Deranged Ramblings from a Mere Observer in the Cheap Seats

Франсуа Виййон и муза

[It is not often one discovers lucidity, especially in those most uncanny of places.  But sometimes, like Rasputin, one falls upon a lucky break, and the wheels of fortune turn in your direction, or not.  Today we are so blessed, dear readers! Our very own snake charmer, DA – Disaffected, has provided us with just such a window on the future.  And just like Rasputin, the Tzar of Russia and the Hegemon of Amerika will do well to take notice.  Let us step gingerly into the magical land of  ambrosia as we inhale the sweetest smells of DA’s delicate rant. kC]images

DA here. This week’s screed will be true to the definition of the word and my nature in general: informal, outlandish, possibly vulgar and socially unacceptable at times, and very likely incoherent to many if not most. Hey, what can I say? It’s who I am and I’ve grown damn tired of apologizing for it. Having “graduated” to the point that I now have the option of attaching the letters M-B-A to my name, I’ve chosen (wisely, I think) to not, and to reject all of professional attachments that such a “title” implies. Other than the perks of my current j-o-b of course, which like most modern Americans, I’m attached to like a 2 day old suckling pig to its mother’s teat.

By way of getting around to the actual subject, I’ll meander a bit. As some followers of this board may or may not have noticed, I’ve grown a bit cruder in expression as of late. To which I can only add: yeah, I’ve noticed it too (curiously, almost from the third person point of view); no, I’m damn sure not apologizing it for it whatsoever here; I’m conscious of the likely reasons for it (indeed – I’m living the reasons for it every day!); and finally, I actually think in my own peculiar way of looking at the world that increasing vulgarity is actually what a buttoned down, politically correct corporate world is crying out for! It might be the only true “freedom” we who march in lockstep to the corporate beat have left to exercise these days

And now for something(s) completely different.

In the news this week we have the IRS miraculously exposed for targeting Tea Party “conservative” groups for increased scrutiny, and now “the Great Satan” Barack Obama possibly exposed to “impeachable offenses.” Yeah, right! Is anyone out there paying attention to this huge boatload of non-news bullshit for a New York second? First of all, the eternal “left vs. right struggle” in American politics has now all but officially been revealed for the sham, bullshit, attention detractor it always was. The 20-30 something’s have long since stopped paying attention to anything at all other than their i-phones and social networking groups, and all the rest of us are focused on either consuming our last remaining dollars on the next great luxury item that the mass media has convinced us we’ve just got to have, or watching our last remaining dollars in savings being consumed by the officially unrecognized cost of living increases for basic staples. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way the “news” stopped being news, and instead revealed its true form: propaganda and/or disinformation. And true to form, the transition was so smooth that hardly anyone even noticed.

Over at ClusterFuckNation (love that title!), James Howard Kunstler (JHK) continued his recent drumbeat on economic matters, much to my chagrin. Can the Fed continue its economic magic beyond next week’s post? Can the now official theft of the American dollar by the nation / world’s unelected plutocratic elite continue unabated (OF COURSE IT CAN!)? First of all, earth to Jim, I think you really have to get a grip on these matters for a couple of reasons. First of all, no one really understands any of this bullshit anyway. Not the Fed administrators themselves, not the pols who look the other way and sign the checks, and certainly not the plutocratic elite for whom this “trickle down” bonanza that never actually does, primarily benefits. The name of the game is simple, and its spelled t-h-e-f-t. It’s really no more complicated than that. They’re doing it, we’re watching it, and absent a bloody revolution that will never happen, it’s never going to stop in our lifetime unless they manage to crash the currency system altogether. Which they might. In which case the next big system will already be waiting in the wings for deployment, and the theft will commence once again unabated. Of that much I’m sure. JHK’s vision for the future: turn the clock back to a magical time that probably never actually was. But another thing I can say for sure is that 7B humans now fully evolved to exist in the modern world we’ve created ain’t ever gonna take that step willingly or effectively. Which means once again that we’re committed to our current military-industrial path lock, stock, and barrel.

Over at The ArchDruid (one of my favorite blogs overall), John Michael Greer (JMG) takes some not-so-veiled shots at Guy McPherson and his 2030 human extinction predictions (is that number still the one Guy’s going with?). Perhaps justified. I dunno. Not because I subscribe or don’t to McPherson’s predictions (I’m on the fence), but because JMG more often than not comes off a bit too smug to me as well; as in, I’ve seen all of this before and you should have as well, and THIS is how it will ACTUALLY will go. That said, JMG appears to be one of the most intelligent and most educated people out there, so I’m inclined to defer whenever there’s a shadow of doubt.

And onto the elephant in the room, Guy himself and all his predictions’ implications. 2030 total human extinction due to the already accumulated effects of Anthropogenic Global Warming or Climate Change (AGW or AGCC). I dunno about the science of it once again (who in the hell does?), but I must admit, I’m a bit conflicted. Yep, Guy and his seem to have all the predictions dialed in and more than enough evidence to support it all on board. I’m good with all that as far as it goes, admitting fully that the science of it is far from conclusive as of yet. But then what? Where do you go from there if you accept Guy’s version of things as the modern gospel?

What in the hell do you even begin to make of the fact that human civilization as you know, love, or hate it might be wiped out completely within your lifetime based on the very actions you continue to take (like it or not) right now, and which most of us of modest means really have no choice in taking? And to top it all off, all of it may simply be unavoidable at this point, no matter what any of us does individually! Whoa Nelly, stop the god damn train, and let’s take a break to stop and discuss things for a moment! Except we can’t. The train we called modern civilization ain’t slowing down for anything now – indeed can’t slow down for a single moment with 7B+ and growing hungry mouths to feed – and there’s not one damn thing anyone can do except try to get out of the way. That is some sobering shit right ‘chere cowboys, I don’t care who you are!

Not surprisingly, Guy’s message gets very little traction, and it’s not hard to understand why. And his critics make some valid points. If you honestly believe that the train’s left the station on a human extinction event, then what’s the point in even making the point at all, other than being able to claim you’re right in the end? And if his theories hold water and the powers that be are already aware of them too (and how could they not be, they’re not stupid people), might that not be why we’re seeing increased militarization in the service of securing diminishing natural resources and an ever increasing emphasis on implementing a militarily enforced winner(s) take all society world-wide? Is the draw bridge already going up on the world’s population in order to secure the castle for the few at the expense of the many? Take your chances with the moat you unclean and unshaven brutes, but these castle walls you shall never penetrate!

So there you have it kulturCritics. DA’s latest dark vision of our modern day corporate cultural dystopia. What to do about any of it is still beyond me, if indeed anything even can be done about it. And my inclination is to admit that it can’t, you can only make your peace with it.

And finally, as the Zen Buddhists have already said for centuries: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. That’s as good as it’s ever going to get.

104 Responses to Deranged Ramblings from a Mere Observer in the Cheap Seats

  1. Curriculum of the West, beautiful lies you can live in, until reality kills you

    • Spectors and Spectators

      What do we see on the tele tonight?
      Sinners and saints to give us a fright?
      What comes our way when our virtues unglue
      from too many daydreams, none of them true?

      Ghosts of Christmases ponder the dice,
      while Visions of Sugar Plums give us advice.
      Then come our troubles, our demons come thrice
      to stir up our hackles, then pack them in ice.

      What time is it now, does anyone know?
      Time to get up, to snort, or some blow?
      But what if we’re fickle, or pickled already,
      when home come the chickens before we are ready?

      Is it a home game or are we away?
      I surely can’t tell, but oh what the Hell!
      If we’re away when it comes to our play,
      we’ll punt it back home to the liberty bell.

  2. Disaffected says:

    GOOD GAWD!!! They’ll let anybody post on this site!

  3. vyselegendaire says:

    My personal favorite term to describe ‘The Curriculum’ is ‘to have your cake and eat it too’. But If I say that in a debate people think that I’m an an escaped Alzheimers patient from a hospice care center.

    • Disaffected says:

      I have to admit, I had a teacher that used that phrase all of the time and I NEVER understood it AT ALL. Now that I’m a little bit older…

      Perhaps it’s because we’re all (most of us in the west, anyway) used to having it all these days?

  4. vyselegendaire says:

    “Is the draw bridge already going up on the world’s population in order to secure the castle for the few at the expense of the many?”

    That sounds like a rhetorical question and it is. The entire project of civilization is built on this motif.

    • Disaffected says:

      Agreed. I think it just took this long for we “simple people” to realize it. I come from very simple German immigrant stock who had the misfortune to land on the great plains of eastern Nebraska a century or so back. Now that I’m getting older, I realize they had little choice but to somewhat naively believe in the goodness of something, given how brutally hard their lives were back then. Enter protestant religion and blind belief in the red, white, and blue. When you stop to think about it, it’s really no surprise whatsoever that a nation built on cheap, exploited immigrant labor from the very start has come to our current state of affairs. Absent the brief respite of patrician FDR’s enlightened social policies in the early 20th century, our time in the sun might well have come and gone 50 years ago. And the world would no doubt be the better for it. Alas, what if, what if, what if…

  5. DrCiber says:

    About that elephant: I’m not so sure that Guy is making any predictions. He claims not to be; merely drawing our attention to various data and studies (some of which DO make predictions) that are indicative of increasing constraints on and severe consequences for our lame-brained global civilization. He’s altered his lifestyle based on what that data says to him and is ready to counsel you on how to do so if it says some of the same things to you. The data speaks for itself, and we would indeed appear to be fucked 48 ways to tomorrow, but this is not news. You can take him or leave him as you wish, though I do suspect that his manner is as much what got him banned from teaching in his own Dept. at UofA as any shift in emphasis he wanted the University to adopt.

    I’ve long felt that when it comes to peak oil we’ve never needed to know the precise year when it comes to pass, merely the quarter century. And we know that, we’re in it now. But peak oil compared to what we’ve managed to do to atmospheric/oceanic chemistry is like a flea on the elephant’s backside compared to the elephant. If Guy and his sources are even 25% on the money it seems like there’s little point to having any grandkids or funding your 401k. Some have asked me, “since you believe (I’m really growing to detest that word) that all that is likely, how do you find a reason to get out of bed in the morning?” I explain that getting out of bed is easy: my bladder provides me with all the motivation I need. Staying out of bed on the other hand…

    • Disaffected says:

      Agreed. And for the record, I’m mostly on board with Guy. As soon as I posted this I realized that I left a lot of points not fully flushed, but I was in a hurry and I wasn’t sure about the word count. Guy’s no doubt a smart and conscientious man and I don’t doubt the basic science behind what he says whatsoever, as far as it goes at least (science always by definition always being in a state of “creative destruction”). That said, his points immediately prompt a WTF moment in most people who read it and aren’t immediately scared off into immediate and complete denial and rejection. And the WTF moment is, to my mind at least, basically the immediate realization that if we’re all gonna be dead by 2030 (or whatever), then all bets are off! Contrary to Guy’s admonitions to straighten up and live right, if human extinction in the near short term is inevitable, then WTF, might as well live like there’s no tomorrow, cause evidently there ain’t! That’s a conundrum that enlightened environmentalists would be wise to address front and center, as well as the obvious implications for the 7B current humans currently sucking air and consuming calories if radical environmental policies were ever to be adopted.

      • DrCiber says:

        From my reading of your comments on kulturcritic -meaning not just this one- I conclude that we’re in near total agreement. I especially second what you say about the WTF moments and the conundrum confronting like minded individuals. I don’t know the answer however. I suspect that Guy, and indeed Sandy (and you of course), may pretty much lay it out like it is with no sugar coating because the time for sugar coatings would appear to be past, and now at least with respect to physical conditions ‘nature bats last’. Socially/morally/politically conditions are so muddled, to hold out any hope (another word I don’t have much use for) of sorting things out and embarking on an enlightened path is centuries in the future. I don’t think we’re gonna get the (or another) chance to adopt radical environmental policies; with each triggering of a positive feedback events come to be in control, which is merely saying the same thing -and any conundrums will soon enough be reduced to no practical significance.

        • DrCiber says:

          All of which is pretty wordy… I’ll boil it down to quoting Peter Fonda’s character in Easy Rider: (pulling the joint away from his lips & exhaling) “we blew it, man.”

          • Disaffected says:

            True dat! Might be time for just plain ol’ acceptance.

            • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

              God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

              DA, it’s an honor to meet a wise man.

  6. derekthered says:

    Mr. D,
    yeah, nothing will come of either the IRS or AP kerfuffle, the putative “progressives” being much too smart to allow the dear leaders fingerprints to be on that sort of dirty business; although, if you have a brain in your head, you know that if it wasn’t ordered it was an endeavor of, shall we say, like minded individuals?
    major news orgs. are owned by the MIC, if they aren’t they rely on advert money.
    Kunstler is becoming irrelevant, as are most supposed intellectuals, they actually think the great unwashed have money to buy gold, stocks, and/or automobiles.
    you are right on point about the theft part, it’s the trans-national corps. it’s the govt. we are a nation of gangsters, it’s what we have always been. discourse about topics that actually matter are drowned out by discussion of morals, right and wrong, justice, as if this country has evr embodied any of this high-minded sort of thing.
    “we’re committed to our current military-industrial path lock, stock, and barrel”, you got that right, at least as regards the ruling class. they pulled up the drawbridge a long time ago.

    JMG, NBL, OBL, NFL, CIA, BHO, and Matt Bugsby, dig it? we will have 10 billion in short order, as i’ve said before, i’m afraid it won’t fail, otherwise humanity will turn into a bunch of drones, the oppression of the masses will continue apace, with most being kept in a state of total ignorance, are people meant to be kept like animals in a herd? in virtual cages? hell, for that matter, are animals meant to be kept that way? the future will tell, methinks a person’s best investment is in cold steel, Estwing makes a killer steel handled axe, unbreakable.
    for any who are shocked by my directness? hey, i’m one of those godless commies, remember? got to keep up the cred. besides axes can be used to chop down trees for earth berm shelters, matter of fact, i have quite a collection of shovels also, short handled for storage in the camp box.

    but no, unless the planet returns to truly Archean conditions some people somewhere will survive. we are smarter than the average bear, there are refined metals all over the place, there are massive cave systems that will be rediscovered in short order. every highway overpass is a potential bunker, i’ve written this on about 3 different blogs today.

    we have our choice of apocalypse, the way the political class keeps feeding us bullshit i would put my money on social unrest before NTE, or some egghead in some lab neglecting security procedures and unleashing The Stand. it’s enough to turn a person into a Heretick.

  7. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    It was bad enough that many moons ago Trolls descended like locusts upon the Doomonic Quadrant of the blogosphere. I suppose it was to be expected that as the end heaves in sight internecine warfare would break out between the Cassandras.

    I agree with DrCyber’s points. Guy didn’t do the science, he’s just appointed himself The Messenger. As he puts it, “I’m not depressed, but I am a carrier.” I wonder if he forgot, that’s the one we always kill. As for JMG, it seems quite true that he is, as we would say back where I come from, smart. Smart comes in many flavors and I think it reasonable to maintain a measure of scepticism regarding the words of someone claiming to be a Grand High Poobah of a long dead religion, especially in a land where it was never practiced.

    DrCyber’s point about how little it matters just when oil production peaked, applies equally well to when will humans be no more? Will you feel better if someone told you it might be 2100 or even 2525? Let me point out the climate is already something of a mess and the process is barely underway. Heretofore, the scientifically smart folk have been saying that we still have a chance to avoid it. My sense is that it’s probably obligatory to say things like that for continued participation in the landing-of-grants program. In any event, a paper just published by Professor Julie Brigham-Grette seems to say, paraphrasing the famous Black Irishman Barry O’Bomber, No We Can’t. For some actual education type her name into the search field on YouTube. Also, Jennifer Francis for some practical thoughts on the weather. Jim White would also be worth a listen regarding deglaciation.

    Just a few decades ago it was broadly assumed that only thermonuclear war or an asteroid impact could be conceived as causes for NTE. We did not understand, as Craig Dilworth has recently written, that we are too smart for our own good. Solving problems in the direction of “better living”, we have driven the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 400ppm. According to Professor Brigham-Grette’s research, the last time it was 400ppm the NE Russian Arctic was 8 C warmer than today. Hard to imagine what it must have been in say for instance, Iowa. That can’t be good, at least not for mammals. It will take some time for the heat to come up and we are not going to stop at 400.

    My detested word for the day is “civilization”, it really bugs me that people keep using it describe this mess we’ve made. I don’t see anything civil about it. Maybe it’s just a case of I don’t think it means what everyone else seems to think it means.

    • Disaffected says:

      VERY GOOD STUFF! I’ve always admired honest to goodness TRUE academics who just get straight to the point, and DAMN THE TORPEDOES! We DAMN SURE need a few more of you, although, as always, I doubt anyone other than a select few on boards like these will listen.

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        Well thank you, but just to set the record straight I will immodestly claim to be honest and I make a considerable effort to be good, but I ain’t no academic. I am pondering making another comment. If it happens, you might change your opinion.

        As for anyone listening, that would be a big surprise, I can’t recall that anyone ever has. So, you could be forgiven for asking why do I bother. I don’t really understand why, but it’s probably not a reason that very many would consider noble.

    • Disaffected says:

      Just a few decades ago it was broadly assumed that only thermonuclear war or an asteroid impact could be conceived as causes for NTE. We did not understand, as Craig Dilworth has recently written, that we are too smart for our own good. Solving problems in the direction of “better living”, we have driven the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 400ppm

      I might add, a logical start might be to strike the study of Business Administration from the curriculum. It’s a sham for the most part anyway. But who are we kidding? That will never happen in our lifetimes, education now being primarily a “profit center” itself.

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        DA, you cannot strike BA. It is a fundamental step in the paleoBorg assimilation process. It apparently was less than fully successful on you. Probably genetically unsuitable. That’s alright, they always have a surplus of candidates. The castle and moat symbolism is sooo medieval. These parasites fly cubes and suck the essence out of everything they get close to.

        Resistance is futile because, like the Blues Brothers, they are on a mission from God. We know this because one of them told us so.

        • Disaffected says:

          Resistance is futile because, like the Blues Brothers, they are on a mission from God. We know this because one of them told us so.

          LOL! Yep! I definitely agree with THAT!

    • kulturcritic says:

      Phlogiston… great observations… BTW, Civilization to me means cities, urban life… at least initially.

  8. Disaffected says:

    And the drumbeat throbs on:

    Tea Party Groups Prepare to Sue IRS.

    Gotta love the drama!

  9. cliffkrolick says:

    By now we are all wollowing in our own drama of pissed of, what have we FFF humans really done to this place we call home? We may as well accept that there probably, will be, likely not be any reason to think of future, and yes this too is our drama.

    So if all predictions, wait I said prediction…hum. That doesn’t sound like the word of god…science. If these are true, then lets stop fucking around and sit in the boat already with all the mystics, gurus, who have been saying for years that there is nothing here anyway but a present.

    We may as well accept our animal nature. You don’t fff see any of the wild kingdom
    concerned about tomorrow its all here and now till it isn’t. This is by no means my effort to dance on anybody’s creative scrips here. I applaud all the above brilliance and creative writings
    but give me one seed and I will watch it grow till I’m with the growth till i’m the fruit till I’m eating it.

  10. Thank you for a great post! I’m still chuckling. You were spot on. I would add only that Guy is a little ahead of the science, but the outcome is basically the same regardless.

  11. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    DA asked for it and I already broached the subject in a previous comment. So here goes.

    I invoked the notion of a paleoBorg, who more or less run things to suit themselves and approximately equate to what we call TPTB. I don’t think it’s a perfect overlap. This idea sprouted from a seed planted in my skull by Gore Vidal in a video interview. He said something to the effect that the ruling class is powerful because they all believe the same things. That triggered a recollection of the awesome StarTrek enemy, the Borg. By means of some techno-wizardry, the minds of all the Borg were linked together. I took a little refresher course on youtube and found there was quite a bit of meaningful symbolism there. I’m thinking the writers might have gotten their inspiration right where they worked. Anyway, the Borg need ancestors and I claim to believe that our “betters” are them. Hence the ancient or paleo Borg.

    Now on to my other brainfart. On the subject of ancestry and rulers. I can’t seem to find it now, but a few days ago I came across a comment by someone using the handle “Emmanuel Goldstein” (ya gotta love it) invoking an idea of plants being in charge and we are their should we say servants. Feel free to call me crazy, but the more I thought about it a scenario started to unfold. It goes something like this.

    By Darwin! The fittest life on this battle scarred orb are plants, bacteria and viruses. So, in a just universe they should surely rule, and maybe they do. Something coaxed a misfit simian down out of the trees and presumably tempted them to eat of a different vegetation. The evolution of the chosen ape quickly diverged from its near relatives and before you know it the descendants are naked, killing all the plant eaters they can and providing transport services for plants, bacteria and viruses. Better yet they are hard at work rewarming the planet to temperatures those organisms prefer. Best of all, once their ultimate mission is accomplished they are self-exterminating. No need for the favored food plants to evolve a potent toxin against the naked apes. Although, I do think there is evidence that they are preparing for that just in case. As Dr. William Davis has pointed out, this is not your grandfather’s daily bread you are gorging on.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Phlog… and I thought I had strange ideas? WOW!

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        AT LAST! Somebody finally recognizes the real me. Lots of respect for your ideas, but your idea that cities are civilized hits me as seriously strange. To me they are the ultimate refuge for the devoutly savage (not to be confused with the noble savages). I guess we country boys just see things differently. So it goes.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Phlogiston… when ‘scholars’ talk about civilization, they are typically are referring to the social and political organization (and hierarchy) that is represented and necessitated by urbanization, the development of permanent cities, city walls, standing armies… and other institutions we recognize as the result of fully functional cities. I am not suggesting that cities are places representing noble, comfortable or genuine, caring human relations (if that’s what you mean by ‘civilized’); I am only referring technically to what civilization typically refers in the literature.

          • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

            Sandy, I’m not THAT thick. I know what the ‘scholars’ mean by it and of course practically everyone accepts it. I have not the hubris to think that I can change anyone’s mind about it. I do wish the propagandizing bastards would settle for calling it what it is and what you called it. Urbanization. Then those of us that highly value civility could apply the term without confusion to unurbanized locales. I will note that not every such place would deserve the label of civil.

            In any event, I’ll just mention the way, as I understand him, that another strange thinker, Oswald Spengler, thought about it. I find him a difficult, maybe tedious is a better word, read. Nevertheless, I believe he described the process approximately this way. The formative ‘creative’ phase of a new society he called a Culture. Once the dust had settled and ‘citizens’ were snug and comfortable he said it had become a Civilization and its demise was inevitable. By his prediction regarding our current Western Civilization, we are right about at or a little past our ‘Sell By’ date. Of course, we must observe Yogi Berra’s rule regarding prediction.

  12. Kevin Frost says:

    Estwing: hatchets, hammers, pry bars etc. Right you are. Anything these guys make, good stuff. On that note allow me to sing the praises of files and rasps. Files last a surprisingly long time. I’m still using these high grade Nicholson die sinkers files I picked up cheap back in 71. And this is fair frequent use, jobs for money, not just hobby. A few rasps are especially important. Tool handles are not hard to make if you’ve got a few of these aggressive ugly rasps to eat the wood to suit. Might mention here that the aboriginals outback are really into these things, Rasps. Think Rasp. You be all right.

    Now maybe some of us are too gone to matter and won’t be into ‘prepping’ for a deindustrialised future. Well, then, lets just file these under ‘gift suggestions’. Bucksaws are tensioned saws, and thus thin. With elementary wood skills you can make an adequate frame to stretch these taught and then it’s a matter of keeping the teeth sharp and properly set for the work you’re doing. A good saw like this is surprisingly efficient. Really, you don’t need a chainsaw to buck wood.

    But let’s get back to doom and gloom. How do you take your nihilism? Strait up, no chaser? Well alcohol is a subject for reflection. Now I’m not sure I should be saying this, but wtf. I’m an aging student of a once quite well known Buddhist teacher (Tibetan) who drank like a fish. Nobody could understand this. He said he did it in order to teach. We didn’t understand this either. I think he saw what was coming. The great death. That’s a phrase I picked up from a guy called Larry Mecurioff. Larry’s an Aleut. His people lived up in the Canadian Northwest Territories with their cousins living in northern Siberia. He told the story of his people over the last century and some. Heavy stuff, so much death. Everybody drinks. It’s a problem. Same with all the other native communities. Here in aboriginal Australia to. The great death. These guys have been through it; they know. Now it’s our turn. We’ve just discovered our names are on the endangered list to, just recently.

    There’s a lot more to say about all this but … just saying hi to all. KJF
    ps didn’t mean to interrupt this discussion concerning the ‘nature’ of civilisation.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Kevin, I appreciate the diversion. I will pick up some Estwing pieces in the States to bring back to my dacha in Siberia.

    • the Heretick says:

      thanks, Kevin – yup, rasps, some augers, i will educate myself. saved down some links.
      maybe time to get out from behind a desk, might be a bit long in the tooth, but what the hell.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Kevin, even a doomed species doesn’t die all at once. Tools will be quite important to the struggling remnants who I suspect will be experiencing even worse than we have imposed upon the aboriginal peoples. The better and more tools they have the longer they might hold out. I confess that I don’t know why they would want to do that, but it is in our nature. It shouldn’t be necessary to build up a huge tool assemblage though. I expect there will be lots of no-longer-owned tools laying around waiting to be picked up.

      • the Heretick says:

        “I expect there will be lots of no-longer-owned tools laying around waiting to be picked up.”
        you would think, but think again, my pa had lots of old tools, including the aforementioned rasps, but when he died and we moved my mom, they got lost in the shuffle, we had scythes, sickles, planes, draw kinifes, augers, cross cut saws, all gone.
        many hand tools must be bought at specialty shops, and most tools knowadays are power tools. gonna take a long extension cord to reach up to the canadian rockies, or the great slave lake.
        if a person had the time, fooling around with primitive crucible steel could be a fun and profitable hobby! there is even a certian hatchet with a kind of bent blade for splitting off shingles and/or kindling from a quarter-round.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hey folks… these Estwing tools. Are they available at retailers? Where? Or only direct from company. thanks, sandy

  13. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    Hey, since the nature of civilization has been a hot topic today, I can’t resist the temptation to pass along a remark I just heard by E. O. Wilson in opening remarks of a presentation titled Evolution and the Future. He at least pretends to believe there might be one. Here tis.

    I call what we have now our Star Wars civilization. That is to say we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and god-like technology. And that’s a weird and dangerous combination.
    — E. O. Wilson

    The whole lecture, concerning biodiversity, can be seen on youtube

      • DrCiber says:

        I’m lovin this whole back & forth today. And if I may throw in: Phlogiston, that is a killer handle. I know how I got mine, but I can’t begin to imagine how you got yours.

        • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

          I’ve wondered if someone would ever call me out on it. The word Phlogiston was just sort of floating around in my head. I’d seen it somewhere, but couldn’t recall what it meant. Google is my friend (and favorite peeping Tom) so looking it up was a breeze. As some may not know, before oxidation was understood, smart guys thought combustion was the release of a fire-like element they called phlogiston. “Água de Beber” (“Water to Drink”) is a bossa nova jazz standard composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, which happens to be a favorite of mine. And thus, with apologies and all due honor to the first conquerors of the western hemisphere, we get Fire Water to Drink. In my humble estimation, a good substance to keep on hand for the times that are a comin’.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Moet perhaps? It doesn’t matter what they drink. They are the paleoBorg, sucking the life out of another batch of unwitting victims. It’s what they do, it’s who they are.

    • the Heretick says:

      paid $4.35 for 91 octane yesterday. 60 mile commute, 30 mpg, 4×4.35=17.40, x250work days=$4,350 for fuel alone, not counting car payments, insurance, tolls.
      $300,000 house, has to be 3 grand per month. then there’s utilities, insurance, the groundskeeper.
      man, the intelligentsia has got to be plain knocking it down! and for what i ask you? for dealing in derivatives? the financial equivalent of crack cocaine? or perhaps it’s an engineer developing the latest spyware for the gangsters who pass as our govt.?

      who knows? could be beets, could be peaches…………………

      quislings must be compensated.

      • kulturcritic says:

        And whose living the life, heretik?

        • the Heretick says:

          harsh, i know, my judgmental attitude. christ, i don’t know, i can just see the headline, “Orange County Man Turns on Car, Closes Garage Door” or “Orange County Man Found Dead in Garage”, hell, they probaly have CO detectors, Fire Dept. probaly get there too soon.
          there’s always Paxil, whatever, “you didn’t forget to pack your Valium, did you dear?” (a line from a BBC production)
          no more Mr. Nice Guy. i hope you realize these are just sane ramblings, i’m not really like this, not.
          still, a 60 mile commute? that’s obscene. all to get away from the ghetto? hell, it’s like protection money, got to pay the vig.

          • kulturcritic says:

            where in OC, Heretik?

          • kulturcritic says:

            In m preconscious days, I helped to inhabit laguna nigel… guess who we killed off for that parcel. LOL

          • the Heretick says:

            commenting on your link, the upstate real estate.
            kevin frosts comments last night led me to a film about the Aleuts, which i will watch tonight. if you look at these mass-shootings they are more and more in upscale enclaves where the kids are on meds. the American way of life is toxic, to us and people around the world.
            here’s a little gem,
            of course they call it “high plains” not Ogallala, but hey, it’s the NYT, what the hell do they know? other than pimping for the ruling elite?
            jesus, i hoped we had a few more years here in flyover country. when the Ogallala goes more people than the farmers will be screwed. the NTE people may be onto something.

            HASKELL COUNTY, Kan. — Forty-nine years ago, Ashley Yost’s grandfather sank a well deep into a half-mile square of rich Kansas farmland. He struck an artery of water so prodigious that he could pump 1,600 gallons to the surface every minute.
            Last year, Mr. Yost was coaxing just 300 gallons from the earth, and pumping up sand in order to do it. By harvest time, the grit had robbed him of $20,000 worth of pumps and any hope of returning to the bumper harvests of years past.”

            this is not good news.

  14. Michael Sosebee says:

    Hi DA. Thanks for the post! Lately I’ve heard a lot of ad-hominem attacks specifically directed to Guy McPherson and his notions of NTE due to rapid climate change. Those attacks are coming from unexpected sources that formerly had seemingly impeccable ethics: namely John Michael Greer, author of “The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age”, who recently posted a piece titled “The Pleasures of Extinction”.

    I can understand Micheal’s conundrum: his thesis of catabolic collapse (stair-step down) is immediately irrelevant from the perspective of NTE. Greer is an author, thinker as well as being a fully ordained ArchDruid, a high post within an esoteric group that practice a form of ancient pagan ritual and Greer is a prolific writer in that genre. But Greer isn’t a scientist and has been largely condemned even within the exclusive and passionate followers of his blog: The Arch-druid Report. He makes false equivalents between Y2K 2012 Mayan end of the world predictions and NTE based on rapid climate change and a widely understood and documented biodiversity crisis. JMG makes no effort to refute the science but uses the exact same techniques that I expect from right wing climate deniers. He asserts that the predictions are based on cherry picking

    Guy’s assertion of NTE seems so fantastic that it defies credulity, but there it is and it’s difficult to refute when even the most vaunted individuals such as Nicholas Stern start giving hair-on-fire-proclamations. What is intersting is Guy will be speaking at the same conference the end of this month “Age of Limits” conference and it will be impossible for them to avoid confronting each other publicly. That would be a debate worth listening to.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Michael, it is of course JMG who picked those cherries and then tries to George Washington the tree. For those who might be interested in the latest techniques for picking cherries, Richard Alley presents an artful demonstration during his presentation to the Smithsonian Institution for Perspectives on Limits to Growth: World on the Edge. Alley is still under the academic thumb, which may or may not explain no mention or hint of NTE. In a separate video from the same conference, Dennis Meadows pronounces that sustainability is no longer an option.

    • Disaffected says:

      Agreed. As I said, JMG comes off as just a little bit too smug for me sometimes. But I get his points all the same. As for Guy, I never forget the lessons of the exponential function. If the science is right and we’re as far along the curve as we apparently are, the time frame acceleration of the remaining effects could be truly astounding. But then, as I said, what do we do with that information once the reality sinks in? Because what it will be telling us is that we’re fucked no matter what, in which case, what’s to prevent us from just “letting it all hang out” for our remaining days? And one of the things that I kinda sorta alluded to as well is that just maybe the powers that be know that already, and are trying to cushion the blow, all the while feathering their nest too of course. We humans are pretty funny/fucked up people when you get right down to it. Still capable of looking out for “we and ours” at the expense of “all of ours,” even as the sheer idiocy of such a strategy becomes obviously apparent all around.

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        My perception is that TPTB are well aware and I presume that their only goal is to go out still on top. Most toys wins, all that sort of stuff. I kind of suspect that TPTB’s anticipation of some of us cheap seaters “letting it all hang out” might be the best explanation for the small army of ninjas hanging out at your local cop shop.

        The captain of the Titanic is said to have ordered the ship’s band to assemble on deck and play as long as possible. I’m inclined to assume that some couples probably took advantage to have a last dance. Either literally or figuratively, I think those who can emotionally manage it should try to sing and dance their way out.

        I know that ain’t gonna happen, widely anyhow, but the romantic in me can’t help wishing that having lived so badly, we could at least try to die well.

    • Disaffected says:

      What is intersting is Guy will be speaking at the same conference the end of this month “Age of Limits” conference and it will be impossible for them to avoid confronting each other publicly. That would be a debate worth listening to.


      Sorry I overlooked that little nugget previously. YES it will!


  15. Kevin Frost says:

    Michael Sosebee: good post, your characterisations seem about right to me.

    If GB Shaw were alive today he might say ‘We’re all Trotskyists these days’ referring of course to the politicos famous for their factional squabblings. I guess it was only a matter of time. Unsettling is the way Greer’s salvo comes just a week before the long scheduled ‘Age of Limits’ conference you mentioned featuring JM Greer, D Orlov, G McPherson, Carolyn Baker, Albert Bates, and Gail Tverberg, maybe others to. Below is a caricature syllogism of Greer’s latest post.

    Apocalyptic/millenialist cranks have been around since Augustine of Hippo.
    McPherson is an apocalyptic kind of Guy.
    Guy McPherson’s a crank.

    This is a fulsome attack on Greer’s part and it looks like he’s got Orlov somewhat half-heartedly (my take) in tow on the basis of a shared catabolic outlook(?) Or maybe they’re upset because recently Carolyn Baker, who everybody seems to regard as a sort of caring mother figure, has recently affirmed this near term extinction thesis as basis for doing what’s she’s been doing all along. Orlov’s recent post is in sync with Greer’s and addresses ‘extinctions’ in less than a paragraph before returning to the subject of maritime survival prospects. His concerns come to a point with: ‘why don’t we concentrate on our own survival instead?’ Good question: why stare death in the face when you could be planting vegetables or refitting the boat? I think that maybe survival is not the uppermost consideration for everybody. Some people are fixated on the problem of justice and the spectre of immanent death is the kind of situation that galvanises their will to fight. I think Guy is thinking politically; he wants to fight (whatever that might mean). Greer wants to get the crash and World War III out of the way so he can get back to talking about his Articles of Confederation. And I very much look forwards to this because when he does he’s simply going to have to say something, perhaps Lockean, about the common good of private property, at which point Guy and his hunter/gatherer band of neoComanches will swoop down through the country disembowelling and scalping the lot of em. End of discussion. This isn’t going to be pleasant, I’m afraid. Some will head for their boats; me, I’m headed for the high country (I can’t swim).

    As I write they’ll be getting together in a peaceful patch of Pennsylvania probably being very nice to each other, giving their talks, and looking forwards to doing the same next year. But we’ll see how it goes.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Kevin, completely agree, except I think warband is probably better descriptive of the neoComanche way. I can’t foresee their being much left to hunt or gather except, as you suggest, humans. I also can’t envision Guy being among them. My reading of the end of Rome was that farmer wasn’t a terribly safe occupation. When the pickings get slim enough, farmers will be food. If it weren’t for the fact that I expect to be dead before this stuff happens, I am pretty sure I’d be practicing to be a neoComanche and looking for a band to join up with.

    • kulturcritic says:


  16. Disaffected says:

    Hey DtR, are you still out there? Ya didn’t get sucked up into one of them Okie tornaders last night did ya?

    • the Heretick says:

      i’m still here, but i have changed my nom de plume, shhh……..! it’s a secret.

      i am however depressed as hell, this place is hard enough to deal with w/o the damn tornadoes. then the media screams about how our senators are dumbasses (which they are), but do not realize that politics are controlled by the big money here as well as there.

      not to get political, so i won’t, but living here makes about as much sense as living in NYC, if we do not go extinct (and i’m not convinced about this NTE), then the ocean will inundate these coastal areas, and these storms will scrub huge areas of the plains.
      weather extremes will get worse, we will get monsoon rains, tornadoes, then we will have drought.

      here’s a cheery link.
      and it’s the truth, the Ogallala is down at least half, it does not replenish as does the water table, it’s different.

      combine water depletion with desertification and you have a lot of starving people.
      but that’s all right, i’m sure trading carbon futures will fix the problem, and make all sorts of profits for the traders, the big money boyz; they can spend it buying $100 loaves of bread.

      not in a real swell mood today. the red star has gone to black.

      • Disaffected says:

        Yep! Goin’ down ain’t gonna be half as much fun as coming up was. whether it takes ten years or a hundred.

        • the Heretick says:

          it’s odd, perhaps i am more emphathetic than i realize, but just knowing what’s sitting down there has put me in a dark mood, not as fatalistic as i think i am. felt the same way after the Murrah situation, just dark. these sorts of things make me wonder about kami’s, djinn’s, and such. i dunno, the zeitgeist? weltschmerz?

          • Disaffected says:

            Buck up Heretick and have a beer or six. One, Murrah was more than likely an FBI set-up, just as McVeigh said it was. Two, the ONE THING you’re GUARANTEED on the day that you were born that your parents never told you is that YOU ARE GOING TO DIE out of this world one day, and you will NEVER KNOW WHICH DAY/TIME IT IS until it happens. GUARANTEED! AND THERE’S NOT ONE DAMN THING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT IT! After you TRULY begin to accept all of that, everything else gets a whole lot easier.

            What’s next? Who the fuck knows? AND THAT’S THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL!

            WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF OUR LIVES! AT ALL! IN THE LEAST! And you may not have a clue as to its meaning until it’s over, if then. Indeed, “meaning” itself might be just a human illusion.

            Seque again:

  17. bholanath says:

    Guest author and all here are just simply awesome! This is definitely the topic of topics, at least today…(who knows, maybe some real Borgs showing up tomorrow?) (+ love the paleoBorg shit!)
    I guess a lot of us have been ruminating on the Guy & JMG & Baker, et al thing. Thanks to all for giving us a helluva lot of laughs. Me…I’ve been singing and dancing my way out since the 60s (shocking we’re still here) and guess I’ll keep on keepin on, and planting my chilies and all up here in the high desert of NM. Can’t wait to go to the beach down in Albuquerque….

    • kulturcritic says:

      What a bitchin’ beach it will be!

    • Disaffected says:


      Likewise, I’m another fellow NNM’n. Alas, I live and toil up here at/for the root of all evils place. What can I say? Like a lot of folks these days, I’ve seemingly sold my soul to the devil for a piece of coin or two, although I certainly don’t perform any critical functions or anything like that. Like most Americans, I’ve learned to rationalize what I do/consume/etc., which seems to be a prerequisite for living in the modern world without putting a bullet through your head.

      And yes, whether or not PAdB’s Borgs exist in fact or not, they certainly doexist metaphorically. Which might be the most important point of all as we slide on down the road to our many individual virtual realities.

      Even as they all collectively impinge on and destroy our one shared actual reality, on which all of our virtual bullshit depends.


  18. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    Well blow me down, or blow me up! I gather from this video that the relentless paleoBorg have figured out how to save the Hive. After the Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet have melted, there will be lots of open lands, oil, minerals, potatoes and who knows, maybe temperatures will remain low enough to avoid hyperthermia. Plus almost unlimited free natural gas. Hallelujah!

    We humanoids really are a piece of work.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Quite a story, Phlo!

    • Disaffected says:

      And the economists will account for it all as a net “gain” for human economic activity. Economics should be recognized for the true evil it is on all of human culture. Nearly all of our current ills can be traced to economics and the root human temptation to ascribe “value” to everything, keep score thereafter, and anoint winners and losers accordingly. Fundamentally, it really is a religious/philosophical/sociological issue boiling down to the facts that we humans are never satisfied with “enough” (and in fact, can’t even adequately define the term, if we don’t – as we in the west do – downright ridicule the very idea). And our new world religion, capitalist “free market” economics, which arrogantly asserts itself as the most fair and efficient means to allocate resources ever devised is actually anything but – an academically pseudo-justified wolf-in-sheeps clothing fantasy put forward to justify the rape of the earth and all of it’s inhabitants, from a bottoms up perspective of course. Such an ecocidal pact could have only been dreamt up by madmen, which yes PAdB, it appears that we are.

      Stupid human jokes from the other side:

      Q: How do you make humans commit omnicide/ecocide.
      A: Leave them to their own devices.

      Q: What do you call a dead human?
      A: Fossil fuel for the next go-round.

      Q: What 2007 Bruce Springsteen song line describes the world’s hyper-rich in it’s dying days?
      A: Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake?


  19. Disaffected says:

    Sorry, couldn’t resist this. To the anyone/everyone of us, which we all yet aspire to be, even in these dark times (are you listening Heretick?):

    • Disaffected says:

      And to add, the real tragedy of this song is that we’re all born aspiring to this kind of beauty, but we gradually give up on it. Some have it beat out of them to be sure, and god knows that we here in the west do more than our share of that beating, but in our case in particular, we just gradually give up on it of our own free will, enticed by the illusions of the corporate capitalist individualist cornucopia dream, which promises the world, but delivers only misery and death in the end. Reap the whirlwind indeed!

    • the Heretick says:

      yes, i realize there are some Springsteen fans out there, this is one of the great mysteries of modern life, that and what in the hell happened to James Hetfield?

      Mr. Springsteen lost me after Born to Run, never been much for arena rock.

      to be or not to be………………..

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