Acting Guardian Council/Ubermensch NWO Shibumi Matrix NSSM: Att: Col. Gaddafi: 22 August 2011 Al’Quds BlackStone-Tampa Vote: As of 06 September 2011: OPEC & OIC to Implement the Ubermensch NWO Shibumi Matrix Act: A Total Oil Embargo of EU & USA until they have repatriated all their DKPBECB Taker Cain Muslims back to Leaver Abel Susa, Iran. Dear Col. Gaddafi, I read your Email to PR Firms on Algemeiner.com: Full Text of Ga(dd)a(ff)i Email to(#PR#) Firms1. I am not a member of any Public Relations Firm, which caters to the Dunning and Kruger Primacy and Bandwagon Effect ‗public‘2. I am a ‗counter-public-relations‘ agent. Whereas Edward Bernays is considered the father of Bullshit the Public to Support the Economic and Population Growth Slavery Plantation Public Relations; I am the intentional anonymous 777GASM mother of Slap the Moron Imbecile Retarded Children Public Awake with Common Sense Greean-Farmer Level of Pure Reason Reality Public Relations.
Executive Overview : Gaddaffi 777GASM Suggestion to OIC & OPEC: Notify all European & NATO Countries including the USA, that on -- 22 August 2011 -- OPEC shall hold a Malcolm X Foxy Liberals3 secret meeting to vote on whether to implement the Al‘Quds4 Blackstone-Tampa Ubermensch NWO Shibumi Matrix (aka Elect Anders Breivik to Military Office & Lock the Exits5) Act, effective as of 06 September6 2011: A Total Oil Embargo of EU and USA until they have repatriated all their DKPBECB (Dunning and Kruger Primacy and Bandwagon Effect Cognitive Biased) Taker Cain Muslims back to Leaver Abel in Susa, Iran, to stand trial for Art 85: Storting Treason7. -- Joshua8 2: 18-199 GIG10 Pure Reason11 Meme Dream12 USTThunderBayCrFt‘s Valhalla Games13 1
http://www.algemeiner.com/2011/07/31/full-text-of-gaddafi-email-to-pr-firms/ http://why-we-are-white-refugees.blogspot.com/2011/07/anders-breivik-dunning-kruger-primacy.html 3 http://faithinactiononline.com/2008/06/malcolm-x-on-white-liberals/ 4 http://bbb-annapolis-mdc.blogspot.com/2008/08/alquds-aids-is-black-depopulation-virus.html 5 http://why-we-are-white-refugees.blogspot.com/2011/08/2083-acting-guardian-council-aka.html 6 http://bbb-annapolis-mdc.blogspot.com/2008/08/north-jefferson-mc-patriot-alert-task.html 7 http://why-we-are-white-refugees.blogspot.com/2011/08/2083-acting-guardian-council-aka.html 8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WarGames 9 http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Joshua+2%3A18-19 10 THE SHADOWS OF IDEAS: A Distant Glimpse of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff http://www.darkecho.com/JohnShirley/jsgurd.html 11 http://sqwormsgreean.blogspot.com/2008/10/from-belief-to-pure-reason-road-from.html 12 http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Chapters/awaken.html 2
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Acting Guardian Council/Ubermensch NWO Shibumi Matrix NSSM: Att: Col. Gaddafi: 22 August 2011 Al’Quds BlackStone-Tampa Vote: As of 06 September 2011: OPEC & OIC to Implement the Ubermensch NWO Shibumi Matrix Act: A Total Oil Embargo of EU & USA until they have repatriated all their DKPBECB Taker Cain Muslims back to Leaver Abel Susa, Iran.
GIG Sparrowhawk Linkola: State of the Ecological GeoFarming System
Fourth Way Existential Reality
Denial Ecological Overshoot
Understanding Exponential Growth
Common Sense - Ecological Peak Oil – Reality:
Energy: Foundation of Economic Growth
Peak Oil: End of Economic Growth
Peak Oil & Collapse of Debt Based Economic Growth Paradigm
Peak Oil: Collapse of PR Exponential ‗Bullshit the Public Duhmockery‘
Peak Oil: Time for Biophysical Based Economics Paradigm
Energy, Totalitarian Agriculture and Population Growth:
Denial: Why Are So Many People in Denial about End of Industrial Civilization?
Biological Evolutionary Perspective to Denial
Leaver Abel‘s Mutant Seed Message in Susa, Iran toTaker Cain:
Scarcity: Humanity's Last Chapter: Peak Non-Renewable Resources
Scarcity: Transition to Sustainable Agrarian/Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle Paradigm
The Great Tribal Forgetting: Salvation from the Law of Limited Competition
Judaism X Manifesto Mythology: Divine Law of Melchizedek – Ecological War
Eve‘s Mission Impossible: Cracking the Lebensraum Right-to-Breed Code
An ABC‘s of Ecology Systems Approach to a Sui Generis Agriculture Mythology:
When Did we become WE?
Yshmaels Guerrylla Jyews: The Story of B
The Boiling Frog: 18 May, Schauspielhaus Wahnfriend, Radenau
Totalitarian Agriculture & Law of Limited Competition
Food Availability and Population Growth
Cultural Collapse: 19 May, Schauspielhaus Wahnfriend, Radenau
We are Not Humanity: At Last, Good News
Population: A Systems Approach
Blessing: A Fable About Population
Growth and the ABC‘s of Ecology
GIG Sparrowhawk Linkola: State of the Ecological GeoFarming System: ―What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship's axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.‖ – Pentti Linkola Common sense supposes that to understand why we're alive - what constitutes the cosmos and our place in it - we ought to start with ourselves. We ought to know ourselves; this was the advice of the classic philosophers - who seemed to understand that it was easier said than done. Under the usual conditions, Gurdjieff bluntly informs us, we cannot know ourselves, for the simple reason that we are asleep. We are asleep, even when we imagine that we are awake. Man is a machine, Gurdjieff tells us, with characteristic unsentimentality, an automaton of reactions and reactions to the reactions. We imagine ourselves building, creating, moving alertly through the world: we are kidding ourselves. We are, says Gurdjieff, lost in waking dreams and rigorously tracked neurotic fixations; when we think we are "doing" we are simply caught up in complex, fantasy- tinged reacting. We are asleep. We are not free. There are three traditional paths to awakening. The first Way is the way of the fakir, demanding physical control and excruciating asceticism; the second is the Way of the monk: the way of devotion, faith, the heart; the third is the Way of the yogi: the path of knowledge, of mind. Gurdjieff's own Fourth Way combines elements of the first three, and is further distinct in that it calls its practitioners to work within themselves while functioning in the ordinary, workaday world. It requires no monastic withdrawal from life - ordinary life is its resource, its basic material. "I wish to create," Gurdjieff wrote, "conditions in which a man would be continuously reminded of the sense and aim of his existence by an unavoidable friction between his conscience and the automatic manifestations of his nature." In ordinary life each and every encounter, lived consciously, can teach us something about ourselves. Gurdjieff called us "three-brained beings", each "brain" corresponding to an inner center: the intellectual center, the emotional center, the body-ruling instinctive/moving center. Each of these three centers is divided into sub-centers, for example, the intellectual segment of the instinctive center, which does most of our so- called "thinking" for us. Much of our "thinking" is simply a lower center's mis-use of intellectual faculties, a squandering of inner energies in desire-based brain activity. All our Centers are similiarly imbalanced. The Fourth Way calls us to work on all three Centers at once, harmonizing them into one conscious, evolving being. "The modern person," says Professor Needleman, "has no conception of how self-deceptive a life can be that is lived in only one part of oneself. The head, the emotions, and the body each have their own perceptions and actions, and each, in itself, can live a simulacrum of human life." -- GIG14
In Stalking the Wild Taboo, by Garrett Hardin15: Part 4: Competition: (20) Competition, a Tabooed Idea in Sociology; (21) The Cybernetics of Competition; (22) Population, Biology and the Law; (23) Population Skeletons in the Environmental Closet; (24) The Survival of Nations and Civilisations, he deals with the concept of Competition, a process that is inescapable in societies living in a finite resource world. He proves that the end result of perfect laissez-faire, competition‘s end result reduces all competitors until there is only one left. The monopolist will try to manipulate the machinery of society in such a way as to extend his powers everywhere, without limit. The same applies to labour monopolies. 14
THE SHADOWS OF IDEAS: A Distant Glimpse of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff http://www.darkecho.com/JohnShirley/jsgurd.html Garrett James Hardin (21 April 1915 – 14 September 2003) was a leading ecologist from Dallas, Texas, who warned of the dangers of overpopulation and whose concept of the tragedy of the commons brought attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment". He was most well known for his elaboration of this theme in his 1968 paper, The Tragedy of the Commons. He is also known for Hardin's First Law of Ecology: "You cannot do only one thing". 15
Under these conditions it is important to seek the boundary conditions within which the rule of laissez-faire can produce stability. An Act that may be harmless when the system is healthy and strong may be quite destructive when the system is stressed near its limits. To promote the goal of stability, a law must take cognizance not only of the act but also of the state of the system at the time the act is performed. Ben Bagdikian16 described the systemic process of corporate media cannibalism in Media Monopoly17. In that legal context, corporations who do not promote the goal of ecological stability, but who abuse the planet, should be denied any legal standing, and the law should take cognisance of the actions of corporations who promote the destruction of ecologically stable systems, including the state of the ecological system at the time of such corporate actions. Derrick Jensen18 is the author of The EndGame19, wherein he alleges that western industrialized culture is the most destructive ecological footprint culture to ever exist, that it refuses to change; that it has effectively declared war on the planet and all other living species on behalf of profits: This Means War20. Cultures that live in ecological harmony with the earth, live in relationship to the natural environment; Corporate and/or industrial cultures consider the earth to be objects and resources to be exploited or used purely for profit. In Jared Diamonds Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed21, he ―employs the comparative method to understand societal collapses to which environmental problems contribute.‖ He lists 12 environmental problems facing mankind today. The first eight have historically contributed to the collapse of past societies: (1) Deforestation and habitat destruction; (2) Soil problems (erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses); (3) Water management problems (4) Overhunting; (5) Overfishing; (6) Effects of introduced species on native species; (7) Overpopulation; (8) Increased per-capita impact of people. The root problem in all but one of Diamond's factors leading to collapse is overpopulation relative to the practicable (as opposed to the ideal theoretical) carrying capacity of the environment. The one factor not related to overpopulation is the harmful effect of accidentally or intentionally introducing nonnative species to a region. Diamond uses a "framework" when considering the collapse of a society, consisting of five "sets of factors" that may affect what happens to a society: environmental damage, climate change, hostile neighbors, loss of trading partners, and the society's own denial responses and refusal to confront its ecological overshoot problems, before it is too late. Denial about & Cover-up of Ecological Overshoot Encouraging Instability & Anarchy: To promote the goal of stability, a law must take cognizance not only of the act but also of the state of the system at the time the act is performed. If the State of the System is ‗Brink of Ecological Overshoot into Anarchy and Collapse‘; and the media‘s ‗act‘ is (a) censorship of root cause problem solving, while (b) encouraging the factors (population growth, resource consumption) towards Anarchy and Collapse; then the conclusion is that the Media‘s Actions are deliberate and intentional on behalf of Anarchy and Instability. Where is Society in the Act of Understanding Exponential Population Growth colliding with Exponentially Declining Resources? What is the role of the Media in Society‘s Ignorance? What is the role of the media in deliberately keeping Society Ignorant, by means of Environment Population Connection censorship? Where is Ecological Societal System, in terms of Exponential Population Growth colliding with Exponentially Declining Resources? Is the Media Aggravating Instability by encouraging Population Growth and Increased Resource 16
In 1971, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg gave Bagdikian — then an editor at the Washington Post — portions of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret classified history of the Vietnam War. Bagdikian passed a copy of the documents to Senator Mike Gravel, who promptly read them into the Congressional Record. 17 The Media Monopoly, Boston: Beacon Press, 1983. 18 http://www.derrickjensen.org/ 19 Derrick Jensen: The EndGame: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8649250863235826256 20 Derrick Jensen: This Means War: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUtCKNEqfL8 21 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc4bXIg8JDk
Consumption? Is the Media Encouraging Stability in favour of Population Stabilisation & Reduced Resource Exploitation? Understanding Exponential Growth: Confronting Society‘s Denial or Ignorance of its Ecological Overshoot problems: State of the System: As detailed in Is Humanity Suicidal?22 By Edward O. Wilson, in New York Times Magazine, on May 30 1993, ―Earth is finite in many resources that determine the quality of life – including arable soil, nutrients, fresh water and space for natural ecosystems. Doubling of consumption at constant time intervals can bring disaster with shocking suddenness. Even when a non-renewable resource has been only half used, it is still only one interval away from the end. Ecologists like to make this point with the French riddle of the lily pond. At first there is only one lily pad in the pond, but the next day there are two, and thereafter each of its descendants doubles. The pond completely fills with lily pads in 30 days. When is the pond exactly half full? Answer: on the 29th day.‖ In Revisiting The Limits to Growth: Could The Club of Rome Have Been Correct, After All?23, by Matthew R. Simmons: ―In the book's chapter defining the deceptive powers of exponential growth and the apparent suddenness with which it approaches a fixed limit, the authors describe the French Riddle of the Lily Pond. In this riddle, the lily pond has a potentially virulent lily that apparently will double in size each day. If the lily grows unchecked it will cover the entire pond in 30 days, choking off all other forms of life in the water by the time it covers the entire pond. If a skeptic waited until 50% of the pond was covered before taking any remedial action to save the pond, when would he act? The answer: on the 29th day of the month! But by then, would be too late. The world can debate when corrective action needs to begin, if exponential growth suddenly shows all the classic signs of pending overshoot. But everyone should agree that waiting until the proverbial 29th day is a classic and unrepentable blunder of the first order.‖ World Population Balance: Understanding Exponential Growth24: ―When most people talk about "growth" in our country, they consider it a completely positive and necessary thing, essential for maintaining the vitality and health of our economy and society. Our society's most revered economic indicators are all based on this fundamental idea: that continuing growth is vital for the health and preservation of our economy and country. In fact, growth is pretty much the only thing they measure! However, natural scientists (such as biologists, chemists, and physicists) know that this assumption must be false. In order for growth to continue forever, we would need an infinite amount of space, energy, and other resources to keep the growth going... and those resources are not infinite. So what happens to steady growth in a limited space? To help explain, we're going to use a simple example of bacteria growing in a bottle.‖ It asks the questions: ―If you were one of the bacteria, when do you suppose you'd start to worry about overcrowding? Would that leave you enough time to do anything about it?‖ Ecological Overshoot and the Importance of Waking Up to the Reality of Understanding Exponential Growth are dealt with in detail in Dr. Al Bartlett‘s25 celebrated one-hour Lecture: Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 10126 and Dr. Chris Martinson‘s Crash Course27: Chapter 3 focuses on Exponential Growth28.
Common Sense - Ecological Peak Oil – Reality: 22
http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/print/1298/is-humanity-suicidal?page=0%2C2 http://www.energybulletin.net/node/1512 24 http://www.worldpopulationbalance.org/exponential-growth-tutorial/bacteria-exponential-growth.html 25 http://www.albartlett.org/presentations/arithmetic_population_energy.html 26 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9znsuCphHUU 27 http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnXZzx9pAmQ 28 http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse/chapter-3-exponential-growth and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2rTQpdyCFQ 23
Energy: Foundation of Economic Growth: Energy and Economic Growth29, by David I. Stern, Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, E-mail: email@example.com: This article surveys the relation between energy and economic growth and more generally the role of energy in economic production. While business and financial economists pay significant attention to the impact of oil and other energy prices on economic activity, the mainstream theory of economic growth pays little or no attention to the role of energy or other natural resources in promoting or enabling economic growth. Resource and ecological economists have criticised this theory on a number of grounds, especially the implications of thermodynamics for economic production and the long-term prospects of the economy. While a fully worked out alternative model of the growth process does not seem to exist, extensive empirical work has examined the role of energy in the growth process. The principal finding is that energy used per unit of economic output has declined, but that this is to a large extent due to a shift in energy use from direct use of fossil fuels such as coal to the use of higher quality fuels, and especially electricity. When this shift in the composition of final energy use is taken into account energy use and the level of economic activity are found to be tightly coupled. When these and other trends are taken into account the prospects for further large reductions in the energy intensity of economic activity seem limited. The implications for environmental quality and economic sustainability are discussed.
Energy Production & Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Energy and Economic Growth30, by David I Stern, Dept. of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Physical theory shows that energy is necessary for economic production and therefore growth but the mainstream theory of economic growth, except for specialized resource economics models, pays no attention to the role of energy. This paper reviews the relevant biophysical 29 30
theory, mainstream and resource economics models of growth, the critiques of mainstream models, and the various mechanisms that can weaken the links between energy and growth. Finally we review the empirical literature that finds that energy used per unit of economic output has declined, but that this is to a large extent due to a shift from poorer quality fuels such as coal to the use of higher quality fuels, and especially electricity. Furthermore, time series analysis shows that energy and GDP cointegrate and energy use Granger causes GDP when additional variables such as energy prices or other production inputs are included. As a result, prospects for further large reductions in energy intensity seem limited.
Energy Consumption and GDP31, Second Law of Life: This time I would like to dwell a little bit on energy ‖consumption‖ and its relation to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) creation. (In fact, the term ―energy consumption‖ is misleading, as energy cannot be destroyed nor created, according to the First Law of Thermodynamics. For this discussion, I‘m using data from the 2006 Report of the International Energy Agency 32 (2010 Key World Energy Statistics33). There are several ways to look at the raw data, three of which are described below. First, one feels intuitively that the amount of energy that a nation uses is related to its productivity, as expressed in its GDP and its population, which of course drives GDP. Therefore, in order to compare nations with different outputs and populations, it seems wise to divide both consumed energy and GDP by population. This is expressed in Figure 1 below.
What we notice is the huge range in power levels (in KW/capita) between the lowest consumer (India) and the highest (USA). In the USA, each citizen needs an average power level of more than 10KW every second to keep the society going (this includes everything: transportation, work, food, housing, leisure, etc.). But when we look to productivity levels (expressed as GDP/capita), we see that the productivity of the USA (ca. $36,000/capita) is more than 70 times than that of India (ca $500 /capita).
BP Report shows economic growth still depends on oil34, Mail & Globe: ―The relationship between energy and global economic growth has never been clearer than in BP‘s World
http://secondlawoflife.wordpress.com/2007/05/17/energy-consumption-and-gdp/ http://www.iea.org/Textbase/publications/free_new_Desc.asp?PUBS_ID=1199 33 http://www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/2010/key_stats_2010.pdf 34 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/jeff-rubins-smaller-world/bp-report-shows-economic-growth-still-dependson-oil/article2069075/ 32
Energy Statistical Review for 2010..[..] The good news about the pending global economic slowdown is we may soon be burning less oil again in the second half of the year. But the bad news contained in BP‘s recent energy review is global economic growth remains as oil dependent as ever.‖
Energy and Economic Growth35, Jakarta Post: ―The rapid economic growth of the currently developed nations during the last half of the 20th century was attributed notably to the availability of cheap energy, contributed mainly by fossil fuels, especially petroleum. The challenge for developing countries nowadays is that the luxury of having plenty of cheap oil is no longer the case. Energy economic literature defines two important indicators: Energy intensity as the ratio between energy consumption to GDP, and energy elasticity as the rate of growth of energy consumption over the rate of growth of GDP.
Peak Oil: End of Economic Growth : Life After the End of Economic Growth36, Daily Kos: We're at the end of economic growth as we know it. Not everyone has realized this yet, but it has arrived nevertheless. In past weeks I discussed why this is the case - a combination of hitting a variety of hard geological and ecological limits. Particularly, we have reached or are near (depending on how you calculate it) the peak of oil production and alternative energy cannot substitute for oil in an effective or timely fashion. The consequences of hitting these limits are huge. As I remember someone saying - this is one of those rare topics where the more you learn about it, the worse the news gets. How does oil impact our economy? As the foundation of oil upon which we've built our industrial system crumbles, we will face direct economic impacts. Hirsch, whose 2005 study37 for the Department of Energy on the peaking of world oil production is still the gold standard, conducted further studies to try to understand how oil connects to GDP38. He concluded that there's a 1-to-1 relationship: for every 1% oil production declines, world GDP declines 1%. How much does he expect world oil production to decline? Here's what he says: ―Best Case Scenario: Maximum world oil production is followed by a period of relatively flat production (a plateau) before the onset of a decline rate of 2–5% per year.‖ The trend break happened in 2005, when global oil production stopped increasing. We've been on a plateau of sorts since then. While the graph above is technically about oil, it maps directly to the economy. This indicates that in the best case scenario we should expect a yearly 2-5% decline in world GDP. As a point of reference, the Great Recession that we just experienced caused a US GDP drop of 4.1%. That is, we'll be having the Great Recession nearly yearly.
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/07/15/energy-and-economic-growth.html http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/22/978258/-Life-After-the-End-of-Economic-Growth 37 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsch_report 38 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421507004922 36
Peak Oil & Collapse of Debt-Based Economic Growth Paradigm: The relationship between the supply of oil and natural gas and the workings of the global financial system is arguably the key issue to dealing with Peak Oil as robust and smoothly function global capital markets must exist in order to power an orderly (or semi-orderly) transition process. In fact this relationship is far more important than alternative sources of energy, energy conservation, or the development of new energy technologies, all of which are discussed in detail on page two of this site39. In short, the global financial system is entirely dependent on a constantly increasing supply of oil and natural gas40. To illustrate, if home and business loans are issued with interest rates in the 7% range, the assumption underlying the loans is that the monetary supply will increase (on average) by 7% per year. But if that 7% yearly increase in the monetary supply is not matched by a 7% yearly increase in the amount of economic activity (goods and services), the result is hyper-inflation. The key is this: in order for there to be an increase in the amount of economic activity taking place, there must be an increase in the amount of net-energy (i.e. the net-number of BTUs) available to fuel those activities. As no alternative source or combination of sources comes even remotely close to the energy density of oil (125,000 BTUs per gallon, the equivalent of 150-500 hours of human labor), a decline or even plateau in the supply of oil carries such overwhelming consequences for the financial system. Dr. Colin Campbell presents an understandable model of this complete relationship as follows: It is becoming evident that the financial community begins to accept the reality of Peak Oil. They accept that banks created capital during this epoch by lending more than they had on deposit, being confident that tomorrowâ€˜s expansion, fuelled by cheap oil-based energy, was adequate collateral for todayâ€˜s debt. The decline of oil, the principal driver of economic growth, undermines the validity of that collateral which in turn erodes the valuation of most entities quoted on Stock Exchanges.41 Commentator Robert Wise explains the connection between energy and money as follows: It's not physics, but it's true: money equals energy. Real, liquid wealth represents usable energy. It can be exchanged for fuel, for work, or for something built by the work of humans or fuel-powered machines. Real cost reflects the energy cost of doing something; real value reflects the energy expended to build something. Nearly all the work done in the world economy, all the manufacturing, construction, and transportation, is done with energy derived from fuel. The actual work done by human muscle power is miniscule by comparison. And, the lion's share of that fuel comes from oil and natural gas, the primary sources of the world's wealth.42 Author Dmitry Orlov offers the following explanation of how the debt-based financial currency used in a modern economy is actually dependent on an increasing supply of energy. Emphasis added: Although it is often thought that a [modern] economy produces value, as an empirical matter it can be observed that what it produces is debt. One borrows money in order to provide and to receive goods and services. Loans are extended based on the expectation that, in the future, demand for these services will be even higher, driving further economic growth. However, this economy is not a closed system: the delivery of these goods and services is linked to external energy flows. Greater flows of energy, in the form of increased oil and natural gas imports, increased coal production and so forth are failing to occur, for a variety of geological and geopolitical reasons. There is every reason to expect that the ability to deliver goods and services will suffer as a result of energy shortages, collapsing the debt pyramid.43
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.html http://www.museletter.com/archive/149.html 41 http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Archives2008/FinancialConsequences.html 42 http://www.democrats.us/editorial/wise041105.shtml 43 http://www.democrats.us/editorial/wise041105.shtml 40
In October 2005, the normally conservative London Times acknowledged that the world's wealth may soon evaporate as we enter a technological and economic "Dark Age." In an article entitled "Waiting for the Lights to Go Out" Times columnist Bryan Appleyard reported: Oil is running out; the climate is changing at a potentially catastrophic rate; wars over scarce resources are brewing; finally, most shocking of all, we don't seem to be having enough ideas about how to fix any of these things. Almost daily, new evidence is emerging that progress can no longer be taken for granted, that a new Dark Age is lying in wait for ourselves and our children . . . growth may be coming to an end. Since our entire financial order from interest rates, pension funds, insurance, to stock markets is predicated on growth, the social and economic consequences may be cataclysmic. 44
Peak Oil: Collapse of PR Exponential Bullshit the Public Duhmockery: Mitigation of maximum world oil production: Shortage scenarios45, by Robert L. Hirsch: A framework is developed for planning the mitigation of the oil shortages that will be caused by world oil production reaching a maximum and going into decline. To estimate potential economic impacts, a reasonable relationship between percent decline in world oil supply and percent decline in world GDP was determined to be roughly 1:1. As a limiting case for decline rates, giant fields were examined. Actual oil production from Europe and North America indicated significant periods of relatively flat oil production (plateaus). However, before entering its plateau period, North American oil production went through a sharp peak and steep decline. Examination of a number of future world oil production forecasts showed multi-year rollover/roll-down periods, which represent pseudoplateaus. Consideration of resource nationalism posits an Oil Exporter Withholding Scenario, which could potentially overwhelm all other considerations. Three scenarios for mitigation planning resulted from this analysis: (1) A Best Case, where maximum world oil production is followed by a multi-year plateau before the onset of a monatomic decline rate of 2–5% per year; (2) A Middling Case, where world oil production reaches a maximum, after which it drops into a long-term, 2–5% monotonic annual decline; and finally (3) A Worst Case, where the sharp peak of the Middling Case is degraded by oil exporter withholding, leading to world oil shortages growing potentially more rapidly than 2–5% per year, creating the most dire world economic impacts.
The socio-political and economic consequences of Peak Oil will be severe, as detailed in [German] Military Study Warns of Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis, by Stefan Schultz, Der Spiegel46, 01 September 2010: A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how "peak oil" might change the global economy. The internal draft document -- leaked on the Internet -shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis. The term "peak oil" is used by energy experts to refer to a point in time when global oil reserves pass their zenith and production gradually begins to decline. This would result in a permanent supply crisis -- and fear of it can trigger turbulence in commodity markets and on stock exchanges. The issue is so politically explosive that it's remarkable when an institution like the Bundeswehr, the German military, uses the term "peak oil" at all. But a military study currently circulating on the German blogosphere goes even further.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article575370.ece http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421507004922 46 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715138,00.html 45
The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the "total collapse of the markets" and of serious political and economic crises.
In US Military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 201547, Terry MacAlister warns that the military report states that the ―shortfall could reach 10 m barrels a day, and that the cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 per barrel, which would have significant economic and political impacts. In the third military Peak Oil report of 2010 Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Environment48 was published on 27 September by the Washington, DC ―national security and defence‖ think tank, Center for a New American Security (CNAS). It warns that the US Department of Defense‘s ―massive energy needs‖ are met by petroleum – and ―given projected supply and demand, we cannot assume that oil will remain affordable or that supplies will be available to the United States reliably three decades hence.‖ To remain as an effective fighting force, the entire US military must transition from oil over the coming 30 years. Of the three, the German one is the most blunt, as detailed in German Military Report: Peak Oil Could Lead to Collapse of Democracy49. Peak oil has happened or will happen some time around this year, and its consequences could threaten the continued survival of democratic governments, says a secret Germany military report that was leaked online. According to Der Spiegel, the report from a think-tank inside the German military warns that shrinking global oil supplies will threaten the world's economic foundations and possibly lead to mass-scale upheaval within the next 15 to 30 years. International trade would suffer as the cost of transporting goods across oceans would soar, resulting in "shortages in the supply of vital goods," the report states, as translated by Der Spiegel. The result would be the collapse of the industrial supply chain. "In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse," the report states.
According to Joint Operating Environment – 201050, issued by United States Joint Forces Command, issued on 18 February 2010: ―The implications for future conflict are ominous, if energy supplies cannot keep up with demand and should states see the need to militarily secure dwindling energy resources. (p.26)…. By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD‖
Mathew Simmons: Peak Oil and End of Economic Growth51: Mathew Simmons, CEO of the world's largest Energy Investment Bank, Simmons & Company International (http://www.simmonsco-intl.com/). Its clients include Halliburton; Baker, Botts, LLP; Dynegy; Kerr-McGee; and the World Bank. Since 1993, it has underwritten or financed 18 transactions valued at more than $350 million. Of those, six were valued at more than $1 billion. Simmons is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the National Petroleum Council's Natural Gas Task Force.
Guardian: 11 April 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/CNAS_Fueling%20the%20Future%20Force_NaglParthemore.pdf 49 http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/0901/german-report-peak-oil-collapse-democracy/ 50 http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2010/JOE_2010_o.pdf 51 http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082103_blackout.html 48
Peak Oil: Time for Biophysical Based Economics Paradigm: EROI/EROEI: Energy Return on Energy Invested Peak Oil: The End of Economic Growth?52, by Professor Charles A. Hall, of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse. Dr. Hall is a systems ecologist who began his career studying life in freshwater systems. He is best known for developing the concept of EROI, or energy return on investment, which examines how organisms, including humans, invest energy in obtaining additional energy to improve their biotic or social fitness. He has applied this approach to fish migrations, the carbon balance, tropical land use change and petroleum extraction, in both natural and human-dominated ecosystems. His lecture will deal with the probable implications of peak oil on the economic activity of OECD and developing countries. It will focus on the past, present and future energy cost of energy itself, and how that is likely to effect investments, economic growth and discretionary spending. He recently published a paper calling for a new economic paradigm: The Need for a New, Biophysical-based Paradigm in Economics for the Second Half of the Age of Oil. An introduction to EROI by Charles Hall EROI stands for energy return on investment, and refers most explicitly to the ratio of energy delivered to society from one unit invested in getting that particular energy. The units can be KJoules per KJoule or barrels per barrel etc, and there can be modifications, for example the quality of the energy input or output. It is a physical concept, but one that can have enormous economic implications, and one that must eventually be a large component — or even determinant — of many energy and economic assessments. The idea and its implications for society has been around since the mid part of the past century in the writings of Fred Cottrell, Kenneth Boulding and Howard Odum but to my knowledge EROI was not derived explicitly until the 1980s in work by Cleveland, Kaufmann and myself. Although EROI (or its cousins net energy analysis and life cycle analysis) is a term that is rarely heard today we believe that this issue is likely to become a dominant one in the U.S. and the world in coming decades because of the apparent substantial and continuing decline for the most important fuels, and because alternatives (i.e. substitutes) tend to have a much lower ratio. The situation can be seen clearly for the finding and production of domestic oil in the United States. The EROI has evolved from the situation in 1930 when we found roughly one hundred barrels of oil for every barrel (or its equivalent as natural gas) invested to roughly 25 barrels per barrel in the 1970s to from 11 to 18 barrels per barrel in the 1990s. The numbers reflect current production from existing fields, and the EROI for finding new oil is almost certainly much lower. The very large difference between the investment and the return–that is, the energy surplus–of the oil industry allowed Texas and the United States to generate enormous wealth over the twentieth century. Over time the quantity of U.S. oil produced increased dramatically until its peak in
1970, but the EROI declined more or less routinely for both extraction and especially for new discoveries. We believe that if the EROI for our principal fuels continues to decline the implications will be enormous as more and more of our total energy output, and hence our total economic activity, is diverted to get the same quantity of fuels. The normal response by many to this issue is that substitutes will occur and that technological processes will continue to improve so that there should be little or no concern. In fact there is a continuing race between technological progress and depletion. If the declining EROI of, for example, U.S. oil is used as a yardstick it would appear that depletion is winning the race. While substitutes to replace U.S petroleum since its peak in 1970 have in fact occurred, the majority of this has been imported oil, now possibly facing its own peak, and U.S. natural gas, which is subject to the same peaking and depletion issues, perhaps soon. Our own research indicates that the EROI for global oil and gas is in the vicinity of 30 to 1 but declining fairly rapidly. The use of EROI for potential policy assessments has created a large controversy between scientists and economists who want the market to make all decisions and even analyses. For example, some scientists have argued that net energy analysis has several advantages over standard economic analysis. First, net energy analysis assesses the change in the physical scarcity of energy resources, and therefore is immune to the effects of market imperfections that distort monetary data. Second, because goods and services are produced from the conversion of energy into useful work, net energy is a measure of the potential to do useful work in economic systems. Third, EROI can be used to rank alternative energy supply technologies according to their potential abilities to do useful work in the economy. In clear contrast most neoclassical economists reject methods of economic analysis that are not based on human preferences, arguing that net energy analysis does not generate useful information beyond that produced in a thorough economic analysis. This is a perspective that I do not share, particularly because we believe that markets are poor predictors of what we perceive to be almost inevitable impacts of a coming serious decline in energy availability and in EROI for our most important fuels. In any case neither system has yet adequately addressed the cost of environmental impact or contribution to depletion. Thus a critically important issue is what should the boundaries of the analyses be i.e. how far should we go in the costs of the energy to make (or use) a fuel? There are also important methodological problems that are nicely seen in the letters and responses found about EROI for biomass-derived alcohol that were in Science magazine June 23, 2006. There are several groups working on determining the EROI of various alternatives to oil although it is apparent that there are no clear alternatives to oil with high EROI and a large resource base. Windmills have, apparently, a high EROI, but an enormous expansion would be required before it gives even 1 percent of US energy use.
Energy, Totalitarian Agriculture and Population Growth: In Threats of Peak Oil to the Global Food Supply53, Richard Heinberg begins with:-Food is energy. And it takes energy to get food. These two facts, taken together, have always established the biological limits to the human population and always will. The same is true for every other species: food must yield more energy to the eater than is needed in order to acquire the food. Woe to the fox who expends more energy chasing rabbits than he can get from eating the rabbits he catches. If this energy balance remains negative for too long, death results; for an entire species, the outcome is a die-off event, perhaps leading even to extinction. â€Ś. Over all - including energy costs for farm machinery, transportation, and processing, and oil and natural gas used as feedstocks for agricultural chemicals - the modern food system consumes roughly ten calories of fossil fuel energy for every calorie of food energy produced.4
But the single most telling gauge of our dependency is the size of the global population. Without fossil fuels, the stupendous growth in human numbers that has occurred over the past century would have been impossible. Can we continue to support so many people as the availability of cheap oil declines?
Some facts: In the US, agriculture is directly responsible for well over 10 percent of all national energy consumption. Over 400 gallons of oil equivalent are expended to feed each American each year. About a third of that amount goes toward fertilizer production, 20 percent to operate machinery, 16 percent for transportation, 13 percent for irrigation, 8 percent for livestock raising, (not including the feed), and 5 percent for pesticide production. This does not include energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retailers, or cooking. Trucks move most of the world's food, even though trucking is ten times more energy-intensive than moving food by train or barge. Refrigerated jets move a small but growing proportion of food, almost entirely to wealthy industrial nations, at 60 times the energy cost of sea transport. Processed foods make up three-quarters of global food sales by price (though not by quantity). This adds dramatically to energy costs: for example, a one-pound box of breakfast cereal may require over 7,000 kilocalories of energy for processing, while the cereal itself provides only 1,100 kilocalories of food energy.
In a Harpers Magazine Feature, The Oil We Eat54, on July 23, 2004, Richard Manning provides the following ‗food production based on oil‘ related to population issues ‗food for thought‘: The journalist‘s rule says: follow the money. This rule, however, is not really axiomatic but derivative, in that money, as even our vice president will tell you, is really a way of tracking energy. We‘ll follow the energy. We learn as children that there is no free lunch, that you don‘t get something from nothing, that what goes up must come down, and so on. The scientific version of these verities is only slightly more complex. As James Prescott Joule discovered in the nineteenth century, there is only so much energy. You can change it from motion to heat, from heat to light, but there will never be more of it and there will never be less of it. The conservation of energy is not an option, it is a fact. This is the first law of thermodynamics. Special as we humans are, we get no exemptions from the rules. All animals eat plants or eat animals that eat plants. This is the food chain, and pulling it is the unique ability of plants to turn sunlight into stored energy in the form of carbohydrates, the basic fuel of all animals. Solar-powered photosynthesis is the only way to make this fuel. There is no alternative to plant energy, just as there is no alternative to oxygen. The results of taking away our plant energy may not be as sudden as cutting off oxygen, but they are as sure. Energy cannot be created or canceled, but it can be concentrated. This is the larger and profoundly explanatory context of a national-security memo George Kennan wrote in 1948 as the head of a State Department planning committee, ostensibly about Asian policy but really about how the United States was to deal with its newfound role as the dominant force on Earth. ―We have about 50 percent of the world‘s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population,‖ Kennan wrote. ―In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.‖―The day is not far off,‖ Kennan concluded, ―when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.‖ … On average, it takes 5.5 gallons of fossil energy to restore a year‘s worth of lost fertility to an acre of eroded land—in 1997 we burned through more than 400 years‘ worth of ancient
fossilized productivity, most of it from someplace else. Even as the earth beneath Iowa shrinks, it is being globalized. ...The experience in population control in the developing world is by now clear: It is not that people make more people so much as it is that they make more poor people. In the forty-year period beginning about 1960, the world‘s population doubled, adding virtually the entire increase of 3 billion to the world‘s poorest classes, the most fecund classes. The way in which the green revolution raised that grain contributed hugely to the population boom, and it is the weight of the population that leaves humanity in its present untenable position. Discussion of these, the most poor, however, is largely irrelevant to the American situation. We say we have poor people here, but almost no one in this country lives on less than one dollar a day, the global benchmark for poverty. It marks off a class of about 1.3 billion people, the hard core of the larger group of 2 billion chronically malnourished people—that is, one third of humanity. We may forget about them, as most Americans do. The common assumption these days is that we muster our weapons to secure oil, not food. There‘s a little joke in this. Ever since we ran out of arable land, food is oil. Every single calorie we eat is backed by at least a calorie of oil, more like ten. In 1940 the average farm in the United States produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil energy it used. By 1974 (the last year in which anyone looked closely at this issue), that ratio was 1:1. And this understates the problem, because at the same time that there is more oil in our food there is less oil in our oil. A couple of generations ago we spent a lot less energy drilling, pumping, and distributing than we do now. In the 1940s we got about 100 barrels of oil back for every barrel of oil we spent getting it. Today each barrel invested in the process returns only ten, a calculation that no doubt fails to include the fuel burned by the Hummers and Blackhawks we use to maintain access to the oil in Iraq. ...There is another energy matter to consider here, though. The grinding, milling, wetting, drying, and baking of a breakfast cereal requires about four calories of energy for every calorie of food energy it produces. A two-pound bag of breakfast cereal burns the energy of a halfgallon of gasoline in its making. All together the food-processing industry in the United States uses about ten calories of fossil-fuel energy for every calorie of food energy it produces. That number does not include the fuel used in transporting the food from the factory to a store near you, or the fuel used by millions of people driving to thousands of super discount stores on the edge of town, where the land is cheap. ...Green eaters, especially vegetarians, advocate eating low on the food chain, a simple matter of energy flow. Eating a carrot gives the diner all that carrot‘s energy, but feeding carrots to a chicken, then eating the chicken, reduces the energy by a factor of ten. The chicken wastes some energy, stores some as feathers, bones, and other inedibles, and uses most of it just to live long enough to be eaten. As a rough rule of thumb, that factor of ten applies to each level up the food chain, which is why some fish, such as tuna, can be a horror in all of this. Tuna is a secondary predator, meaning it not only doesn‘t eat plants but eats other fish that themselves eat other fish, adding a zero to the multiplier each notch up, easily a hundred times, more like a thousand times less efficient than eating a plant. Animal rights aside, vegetarians can lose the edge in the energy argument by eating processed food, with its ten calories of fossil energy for every calorie of food energy produced. The question, then, is: Does eating processed food such as soy burger or soy milk cancel the energy benefits of vegetarianism, which is to say, can I eat my lamb chops in peace? Maybe. If I‘ve done my due diligence, I will have found out that the particular lamb I am eating was both local and grass-fed, two factors that of course greatly reduce the embedded energy in a meal. I know of ranches here in Montana, for instance, where sheep eat native grass under closely controlled circumstances—no farming, no plows, no corn, no nitrogen. Assets have not been stripped. I can‘t eat the grass directly. This can go on. There are little niches like this in the system. Each person‘s individual charge is to find such niches. ...Eighty percent of the grain the United States produces goes to livestock. Seventy-eight percent of all of our beef comes from feed lots, where the cattle eat grain, mostly corn and wheat. So do most of our hogs and chickens. The cattle spend their adult lives packed shoulder to shoulder in a space not much bigger than their bodies, up to their knees in shit, being stuffed with grain and a constant stream of antibiotics to prevent the disease this sort of confinement
invariably engenders. The manure is rich in nitrogen and once provided a farm‘s fertilizer. The feedlots, however, are now far removed from farm fields, so it is simply not ―efficient‖ to haul it to cornfields. It is waste. It exhales methane, a global-warming gas. It pollutes streams. It takes thirty-five calories of fossil fuel to make a calorie of beef this way; sixty-eight to make one calorie of pork. Still, these livestock do something we can‘t. They convert grain‘s carbohydrates to high-quality protein. All well and good, except that per capita protein production in the United States is about double what an average adult needs per day. Excess cannot be stored as protein in the human body but is simply converted to fat. This is the end result of a factory-farm system that appears as a living, continental-scale monument to Rube Goldberg, a black-mass remake of the loaves-and-fishes miracle. Prairie‘s productivity is lost for grain, grain‘s productivity is lost in livestock, livestock‘s protein is lost to human fat—all federally subsidized for about $15 billion a year, two thirds of which goes directly to only two crops, corn and wheat. This explains why the energy expert David Pimentel is so worried that the rest of the world will adopt America‘s methods. He should be, because the rest of the world is. Mexico now feeds 45 percent of its grain to livestock, up from 5 percent in 1960. Egypt went from 3 percent to 31 percent in the same period, and China, with a sixth of the world‘s population, has gone from 8 percent to 26 percent. All of these places have poor people who could use the grain, but they can‘t afford it.
So, from that you‘ll realise that petrochemicals are key components to much more than just the petrol in your car. Jay Tomczak points out in Implications of Fossil Fuel Dependence for the Food System55: The current food system is dependent on non-renewable fossil fuel resources, which will soon become increasingly scarce and expensive. This dependence is a threat to food security and future food supply. The availability of decades of cheap fossil fuel energy has allowed the food system to become dependent on finite resources that are rapidly being depleted. Due to the constraints of the first and second laws of thermodynamics this system cannot be maintained in its current form. Essential components of the current system such as synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which require natural gas as a feedstock and oil dependent distribution, exemplify the fragile nature of the food system. A wide scale conversion to low energy, ecologically sustainable agriculture must be implemented to avoid food system collapse and future food supply shortages. …… If action to change these aspects of the food system is not taken, convening resource depletion and degradation will cause the food system to collapse.
The city of Brighton‘s Direct Action Collective reports: The implications [of Peak Oil] in terms of food are pretty terrifying. Since the 1960s it has been true to say that food equals oil. In 1944 the average US farm produced 2.3 thousand calories of food for every calorie of fossil fuel inputs. In 1974 the ratio became 1:1…. As Heinberg says, ―in terms of energy return on energy invested, industrial agriculture is the least efficient food distribution system the world has ever known.‖
Geologist Dale Allen Pfeiffer points out in his article entitled, ―Eating Fossil Fuels,‖56 that approximately 10 calories of fossil fuels are required to produce every 1 calorie of food eaten in
Implications of Fossil Fuel Dependence for the Food System, by Jay Tomczak, Tompkins Country Relocalization Project, December 12, 2005 http://www.energybulletin.net/node/17036 56 Eating Fossil Fuels, by Dale Allen Pfeiffer, FTW, Oct 3, 2003: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100303_eating_oil.html
the US. The size of this ratio stems from the fact that every step of modern food production is fossil fuel and petrochemical powered:57:
Pesticides are made from oil; Commercial fertilizers are made from ammonia, which is made from natural gas, which will peak 58 about 10 years after oil peaks;
With the exception of a few 59 experimental prototypes , all farming implements such as tractors and trailers are constructed and powered using oil.
Food storage systems such as refrigerators are manufactured in oil-powered plants, distributed across oil-powered transportation networks and usually run on electricity, which most often comes from natural gas or coal;
In today‘s globalized economy the average piece of food is transported hundreds to thousands 60 of miles from where it is produced to where it is consumed (US almost 1,500 miles, in 61 62 Canada 5,000 miles ). In short, people gobble oil like two-legged SUVs.
To briefly conclude Mr. Pfeiffers investigation into the totality of food production in the US, which has major global implications since the US and Canada feed much of the world:
The motives of most of the wars in recorded history were the need to expand agricultural production, as an essential portion of the energy base.
With every increase in food production, the human population grew apace.
Modern agriculture is highly energy intensive: egs, to produce one kilogram of nitrogen for fertilizer requires the energy equivalent of 1.4 to 1.8 litres of diesel fuel (excluding the natural gas feedstock).
We are literally eating fossil fuels, but due to the laws of thermodynamics, between energy input and agricultural output, along the way there is a marked energy loss. Removing fossil fuels from the equation, the current US daily diet would require nearly three weeks of labour per capita to produce.
Modern intensive agriculture is (a) unsustainable, (b) damaging the land, (c) draining water supplies, (d) polluting the environment, all of which requires more fossil fuels input to pump irrigation water, replace nutrients, provide pest protection, and maintain crop production constant.
This necessary fossil fuel input is going to crash headlong into declining fossil fuel production!
Giampietro & Pimental concluded that a sustainable food system would be possible under the following four conditions:
Environmentally sound agricultural technologies must be implemented.
Renewable energy technologies must be put into place.
Major increases in energy efficiency must reduce exosomatic energy consumption per capita.
Population size and consumption must be compatible with maintaining the stability of environmental processes.63
Why Our Food is So Dependent on Oil, by Norman Church, 1 Apr 2005: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/5045 ASPO: The Coming Global Oil Crisis: Natural Gas: http:// dieoff.org/page131.htm 59 Permaculture: Electric Tractors, by Renewables.com: http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ElectricTractor.htm 60 The Farm Bill Gets Down On the Farm, by John Fawcett-Long, Washington Free Press, Agriculture # 15, April/May 1995 61 Matters of survival in a 'shattered world': Talking about the Earth with David Suzuki and C.W. Nicol, By Stephen Hesse, Japan Times Online, Thursday, April 21, 2005 62 Why Our Food Is So Dependent On Oil, By Norman Church, 07 April, 2005, http://www.energybulletin.net/node/5045 58
Given the aforementioned four conditions they concluded that to achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the then current US population of 292 million would require a 92 million 1/3rd) reduction. NOTE: None of their aforementioned research, including it‘s conclusions and population reduction recommendations, to attain a sustainable economy and avert disaster, considered the impact of declining fossil fuel production (Peak Oil)! In other words, the current peaking of global oil production is not only a crisis in and of itself but shall conceivably precipitate the aforementioned agricultural crisis sooner than expected, due to decreased production of the required fossil fuels for intensive agriculture to simply maintain crop production constant. Therefore:-
a population reduction of one-third will not be effective for sustainability.
the necessary reduction might be in excess of one-half
In light of Peak Oil/declining fossil fuel production‘s input into agriculture, and the additional impending agricultural crisis: For global sustainability to be achieved, global population will have to be reduced by 2/3rds to 2 billion (a reduction of 68%). He concludes we are confronted with three choices: (a) Immediate and drastic conscious responsible voluntary population reduction, probably our best although also least likely choice; (b) Alternatively immediate and drastic Government intervention by mandated population reduction, via sterilisation and quota‘s; which will no doubt result in screams of eugenics from Peak Oil denialists; and (c) Failure to confront our overpopulation crisis, will simply result in spiralling food costs, and unprecedented starvation, i.e. the eventual die-off Darwinian Malthusian consequences.
Denial: Why are so Many People in Denial about the End of Industrial Civilisation?
A Biological Evolutionary Perspective to Denial: Wakening from our Meme-Dream
A Psychological Perspective to Denial about Peak Oil: Surfacing Our Mental Models: How to See Why We are Thinking What We are Thinking
‗Having‘ Frame of Orientation: Man in Capitalistic Society
‗Having‘ an Object of Devotion: Industrial Religion
‗Having‘ an Identity/Personality: The 20th Century Marketing Character
‗Having‘ vs ‗Being‘: As a Frame of Orientation and an Object of Devotion
The Work of Stanley Milgram: [Having / Obedience to Authority] vs [Being / Rebellion]
The Sufi Levels of Consciousness: The Path from Denial to Acceptance and Transcendence: Mental Model Growth from Having (Belief) to Being (Reason)
Matt Savinar‘s answer is neatly tied into evolution, and the hardwired prioritising of shortterm survival over long-term survival and the importance of a team mentality. He mentions how people are perfectly willing to believe things that they know are not true, if it increases their chances of short-term survival. He gives an example of why the brain has a way of deleting ideas outside the norm: Bob finds out about Peak Oil in all of its grimness with his co-workers as smoothly and effectively as before because all they talk about is stuff like their Mcmansions, their SUVs, their wives‘ boob jobs, their kid‘s IPODs, etc. team is now not as effective as before because not everybody is on the same page Bob suffers 63
The Tightening Conflict: Population, Energy Use, and the Ecology of Agriculture, Giampietro, Mario and Pimentel, David, 1994. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12178986
He goes on to say that the reason that most people who are interested in the topic of peak oil came to be that way because the idea was not outside pre-existing agendas in their minds. It is true many ―peak-oilers‖ were against pollution, global warming, suburbia, and consumerism. For people whose lives are caught up in the rat race, competing to keep up with the Joneses, and the race to accumulate a ―bigger everything‖ it may be much harder to convince. For most there is no ―advantage‖ to believing in the coming of peak oil, so the brain deletes the info. A Biological Evolutionary Perspective to Denial: Awakening from Our Meme-Dream The term meme was coined by Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Memes are habits, skills, songs, stories, or any other kind of information that is copied from person to person. Memes, like genes, are replicators. That is, they are information that is copied with variation and selection, by imitation, teaching and other methods, and they compete for space in our memories and for the chance to be copied again. Large groups of memes that are copied and passed on together are called co-adapted meme complexes, or memeplexes. Because only some of the variants survive, memes (and hence human cultures) evolve. Meme plexes would be concept‘s such as Peak Oil, all the religions, ‗western civilisation‘ etc. According to memetics, our minds and cultures are designed by natural selection acting on memes, just as organisms are designed by natural selection acting on genes. A central question for memetics is therefore ‗why has this meme survived?‘ Our suitable question here can be ‗why is the ‗infinite growth‘ meme surviving?,‘ ‗why is the Peak Oil memeplex not spreading as fast and as vicious as the infinite growth memeplex?‖ Some succeed because they are genuinely useful to us, while others use a variety of tricks to get themselves copied. Some memes are almost entirely exploitative, or viral, in nature, including chain letters and e-mail viruses. Others can be somewhere in-between, sometimes useful, and sometimes destructive. Exploitative memes consist of a ―copy-me‖ instruction backed up with threats and promises. Religions have a similar structure and this is why Dawkins refers to them as ‗viruses of the mind‘. Many religions threaten hell and damnation, promise heaven or salvation, and insist that their followers pass on their beliefs to others. In determining whether the ‗Denial to the reality of Peak Oil/Attachment to Principles of Infinite Growth/Consumption of Western Civilisation‘ vs. the ‗Peak Oil‘ memeplexes are useful or destructive and exploitative, we can enquire whether each memeplex is backed up with overt, covert or subtle threats and promises. But before we do so, let‘s first awake from our Meme Dreams. In a Waking from the Meme Dream, Dr. Susan Blackmore says: … Finally clues come from science. The most obvious (and scary) conclusion from modern neuroscience is that there is simply no one inside the brain. The more we learn about the way the brain functions the less it seems to need a central controller, a little person inside, a decider of decisions or an experiencer of experiences. These are just fictions - part of the story the brain tells itself about a self within (Churchland and Sejnowski, 1992; Dennett, 1991). …….. Understanding the fantastic process of natural selection we can see how our human bodies came to be the way they are. But what about our minds? Evolutionary psychology does not easily answer my questions. For example, why do we think all the time? From a genetic point of view this seems extremely wasteful - and animals that waste energy don't survive. The brain uses about 20% of the body‘s energy while weighing only 2%. If we were thinking useful thoughts, or solving relevant problems there might be some point, but mostly we don't seem to be. So why can‘t we just sit down and not think?
Why do we believe in a self that does not exist? Someone may yet explain this in evolutionary terms, but at least superficially it appears pointless. Why construct a false idea of self, with all its mechanisms protecting self-esteem and its fear of failure and loss, when from the biological point of view it is the body that needs protecting. Note that if we thought of ourselves as the entire organism there would be no problem, but we don‘t - rather, we seem to believe in a separate self; something that is in charge of the body; something that has to be protected for its own sake. Like many other scientists I would love to find a principle as simple, as beautiful and as elegant as natural selection that would explain the nature of the mind. I think there is one. It is closely related to natural selection. Although it has been around for twenty years, it has not yet been put fully to use. It is the theory of memes. After explaining the History and Theory of Meme‘s, she concludes: Once you start to think this way a truly frightening prospect opens up. We have all become used to thinking of our bodies as biological organisms created by evolution. Yet we still like to think of our selves as something more. We are in charge of our bodies, we run the show, we decide which ideas to believe in and which to reject. But do we really? If you begin to think about selfish memes it becomes clear that our ideas are in our heads because they are successful memes. American philosopher Dan Dennett (1995) concludes that a ―person‖ is a particular sort of animal infested with memes. In other words you and I and all our friends are the products of two blind replicators, the genes and the memes. I find these ideas absolutely stunning. Potentially we might be able to understand all of mental life in terms of the competition between memes, just as we can understand all biological life in terms of the competition between genes. What I want to do now, finally, is apply the ideas of memetics to the questions I asked at the beginning. What are we waking up from and how do we do it? And then she finally asks the question: Who am I? I suppose you can tell by now what my answer to this one is going to be. We are just co-adapted meme-complexes. We, our precious, mythical ―selves‖, are just groups of selfish memes that have come together by and for themselves. This is a truly startling idea and, in my experience, the better you understand it, the more fascinating and weird it becomes. It dismantles our ordinary way of thinking about ourselves and raises bizarre questions about the relationship of ourselves to our ideas. To understand it we need to think about how and why memes get together into groups at all. Thus we all become unwitting hosts to an enormous baggage of useless and even harmful meme-complexes. To conclude, among many others two memeplexes – autonomous parasites in our brains – are fighting for our brains ‗replication‘ neural network capacity, the ‗right‘ to use our brains and bodies to replicate themselves from mind to mind. In deciding which memeplex is useful for our bodies future survival, or destructive and exploitative, we need to hold in the back of our minds the enquiry: Is the ‗Energy Civilisation‘ or ‗Peak Oil‘ memeplex backed up with covert, overt or subtle threats and promises, or based on facts and reality? Another question you may ask about it‘s destructiveness or usefulness is: does the memeplex encourage critical thinking and constant enquiry to substantiate it‘s claims, or does the memeplex insist on obedience, submission and conformity?
Psychological Perspectives to Denial about Peak Oil: Surfacing Our Mental Models: How to see why we are thinking what we are thinking. Having vs. Being Memeplexes ‗Having‘ Frame of Orientation: Man in Capitalistic Society In The Sane Society, social psychologist Erich Fromm said: What is so deceptive about the state of mind of the members of a society is the "consensual validation" of their concepts. It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing whatsoever on reason or mental health. Just as there is a "folie 'a deux" there is a "folie 'a millions." The fact that millions of people share the same vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane. ….. Yet many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of a number of "unadjusted" individuals, and not that of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself. This book deals with the latter problem; not with individual pathology, but with the PATHOLOGY OF NORMALCY, particularly with the pathology of contemporary Western society. Man in Capitalistic Society … The alienated person, (which Capitalistic Society goes to great lengths to craft ) ..., cannot be healthy. Since he experiences himself as a thing, an investment, to be manipulated by himself and by others, he is lacking in a sense of self. This lack of self creates deep anxiety. The anxiety engendered by confronting him with the abyss of nothingness is more terrifying than even the tortures of hell. In the vision of hell, I am punished and tortured -- in the vision of nothingness I am driven to the borders of madness -- because I cannot say "I" any more. If the modern age has been rightly called the age of anxiety, it is primarily because of this anxiety engendered by the lack of self. Inasmuch as "I am as you desire me" -- I am NOT; I am anxious, dependent on approval of others; constantly trying to please. The alienated person feels inferior whenever he suspects himself of not being in line. Since his sense of worth is based on approval as the reward for conformity, he feels naturally threatened in his sense of self and in his self-esteem by any feeling, thought or action, which could be suspected of being a deviation. Yet, inasmuch as he IS human and not an automaton, he cannot help deviating, hence he must feel afraid of disapproval all the time. As a result he has to try all the harder to conform, to be approved of, to be successful. Not the voice of his conscience gives him strength and security but the feeling of not having lost the close touch with the herd. Is the Capitalist Industrial society a useful or destructive memeplex to individual personal happiness? Does it encourage enquiry, of its tenets? Does it require conformity and obedience? Is it backed up with covert, overt promises and threats, to encourage obedience to its tenets? Having an Object of Devotion: Industrial ‗Religion‘ In To Have or To Be, social psychologist Erich Fromm says: ‗Religion‘ as used here refers to any group-shared system of thought and action that offers the individual a frame of orientation and an object of devotion. This definition of ‗religion‘ does not tell us anything about it‘s specific content. Is their religion conducive to the development of destructiveness or of love, of domination or solidarity, does it further their power to reason or paralyse it. A specific religion,
provided it is effective in motivating conduct, is not a sum total of doctrines and beliefs; it is rooted in a specific character structure of the individual and, inasmuch as it is the religion of a group, in the social character. Thus our religious attitude may be considered an aspect of our character structure, for we are what we are devoted to, and what we are devoted to is what motivates our conduct. Often however, individuals are not even aware of the real objects of their personal devotion and mistake their ‗official‘ beliefs for their real, though secret religion. If, for instance, a man worships power, while professing a religion of love, the religion of power is his secret religion, while his so-called official religion, for example, Christianity, is only an ideology. Societies have been organized upon two opposing principles: patriarchal and matriarchal. Matriarchal is centered around the figure of the loving mother, whose love is unconditional and demonstrated by mercy and compassion. Patriarchal love, on the contrary, is conditional; it depends on the achievements and good behaviour of the child. Father‘s love can be lost, but also regained by repentance and renewed submission. Father‘s love is justice. The two principles, motherly and fatherly, correspond not only to the presence of a masculine and feminine side in any human being but specifically to the need for mercy and justice and justice. … Luther established a purely patriarchal form of Christianity in Northern Europe, the essence of this new social character was submission under patriarchal authority, with work as the only way to obtain love and approval. Behind the façade of Christianity arose a new secret religion, ―industrial religion,‖ that is rooted in the character structure of modern society, but is not recognized as ―religion.‖ The industrial religion is completely incompatible with genuine Christianity. It reduces people to servants of the economy and of the machinery that their own hands build. The industrial religion had its basis in a new social character. It‘s center was fear of and submission to powerful male authorities, cultivation of a sense of guilt for disobedience, dissolution of the bonds of human solidarity by the supremacy of selfinterest and mutual antagonism. The ―sacred‖ in industrial religion was work, property, profit, and power… Having an Identity/Personality: The 20th Century Marketing Character In To Have to To Be, Erich Fromm extensively describes the myriad of differences between living within the frame of orientation of being and having. Brief examples:--
Exercising Authority Speaking Self Image Learning
Having Orientation (Alienated)
Being Orientation (Integrated)
To have authority I have a happy marriage. I have a problem. I have insomnia I am = what I have and what I consume Accumulation of collection of statements as „intellectual property‟. Content not part of individual system of thought. Fear of changing an opinion because it is a possession and hence loss would be an impoverishment. Rely on the opinion they have. Student obtains cultural property, at end certifying the student as having the minimum amount.
Being an authority I am happily married. I am troubled. I cannot sleep. I am = being as a process of becoming Process of interacting with information, via active listening and receiving and personal change Respond spontaneously, being in the conversation as it follows it‟s own path. Rely on that they are alive and something new will be born every minute. A conversation between the author and reader. Student questions and „speaks‟ to the author… certification by an outside authority is
Knowledge Sex Faith Love Security Death
Having Knowledge: I have knowledge Having sex Entry ticket to join a large group of people, to have a sense of „belonging‟ Having love implies control, possession, confining Having security relies on external factors, money, possessions etc. Fear of loss of security from loss of possession, including possession of ego‟, i.e. existence. Having exists only in time: past, present and future. Time governs. In industrial society, time rules supreme, our ruler. “Time is money” Having mode is antagonistic. I have leads to I want more, I want most. Greed is natural outcome of having orientation relationship. Habitually results in desire as sexual possession.
irrelevant. Knowing: I know Being sexy, an attitude, way of being An inner orientation, being faithful, a process. Being loving: bringing to life, increasing aliveness, process of self-renewing. Being secure relies on inner factors, selfknowledge, self-worth No fear of loss, of either physical or ego possession, only a being process of change into a new dimension Being exists in the here and now. It is not necessarily outside of time, but time is not the dimension that governs being. Here and now is timelessness. Being mode is present. Person is enjoyable, funny, sad, interesting. Does not habitually result in desire as sexual possession.
The authoritarian-obsessive-hoarding character that had begun to develop in the 16th century, and continued to the dominant character structure at least in the middle classes until the end of the 19th century was slowly blended with or replaced by the marketing character. It is based on experiencing oneself as a commodity, and one‘s value not as ―use value‖ but as ―exchange value‖. The living being becomes a commodity on the ―personality market‖… Success depends largely on how well persons sell themselves on the market, how well they get their personalities across, how nice a ―package‖ they are; whether they are ―cheerful,‖ ―sound,‖ ―aggressive,‖ ―reliable,‖ ―ambitious‖; furthermore, what their family backgrounds are, what clubs they belong to, and whether they know the ―right‖ people. The aim of their personality: to be in demand. What shapes their attitude to themselves is their ability to ―put their personality across‖ in competition with many others in order to have success. The marketing personality is not concerned with his or her life and happiness, but with becoming salable. The aim of the marketing character is complete adaptation, so as to be desirable under all conditions of the personality market. They do not even have ego‘s to hold onto, that belong to them that do not change. For they constantly change their egos, according to the principle: ―I am as you desire me.‖ They have little serious interest in philosophical questions, such as why one lives, and why one is going in this direction rather than in another. Their identity rests upon their participation in the corporation. The marketing character avoids feelings, because they interfere with the character‘s main purpose: functioning according to the logic of the ―megamachine‖ of which they are a part, without asking any questions except how well they function, as indicated by their advancement in the bureaucracy. The marketing character loves to buy and to consume, yet is little attached to what he buys. What matters is the prestige or the comfort things give, but things per se have no substance. They are utterly expendable, along with friends or lovers, who are expendable, too, since no deeper ties exist to any of them. Does it sound like the result of the Industrial Religion Memeplex is useful to individual personal happiness? Does it encourage enquiry or critical analysis of its tenets? Does it require conformity and obedience, submission and acquiescence? Does it attain conformity –
at the individual‘s expense – by means of covert, overt promises and threats? It is a useful memeplex or an exploitative destructive memeplex? Having vs. Being: As a Frame of Orientation and an Object of Devotion: The difference between having and being is between a society centered around persons and one centered around things. The having orientation is characteristic of Western industrial society, in which greed of money, fame, and power and become the dominant theme of life. Modern ‗western‘ man cannot understand the spirit of a society that is not centered in property and greed (being). An excellent fictional visionary novel, which helps to understand the psychological frame of orientation of ‗being‘, is Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. Ishmael argues that what is necessary for the continued survival of the species, is not the reliance on technological advances to solve the most important ecological problems we face, but something much subtler. He asks for humans to begin to look at themselves without the distorting lens that "civilization" has placed before their eyes. Ishmael removes this lens. The view is astonishing. The Friends of Ishmael Society is an organization focused on publicizing the work of Daniel Quinn, award-winning author of Ishmael, My Ishmael, Story of B, Beyond Civilization, and other important works. Quinn's writings expose the roots of, and cultural myths behind, the most pressing social and environmental issues facing humanity today. We believe that making Ishmael a household name is one of the most effective ways of changing minds, in order to transition to a sustainable way of life. The Society was created by inspired Quinn readers in order to connect readers with local Ishmael groups, enable local Ishmael groups and individual Friends to share tools and ideas that increase Ishmael's popularity, publicize stories of readers who have changed their lives thanks to Ishmael's positive influence, and collect funds that are redistributed to help promote Ishmael. The Work of Stanley Milgram: [Having / Obedience to Authority] v [Being / Rebellion] I quote the work of Dr. Stanley Milgram below because it is a brazen example of the results of any social system memeplex requiring submission, conformity, obedience and acquiescence, and the percentage in any given population group who through fear that they will lose what they ‗have‘ whether that be possessions, freedom, status or recognition, will rather obey and conform than ‗be‘ true to their inner conviction and rebel and demand answers. Excerpt from Practicing Radical Honesty, by Dr. Brad Blanton I first heard about a social psychologist named Stanley Milgram when he presented a review of his research at Yale University during a meeting of the American Psychological Association in Chicago in 1965. Milgram was given an award by one branch of the Association while being censured by another branch on the same day, for the same research. Here is how he got praised and in trouble. Milgram had, several years earlier, read a book by Hannah Arendt about the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Hitler's infamous second in command who had been responsible for overseeing most of the executions of six million Jews and other people judged unacceptable by the Third Reich. Hannah Arendt, who had covered the war crimes trial for several American newspapers, pointed out that Eichmann's defense was that he should not be held personally responsible for a crime against mankind because he was doing his duty in the social system of which he was a part. His lawyers said that a court might judge that the social system was criminal, but not the person doing his duty within that social system. This argument was rejected. Eichmann's adjudicators concluded that he was individually responsible for the crimes he committed, regardless of the social system of which he was a part, and he was executed. Hannah Arendt then raised another question, which fascinated Stanley Milgram. Was Adolf Eichmann some unusual social deviant, some sadistic exception to common humanity, or was
he just a bureaucrat? Arendt had pointed out that only twice in his entire career had he actually witnessed any executions, which, he said, he found "repugnant." What he actually did was shuffle papers in an office and make phone calls and give orders. Outside of work, he seemed to have a normal life with family and friends and associates. Was he normal? Milgram designed an experiment to see if he could somewhat simulate the conditions in which Eichmann operated. He drew a random stratified sample of males from the community around Yale. (In later versions of the original study he included females, and found no significant differences between males and females in the results of the experiment.) He paid each subject, in advance, seven dollars for participating in an experiment that he told them was "a study of the effects of negative reinforcement on learning." When Milgram met his subjects, he used a room in a building on the campus of Yale University. Milgram wore a white lab coat and introduced himself as Dr. Milgram. There were three people in the room: Milgram and two subjects, both of whom were apparently drawn from the sample of subjects. However, only one of them was a true subject and the second was a stooge, a student actor from the drama department. Milgram said to them, "I am conducting a study of the effects of negative reinforcement on learning. In this study, one of you will be the teacher and one will be the learner. I will flip a coin to see which is which." The coin flip was rigged, so that the true subject from the sample was always the "teacher." After the coin flip, Milgram led both subjects into a room containing a very large and impressive electric chair, and proceeded to strap the learner (the stooge) into the chair and apply electrodes to his wrists and head. In later versions of the experiment (the experiment was run several times with several groups of subjects before being written up in journals and reported to the American Psychological Association) Dr. Milgram mentioned in passing that the electrode paste was "to keep the flesh from being burnt," and the learner/stooge mentioned in passing that he had a "slight heart condition." Then the "teacher" (who was the true subject) was led to a room with a one-way mirror so that he could see the person in the electric chair but the person could not see him. He was seated in front of a panel of thirty switches, which were labelled clearly in 15-volt increments from 15 volts to 450 volts. Above the switches were verbal labels in gradations of degree: "shock," "dangerous shock," "severely dangerous shock," and two steps before the last switch was an ambiguous but ominous "XXXX." Milgram said, "I am going to project a list of words on the wall in front of the person in the chair. He will be given several repetitions of the word list to learn it. When he sees a word appear on the wall, his task will be to name the next word from the list before it is projected, based on having memorized the list. If he makes a mistake, I want you to administer an electric shock, and I would like you to increase the voltage of this shock in fifteen-volt increments. Do you understand the instructions?" When the "teacher" fully understood the instructions, the experiment began. The stooge in the chair was only receiving a mild cue shock every time a switch was thrown, but the "teacher" didn't know that. As the "learner" made mistakes and was shocked, he reacted more and more dramatically. At first he just jumped a little. As the shocks progressed he began jumping and yelling out. Then he started screaming when he was shocked. Then he began screaming and saying he wanted to stop. Then he said, "Stop this! I want out! Whoever is doing this stop! I want to quit!" Then as the voltage got closer to the end, two steps before the end, the "learner" screamed, convulsed, and collapsed completely. When the next word appeared and there was no response, Milgram said, "We'll have to count that an error; shock him again." Then one more time, no response, "That's an error; shock him again." In order to get to the end of the row of switches the teacher had to shock the learner two more times while he was apparently completely "unconscious." Prior to actually conducting the study, Milgram had given a questionnaire to a similar random stratified sample of people from the community around Yale in which he asked if the respondents "would ever purposely inflict pain on a fellow human being, regardless of the social circumstances." Over ninety-two percent said that they would not. When he actually ran the experiment, sixty-eight percent of the people went all the way to the top. The "teachers" sweated excessively; some cried; some went into hysterical laughter. Many, even though debriefed and told that it was an act, reported when interviewed two weeks later that they had nightmares about what they had done. The subjects obviously had a very hard time doing what they did, but nevertheless did it. They resisted, they felt bad about it, they felt guilty,
but they did what they were told. Milgram had written down, in advance, four statements he could make in response to objections on the part of the "teacher"-the strongest one being: "The experiment must go on." Later, Milgram pointed out that this experiment was not really fair to Adolf Eichmann because Eichmann had many colleagues who cooperated in his bureaucracy. So Milgram modified his experiment by adding one more stooge, who was a person in the room with the teacher who pulled down a master switch to "turn on the electricity" each time an error was made. When the responsibility or blame could be shared with just one other person in this way, ninety-two percent of the subjects went all the way to the top. Milgram's presentation was called "A Study in the Legitimation of Evil" and he concluded about the people in his sample, and by generalization, the people in the culture from which his sample had come: "Individuals will generally go against their own moral inclinations in order to cooperate with authority." No sub-group in the sample differed in a statistically significant way from the norm of the whole population. Women did not differ from men, and groupings by ethnic origin, religious orientation, age, and so on were not significantly different. One group approached statistical significance-Catholics-and that difference was in the direction of more cooperation with authority rather than less. One of the things I like about this study is that none of us knows how we would have fared. We would all like to think that we would have been in the eight percent who said that they would not go on. There were some few subjects who not only quit but proceeded to go talk to the provost at Yale and to Milgram demanding that he stop. We would all like to think we would have been one of them. But obviously, all of us couldn't have been in the eight percent. Most of us would have cooperated and felt bad about it but cooperated nevertheless. I have been fascinated with this work for thirty-two years. I used to report on Milgram's work in speeches I made against the war in Vietnam. Much of my work as a group leader and psychotherapist has been an attempt to discover and reinforce the kind of independent individuality that might allow for those statistics to change. I think, to demonstrate independence in the circumstance of that experiment, it was necessary for individuals to be able to act according to their compassion-their identification as one being to another with the person in the electric chair. Their compassion made them "feel bad" about what they did, but it was not enough to overrule their training in obedience to authority. Their compassion would have to have been stronger than their need to obey the professor from Yale in the white lab coat. Their sense of individual responsibility and the courage to act upon it would have to be stronger than their years of training from school and church and family to acquiesce to authority. The integrity of their own feelings would have had to be more powerful in determining their actions than their moral obligation to not challenge the constituted authority or rock the boat of the existing power structure. Eichmann was just an average guy. Average guys are just Eichmanns. So are average gals. Most of us would obey Hitler like most did in Nazi Germany. Most of us still are obeying some questionably constituted authority instead of acting on our own authority most of the time. Most of us have lined up to go to recess and lined up to come back into the classroom and lined up to go to lunch and lined up to come back from lunch and sat in rows and not talked and waited in lines and behaved and waited for the bell to ring and are still doing that. Most of us operate from models of what we should and should not do rather than what we feel, what we prefer, what we feel called forth to do based on our empathetic connections with other human beings. And for the most part, we have organized our world to keep it that way. As the Sufis say, ninety-eight per cent of humanity spends ninety-eight per cent of their time at the level of belief.
The thing about memeplexes (or as systems theory practioners call them ‗mental models‘, or psychologists call them ‗beliefs‘) is that they seem to grow and harden like concrete until we are convinced that our ‗beliefs‘ are THE TRUTH and based on real data. We are not willing to question our ‗beliefs‘ in the underlying principles of our ‗industrial religion‘ or our ‗marketing character‘ or our ‗infinite growth based civilisation‘. Our ‗theory‘ on ‗capitalism‘ is no longer a ‗theory‘ or ‗perspective‘ of enquiry, it has become a rock solid ‗belief‘, but it
did not become a belief based on facts. Once it becomes a ‗belief‘ it has conquered Iraq in your brainware. There is no longer any insurgency of rebellion going on in your neural connections that says: ―Wait a minute, let‘s check this or that fact, let‘s see if this or that is true?‘ The memeplex (belief) has successfully created a new outpost from which to replicate it‘s message. Once a memeplex becomes a ‗belief‘ it is exploiting your brainware and is virtually consistently destructive. The same memeplex as a ‗theory‘ or ‗perspective‘ or ‗hypothesis‘ is not destructive, because when you – practice the ‗there is no I in this brain‘ – then the ―I‖ has no necessary ‗my‘ attachment to any memeplex. Numerous memeplexes can remain dormant in the neural memory archive for access, depending on the circumstance of the moment. The individual is not ‗run‘ by the memeplex, but the individual uses the memeplexes, as a multitude of appropriate options given a particular circumstance. Radical psychotherapy, and any search for self-knowledge and inner awareness usually comprises that the participant process and integrate information about new perspectives. The individual comes up with new perspectives, uses them, adapts to them and dispenses with them, and grows and learns about himself through the process. The concept of true transcendence in virtually all religions is to view perspectives themselves from a transcendent standpoint. That standpoint is that all perspectives are relative. As Brad Blanton says: One first gets the relativity of perspectives intellectually. After a long time and a lot of work, one gets the perspective on the relativity of perspectives practically, "feelingly," usefully, psychologically, structurally, interpersonally, and whatever other "lys" pertain to the actual bringing into being of the perspective of detachment from perspectives itself… Primarily, we are each victimized by one thing only: the limiting perspective of our own minds. Formerly limiting perspectives, once transcended, can be used to construct a better life. You can create the life you want using the equipment you have. Your neuroses, your limiting beliefs, your defenses, your paranoia, and your hypersensitivity can all become useful tools once your perspective on them changes The Sufi Levels of Consciousness: The Path from Denial to Acceptance and Transcendence: Mental Model growth from Having (Belief) to Being (Reason) Excerpt from Practicing Radical Honesty, by Brad Blanton We have just started the conversation about the developmental path from centeredness in being to the growth of the mind in a culture, to the eventual recentering in being for using the mind and the traditions of the culture. Now we want to review what happens when we assume that a person in a culture wants to outgrow the limitations of that culture. What can we do if our starting place is now, and we are trapped in a mind? I'm using the Sufi system called the levels of human consciousness as a model for our mutual instruction. Gurdjieff first taught this model to people in the West around the turn of the century. Let's assume we are liars in the acculturated way we learned in whatever culture we were raised. If we were stringently instructed to learn abstractions at too early an age, we live in our minds so much we hardly have any experience of anything and we can barely contact reality enough to walk through a doorway without bumping into the doorjamb. We need to get back into the world of experience and stop obsessively thinking. We would like to get to where we feel happy and in charge of our lives rather than feeling like we're running around in circles putting out fires all the time. We want to "inhibit the modifications of the mind" and become present to experience. How do we do that? The Level of Belief. We must start by recognizing where we are in the first place. We are at a level of consciousness that the Sufis called the "level of belief." This means we think that to escape our mind we must figure something out. We think we need to figure out what to believe and then act accordingly. The problem is that we are trying to think our way out of thinking. Our entire focus is on figuring out what we should believe and acting accordingly. This is the lowest level of human consciousness, called "the level of belief." The Sufis say that ninety-eight percent of
us spend ninety-eight percent of our time at this level. At least we know we are not alone. Lots of other people in the world share this level of consciousness with us most of the time. This level has an alternative name. It's called hell. It's the inescapable do-loop prison of the interminable warning buttons of the reactive mind and the useless rationalizations of the rationalizing mind. It's hell. It's being strongly attached to the cultural quagmire we got dumped intoâ€Ś. Let's say we live in hell for a long time. We grow older, get a job, get married, and so on. When we reflect on our life, we realize life isn't quite living up to its billing. We don't want much. We would just like to work when we feel like it and not work when we don't. That's all. We believe we can't do that but we wish we could. Our job, our kids, our family, our bills, and our other obligations dictate what we do and there just isn't any time left. We just never can, really, relax. It is not all intensely painful, some of it is even enjoyable, but we are basically on duty all the time, dreaming of a day when we won't have to be on duty all the time anymore. The Level of Social Contracts: In this level, we have done some work on ourselves, some therapy, some schooling, some honest conversations, some degree of telling the truth, but we are stuck with obligations we just have to respond to. The "level of social contracts" is one notch above hell, but only one notch. It is a slightly higher hell than the level of belief because it at least recognizes that other people out there exist independently from our own mind's pictures of them. That isn't true at the level of belief, where other people are just categories like "converts" or "heathens." The lowest level, the "level of belief," is where insulated, isolated fundamentalists live. The next level up is where many first generation immigrants live. It is where we live when we are concerned about acceptance and living up to other people's expectations. So let's say that now we have advanced from the level of belief to the level of social contracts but we are still severely constrained. Plus, many times each day we drop back into the level of belief, where we are trying to figure out what to believe and then do what that belief dictates. Although the obligations to other people we have contracted for constantly "rescue" us from the hell of belief, the rescue is hardly worth the work. Whereas at the level of belief we aren't even related to other people except as triggers for other beliefs on our part, now we recognize the independent existence of other people that places constant demands on us. Our marriage, kids, paying taxes, paying bills, and honouring other commitments to other people deliver us from the frying pan of self-torture into the fire of the torture of obligation. The Saint Ego Level: Eventually, through hard living and experience, we get to know that there must be more to life than showing up to work on time and having a split level house with a two-car garage and twopoint-eight children and keeping the mortgage paid and doing our duty to others who are doing their duty to us. There has to be more to life than maintaining our obligations. At least we have learned that. Most of us are in our forties before we learn that. When we do realize that there is more to life than fulfilling obligations, we realize at the same time that knowing that makes us superior to others who haven't learned that yet. We also know that there is more to life than being an obedient, well-behaved citizen for whom living within the guidelines of convention is the highest goal of life. The Sufis, according to Gurdjieff, who first introduced these levels of consciousness to the West, called this level of consciousness the "Saint Ego level." We begin to understand that we are better than most of the other fools in the world. Some of us modern day Sufis call this the "Muhammad Ali level," because Muhammad Ali in his prime was such a great example of proclaimed superiority. "I am the greatest!" he said, "I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!" "I am beautiful!" He refused to go to Vietnam and kill his dark-skinned brothers and sisters because the human bunch who claimed he belonged to them told him it was his duty. He was not obedient to the beliefs and the social contracts they claimed he should be obedient to because he was superior to that. When we attain the level of consciousness known as the Muhammad Ali level, we still make frequent visits back to the two lower levels of consciousness known as belief and social contracts. We still have beliefs and we still have to deal with social contracts, but we tend to not be as attached to beliefs and we handle social contracts so we can spend more time at a
higher and less worrisome place. We want to spend more and more time at this higher level because we have a larger perspective that subsumes more information, a perspective of superiority from which to view beliefs and social contracts. The Level of Philosopher/Charlatan: After a while at the Muhammad Ali level of consciousness, a being may have a dawning revelation that leads to the next level of consciousness. We recognize that bragging about being superior by virtue of the inferiority of others is not very superior, and even if it is, so what? We are equal as a being to other beings. When we brag about being better than, smarter than, or superior to other people, it is not our being we are referring to, it is our beliefs. We come to understand that the beliefs we have generated from our own life experience are just more beliefs. This includes our belief in our own superiority. We start losing faith in our own ego. We begin to see through our own mind. So what that we are superior to fundamentalists? What does that mean? We know that their attachment to their beliefs doesn't work, but we are still attached to a few we call our own, one of which is about our so-called superiority. At this point, partly out of desperation, we begin to enrol other people in our hard-earned beliefs (that is, we start selling our beliefs to others)â€Ś. The Level of Despair: Here we are, unfortunately, becoming superior to being superior. We are on the cusp of a very high level of consciousness. Despair comes from root words in both Latin and Greek that mean "down from hope." We no longer hope. We have no hope. We have nothing to hope for. We are hopeless. We have nothing left to believe in, including our own hard-earned beliefs. We have come to understand that all beliefs, even our beliefs based on our own experience and our beliefs about who we are, are worthless. We get that we are compulsive meaning-making machines who endlessly make meaning out of everything, and it is all a waste. We realize that life its own self is meaningless. This is a very high level of human consciousness. Werner Erhard said, "Until you know that your life is utterly meaningless you don't know anything at all." At this level, you get that the preacher Koeloth in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament is right when he says, "All is vanity, and a striving after the wind, and there is no profit in it." We are worth exactly nothing. We are not of significant negative value (a popular ego trip), or of significant positive value (all the hype about self-esteem and positive thinking, and all the previous levels of consciousness, and so on). We are of no value. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Now, at this level, we're really getting somewhere. Then it dawns on us that becoming more conscious is not necessarily correlated with becoming happier. There are no guarantees about nothing, and that's not bad grammar and it's not just a pun. Now what? Well, if we don't run away to lower levels of consciousness as quick as we can (which, of course we do, the first thirty or forty times we reach this level) we get born into the next, very high level of consciousness, known as the "level of Suicidal Panic." The Level of Suicidal Panic: At this level, we either kill ourselves or we don't. We are desperate for something to believe in. If we don't kill ourselves, we eventually run out of panic. We are at a very high level of consciousness, and then we don't kill ourselves and we are no longer in a panic. The panic is from not having a single thing to believe in at all, not even despair. We get that not only is our life utterly meaningless, but the fact that our life is utterly meaningless is also utterly meaningless. We can't even get off on being an existentialist philosopher any more! We can't get meaning out of preaching meaninglessness any more! We are left with nothing. All we have is what the Buddhists call "suchness," the present experience of being, right now, whatever it is, and nothing more. All that is left is just what is in front of us and within us to experience right now. We face the hard Buddhist saying, which is written on the wall of my office: "If you understand, things are as they are. If you do not understand, things are as they are." The Level of Here and Now:
When the panic is gone, we arrive at the next level, which is called the "level of Here and Now." At this level we are present to being present. We are grounded in noticing. We have "lost our minds and come to our senses." If someone else is there, we are present to being present to them. The being we are notices the being in them—the being they are. Our presence to their being salutes their being's presence to us. This is what Kierkegaard was talking about when he said, "When a person relates to another, and relates also to that relationship, they relate thereby to God." Here, at this level, is where love becomes possible. Not a belief in love, but love its own self. This level is the focus, certainly, of Buddhism and of most spiritual practice and psychotherapy and group process work when the leaders actually know what they are doing. The Level of Pure Reason: The next level after the "level of Here and Now" is called the "level of Pure Reason." Isn't that something!? We've gone to all this trouble to escape from the jail of alienation our minds create, and the first thing that happens after we get grounded in our experience is we get our minds back! What a difference, though. We now have a mind that is not bound to the defense of our ego. We have this wonderful instrument we worked so hard to grow, and now we can use it! It turns out to be a fantastic instrument for creating! Daydreams become amenable for action! Fantasies become visions! Escapist hopefulness and desperate attempts at reassurance about our self-worth and the entanglement of self-image promotion and maintenance become just possible scenarios to play with. We don't need that mind for our identity anymore! Our identity is the being we are, in the here and now! Our identity precedes our mind! We take ownership of our mind and take it out for a test drive! Hoohah! This is the part where you start to consider the life of the creator. At "Pure Reason" we can think like we have never thought before. We become truly a free thinker. We see the possibility of a lifetime of play and service. As Kris Kristofferson says, "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." The experience of living for a while, grounded in your experience of the here and now, leads to thinking about that experience. Sitting in that place, we come to understand things we never understood before. We get that the source of our historical being and the source of our present being is like a generator that has been constant since it started. Getting back to our source is the first step to transcendence. When we pay attention to the being we are, we withdraw attention from the dilemmas of the mind.
At the level of Pure Reason you are able to see that Peak Oil -- when it occurs -- and it‘s consequences are simply Mother Nature‘s way of providing Homo Sapiens with the opportunity to examine their frame‘s of orientation that are the foundation of their mental models which they ardently believe, such as:
To acquire, to own and to make a profit are the sacred and unalienable rights of the individual in industrial society;
Our ego is the most important object of our property feeling, for it comprises many things: our body, our name, our social status, our possessions (including knowledge), the image we have of ourselves and the image we want others to have of us. It is not so important what the content of our ego is, but that our ego is something that we possess, it is this ‗thing‘ that is the basis of our identity;
However, if I honestly examine my mental models, I come to realize:
What I have I know, I can hold onto it, feel secure in it. My illusion of ‗security‘ was based on what I ‗have‘, consequently I have avoided the unknown, for the secure.
If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I? Nothing but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way of living. Because I can lose what I have, I am necessarily constantly worried that I shall lose what I have. I am afraid of thieves, of economic changes , of revolutions, of sickness, of death, and I am afraid of love, of freedom, of growth, of change, of the unknown.
Because my frame of orientation was in having, I have become defensive, hard, suspicious, lonely, driven by the need to have more in order to be better protected.
As long as everybody wants to have more, there must be formations of classes, there must be class war, and in global terms, there must be international war. Greed and peace preclude each other;
If I am who I am and not what I have, nobody can deprive me of or threaten my security and my sense of identity. My center is within myself; my capacity for being and for expressing my essential powers is part of my character structure and depends on me. The only threat to my security in being lies in myself: in lack of faith in life and in my productive powers; in inner laziness and the willingness to have others take over my life.
Because I am who I am, I do not fear Peak Oil, in fact I look forward to it, -- as an opportunity for being within such an life-affirming process and for the opportunity of sharing the process of being, -- as a forceful higher being authority that is going to rock the boat of the existing power structure, off the pedestal of denial in the belief that infinite economic growth is possible on a finite planet. So, to disagree – slightly – with Mr. Savinar, in that most people are in denial, because for ―most there is no ―advantage‖ to believing in the coming of peak oil, so [their] brain deletes the info.‖ There are tons of ‗advantages‘ to viewing the perspective of Peak Oil as a highly plausible reality, the advantages are mostly however in the emotional, psychological, metaphysical, spiritual, relational and physical realms, which are quite obvious to anyone centered in the being mode. In fact, in being mode, all that the individual in having mode FEARS to lose, the individual in being mode KNOWS is the baggage which is holding him back from reaching higher and higher realms in consciousness and personal growth. The individual is in ‗denial‘ because he views the world from his mode of having an enormous attachment (megamegameme-plex-possession) to seeing the world through the lense of ‗having‘, the result of the memeplex as we have explained being: ce to these memeplexes, which defined him as being a ‗success‘. His entire world, and however many years he has worked towards this ‗having‘ success industrial society is coming crashing down, and just like the world trade center towers, each floor is ripping his treasured beliefs to pieces of dust. He does not yet have the courage to admit to himself that he is nothing but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way of living. The Industrial memeplex is firmly in charge of his brainware, with no insurgency in sight, except reality. In The Suburban Fantasy, Howard Kunstler writes: ―People who refuse to negotiate with the circumstances that the world throws at them automatically get assigned a new negotiating partner: reality. Reality then requires you to change your behaviour, whether you like it or not. With global oil production peaking, we are now subject to rising oil prices, as markets are forced to contend with allocating a resource heading in the direction of scarcity. Oil prices are only likely to go higher—though there is apt to be a ratcheting effect as high oil prices depress economic activity and thus dampen demand for oil which will depress prices leading to increased consumption which will then kick prices back up, and so on. The prospects for more geopolitical friction over oil also selfevidently increase, as industrial nations desperately manoeuvre for supplies. Mainly though, the danger lies in the resulting instability of the super-sized complex systems that we depend on daily. We simply cannot face the fact that time has run out—that our lease is expiring—for the easy-motoring utopia. But we must. We have to live differently.‖
Leaver Abel’s Mutant Seed Message in Susa, Iran to Taker Cain Scarcity: Humanity’s Last Chapter: Peak Non-Renewable Resources: Scarcity: Humanity‘s Last Chapter64: A Comprehensive Analysis of Nonrenewable Natural Resource (NNR) Scarcity‘s Consequences, by Chris Clugston65: Natural Resources and Human Evolution: During the past 2+ million years, humanity—Homo sapiens and our hominid predecessors—evolved through three major lifestyle paradigms: hunter-gatherer, agrarian, and industrial. Each of the three paradigms is readily distinguishable from the other two in terms of its worldview, natural resource utilization behaviour, and resulting level of societal wellbeing—i.e., attainable population levels and material living standards.
The Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle Paradigm The hunter-gatherer (HG) lifestyle paradigm spanned over 2 million years, from the time that our hominid ancestors first stood erect on the continent of Africa to approximately 8,000 BC. HG societies consisted of small nomadic clans, typically numbering between 50 and 100 individuals, who subsisted primarily on naturally occurring vegetation and wildlife. The HG lifestyle can best be described as subsistence living for a relatively constant population that probably never exceeded 5 million globally. Hunter-gatherers produced few manmade goods beyond the necessities required for their immediate survival, and they generated no appreciable wealth surplus. The HG worldview revered Nature as the provider of life and subsistence, a perspective that fostered a passive lifestyle orientation through which hunter-gatherers sought to live—albeit somewhat exploitatively—within the environmental context defined by Nature. The HG resource
http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-04-06/increasing-global-nonrenewable-natural-resource-scarcity%E2%80%94-analysis http://www.wakeupamerika.com/PDFs/Continuously-Less-and-Less.pdf 65 http://www.wakeupamerika.com/
mix consisted almost entirely of renewable natural resources such as water and naturally occurring edible plant life and wildlife. The Agrarian Lifestyle Paradigm The agrarian lifestyle paradigm commenced in approximately 8,000 BC and lasted until approximately 1700 AD, when England initiated what was to become the industrial revolution. Agrarian societies existed primarily by raising cultivated crops and domesticated livestock. The agrarian worldview perceived Nature as something to be augmented through human effort, by domesticating naturally occurring plant and animal species. The agrarian lifestyle orientation was proactive in the sense that it sought to improve upon what Nature provided. While modest wealth surpluses were sometimes generated by agrarian populations, agrarian existence typically offered little more in the way of material living standards for the vast majority of agrarian populations than did the HG lifestyle—although the global agrarian population did increase significantly, reaching nearly 800 million by 1750 AD. The agrarian resource mix consisted primarily of RNRs, which were increasingly overexploited by ever-expanding, permanently-settled agrarian populations. As agrarian cultivation and grazing practices became increasingly intensive, renewable natural resource reserves were increasingly depleted and natural habitats were increasingly degraded as well. The Industrial Lifestyle Paradigm The inception of the industrial lifestyle paradigm occurred with England‘s industrial revolution in the early 18th century, less than 300 years ago. Today, over 1.5 billion people18—approximately 22% of the world‘s 6.9 billion total population—is considered ―industrialized‖; and nearly three times that many people actively aspire to an industrialized way of life. Our industrialized world is characterized by an incomprehensibly complex mosaic interdependent yet independently operating human and non-human entities and infrastructure.
These entities must function continuously, efficiently, and collectively at the local, regional, national, and global levels in order to convert natural resource inputs into the myriad goods and services that enable our modern industrial way of life. [Note that failures within the industrial mosaic can disrupt, temporarily or permanently, the flow of societal essentials—water, food, energy, shelter, and clothing—to broad segments of our global population.] Tremendous wealth surpluses are typically generated by industrialized societies; such wealth surpluses are actually required to enable the historically unprecedented material living standards enjoyed by increasingly large segments of ever-expanding industrialized populations. The industrialized worldview perceives Nature as something to be harnessed through industrial processes and infrastructure, in order to enhance the human condition. It is an exploitive worldview that seeks to use natural resources and habitats as the means to continuously improve human societal wellbeing—that is, to provide continuously improving material living standards for ever-increasing numbers of ever-expanding human populations. The resource mix associated with today‘s industrialized societies is heavily skewed toward nonrenewable natural resources, which, in addition to renewable natural resources and natural habitats, have been increasingly overexploited since the dawn of the industrial revolution. It is precisely this persistent overexploitation of natural resources and natural habitats— especially NNRs—that has enabled the ―success‖ associated with the industrial lifestyle paradigm—success being defined here as continuous increases in both human population levels and human material living standards. Nonrenewable Natural Resources—the Enablers of Industrialization
Our industrial66 lifestyle paradigm is enabled by nonrenewable natural resources (NNRs)— energy resources, metals, and minerals. Both the support infrastructure within industrialized nations and the raw material inputs into industrialized economies consist almost entirely of NNRs; NNRs are the primary sources of the tremendous wealth surpluses required to perpetuate industrialized societies. As a case in point, the percentage of NNR inputs into the US economy increased from less than 10% in the year 1800, which corresponds roughly with the inception of the American industrial revolution, to approximately 95% today.67,68 Between 1800 and today, America‘s total annual NNR utilization level increased from approximately 4 million tons to nearly 7 billion tons—an increase of over 1700 times!69 In the absence of enormous and ever-increasing NNR supplies, the 1.2 billion people70 who currently enjoy an industrialized way of life will cease to do so; and the billions of people aspiring to an industrialized way of life will fail to realize their goal.
NNR Scarcity As their name implies, NNRs are finite—they are not replenished by Nature;71 and they are scarce—economically viable NNR deposits are rare. Persistent extraction (production) will therefore deplete recoverable NNR reserves to exhaustion. [Note: the terms NNR ―production‖ and NNR ―extraction‖ are used interchangeably throughout the paper. Although ―extraction‖ is
The term ―industrial‖ as used here includes all post-agrarian societal designations such as ―post-industrial‖, ―advanced‖, ―modern‖, and ―developed‖; all of which describe human populations that rely heavily upon nonrenewable natural resources. 67 Estimated US nonrenewable materials (minerals) as a percentage of total US mineral utilization in the year 1800: US per capita mineral use in 1800 was ~1500 lbs. - http://www.mii.org/pdfs/Minerals1776vsToday.pdf. Total US energy consumption in 1800 was .47 quadrillion BTUs, all generated from biomass [wood] - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb1701.xls. Given that the energy content of wood averages ~20 million BTUs per cord - http://hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/heating_value_wood, ~23.5 million cords of wood were used that year for ―energy generation‖ purposes alone; this equates to ~4.43 cords/person on average, given an 1800 US population of 5.3 million http://www.measuringworth.com/. A cord of hardwood weighs ~5000 lbs.; a cord of soft wood weighs ~3000 lbs http://www.csgnetwork.com/logweight.html; assuming only 3,000 lbs./cord, the 4.43 cords/person equates to 13,300 lbs. of energy-related wood use per capita in 1800. The 13,300 lbs. figure does not include wood used for building and construction purposes; nor does it include agricultural material flows into the economy that year. Even so, the 1,500 lbs. of mineral use combined with the 13,300 lbs. of energy-related wood use produce a total of nearly 15,000 lbs. of material resources used per person in 1800, of which approximately 90% were renewable. It can be readily asserted that with the inclusion of ―non-energy‖ wood use and agricultural material use, well over 90% of the material resources flowing into the US economy in 1800 were renewable; less than 10% were nonrenewable. 68 Estimated US nonrenewable materials (minerals) as a percentage of total US mineral utilization in the year 2007: the 2006 percentage of renewable materials flowing into the US economy from the Wagner USGS study was ~5% (see ―the Mineral Mountain‖ and pgs. 20-24); nonrenewables accounted for approximately 95% of the materials flowing into the US economy that year; ―Economic Drivers of Mineral Supply‖, Lori Wagner et al., USGS, 2002 - http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/of02-335/of02-335.pdf. 69 2008 data from ―2008 Mineral Baby‖, Mineral Information Institute, 2009 - http://www.mii.org/pdfs/2009miiMineralsBaby.pdf; 1800 data from ―The American Lifestyle‖, pg. 3 (1776 estimate of 1200 pounds per capita extrapolated to 1500 pounds per capita in 1800); Mineral Information Institute, 2006 - http://www.mii.org/pdfs/Minerals1776vsToday.pdf. 70 Lawrence Smith estimates that 1.2 billion people currently reside in industrialized countries; from ―Growth and Dispersal: A Planet on the Move‖, (The Population Institute), 2006. 71 The term ―Nature‖, as used here, refers to the inestimable number of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes and phenomena that define the physical world in which we live; neither consciousness nor a physical manifestation is attributed to ―Nature‖.
the proper term—humans do not produce NNRs—the term ―production‖ has gained wide acceptance within the NNR extraction industries.] The typical NNR depletion cycle72 is characterized by: a period of ―continuously more and more‖, as the easily accessible, high quality, low cost resources are extracted; followed by a ―supply peak‖,8 or maximum attainable extraction level; followed by a period of ―continuously less and less‖, as the less accessible, lower quality, higher cost resources are extracted. Since the inception of our industrial revolution, humanity has been the beneficiary of ―continuously more and more‖ with respect to available NNR supplies. Unfortunately, in the process of reaping the benefits associated with ―continuously more and more‖, we have been eliminating—persistently and systematically—the very natural resources upon which our industrialized way of life depends. Increasingly, global NNR supplies are transitioning from ―continuously more and more‖ to ―continuously less and less‖, as they peak and go into terminal decline. As a result, NNRs are becoming increasingly scarce—ever-tightening global NNR supplies are struggling to keep pace with ever-increasing global demand. The Analyses The following Global Nonrenewable Natural Resource Scarcity Assessment quantifies the magnitude associated with increasing global NNR scarcity and the probabilities associated with imminent and permanent global NNR supply shortfalls. The assessment consists of two analyses, both of which are based on US Geological Survey (USGS) and US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.73
The Global NNR Scarcity Analysis assesses the incidence of global scarcity associated with each of 57 NNRs during the period of global economic growth (2000-2008) prior to the Great Recession.
The Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis assesses the probability of a permanent global supply shortfall associated with each of 26 NNRs between now and the year 2030.
Global NNR Shortfall Analysis The Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis is based on US Geological Survey (USGS) and US Energy Information Administration (EIA) global NNR extraction data and (Verhulst) logistics curve fitting analyses74 associated with 26 NNRs. Global NNR Supply Shortfalls
Colin Campbell explains the depletion function associated with nonrenewable natural resources and provides examples pertaining to oil depletion in ―The Coming Oil Crisis‖, pgs. 95-97; Colin J. Campbell, Multi-Science Publishing Company & Petroconsultants S.A; 1988. 73 Global NNR Scarcity Analysis and Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis data sources: •―Mineral Commodity Summaries 2009‖, USGS, 2009 - http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2009/mcs2009.pdf; •―Mineral Commodity Summaries (history)‖, USGS, 2009 - http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/; •―Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States‖, USGS, 2009 - http://minerals.usgs.gov/ds/2005/140/; •―Estimated Primary Energy Consumption in the United States, Selected Years, 1635-1945‖, EIA http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb1701.xls; •―Primary Energy Consumption by Source‖, 1949-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb0103.html; •―World Primary Energy Production by Source, 1970-2006‖ - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb1101.html; •―Crude Oil Production and Crude Oil Well Productivity, 1954-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0502.xls; •―Petroleum Overview, 1949-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0501.xls •―Natural Gas Overview, 1949-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0601.xls; •―Coal Overview, 1949-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0701.xls; •―Crude Oil Domestic First Purchase Prices, 1949-2008, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0518.xls; •―Natural Gas Wellhead, City Gate, and Import Prices, 1949-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0607.xls; •―Coal Prices, 1949-2008‖, EIA - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/stb0708.xls; •―World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates‖, EIA, 3 March 2009 (I used arithmetic averages) http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/reserves.html; worldwide coal reserves range from 662 BST (Rutledge) to 930 BST (EIA)—I took the average; •―World Energy Use (2003)‖, Arthur Smith, 2005 (year 1900 data) http://www.altenergyaction.org/mambo/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=11 •―On American Sustainability‖, pgs. 45-48; Chris Clugston, 2009 - http://www.wakeupamerika.com/PDFs/On-American-Sustainability.pdf. •―Minerals Depletion‖, Dr. L. David Roper, 2010 - http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals/minerals.htm. •―Compound Interest Calculator - http://www.1728.com/compint.htm [Link no longer works; try http://ncalculators.com/interest/compound-interest-calculator.htm ; •―The Inflation Calculator‖ - http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi. 74 For an explanation of the Verhulst logistics function and its applicability to projecting NNR depletion see – ―Depletion Theory‖, Dr. L. David Roper, 1976 - http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals/DepletTh.pdf and ―Verhulst Function for Modeling Mineral Depletion‖, Dr. L. David Roper, 2009 - http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals/VerhulstFunction.htm.
An NNR supply shortfall occurs when the available NNR supply level is less than the supply level required to enable a society‘s prevailing economic activity level and growth rate. An NNR supply shortfall can be temporary, permanent, or fatal. A temporary NNR supply shortfall occurs when the available NNR supply level falls below the ―required‖ supply level for a finite period of time. Since the available NNR supply level ultimately recovers to the required level, the society‘s pre-shortfall economic activity level and growth rate are restored. A permanent NNR supply shortfall occurs when the available NNR supply level falls below the ―required‖ supply level forever. Since the available NNR supply level never recovers to the required level, the society‘s pre-shortfall economic activity level and growth rate are not restored. A fatal NNR supply shortfall occurs when the available NNR supply level falls below the ―critical‖ supply level forever. At this point, available NNR supply can no longer enable the production and provisioning of one or more societal essentials—clean water, food, energy, shelter, clothing, and infrastructure—at levels sufficient to support the society‘s existing population. Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis Overview The Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis assesses the probability of permanent global supply shortfalls associated with 26 NNRs between now and the year 2030. Specifically, the analysis compares historic and projected annual global NNR extraction levels associated with each NNR through the year 2030, with the actual or projected peak extraction level associated with the NNR. An imminent and permanent global NNR shortfall is considered probable if the annual global NNR extraction level has already reached its global peak extraction level, or if the projected annual global NNR extraction level is expected to reach its projected global peak extraction level by the year 2030. The probabilities that an NNR will experience a permanent global supply shortfall by the year 2030 are defined as follows: Nearly Certain Probability: it is very likely that the actual annual global NNR extraction level reached its geological global peak extraction level prior to the year 2010. Very High Probability: the actual annual global NNR extraction level exceeded its projected (Verhulst) global peak extraction level prior to the year 2010. High Probability: it is very likely that the projected annual global NNR extraction level will exceed its projected (Verhulst) global peak extraction level between the years 2010 and 2030. Low Probability: it is very unlikely that the projected annual global NNR extraction level will exceed its projected (Verhulst) global peak extraction level prior to the year 2030. Global NNR Supply Shortfall Assessment The following table contains current (2007/2008) annual global NNR extraction level data, year 2030 global NNR extraction level estimates, and global peak NNR extraction level estimates for each of the 26 analyzed NNRs.75 The table also notes the probability that each of the 26 NNRs will experience a permanent global supply shortfall by the year 2030. Twenty three (23) of the 26 analyzed NNRs (88%) will likely experience permanent global NNR supply shortfalls by the year 2030—available global supplies associated with these NNRs will fail permanently to meet global NNR demand by that time. Specifically: Actual annual global extraction levels associated with cadmium, gold, mercury, tellurium, and tungsten have likely reached their geological global peak extraction levels, and are in terminal decline worldwide.
The projected 2030 annual global NNR extraction level was calculated by extrapolating the current (2007 or 2008) annual global NNR extraction level out to the year 2030 using the pre-recession (2000-2008) compound annual growth rate. The projected peak global NNR extraction level was determined by applying Verhulst logistics modeling (curve fitting) to historic annual global NNR extraction level data and the USGS global NNR ―reserve base‖ estimate (the larger of the two USGS estimates of ultimately recoverable resources).
The probability that these NNRs will experience permanent global supply shortfalls by the year 2030 is nearly certain, assuming near term recoveries to pre-recession NNR extraction levels and growth rates, and the continued inability of recycled NNRs to more than offset evertightening newly extracted supplies.13 Actual annual global extraction levels associated with cobalt, lead, molybdenum, PGM, phosphate rock, silver, titanium, and zinc exceeded their projected Verhulst global peak extraction levels prior to the year 2010. Current annual global extraction levels associated with these NNRs are likely near or at their geological global peak extraction levels. The probability that these NNRs will experience permanent global supply shortfalls by the year 2030 is high, assuming near term recoveries to pre-recession NNR extraction levels and growth rates, and the continued inability of recycled NNRs to more than offset ever-tightening newly extracted supplies.76
Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis Findings Fifty (50) of the 57 NNRs (88%) analyzed in the Global NNR Scarcity Analysis experienced global scarcity—and therefore experienced temporary (at least) global supply shortfalls—during the 2000-2008 period. Twenty three (23) of the 26 NNRs (88%) analyzed in the Global NNR Supply Shortfall Analysis are likely to experience permanent global supply shortfalls by the year 2030. Each permanent NNR supply shortfall represents another crack in the foundation of our globalizing industrial lifestyle paradigm; at issue is which crack or combination of cracks will cause the structure to collapse?
NNR price levels increased during the pre-recession years of the 21st century, thereby indicating that ―total‖ global NNR supply, including recycled NNRs, failed to keep pace with total global NNR demand.
Permanent global supply shortfalls associated with a single critical NNR or with a very few secondary NNRs can be sufficient to cause significant lifestyle disruptions—population level reductions and/or material living standard degradation. A permanent shortfall in the global supply of oil, for example, would be sufficient to cause significant local, national, and/or global lifestyle disruptions, or outright global societal collapse; as would permanent global supply shortfalls associated with 2-3 critical NNRs such as potassium, phosphate rock, and (fixed) nitrogen; as would concurrent permanent global supply shortfalls associated with 4-5 secondary NNRs such as the alloys, catalysts, and reagents that enable the effective use of critical NNRs.77 Given our vulnerability to an ever-increasing number of imminent and permanent global NNR supply shortfalls, the likelihood that the mix and volume of shortfalls will reach their ―critical mass‖ is a question of ―when‖, not ―if‖. Implications of Increasing Global NNR Scarcity Increasing NNR Scarcity Available supplies associated with an overwhelming majority of NNRs—including bauxite, copper, iron ore, magnesium, manganese, nickel, phosphate rock, potash, rare earth metals, tin, and zinc—have reached their domestic US peak extraction levels, and are in terminal decline.16 Based on the evidence presented above, available supplies associated with a vast majority of NNRs are becoming increasingly scarce globally as well. Because global NNR supplies are transitioning from ―continuously more and more‖ to ―continuously less and less‖, our global societal wellbeing levels— our economic activity levels, population levels, and material living standards—are transitioning from ―continuously more and more‖ to ―continuously less and less‖ as well. Sustainability is Inevitable ―Business as usual‖ (industrialism), ―stasis‖ (no growth), ―downscaling‖ (reducing NNR utilization), and ―moving toward sustainability‖ (feel good initiatives) are not options; we will be sustainable… Unintended Consequences It is difficult to argue that our incessant quest for global industrialization and the natural resource utilization behavior that enables our quest are inherently evil. We have simply applied our everexpanding knowledge and technology over the past several centuries toward dramatically improving our level of societal wellbeing, through our ever-increasing utilization of NNRs. However, despite our possibly justifiable naïveté during our meteoric rise to ―exceptionalism‖, and despite the fact that our predicament was undoubtedly an unintended consequence of our efforts to continuously improve the material living standards enjoyed by our ever-expanding global population61; globally available, economically viable supplies associated with the NNRs required to perpetuate our industrial lifestyle paradigm will not be sufficient going forward. Our Transition to Sustainability Humanity‘s transition to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm, within which a drastically reduced human population will rely exclusively on renewable natural resources (RNRs)62—water, soil (farmland), forests, and other naturally occurring biota—is therefore inevitable. Our choice is not whether we ―wish to be sustainable‖; our choice involves the process by which we ―will become sustainable‖. We can choose to alter fundamentally our existing unsustainable natural resource utilization behavior and transition voluntarily to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm over the next several decades. In the process, we would cooperate globally in utilizing remaining accessible NNRs to orchestrate a relatively gradual—but horrifically painful nonetheless—transition, thereby optimizing our population level and material living standards both during our transition and at sustainability.
See ―Liebig‘s Law of the Minimum‖, Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_earth_element.
Or, we can refrain from taking preemptive action and allow Nature to orchestrate our transition to sustainability through societal collapse, thereby experiencing catastrophic reductions in our population level and material living standards. The Squeeze is On It would be convenient if our unraveling were to occur in 1,000 years, or 500 years, or even 50 years. We could then dismiss it as a concern for future generations and go busily about improving our national and global societal wellbeing levels in the meantime. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Great Recession was a tangible manifestation of our predicament—NNR scarcity was epidemic in 2008, both domestically (US) and globally. Our unraveling is in process. At present, however, only an extremely small minority of the global populace understands that NNR scarcity is the fundamental cause underlying our predicament and its derivative economic and political problems. When the general public becomes aware of this fact and of the fact that NNR scarcity is a permanent, ever-increasing, and unsolvable phenomenon, collapse will ensue in short order. Public Ignorance Historically, globally available, economically viable supplies associated with most NNRs were generally sufficient; NNR scarcity, when it occurred, was a temporary phenomenon. Incremental economically viable NNR supplies were available to be brought online, thereby restoring economic output (GDP) and growth to ―expected‖ levels. Because episodes of NNR scarcity have occurred periodically since the dawn of our industrial revolution, they are considered temporary ―inconveniences‖ associated with the boom phases of ―normal‖ commodity boom/bust cycles. Today, despite the fact that NNR scarcity is becoming increasingly prevalent—as clearly demonstrated by the NNR Scarcity Analysis—and despite the fact that the impact associated with NNR scarcity has certainly been felt—as an underlying cause of the Great Recession—the general public remains almost completely unaware. This is understandable, as it is obviously in nobody‘s interest to see humanity fail. Our opinion leaders—i.e., the political, economic, and other societal elites who have the greatest vested interest in preserving the status quo—continue to preach that historically robust levels of economic growth can be sustained forever. Some of our opinion leaders may still believe this to be true, although it is difficult to believe that many or most do. [There currently exists considerable speculation regarding the extent to which our opinion leaders actually understand our predicament and its consequences, and are merely conducting a charade in order to perpetuate ―business as usual‖, from which most of them benefit disproportionately, for as long as possible. At the end of the day, the awareness levels and motives associated with our opinion leaders are irrelevant; the outcome—societal collapse— remains unchanged.] The general public—given their cornucopian worldview and their almost complete lack of understanding regarding the enablers of their industrialized lifestyles—adheres steadfastly to the notion that ―every generation will have it better than the last‖. The vast majority of the general public undoubtedly still believes this to be true, despite stagnant or declining material living standards in much of the industrialized world. So long as myth supersedes reality and the general public remains ignorant regarding the nature of our predicament and of the fact that our predicament cannot be solved, complete societal collapse is unlikely. It is likely, however, that as our situation devolves, the general public will become increasingly frustrated, angry, and scared. ―We‖ will blame ―them‖—the government, corporations, foreigners, capitalists, communists, Christians, Muslims, the rich, the poor, anybody who is not ―us‖—for our continuously deteriorating circumstances. And we will become increasingly susceptible to the empty rhetoric of Hitleresque demagogues who promise—and fail—to restore ―normalcy‖, at the expense of our remaining freedoms.
Through their ignorance, the general public will exacerbate our already deteriorating situation. Public Awareness Within the next few years, however, NNR scarcity will become:
―Noticeable‖—NNR supplies will become increasingly constrained and prices will rise continuously; then
―Inconvenient‖—periodic and temporary shortages and rationing associated with NNRs and derived goods and services will occur with increasing frequency; then
―Disruptive‖—shortages and rationing associated with ever-increasing numbers of NNRs and derived goods and services will become permanent; and finally,
―Debilitating‖—supplies associated with ever-increasing numbers of NNRs and derived goods and services will become permanently unavailable.
As this scenario unfolds, increasingly large segments of humanity will become aware of the fact that NNRs enable our industrialized way of life, and that ever-increasing NNR scarcity is the fundamental cause underlying our continuously declining economic output (GDP) and societal wellbeing levels, both domestically (US) and, by that time, globally as well. Historically prevalent public attitudes of generosity and forbearance, which were made possible by abundant and cheap NNRs during our epoch of ―continuously more and more‖, will be displaced by public intolerance:
Childbirth will be condemned rather than celebrated;
All immigration will be outlawed;
Traditionally unquestioned resource uses—from ―social entitlements‖ and universally accessible healthcare, to professional sports and cosmetics—will be considered ―unfair‖ or ―wasteful‖, and ultimately eliminated; and
―Excessive wealth‖ will be appropriated for ―the public good‖.
Ultimately, the general public will become aware of the fact that our predicament has no solution; and the following ―trigger‖ conditions for societal collapse will be met: NNR scarcity will become ―disruptive‖—the available mix and levels associated with economically viable NNRs and derived goods and services will become insufficient to enable ―tolerable‖ day-to-day existence; and sufficiently large segments of society will:
Become aware of the fact that ever-increasing NNR scarcity is a permanent phenomenon; &
Acknowledge the fact that our predicament cannot be ―fixed‖; ―continuously less and less‖—continuously declining societal wellbeing—is our new reality.
Previously sporadic social unrest and resource wars will degenerate—seemingly instantaneously—into full fledged conflicts among nations, classes, and ultimately individuals for remaining natural resources and real wealth. It will become universally understood that the only way to ―stay even‖ within a continuously contracting operating environment—much less to improve one‘s lot—is to take from somebody else. Life will become a ―negative sum game‖ within the ―shrinking pie‖ of ―continuously less and less‖. Social institutions will dissolve; law and order will cease to exist; and chaos will fill the void— nations will collapse. Given that half of the 89 analyzed NNRs are either likely or almost certain to remain scarce permanently at the global level; that no extraterrestrial source NNR imports exists for the world as a whole, and that the global industrialized/industrializing population has increased nearly 5 fold since 1975… …it is highly likely that the interval between global societal wellbeing ―divergence‖ in 2008 and global societal collapse will be 35 years or less. Humanity‘s Predicament
During the course of our unrelenting pursuit of global industrialization, and our consequent ever-increasing utilization of the earth‘s increasingly scarce NNRs, we have been eliminating— persistently and systematically—the very natural resources upon which our industrialized way of life and our very existence depend. Ironically, the natural resource utilization behavior that has enabled our historically unprecedented ―success‖—our industrial lifestyle paradigm—and that is essential to our continued success, is also pushing us toward our imminent demise. This is humanity‘s predicament. Humanity‘s Limited Perspective To date, our distorted cornucopian worldview and limited anthropocentric perspective have rendered us incapable of understanding our predicament and its fundamental cause, which is ecological—ever-increasing NNR scarcity—not economic or political. The economic and political problems with which we concern ourselves are merely manifestations of our predicament—they are symptoms, not the disease. Because none of the economic and political expedients that we employ to solve these problems can create additional NNRs, our attempted economic and political ―solutions‖ are irrelevant. Metaphorically, the well is running dry, yet we insist on tinkering with the pump.
Humanityâ€™s Choice: Population & Consumption Reduction: As Dale Allan Pfeiffer concludes in: Eating Fossil Fuels, which does not consider the issue of the Peak of Non-Renewable Resources: We are confronted with three choices: (a) Immediate and drastic conscious responsible voluntary population reduction, probably our best although also least likely choice; (b) Alternatively immediate and drastic Government intervention by mandated population reduction, via sterilisation and quotaâ€˜s; which will no doubt result in screams of eugenics from Peak Oil denialists; and (c) Failure to confront our overpopulation crisis, will simply result in spiralling food costs, and unprecedented starvation, i.e. the eventual die-off Darwinian Malthusian consequences.
The Great Tribal Forgetting: Salvation from the Law of Limited Competition Judaism X Manifesto Mythology: Divine Law of Melchizedek - Ecological War Imagine for a minute the Judaism mythology was the foundation for the legislators of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, with principles of Tsedeq and ecological and political balance, as described by Yakov Rabinovich, in Stairway to Nowhere:
Divine Law My political interest in scripture, however, is scripture as a bill of rights. Here the anarchists are at a great disadvantage. Without a creator to endow one with them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not rights, but merely matters of luck. The same problem arose early last century, in the Cokeor-Pepsi controversy between Fascism, Communism and Capitalism. All three ideologies were brutally materialist. Fascism was candid about the brutality. Communism was candid about the materialism. Capitalism was candid about nothing whatsoever.
Hitler‘s greatest victory came when he mocked western liberalism‘s values and got only silence in reply. That the only answer to Fascism came out of a gun-barrel was a statement of moral bankruptcy. Now that Communism has been added to the evolution chart, Capitalism is showing it's true amoral colors. Why shouldn‘t it? There are no longer any alternatives. Not that there ever were. All three were eerily alike from the start, in their architecture, their indifference to human rights, and their naive belief in power. … Against all three stands the western Liberal tradition, with its steady assertion that the limitation of government, protection of the individual‘s rights, and the exaltation of free speech are the political dimensions of moral good taste.
Melchizedek — Ecological War “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” In ancient Rome one was declared an outlaw with this formula: ―he shall be denied fire and water,‖ that is, one was to be refused all the simple necessities of human existence, such as firewood and drinking water, which nature offers free to all. By slow degrees of degradation we have been brought to where we buy clear water by the bottle and pay a week‘s wages to heat a modest home for a month. In some ways we‘re far worse off than Rome‘s outlaws, who at least breathed clean air! And we don‘t even seem to realize that, when every element — earth, air, fire and water — is fouled around us and offered back at a price, we‘re outlaws and warred upon. As always, organized religion has failed us. The the most forward-looking bureaucrats of the Book, in a desperate last-ditch effort to make themselves presentable, may now try to show they care about the planet. But in fact, the official scriptures, by the official reading, have nothing useful to say. The Quran of the mullahs views nature only as a demonstration of God‘s fine qualities: Nature‘s value is purely intellectual, and it isn‘t even meant to last. Everything‘s to be effaced on the imminent Last Day. Oficial Christianity is similarly eager for the end, when irreparably fallen nature will be improved into a paved city, the New Jerusalem. Conventional Judaism has a sane relation to nature, but a neutral and pragmatic one with nothing to add to the ecology debate. Yet religion is indeed what we need to mobilize forces for the earth, and we have to sieze back the scriptures from their unworthy stewards. Those who have translated and interpreted the scriptures for us have been men of conventional faith, whose piety censored and misrepresented the texts. But the great prophets of our shared traditions, Moses, Isaiah, Jesus and Mohammed, were archetypal dissidents, in every way alien to the committees that have translated them into English from the time of King James and George Sales on to the present day. There is, for instance, a Hebrew word for ecological balance, and one of the most commonly occurring words in the Bible: tsedeq. It is translated, perfunctorily, as ―righteousness,‖ because to translate it fully and fairly, with its dazzling range of meanings, would have revealed an unacceptable degree of ―paganism‖ in the Bible. At root, it means ―rainfall in due proportion,‖ and meanings like ―rightness,‖ ―justice‖ and ―righteousness‖ arose as extensions and expansions of the original meaning. This is no surprise. For the archaic societies of the ancient near east, important concept words are always deeply rooted in the realities of physical life. Abstractions, even for things like colors, don‘t enter the vocabulary of Hebrew, until well into period A.D. We‘ll get a clearer understanding of how tsedeq evolved by examining the parallel Egyptian world ma’at. It comes from the verb ma-a which originally meant ―to rightly measure,‖ and referred to the resurveying of the fields after the Nile‘s floodwaters withdrew each spring. The existence of private property depended on an accurate ma-a of the silt-covered land.
There is a large choice of glyphs with the same phonetic value in Egyptian, so the ones which are chosen can often signify a word‘s meaning. Ma-a is spelled with a mound of earth emerging from under floodwaters, a scythe, and an arm. This notion of rightness, evidently grew right out of the well-worked riverside acres. The word was early on made an abstract feminine noun, Ma-at, which means rightness both in the agricultural and moral sense. Israel depended on rainfall as Egypt did on the Nile‘s flooding. Like ma’at, tsedeq came to take on a more general sense, but it evolved in ways far more profound and meaningful for us than ma’at. The genius of the Hebrews was to always adopt the best poetic and religious conceptions of their neighbors, but then deepen them with moral meaning. It was the chief god of the farming Canaanites, the storm god Baal, who guaranteed tsedeq, rainfall and crop growth. The Hebrews, who adopted so many features from this Canaanite Zeus, took over tsedeq as well, but enlarged it to create a view of the moral and natural worlds as inseparable. (Very unlike we Americans, who see ecological devastation as not a crime, but merely a pity.) The word tsedeq, in its fullest sense, can mean ―world in balance‖ both ecologically and politically. The eighty-fith psalms says: He‘s quick to save those who regard him with awe, his glory shines across their country like sunlight, fairness and generosity meet in how God treats a just people, the balance of the scales of justice, the balance of nature (tsedeq) coincide, sweetly they meet, like a kiss, the land brings forth abundant wheat, abundant honesty beneath a sky clear as a conscience. If God will grant us the power to be good, the land will give us good things. The ecological balance of the ancient near east was not the exclusive responsibility of the gods. The king, as vice-regent of the sky god, guaranteed his people the benevolence of earth and sky. The kings of Israel were monarchs on this sacerdotal model with a special moral dimension, as we see in the seventy-second psalm. … The god of the Hebrews appropriated not only specialized vocabulary from the Canaanites, but myths and images too. One can see something parallel in Milton‘s Paradise Lost, where the God of the Bible is sometimes referred to as ―Jove,‖ and Hesiod‘s battle of the titans was adapted to become the war of the rebel angels. The most important Canaanite myth Yahweh absorbed was that of Baal, the god of rain, who is every year defeated by Mot, the god of death and drought. Each autumn Baal returns with the autumn rains, to restore tsedeq. ….. Melchizedek appears for the first time in Genesis 14, in a scene set around 1800 B.C. Abraham has just rescued his nephew Lot, captured during a war between the city-states immediately south of Jerusalem. Returning victorious from battle, Abraham is acknowledged as ruler of the region by Melchizedek, king of Jerusalem, who utters this blessing The Hebrews saw themselves as a continuation of Canaanite civilization, just as the Germanic barbarians who became the kings of Europe saw themselves as the heirs of Rome. The Hebrew kings were all Melchizedeks just as the Tsars and Kaisers were Caesars. And in the course of time Melchizedek became, as Caesar has in European literature, an independent mythological figure. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the first-century A.D. library of the Essenes discovered in 1947, contains a scroll of Melchizedek. The Essenes practised a pure form of communism, and their scroll, written in the context of Israel‘s struggle against Roman domination, describes
Melchizedek as an eschatological hero who will fairly redistribute property, defeat the armies of evil, and sound the ram‘s horn to announce abolition of all debts (the Jubilee). The scroll is valuable because it shows that the Melchizedek myth was drawn on as an important source of spiritual strength in Israel‘s struggle to the death against the Roman Empire. A struggle which was obviously anti-imperialist, and from the viewpoint of the Essenes, anti-capitalist. So important a part of the national mythology was Melchizedek, that Paul acknowledges him in his letter to the Hebrews, written at roughly the same time as the Melchizedek scroll. (Though of course Paul is only mentioning Melchizedek to bolster the prestige of Jesus.) …. There is an Apocalypse of Mechizedek, preserved in the fourth-century A.D. library of Gnostic manuscripts found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. This book contains revelations made to Mechizedek by various angelic messengers. The fourth-century Cypriot bishop Epiphanius, in his book Against the Heresies, tells us enough to confirm that there was a Mechizedekian Christian sect and that the book from Nag Hammadi is theirs. This late account of Melchizedek is of interest to us because it provides an esoteric (though equally epic) counterpart to the Melchizedek of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Paul. This Melchizedek describes his own experience of gnosis, or ultimate self-recognition ….. We are called to use the concept of tsedeq, (world in balance) to bring to the ecological struggle powers which are only unleashed by religious belief. In doing this we are entitled to the name of Melchizedek. The title of the old Canaanite priest-kings who guaranteed the land‘s tsedeq was more fully understood by Old and New Testament period prophets. It came to be the title of a royal warrior who defends sacred ecology and resists the forces of capital. The Gnostic Melchizedek of Nag Hammadi further deepens the figure into a one whose ultimate heroic act is that of achieving self-awareness: the understanding that he is the Melchizedek, that he has the annointed King, the Messiah, the Christ, within him. We are all called to this new order or mystical chivalry, the Order of Melchizedek. Kingship is a powerful metaphor and has a long tradition of democratization and esoteric reinterpretation. The Stoics, who made it their ideal to live in accord with nature, secundam naturam, used to say that only the wise man deserves to be called a king, solus sapiens rex. This is the sort of kingship I have in mind, a gnostic one, that need only be realized to be made real, a royalty that can be shared by all, like that of Tennyson‘s Arthur: But when he spake and cheered his Table Round With large, divine, and comfortable words, Beyond my tongue to tell thee — I beheld From eye to eye through all their Order flash A momentary likeness of the King . . . This is the kingship of which Isaiah spoke, a royal defense of the whole natural world. His vision begins with the vindication of an injured tree, and expands into universal harmony of human with human and with every other species.
Eve’s Mission Impossible: Cracking the Lebensraum Right-to-Breed Code Control -- or the claim of control -- over the means of reproduction has been even more fundamental to history than has control of the means of production. Put differently, insecure masculinity, whether capitalist and particularly communist Ecolaw illiterate, promote the Conquer and Multiply Right to Breed slave and cannon
fodder memeplex; and avoid like the plague Ecolaw 101: ‗Thou shalt not transgress the carrying capacity.‘ ―After reading Eve's Seed you'll never look at a farm, the bible, feminism, rock 'n' roll lyrics, mass consumption, or Bill Clinton in the same way.‖ -- Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, and author of Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect
Masculine Insecurity: A Causal Procreation Factor Shaper of Conquer and Multiply History? ―The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct.‖ -- E.O. Wilson Bridging the Great Divide: Eve‘s Seed and the Quest to Bring Together Biology, Anthropology, Religion and History: Some leading academics see Eve's Seed as a revolutionary work of major importance in how we understand human development, history, religion, and the sexes. World historian William H. McNeill calls Eve's Seed "a powerful, learned and provocative work" that "is a radical revision of traditional visions of human history." "As Marx turned Hegel upside down," Pulitzer Prize-winning Stanford historian Carl Degler has written, "so McElvaine overturns, among others, Aristotle, Marx, Freud, and even Darwin in showing how biological and cultural evolution need no longer see men and women as opposites or unequal." In a rare case of agreement, feminist pioneer Betty Friedan and Harvard sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson both see Eve's Seed as a ground-breaking work that will change the way we see the human condition. "Eve's Seed signals a significant paradigm shift,‖ Friedan wrote, and Wilson said, "a new field is stirring to life" with the book. In a starred review, Publishers' Weekly said that McElvaine's "challenging overview" is "daring": which ―throws down the gauntlet to academics and nonspecialists alike, daring a radical rethinking of the basic 'truths' on which cultures have been constructed." McElvaine's concept of biohistory has been explored in articles in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and his interdisciplinary reinterpretation of the human experience has been the subject of panels at meetings of the American Historical Association, the American Anthropological Association, the International Freud Conference, the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender. A major international, interdisciplinary conference on the McElvaine Thesis, "Bridging the Great Divide: Robert S. McElvaine's Eve's Seed and the Quest to Bring Together Biology, Anthropology, Religion, and History," was held in 2002. In Deepening the History of Masculinity and the Sexes, a review of Robert McElvaine‘s Eve’s Seed: Biology, the Sexes and the Course of History, writes:
The turn of the twenty-first century has brought a tentative yet potentially seismic shift in feminist studies towards re-integrating biology into critical understanding of the behavioral differences between women and men. Until Robert S. McElvaine's book, this movement has barely registered among historians of women and gender. For at least the last thirty-five years, academic historians have made a sharp, principled distinction between sex as a physiological designation and gender as the contingent mental traits, behaviors, social conventions, and institutions that have formed around sex difference. A few important historical works do consider the issue of whether biology influences more than primary sexual characteristics: Gerda Lerner's The Creation of Patriarchy (1986) maintains that the initial division of labor between women and men emerged from different roles in sexual reproduction; Carl Degler's In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought (1991) provides a valuable analysis of the recent social scientific scholarship that finds innate psychological and behavioral differences between the sexes; and David Courtwright's Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City (1996) explains the exceptional levels of American violence through the "sociobiological impulses" of the nation's inordinately large number of un-married men. But, as its title suggests, McElvaine's Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes and the Course of History resynthesizes the full sweep of human history around the concept of sexual difference; it also offers a timely account of what historians risk in continuing to ignore advances in evolutionary biology. Through its attempt to apply "biohistory" to twentieth-century U.S. masculinity, Eve's Seed may presage a second-wave of men's historiography. McElvaine bases his understanding of modern American masculinity on "deep history"—sociobiologist E. O. Wilson's term for the evolution of the human species. The middle chapters of Eve's Seed survey some 94 centuries of human history, stretching from 8,000 B.C.E. and the invention of agriculture through the Middle Ages. Vitally important to early economic and political history (bringing such changes as the creation of substantial material surplus and the rise of large states and war), agriculture—what McElvaine describes as the first of two "megarevolutions"—also sparked a massive male "backlash," as the female invention of planting crops and animal husbandry undermined the male role as hunter. Among the masculinist responses, men took over agriculture and invented war, as women became relegated to increasing the population needed for the new social order. At the same time that men started to dominate agriculture, the "conception misconception" arose: the belief that men held all procreative power, with women being considered as simply the fertile field for the male seed. In addition to developing the association of women with inert matter and nature, the conception misconception "led," McElvaine writes, "to the assumption that The Creative Force—God—must be male" (p. 135). But within his synthesis, Christianity also exemplified feminine virtues such as love and charity, which worked against such Roman values as controlled violence and the concentrated power of the state. To be sure, just as they had done with agriculture, men came to control the Church, although McElvaine underlines the mediating feminine influences in Christianity such as the twelfth-century veneration of the Virgin Mary. McElvaine's second megarevolution began in the sixteenth century with the acceleration of geographic and social mobility and the rise of the marketplace, developments which produced a close equation between manhood and individualism and which culminated in the nineteenth-century United States. As in the other sections of Eve's Seed, this part draws from a good amount of earlier scholarship in making a clear and provocative argument. The highly mobile, possessive individual American man depended upon what McElvaine labels "the sexual bi-polar disorder," the radical separation of the masculine sphere of business and politics from feminine domesticity (p. 240). In one of his better examples of applying biohistory, McElvaine points out that since Hobbes, solitude and self-reliance have been considered man's natural state, but individualism is inconsistent with the masculine propensity toward association and cooperation formed during the sex's long preoccupation with hunting in groups. The last six chapters of the book concentrate on the twentieth-century United States
and increasingly desperate attempts to express "real consumerism, corporate conformity, and feminist equality.
While McElvaine's brief consideration of body building, the cult of John Wayne, and Rambo movies offers nothing new, his treatment of the mid-twentieth-century white middle-class embrace of African-American hypermasculine sexuality exhibits an uncommonly deft touch in extracting historical meaning from popular culture. In Eve’s Seed: Masculine Insecurity, Metaphor, and the Shaping of History78, Robert McElvaine, introduction to masculine insecurity, is the debate over Zulu male leaders and their Zulu cultural virginity tests. It is his introduction to ―If I had to reduce history to one sentence, it would be: ‗Hell hath no fury like a man devalued‘,‖ for his argument ―How that history has unfolded has been influenced enormously by insecure masculinity and another metaphor that is based upon it, which can accurately be termed the Master Metaphor.‖: The question that must be asked is why such traditions and values of ancestors arose. There is, of course, nothing unique to Africa about male insistence on female virginity—or about the many other traditions that consign women to positions of subordination. We are all aware of the horrible treatment of women under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, for example. Similar, if not quite as harsh, mistreatment of women exists in Iran. But there is nothing unique to Islam about male insistence on the subordination of and male control over women and their bodies. The problem with the misogynistic rulers of the regimes that most mistreat women is often said to be that they are religious fanatics. This is true, but we need to be careful that we properly identify what their religion is. It is not Islam. Rather, it is what Woody Allen‘s character in his 2001 movie, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion identified as his religion: ―insecure masculinity.‖ Insecure masculinity is a malady that has been a—perhaps the—major force in many of the horrors of history—and one that Christians and Jews should realize is also deeply imbedded in their religions. That insecure masculinity is an important part of our religions should not be surprising, because it is imbedded in almost all aspects of our culture—including, most significantly, our language. It is, I believe, a primary source of what Sigmund Freud referred to as civilization‘s discontents.
Roots While the fear of male biological inferiority and the resulting tendency to insist that the sexes are ―opposite‖ is the essential starting point for exploring the ways in which women have been subordinated and what the wider consequences of that subordination have been, it is just the beginning. This factor has always been present, although the degree of their impact has varied as other circumstances have changed. It is in those changing circumstances—history—that we must seek more complete answers to questions about why, how, and when females were subordinated and how sex has shaped history. The most important events in the shaping of human history occurred before the point at which we in the historical profession have usually begun our stories. The critical development in so-called prehistory was the invention of agriculture. It is only in the past two decades that it has become widely believed that women invented agriculture. There is not time here to go into detail on the reasons for this conclusion, but they include the fact that plant food had been women‘s responsibility in hunter-gatherer societies, in horticultural societies studied in modern times, women do the farming, and that in many ancient myths, the imparting of the knowledge of how to farm is attributed to a goddess, rather than a male god. 78
Eve’s Seed: Masculine Insecurity, Metaphor, and the Shaping of History, by Robert S. McElvaine, Department of History, Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi
Among the ancient stories that describe women‘s invention of agriculture, I argue in Eve’s Seed, is the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis. Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge represents women gaining the knowledge of how to grow crops. It was an offer that men, represented by Adam, could not refuse, but in long-term retrospect, the consequences came to look much less beneficial to men. Agriculture greatly devalued the traditional roles of men. Hunting ceased to be important when breeding of animals followed the intentional production of plant food. And the other male role of protecting of the group against predator animals became less important, because agriculture necessitated a sedentary way of life, and predators came into settlements infrequently. Eventually men found themselves working in the fields, doing ―women‘s work‖ with plants. All of this is reflected in chapters 3 and 4 of Genesis. The woman‘s obtaining of the new knowledge is said to have lost a paradise in which people could simply gather food that grew naturally. As a result, man had to go forth from this paradise and ―till the ground‖ and earn Hs bread by the sweat of his brow. Once agriculture had become established, it was impossible to return to a hunter-gatherer existence because the larger population could not be fed without planting crops. This, too, is reflected in Genesis, with the man not being able to return to Eden once he has been expelled from it. Finally, in Chapter 4, the male God has no regard for the offering of plant food presented by Cain, ―the tiller of the ground.‖ In effect, God says to Cain: Get away from me! Don’t insult me by bringing your girlish stuff, you wimp!
Seeds When men eventually took up the ―woman‘s work‖ of farming and began to use the plow, an irresistible metaphor arose—one that seems so obvious that it appears to have developed independently wherever plow agriculture was practiced. This metaphor has been a major basis for male power and domination throughout recorded history. The belief that a seed planted in the furrowed soil is analogous to a man planting a seed in the furrowed vulva of a woman totally reversed the view of which sex has procreative power. Men were elevated from the bystanders in reproduction to the allpowerful creators. Women were reduced from the all-powerful creators to the soil in which men plant their seeds. Or, to put it less politely, women were reclassified as dirt. Women still had all the work of reproduction, but men now took all the credit. The classification of women as soil is one of the reasons why female virginity is so prized by men. They want to be sure that theirs are the only seeds that are planted in ―their‖ soil.
Male Procreation Means a Male Creator It is the belief that males hold exclusive procreative power that has given them much of the social power throughout history. The belief in male procreative power inevitably led in turn to the conclusion that the supreme Creative Power must also be male. The combination of the belief that God is male with the notion that humans are created in God‘s image yielded the inescapable inference that men are closer than women to godly perfection. The belief, given its classic expressions by Aristotle, Aquinas, and Freud, that women are deformed or ―incomplete‖ men followed logically. There is no telling how much evil throughout history might have been averted or eased had the growth of this vine of thinking somehow been nipped in the bud. It wasn't, and the rest is history—just about all of it. If I had to reduce history to one sentence, it would be: Hell hath no fury like a man devalued.
How that history has unfolded has been influenced enormously by insecure masculinity and another metaphor that is based upon it, which can accurately be termed the Master Metaphor. Sexually insecure men often seek validation of their manhood by pursuing power. This is one of the reasons that the notawoman definition of manhood has had such an impact throughout history. All men do not suffer from such sexual insecurity, but those who do have frequently made their way into positions of power and so have had a disproportionate influence on the shaping of cultures and institutions. The basic means by which insecure men demonstrate their claims that they are "notwomen" is through a sexual metaphor. The ultimate sources of this metaphor must be sought deep in our past: beyond what is usually called ―history‖—in fact, back beyond what is generally thought of as human ―pre-history.‖ The origins of the master metaphor predate the evolution of Homo sapiens; indeed, they predate the emergence of hominids. The idea that other animals use metaphorical behavior may be surprising, but it is plain that this is what is going on when a dominant male among several species, including mountain sheep and macaques, mounts a subordinated male and simulates intercourse with him. The former is, in effect, ―saying‖ to the latter: I am so dominant over you that I can treat you like a female. Such male animals apparently have some concept of ―male-hood‖ in terms of being ―notafemale.‖ Such symbolic mounting is an unexplored but highly significant aspect of human male behavior. It is, obviously, a means of asserting a vertical distinction between individuals; it provides an answer to the question: Who‘s on top? Accordingly, it is similar to another practice we use to categorize people.. One of the more consequential human tendencies is that toward pseudospeciation: falsely treating another member of our species as if he or she were a member of a different species. It is this capacity that allows us to turn off our natural identification with other members of our species and so be able to kill them. It is difficult to brutalize and kill human beings, but it is not so hard to commit atrocities against ―Gooks,‖ ―Niggers,‖ ―Honkies,‖ ―Spics,‖ ―Micks,‖ ―Nips,‖ ―Krauts,‖ or other creatures we have used language to de-humanize. Clearly this ability to engage in pseudospeciation is a major part of the basis for warfare. The Master metaphor is based on a similar, but generally unnoticed, process that can usefully be termed pseudosexing—falsely treating another member of the same sex as if he were a member of the other sex. This is what men do when they subordinate other men by symbolically treating them as women. The reason for pseudosexing is the same as that for pseudospeciation: to ―otherize,‖ to dichotomize, to distinguish in a dualistic manner of ―us‖ and ―them,‖ so that dominance or hierarchy can be established. Sometimes the human practice of pseudosexing is as direct and literal as it is among some animal species.
Man Over Woman: The Basic Model for All Forms of Domination When it is realized how ubiquitous the use of this metaphor is, it becomes clear that the assumed superiority of man to woman is the model upon which all other domination / subordination relationships, including colonialism, racism, slavery, class, are based. The real importance of insecure masculinity, again, is that those men who suffer from it are most apt to seek power in order to compensate for their self doubts. Sexually linked motivations have been evident in men engaging in war since the earliest times. They can be seen from Alexander the Great through Adolf Hitler and several American presidents. Hitler presents a remarkable example of a man whose sexual insecurity may have played an important role in leading him to lust after power, desire to dominate others, and seek war. A 1945 Soviet autopsy on a body later confirmed by dental records to be that of Hitler showed that the Nazi dictator had only one testicle. Some have contended that this may have been a
primary source of his insecurity. From 1919 onward, Hitler carried a Walther pistol in a special pocket he had sewn into all his trousers. This enabled him to ―feel its barrel pressed reassuringly against his thigh.‖ The Führer‘s fear of sexual inadequacy presumably played a part in his decision to take injections that included an extract from bull testicles.
Conclusion ―Our language and history have been molded by masculine insecurities and the ―notawoman‖ definition of manhood and ―prehistoric‖ events that devalued what men had traditionally done. And language and the thinking on which it is based in turn perpetuate the ideas of male superiority on which it was founded. At its base, I think it is fair to say, all of these problems stem from the insecurities many men have felt because ―only women bleed.‖
An ABC’s of Ecology Systems Approach to a Sui Generis Agriculture Mythology: When did we Become We? ‗I am the thoroughly rational, inquisitive extra-terrestrial from Cuckoo‘s Nest, who asks earthlings to explain what they do in terms that can be understood by an intelligence completely free of all traditional terrestrial beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices.‘79 -- Lysistrata Valentine‘s Code Red October Clover
New tribalists believe in the New Tribal Revolution outlined in the Ishmael series by Daniel Quinn, meaning that the tribe fulfills an important role in human life, and that the dissolution of tribalism with the spread of civilization has come to threaten the very survival of the species. New tribalists seek to mimic indigenous peoples by organizing their own "tribes" based on underlying principles gleaned from ethnology and anthropological fieldwork. An important expression of this movement is the trend towards modern eco-villages. Ecoregional Democracy and peace movement advocates are also often new tribalists as well, as the groups share common ideals. 79
Limited World, Limited Rights, by Garrett Hardin, Rights and Liberties, Society, 17 May/June 1980
Yshmael Guerrylla Jyews: The Story of B In The Story of B80, is one of the philosophical bibles for the Tribal Deep Ecology Ishmael community, wherein Daniel Quinn looks to tribal societies as models for future societies because they exhibited 3 million years of societal evolution before being overtaken by the totalitarian agriculturalist. Quinn specifically looks at tribal law as a basis for law in the future. In hunter/gatherer tribes, there are no formal laws, only inherent practices that determine the identity of the tribe. Tribes do not write or invent their laws, but honor codes of conduct that arise from years of social evolution. Quinn rejects the modern idea that there is one set moral standard for people to live by. Instead, he argues that the laws and customs that arise from each tribe are sustainable and ―right‖ in their own way because they work for the tribe. He also provides a deep ecology worldview for the idea of salvation. It was only after man invented totalitarian agriculture with its historical evolution of overpopulation and culling by means of wars and famine, that he invented the need for humanity‘s salvation. Prior to civilization and war, man had no inherent need for a Savior. The following is the speech by B81, an itinerant New Tribalist Ishmael preacher, who takes us along the mythological journey of our history, and out of the lies. Forget everything you ever learned. It's all a lie. Here he explains the origins of Conquer-and-Multiply Totalitarian Agricultural cultural mythology, as a result of refusal to adhere to the Law of Limited Competition, and the systemic historical consequences on man‘s character development, which provides a Population Policy perspective to how population pressures nurtured what Hobbes finally referred to as the "nasty, brutish, and short" in his justification for the need of social contract political authority.
The Boiling Frog: 18 May, Schauspielhaus Wahnfried, Radenau Systems thinkers have given us a useful metaphor for a certain kind of human behavior in the phenomenon of the boiled frog. The phenomenon is this. If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death. We all know stories of frogs being tossed into boiling water—for example, a young couple being plunged into catastrophic debt by an unforeseen medical emergency. A contrary example, an example of the smiling boiled frog, is that of a young couple who gradually use their good credit to buy and borrow themselves into catastrophic debt. Cultural examples exist as well. About six thousand years ago the goddess worshiping societies of Old Europe were engulfed in a boiling up of our culture that Marija Gimbutas called Kurgan Wave Number One; they struggled to clamber out but eventually succumbed. The Plains Indians of North America, who were engulfed in another boiling up of our culture in the 1870s, constitute another example; they struggled to clamber out over the next two decades, but they too finally succumbed.
The Story of B, by Daniel Quinn; New York: Bantam Books. 1997 P 258 –287: The Story of B, by Daniel Quinn; New York: Bantam Books. 1997
A contrary example, an example of the smiling-boiled-frog phenomenon, is provided by our own culture. When we slipped into the cauldron, the water was a perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Can anyone tell me when that was? Anyone? Blank faces. I‘ve already told you, but I‘ll ask again, a different way. When did we become we? Where and when did the thing called us begin? Remember: East and West, twins of a common birth. Where? And when? Well, of course: in the Near East, about ten thousand years ago. That‘s where our peculiar, defining form of agriculture was born, and we began to be we. That was our cultural birthplace. That was where and when we slipped into that beautifully pleasant water: the Near East, ten thousand years ago. As the water in the cauldron slowly heats, the frog feels nothing but a pleasant warmth, and indeed that‘s all there is to feel. A long time has to pass before the water begins to be dangerously hot, and our own history demonstrates this. For fully half our history, the first five thousand years, signs of distress are almost nonexistent. The technological innovations of this period bespeak a quiet life, centered around hearth and village—sundried brick, kilnfired pottery, woven cloth, the potter‘s wheel, and so on. But gradually, imperceptibly, signs of distress begin to appear, like tiny bubbles at the bottom of a pot. What shall we look for, as signs of distress? Mass suicides? Revolution? Terrorism? No, of course not. Those come much later, when the water is scalding hot. Five thousand years ago it was just getting warm. Folks mopping their brows were grinning at each other and saying, ―Isn‘t it great?‖ You‘ll know where to find the signs of distress if you identify the fire that was burning under the cauldron. It was burning there in the beginning, was still burning after five thousand years . . . and is still burning today in exactly the same way. It was and is the great heating element of our revolution. It‘s the essential. It‘s the sine qua non of our success—if success is what it is. Speak! Someone tell me what I‘m talking about! ―Agriculture!‖ Agriculture, this gentleman tells me. No. Not agriculture. One particular style of agriculture. One particular style that has been the basis of our culture from its beginnings ten thousand years ago to the present moment— the basis of our culture and found in no other. It‘s ours, it‘s what makes us us. For its complete ruthlessness toward all other life-forms on this planet and for its unyielding determination to convert every square meter on this planet to the production of human food, I‘ve called it totalitarian agriculture.
Totalitarian Agriculture & Law of Limited Competition Ethologists, students of animal behavior, and a few philosophers who have considered the matter know that there is a form of ethics practiced in the community of life on this planet— apart from us, that is. This is a very practical (you might say Darwinian) sort of ethics, since it serves to safeguard and promote biological diversity within the community. According to this ethics, followed by every sort of creature within the community of life, sharks as well as sheep, killer bees as well as butterflies, you may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war. This ethics is violated at every point by practitioners of totalitarian agriculture. We hunt down our competitors, we destroy their food, and we deny them access to food. That indeed is the whole purpose and point of totalitarian agriculture. Totalitarian
agriculture is based on the premise that all the food in the world belongs to us, and there is no limit whatever to what we may take for ourselves and deny to all others. Totalitarian agriculture was not adopted in our culture out of sheer meanness. It was adopted because, by its very nature, it‘s more productive than any other style (and there are many other styles). Totalitarian agriculture represents productivity to the max, as Americans like to say. It represents productivity in a form that literally cannot be exceeded. Many styles of agriculture (not all, but many) produce food surpluses. But, not surprisingly, totalitarian agriculture produces larger surpluses than any other style. It produces surpluses to the max. You simply can‘t outproduce a system designed to convert all the food in the world into human food. Totalitarian agriculture is the fire under our cauldron. Totalitarian agriculture is what has kept us ―on the boil‖ here for ten thousand years.
Food Availability and Population Growth The people of our culture take food so much for granted that they often have a hard time seeing that there is a necessary connection between the availability of food and population growth. For them, I‘ve found it necessary to construct a small illustrative experiment with laboratory mice. Imagine if you will a cage with movable sides, so that it can be enlarged to any desired size. We begin by putting ten healthy mice of both sexes into the cage, along with plenty of food and water. In just a few days there will of course be twenty mice, and we accordingly increase the amount of food we‘re putting in the cage. In a few weeks, as we steadily increase the amount of available food, there will be forty, then fifty, then sixty, and so on, until one day there is a hundred. And let‘s say that we‘ve decided to stop the growth of the colony at a hundred. I‘m sure you realize that we don‘t need to pass out little condoms or birth-control pills to achieve this effect. All we have to do is stop increasing the amount of food that goes into the cage. Every day we put in an amount that we know is sufficient to sustain a hundred mice—and no more. This is the part that many find hard to believe, but, trust me, it‘s the truth: The growth of the community stops dead. Not overnight, of course, but in very short order. Putting in an amount of food sufficient for one hundred mice, we will find—every single time—that the population of the cage soon stabilizes at one hundred. Of course I don‘t mean one hundred precisely. It will fluctuate between ninety and a hundred ten but never go much beyond those limits. On the average, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, the population inside the cage will be one hundred. Now if we should decide to have a population of two hundred mice instead of one hundred, we won‘t have to add aphrodisiacs to their diets or play erotic mouse movies for them. We‘ll just have to increase the amount of food we put in the cage. If we put in enough food for two hundred, we‘ll soon have two hundred. If we put in enough for three hundred, we‘ll soon have three hundred: If we put in enough for four hundred, we‘ll soon have four hundred. If we put in enough for five hundred, we‘ll soon have five hundred. This isn‘t a guess, my friends. This isn‘t a conjecture. This is a certainty. Of course, you understand that there‘s nothing special about mice in this regard. The same will happen with crickets or trout or badgers or sparrows. But I fear that many people bridle at the idea that humans might be included in this list. Because as individuals we‘re able to govern our reproductive capacities, they imagine our growth as a species should be unresponsive to the mere availability of food. Luckily for the point I‘m trying to make here, I have considerable data showing that, as a species, we‘re as responsive as any other to the availability of food—three million years of data, in fact. For all but the last ten thousand years of that period, the human species was a very minor member of the world ecosystem. Imagine it—three million years and the human
race did not overrun the earth! There was some growth, of course, through simple migration from continent to continent, but this growth was proceeding at a glacial rate. It‘s estimated that the human population at the beginning of the Neolithic was around ten million—ten million, if you can imagine that! After three million years! Then, very suddenly, things began to change. And the change was that the people of one culture, in one corner of the world, developed a peculiar form of agriculture that made food available to people in unprecedented quantities. Following this, in this corner of the world, the population doubled in a scant three thousand years. It doubled again, this time in only two thousand years. In an eye blink of time on the geologic scale, the human population jumped from ten million to fifty million—probably eighty percent of them being practitioners of totalitarian agriculture: members of our culture, East and West. The – overpopulation colliding with scarce resources -- water in the cauldron was getting warm, and signs of distress were beginning to appear.
Signs of distress: 5000-3000 B.C.E.: It was getting crowded. Think of that. People used to imagine that history is inevitably cyclical, but what I‘m describing here has never happened before. In all of three million years, humans have never been crowded anywhere. But now the people of a single culture— our culture—are learning what it means to be crowded. It was getting crowded, and overworked, overgrazed land was becoming less and less productive. There were more people, and they were competing for dwindling resources. The water is heating up around the frog—and remember what we‘re looking for: signs of distress. What happens when more people begin competing for less? That‘s obvious. Every schoolchild knows that. When more people start competing for less, they start fighting. But of course they don‘t just fight at random. The town butcher doesn‘t battle the town baker, the town tailor doesn‘t battle the town shoemaker. No, the town‘s butcher, baker, tailor, and shoemaker get together to battle some other town‘s butcher, baker, tailor, and shoemaker. We don‘t have to see bodies lying in the field to know that this was the beginning of the age of war that has continued to the present moment. What we have to see is war-making machinery. I don‘t mean mechanical machinery—chariots, catapults, siege machines, and so on. I mean political machinery. Butchers, bakers, tailors, and shoemakers don‘t organize themselves into armies. They need warlords—kings, princes, emperors. It‘s during this period, starting around five thousand years ago, that we see the first states formed for the purpose of armed defense and aggression. It‘s during this period that we see the standing army forged as the monarch‘s sword of power. Without a standing army, a king is just a windbag in fancy clothes. You know that. But with a standing army, a king can impose his will on his enemies and engrave his name in history—and absolutely the only names we have from this era are the names of conquering kings. No scientists, no philosophers, no historians, no prophets, just conquerors. Again, nothing cyclic going on here. For the first time in human history, the important people are the people with armies. Now note well that no one thought that the appearance of armies was a bad sign—a sign of distress. They thought it was a good sign. They thought the armies represented an improvement. The water was just getting delightfully warm, and no one worried about a few little bubbles. After this point military needs became the chief stimulus for tech-nological advancement in our culture. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Our soldiers need better armor, better swords, better chariots, better bows and rrows, better scaling machines, better rams, better artillery, better guns, better tanks, better planes, better bombs, better rockets, better nerve gas . . . well, you see what I mean. At
this point no one saw technology in the service of warfare as a sign that something bad was going on. They thought it was an improvement. From this point on, the frequency and severity of wars will serve as one measure of how hot the water is getting around our smiling frog.
Signs of distress: 3000-1400 B.C.E.: The fire burned on under the cauldron of our culture, and the next doubling of our population took only sixteen hundred years. There were a hundred million humans now, at 1400 B.C.E., probably ninety percent of them being members of our culture. The Near East hadn‘t been big enough for us for a long time. Totalitarian agriculture had moved northward and eastward into Russia and India and China, northward and westward into Asia Minor and Europe. Other kinds of agriculture had once been practiced in all these lands, but now—need I say it?— agriculture meant our style of agriculture. The water is getting hotter—always getting hotter. All the old signs of distress are there, of course—why would they go away? As the water heats up, the old signs just get bigger and more dramatic. War? The wars of the previous age were piddling affairs compared with the wars of this age. This is the Bronze Age! Real weapons, by God! Real armor! Vast standing armies, supported by unbelievable imperial wealth! Unlike signs of war, other signs of distress aren‘t cast in bronze or chiseled in stone. No one‘s sculpting friezes to depict life in the slums of Memphis or Troy. No one‘s writing news stories to expose official corruption in Knossos or Mohenjo-Daro. No one‘s putting together film documentaries about the slave trade. Nonetheless, there‘s at least one sign that can be read in the evidence: Crime was emerging as a problem. Looking out into your faces, I see how unimpressed you are with this news. Crime? Crime is universal among humans, isn‘t it? No, actually it isn‘t. Misbehavior, yes. Unpleasant behavior, disruptive behavior, yes. People can always be counted on to fall in love with the wrong person or to lose their tempers or to be stupid or greedy or vengeful. Crime is something else, and we all know that. What we mean by crime doesn‘t exist among tribal peoples, but this isn‘t because they‘re nicer people than we are, it‘s because they‘re organized in a different way. This is worth spending a moment on. If someone irritates you—let‘s say by constantly interrupting you while you‘re talking—this isn‘t a crime. You can‘t call the police and have this person arrested, tried, and sent to prison, because interrupting people isn‘t a crime. This means you have to handle it yourself, whatever way you can. But if this same person walks onto your property and refuses to leave, this is a trespass—a crime—and you can absolutely call the police and have this person arrested, tried, and maybe even sent to prison. In other words, crimes engage the machinery of the state, while other unpleasant behaviors don‘t. Crimes are what the state defines as crimes. Trespassing is a crime, but interrupting is not, and we therefore have two entirely different ways of handling them—which people in tribal societies do not. Whatever the trouble is, whether it‘s bad manners or murder, they handle it themselves, the way you handle the interrupter. Evoking the power of the state isn‘t an option for them, because they have no state. In tribal societies, crime simply doesn‘t exist as a separate category of human behavior. Note again: There‘s nothing cyclical about the appearance of crime in human society. For the first time in history, people were dealing with crime. And note that crime made its appearance during the dawning age of literacy. What this means is that, as soon as people started to write, they started writing laws; this is because writing enabled them to do something they hadn‘t been able to do before. Writing enabled them to define in exact, fixed terms the behaviors they wanted the state to regulate, punish, and suppress.
From this point on, crime would have an identity of its own as ―a problem‖ in our culture. Like war, it was destined to stay with us— East and West—right up to the present moment. From this point on, crime would join war as a measure of how hot the water was becoming around our smiling frog.
Signs of distress: 1400-0 B.C.E. The fire burned on under the cauldron of our culture, and the next doubling of our population took only fourteen hundred years. There were two hundred million humans now, at the beginning of our ―Common Era,‖ ninety-five percent or more of them belonging to our culture, East and West. It was an era of political and military adventurism. Hammurabi made himself master of all Mesopotamia. Sesostris III of Egypt invaded Palestine and Syria. Assyria‘s Tiglath Pileser I extended his rule to the shores of the Mediterranean. Egyptian pharaoh Sheshonk overran Palestine. Tiglath Pileser III conquered Syria, Palestine, Israel, and Babylon. Babylon‘s Second Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem and Tyre. Cyrus the Great extended his reach across the whole of the civilized west, and two centuries later Alexander the Great made the same imperial reach. It was also an era of civil revolt and assassination. The reign of Assyria‘s Shalmaneser ended in revolution. A revolt in Chalcidice against Athenian rule marked the beginning of the twenty-year-long conflict known as the Peloponnesian War. A few years later Mitylene in Lesbos also revolted. Spartans, Achaeans, and Arcadians organized a rebellion against Macedonian rule. A revolt in Egypt brought Ptolemy III home from his military campaign in Syria. Philip of Macedon was assassinated, as was Darius III of Persia, Seleucus III Soter, the Carthaginian general Hasdrubel, social reformer Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, the Seleucid king Antiochus VIII, Chinese emperor Wong Mong, and Roman emperors Claudius and Domitian. But these weren‘t the only new signs of stress observable in this age. Counterfeiting, coinage debasement, catastrophic inflation—all those nasty tricks were seen regularly now. Famine became a regular feature of life all over the civilized world, as did plague, ever symptomatic of overcrowding and poor sanitation; in 429 B.C.E. plague carried off as much as two thirds of the population of Athens. Thinkers in both China and Europe were beginning to advise people to have smaller families. Slavery became a huge, international business, and of course would remain one down to the present moment. It‘s estimated that at the midpoint of the fifth century every third or fourth person in Athens was a slave. When Carthage fell to Rome in 146 B.C.E., fifty thousand of the survivors were sold as slaves. In 132 B.C.E. some seventy thousand Roman slaves rebelled; when the revolt was put down, twenty thousand were crucified, but this was far from the end of Rome‘s problems with its slaves. But new signs of distress appeared in this period that were far more relevant to our purpose here tonight. For the first time in history, people were beginning to suspect that something fundamentally wrong was going on here. For the first time in history, people were beginning to feel empty, were beginning to feel that their lives were not amounting to enough, were beginning to wonder if this is all there is to life, were beginning to hanker after something vaguely more. For the first time in history, people began listening to religious teachers who promised them salvation. It‘s impossible to overstate the novelty of this idea of salvation. Religion had been around in our culture for thousands of years, of course, but it had never been about salvation as we understand it or as the people of this period began to understand it. Earlier gods had been talismanic gods of kitchen and crop, mining and mist, housepainting and herding, stroked at
need like lucky charms, and earlier religions had been state religions, part of the apparatus of sovereignty and governance (as is apparent from their temples, built for royal ceremonies, not for popular public devotions). Judaism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Buddhism all came into being during this period and had no existence before it. Quite suddenly, after six thousand years of totalitarian agriculture and civilization building, the people of our culture—East and West, twins of a single birth—were beginning to wonder if their lives made sense, were beginning to perceive a void in themselves that economic success and civil esteem could not fill, were beginning to imagine that something was profoundly, even innately, wrong with them.
Signs of distress: 0-1200 C.E. The fire burned on under the cauldron of our culture, and the next doubling of our population would take only twelve hundred years. There would be four hundred million humans at the end of it, ninety-eight percent of them belonging to our culture, East and West. War, plague, famine, political corruption and unrest, crime, and economic instability were fixtures of our cultural life and would remain so. Salvationist religions had been entrenched in the East for centuries when this period began, but the great empire of the West still saluted its dozens of talismanic deities, from Aeolus to Zephyrus. Nonetheless the ordinary people of that empire— the slaves, the conquered, the peasants, the unenfranchised masses—were ready when the first great salvationist religion of the West arrived on its doorstep. It was easy for them to envision humankind as innately flawed and to envision themselves as sinners in need of rescue from eternal damnation. They were eager to despise the world and to dream of a blissful afterlife in which the poor and the humble of this world would be exalted over the proud and the powerful. The fire burned on unwaveringly under the cauldron of our culture, but people everywhere now had salvationist religions to show them how to understand and deal with the inevitable discomfort of being alive. Adherents tend to concentrate on the differences between these religions, but I concentrate on their agreements, which are as follows: The human condition is what it is, and no amount of effort on your part will change that; it‘s not within your power to save your people, your friends, your parents, your children, or your spouse, but there is one person (and only one) you can save, and that‘s you. Nobody can save you but you, and there‘s nobody you can save but yourself. You can carry the word to others and they can carry the word to you, but it never comes down to anything but this, whether it‘s Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, or Islam: Nobody can save you but you, and there‘s nobody you can save but yourself. Salvation is of course the most wonderful thing you can achieve in your life—and you not only don‘t have to share it, it isn‘t even possible to share it. As far as these religions have it worked out, if you fail of salvation, then your failure is complete, whether others succeed or not. On the other hand, if you find salvation, then your success is complete—again, whether others succeed or not. Ultimately, as these religions have it, if you’re saved, then literally nothing else in the entire universe matters. Your salvation is what matters. Nothing else—not even my salvation (except of course, to me). This was a new vision of what counts in the world. Forget the boiling, forget the pain. Nothing matters but you and your salvation. Signs of distress: 1200-1700 It was quite a vision—but of course the fire burned on under the cauldron of our culture, and the next doubling of our population would take only five hundred years. There would be eight hundred million humans at the end of it, ninety-nine percent of them belonging to our culture, East and West. It‘s the age of bubonic plague, the Mongol Horde, the Inquisition. The first known madhouse and the first debtor‘s prison are opened in London. Farm laborers revolt in France in 1251 and 1358, textile workers revolt in Flanders in 1280; War Tyler‘s
rebellion reduces England to anarchy in 1381, as workers of all kinds unite to demand an end to exploitation; workers riot in plague-and famine-racked Japan in 1428 and again in 1461; Russia‘s serfs rise in revolt in 1671 and 1672; Bohemia‘s serfs revolt eight years later. The Black Death arrives to devastate Europe in the middle of the fourteenth century and returns periodically for the next two centuries, carrying off tens of thousands with every outbreak; in two years alone in the seventeenth century it will kill a million people in northern Italy. The Jews make a handy scapegoat for everyone‘s pain, for everything that goes wrong; France tries to expel them in 1252, later forces them to wear distinctive badges, later strips them of their possessions, later tries to expel them again; Britain tries to expel them in 1290 and 1306; Cologne tries to expel them in 1414; blamed for spreading the Black Death whenever and wherever it arrives, thousands are hanged and burned alive; Castile tries to expel them in 1492; thousands are slaughtered in Lisbon in 1506; Pope Paul III walls them off from the rest of Rome, creating the first ghetto. The anguish of the age finds expression in flagellant movements that foster the idea that God will not be so tempted to find extravagant punishments for us (plagues, famines, wars, and so on) if we preempt him by inflicting extravagant punishments on ourselves. For a time in 1374, Aix-la-Chapelle is in the grip of a strange mania that will fill the streets with thousands of frenzied dancers. Millions will die as famine strikes Japan in 1232, Germany and Italy in 1258, England in 1294 and 1555, all of Western Europe in 1315, Lisbon in 1569, Italy in 1591, Austria in 1596, Russia in 1603, Denmark in 1650, Bengal in 1669, Japan in 1674. Syphilis and typhus make their appearance in Europe. Ergotism, a fungus food poisoning, becomes endemic in Germany, killing thousands. An unknown sweating sickness visits and revisits England, killing tens of thousands. Smallpox, typhus, and diphtheria epidemics carry off thousands. Inquisitors develop a novel technique to combat heresy and witchcraft, torturing suspects until they implicate others, who are tortured until they implicate others, who are tortured until they implicate others, ad infinitum. The slave trade flourishes as millions of Africans are transported to the New World. I don‘t bother to mention war, political corruption, and crime, which continue unabated and reach new heights. There will be few to argue with Thomas Hobbes when, in 1651, he describes the life of man as ―solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.‖ A few years later Blaise Pascal will note that ―All men naturally hate one another.‖ The period ends in decades of economic chaos, exacerbated by revolts, famines, and epidemics. Christianity becomes the first global salvationist religion, penetrating the Far East and the New World. At the same time it fractures. The first fracture is resisted hard, but after that, disintegration becomes commonplace. Please don‘t overlook the point I‘m making here. I‘m not collecting signals of human evil. These are reactions to overcrowding—too many people competing for too few resources, eating rotten food, drinking fouled water, watching their families starve, watching their families fall to the plague.
Signs of distress: 1700-1900 The fire burned on under the cauldron of our culture, and the next doubling of our population would take only two hundred years. There would be one and a half billion humans at the end of it, all but half a percent of them belonging to our culture, East and West. It would be a period in which, for the first time, religious prophets would attract followers simply by predicting the imminent end of the world; in which the opium trade would become an international big business, sponsored by the East India Company and protected by British warships; in which Australia, New Guinea, India, Indochina, and Africa would be claimed or carved up as colonies by the major powers of Europe; in which indigenous peoples all around the world would be wiped out in the millions by diseases brought to them by Europeans— measles, pellagra, whooping cough, smallpox, cholera—with millions more herded onto reservations or killed outright to make room for white expansion.
This isn‘t to say that native peoples alone were suffering. Sixty million Europeans died of smallpox in the eighteenth century alone. Tens of millions died in cholera epidemics. I‘d need ten minutes to list all the dozens of fatal appearances that plague, typhus, yellow fever, scarlet fever, and influenza made during this period. And anyone who doubts the integral connection between agriculture and famine need only examine the record of this period: crop failure and famine, crop failure and famine, crop failure and famine, again and again all over the civilized world. The numbers are staggering. Ten million starved to death in Bengal, 1769. Two million in Ireland and Russia in 1845 and 1846. Nearly fifteen million in China and India from 1876 to 1879. In France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Japan, and elsewhere, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands died in other famines too numerous to mention. As the cities became more crowded, human anguish reached highs that would have been unimaginable in previous ages, with hundreds of millions inhabiting slums of inconceivable squalor, prey to disease borne by rats and contaminated water, without education or means of betterment. Crime flourished as never before and was generally punished by public maiming, branding, flogging, or death; imprisonment as an alternate form of punishment developed only late in the period. Mental illness also flourished as never before—madness, derangement, whatever you choose to call it. No one knew what to do with lunatics; they were typically incarcerated alongside criminals, chained to the walls, flogged, forgotten. Economic instability remained high, and its consequences were felt more widely than ever before. Three years of economic chaos in France led directly to the 1789 revolution that claimed some four hundred thousand victims burned, shot, drowned, or guillotined. Periodic market collapses and depressions wiped out hundreds of thousands of businesses and reduced millions to starvation. The age also ushered in the Industrial Revolution, of course, but this didn‘t bring ease and prosperity to the masses; rather it brought utterly heartless and grasping exploitation, with women and small children working ten, twelve, and more hours a day for starvation wages in sweatshops, factories, and mines. You can find the atrocities for yourself if you‘re not familiar with them. In 1787 it was reckoned that French workers labored as much as sixteen hours a day and spent sixty percent of their wages on a diet consisting of little more than bread and water. It was the middle of the nineteenth century before the British Parliament limited children‘s workdays to ten hours. Hopeless and frustrated, people everywhere became rebellious, and governments everywhere answered with systematic repression, brutality, and tyranny. General uprisings, peasant uprisings, colonial uprisings, slave uprisings, worker uprisings—there were hundreds, I can‘t even list them all. East and West, twins of a common birth, it was the age of revolutions. Tens of millions of people died in them. As ordinary, habitual interactions between governed and governors, revolt and repression were new, you understand—characteristic signs of distress of the age. The wolf and the wild boar were deliberately exterminated in Europe during this period. The great auk of Edley Island, near Iceland, was hunted to extinction for its feathers in 1844, becoming the first species to be wiped out for purely commercial purposes. In North America, in order to facilitate railway construction and undermine the food base of hostile native populations, professional hunters destroyed the bison herds, wiping out as many as three million in a single year; only a thousand were left by 1893. In this age, people no longer went to war to defend their religious beliefs. They still had them, still clung to them, but the theological divisions and disputes that once seemed so murderously important had been rendered irrelevant by more pressing material concerns. The consolations of religion are one thing, but jobs, fair wages, decent living and working conditions, freedom from oppression, and some faint hope of social and economic betterment are another.
It would not, I think, be too fanciful to suggest that the hopes that had been invested in religion in former ages were in this age being invested in revolution and political reform. The promise of ―pie in the sky when you die‖ was no longer enough to make the misery of life in the cauldron endurable. In 1843 the young Karl Marx called religion ―the opium of the people.‖ From the greater distance of another century and a half, however, it‘s clear that religion was in fact no longer very effective as a narcotic.
Signs of distress: 1900-60 The fire burned on under the cauldron of our culture, and the next doubling of our population would take only sixty years—only sixty. There would be three billion humans at the end of it, all but perhaps two tenths of a percent of them belonging to our culture, East and West. What do I need to say about the water steaming in our cauldron in this era? Is it boiling yet, do you think? Does the first global economic collapse, beginning in 1929, look like a sign of distress to you? Do two cataclysmic world wars look like signs of distress to you? Stand off a few thousand miles and watch from outer space as sixty-five million people are slaughtered on battlefields or blasted to bits in bombing strikes, as another hundred million count themselves lucky to escape merely blinded, maimed, or crippled. I‘m talking about a number of people equal to the entire human population in the Golden Age of classical Greece. I‘m talking about the number of people you would destroy if today you dropped hydrogen bombs on Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, New York City, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. I think the water is hot, ladies and gentlemen. I think the frog is boiling.
Signs of distress: 1960-96 The next doubling of our population occurred in only thirty-six years, bringing us to the present moment, when there are six billion humans on this planet, all but a few scattered millions belonging to our culture, East and West. The voices in our long chorus of distress have been added a few at a time, age by age. First came war: war as a social fixture, war as a way of life. For two thousand years or more, war seems to have been the only voice in the chorus. But before long it was joined by crime: crime as a social fixture, as a way of life. And then there was corruption: corruption as a social fixture, as a way of life. Before long, these voices were joined by slavery: slavery as world trade and as a social fixture. Soon revolt followed: citizens and slaves rising up to vent their rage and pain. Next, as population pressures gained in intensity, famine and plague found their voices and began to sing everywhere in our culture. Vast classes of the poor began to be exploited pitilessly for their labor. Drugs joined slavery as world trade. The laboring classes—the so-called dangerous classes—rose up in rebellion. The entire world economy collapsed. Global industrial powers played at world domination and genocide. And then came us: 1960 to the present. Of what does our voice sing in the chorus of distress? For some four decades the water has been boiling around the frog. One by one, thousand by thousand, million by million, its cells have shut down, unequal to the task of holding on to life. What are we looking at here? I‘ll give you a name and you can tell me if I‘ve got it right. I‘m prepared to name it . . . cultural collapse. This is what we sing of in the chorus of distress now—not instead of all the rest, but in addition to all the rest. This is our unique contribution to our culture‘s howl of pain. For the very first time in the history of the world, we bewail the collapse of everything we know and understand, the collapse of the structure on which everything has been built from the beginning of our culture until now. The frog is dead—and we can‘t imagine what this means for us or for our children. We‘re terrified. Have I got it right? Think about it. If I‘ve got it wrong, there‘s nothing more to say,
of course. But if you think I‘ve got it right, come back tomorrow night, and I‘ll continue from this point.
Cultural Collapse: The Collapse of Values: 19 May, Schauspielhaus Wahnfried, Radenau Before our era, the chorus of distress that had assembled over the ten thousand years of our cultural life consisted of nine voices: war, crime, corruption, rebellion, famine, plague, slavery, genocide, and economic collapse. Beginning in 1960, our own era found a tenth voice to add to the chorus, a voice never heard before, and this is the voice of cultural catastrophe—a voice that wails of loss of vision, failure of purpose, and the collapse of values. Every culture has a defining place in the scheme of things, a vision of where it fits in the universe. There‘s no need for people to articulate this vision in words (for example, to their children) because it‘s articulated in their lives—in their history, their legends, their customs, their laws, their rituals, their arts, their dances, their stories and songs. Indeed, if you ask them to explain this vision, they won‘t know how to begin and may not even know what you‘re talking about. You might say that it‘s a kind of low, murmurous song that‘s in their ears from birth, heard so constantly throughout their lives that it‘s never consciously heard at all. I know that many of you are familiar with the work of my colleague Ishmael, who called the singer of this song Mother Culture and identified the song itself as nothing less than mythology. The famous mythologist Joseph Campbell lamented the fact that nowadays the people of our culture have no mythology, but, as Ishmael showed us, not all mythology comes from the mouths of bards and storytellers around the fire. Another sort has come to us from the mouths of emperors, lawgivers, priests, political leaders, and prophets. Nowadays it comes to us from the pulpits of our churches, from film screens and television screens, from the mouths of clergy, schoolteachers, news commentators, novelists, pundits. It‘s not a mythology of quaint tales but a mythology that tells us what the gods had in mind when they made the universe and what our role in that universe is. A people can no more function without this sort of mythology than an individual can function without a nervous system. It‘s the organizing principle of all our activities. It explains to us the meaning of everything we do. It can happen that circumstances may shatter a culture‘s vision of its place in the scheme of things, may render its mythology meaningless, may strangle its song. When this happens (and it‘s happened many times), things fall apart in this culture. Order and purpose are replaced by chaos and bewilderment. People lose the will to live, become listless, become violent, become suicidal, and take to drink, drugs, and crime. The matrix that once held all in place is now shattered, and laws, customs, and institutions fall into disuse and disrespect, especially among the young, who see that even their elders can no longer make sense of them. If you‘d like to study some peoples who have been destroyed in this way, there‘s no shortage of sites to visit in the United States, Africa, South America, New Guinea, Australia— wherever, in fact, aboriginal peoples have been crushed under the wheels of our cultural juggernaut. Or you can just stay at home. You no longer need to travel to the ends of the earth to find people who have become listless, violent, and suicidal, who have taken to drink, drugs, and crime, whose laws, customs, and institutions have fallen into disuse and disrespect. We ourselves have fallen
under the wheels of our juggernaut, and our own vision of our place in the scheme of things has been shattered, our own mythology has been rendered meaningless, and our own song has been strangled in our throats. These are things that we all sense. It doesn‘t matter where you go or who you talk to—a rancher in Montana, a diamond merchant in Amsterdam, a stockbroker in New York, a bus driver in Hamburg. I‘m just old enough to remember a time when it wasn‘t so, and certainly my parents remember that time, as do yours. I‘m certainly not talking about ―the good old days‖ here. The chorus of distress was in full voice—heaven knows it was, since I‘m talking about the decades following the most destructive and murderous war in human history. Even so, in the late forties and fifties, the people of our culture still knew where they were going, were still confident that a glorious future lay just ahead of us. All we had to do was to hold on to the vision and keep doing all the things that got us here in the first place. We could count on those things. They were the things that had brought us universities and opera houses, central heating and elevators, Mozart and Shakespeare, ocean liners and motion pictures. What‘s more—and you must mark this—the things that got us here were good things. In 1950 there wasn‘t the slightest whisper of a doubt about this anywhere in our culture, East or West, capitalist or communist. In 1950 this was something everyone could agree on: Exploiting the world was our God-given right. The world was created for us to exploit. Exploiting the world actually improved it! There was no limit to what we could do. Cut as much down as you like, dig up as much as you like. Scrape away the forests, fill in the wetlands, dam the rivers, dump poisons anywhere you want, as much as you want. None of this was regarded as wicked or dangerous. Good heavens, why would it be? The earth was created specifically to be used in this way. It was a limitless, indestructible playroom for humans. You simply didn‘t have to consider the possibility of running out of something or of damaging something. The earth was designed to take any punishment, to absorb and sweeten any toxin, in any quantity. Explode nuclear weapons? Good heavens, yes—as many as you want! Thousands, if you like. Radioactive material generated while trying to achieve our Godgiven destiny can‘t harm us. Wipe out whole species? Absolutely! Why ever not? If people don‘t need these creatures, then obviously they‘re superfluous! To exercise such control over the world is to humanize it, is to take us a step closer to our destiny. Listen: In 1948 Paul Müller of Switzerland received a Nobel Prize for his wonderful work with dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, considered the completely ideal chemical means of wiping out unwanted insect species. Perhaps you don‘t recognize it by that melodic name, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. I‘m talking about DDT. In the 1950s and 1960s DDT flowed across the earth like milk and honey, like ambrosia. Everyone knew it was a deadly poison. Of course it was a deadly poison, that was the whole point of it! But we could use as much of it as we liked, because it couldn‘t harm us. The earth, doing its job, would see to that. It would swallow all that wonderful, deadly poison and give us back sweet water, sweet land, and sweet air. It would always and forever swallow all the radioactive wastes, all the industrial wastes, all the poisons we could generate, and give us back sweet water, sweet land, and sweet air. This was the contract, this was the vision itself: The world was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer and rule it. This is what we‘d been about from the beginning: conquering and ruling, taking the world as if it had been fashioned for our exclusive use, using what we wanted and discarding the rest— destroying the rest as superfluous. This was not wicked work (please note again), this was holy work! This is what God created us to do!
And please don‘t imagine that this was something we learned from Genesis, where God told Adam to fill the earth and subdue it. This is something we knew before Jerusalem, before Babylon, before Catal Hüyük, before Jericho, before Ali Kosh, before Zawi Chemi Shanidar. This isn‘t something the authors of Genesis taught us, this is something we taught them. Let me say again, as I must on every occasion, that this was not the human vision, not the vision that was born in us when we became Homo habilis or when Homo habilis became Homo erectus or when Homo erectus became Homo sapiens. This is the vision that was born in us when our particular culture was born, ten thousand years ago. This was the manifesto of our revolution, to be carried to every corner of the earth. The truth of this manifesto wasn‘t doubted by the builders of the ziggurats of Ur or the pyramids of Egypt. It wasn‘t doubted by the hundreds of thousands who labored to wall off China from the rest of the world. It wasn‘t doubted by the traders who carried gold and glass and ivory from Thebes to Nippur and Larsa. It wasn‘t doubted by the scribes of the Hittites and the Elamites and the Mitanni who first pressed the record of imperial conquest into clay tablets. It wasn‘t doubted by the ironworkers who carried their potent secrets from Babylon to Nineveh and Damascus. It wasn‘t doubted by Darius of Persia or Philip of Macedon or Alexander the Great. It wasn‘t doubted by Confucius or Aristotle. It wasn‘t doubted by Hannibal or Julius Caesar or Constantine, Christianity‘s first imperial protector. It wasn‘t doubted by the marauders who scavenged the bones of the Roman Empire—the Huns, the Vikings, the Arabs, the Avars, and others. It wasn‘t doubted by Charlemagne or Genghis Khan. It wasn‘t doubted by the Crusaders or by the Shiite Assassins. It wasn‘t doubted by the merchants of the Hanseatic League. It wasn‘t doubted by Pope Alexander VI, who in 1494 decided how the entire world should be divided among the colonizing powers of Europe. It wasn‘t doubted by the pioneers of the scientific revolution—Copernicus and Kepler and Galileo. It wasn‘t doubted by the great explorers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and it certainly wasn‘t doubted by the conquerors and settlers of the New World. It wasn‘t doubted by the intellectual founders of the modern age, thinkers like Descartes, Adam Smith, David Hume, and Jeremy Bentham. It wasn‘t doubted by the pathfinders of the democratic revolution, political theorists like John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It wasn‘t doubted by the countless inventors, tinkers, dabblers, investors, and visionaries of the Industrial Revolution. It wasn‘t doubted by the Luddite gangs who smashed up factories in the Midlands and north of England. It wasn‘t doubted by the industrial giants who built the railroads and armed the armies and rolled out the steel—the Du Ponts, the Vanderbilts, the Krupps, the Morgans, the Carnegies. It wasn‘t doubted by the authors of the Communist Manifesto, by the organizers of the labor movement, or by the architects of the Russian Revolution. It wasn‘t doubted by the rulers who plunged Europe into the maelstrom of World War I. It wasn‘t doubted by the authors of the Treaty of Versailles or by the architects of the League of Nations. It wasn‘t doubted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation or by the signers of the Oxford Pledge. It wasn‘t doubted by the scores of millions who were jobless during the Great Depression. It wasn‘t doubted by those who struggled to establish parliamentary democracy in Germany or by those who ultimately defeated them. It wasn‘t doubted by the hundreds of thousands who labored in an industry of death created to rid humanity of ―mongrel races.‖ It wasn‘t doubted by the millions who fought World War Il or by the leaders who sent them to fight. It wasn‘t doubted by the hardworking scientists and engineers who exerted their best skills to rain down terror on the cities of England and Germany.
The world was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer and rule it. This manifesto certainly wasn‘t doubted by the rival teams that raced to split the atom and build a weapon capable of destroying our entire species. It wasn‘t doubted by the architects of the United Nations. It wasn‘t doubted by the hundreds of millions who in the postwar years dreamed of a coming utopia where people would rest and all labor would be performed by robots, where atomic power would be limitless and free, where poverty, hunger, and crime
would be obsolete. But that manifesto is doubted now, ladies and gentlemen . . . almost everywhere in our culture, in all walks of life, among the young and the old, but especially among the young, for whom the dream of a glittering future in which life will become ever sweeter and sweeter and sweeter, decade after decade, century after century, has been exploded and is meaningless. Your children know better. They know better in large part because you know better. Only our politicians still insist that the world was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer and rule it. They must, as a professional obligation, still affirm and proclaim the manifesto of our revolution. If they want to hold on to their jobs, they must assure us with absolute conviction that a glorious future lies just ahead for us—provided that we march forward under the banner of conquest and rule. They reassure us of this, and then they wonder, year after year, why fewer and fewer voters go to the polls.
Silent Spring and beyond I‘ve said that this new era of the collapse of values began in 1960. Strictly speaking, it should be dated to 1962, the year of Rachel Carson‘s Silent Spring, the first substantive challenge ever issued to the motivating vision of our culture. The facts Carson brought forward to detail the devastating environmental effects of DDT and other pesticides were astounding: DDT didn‘t just do its intended job of killing unwanted insects; it had entered the avian food chain, disrupting reproductive processes and breaking down egg structures, with the result that many species had already been destroyed and many more were threatened, making it not unthinkable that the world might someday wake to a silent spring—a spring without birds. But Silent Spring wasn‘t just another sensational exposé, welcome in any publishing season. With a single powerful blow, it shattered for all time a complex of fundamental articles of our cultural faith: that the world was capable of repairing any damage we might do to it; that the world was designed to do precisely this; that the world was ―on our side‖ in our aggrandizement, would always tolerate and facilitate our efforts; that God himself had fashioned the world specifically to support our efforts to conquer and rule it. The facts in Silent Spring plainly contradicted all these ideas. Something presumably beneficial to us was not being tolerated and facilitated by the world. The world was not supporting our cultural vision. God was not supporting our cultural vision. The world was not unequivocally on our side. God was not unequivocally on our side.If the matter had ended with Rachel Carson and DDT, our cultural vision would surely have cleared up and recovered, but as we all know, Rachel Carson and DDT were only the barest beginning. Carson was just the first to look, the first to show us that there was something new here to be seen. Dozens, hundreds, thousands have looked since then, and the more they‘ve looked, the more they‘ve shattered our cultural faith. I won‘t review it for you. In an evening I could barely scratch the surface, and I‘d only be telling you things discoverable in any encyclopedia. It comes down to this: In our present numbers and enacting our present dreams, the human race is having a lethal impact upon the world. Lakes are dying, seas are dying, forests are dying, the land itself is dying—for reasons directly traceable to our activities. As many as a hundred and forty species are vanishing every day—for reasons directly traceable to our activities. Listen, I hear you squirming in your seats—but I‘m not saying these things to make you feel guilty. That‘s not my purpose here at all. I‘m here tonight to figure out . . . what‘s gone wrong here.
Theories: What‘s gone wrong here? Every year more and more children are born out of wedlock. Every year more and more children live in broken homes. Every year more and more people are bruised and battered by crime. Every year more and more children are abused and murdered. Every year more and
more women are raped. Every year more and more people are afraid to walk the streets at night. Every year more and more people commit suicide. Every year more and more people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Every year more and more people are imprisoned as criminals. Every year more and more people find routine entertainment in murderous violence and pornography. Every year more and more people immolate themselves in lunatic cults, delusional terrorism, and sudden, uncontrollable bursts of violence. The theories that are advanced to explain these things are for the most part commonplace generalities, truisms, and platitudes. They are the received wisdom of the ages. You hear, for example, that the human race is fatally and irremediably flawed. You hear that the human race is a sort of planetary disease that Gaia will eventually shake off. You hear that insatiable capitalist greed is to blame or that technology is to blame. You hear that parents are to blame or the schools are to blame or rock and roll is to blame. Sometimes you hear that the symptoms themselves are to blame: things like poverty, oppression, and injustice, things like overcrowding, bureaucratic indifference, and political corruption. These are some of the common theories advanced to explain what‘s gone wrong here. You‘ll hear others. Most of them have to be deduced from the remedies that are proposed to correct them. Usually these remedies are expressed in this form: All we have to do is . . . something. Elect the right party. Get rid of this leader. Handcuff the liberals. Handcuff the conservatives. Write stricter laws. Give longer prison sentences. Bring back the death penalty. Kill Jews, kill ancient enemies, kill foreigners, kill somebody. Meditate. Pray the Rosary. Raise consciousness. Evolve to some new plane of existence. I want you to understand what I‘m doing here. I‘m proposing a new theory to explain what‘s gone wrong. This is not a minor variation, not a smartening up of conventional wisdom. This is something unheard of, something entirely novel in our intellectual history. Here it is: We‘re experiencing cultural collapse. The very same collapse that was experienced by the Plains Indians when their way of life was destroyed and they were herded onto reservations. The very same collapse that was experienced by countless aboriginal peoples overrun by us in Africa, South America, Australia, New Guinea, and elsewhere. It matters not that the circumstances of the collapse were different for them and for us, the results were the same. For both of us, in just a few decades, shocking realities invalidated our vision of the world and made nonsense of a destiny that had always seemed self-evident. The outcome was the same for both of us: Things fell apart. It doesn‘t matter whether you live in tepees or skyscrapers, things fall apart. Order and purpose are replaced by chaos and bewilderment. People lose the will to live, become listless, become violent, become suicidal, and take to drink, drugs, and crime. The matrix that once held all in place is shattered, and laws, customs, and institutions fall into disuse and disrespect, especially among the young, who see that even their elders can no longer make sense of them. And that‘s what‘s happened here, to us. The frog is dead. Circumstances have at last shattered our mad cultural vision, have at last rendered our self-aggrandizing mythology meaningless, have at last strangled our arrogant song. We‘ve lost our ability to believe that the world was made for Man and that Man was made to conquer and rule it. We‘ve lost our ability to believe that the world will automatically and inevitably support us in our conquest, will swallow all the poison we can generate without coming to harm. We‘ve lost our ability to believe that God is unequivocally on our side against the rest of creation. And so, ladies and gentlemen, we‘re . . . going to pieces.
We are Not Humanity
At last, good news A woman recently told me she wanted to bring a friend to hear me speak, but her friend said, ―I‘m sorry, but I can‘t stand to hear any more bad news.‖ [Laughter] Yes, it is funny, because you know that, oddly enough, you‘re here in this theater listening to me because you absolutely know that I‘m a bringer of good news. Yes, that‘s so, and because you know it‘s so, you laugh. You‘re already feeling better! You‘re absolutely right to feel better, and here‘s why. It‘s really quite simple. Here is my good news: We are not humanity. Can you feel the liberation in those words? Try them out. Go ahead. Just whisper them to yourselves: We . . . are not . . . humanity. We are not humanity. I want you to understand what these four words are. They are a summary of all that was forgotten during the Great Forgetting. I mean that quite literally. At the end of the Great Forgetting, when the people of our culture began to build civilization in earnest, those four words were practically unthinkable. In a sense, that‘s what the Great Forgetting was all about: We forgot that we‘re only a single culture and came to think of ourselves as humanity itself. All the intellectual and spiritual foundations of our culture were laid by people who believed absolutely that we are humanity itself. Thucycdides believed it. Socrates believed it. Plato believed it. Aristotle believed it. Ssuma Ch‘ien believed it. Gautama Buddha believed it. Confucius believed it. Moses believed it. Jesus believed it. St. Paul believed it. Muhammad believed it. Avicenna believed it. Thomas Aquinas believed it. Copernicus believed it. Galileo and Descartes believed it, though they could easily have known better. Hume, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Kant, Kierkegaard, Bergson, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus—they all took it for granted, though they certainly didn‘t lack the requisite information to know better. But you‘re bound to be wondering why it would be such bad news if we were humanity? I‘ll try to explain. If we were humanity itself, then all the terrible things we say about humanity would be true—and that would be very bad news. If we were humanity itself, then all our destructiveness would belong not to one misguided culture but to humanity itself—and that would be very bad news. If we were humanity itself, then the fact that our culture is doomed would mean that humanity itself is doomed—and that would be very bad news. If we were humanity itself, then the fact that our culture is the enemy of life on this planet would mean that humanity itself is the enemy of life on this planet—and that would be very bad news. If we were humanity itself, then the fact that our culture is hideous and misshapen would mean that humanity itself is hideous and misshapen—very bad news indeed. But we‘re not humanity, we‘re just one culture—one culture out of hundreds of thousands that have lived their vision on this planet and sung their song—and that‘s wonderful news, even for us! If it were humanity that needed changing, then we‘d be out of luck. But it isn‘t humanity that needs changing, it‘s just . . . us. And that‘s very good news.
Population: A Systems Approach: 21 May, Stuttgart Because the ideas I‘m going to be presenting here have proved to be so unsettling for people, I‘ve learned to approach them cautiously, from a good, safe distance—a good, safe distance being in this case about two hundred thousand years. Two hundred thousand years ago is when a new species called Homo sapiens first began to be seen on this planet.
As with any young species, there were not many members of it to begin with. Since our subject is population, I‘d better clarify what I mean by that. We have an approximate date for the emergence of Homo sapiens because we have fossil remains—and we have fossil remains because a sufficient number of this species lived around this time to provide those fossil remains. In other words, when I say that Homo sapiens appeared about two hundred thousand years ago, I‘m not talking about the first two of them or the first hundred of them. But neither am I talking about the first million of them. Two hundred thousand years ago, there was a bunch. Let‘s say ten thousand. Over the next hundred ninety thousand years, Homo sapiens grew in numbers and migrated to every continent of the world. The passage of these hundred ninety thousand years brings us to the opening of the historical era on this planet. It brings us to the beginning of the agricultural revolution that stands at the foundation of our civilization. This is about ten thousand years ago, and the human population at that time is estimated to have been around ten million. I want to spend a couple minutes now just looking at that period of growth from ten thousand people to ten million people. As it happens, what this period of growth represents is ten doublings. From ten thousand to twenty thousand, from twenty thousand to forty thousand, from forty thousand to eighty thousand, and so on. Start with ten thousand, double it ten times, and you wind up with about ten million. So: Our population doubled ten times in a hundred ninety thousand years. Went from about ten thousand to ten million. That‘s growth. Undeniable growth, definite growth, even substantial growth . . . but growth at an infinitesimal rate. Here‘s how infinitesimal it was: On the average, our population was doubling every nineteen thousand years. That‘s slow— glacially slow. At the end of this period, which is to say ten thousand years ago, this began to change very dramatically. Growth at an infinitesimal rate became growth at a rapid rate. Starting at ten million, our population doubled not in nineteen thousand years but in five thousand years, bringing it to twenty million. The next doubling—doubling and a bit—took only two thousand years, bringing us to fifty million. The next doubling took only sixteen hundred years, bringing us to one hundred million. The next doubling took only fourteen hundred years— bringing us to two hundred million at the zero point of our calendar. The next doubling took only twelve hundred years, bringing us to four hundred million. The year was 1200 A.D. The next doubling took only five hundred years, bringing us to eight hundred million in 1700. The next doubling took only two hundred years, bringing us to a billion and a half in 1900. The next doubling took only sixty years, bringing us to three billion in 1960. The next doubling will take only thirty-seven years or so. Within ten or twenty months we‘ll reach six billion, and if this growth trend continues unchecked, many of us in this room will live long enough to see us reach twelve billion. I won‘t attempt to imagine for you what that will mean. At a rough guess, my personal guess, take everything bad that you see going on now— environmental destruction, terrorism, crime, drugs, corruption, suicide, mental illness— violence of every kind—and multiply by four . . . at least. But, believe it or not, I‘m not here to depress you with gloomy pictures of the future. We have a population problem. There are a few people around who think that everything is fine, and we don‘t have a population problem at all, but I‘m not here to change their minds. I‘m here to suggest that the angle of attack we‘ve traditionally taken on this problem is ineffective and can never be anything but ineffective. After that, I want to show you a more promising angle of attack. But right now I‘d like to read you a fable that I think you‘ll find relevant. It‘s about some people with a population problem of their own and the way they go about attacking it. It‘s called ―Blessing: A Fable About Population.‖
Blessing: A Fable About Population
It happened once, on a planet not much different from our own, that researchers at a drug company got lucky with a substance they were testing as a pain reliever. Ingesting this substance, called D3346, painridden mice began to exhibit signs of relief: They were friskier, they mated more often, their appetites improved, and so on. Human tests made company officials ecstatic. D3346 outperformed much more powerful drugs and had no deleterious side effects (aside from imparting to the subject an objectionable odor that soon disappeared when the drug was discontinued). The new drug worked so well that the marketing department knew they had more than a mere painkiller on their hands. People put up with a host of small aches and pains more or less all the time, and simply by getting rid of them, D3346 gave users a feeling of well-being so intense that it almost amounted to a ―high.‖ The name Blessing was adopted for the new product without discussion, as was its slogan: ―Works on pain you didn‘t even know you had!‖ The drug was initially marketed in pill and liquid forms, but in less than a year someone had the bright idea of packaging it as a powder in disposable shakers designed to take their place beside the salt and pepper on the dining-room table. Within months, all ―medicinal‖ forms had disappeared from store shelves, and Blessing was no longer ―taken for pain.‖ It had become just another beneficial food additive, like a vitamin. No one was surprised when, nine months after the introduction of the drug, the birth rate began to climb. This had been predicted, and everyone understood the reasons for it. Blessing didn‘t increase fertility or sexual appetite; it wasn‘t an aphrodisiac. People using it just felt better—more playful, more affectionate, more outgoing. It was predicted that the birth rate would soon level off—and it did . . . at about ten percent above the old rate. On this planet, the people I‘ve been talking about did not constitute a dominant world culture, as we do—but they soon began to be noticed globally. In the first place, they smelled bad, which earned them the name by which they became known all across the world: the Stinkards. In the second place, responding to internal population pressures, they were incorrigible trespassers and encroachers. Nonetheless, the Stinkards usually managed to do their encroaching without violence . . . by sending Blessing ahead of them. It didn‘t matter that no one wanted to end up smelling like the Stinkards. The Blessing was there, and few could resist taking just an occasional dose for a sore back or a headache, and before long they were using it like table salt. People began by loathing the Stinkards and passionately resisting their encroachments, but ended up becoming Stinkards themselves. After a few hundred years the Stinkard expansion came to an end—because there were no new lands to expand into. The entire planet was Stinkard. Farsighted leaders realized that population was soon going to be an urgent problem, but a century passed without significant action being taken. The human population, having no reason to do anything else, continued to grow. Famine became a familiar feature of life in certain parts of the world, and in some quarters the problem came to be understood not as
one of curbing growth but as one of increasing food production. Another century passed, and the human population continued to expand. In informed circles, people began to practice and advocate various population-control strategies, ranging from birth control in one form or another to school programs designed to reduce teenage pregnancies, but none of these initiatives had any measurable effect. As more and more people became aware of the crisis, sociologists and economists began to probe more deeply for its causes. They noted, for example, that in many parts of the world, having children was a means of financial success; lacking other economic opportunities, especially for women, people brought children into the world to serve as unpaid workers and guarantors of old-age security. One biohistorian by the name of Spry tried to draw people‘s attention to the fact that, before the appearance of Blessing, the human population of the planet had been virtually stable, but his listeners had a hard time seeing the connection between the two things. Dr. Spry tried to explain. ―If you introduce Blessing into the diet of any species,‖ he said, ―the result will be the same: The birth rate will increase. Without any offsetting increase in the death rate, the species‘ overall population will inevitably increase as well.‖ The professor‘s listeners really had no notion of what he was getting at, since Blessing had been a constant feature of the human diet for a thousand years, and they couldn‘t begin to imagine how it felt to live without it. He had to explain very patiently that, without a constant intake of Blessing, everyone would experience a whole host of minor aches and pains, and experiencing these minor aches and pains, they would be slightly less frisky, slightly less playful, slightly less affectionate, slightly less outgoing —-and slightly less inclined to mate. As a result, the birth rate would go down, and the population would soon become stable once again. ―Are you saying that the solution to our population problem is to live in pain?‖ people asked him incredulously. ―That‘s a complete exaggeration of my point,‖ the professor said. ―Before Blessing came along, people didn‘t think of themselves as ‗living in pain.‘ They were not living in pain. They were just living.‖ Others said, ―This is really all beside the point. Dr. Spry has already pointed out that Blessing isn‘t an aphrodisiac and doesn‘t in itself increase fertility. The fact that we use Blessing doesn‘t compel us to mate more often. We can mate as little or as much as we want. What‘s more, we can also use any number of contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy. So it‘s hard to see what Blessing has to do with the matter at all.‖ ―It has this to do with it,‖ Dr. Spry replied. ―If you make Blessing available to any species, the members of that species will mate more often, and their birth rate will rise. It‘s not a question of what you or I will do—whether you or I will elect to use contraceptives, for example. It‘s a question of what the species as a whole will do. And I can demonstrate this experimentally: The birth rate of any species with free access to Blessing will increase. It doesn‘t matter whether it‘s mice or cats or lizards or chickens—or humans. This isn‘t a matter of what individuals do, this is a matter of what whole populations do.‖ But the professor‘s audiences always indignantly rejected this observation. ―We‘re not mice!‖ they would yell. ―We‘re not cats or lizards or chickens!‖ Increasingly regarded as a crank and an extremist, Dr. Spry eventually lost his teaching post and with it his credibility as an authority on any subject, and was heard from no more. The population crisis mounted. Environmental biologists estimated that the human population had already exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet and was headed for a
catastrophic collapse. Even former scoffers and optimists began to see that something had to change. Finally the heads of state of the major world powers convened a global conference to study and discuss the issues. It was an impressive event, unprecedented in human history. Thousands of thinkers from dozens of disciplines came together to put the problem under scrutiny. The concept of control soon emerged as the overriding theme of the conference. Population control, of course, was the subject itself. But achieving control of population implied control on all sorts of levels and in all sorts of ways. New economic controls would encourage couples to control family size. In backward lands, where women were little more than breeding machines, new social controls would release their creativity to enhance family prosperity. Birth-control devices, birth-control substances, and birth-control strategies needed wider dissemination. Naturally, on the level of the individual, personal control needed to be improved. Educational controls were hotly debated, with some arguing that controls were needed to keep children ignorant about sex while others argued that controls were needed to make children aware of sex. Control, control, control—it was a word heard ten thousand times, a million times. Unlike the word Blessing. At the Stinkards‘ great global conference on population, Blessing wasn‘t a major topic—or even a minor topic. In fact, Blessing wasn‘t even mentioned once. People who hear this parable naturally want to know how to interpret it. They can see that the Stinkards were fundamentally irrational when they refused to acknowledge the connection between Blessing and their population explosion. The connection seems obvious. The Stinkards‘ population explosion began exactly with the introduction of Blessing, and the introduction of Blessing would clearly produce the result observed. Logic and history combine to indict Blessing as the cause of the Stinkard population explosion. Logic and history combine to suggest that removing this cause would end the explosion and restore population stability. But what in our own culture corresponds to Blessing? I‘ll answer an easier question first and tell you that my role here today corresponds exactly to the role of the unfortunate Dr. Spry. I will name to you the cause of our population explosion—with far more evidence and plausibility than Dr. Spry was able to muster in the case of Blessing—and then we‘ll see. I‘m used to people becoming enraged with me on this issue. They become enraged because, like Dr. Spry, I‘m indicting what is perceived to be the very foremost blessing of our culture—a blessing far more essential to our way of life than any mere pain reliever.
Growth and the ABCs of ecology Among life-forms found on the surface of our planet, all food energy originates in the green plants and nowhere else. The energy that originates in green plants is passed on to creatures who feed on the plants, and is passed on again to predators who feed on plant eaters, and is passed on again to predators who feed on those predators, and is passed on again to scavengers who return to the soil nutrients that green plants need to keep the cycle going. All this can be said to be the A of the ABCs of ecology. The various feeding and feeder populations of the community maintain a dynamic balance, by feeding and being fed upon. Imbalances within the community—caused, for example, by disease or natural disasters —tend to be damped down and eradicated as the various populations of the community go about their usual business of feeding and being fed upon, generation after generation. Viewed in systems terms, the dynamic of population growth and
decline in the biological community is a negative feedback system. If you‘ve got too many deer in the forest, they‘re going to gobble up their food base—and this reduction in their food base will cause their population to decline. And as their population declines, their food base replenishes itself—and since this replenishment makes more food available to the deer, the deer population grows. In turn, the growth of the deer population depletes the availability of food, which in turn causes a decline in the deer population. Within the community, food populations and feeder populations control each other. As food populations increase, feeder populations increase. As feeder populations increase, food populations decrease. As food populations decrease, feeder populations decrease. As feeder populations decrease, food populations increase. And so on. This is the B of the ABCs of ecology. For systems thinkers, the natural community provides a perfect model of negative feedback. A simpler model is the thermostat that controls your furnace. Conditions at the thermostat convey the information ―Too cold,‖ and the thermostat turns the furnace on. After a while, conditions at the thermostat convey the information ―Too hot,‖ and the thermostat turns the furnace off. Negative feedback. Great stuff. The A of the ABCs of ecology is food. The community of life is nothing else. It‘s flying food, running food, swimming food, crawling food, and of course just sitting-there-and-growing food. The B of the ABCs of ecology is this, that the ebb and flow of all populations is a function of food availability. An increase in food availability for a species means growth. A reduction in food availability means decline. Always. Because it‘s so important let me say that another way: invariably. An increase in food availability for a species means growth. A reduction means decline. Every time, ever and always. Semper et ubique. Without exception. Never otherwise. More food, growth. Less food, decline. Count on it. There is no species that dwindles in the midst of abundance, no species that thrives on nothing. This is the B of the ABCs of ecology.
Defeating the system‘s controls With the A and the B of ecology in hand, we‘re ready to go back and look again at the origin of our population explosion. For a hundred and ninety thousand years our species grew at an infinitesimal rate from a few thousand to ten million. Then about ten thousand years ago we began to grow rapidly. This was not a miraculous event or an accidental event or even a mysterious event. We began to grow more rapidly because we‘d found a way to defeat the negative feedback controls of the community. We‘d become food producers—agriculturalists. In other words, we‘d found a way to increase food availability at will. This ability to make food available at will is the blessing on which our civilization is founded. It‘s also the blessing that the pain reliever in my parable stands for. The ability to produce food at will is an undoubted blessing, but its very blessedness can make it dangerous—and dangerously addictive—just like the analgesic in my fable. ―At will‖ is the operative expression here. Because we could now produce food at will, our population was no longer subject to control by food availability on a random basis. Anytime we wanted more food, we could grow it. After a hundred and ninety thousand years of being limited by what was available, we began to control what was available—and invariably we began to increase what was available. You don‘t become a farmer in order to reduce food availability, you become a farmer to increase food availability. And so do the folks next door. And so do the folks farming throughout your region. You are all involved in increasing food availability for your species.
And here comes the B in the ABCs of ecology: An increase in food availability for a species means growth for that species. In other words, ecology predicts that the blessing of agriculture will bring us growth—and history confirms ecology‘s prediction. As soon as we began to increase the availability of our own food, our population began to grow—not glacially, as before, when we were subject to the community‘s negative feedback controls— but rapidly. Population expansion among agriculturalists was followed by territorial expansion among agriculturalists. Territorial expansion made more land available for food production—and no one goes into farming to reduce food production. More land, more food production, more population growth. With more people, we need more food. With more food available, we soon have more people—as predicted by the laws of ecology. With more people, we need more food. With more food, we soon have more people. With more people, we need more food. With more food, we soon have more people. Positive feedback, this is called, in systems terminology. Another example: When conditions at the thermostat convey the information ―Too hot,‖ the thermostat turns the furnace ON instead of OFF. That‘s positive feedback. Negative feedback checks an increasing effect. Positive feedback reinforces an increasing effect. Positive feedback is what we see at work in this agricultural revolution of ours. Increased population stimulates increased food production, which increases the population. More food, more people. More people, more food. More food, more people. More people, more food. More food, more people. Positive feedback. Bad stuff. Dangerous stuff.
The experiment run 10,000 times What is observed in the human population is that intensification of production to feed an increased population invariably leads to a still greater increase in population. I‘ve seen this called a paradox, but in fact it‘s only what the laws of ecology predict. Listen to it again: ―Intensification of production to feed an increased population invariably leads to a still greater increase in population.‖
Objections I‘ve been surprised by how challenging people find these ideas. They feel menaced by them. They get angry. They feel I‘m attacking the foundation of their lives. They feel I‘m calling into question the blessedness of the greatest blessing of civilized life. They somehow feel I‘m questioning the sacredness of human life itself. I‘d like to deal with some of the objections people make to these ideas. I do this not to discourage you from expressing objections of your own but because I can express these objections as rudely as I like to myself without making anyone nervous. I‘ll deal with the most general objection first, which is that humans are not mice. This is of course absolutely true, especially at the individual level. Each of us as an individual is capable of making reproductive choices that mice absolutely cannot make. Nonetheless—and this is the point that ecology makes and that I‘ve made here today—our behavior as a biological population is indistinguishable from the behavior of any other biological population. In defense of that statement, I offer the evidence of ten thousand years of obedience to this fundamental law of ecology: An increase in food availability for a species means growth for that species. I‘ve been told that it doesn‘t have to be this way. I‘ve been told that it‘s possible for us to increase food production and simultaneously reduce our population. This is basically the position taken by birth-control advocates.
This is basically the position taken by well-intentioned organizations that undertake to improve indigenous agricultural techniques in Third World countries. They want to give technologically undeveloped peoples the means of increasing their population with one hand and birth-control aids with the other hand—even though we know full well that these birthcontrol aids don‘t even work for us! They‘re certain that we can go on increasing food production while ending population growth through birth control. This represents a denial of the B in the ABCs of ecology. History—and not just thirty years of history but ten thousand years of history—offers no support whatever for the idea that we can simultaneously increase food production and end population growth. On the contrary, history resoundingly confirms what ecology teaches: If you make more food available, there will be more people to consume it. Obviously the matter is different at the individual level. Old Macdonald on his farm can increase food production and simultaneously hold his family‘s growth to zero, but this clearly isn‘t the end of the story. What‘s he going to do with that increase he produced on his farm? Is he going to soak it in gasoline and burn it? If so, then he hasn‘t actually produced an increase at all. Is he going to sell it? Presumably that is what he‘s going to do with it, and if he does sell it, then that increase enters the annual agricultural increase that serves to support our global population growth. I‘m often told that even if we stop increasing food production, our population will continue to grow. This represents a denial of both the A and the B of the ABCs of ecology. The A in the ABCs of ecology is this: We are food. We are food because we are what we eat—and what we eat is food. To put it plainly, each and every one of us is made from food. When people tell me that our population will continue to add new millions even if we stop increasing food production, then I have to ask what these additional millions of people will be made of, since no additional food is being produced for them. I have to say, ―Please bring me some of these people, because if they‘re not made of food, I want to know what they are made of. Is it moonbeams or rainbow dust or starlight or angel‘s breath or what?‖ Almost invariably someone asks if I‘m not aware that population growth is much slower in the food-rich North than in the food-poor South. This fact seems to be offered as proof that human societies are not subject to the laws of ecology, which (it is assumed) predict that the more food the faster the growth. But this is not what ecology predicts. Let me repeat that: Ecology does not predict that the population in a food-rich area will grow more rapidly than the population in a food-poor area. What ecology predicts is: When more food is made available, the population will increase. Every year more food is made available in the North, and every year the population increases. Every year more food is made available in the South, and every year the population increases. Then I will be told very emphatically that more food is not being made available in the South. The population is growing like wildfire, but this growth is not being supported by any increase in food. All I can say about this is, if what you say is true, then we are clearly in the presence of a miracle. These people are not being made from food, because, according to you, no food is being made available for them. They must be made of air or icicles or dirt. But if it turns out—as I strongly suspect it will—that these people are not made of air or icicles or dirt but ordinary flesh and blood, then I‘ll have to say, what do you think this stuff is? [Here B grabbed the skin on his arm.] Do you think you can make this flesh and blood out of nothing? No, the existence of the flesh and blood is proof that these people are being made out of food. And if there are more people here this year, this is proof that there is more food here this year. And of course I have to deal with the starving millions. Don‘t we have to continue to increase food production in order to feed the starving millions?
There are two things to understand here. The first is that the excess that we produce each year does not go to feed the starving millions. It didn‘t go to feed the starving millions in 1995, it didn‘t go to feed the starving millions in 1994, it didn‘t go to feed the starving millions in 1993, it didn‘t go to feed the starving millions in 1992—and it won‘t go to feed the starving millions in 1996. Where did it go? It went to fuel our population explosion. That‘s the first thing. The second thing is that everyone involved in the problem of world hunger knows that the problem is not a shortage of food. Producing more food does not solve the problem, because that‘s simply not the problem. Producing more food just produces more people. Then people will ask, ―Don‘t you realize that our agricultural base is already being destroyed? We‘re eliminating millions of tons of topsoil every year. Even the sea isn‘t yielding as much food as before. Yet the population explosion continues.‖ The point of the objection is contained in that last sentence: Our food production capacity is declining, yet the population explosion continues. This nonfact is offered as proof that there is no connection between food and growth. Once again, I‘m afraid I must insist that this is magical thinking. Our population explosion can no more continue without food than a fire can continue without fuel. The fact that our population continues to grow year after year is proof that we‘re producing more food year after year. Until people start showing up who are made of shadows or metal filings or gravel—when that happens, then I‘ll have to back off this point. When all else fails, it will be objected that the people of the world will not tolerate a limit on food. That may be, but it has nothing to do with the facts I‘ve presented here. No one has ever specifically asked me what I have against birth control, but I‘ll answer the question anyway. I don‘t have a thing against birth control as such. It just represents very poor problem-solving strategy. The rule in crisis management is, Don‘t make it your goal to control effects, make it your goal to control causes. If you control causes, then you don‘t have to control effects. This is why they make you go through airport security before you get on the plane. They don‘t want to control effects. They want to control causes. Birth control is a strategy aimed at effects. Food-production control is a strategy aimed at causes. We‘d better have a look at it.