Sophie Scholl, Anne Frank, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer in defiance of their second slaughtering by contemporary bureaucrats, be blessed.

Atrium of the University in Munich where the Scholl’s were caught dropping leaflets. (wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Civilization and violence

In a certain way each era has us living in unprecedented times – times which have never before unfolded like these. It lies in the nature of our linear view of history, but more so it lies in the nature of the subject of history, civilization, a culture in eternal making-over. As civilization amasses lands, people, stuff, knowledge, it grows constantly bigger until it eventually reaches its peak, the maximally achievable size and power, before it collapses into a heap – the end of history. Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian and social critic, in a typical misconception of the civilized philosopher stated that,

“One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay which leads to death has already begun,” [Niebuhr, Beyond Tragedy, 1937, p39]

The thing that Niebuhr almost touched without noticing is that the apparent peak of civilization is not only a turning point but the most intense illusion of grandeur. What he, like most everyone I know, overlooks is the fact that the great architecture, the nicely chiseled rhetoric, the elaborate theories, the astounding technologies, the dolce vita and the fantastic wealth of civilized culture have at their basis the rape of peoples and lands. Violence, in other words, is not the exception to the supposedly lawful order of civilized culture – it makes up its very foundation. So we lie to ourselves when we think that violence is uncivilized, a typical characteristic of “primitive underdeveloped” people(s). We lie to ourselves when we think that we could keep violence in check. We lie to ourselves when we think that “best practices”, “progress”, and well-chosen leaders were able to overcome the predicament. At the apex of civilization, violence immerses everything, penetrates all places, and is baked into the morals, the knowledge, the technology, the law, the religion, the arts, and even the most ordinary rituals of everyday life. To say that violence got institutionally established – which it is – does not sufficiently describe its seat, its role, and its effect within our societies.

Directed switching-over

This becomes increasingly highlighted by the tyranny whose grip for power, for the first time in all history, does not radiate from one centre. It does not rally around one leader. Those who seem to take decisions are so obviously puppets that we cannot attribute full responsibility to them. Though they are guilty as shame for issuing inhumane unconstitutional orders they cannot be mistaken for the source of the global all-pervasive violence which is wrecking the illusion of the supposedly benevolent culture. No longer may we point to a Führer who verbatim took all responsibility on his shoulders. Violence has become a background radiation emanating from countless sources.

As I pointed out repeated times, and as it should be quite obvious prima facie, every single state, national and public institution or organization in India and most of Europe – the regions I have an overview on — has been turned into a zombie of the new régime. Among the most efficient of the numerous techniques applied to this effect are 1, the appointment of outsiders into leading positions – a non-police as head of police, a non-journalist as editor or publisher, a non-politician as minister, a non-physician as chairman of the board of the medical association etc –, 2, a strictly hierarchical culture of obedience, 3, the induction of fear of an elusive source of danger, 4, financial incentives, 5, misinformation, secrecy and censorship, and 6, social control and mass-psychological manipulation.

The technical term for this process in the German language is Gleichschaltung. Introduced by the Nazis in 1933, The technical term for this process of zombification is Gleichschaltung. Introduced by Germany’s National Socialists in 1933,its literal meaning is the simultaneous directed switching-over, the result of which is social synchronization among all public, economic and private entities within a country, to achieve a declared purpose. Neither the origin nor the intent of Gleichschaltung – whether you call it by that name or not – have anything to do with democracy, even as the parliaments castrate themselves and many of the institutions and organizations seem to spontaneously fall into lockstep all by themselves.

Volksgerichtshof, Freisler
Roland Freisler (centre) at the Volksgerichtshof (Bundesarchiv, Bild 151-39-23 /CC-BY-SA-3.0 Germany)

The moral collapse of respectable society

Some people object to the use of such terms (or any statements at all from that time, for that matter) in today’s context because these supposedly refer to specific events in the thirties and forties of the last century, while today’s societies – on the level of declarations – seem to differ tremendously from back then. Let’s take Frau Kronawitter, the above-mentioned managing director of the Weiße Rose Stiftung, as an example again. In November 2020 she said that her institute “disfavours” the use of Sophie Scholl quotes by the “Corona opposers”. The White Rose members had rebelled against a dictatorship which oppressed opinions and persecuted dissenters brutally whereas today, she said, the rule of law guaranteed free speech and the right to demonstrate.

You have to be quite blind – or biased – to not see the brutal physical and verbal violence against the peacefully acting dissenters of today, dissenters against an already established authoritarian régime under which oppositional views no longer reach the general public through ordinary, established channels. Being ignorant of the atrocities committed by the system, said Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge, is no excuse, though, for there are always means to acquire knowledge through means outside the official framework. Sophie Scholl who has been beheaded around the time Traudl Junge joined Hitler as a secretary, might have agreed, I guess. At her trial before the Volksgerichtshof (the NS supreme court) she said to Roland Freisler, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.” In another quote attributed to her she stated,

“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature.

Frau Kronawitter is not one of “those with no sides and no causes.” Even as she disagrees with the critics of the corona measures, her position – as a guardian of the memory of historical resistors to tyranny – might rather have obliged her to give those who quote from Scholl’s legacy at least the benefit of the doubt. ‘I understand the outrage,’ she could have told the journalists, ‘but I believe that we are far from the kind of situation the members of the White Rose found themselves in.’ Instead, in denial of the writings on the wall, she uttered the words abuse and absurd to denounce the protesters’ concerns. To my ears, it’s her own words that sound grotesque, not only in the face of the current situation but also with relation to the declared goal of the Weiße Rose Stiftung: At the end of the closing credits to the film Sophie Scholl, The Final Days (2005) it says that the foundation “informs relentlessly … on civil courage and resistance – even today.” In other words, keeping the memory of historical lessons alive is an ongoing task that requires vigilance with regards to wolves in sheep’s clothing. Early warnings need to be taken seriously, and active resistance should set in before it becomes a suicide mission. Yet obviously, like so many other leading figures in the memorial business, in music, literature, politics, science, medicine, philosophy and leftist circles, Kronawitter fell for (or instrumentalizes) literalism which means she cannot concede that under the shallow surface of differing phenomena the same old patterns drive the same old game for power toward the same old goal. But their literal understanding of what the assertions of the oppressors and the statements of their adversaries mean from a broader perspective is outdated since at least the 1960s.

Hannah Arendt

Lessons from history

Ever since people wondered what had befallen humankind during Europe’s totalitarian period, historians, philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists have been using the actual terminology of that time in a more general sense to describe the phenomenology and mechanisms among groups of people and whole societies sliding into barbarism – or hyper-civilization, I should say. History does not repeat itself; it does rhyme quite regularly though. In other words, the lessons of history speak of active patterns, not of identical actors or events. Hannah Arendt as one of the better-known, well-received socio-historical analysts, dedicated her life’s work to finding the patterns underlying the fascist state. In her speech on Personal Responsibility Under a Dictatorship (1964), she made the conditions we live under remarkably well discernible:

“Totalitarian society, as distinguished from totalitarian government, is indeed monolithic; all public manifestations, cultural, artistic, or learned, and all organizations, welfare and social services, even sports and entertainment, are “coordinated.” There is no office and indeed no job of any public significance, from advertising agencies to the judiciary, from play-acting to sports journalism, from primary and secondary schooling to the universities and learned societies, in which an unequivocal acceptance of the ruling principles is not demanded.”

Most of today’s governments work in open breach of their democratic constitutions; yet so far they act merely authoritarian, not totalitarian. It is society itself – following impulses from its executive branch – that has slipped into totalitarianism, with all its elements “coordinated”, streamlined, lockstepped, gleichgeschaltet. If you don’t wear a mask you cannot enter the shop. If you don’t test negative you cannot enter the classroom. If you don’t vaccinate you cannot go to work, or to concert, and you cannot cross the border. If you kiss your friend or have a birthday party or publicly read from the constitution you get arrested. If you outspokenly disagree with the official health paradigm your publisher rejects your book or record, your chief editor refuses to print your article, your bank cancels your account, your internet provider drops you, your boss fires you, your landlord boots you out, your social-media hangouts silence or de-platform you, and your friends stop speaking to you. Hannah Arendt, in her effort to understand what had happened eighty-five years earlier to herself, described the same “incredible ease with which lifelong friendships were broken and discarded.” At the root of the phenomenon there was “fear-inspired hypocrisy”, she explained, but also an “early eagerness not to miss the train of history … among a great majority of public figures in all walks of life and all ramifications of culture” (ibid.), just as we can observe today. And there was a righteousness in them that defied all reason, all empathy, and persisted beyond the collapse of the violence-enforced lies as became overt in the post-war trials.

But even those who drifted along for fear of sanctions or who thought they were somehow choosing the lesser evil washed their hands of all responsibility. They felt that, as cogs in a machine, as functionaries of a system, they had no power over its atrocious deeds whatsoever. Nevertheless – according to Arendt – they have been and remained human beings which could and should be held accountable for their participation in the events, because they always had a choice. “All governments rest on consent,” she quotes US founding father Madison, and added that the fallacy rested in mistaking consent for obedience. Therefore the correct question to be put before the followers in a tyranny was not, ‘Why did you obey?’ but ‘Why did you support?’ (This is also part of the spiritual practice of taking responsibility for one’s life; instead of telling oneself, ‘I have to go to work’ one concedes ‘I choose to go to work.’) “Monsters exist,” says Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, “but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” [The New Republic, Feb 17, 1986]

Making a difference

Hannah Arendt tried to find an answer to the most fundamental question in which way the system’s supporters and the non-collaborators differed. She concluded that the non-collaborators, “called irresponsible by the majority, were the only ones who dared judge by themselves.” They carefully decided on the limits of how far they could go and still look in the mirror, and even under force would prefer to die rather than step beyond those limits. The others, though, the system’s supporters would cling to established rules which were hijacked by those in power:

“The total moral collapse of respectable society during the Hitler regime may teach us that under such circumstances those who cherish values and hold fast to moral norms and standards are not reliable … Much more reliable will be the doubters and skeptics, not because skepticism is good or doubting wholesome, but because they are used to examine things and to make up their own minds. Best of all will be those who know only one thing for certain: that whatever else happens, as long as we live we shall have to live together with ourselves,”

writes Arendt (ibid.), whereby she points to a generalization to be derived from the experience collected under the Nazi régime. As unique as the extent and the particular forms of evil under that specific tyranny may seem, underneath lay psychological and behavioral patterns which can be traced across all of civilization throughout all of world history, and they came to the foreground, again, in March 2020, clearly visible to anyone with open eyes or sensitive guts. If the Holocaust memorials, the war tribunals and the public commemoration days ought to have any meaning in today’s world beyond simple sorriness for irrecoverable losses, if the legacy of the Scholl siblings tells us anything at all, it is this one word: Beware!

For the time to stand up and disobey has arrived.

Everything

On leaving the village shop I pay my purchase with fiat currency. Fiat currency is the kind of money that comes into existence through debt, which means, an interest was attached to it that was owed to the central bank issuing the money. Someone had to work for it, to create a value that enabled them to pay this interest; it is the reason why civilized humans of this time and age pillage the planet. I don’t know what they did for the money I just spent. Perhaps they strip-mined the Deccan, or they razed some old-growth forest in Assam. I will never know. I understand, though, that the form in which the shop keeper receives my dough – as bits and bites via an online network connected to a bank – required massive infrastructure investments, from rare earths for computer parts, to copper in the wires, to cement for the buildings the bank and the network components are housed in – just to name a few of incredibly many raw materials needed to enable me to go shopping in this place or any other. One key component in our deal is electricity, the energy required to run the shop computer, the network hubs, and the bank computer; electricity is also needed for the transmission of the transaction signals. Think of nuclear reactors (uranium strip-mines, forever-radiating waste), coal-powered plants (more strip-mines, carbon dioxide), or “renewable” energy plants (yet more mines for silicates and rare earths, petroleum for the plastic parts, plastering of hillsides and plains with rotors and solar panels, ruining of river valleys with dams). And, on a side note, I know that,

if there were no computers, the process of engaging in war would be much more drawn out, with a lot more time for human beings to change their minds or seek alternatives. It is only because computers do exist that a virtually automatic, instant worldwide war, involving total annihilation, even enters the realm of possibility. [Jerry Mander: In the Absence of the Sacred]

Being constantly aware of details like these, I sigh as I walk out through the shop’s front door. I used to buy a lot of sweets and crunchy stuff before I decided to reduce my dependence on money and to prevent the production of plastic garbage. I buy only bread and spreads. The bread comes in a compostable paper wrapping, which is a rather revolutionary feat in a world gone crazy for petroleum-containing plastic packaging. But paper has issues of its own, from the consumption of forest ecologies to the poisonous chemicals needed to produce the stuff, and a lot of those chemicals end up in rivers and aquifers – or in your compost pile. Perhaps the paper is

made of 150-year-old Engelmann spruce and Cariboo fir from British Columbia. Cooked into pulp in a stew of sodium sulfide. Bleached with chlorine dioxides that exhale deadly dioxins. Printed with petroleum-based resins from California, carbon-black from oil drilled in the Gulf of Mexico, colored inks produced in the industrial suburbs of Seattle. Delivered in a van fueled by gasoline from Saudi Arabia. Bound by a petroleum-based rubber band made in Hong Kong. Sheathed in a polyethylene bag from New Jersey. [Chellis Glendinning: Off the Map]

by Maggie’s Camera on flickr.com (cc by-nd 2.0 generic)

The spreads – peanut butter, mixed fruits jam, and chocolate cream – come in glass jars. The glass itself is recyclable, but its production and recycling requires high amounts of fossil fuels. The lids are made of composite layers of rubber, tin, and paint; hard to separate, if at all possible. The peanuts have been harvested from a degraded landscape denuded from all kind of vegetation but hectares of monocrops. They are local, though, meaning, I save pollution from transportation, and receive only the poisonous industrial chemicals residing in soil, air, and water just about everywhere on the planet. Same goes for the jam and the chocolate spread. The latter is nagging my conscience a little more, since I don’t know what the fatty ingredients consist of, the chocolate comes from one or two far-away continents, and has likely been produced by grossly underpaid wage slaves and children. Let’s also not talk about the sugar in there, a legal drug that I have become addicted to already when drinking my first sweetened tea as a baby.

Anyway, one has to eat. When I was born I have been one of about 3.7 billion hungry mouths. Today I share the planet with more than double this amount, 99.99% of which belong to the same culture: global industrial civilization.

So I cycle home, carrying my purchase in a certified-organic cotton bag. That the shop doesn’t provide plastic carriers any longer helps them cater to the image of ‘green’ business. Yet, as a matter of fact, you cannot trust the certificate because the providing agency needs to create surplus which means, they need to satisfy their customers… and you can’t keep your customers happy when you ruin their businesses by attesting them bad practice. One lesson from AAA ratings for defaulting crap papers could have been, to take a closer look at all kinds of certificates, from safety guarantees for electric devices to organic labels for food. The more convenient path, though, is to confide in the neat-looking logo on the package, lest you would inspect the global supply chain leading from resources extraction through materials processing to assembly, packaging, transportation, and sales systems. I prefer to have a life. That means, I buy as little as possible, and when I do I don’t give a bleeding damn about what the label says; it’s a lie anyway. Which brings me back to the cotton bag I carried along: at least part of the cotton is genetically modified, Glyphosate-treated stuff, with a high likeliness of having been grown in a place where one or more farmers have killed themselves because they couldn’t repay their loans after the chemically annihilated fields refused to produce as much as the Frankenseed company promised. But at least I may reuse the bag a few more times before its weak seams sloppily tailored in a Bangladeshi sweatshop disintegrate and I have to buy a new one.

Once you start looking a little closer at how you live, what you use and who you interact with, you will notice without effort that exactly everything contributes to polluting the planet, to the destruction of habitat for all life forms including humans, and to causing the disintegration of communities, violence, death, extreme injustice, spiritual impoverishment, and decrease in human capacities. This is not because you were especially focusing on negative aspects, or that I was a defeatist, nihilistic, miserable-minded cynic. What you see is real. Do not, for one second, believe in human ingenuity being able to create a techno-fix for it. The “Digital age,” for instance, will not result in a well-informed unified activists front prevailing over the destructive power of the Megamachine. Jerry Mander writes,

This society upholds a fierce technological idealism. We believe we can get the best from a given technology without falling into worst-case scenarios of the sort described above. We maintain this idealism despite the fact that we have no evidence of technology ever being used at an optimal level, or even being sensibly controlled. This is certainly true of automobiles, which have virtually destroyed the natural world; and of television, which creates a common mental denominator; and of electrical energy generation, which is vastly overdeveloped to the detriment of the planet.

and:

What is romantic is to believe that technological evolution will ever live up to its own advertising, or that technology itself can liberate us from the problems it has created. [Jerry Mander: In the Absence of the Sacred]

I find both Mander’s and my own considerations echoed in another paragraph from Glendinning’s book “Off the Map” in which she reflects,

This white linen shirt. Constructed in a sweatshop in Indonesia. Or Lithuania. Or Saipan. Everything of this world. Shoes made of Brazilian cattle whose grazing lands were once rain forest. Eggs on the plate: they come courtesy of hens buckling in boxes not twice the size of their bodies, shot up with antibiotics and hormones. These petrochemical lawn chairs. Earl Grey tea. Everything. The raw materials of our lives mean one thing as we obtain them glistening at the mall, via the Internet, in mail-order catalogs, as gifts from friends. They mean something else in the naked sober world of their origin. They are literally made of the oppression, pain, grief, sacrifice imposed by the global economy.

Or I could have opened Derrick Jensen’s “The Myth of Human Supremacy” at pages 178/9 where I find a similar notion expressed by an author who is “just” sitting in a wooden house, on a winter day, with a computer on, snacking from a plastic bag of cashews. I trust you to play through the implications of that by yourself.

Often times when I talk to people, they use to respond, “O well, this means you cannot trust anybody, cannot believe anything written, cannot buy, eat, or touch anything.” And this is exactly my point. When it comes to our culture/ society/ economy, everything is tainted because everything has been created from matter violently ripped from the Earth, with no respect for ecosystems or living beings. Everything runs through a poisonous process of transportation, chemical treatment, packaging, insincere labeling, and finally trashing, all of which is performed by a planetary network of wage slaves who get alienated from the produce of their hands by division of labour, and who sell their lifetimes in exchange for fiat currency that creates more and more extreme social disparity. Everyone has become violently selfish from having to survive in a violent and greedy society, everyone’s traumatized, everyone has been turned into a zombie, or a jerk, or a victim.

Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom. [Michael Ellner]

“Don’t hate your oppressors;
they need liberation, just like you.”
 

In today’s world where every square inch of the Earth can feel the impact of our culture’s activity there is no escape from the Empire of Evil. There is no such thing as walking away, no such thing as dropping out. Our minds have been programmed for functioning in the context of this Empire. We are civilization, and civilization is who we are. You can’t walk away from yourself.

Does that mean we have to give up trying? I don’t believe so. Nature – and that includes humankind – possesses a tremendous capacity for self-healing. There is a real chance that once we brought down the physical manifestation of the system – or it collapsed on its own, which is more likely, given our current state of mind – the Planet, and humanity, will quickly bounce back to their former degree of aliveness. (Well, perhaps not.)
To unburden oneself from the acculturated need for things may not suffice to fully liberate the mind from its ties with our civilized upbringing. Independent of whether we’d be able to achieve anything tangible I see it as a morally necessary step, though, a step which also helps us reconnect with life how it truly was meant to be. We need to empathize with the sickness within ourselves, we also need to have patience with each other.

And maybe (just maybe) life still has a chance of blooming and spreading once again – after our sick culture has vanished from our minds and its practices are discontinued for good.

Carbon confusion

While climate scientists naturally keep an eye on human carbon emissions as the main driver of global warming, people like Charles Eisenstein have been wondering whether the problem / solution approach makes any sense in handling the planetary crisis. ‘Carbon reductionism‘, as he calls it, is just an expression of the underlying worldview that created and fostered the crisis; our sense of separateness that makes us think we could manipulate and shape the ‘external’ world according to our likings. We have failed achieving the desired outcome and instead have created a situation that threatens to wipe out millions of species, our own among them. What makes us think we could find our way out of this with just a little more (geo) engineering?

Eisenstein’s perspective may not be easy to digest when all you ever believed in were rational thought and scientific research results. But rationality may go wrong and lose its grip on reality quite a bit, especially when its conclusions are founded on assumptions, or doctored data even.

Recently I am running more and more often into the assertion that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases had peaked and were levelling around 36 Gtons of carbon during the last three years. Trying to find out where this figure is coming from I discovered what I intuited already: that human industrial gas output has not been measured, cannot be measured, and is utterly based on industrial claims about the amount of fossil fuels burnt. It’s all paper declarations.

At the same time, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have actually been measured and found increasing, with no sign of even the rate of increase reducing. I find it probable that emissions have continued rising exponentially while governments and industries claim they had done their level best to curb them. Nobody can actually know where all the surplus gases in the atmosphere are coming from exactly. We only know they are there, on the rise, and they are here to stay.
Until only weeks ago I did not notice a single article in which the claim that greenhouse gases had levelled off has been questioned in any serious way, and I find this somehow peculiar when there is a lot of cynicism going around regarding corporate sources of information. After all, manipulation of deceptive practices to hide global warming and its source have been well documented.


source: GCP, licence: CC

“This result is part of the annual carbon assessment released today by the Global Carbon Project, a global consortium of scientists and think tanks under the umbrella of Future Earth and sponsored by institutions from around the world,” reported ‘The Conversation’ (Global carbon emissions have stalled“, by Pep Canadell et al., 20161114)

The graph states that the economy is still growing and that the alleged drop in carbon emissions is based on Chinese figures about their coal use.

The industry uses those ‘level’ figures because they seem to show that the age of fossil fuels is over anyway and that it’s not worth people’s time to think about regulations. They want their fictional carbon budgets last a little longer.

Governments embrace the figures because they seem to show that their efforts with curbing global warming are gaining traction and that emissions have decoupled from economic growth.

Climate scientists who think civilization can be saved use those numbers to call for more personal action, development of ‘green’ energy infrastructure, or even financing their pet geo-engineering technology.

And the doomer community, yes, it has an interest in upholding those figures as well; after all, the implied growing discrepancy between stalling industrial emissions and rising atmospheric carbon levels strongly supports the notion that Earth’s climate has entered a runaway mode of change.

When government, industry, and various shades of the environmental movement unite in embracing ominous figures, it makes me wonder what’s going on. While we cannot expect industry, corporate-controlled governments, and their gate keeping scientists and journalists to tell the truth, truly concerned people need to take a second look at the assumptions connected to above mentioned figures. Please note that I am not saying that non-human feedback loops hadn’t been triggered, just that I doubt the figures delivered by governments and industries. Those are very likely twisted, and certainly not based on reliable facts.

An article in the ‘National Observer’ (These ‘missing charts’ may change the way you think about fossil fuel addiction, by Barry Saxifrage in Analysis, Energy, 20170713), for the first time, wonders if those figures make any sense at all. It presents evidence that there is no reason to believe anthropogenic carbon emissions have so much as stopped rising at all. Paul Beckwith, climate scientist at the University of Ottawa, just now also expresses doubt. (“Fossil fuel use is rising like there is no tomorrow 20170726)

Absent solid data, and regarding the root causes of the planetary predicament, what actually needs to happen is a profound rethinking — or rather, re-sensing — of humanity’s nature and place in the Universe. If we are to come to our senses all of the distractions which keep the mind busy need to fall away: entertainment, belief systems, career, money, consumerism… you name it. The falling-away of all the confusion they cause would shatter our whole way of life, otherwise called industrial civilization.
What is in the way? Only addiction and fear.
The interesting thing about it is that this is not about doing more but less, and that the way is identical to the goal.

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, 12 May 2017

Editorial

 

A lot of the material presented here may seem unpleasant to the unprepared eye. If you think so, there are two points to keep in mind.
First of all, that something looks unpleasant doesn’t mean we should look the other way. It is just one facet of things as they are. Yet those are some facets mainsteam media chooses to avoid or to make them appear less serious than they are. To achieve a more accurate picture of the world at large, though, these aspects need to come to one’s awareness. Those who prefer to consume standard news from abundant corporate or government sources – be free to switch programs.
Secondly, you may ask yourself why I chose to focus on those unpleasant aspects of reality. The answer is, that I prefer truth over propaganda, and that, by having a more accurate picture of the situation, I may respond more aptly. When we view information as merely ‘interesting’, ‘entertaining’, or ‘thrilling’, it becomes meaningless. Every event carries a lesson. It has something to tell about how well our actions are aligned with what-is. When our path is littered with suffering, conflict, catastrophe, and other unpleasant debris, it suggests that something doesn’t work in the way we see and handle things. This has collective aspects to it, but also carries lessons for the individual. When it seems like we are just little cogs in a giant machine who cannot change much, that is true, regarding the machine, yes; at the same time it is not true regarding the impact we can have on the origins of suffering, both materially and spiritually.
Those links which lead to the less unpleasant stories may help with understanding how that works.

Ongoing Assault

Recent news
Towards an ethics of permanenceNyla Coelho & Dr. M.G. Jackson, Ecologise, 20170510
The authors are “calling for a fundamental transformation of our perceptions of reality, and a befitting code of conduct to govern our relations with one another and with every other entity on earth.”
As we are today, we should consider ourselves to be ill; in dire need of healing. Our illness has been brought about by our many failures to act in accordance with the ethical imperatives of the core pattern of relationships underlying manifest phenomena. These failures are due to ignorance or inadvertence. Healing can occur if we endeavour to be mindful of the imperatives of the active causal agency that shapes and governs all beings and their activities, and act in accordance with it. This applies to our personal emotional and physical health, as well as to that of our families, our communities, our nations and the larger global community of which all these are parts. The cumulative effect of all our individual illnesses is an ailing planet.”
[The article is a collection of excerpts from the book Tending Our Land: A New Story, Earthcare books, Kolkata, 2016]

Science presents to us another positive feedback loop that drives global warming without human intervention:
Measurements of carbon dioxide levels taken from aircraft, satellites and on the ground show that the amount of CO2 emitted from Alaska’s frigid northern tundra increased by 70% between 1975 and 2015, in the period between October and December each year. […]

Whereas soils 40 years ago took about a month to completely freeze over, the process can now take three months or longer. In some places in the state, the soil is not freezing until January, particularly if there is a layer of insulating snow. The result is a huge and continuing expulsion of CO2 [not to talk of methane].

A lot of models were predicting this thawing would happen, but not for another 50 to 100 years.”

Big polluters are headed for Germany for UN climate talks – Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones, 20170504
How the latest United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) comes into existence. It’s ok to feel a little bit disgusted.
Stark warning on health of oceans – Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 20170504
As the oceans heat up they take in more carbon dioxide, which means they become more acidic and less oxygenized – a threat to the marine food chain.
Crop failures in USA as a result of extreme weather events – Robin Westenra, Seemorerocks, 20170503
No one seems to be alarmed by the heat wave in India, not even the government of India. No one seems to be alarmed by the famines in Africa, except for the Africans. No one seems to be alarmed by crop failures in the US, except for the stock markets. It’s all just freakish events… yes?
The science of this article is based on the flawed IPCC/Paris figures (see my essay, 2°C to Midnight), but the message it carries is absolutely correct: “It’s a species-level emergency, but almost no one is actinglike it is.” And,“If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.”
Though that won’t be enough, as the already-developed resources carry us to 2,2°C (IPCC), or rather 6.5°C (Wasdell). Seriously.
The crazy scale of human carbon emission – Caleb A. Scharf, Scientific American, 20170426
Want some perspective on how much carbon dioxide human activity produces? Here it is.”
Careful, it’s getting graphic 😉
We can save life on Earth: study reveals how to stop mass extinction – Morgan Erickson-Davis, Truthout, 20170426
The deal is, to conserve around 50% of the planet’s land areas for proper functioning ecosystems – currently there are 15% under protection. ”Increasing protections and restoring degraded land would cost somewhere between $8 billion and $80 billion per year”, which is a joke compared to what is being spent on war. But then again, it is this greedy mindset of ours which drives us into war time and again that will keep us from doing it.
The deal reminds me a bit of historical divisions, say in Korea, where the opponents fear defeat and hastily agree to an armistice before it’s too late. Only that, this time, it might actually be so. It doesn’t ever work out, anyway. Look at Ethiopia/Eretria, or Israel/Palestine, or India/Pakistan, or Germany, or…
We will insist on fully transforming “our” part into the Anthroposphere, and we will have wars against the other part, for all the stupid reasons we have wars among human nations. First and foremost the capitalistic juggernaut is not going to stop the plundering of the world before it has felled and monetized the last tree on Earth. Meanwhile, experts are going to discuss which areas are worth protecting, or how this is going to effect the economy.
I don’t believe we see more than an ultra-shortterm result from such an endeavor. Humanity and nature are one. The insistence on a separation that has no reality anywhere else but in the mind can only lead to further crippling of both parts. Let’s overcome separation!
The upshot of the judges’ opinion? Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.
The judges also called on international lawmakers to hold corporations like Monsanto accountable, to place human rights above the rights of corporations, and to ‘clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide’.”
A conversation with Helena Norberg-Hodge – Charles Eisenstein, A new and ancient story, 20170417
The author of ‘Sacred Economics‘ and the author of ‘Distant Futures: Learning from Ladakh’ have a dialogue on the reductionist assumptions regarding climate change and how to “attack” it, on localization as a means of healing wounds of all kinds, and how huddling together in ever larger numbers is a main driver to the convergence of crises this civilization faces today. They talk about cities, their functioning and the ramifications of their growth. What impresses me time and again about Charles is his ability to connect dots from very different areas in order to show the larger picture.
In the present day, the biomass of the entire human race is approximately equal to 300 million tonnes. This is more than double that of all large terrestrial vertebrates that lived on Earth prior to human civilization, and an entire order of magnitude greater than that of all vertebrates currently living in the wild. At 30.11 trillion tonnes, the size of the technosphere is five orders of magnitude greater than even that. It is the equivalent of every single square metre of Earth’s surface being covered with nearly 50kg of matter.”
According to Aspen, the total Mass of carbon in the whole biosphere is about 1 to 4 trillion tons. The comparison to our own collective weight shows that humanity is literally eating up the living planet as it develops its realm and grows in numbers.
I disagree with every single point made in this video, as far as those points are meant to discredit the ability of self-acclaimed and alleged ‘doomers’ in general and a certain professor emeritus in special. With his kitchen psychoanalysis Paul, who has made himself a name as a climate system scientist and proponent of geo-engineering, falls into the same traps he believes others have become victims of. Rather than refuting point by point, however, may I emphasize that Paul touches on something that is of relevance to every activist: the danger of getting hysterical about the news, of overrating single events, and of identifying with a specific interpretation of the facts. We need to be aware of the larger picture, and we need to check our facts in the light of new information and different opinions. Because we might be wrong. In the end, all predictions of the future are inaccurate projections. So… pass on the popcorn and relax 🙂

Pearls Before Swine

A collection of older articles that – obviously – didn’t change the world.
The only way I can honor Earth Day is to grieve all that has been lost, and to refuse to participate in the ongoing destruction.”
8 widespread but deadly eco-myths – Michael Thomas, Exposing the Truth, 20140821
Nice to have all this pointed out in a tidy fashion. People, in their human bubble, too easily forget that money, science, or ingenuity cannot bring back lost lives.
Recommended article, both as an introduction into the madness of our culture, and as a call for resistance. Hedges shows how the story of Captain Ahab, the main character of Moby Dick, is emblematic of what our culture is doing to the planet today. “The novel is the chronicle of the last days of any civilization,”he writes, because “Complex civilizations have a bad habit of ultimately destroying themselves […]
The difference this time is that when we go down the whole planet will go with us. There will, with this final collapse, be no new lands left to exploit, no new civilizations to conquer, no new peoples to subjugate. The long struggle between the human species and the earth will conclude with the remnants of the human species learning a painful lesson about unrestrained greed, hubris and idolatry.”
Ronald Wright once pointed out that our neolithic ancestors, as well, have been facing a fundamental change that required major changes in how people lived. Mankind, after having hunted every large species into extinction, parted into two directions; those who turned into tribal caretakers of the land, and those who continued as farmers and civilization founders; those who got the lesson and those who didn’t. It remains doubtful whether the latter will get it this time around, because “We believe, because we have externalized evil, that we can purify the earth. And we are blind to the evil within us.” Hedges.
On the positive side, he says, “we only need 1 to 5 percent of the population actively working for the overthrow of a system, history has shown, to bring down even the most ruthless totalitarian structures.”
Yet the stakes are high, especially for those bound to the machine who see clearer than others. In the face of a conflict of interest, “moral cowardice turns us into hostages.”
To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth—intellectually and emotionally—and rise up to resist the forces that are destroying us.”
AMEN!
Human extinction without a squeak? – Michael Thomas, Exposing the Truth, 20130407
The question why “no one” is taking the impending collapse of global ecosystems serious is being asked again and again. This article provides an answer from an emergency helper’s point of view.
The paper discusses the techniques of how alternate ways of acquiring knowledge are systematically getting eradicated through scientific discourse. See also my previous article, Cognitive Justice: Science and the Sacred.
A short history of progress – Ronald Wright, 2004
Wright argues that civilizations usually end up in a development trap. Technological items that seem beneficial in the beginning become staples before a society slips into addiction. What looks like a stairway to heaven is actually a highway to hell. The author describes the demise of some historical civilizations, analyzing which of their cornerstones gave way and made it collapse. For example,
We might think that in such a limited place [Easter Island], where, from the height of Terevaka, islanders could survey their whole world at a glance, steps would have been taken to halt the cutting, to protect the saplings, to replant. We might think that as trees became scarce, the erection of statues would have been curtailed, and timber reserved for essential purposes such as boatbuilding and roofing. But that is not what happened. The people who felled the last tree could see it was the last, could know with complete certainty that there would never be another. And they felled it anyway.”
There must be reasons why we do not react appropriately. One of them might be that,
We are running 21st-century software on hardware last upgraded 50,000 years ago or more. This may explain quite a lot of what we see in the news.”
Wright also describes the fall of Sumer and Rome, and briefly compares them to the cases of China, Greece, and Egypt. All this does of course have a meaning for our own situation in which we have reached the peak production of our main energy source at a time when environmental breakdown is well underway. When a civilization reaches the limits to growth it needs to acknowledge them or perish. It’s not like there were no precedences like the Maya, whom we can learn from. And what did the Maya do?
As the crisis gathered, the response of the [Maya] rulers was not to seek a new course, to cut back on royal and military expenditures, to put effort into land reclamation …, or to encourage birth control… No, they dug in their heels and carried on doing what they had always done, only more so. Their solution was higher pyramids, more power to the kings, harder work for the masses, more foreign wars … the Maya elite [was]squeezing the last drops of profit from nature and humanity.”
Doesn’t it sound awfully familiar to you? Does it make you feel like you want to smash the pathetic system and start all over again? Beware!
There is no going back without catastrophe. Those who don’t like civilization, and can’t wait for it to fall on its arrogant face, should keep in mind that there is no other way to support humanity in anything like our present numbers or estate.”
And maybe there is no other way left to go but to reduce the numbers and estate. Population and property were the main physical drivers of all civilizations – and their eventual unraveling. I know that our Empire, just like the Maya kings, is not willing to go slower, not to speak of decreasing its size. It should have taken steps four decades ago at latest. The end of the road has been reached. The current generation may experience the expected outcome of our civilization’s project of conquering the world.
The lesson I read in the past is this: that the health of land and water — and of woods, which are the keepers of water — can be the only lasting basis for any civilization’s survival and success.”
[The above link leads to a file containing the introduction to his 200p book.]

The train of civilization

“Are we going to arrive in time?” – “I think so. Emergency services are pretty quick these days.”

Famous Last Words

“Don’t worry. We can fix this.”

2°C to Midnight, or, In Paris We Trust

Just a few months ago, in November 2016, the world celebrated the coming-into-effect of the 2015 Paris Agreement on limiting anthropogenic global warming – only to get disappointed shortly after by the announcement of the POTUS-elect that he intended to cancel the treaty. The leader of one of the planet’s most polluting nations who is at the same time commander-in-chief of the US army, the single biggest polluter worldwide, has already started to dismantle mechanisms of environmental protection both at home and abroad. One could sing a very sad song about that, but I want to talk about something else here. As we will see by the end of this essay, the United States’ adherence or non-adherence to the Paris Agreement might be of marginal significance to the unfolding of climate change, if at all.

The Paris Agreement which has been signed by numerous nations on the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) has actually been a breakthrough, somehow, because, for the first time, a majority of the world’s countries, including the US, have committed to far-reaching specific goals for environmental protection, in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. But that victory’s value is only of symbolic nature; it will not achieve what it is supposedly meant to do. Quite the opposite. Various scientists have pointed out that the treaty is simply misleading public opinion. The action to be taken will not only be insufficient, it is coming too late – by decades – and will result in inappropriate handling of this truly existential crisis of our planet. Therefore it is suitable for leading to great damage.

The Paris Agreement is mainly based on data collected, reviewed, evaluated, and presented by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its main goals – curbing global warming at 2°C above pre-industrial levels, ideally stopping it at 1.5°C, through national carbon budgets – derive from reports issued by the IPCC. Certainly it’d be unfair to demand infallability of those good folks, but criticism of the IPCC has been getting louder and louder over the years, and point is adding to serious point. Those who believe that the tide is turning, climate-wise, should definitely have a look at what the general public is being served as a major breakthrough. Let’s dive into matters from here on.

Composition
As its name suggests, the IPCC consists of government representatives of the world’s nations. Founded in 1988, its purpose has been to inform decision makers of the state of global climate. The IPCC appoints scientists which are to provide assessment reports. The last word on content and way of publication are with the IPCC, i.e. the governments, not with the scientists. The latest report has been issued in 2013 (AR5).

Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), of 2013
It is the scientist’s duty to come to an assessment of the future development of the global climate system. Their appraisal has to be based on solid data. Well, we all heard about climate change denial, and we would like to have a clear picture of what is going on, rather than having to rely on anybody’s best guesses. There is just one problem with solid data: it is old data. For scientific research to receive wider acknowledgement, the reports have to go through a lengthy process of checks and appraisals by fellow scientists, the so-called peer review. This usually takes two to three years before relevant journals are willing to print the report. Only then does the scientific community regard the data as solid. The assessment by the IPCC takes several years more, e.g. it is currently in its sixth cycle of assessment, the report of which is not to be expected before 2022. So the data grows old and older.

Climate, in the meantime, continues to change, and quickly. The current state of affairs is documented ‘merely’ through unreviewed measurements. Instead of working with those, the IPCC used computer models. There is much to criticise about that.
Models can provide only rough calculations of climatic mechanisms. Small causes below the resolution of the model can amplify into surprisingly huge effects. One example of this is the localised melt of the Greenland ice sheet through darker particles and its large-scale destabilisation through the resulting melt water.
Quite a few fundamental climate factors have been missing from the IPCC’s models, such as the greenhouse gases methane and water vapor, and the multiple effects of melting polar icecaps. Those factors are not merely adding up, they interact with each other. That means, instead of the expected (by IPCC) relatively steady increase we see a sudden escalation in figures, such as with global average temperatures and polar ice melt. Already more than seventy natural feedback processes have been identified which reinforce themselves and each other and drive the heating of the atmosphere without needing further human intervention. The IPCC does not acknowledge any of these feedback loops.
That’s why the IPCC has come to false predictions regarding polar ice melting, atmospheric temperature development and greenhouse gas concentrations, all of which are skyrocketing at unprecedented speed. No wonder – the models were completely inaccurate, as illustrated by the following chart.

measured data (red) as compared to modeled Arctic sea ice extent (blue).
[public domain / source: Wikimedia]

It is easy to see how inaccurate models prevent people from getting aware of the obvious emergency. Instead of an ice-free Arctic starting from somewhen between 2017 and 2025, IPCC predicts this so-called Blue-Ocean Event from 2100 on, when today’s decision makers will no longer be alive. Blue Ocean leads to significantly higher intake of solar radiation energy, resulting in higher water temperatures, and those will probably trigger massive outbursts of methane from the seabed; a sudden leap in atmospheric temperatures will be the consequence – exactly how the ‘Great Dying’ some 250 Million years ago came about, when more than 90% of all life forms went extinct.

Scientists tend to give conservative figures. That’s not new. Valuing the models with their systematic large-scale deviation higher than the real figures is. The intervention of governments in the interest of fossil fuel industries has played a major role in this, some scientists reported. Further window-dressing has been achieved by shifting the baseline. In the 80s, the UN held that a 1°C temperature rise above a pre-industrial baseline (1750) was beyond safe. Today, the IPCC is talking about 2°C as compared to a pre-industrial baseline, meaning 1880 (!) In those intermitting 120 years, global average temperature has risen by at least 0.3°C due to human activity. Recently we see more and more publications that use an even later baseline, thus playing down the level of warming the planet has already reached. Ordinary people watching the news usually won’t become aware of it; they will falsely believe that there is plenty of time for countermeasures while there isn’t.

David Wasdell, director of the Apollo-Gaia Project, previously coordinator of the Meridian Programme, comes to similar results. Years of climate research enabled him to draw a corrected version of the IPCC’s chart depicting the relation between industrial CO2 emissions, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, and expected global atmospheric temperature rise.

[source: Wasdell]

The top of the graph translates the weights of carbon into their equivalent amounts of CO2, in parts per million (ppm). This translates into a total amount of human carbon emissions measured in petagrams (PgC), shown on the lower edge.
The vertical axis shows the temperature increase which a certain amount of greenhouse gases may result in. This depends on the models used.
The blue line shows the steady increase the IPCC models project. This does not acknowledge greenhouse gases other than CO2, and it does not account for changes related to the melting of the polar ice caps. It doesn’t acknowledge the dynamics of natural processes.
The curved red line calculated by Wasdell does include some of these factors and is matching paleoclimatic precedence.

Wasdell’s analysis of AR5, in short:
„Avoiding dangerous climate change is no longer possible.“ The IPCC has delivered a systematically false report that does not describe the reality of climate change. Its proposals are misleading and allow for too much time to pass. „On these grounds the AR5 should be rejected as not fit for the purpose of policy-making.“ The specifics are frightening:

  • The temperature response to the 2014 set of emission-reduction pledges is about 10°C, not 4°C . This is where we are most likely headed as many states seem to have a hard time implementing the Paris Agreement.
  • If we actually performed as proposed by the AR5/Paris Agreement, we’d end up at 5.4°C, not 2°C.
  • The atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2014 already leads us to 3.9°C, not 1.5°C. The effect of other greenhouse gases which have been disregarded by IPCC needs to be added. The temperature increase locked in actually amounts to min. 6°C and will probably lead to a sea level rise of 23 meters, following precedents in Earth’s history, according to Guy McPherson. We don’t need to worry about wet feet, though, because a temperature rise by 3.9°C equals the extinction of the human race, following the demise of our crop plants.
  • The so-called CO2 budget of 300 gigatons which could supposedly get emitted before breaking the 2°C limit is wholly illusory. In reality the account was already overdrawn by 388 gigatons, with 10 gigatons of industrial carbon pollution being added every year. There is no budget to distribute. We have missed that exit decades ago, around 1970.

Those who do not shy away from climate technical vocabulary should have a look at Wasdell’s critical evaluation of the AR5.
If, for some reason, you find it wanting, there still remain a few inconvenient facts:
2°C are not a goal based in science. The limit has been set by the neoliberal economist William Nordhaus who tried to define conditions under which economic activity makes sense.
2°C are not a safe goal. This shows clearly from the increasingly numerous, increasingly massive natural disasters over the last few decades. Epic droughts, larger storms, rainbombs, quickly changing weather, extreme heat and cold – and all of these clearly more often today than in the past. It already devastates crops throughout the world, from Spanish lettuce to Californian almonds, from Australian sugar to Indian grains.
2°C are not a realistic goal, even by the assessment of the IPCC. AR5 states that it requires geo-engineering to achieve its 2°C goal (which is really 5.4°C), yet it fails to mention any specific technology that can accomplish this. Such a technology which could manipulate climatic factors in the short-term and on a global scale does not exist yet!

Summary:
The Paris Agreement of 2015 whose goals and policies mirror the fifth assessment report of 2013 of the IPCC exposes the community of life on Earth to dangerous climatic changes, says David Wasdell in his critical evaluation. Others – Sam Carana, Michael Mann, James Hansen, or Paul Beckwith – do call for immediate action. They propose a shift to renewable energy sources and demand geo-engineering of various kinds. In the absence of suitable geo-engineering technologies, and factoring in that the so-called renewables are not carbon-neutral at all, Professor Guy McPherson came to the conclusion that the train of civilization has jumped tracks and is heading for the bottom of the cliff.
Global warming might not be catastrophic, but rather apocalyptic in extent, as human activity has triggered a sixth mass extinction already which may only get worse on this quickly heating planet. It’s literally 2.5°C to Midnight.
I would have liked to end this essay with the words, „If that is so, who cares what America is doing or not doing?“ Yet the one thing America still may – and possibly will – do is to throw the planet into a nuclear winter, either deliberately to stop the warming, or as a byproduct of their pursuit of securing the remaining resources it needs for feeding its war machine.
You may think that all this is far out and that things could be worse than what you see outside your window. And that’s true. Yes they can.

Further links:

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.
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