Socotra Island, “the most alien place on Earth”, photo by Jan Vandorpe. Photos on Dark Roasted Blend. Thanks to Our Descent for the link.
Having Too Much Stuff: Beyond Rivalry reprises a post from JD Roth about all the problems that having stuff creates, but why it’s so hard to part with it. “We each have so many interests, and certain things — like books — keep us connected to those interests, or give us the illusion that they do. But they also clog up our lives and make us less efficient at doing what we are and what we want to do right now. It’s hard to let go of the things that we believe represent parts of ourselves, or we hope represent us. In many cases, these things represent who we were or wished to be at one time — not who we are right now.” And Ivor Tymchak goes further, saying our stuff, and our desire for it, actually controls us.
Not Caring About Our Children: Joe Bageant responds to an Australian writer’s astonishment at most Americans’ indifference to the plight of others. Teasers:
I wish I could at least call this denial. But if people are incapable of even perceiving the facts because of state conditioning, serving up the facts is useless. Which is why all that powerful truth out there on the net has no real effect. It exists outside our indoctrination’s reference framework. Therefore it does not exist. What exists is the system. The ward on which we all live and secretly fear Nurse Ratchett. But it is still the system and the U.S. is still a ward in which the citizen patients are carefully observed and managed to best result for the corporate state. Best result meaning economical producers and consumers for (allegedly) free market capitalism. And every patient and affinity group has a cherished unreality which allows them to live in denial. For instance, there is the cherished notion among liberal and left leaning Americans that all this is recent, and sprang up simply because George Bush was elected. I don’t think so friends. No one man can establish cruelty in 300 million people in eight years. He can only heighten it by squeezing the people harder, encouraging fear and alienation and coldness of spirit.
How much more time the American people can muddle along, the muddle slowly becoming an even more mindless slog toward the unthinkable? My guess is until we hit that economic and ecological wall we are careening toward. In which case we will start killing anybody in the way of arbitrary conquest of resources in the age of peak everything. Even people who understand what is coming are hedging their bets — as in, “Well, I won’t be around when it all comes down.” Or “I can make enough money to be in a safe place when the shit hits the fan.” Or simply “America right or wrong.”
Here Come the Unschoolers: PS Pirro describes the advantages that she and her children have obtained by virtue of allowing them to direct their own learning. More on unschooling for the uninitiated.
Passages: I mentioned last weekend that several of the people I know are going through major changes in their lives, some of them gut-wrenching. Since then I’ve heard a dozen more, similar stories, and now I’m wondering whether September marks a significant season for such changes. It is as if the world catches its breath and takes stock in July and August, and then, when September comes, expels it forcefully and propels itself in a new direction. What happens often is that something not quite clear has precipitated a change, and initially it seems enlightening, delightful, until suddenly the forces behind the transformation surface and blow our lives apart.
Where the Energy Goes, and Comes From: The UK government has produced a gorgeous image (see above) of that country’s sources, uses and losses of energy. I’ve showed a similar graphic by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory of US energy use on this blog before. Full size version here. Great visualizations. Thanks to The Oil Drum for the link.
Why Oil Price is So Volatile: Jeff Vail explains how supply and demand changes whipsaw oil prices in the short run, and why in the longer term the trend is much, much higher. Also, he explains, paradoxically, our attempts to forestall adjustment to this crisis will actually make it worse.
The Hamlet Economy: Also from Jeff, an explanation of how model Natural (Intentional) Communities might work, network together, and catch on. “It is also important to recognize that the implementation of this kind of hamlet-economy will, in most circumstances, require adaptation of an existing landscapeóin most cases a landscape that is not sustainable, that is hierarchal, and that is not compatible with human ontogeny. This introduces an artificiality, in the sense that the theoretical structure may be impacted by existing hierarchal infrastructure (like towns and highways). Perhaps the best way to circumvent this is to begin to ìplant the seedsî of a hamlet economy in existing rural areas, and then expand into prior towns and cities as they become non-viable.”
Test Your Knowledge of Living Local: Kate McMahon posts the 10-question local ecosystem knowledge self assessment from Deep Ecology:
Arctic Melting Crosses Tipping Point: Sea ice levels have reached what climate scientists call their “death spiral”, and massive glacial melt, ocean current changes and sea level rises are next, and now virtually inevitable. Future generations will, justifiably, remember us as, more than anything else, the generation who did this to them, and to our world. “Researchers announced late on Tuesday that the five ice shelves along Ellesmere Island in the Far North, which are more than 4,000 years old, had shrunk by 23 percent this summer alone. The largest shelf is disintegrating and one of the smaller shelves, covering 19 square miles (55 square km), broke away entirely last month.” Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.
Seven Personal Skills for Effective Collaboration: Shawn Callahan lists 7 things you need to know how to do to be an effective collaborator:
The Power of Story: A PBS journalist’s commencement address explains why we are inclined to believe, and care about, stories, far more than the same information conveyed analytically. Thanks to Steve Remedios for the link.
Visualizing Mathematics: A brilliant set of short videos explain advanced geometry through stunning computer-generated graphics. Thanks to my colleague Greg Turko for the link.
Finding the Sweet Spot, En FranÁais: My friend J-S Bouchard has developed and applied a French language version of my three circles tool for finding the work you were meant to do (reproduced above). Thanks, J-S!
The Story of O: My publisher Chelsea Green is fighting back on YouTube after Barnes & Noble refused to stock their pro-Obama book.
In America, Organizing a Demonstration = Terrorism: Organizers of peaceful demonstrations against the RNC have been arrested in “pre-emptive” raids and charged with “conspiracy to commit riot in furtherance of terrorism”, a charge that could lead to 15 years in prison.
A Sickening Grievance Against Female Politicians: Broadsheet says all that needs to be said about Sarah Palin.
Learning About Learning: I’ve just enrolled in this Massive Open Online Course on connective learning. Still time to sign up. Thanks to five readers for telling me about this.
Just for Fun: The wry protest street art of Britain’s “Banksy” appears in the world’s hotspots (sample above from New Orleans).When you click the link, scroll right to see the full gallery. Thanks to Evelyn Rodriguez for the link.
Thoughts for the Week:
Why should I listen to my heart?
Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside of you, repeating to you what youíre thinking about life and about the world.
You mean I should listen, even if itís treasonous?
Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you. Because youíll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them.
You will never be able to escape from your heart. So itís better to listen to what it has to say. That way, youíll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.
The boy continued to listen to his heart as they crossed the desert. He came to understand its dodges and tricks, and to accept it as it was. He lost his fear, and forgot about his need to go back to the oasis, because, one afternoon his heart told him it was happy.
After the bell cleared the playground and coats were hung up, bags and belongings disposed and children passed into the custody of the classroom, I walked back to the car. The drive home through the lanes between the villages was a pensive one. Rosieís first day in full-time school and my first day out of it. Forty-one years ago, pretty much to the day, I stood before my first class and began to earn my first salary. Forty-one years on, my last salary cheque has been paid in and now I draw just a pension. Forty-one years ago I was a teacher and now I am ñ what…a civilian?
But no great existential crisis is at hand as I sit here pondering. I am, as ever, resolutely, stubbornly, passionately and substantially me. The same deepest fears; the same most pressing needs; the same most aggravating shortcomings; the same most cherished hopes; the same most fierce convictions. For all the territory covered, all the memories stored and filed and all the lessons learned, the road, it seems, goes ever on.
And it’s all good. Amazing, even. And, yeah, fading a little, finally. Remember, dammit.
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Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2023)
--- My Best 200 Posts, 2003-22 by category, from newest to oldest ---
Hope — On the Balance of Probabilities
The Caste War for the Dregs
Recuperation, Accommodation, Resilience
How Do We Teach the Critical Skills
Collapse Not Apocalypse
'Making Sense of the World' Reading List
Notes From the Rising Dark
What is Exponential Decay
Collapse: Slowly Then Suddenly
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Making Sense of Who We Are
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Post Collapse with Michael Dowd (video)
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Requiem for a Species
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
If We Had a Better Story...
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Hard Part is Finding People Who Care
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
A Short History of Progress
The Boiling Frog
Our Culture / Ourselves:
A CoVid-19 Recap
What It Means to be Human
A Culture Built on Wrong Models
Our Unique Capacity for Hatred
Not Meant to Govern Each Other
The Humanist Trap
Amazing What People Get Used To
My Reluctant Misanthropy
The Dawn of Everything
Why Misinformation Doesn't Work
The Lab-Leak Hypothesis
The Right to Die
CoVid-19: Go for Zero
The Process of Self-Organization
The Tragic Spread of Misinformation
A Better Way to Work
The Needs of the Moment
Ask Yourself This
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
May I Ask a Question?
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
Learning From Nature
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
Making Sense of Scents
An Age of Wonder
The Truth About Ukraine
The Supply Chain Problem
The Promise of Dialogue
Too Dumb to Take Care of Ourselves
Republicans Slide Into Fascism
All the Things I Was Wrong About
Several Short Sentences About Sharks
How Change Happens
What's the Best Possible Outcome?
The Perpetual Growth Machine
We Make Zero
How Long We've Been Around (graphic)
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
Loren Eiseley, in Verse
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self, and Free Will:
No Free Will, No Freedom
The Other Side of 'No Me'
This Body Takes Me For a Walk
The Only One Who Really Knew Me
No Free Will — Fightin' Words
The Paradox of the Self
A Radical Non-Duality FAQ
What We Think We Know
Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark
Healing From Ourselves
The Entanglement Hypothesis
Nothing Needs to Happen
Nothing to Say About This
What I Wanted to Believe
A Continuous Reassemblage of Meaning
No Choice But to Misbehave
What's Apparently Happening
A Different Kind of Animal
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
How Our Bodies Sense the World
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
Mindful Wanderings (Reflections) (Archive)
A Prayer to No One
Frogs' Hollow (Short Story)
We Do What We Do (Poem)
Negative Assertions (Poem)
Reminder (Short Story)
A Canadian Sorry (Satire)
Under No Illusions (Short Story)
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
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