Truth Against the World

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Green Smugness

 Smug according to means:

contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.

 There is nothing wrong with being confident about your ability, or about knowing that you are correct.  Without confidence a person will usually not succeed in any endeavor.  When one is right, one is right, and there is nothing wrong with knowing the correctness of your stance.  When you throw superiority and complacency into the mix is when the meaning of this word takes a nose dive into annoying as hell.  It's my observation that nobody embodies this trait quit as well as the "liberal hippie douche".   (forgive me if you have to suffer through a commercial on that link, but I couldn't find it on youtube).  However, this video illustrates pretty nicely how a real life "aging liberal hippie douche" acts.

Everything they are doing at Earthhaven is awesome.  I agree 100% with their philosophies as well as their actions.  It would be nice if society would structure itself with their infrastructure and governance.  A sustainable and renewable tribal system is the only way forward.  The concept of an "Ecovillage" is indeed intelligent and informed just like this liberal hippie douche stated.  From Earthhaven's "ReMembership Covenant":  

PURPOSE:  Dedicated to caring for people and 
the Earth, and recognizing the Oneness of all life, we 
come together to create and to sustain beyond our 
lifetimes a learning community village, by gaining the 
skills, cultivating the attitudes and sharing with the 
public the resources for a holistic, regenerative 

Outstanding!  However, do you have to come off so damn smug?  Just in case you read my last blog I wanted to clear the air a bit.  It may sound like I'm conflicted, but I don't think that I am and I will begin defending myself in short order.  First, let me just say that I agree with Carlin wholeheartedly:

This gets to the heart of the problem.  This points to where Earthhaven went wrong, aside from the fact that they appear to be pretty damn smug.  We aren't going to save anything.  Where the liberal hippie douche get's his sense of self righteousness is from this idea that his actions are going to help save the planet.  They're not.  This smug attitude that the majority of the "green" followers embody goes a long way to explain the failures of the climate change movement.  Any rational person can understand that carbon dioxide is a green house gas.

Anybody can look at this graph and connect the dots.  Mankind's activities are contributing to the average global temperature rise.  The above graph clearly illustrates this fact.  We should collectively do something about this but not to save the planet...we should do something about it to save our own asses.

I compost, grow food organically, and recycle for many reasons but mainly because I feel like it's the right thing to do.  I don't do those things because I think my actions are going to save the Earth.  Again, the Earth doesn't need saving, we do.  We need to save ourselves from ourselves before the Earth "shakes us off like a bad case of flees."

Don't fall victim to this green guilt crap either.  There is a market that has been enjoying great success at the hands of this contrived green guilt.  Green guilt is just another product for sale by corporations.  If you have to spend money to save the Earth, you aren't saving anything.  Only the well-to-do can afford to buy solar panels and solar hot water heaters for their roofs.  Having money doesn't make you holier than though and it doesn't allow you to save the planet.  Smugness is not going to win over anybody.  I'm not saying that these green technologies shouldn't be used if you have the resources to use them.  I'm just saying that you having the resources doesn't make you any better.

To be clear, I'm not taking back anything I said in my last blog post.  I considered moving my families future to an "Ecovillage."  I started to think that eventually moving to an ecovillage, like Earthhaven, would be a viable form of retirement.  In case you are confused, there isn't going to be any retirement for anybody younger than 50.  Social security is not going to be around long term, nor is Medicare.  Being part of a tribal community is just about the only type of retirement one could hope for these days.  The elderlies needs have traditionally been taken care of by family and community.  We are going to have to return to this type of culture.  Ecovillages have the right idea but they are misguided with their attitude and delusional with their goals.  At least as far as I can tell.  Being genuine does not entail smugness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wylie E. Coyote and the American Dream

Western Civilization
One thing that all of humanity has in common with each other is the pursuit of happiness. Where you are born does not affect your want of as much happiness as attainable. Happiness is the one thing that 100% of us want and are always actively looking for. There are many problems with this pursuit. For one thing happiness, like everything else, is transient and must be balanced. For as much happiness as you are able to attain there will be an equal amount of sadness due. Equilibrium is the state that nature is constantly in pursuit of. Man also has an equilibrium and it goes by equanimity. In order for nature to be equalized and man to be abiding in equanimity both must be healthy. As hard as man tries he is bound irreversibly to the Earth. Terra Firma literally sustains man on an atomic level. We used to be the dirt that surrounds us. We murdered that dirt. We have become the chemicals that we created, and the dirt's only function has become like a synthetic womb impregnated with those poisons. The poison that we have become.

First, I'm going to dissect happiness. Most of us grasp after happiness without even knowing it on a daily basis. We are all aware that we are after it but many attempts by us are largely unconscious. The mechanisms we use to attain it are all vices that usually release serotonin and or dopamine. Happiness is controlled by hormone release in the brain. This allows us to see how transient the state of happiness actually is. It is nothing more than a chemical high. We have been chasing a drug. Our lives are largely about getting as many large doses of happiness as we can, indeed many of us have gone to the doctor and had it prescribed to us by way of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors such as Zoloft and Xanax. I'm not placing a judgment on those who have used this particular option because there are people who actually need these drugs because of faults in their brain chemistry. It's just been my experience that Big Pharma pretty much runs the medical field and that doctors prescribe medications because it makes them rich. This has an effect on society that causes people who refuse to be responsible for their own well being to seek these “happiness” drugs because it's legal and easy.

Whether by doctor or by other mechanisms such as sex, drugs (illegal, legal, alcohol, cigarettes, nicotine, you get the picture), food, or foodotainment depending on your information, and consumerism we chase this state of happiness.  Consumerism is the one vice that the Western world uses unanimously. We buy stuff to feel happy. How many times have you been on your way home from a box store with your vehicle stuffed with a bunch of useless stuff. You know the feeling I'm talking about. The feeling of well being you got when you charged all of that crap onto your credit card and now you get to go home and extract everything out of the plastic that it's wrapped in. That's the actual high where your serotonin levels are peaking. That felt good. You want more. You need a bigger place to house all of this pointless crap that you have to go buy in order to get your fix. Enter owning a home.

Owning a home not only gives you more space to house all of your crap, but it also gives you an unending reason to continually have to go to these box stores to buy more crap that you need to keep your house from falling apart and to keep it looking good. Even if you have it built, it's still going to fall apart because it's made as cheaply as possible so that all involved can maximize their profits. It's also made in such a way that you have to have electricity to stay warm, have hot water, wash all of your stuff, and run all of the crap that you needed the space to house to begin with. You see, most of that crap you bought requires an outlet to be plugged into. All of the crap that you need to run your house requires an outlet and some of it is just wired directly into the house. Dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, oven, stove, hot water heater, central heat and air, lights, television, DVD player, hair dryer, computer, cell phone...everything. All of this stuff is designed to break in short order. All of this stuff requires a place to remain and an outlet to be plugged into. All of this stuff is considered necessary to have within the home. None of this stuff is made in the United States and so it all has to be transported large distances before it arrives at your house.

Now one of these big ticket items breaks and needs to be replaced. You can't very well have a house without heating and air conditioning. Problem is you don't have the cash to run out and buy a 3000 dollar heating and air unit and then pay somebody to deliver and install it. You need credit for that. The first time you swipe that card it's empowering. You swipe a piece of plastic and whatever you needs pops into existence just like magic. You have just entered into the greatest delusion perpetrated by man on man in the history of man. The “American Dream.”

Delusion is the main vehicle we use to maintain a state of happiness. The majority delude themselves that this thing called the “American Dream” is actually attainable. This is the lie that the man has sold us and that we have all signed on the dotted line for. We sold our obedience for a phantom that will never exist. The “American Dream” gave birth to globalization which is destroying our planet. Globalization has been made possible by we the people. We made it profitable for the man to exploit the planet so that we could have the epitome of the American Dream which is the house. The modern house was the consolation prize that our fighting men came home to after WW11. We crawled out of the depression to fight the war. When we got back home the economy was still fundamentally the same broke economy. Except we learned to make a lot of stuff during the war and this seemed like a feasible way to run an economy. How were we going to continue making stuff when we didn't need planes, tanks and bombs? The answer was hair dryers, microwaves, houses, roads, cars, and all of the other trappings of Suburbia. All of this stuff requires raw materials and a source of energy to create. The United States had plenty of energy via petroleum and plenty of natural resources to exploit. We began exploiting the Earth at magnitudes that are astronomical by any standard. 

 We created machines to do this gargantuan work for us. Machines that run on petroleum. 

 We began cutting down trees with a vengeance. 

If you have ever cut down a tree or simply worked with wood than you will understand the magnitude of this machine.  

We began drilling, stripping, exploding, ripping, tearing, digging, dredging, and most of all polluting the Earth. We cut as many trees down as quickly as we could and while doing that we burned as much carbon as we could. The trees are what breaths for the Earth. This would be the same as removing a lung and then chain smoking for the rest of your short life. Delusion.

We didn't stop with just this stupid act. At the same time we were doing this we were synthesizing chemicals out of the petroleum by-products we were left with. Poisonous chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. We turned natural gas into synthetic fertilizer so that we could have nitrogen to trick our huge moncultures of plants such as corn to grow. This resulted in genetically modified species of food that required chemicals synthesized in a lab to grow. It resulted in high fructose corn syrup (what I have shortened into "petroleum sugar") as an ingredient in everything.  It resulted in chemicals such as monosodiumglutamate (MSG) to tell our brains that the food taste good, to make it more addictive, to maximize profit.  All of these chemicals seeped into the Earth and into our water tables and into the ocean. All of this pollution creates massive hypoxic areas in our oceans appropriately called “dead zones”. These are areas where only algae and Jelly fish can live. The rate of species extinction is estimated to be 100 to 1000 times that of the normal rate for the planet. We are killing the planet in pursuit of happiness.
The Gulf's Dead Zone

Willful delusion is responsible for this nonsense. It has become every American's goal to own a home. We get married, we buy a home, we procreate, and we get into irreversible debt. This is how we are controlled. Once you enter into this pact with the man you are seemingly trapped and helpless to do anything about any of it. The problem is that the entire thing is a lie. It's a lie because it's not sustainable for the long term. It all depends on extracting more and more from the Earth and replacing what is extracted with pollution. We take the Earth's ability to absorb pollution away by the very act of our extraction. We are committing genocide by pursuing this way of life. The Earth is a living thing and like all living things it has an immune system. It's not fiction to state that at some point the Earth is going to respond to us as our bodies respond to infection. The Earth will do that because we have become an infection. 

 The American Dream is a delusion and it's pursuit has made the Earth sick and in turn is going to kill us. We live on a planet that has a limited amount of stuff that we can exploit. Our population has already reached a level that is not sustainable and it is being propped up right now simply by the momentum of the system we have created. We are at the Wylie Coyote point in human history. The point where he has ran off the cliff and is just now realizing it before he plummets to the ground below. Problem is that he is in a canyon and he has a long way to go and plenty of time to reach terminal velocity before smashing into the Earth. The Earth is not going to cushion our fall. Why should it?

The economy has just begun imploding. The idea that our recession ended is a hallucinated idea. The fact is that the economy is simply reflecting the deeper truth behind the state of affairs in our world. The real value of money is derived from the resources of the Earth. We have been steady taking those resources, extracting the wealth, and turning the remainder into waste. That wealth has largely been turned into an increase in the human population. We have gone beyond what is sustainable. What do you think the result of all of this insanity is going to be? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christian Belief and the Perennial Philosophy

Belief -- John Mayer

Is there anyone who ever remembers
Changing their mind from the paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking record of
For something someone yelled real loud one time?
Oh, everyone believes
In how they think it oughta be
Oh, everyone believes
And they're not going easily

Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching underwater
You never can hit who you're trying for
Some need the exhibition
And some have to know they tried
It's the chemical weapon
For the war that's raging on inside
Oh, everyone believes
From emptiness to everything
Oh, everyone believes
And no one's going quietly

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

Is there anyone you can remember
Ever surrender with their life on the line?

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
Belief can, belief can
What puts a folded flag inside his mother's hand?
Belief can, belief can

Recently a friend of mine addressed my blog "Anthropomorphical Paradoxicus" in a "note" on Facebook. The result of this was a conversation that lasted for 10 days between my friend, what appears to be his minister (I have not verified this, but the man is a minister) and me. During the course of this conversation (which I would post here if it were not for the fact that it's 50 pages long "copy and pasted" into open office) I had to relearn a few things about faith. During the entire conversation I repeatedly ask everything about Hell and why only Christians are going to escape it in the afterlife. You see, the idea of a Hell that only non-Christians go to is a point of contention that I am unable to bypass. Here is the apologetic reasoning I received from the Christian Minister in this debate:

The Bible is without compromise, with no grey areas, saying that Hell is the destination of those who reject Christ. However, many very committed Believers/scholars are reluctant to make a firm stand about those who have never heard about Christ. (I'm one of those). Intellectual opinions must be based on at least implied evidences; Here are my reasons:

1) God is the ultimate Authority. But also, the scriptures take major strides to show God as a loving, caring father, persistently chasing us down so that we may have salvation. God " patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish" (2 Peter 3:9). His nature is 'love' as much as it is 'judgement'. Read carefully Jesus' ministry: His only harsh words were to the hypocritical religious leaders of the day.

2) Scripture says that when Jesus' body was in the grave, that the "spiritual Him" was in the "land of the dead" to witness to those who died without knowing about him. That's a big deal, and a loving, caring deal.

3) Scripture does not expressly state the issue of those who have no knowledge of Christ. It only expressly deals with those who reject Him.

4) The Bible does not expressly state this, but almost all theologians agree that God, in His love, would not allow the sufferings of Hell to the infants, young children or mentally unbalanced who die unable to grasp the knowledge of Christ.

5)There are students of the Bible (me included) who sense (based on our presumption of item 4) that God would take into account each individual's ability to respond to that bit of Truth that he was exposed to, meaning that there would be a different standard in judgement for those who had no chance of hearing the gospel than for those who have rejected it.

I'll allow my readers to digest this on their own. However, I do have a couple of pressing question since the Bible doesn't address it but most theologians agree: at what age do you move from being a child to being an adult according to these expert theologians? Is it when you are old enough to drive or is it when you are old enough to vote? Or perhaps when you are able to procreate? If you sense any anger in the above questions it's because you are keen.

I come to the window of Christianity and look back into it longingly at times. I think about how comforting it must be to believe that there is a God that loves you and wants to intervene on your behalf. How nice it must be to know that you have a purpose assigned to you by God. I think about how nice it would be to have a large group of actual local people who share this one thing with you.

This one thing, faith, is enough to form lasting bonds with people for no other reason than that you share it together. How addictive it must be to have fellowship like that in this world of electronicry. A world where many of us are forced to look for intellectual companionship online in forums because there is nobody around in actuality to fill that void. These promises occasionally bring me to that Christian window. I look back in, and I wish I could walk through the door, but the truth is that I cannot. The truth is that I am not willing to believe in something that condemns the rest of the peaceful beings in existence to a Christian Hell. The reason I am unable to believe that, besides the fact that it would be completely unjust, is that it's not true at all. Let me give a powerful example to illustrate what I mean. The first person I will describe is the most heinous I could come up with.

Imagine a pedophile rapist who spent his entire free adult life rapping, torturing, and murdering small children. He did this for years to an untold amount of children until he was caught and thrown in prison. This pedophile, rapist, torturing, murderer ended up getting lung cancer from smoking cigarettes and drinking hooch for 20 years in prison. The entire 20 years in prison he spent dreaming of the day he could get out to rape, torture, and murder a small child just one more time. His sociopathic mind longed day in and day out to just have one more chance with a helpless child. His dying epiphany was that Jesus was the only way for eternal salvation and redemption. In his last moments of life he honestly and sincerely accepts Jesus into his heart. He is rewarded with eternal bliss in Heaven for his dying epiphany.

On the other hand, there is a compassionate and loving Buddhist monk. He spends his entire life meditating on such things as compassion for all beings, joy, and peace. He vows to continue reincarnating into Samsara (this reality) until all sentient beings are freed from the suffering that is existence. He zealously practices the Dharma worshiping compassion. He advocates for peace. He is the Dali Lama. He dies. He is rewarded for his compassion with eternal damnation and suffering of unimaginable agony for all of eternity in Hell. Somehow this is the action of a loving God according to Christians.

It is socially taboo in this Christian nation to make them face the facts of their beliefs. They believe it without reason. They will delude themselves, and they will try to delude you with how this all makes sense and is loving and just. It's not loving and just. In my above example the pedophile rapist murderer is clearly evil and deserves a stint in hell. The monk does not deserve to be punished for his undying compassion. A God that would do such a thing is anything but loving. What kind of a sadistic jokster God would set things up like that? Why would anybody want to believe that? No matter what justification you tell yourself about this particular conundrum, you are still the one who decides that you are going to believe it. By your belief you are condemning the non-Chrisitan world to hell.

In the Christian view, anybody who thinks that the above scenario is unjust is seen as following the ways of Lucifer. That's what Lucifer did with God in their eyes. He decided for himself what he was going to do. In Lucifer's case this was hubris. He wanted to be greater than God and his actions had nothing to do with compassion for all beings. His actions were in service of his ego. The Buddhist monks life is situated in such a way that it's primary objective is to no longer contribute to suffering of another being in any way shape or form. The only thing one can control in this world is one's self. Therefore the best way to help eliminate suffering is to no longer contribute to it by your actions. That is the discipline of a practicing Buddhist Monk. That is the entire point of what they are doing. They believe the way to no longer suffer or to contribute to suffering is to follow the ways of the Dharma. There is nothing self serving or egotistical about this practice.

To eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was against God's prime directive. To know and to want to know was man's main mistake according to this paradigm. Christian's love to use the parent child analogy when talking about God and man. God is our parent and so we should look at him from the perspective of children. Children are not supposed to question what their parents say, they are to simply obey. This makes sense because adults know more about reality then children do, and they tend to hurt themselves when left to their own devices. Children don't have the reasoning ability of an adult. Often reasoning in an adult way will be unproductive due to this. The child's brain is still developing, but at one point their brains will fully develop into adult brains. At that point they have the hardware to decide for themselves. Their parents should still know better, if they are wise people, but it's not necessarily the case and in most cases, these days at least, the parents themselves are still like children. Yet, from the perspective of a child who wants to know “why” about something they can't possibly understand, it makes sense for them to just learn to first listen to their parents and then to try and understand. If they can't understand, oh well, go play. However, at some point the child becomes an adult, hopefully, and part of that process is evaluating belief. To do that the once child, now blossoming adult, must analyze what he/she knows to be truth.

So Lucifer's great deed was in tempting Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowing. In her ignorance she got Adam to eat as well and they learned of their nakedness. Their heads were pulled from the sand and they realized all of the suffering in the world. Gone were the days of frolicking in the Garden of Eden all willy nilly. Now existence meant hard work, pain, and suffering. This was man's fault? Like bad children Adam and Eve disobeyed their parent and due to that one act of misbehavior they were to suffer the torments of earthly life. Why is wanting to know such a bad thing? If knowing is such a bad thing than why did he create us?

There was another tree in the Garden. The Tree of Life. It enabled Adam to be immortal. The act of knowing caused Adam to be banished from the garden and therefore he was no longer able to eat from the Tree of Life and he became mortal. Buddha had a tree as well...a Bodhi tree. This tree encompasses both tree's in the Garden of Eden. It is the knowing of reality that causes all of the suffering. Yet this knowing is simply a result of being conscious with a body that receives signals from the physical world. In this Buddhist symbolism Mara takes the place of Lucifer. Mara is the great tempter. His job is to keep the Buddha enthralled by worldly pleasure. In a scene similar to Lucifer tempting Jesus with worldly power, Mara sends an onslaught of temptations the Buddha's way. The Buddha, steadfast in his quest for ultimate Truth, ignores Mara's offerings. Mara tries everything to capture the Buddha and to knock him off of his pedestal of intentional concentration. Like a razor the Buddha cut's through all of Mara's lies. Mara attacks from every possible avenue, lust, anger, fear, hunger, pain, intoxication, fantastic mind blowing hallucinations designed to sweep him away in mindless entertainment, and finally bliss. Anything to keep the Buddha from seeing his true nature. Anything to keep him from the truth. Just like Lucifer to Jesus and Adam. The Buddha's mindfulness remains firm and in a flash of brilliance his mind becomes like a diamond and he breaks through the delusions of physical and worldly pleasures. He destroys fear and attachment. He explodes outwards in all directions and in one instant is reborn in the truth of his Buddha nature.

Adam and Eve fall to Lucifer's temptation of worldly pleasure. It wasn't so much that the “knowing” was wrong as it is symbolic of Adam's turning away from the secret of the Tree of Life. Becoming enthralled by worldly, corporeal reality sets this wheel of suffering in motion. Losing touch and forgetting about the Tree of Life, which gives immortality, is the original sin. The Buddha regains his knowledge of the Tree of Life and once again eats from it becoming immortal and enlightened. The Buddha was just a man, just like you and I. He never claimed to be anything other than a simple man. He found the path back to Eden and the Tree of Life. He made it his life's quest to point people back to Eden, back to immortality and away from suffering. The Dhama is the way back to the Tree of Life. The Dharma is simply the truth about the causation of suffering and the antidotes to it.

The story of the Garden of Eden and Buddha's enlightenment is really the same story. The state of enlightenment, our Buddha nature, is God. You can't know God and remain attached to worldly things. The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil is the knowledge of duality. It's representative of man’s enslavement to duality. We ate from the worldly lies of sensory pleasure and pain and therefore forgot about our true nature as spiritual beings. We bought into the false promises of the world of man. True happiness does not come from owning things, money, or hallucinated stability. The nature of reality is that everything is transient and subject to change. Attempting to find happiness by grasping onto transient things is like buying a ticket on the wheel of suffering. Hell is as far away from God as you can get. Being attached to this world is as far away from your Buddha nature as you can get. The two are the same.

The story of Jesus is the promised way back to the Garden and the Tree of Life. Jew's are still waiting for this way back and this is where the two camps part ways. Jesus is spiritual redemption. Jesus is God's offering to mankind for a way back to Eden. A way to Heaven which is symbolically no different than Enlightenment or Nirvana in the Buddhist perspective. I believe Jesus was fundamentally saying the same thing as the Buddha. That message is simply this, “follow me back to Heaven.” In Buddhism that “Heaven” is “Enlightenment,” but both are the same thing, no suffering. That state is achieved by transcending duality. This truth is known as the “Perennial Philosophy.” From Wikipedia:

Perennial philosophy is the philosophical concept, which states that each of the world’s religious traditions share a single truth. Perennial philosophy asserts that there is a single divine foundation of all religious knowledge, referred to as the universal truth. Each world religion, independent of its cultural or historical context, is simply a different interpretation of this knowledge. World religions including, but not limited to, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Sikhism and Buddhism, are all derived from the same universal truth. Although the sacred scriptures of these world religions are undeniably diverse and often oppose each other, each world religion has been formed to fit the social, mental and spiritual needs of their respective epoch and culture. Therefore, perennial philosophy maintains that each world religion has flourished from the foundation of the same universal truth, making these differences superficial and able to be cast aside to find religion’s deeper spiritual meaning.”

Here again this is basically the difference between esoteric and exoteric belief. Those who understand the truth behind the above paragraph about the Perennial Philosophy will understand that there are many paths to God. There are many labels for the concept of God. In fact there are as many ways to God as there are cultures in existence.

During the course of the debate I spoke of at the beginning of this blog, I was rewarded with this nugget of compassion from the minister:

Pretty much all I am understanding in your quest is Burger King. I want to order up a faith that allows everyone to believe what they want to without consequence, one that does not require me to respond to an authority other than my own desires, one that allows me to be in control without submission. And fries.

I think your order's ready.

The sad truth is that most Christian's are operating from an exoteric perspective. They see the stories in the Bible as what happened in a literal way. It happened exactly as the Bible dictates. They do not look into the esoteric meaning of the book. This is very pronounced in the preaching of Revelations and the Apocalypse ushering in the end of times. Reality is cyclical and history repeats itself. The nature of reality is dictated by this. All things are born, grow, mature, and die. Revelations is nothing more than than a poetic, and very symbolic, telling of the death stage of everything.

For me, the most frustrating characteristic about today's typical Christian is their unwillingness to grow up and out of this exoteric mechanism of belief. It's the second decade of the 21st century. It's time to grow out of this childish paradigm. The world will never get any better if people are not willing to grow up. Just because somebody reads a different book than you, or prays in a different way, does not make them deserving of everlasting torment in Hell. If you want to stay attached to the analogy of God as parent and we as children than you will never grow to be a responsible parent. It's time to grow up and leave the childish beliefs behind.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Riding the Catabolic Collapse Coaster

We live in a world that has become uncertain. The only certainty is that the way we are used to living is changing and it's going to be getting much more drastic over the following years. The changes to our way of life that have been underway, mostly ignored, are set to become amplified by forces that are out of our hands just now. I've spoken about the Trifecta of climate change, economic implosion, and Peak Oil here. This post is not going to attempt to convince anybody of the reality of those three things. I'm going to proceed as if you understand the state of affairs in our world. The most popular answers to our dilemmas range from the "Cabin in the Woods" isolationism homestead to larger group efforts exemplified by what the Transition Movement is up to. There isn't much in-between those two attempts at answering the question as to what we are supposed to do about the fact that our way of life is in decline and will eventually no longer be viable.

The "Cabin in the Woods" is the idea that you can stock up on ammunition, canned foods, water, and cool "renewable" technologies like a roof full of solar panels, and essentially prepare yourself to hunker down in your homestead while the welfare junkie zombies and distraught housewifes fresh out of Xanax kill themselves off by all manner of violence. You'll be safe in your fortified cabin, and if need be you'll be able to pile the zombies and ravenous suburbinites up at the end of your driveway when they attempt to raid your garden and smash your solar panels all to hell. The problems with this particular method should be pretty obvious to those of us willing to pay attention to human nature.

One, the welfare junkies and intoxicated suburbanites are going to outnumber the amount of ammunition you'll be able to stock pile. Two, you probably don't have what it takes to shoot a zombie in the head, and even if you did manage to shoot your first zombie you probably wouldn't shoot another one due to guilt. Even if you could assassinate starving zombies they would eventually overtake your defenses and steal your stash of canned goods along with anything else of immediate use that was not nailed down.

The only way this method would work would have to be an actual cabin with acres of farmable land surrounded by wilderness with a source of water near by. Plus you would have to have something similar to a bomb shelter stocked to the hilt with food similar to what was featured in the book and movie "The Road". Next you would have to have the skills necessary to grow actual food on your farmable acreage with all the skills that accompany such an endeavor such as food preservation methods. You would also likely need a group of people willing to provide you with zombie security.

In short, if you want to use this method than you had better get started a couple of years ago. If you didn't start a couple of years ago than you better have a lot of money so that you can pay people with the necessary skills to manage your "Cabin in the Woods." But, at some point your money would become worthless and unless you had a necessary skill that your zombie security team didn't have, you to would become worthless. There are a lot of different approaches that the "Cabin in the Woods" may be attempted by, and they will mostly all fail. The reason for this is simple. If you are in a room full of people who are starving to death, and you have a stash of food on your back, it won't be long before the starving herd figured it out. You ever been starving to death? I hear starving people will do anything for some food.

The other method, the one being employed by the Transition Movement, is to create self sufficient communities. These communities are meant to be functional without the grid. That is they are supposed to be able to provide food, shelter, water, and a somewhat comfortable existence all while off the grid. Basically these communities will end up with the same problems as the loner barricaded in his the woods. However that could be remedied by focusing on security measures but how sustainable is that? Eventually the zombie bodies would pile up at the perimeter and they would just climb the pile of undead and eventually breach the perimeter. Zombies aside, there are other reasons why the Transition Movement probably won't amount to much.

Right now there is a minuscule amount of people who are aware of the Trifecta. Do you know anybody in your life who is aware of those three depressing realities? The only people I know who are aware I met on the internet, and I have never met any of them in real life. There are small bastions of transition hope scattered throughout America, but nowhere near me. The closest Transition town to me is 164 miles away. The point of transition is to be local. 164 miles is not local. In fact, by horse, that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a 10 day trek. By car that's almost a three hour drive one way. My point is that Transition is only good for those who happen to be lucky enough to live in a Transition Town. In order to start your own Transition Movement locally you have to first meet the first requirement. From the official Transistion US website:
The Initial Stage: typically, a group of people start to meet each other, start to discuss the Transition concept, and begin the process of enthusing each other to initiate the process.
I don't know anybody who even knows what the Transition Movement is. I don't even know anybody aware of PO. Therefore I can't even get started on the process if I wanted to. That means my only option is to drop what I'm currently doing to move 164 miles away. That means walk away from my house and consequently sacrifice my credit on the alter of sustainable sanity after somehow convincing the wife that giving up her nest is necessary. Not to mention quiting my job which is akin to suicide in the America of 2011. If it was just me, a 31 year old bachelor with no immediate family to support financially, it would be relatively easy to make the sacrifice, drop everything, and move. This is simply not an option for the majority of Americans.

For those of us aware of the uncertain collapsing future, it's not enough to simply wait and hope that something happens locally. We want to know what we can do now to increase our chances of a decent life heading into the future of diminishing everything. The "Cabin in the Woods" is pretty much an exercise in the absurd and Transition Towns are barely on the map of viable options for most of us. What are we, the middle class people living in status quo suburbia, supposed to do about the fact that our entitlement cheap energy future is going to fulfill itself as a delusion of denial? It would be nice if we could just ask Agent Smith to plug us back into the Matrix as somebody important, but that's not an option either.

The problem is that hopelessness is only good for cultivating depression. This is the first and vigilant everlasting hurtle of waking up to the realities of the Trifecta. It's very hard to continue the business as usual attitude of the past when the future begs to differ. If we have no options for action to help ourselves in the coming days of want how are we to carry on? I've thought about this question a lot lately. Taking a fukitol pill has never been, nor will it ever be, an option for me. I'm wired with the curse that requires me to operate under the guidelines of actuality. I'm allergic to the blue pill. I have found some answers.

John Michael Greer's "Green Wizard" movement strikes a cord with me. From the Green Wizard Forum's home page:

"One of the things the soon-to-be-deindustrializing world most needs just now is green wizards. By this I mean individuals who are willing to take on the responsibility to learn, practice, and thoroughly master a set of unpopular but valuable skills – the skills of the old appropriate tech movement – and share them with their neighbors when the day comes that their neighbors are willing to learn. This is not a subject where armchair theorizing counts for much – as every wizard’s apprentice learns sooner rather than later, what you really know is measured by what you’ve actually done – and it’s probably not going to earn anyone a living any time soon, either, though it can help almost anyone make whatever living they earn go a great deal further than it might otherwise go. Nor, again, will it prevent the unraveling of the industrial age and the coming of a harsh new world; what it can do, if enough people seize the opportunity, is make the rough road to that new world more bearable than it will otherwise be."

-- John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report

The idea behind the Green Wizard Movement is to assist individuals in padding their lives from the Trifecta. Most importantly about this particular movement is that it offers you hope no matter where you are. Information cannot be taken away from you and you don't have to have a place to store it. You can take it with you wherever you go because it fits in your head. However, you must seek this information now so that you can begin to apply it to your When it comes to the skills that are necessary in a World Made By Hand, they must be practiced to gain some type of competence. Growing food organically is not as simple as putting seeds in the ground and harvesting the results. It requires extensive knowledge on certain plant requirements, inter-cropping, attracting beneficial insects, cultivating soil, making compost, irrigation, companion planting, cold frame utilization, and seed saving just to name a few. If you have claim to some space that receives sunlight than you can begin learning how to grow food sustainably. Just because you are in an apartment doesn't mean that you cant vermicompost and grow maters in a pot. Food growing is not the only option you can take for action.

There are many skills that will be needed in the future. They are limited only to your imagination. The point is to learn how to do something that is going to be necessary when gas is 10 dollars per gallon. Learn a skill that will benefit your life now and ensure that you are useful in the future. This is the best approach to take because once something is learned it will always be with you. I believe mobility is going to be very important in the next 20 years or so. To survive the future you are going to have to be willing to go somewhere and you will have to know how to do something of value once there. It's impossible to know exactly what the future is going to entail. There are a few things that are certain.

Energy, in all forms, is going to continue to become more expensive. Food, petroleum, natural gas, and electricity are all going to become increasingly more expensive. All of those things are necessary to the success of suburbia. Without them suburbia starts to break down and the Zombies start to threaten you with turning you into a Zombie. This is why I say it's necessary for you to be willing to go. It may be the only way to escape the zombies. Learning methods for harvesting sun energy will prove themselves invaluable. Growing food is one such method that can be employed. Turning biomass into ethanol would be a magnificent skill to possess. Yet the most important factor needs to be your ability to achieve this energy utilization without needing to hoard things. The knowledge and experience is what's important.

I think the most important thing you can do to brace yourself is to begin accepting the terms of the future now, before they get here. You don't want to be paralyzed with depression and fear when the time comes that you can no longer afford to make your commute to work, or for when your work becomes nonapplicable. This psychological preparation will go a long way for your happiness. Whether you believe the Trifecta is real or not, understanding that the nature of reality is transience is the only sane thing to do. Nothing is guaranteed even under the best of civilizations circumstances. What was available to you a second ago may no longer be available to you because that's what happened and for no other reason. Maybe your job evaporates, or your car is stolen, or your identity is stolen, or your loved one is point is that the only stability to be found in this world is your reaction to it. A sane reaction to tragedy is the product of a disciplined mind that's operating under the terms and conditions of reality as it is and not as it's wished. What I'm talking about preparing yourself for is not part of the 20th century cheap oil fiesta that we've been accustomed to. Preparing yourself now is imperative.

I want to let you know what I refer to as a "zombie" is:

Zombies, by definition, are unsustainable. They represent the last phase of a societies collapse. If you turn on the television you will see that they are in abundance these days. The real housewives, the Jersey thing abominations, the Jerry Springer Bridalplasty drunk Hilton's, the hucksters finding and selling America's junk in pawn shops, out of vans, and out of foreclosed upon rental spaces, and the automatron, droid, talking heads who advise you what to believe about the supposed news, all represent a Zombie nation. A zombie is the perfect symbolic representation of society cannabolizing itself. Civilizations collapse when they run out of resources. During the collapse the already existing resources are sucked dry of any value. This is why Zombie movies are always dsytopian films set in an apocalyptic landscape. They depict the misery and hopelessness of a society mindlessly eating itself. They have to eat your brains in a futile attempt to magically make them their own so that they can think for themselves.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I've stated that my belief about consciousness is that it has always existed. What exactly is consciousness to begin with? I've always had a hard time believing that it's nothing more than electrochemical impulses in the neurons making up our brain. If it were true that the brain was solely responsible for creating consciousness than there would be no reason why computers could not possess consciousness. It seems to me that if this were the case computers would have evolved to self awareness by now. Computer technology has become truly unbelievable just in the last ten years alone. The amount of information that can be stored in a millimeter of physical space is astounding. As unbelievable as computer technology has become it is still nowhere near possessing consciousness. The robots that we have made up to this point aren't very impressive. Of course we attempt to create the robots in a mechanistic way. Science looks at the human brain in a Newtonian determinism sort of way. As if we could just keep connecting "A" to "B" and eventually consciousness will emerge beneath the microscope. It's my belief that this will never happen because consciousness will not be found in an objective, provable, pointable kind of way. Consciousness can only ever be experienced but not proven scientifically. And it will certainly never be recreated by man in any way other than the old fashioned procreation.

I'm sure a brain scientist would disagree with me, but I'm also sure that in the end he would have nothing but theories. The idea that neurons are responsible for consciousness has always seemed ridiculous to me. But then what is the less ridiculous hypothesis to explain consciousness? The physical brain obviously has a very strong role in the manifestation of consciousness. I would never argue that. The science of the brain is pretty irrefutable where the emergence of consciousness is concerned. However, I only have an opinion on the matter and it's not based on any vast knowledge about brain chemistry, biology, or neuroscience. It's based solely on my opinion.

I liken the brain to a radio receiver/transmitter. It receives the signal of consciousness and converts it into a usable signal by our bodies. It also receives sensory information about our world as well as it controls all of the necessary functions of our bodies. The brain is the nexus between consciousness and our world. This makes sense to me. If consciousness has always existed and yet our physical bodies evolved from random atoms coalescing than is the fact that we possess consciousness random? If it's not random than it was intentional and so then where did the will come from? I have clearly stated that I do not believe in a God, or have I? I'm sure an Atheist would argue that my belief in consciousness being the alpha and omega is no different than believing in a creator God, and that Atheist would be correct in many important ways. I do not identify myself as an Atheist.

I believe that evolution happened and it was following the gentle manipulation of consciousness. I do not believe that consciousness has a will or is even aware of itself. I believe that it just is and so are we. Evolution is the process consciousness took on it's way to birth and self awareness. Evolution has not stopped occurring and the process has created more than human civilization is collectively aware of. I believe it's likely there are many more dimensions that consciousness itself participates in. Spiritual evolution is your hold on consciousness becoming aware of the different levels of awareness until the ultimate expanse is reached. Spiritual enlightenment would be the point where that expanse collapses in on itself and becomes infinitesimally small. Enlightenment is consciousness experiencing paradox. It's so full that it becomes empty. It's the experience of the big bang. There is no God...just isness.

Looking for the answer to why everything is is the contradiction that can never be explained. There is no answer to why we are! In fact attempting to answer this question was our original sin in my opinion. By attempting to answer the question of why, man has split into different factions. Religion was born from this futile attempt and then the different religions had to be defended by those who did not understand. I think there is some truth to the idea of original sin, but only a little. It seems violence is a necessary part of consciousness unfolding in life.

If violence is a necessary part of consciousness than why is it considered undesirable by man? Violence and compassion are on the opposite side of the morality spectrum but they are both necessary. Morality is dictated by whatever is good for life. If an act or process is not good for life than it is seen as negative or immoral. Killing another person is not good for life. Good health is necessary for long life and so anything promoting health is good. This is a very slippery slope. It could easily be used to justify eugenics and indeed has been. Assisting evolution by ridding the gene pool of undesirable genes. This is what Hitler attempted to do. The point is that it was not his decision to make. We don't know what evolution needs or wants because we can't possibly know what the next step is.

Sometimes death is good for life. In fact without death there can be no life. Ultimately this comes down to the nature of energy. Take the situation our planet is in now with regards to the human population. Seen from a strict ecological lens, good health for the inhabitants of the planet is going to require much death to occur. Without this death we will eventually all be miserable because there won't be enough resources to uphold good health for everybody. This fact does not make dropping a nuclear bomb on China and India morally correct. But why not? If morality is determined by what is good for life, and it can be agreed that death is necessary to cultivate good health, than it should be seen as good and even necessary to decrease our numbers to assist in this process. We all know that it is not good or desirable to commit genocide. However, the argument to commit genocide and eugenics in the name of assisting evolution is repulsive to those of us who possess a healthy psyche. Why?

Servicing healthy life is the pentacle of moral behavior. The quest to exhibit good and morally correct behavior seems to be a paradox. Yet the nature of consciousness itself is a paradox. I said that enlightenment was experiencing the point where fullness becomes emptiness. These ultimate paradoxes do not have logical answers. We intrinsically know what good behavior is. Our highest purpose as humans should be to safeguard the idea that cultivating healthy life is our purpose. We only need faith that this idea is correct.