Ego death, debt, money, slavery, ecological footprints


Ego death is the process of losing oneself to find oneself.

The Ego death dismantles everything that is trivial and unimportant in life. Experiencing reality outside of the filter of being human puts things into perspective.

Ego death is the experience of a state of being that is free of the attachments used to form the personal identity filters that interpret your day to day experiences. The experience of Ego loss gives you a glimpse at how significant and/or insignificant these attachments are and how they can affect your life. The actual experience sometimes can be terrifying, but retrospective examination of it can increase your understanding of who you are and what you value in this existence.


So, the crisis in Greece rolls along. I hear today that PayPal no longer works there. But that’s just a smallish thing, a marginal thing, compared with what the people in like Yemen have to cope with, and Gaza, Somalia, and countless other places that never get featured in the Western media.


Taking a bit of an overview, what it’s about, is patches of Europe squabbling over money, and how it should be spread about. Or, rather, absence of money.

No, that’s not correct, is it. The word should be ‘debt’. And debt is not the same thing as ‘an absence of money’. You can be without money, and have everything that you need, and be without any debt, in the sense that you don’t owe anybody any money.


Owing somebody money, being in debt, is quite peculiar.

Among good neighbours, if the woman next door runs out of sugar, whatever, she sends the kid over, to borrow half a cupful until next week. It’s just a natural part of natural human interaction amongst people who need to get along, are possibly related, probably know each other throughout their whole lives.


I guess it works well enough, on a village size, or small town, at the tribal level, and so on, but once things get scaled up, and money gets invented, as a medium of exchange, then some problems arise. Because, there’s always someone who contributes nothing, but is always borrowing. And there’s always someone who never returns the favours.

And once you get past a critical number, then there can be anonymity, individuals who nobody really knows, who are passing through or only very distantly related, never to be seen again.


I’m not certain if it’s correct, but I read somewhere, that the Jews began usury, originally, because they were under a religious obligation to lend to anyone who was in need and asked. But the asker might never return, and the loan then be lost, so a qualification was introduced, to permit an interest charge to be added, so as to cover that risk. Which, on the face of it, might seem fair enough.

However, you then got people who set up as full time moneylenders who made their living from the interest charges, and thus the whole system, which was initially based on a benign charitable injunction, was corrupted into a scourge which has afflicted us all ever since, and become a curse for the jews in particular, because christians and moslems were forbidden from practising usury.


Humans are prone to coveting ‘shiny things’. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a new coat, or a new horse, or gold necklace for the missus…

And Kings always crave larger Kingdoms. Which need more castles and soldiers. It all needs money, and if you have not got some, then there is temptation to BORROW, and then, there are the moneylenders, the jews, who are always ready to arrange a deal..


But then they have power over you. Called debt. And nobody likes that. Except the jewish moneylenders, of course, who get rich and powerful that way.

All that went on for centuries, of course, and the problems of all this stuff were already fairly well understood way back in the Bronze Age.

The big prize was to get to be the moneylender for the biggest ruler, and where things really took off was in Italy, Venice, Florence, Rome, when the Medicis and Lombardis and whatnot got control over banking for the Pope, the Holy Roman Empire, which had authority all across Europe, to decide which Kings, Dukes, whoever were legitimate and so forth.


So that was the time of Machiavelli. And as I see it, when everything became totally corrupted. I mean, you could commit whatever crime or sin, and then pay some cash to a priest, and you’d be ‘forgiven’, so the richer you were, the badder you could afford to be.

This was so blatantly in contravention of the spirit of the New Testament and elementary common sense, that eventually Martin Luther came up with his manifesto, and found widespread support, and then you get the alternative of Protestantism, which was not sympathetic to the jews – Luther says somewhere they should all be killed and have their houses burned down – and then the Catholics and Protestants fought and killed each other all across Europe for centuries, and in some places, are still doing it.


One advantage the jews had, was speaking yiddish, gave them a semi-secret language by which to transmit information across Europe, and with all the strife and warfare, the bankers were in great demand, because every local warlord was desperate for funds to hire mercenaries, so as to survive, one way or another.

There’s that wonderful reference somewhere of a church in central Europe, where there’s a plaque on the wall, where the congregation thank their Lord for making them all Protestants. And beside it hangs another, dated a few years later, thanking another Lord for making them all Catholic again. And then a third, reversing the position… and so on…


And of course, on each occasion, countless soldiers died, villages were burned, peasants murdered, women raped, the land laid waste…

It was a feudal soceity. The Lord owned the land, and all upon it, including the human beings. By permission of whoever was above him, a King or Emperor, or the Pope. And provided he had enough armed men to hold onto it, when some rival came along and tried to take it by force.


And then comes capitalism, which replaced feudalism.

If you read what Jesus teaches in the New Testament, and various Apocrypha, and what various saintly folk have had to say, it seems fairly clear, the basic idea is that you should care for everyone. You distribute whatever food, or other goods that there are, amongst everyone, so that all have what they need, nobody is excluded. Sort of fundamental morality, justice and compassion.

But this changed, with Calvin and other folks, in the Protestant ethic, who got the idea that there are the deserving and the undeserving, and if you are very rich and prosperous, then that must be because God must be especially approving of you and what you do.


Which, to my mind, resembles that earlier corruption of the jewish injunction to give to those who are in need, that happened when interest on loans began to be charged.

Because suddenly, in a complete reversal of what Jesus says in the New Testament, you get a sort of ‘greed is good’ ethos. Well, it’s understandable, isn’t it, when all of Europe is being ravaged by insane violence, mercenary armies that are not even loyal any more to any cause or leader, but just roam across the countryside devouring whatever they need to survive, pillaging and looting at will, because no organised force can prevent them.


Plague, famine, terror, it must have seemed that anybody, anywhere, who seemed to be doing alright, must be especially favoured by God, in some way.

There was this very interesting article posted about a week ago.

I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.


It’s illustrative of numerous aspects of contemporary US culture, education and attitudes. However, for me, there’s some glaring omission.

If you look back at the feudal societies and that system, somebody has to do the work.

What I mean by that, somebody has to do hard physical muscular labour, every day, for many hours.

Because that is what permits the survival and functioning of the entire system.

There are other, alternative, systems, of course, hunting and gathering, and herding flocks of sheep or goats or cattle or camels or whatever, but we’re talking about historical Europe.


People don’t very much like doing hard physical work for extended periods, unless it is of their own volition, for their own benefit, where they see some clear reward, and enjoy themselves.

The only reason that there is the ‘plantation as museum’, with the guide taking tourists around, and making the stupid remarks, is because of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism, and fossil fuels. Instead of human and animal muscle power to keep everyone fed and clothed, the slaves have been replaced by machines.


The moneylenders discovered many centuries ago, that there was a way by which they could escape from the drudgery of having to spend all day laundering clothes by hand, digging trenches, chopping wood, carrying heavy burdens on their backs.

If you lend out money, and then people have to repay you, with added interest, then you have an income, for doing nothing, other than keeping a record of who owes you how much, and when they are due to make the payments. And of course, you need to retain a few hefty fierce looking fellows to go round and call upon anyone who is slow in making their payments, and seizing some goods in lieu when necessary.


What’s even better, if you are the guy who lends the money to the King, or similar powerful ruler, and you have control of the accounts, the books, the treasury, and understand how money works, and how interest works, and the King doesn’t – and why would he ? Most of them were busy practising bashing other guys off horses with lances and cudgels, or shagging their mistresses, or away travelling around feasting at the expense of their Nobles, some were just children, or mentally deficient – then you can have all the power of running the show, because if you control the MONEY, then you control everything else.


So bankers have known for many centuries, how all this stuff works. How wealth is extracted from the soil, by the labour of men and oxen, harvesting crops, and from the ground, by the labour of miners extracting ore, and imported from abroad, by ships and sailors and merchants who need funds to buy their wares, and so on.

And that the easiest and surest way to be rich and have a long and comfortable life, is not to have to do physical work, and not to be a King, who has to lead armies, and risk being deposed. It’s to handle gold and silver, and sign contracts and loan agreements.

Because, if you have money, then you can make money. That’s the essence of capitalism. Your money does the work, not you.


All of this began in England, three or four hundred years ago, for one reason and another. Russia was still feudal a century ago, some parts of the world still remain pastoral or hunting and gathering.

On a small scale, capitalism may seem quite benign, sort of like slash and burn farming in a forest, if a few people do it, it scarcely noticeable, but scaled up, the forest disappears.


Humans are clever monkeys. In the coffee shoppes of London, some guy notices, they overhear the exuberant boasting about the enormous profits. ‘I could do that too’.

So it soon catches on and spreads. You get people together, they all put in a small amount, it adds up to a big amount, buy a ship, hire a captain, send it to Africa, swap some slaves for glass beads and mirrors, ship them to the Indies, sell them for gold…

Make the Company Limited Liability, so if it all goes wrong, the investors are not ruined, take out insurance, so if it sinks, you get your money back…. and away we go, set up a Stock Exchange to sell the shares to others, for a profit, as a sort of casino… great fun !

Money for nothing, chicks for free… Build an Empire.


Of course, only a tiny percentage of the population benefit from this trick. Most people lose out.


If we go back to the beginning, the christian fraternity thing, good neighbours, where you share what you have and ensure that everyone is taken care of, well, we’ve moved a long way, because capitalism does not care about ‘everyone’.

So, there’s a push back, from all the exploited and dispossessed.

At least, under feudalism, there was some sense of obligation, that the Lord had a duty of care toward that which he owned. I mean, it was basic common sense, that the Lord would look after his possessions, human and other, in his own interests.


But under capitalism, this doesn’t apply. The investors never see what they invest in. They just buy some shares and then receive their dividend in their bank account. So, they do not face the crew on the ship, or the starving people on the plantation, or whatever. The feudal Lord has an interest in keeping his lands in good order, in the hope he can pass them on to his progeny. The capitalist machine has no such incentive. The only incentive is profit, so whatever the resource is, it gets mined, exploited to destruction, until it ceases to exist, and cannot provide any further profit.

The Russian serfs were not free, they belonged to the estate that they lived on. Some were treated better than others, depending on the family that owned the land. I’d hate to give an impression that everything was wonderful, but my impression is that much of it WAS wonderful, their clothes, their religion, their festivals, their culture. They had no education, so they knew no different. If you contrast that with TRUE capitalist slavery, as practised by the British in their colonies in the Indies, where the Africans were worked to death, and lived on average for three years, as an expendable component of a machine.


But I digress…

There was push back, and the various anti slavery and Marxist and left wing movements have been arguing and analysing for a couple of hundred years now.

However, from my perspective, from an ecological perspective, they have been missing the point.

Just as this present struggle in Greece, in Europe, is about how the money gets shared, and the Occupy Movement, in the USA, was about how the money gets shared, this is really all quite irrelevant, when the biosphere is collapsing all around us, and we are facing extinction, as a species.


Economics has never yet been aligned with ecology. All human wealth comes, originally, from nature. Everything.

There’s a good paper about this here

In this presentation I want to advance four propositions that may be controversial:

  • That biodiversity is the planet’s most valuable resource. It is also its most abused and threatened.
  • That the biodiversity collapse we are witnessing today—the greatest mass extinction of species for 65 million years—is the most fundamental aspect of the whole environmental crisis.
  • That most left environmentalists—including Marxist and socialist environmentalists—have failed to adequately recognise or address it.
  • That this represents a serious failing in the overall approach of the left, including the Marxist left, to the environmental crisis.


You know, there are about 50,000 refugees in Greece, detained in rather wretched conditions, and the rest of the European countries are saying ‘Sorry, we can’t help, your problem, we don’t want them. It is not a shared responsibility’.

And most of these people have come from North Africa, from countries that are wrecked and trashed and in turmoil, because NATO, the USA, France, Britain, Italy, Israel, have devastated them, and caused chaos, and now take no responsibility for what they did. Many also come from Syria, Iraq, where Kurds, all kinds of minorities, Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis, etc, get massacred by IS which is backed and supported by the US, UK, Israel, Saudi, Qatar.


People come all the way from sub-Saharan Africa, because it’s not possible to live where they are because of war and chaos created by the USA, and climate change, created by the industrialised countries. Those people, thousands of whom die on their journeys, don’t leave their homes for some frivolous reason, they leave out of desperation, in the hope of prolonging their lives.

And yet, the countries of the north, USA and Europe, persist with the policies that cause this appalling suffering and mayhem.

Well, I know, the actual populations don’t have much say, the politicians are corrupt, the whole set up is a fucking insane travesty… sigh…


But even if it could be set right and made perfect…. we are still fucked…

We are used to hearing that if everyone lived in the same way as North Americans or Australians, we would need four or five planet Earths to sustain us.

This sort of analysis is known as the “ecological footprint” and shows that even the so-called “green” western European nations, with their more progressive approaches to renewable energy, energy efficiency and public transport, would require more than three planets.

How can we live within the means of our planet? When we delve seriously into this question it becomes clear that almost all environmental literature grossly underestimates what is needed for our civilisation to become sustainable.

Only the brave should read on.

The ‘ecological footprint’ analysis


I still think that one should drop out, in so far as that is possible, as a matter of ethics, as a moral statement, as a matter of conscience. Every dollar bill, every pound coin, is dripping with human blood. The Empire, which mints the money, is built on war and killing, and most of those who die are innocent, and never had any choice in the matter. So you either approve, and accept, and collaborate, or else you do whatever you can to distance yourself and resist. Or else, how do you sleep at night ?


These currencies have been weaponised, particularly the dollar, they are tools of warfare.

You know, in India, Pakistan, probably other places where there is bonded labour, poor families of very simple folk in dire straits get exploited by moneylenders who charge exorbitant compound interest, and take a family member as bonded labour as surety. Sometime whole families have to sell themselves into slavery. And then the interest rate is so high, that however much they pay, it never seems to reduce what they owe. Much like what the IMF has done to Greece, which, despite six years of catastrophic economic austerity, is worse off than at the start, whilst the fucking IMF has made billions of dollars of profit, on money which the bankers essentially create out of thin air.


This is one of the great marvels of banking. The creation of money from nothing. As Henry Ford said ‘If the American people ever understood banking, there’d be a revolution the next morning’. Of course, they never will, they are far too dumbed down, and even if it was explained to them in children’s language, they’d deny it.

I mean, such people want to be slaves, and like being in their cages, and when you open the cage door, they sit there, bewildered. They’ve been told all their lives that a good person has to work hard for their money, or else they don’t deserve it, so how can it make sense that other people can make money from nothing at all ?

Finding any sort of viable way forward is tremendously difficult. Impossible, probably.

This is quite interesting.

The transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer has always fascinated me. The ability to plant, cultivate and harvest crops stands alongside the emergence of self-awareness, control of fire, the wheel, and the development of mathematics and written language as one of humanity’s transformational events. We became something different once we began to farm.

I have found something like that taking place in me. For a variety of reasons – partly financial, partly intellectual – I have approached my land with tools that, for the most part, would have been available in 1014: scythes, sickles and mattocks recognisable from paintings and tapestries of 11th-century farms. How long would I last if thrust back by time machine or a collapse of the sort popular in apocalypse porn?

Calling my 35 acres a farm is misleading, though not so misleading as calling myself a farmer, something I never do. My neighbours are real farmers: they make their living through agriculture. Their fields and pastures are large and orderly, cultivated and fertilised, tended by workers and machines. My fields, tended only by me, are disorderly, improvised, often overgrown. Yet without saying so aloud, I have, over the past couple of years, come to think of myself more and more constantly as a farmer; as a sort of farmer anyway. An 11th-century (or so) sort of farmer, actually, although I am well aware of how little I would have in common with the real thing, and how poorly my skills would prepare me to live in that time.

I arrived in the 11th century through circumstances in my life and career. Purchased in the mid-1990s as a weekend and summer home, a getaway, part of the farm’s attraction was the old barn, already half-converted into living quarters. The downstairs had electricity, running water from a good well, a water heater, a tub and a toilet, a septic system. There was a range in the kitchen. The place had a phone line, which meant that we had dial-up internet (virtually the only option at the time). The nearest town, Rocky Mount, with just over 4,000 people, was 15 miles away. On clear nights with the lights turned low, the stars came out nearly as brilliantly as they would have a thousand years before.

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57 Responses to Ego death, debt, money, slavery, ecological footprints

  1. ulvfugl says:

    Re Keith S Elder’s request, regarding loading times for these pages, I have adjusted the number of comments displayed from 50 to 30.

    I don’t know if that will have significant difference for slower connections, because it’s not really the number of comments that is the decisive factor, is it, it’s more the number of Youtube links, as well as other images. And if I have posted a lot of comments, you’ll have to wade through three or more pages to get to the newest.

    If anyone else has thoughts or preferences, please speak up. I could make adjustment so that newest comments load here first, rather than oldest.

    I’d actually prefer all the comments on one or two pages, myself. Anyone support Keith’s request, or shall I switch it back to 50 ? 🙂

    The pages I see come to me from California, and the last few miles are DSL down copper wire phone line, it’s not the fastest that’s available in UK, sometimes there’s a slight delay, but I was assuming it was suited for most viewers.

    I’m not going to reduce the heavy visual content, am I, that would negate the point of what I’m doing here.

    Btw, 126 individual visitors on Monday, 70 on Tuesday. Thank you for your attention. Unless, of course, you are people I don’t like 🙂

  2. ulvfugl says:

    About 2000 years ago in what is today western Illinois, a group of Native Americans buried something unusual in a sacred place. In the outer edge of a funeral mound typically reserved for humans, villagers interred a bobcat, just a few months old and wearing a necklace of bear teeth and marine shells. The discovery represents the only known ceremonial burial of an animal in such mounds and the only individual burial of a wild cat in the entire archaeological record, researchers claim in a new study. The villagers may have begun to tame the animal, the authors say, potentially shedding light on how dogs, cats, and other animals were domesticated.


    @ wren

    Re the link about sleep and day length, light, etc.

    I do think that artificial light may be injurious, to our health and well-being and natural rhythms, but I don’t have anything definite to say.

    My illness, Cluster Headache, is statistically more common as one goes north from the Equator, and is linked to daily light and seasonal light rhythms, which are in turn linked to our hormonal and other responses.

    However, the whole business is incredibly complex, and not well understood. Melatonin is a vital chemical for healthy functioning, and I read somewhere, it only takes a couple of minutes of electric light to destroy all the melatonin that your body has produced by sleeping in the dark for hours. So if you wake up, go to the bathroom, switch on bright electric light for a couple of minutes, you may have wrecked your daily hormonal cycle.

    I definitely feel better when I awake with the very soft natural dawn light. But then it’s hard to figure out how this could have worked for our ancestors, in the north, when in winter it was dark a lot, and in summer, light a lot.

    I sleep now with my eyes covered, so as not to let any light enter, because even a few photons get detected, below the threshold of what you notice.

  3. ulvfugl says:

    I visit P. Lang’s blog occasionally, there are sometimes some interesting comments.

    This is a private blog run by a retired American soldier, a member of a family of American soldiers reaching back to early colonial times. It is unacceptable to me to provide a platform for anyone who celebrates the defeat of the United States and its forces, in this case the defeat of the 7th Cavalry Regiment with great loss at the Little Big Horn. If that happens again I will ban the offending party. I understand fully the motivations of the Indian fighters in resisting the growth of the US, but this is a blog that has a side and it is not the Indian side. As for Johnson’s unwillingness to meet Sidney Smith’s argument half way and the insistence that the Southern “elites” are a criminal class, that is both unproductive and simply a symptom of someone who can see no good in an “enemy.”

    I’d never comment there myself, we obviously have very different worldviews. But I do respect the guy. He comes across as very decent, honourable, thoughtful, genuine.

    I’m not against soldiers. I’ve met British army officers and soldiers who were really great, the best of people. Much better than me, in many respects.

    The great war criminal, Kissinger, possibly one of the most evil men of the 20th C. said soldiers are dumb animals, just tools for foreign policy.

    That’s the trouble. I think it says somewhere on that site, Pat Lang was head of intelligence during the Iraq War, or something. He appears to me to be dreadfully naive. Foreign policy is Machiavelli. Nothing that is said or shown is true, everything is designed to deceive.

    The way I see soldiers, the military, it’s the controlled use of violence. Any fool can be violent. Many men use thoughtless, mindless violence. That’s why it’s good for young people to learn a martial art. Judo, karate, kung fu, aikido, boxing, all that sort of thing, teaches a person about pain, and being hurt, and how to have respect for another human being. And how to have self control. How to AVOID fighting.

    So professional soldiers learn the controlled use of violence, which means understanding facing their own liability of injury and death, which is not a small thing.
    People who disrespect them are stupid. They have a job, they are vital, to protect the ordinary vulnerable folk, who are not capable of fighting, killing, and don’t know how to face violence and death.

    The problem arises with the people who are in charge of the soldiers, and who issue the orders, the people at the top of the chain of command. Because any idiot can be given that job, by any other idiot who happens to get political power. Like Kissinger.

  4. ulvfugl says:

    I think it was interesting, how the vote in Greece was divided between young and old, with most youth voting No and more elderly voting Yes.

    I think it is the young people who are having their future stolen, taken away, and it’s the old who are trying to hold onto the status quo for as long as possible. So the youth need to fight to get change, as quickly as they can.

    But the old have the power, and know all the tricks, and control all the money and the media, and what gets taught, and it takes a long time to learn, and there is no luxury of ‘a long time’ available…

    It doesn’t need much brain power to come to the conclusion that it would be good if money, currency, could be somehow removed from the claws of psychopathic bankers, omnicidal politicians and maniacs, and neutralised in some way, so that it was just ‘stuff’ that we used to do our deals, when we wanted to swap a cow for 25 chickens and a grandfather clock, and we didn’t want to have to carry them across the country, we just wanted tokens that held equivalent value.

    Thing is, the Gvt. or the King, always wants to get a cut on every deal, by way of tax.

    Now, you may think that’s unfair, as some libertarian and anarchist and outlaw type people do, but then, it’s not unfair if you want a fair way of collecting money to pay for the common good of stuff like roads, drains, medical care, and so forth, which most people will agree that they like to have. Or, at least, they complain like hell when these services get taken away because there’s no money to pay for them.

    This battle has been going on for centuries. What we all want is free wi fi, clean drinking water, we want police to protect us from mad rapists and murderers, we want the trash to be collected and taken away, we want nice trees and bees and food that won’t poison us, and all that stuff. So, that’s what taxes are for, aren’t they ?

    You have to pay people to take care of all that stuff and make sure the dead get buried, the old people and orphans get cared for, and all that stuff. There’s always going to be disputes, because some people will think that the harbour needs dredging, so they can get their big yachts inside, and others will think that’s a waste of public money, and it should be spent on more pressing matters, like a roof for the hospital.

    Somebody needs to run the treasury, the accounts, for all this, and look after the funds, and have an emergency stash for when there’s a severe weather event, whatever.

    So far, so good. We could do all of this, locally, with LETS.

    And Credit Unions

    But the national Gvts, banks and Corporations will never allow anything like that to become a serious threat to their power. If it does, they’ll just make it illegal, which they have done on various occasions.

    That’s because the existing system is not about money as a means of exchange so people can do deals, it’s about money as a means of social control, as a weapon.

    See here.. the Milton Friedman neoliberal project

    However, there is another possibility, and that is the strategy that Ethereum has made possible, that follows from Bitcoin. I have posted some videos before, by Vinay Gupta.

    There’s the thing called the blockchain, which offers person to person contracts, which are permanently recorded. So, you could, in theory, do a deal with anyone, anywhere, over the internet, rather similar to say, eBay, but without having to pay any intermediary. And then, anybody can look and see how many deals you have done, and whether you were trustworthy and honest, or not.

    Such as system cuts out the banks. I don’t know about taxes. Obviously it needs a functioning internet, and electricity. Perhaps it could combine and interlock with LETS and Credit Unions, in some manner. It’s never been tried before, so nobody knows if or how it’d work. I guess it’s up to the younger generation to try this stuff and save themselves if they can.

  5. ulvfugl says:

    The assault on Greece is just the latest episode in a long history of shutting down choice on behalf of the financial elite.

  6. ulvfugl says:

    I used to see this from the window of my previous house, about half a mile away, it wasn’t abandoned, it was cared for, just very rarely used.


    Wales, abandoned buildings

  7. ogardener says:

    This is a fine website ulvfugl. Love the imagery and your comments.


  8. ulvfugl says:

    I’m honoured, ogardener, very nice to see you here !
    I seem to remember, you had that wild bobcat where you live.

  9. Hagazussa says:


    Your insights and the way you express them with true integrity are always a pleasure to read for me.
    This article just about connects everything people should be connecting at the moment. It’s like a beautifully matched pearl necklace (rather than the gold one for the missus) with the largest and most important pearl shining in the middle: the extinction of life as we know it which makes everything else (all the other pearls) pale into insignificance.

    In other words: you’re connecting more than just dots, and that’s not easy.

    Bless you for still being here.

  10. ulvfugl says:

    Thanks for the blessing. 🙂

  11. ulvfugl says:

    From wili at Real Climate

    Concerning Wadhams and ‘fringe,’ it should be kept in mind that sometimes the ‘fringe’ is right. If anyone had predicted beforehand the kind of losses seen in Arctic sea ice extent and area in 2007 that actually occurred, they would have been way beyond ‘fringe’–none of the models at that point were anywhere close to the reality that quickly ensued.

    I would hope that here, at least, we would avoid disrespecting scientists of longs standing because we don’t agree with their learned judgments. Let’s leave that for the denialist sites, shall we?

    Wadhams has about as much and as long experience observing Arctic sea ice as anyone on the planet. I take his point to be mostly qualitative and not (yet) quantitative…the _nature_ of the ice he seas in the Arctic now is just so far different than anything that used to exist dominantly there before, that he thinks that we are essentially a weather event (a few weeks of very warm weather with lots of sun…) away from a virtually (under 1 million k^2) ice free Arctic sea. I personally find that unlikely, but I’m not going to dismiss this scientist’s judgment out of hand (much less disrespect the man himself) just arguing from incredulity. And even arguing from statistics doesn’t quite address his position, since those deal with quantities not qualities of the ice.

    Having said that, on the other hand, the best of the quants folks have been the most accurate in their predictions recently.

    Mike at #22 asked: “Chris, do you have earlier predictions regarding ice mass loss and how those predictions and models have turned out versus the observations?”

    He may not want to blow his own horn here much, but, iirc, it was Chris who by far most accurately predicted the partial recovery of 2013. I gave and give him great kudos for that achievement, and I certainly don’t think his views can be lightly dismissed, especially given that track record.

    But if I may be permitted a third hand (or to return to my prior one), things just recently have looked particularly primed for a rapid melt. Here’s jdallen from neven’s Arctic sea ice forum just a bit ago:

    “As you said elsewhere, Neven, it does look like 2014 with heat; lots of it. I recall last year around this time we were pretty disturbed by how things looked as well, and there was some discussion whether or not we were going to see a 2012 – level melt off. Thankfully (I and others were wrong, and…), weather came to the rescue of the pack.

    “Napkin-back” calculation suggests enough heat left after albedo loss to strip off 6CM of ice a day, more or less. Bottom melt will be bonus.

    Now it’s just grinding out the time – just under half a meter of ice a week, more or less, as long as these conditions persist.

    Lots of ice all across the Arctic is currently below 1.5M in thickness; possibly over half of it.

    If this pattern persists, by the end of July we should see most of the pack as a discontinuous bowl of MYI ice cubes trying to resist the pounding its getting.”

    Time will tell.


    There was a pause, and I could hear the happy sounds of children playing from his end of the phone. Eventually Davis said “yes, that’s where we find ourselves.”

    Our conversation then became awkward. I suddenly felt guilty bringing this up, and desperately tried not to think that one day those happy children will despise us for leaving them a ransacked planet whipsawed by a chaotic climate.

    “My kids’ swimming lesson is over, I have to go,” he finally said.

    I couldn’t accept that we need to immediately slow production of new things like factories, hospitals, homes, and ten thousand other things that use fossil fuels. I couldn’t accept that everything had to change…right away. I sent out emails to leading scientists in different countries practically begging them to tell me I screwed up the math or something. “It’s a different way of looking at where we are but you’ve got it right,” they said.

    2018 is less than three years away and hardly anyone is talking about this.

    Well-established science that says global CO2 emissions need to peak and decline before 2020. Wait until after 2020 and the costs of reducing emissions rise rapidly, as does the risk of exceeding 2°C. The 2018 deadline is consistent with this. It just happens to be a more meaningful way of looking at where we stand, and the consequences of the decisions being made today to build a school, a data center, or 10,000 diesel-powered farm tractors.

    One reason 2°C is becoming increasingly unreachable is that everyone is fixated on annual CO2 emissions. While humanity pumped an eye-popping 36 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2014, that big number looks tiny compared to the roughly 1,000 billion tons of CO2—or 1,000 gigatons (Gt)—that can be emitted for a better than 50-50 chance of staying below 2°C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report.

    And yet, without making different choices today, we will have built enough stuff by 2018 to have accounted for that entire budget. We could shut things down before their end-of-life date, but who is going to make that happen? Who is going to pay for such “stranded assets”?

    Even a seven-year old child knows you don’t solve a problem by making it worse.

    There is a slow shift underway to replace fossil fuels, but it’s not happening nearly fast enough considering the massive carbon commitments in the stuff we already have built—and continue to build. Politicians, business leaders, investors, planners, bureaucrats don’t seem to understand this. They don’t seem to truly grasp that decisions made today commit us and every generation that follows to greater levels of CO2. At some point those decisions will be undone. What was built will be abandoned at enormous cost. We should not forget who deserves the blame and the bill.

    This is what the upcoming Paris climate talks are actually about—except that few of the people who will meet inside the giant Le Bourget conference hall know it. Or if they do, they don’t talk about it. Someone should.

  12. ulvfugl says:

    As Mann sees it, scientists like Schmidt who choose to focus on the middle of the curve aren’t really being scientific. Worse are pseudo-sympathizers like Bjorn Lomborg who always focus on the gentlest possibilities. Because we’re supposed to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, and a real scientific response would also give serious weight to the dark side of the curve.

    And yet, like Schmidt, Mann tries very hard to look on the bright side. We can solve this problem in a way that doesn’t disrupt our lifestyle, he says.

    The horror, to think that our lifestyles might be disrupted !

    See, those people are not part of the solution, they are part of the effing PROBLEM, and have been for the last twenty years, telling cheery lies to everyone, because they had no courage, they wanted their careers more than TRUTH, and they ‘didn’t want people to lose hope’, and NOW, the result is that they and we face this utterly awful terminal mess.

    What the hell is the good of being ‘scientifically objective’ when there won’t be ANY scientists or science anymore, because we all become extinct, because those fuckers didn’t believe in ‘doing advocacy’ ?

    The real reason, of course, was that it would threaten their promotion and their pension plans, and they like their status and their cool research projects and lifestyles that they worked so hard to achieve. That matters more than the future of their children and the rest of the human race and life on Earth.

    Gavin Schmidt is a damn shill who is very clever at being diplomatic and using sophistry to cover himself, like a cunning lawyer.

  13. Keith S Elder says:


    Thanks for changing the comment count, it has helped my situation. No problem if you decide to switch it back.

    Great pictures!

  14. ulvfugl says:

    I’ll leave it as it is, 30, for now, and see how that goes, unless someone else has some preference.


  15. ulvfugl says:

    A Simple Guide to the Most Important Subject You Never Learned In School, What Our Money Is, Its History, and an Analysis of a Failing System.

  16. ulvfugl says:

    Breaking Convention is a multidisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness, featuring more than 130 presenters from around the world.

  17. wren-- says:

    His ‘partner’ was a perfect example of Daniel Quinn’s ‘takers’ coming to dominance in our world…
    But for Burt, a perfect day was one where no one shows up, and you get to spend the whole day alone at home :

    RIP, Burt.

  18. ulvfugl says: the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

    The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

  19. wren-- says:

    Who knew the Pandora’s box we unleashed with the development of artificial light!
    And how ironic that the all important Pineal gland produces and releases DMT (our stairway to heaven) as well as melatonin, and who knows what else!!
    It’s all linked… hormones, cluster headaches, migraines, melatonin, the sacred rhythm of darkness and light, and the price we pay for breaking that rhythm.

    U, it sounds like your cluster headaches are less frequent. I so hope this is true!

    Interestingly, the pineal can become calcified, and this calcification has been linked to both Alzheimer’s, and early puberty in children:

  20. ulvfugl says:

    If the inflexible Germans were to have Greece booted from the EU, Greece’s turn to Russia and financial rescue would put the same idea in the heads of Italy and Spain and perhaps ultimately France. NATO would unravel as Southern Europe became members of Russia’s Eurasian trade bloc, and American power would unravel with NATO.

    This is simply unacceptable to Washington.

    If reports are correct, Victoria Nuland has already paid a visit to the Greek prime minister and explained to him that he is neither to leave the EU or cozy up to the Russians or there will be consequences, polite language for overthrow or assassination. Indeed, the Greek prime minister probably knows this without need of a visit.

  21. ulvfugl says:

    @ wren

    Yes, the whole system is complicated beyond anyone’s ability to comprehend it.

    You have to add on epigenetics, that each of us have a different environmental experience, to which we have adjusted and adapted, and we are all different to begin with. And it’s a flux, it’s always changing.

    The way you stand, your posture, effects the hormonal balance, which in turn effects your mood, and the sort of thoughts that you have, and the sort of thoughts you have, in turn, effect your mood, and your posture, and your hormones, and all of that is being regulated by the hypothalamus and other parts of the brain, which are interconnected in feedback loops, monitoring the blood chemistry, and everything else… it’s totally mind-boggling.

    Then there is the ‘secondary brain’ in the belly, around the gut, which is what one connects to when doing zazen and inner qi gong, the tanden, which, imo, is the most important, significant, and interesting thing I came across in my life. Because you can use it to control your otherwise rather uncontrollable head brain.

    My CH has not gone away, but is very mild, just a twinge each day, and easily controlled by the drugs I have. But this has happened before. It can subside for long periods and become dormant, and then return with a vengeance, for no apparent reason.

    There’s also that invisible field which we mentioned before, that L field guy, I forget his name, was it ilinda who had his books ? Anyway, not well researched, but it surrounds us, and if you are unhappy, unwell, fatigued, old, etc, it sort of contracts, and if you do the Bodhidharma Marrow Washing exercises, which are like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, you can push it back out and expand it again, and feel much better. You can observe animals doing this when they stretch.

  22. ulvfugl says:

    The Gulf Stream that helps to keep Britain from freezing over in winter is slowing down faster now than at any time in the past millennium according to a study suggesting that major changes are taking place to the ocean currents of the North Atlantic.

    Scientists believe that the huge volumes of freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic from the rapidly melting ice cap of Greenland have slowed down the ocean “engine” that drives the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean towards north-west Europe, bringing heat equivalent to the output of a million power stations.

    However, the researchers believe that Britain is still likely to become warmer due to climate change providing the Gulf Stream does not come to a complete halt – although they remain unsure how likely this is.

    Calculations suggest that over the 20th century the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation – the northward flow of warm surface water and the southward flow of deep, cold water – has slowed by between 15 and 20 per cent, said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

    This slowing of the ocean current is what is expected under Peter Ward’s ‘Under a Green Sky’ Medea Hypothesis Extinction Event scenario, when the oceans die because they become anoxic.

    The currents are (partly) driven by the temperature gradient between the Poles and the Equator, rather like the Jet Stream in the upper atmosphere. Because the Arctic is warming much faster than the equatorial regions, that gradient is reduced, so the ocean currents slow and eventually stop, so oxygen circulation stops.

    Rather like oxygen circulation in your own blood stream, that means the end of a vital function for a healthy biosphere. Dead oceans.

  23. ulvfugl says:

    Oh and there’s the tax problem. The report points out that, with the polarisation between high and low incomes, we will have to move – as Thomas Piketty suggests – to taxes on wealth. The problem here, the OECD points out, is that assets – whether they be a star racehorse, a secret bank account or the copyright on a brand’s logo – tend to be intangible and therefore held in jurisdictions dedicated to avoiding wealth taxes.

    The OECD’s prescription – more globalisation, more privatisation, more austerity, more migration and a wealth tax if you can pull it off – will carry weight. But not with everybody. The ultimate lesson from the report is that, sooner or later, an alternative programme to “more of the same” will emerge. Because populations armed with smartphones, and an increased sense of their human rights, will not accept a future of high inequality and low growth.

  24. ulvfugl says:

    Any practical solution to the challenges of energy access must understand that energy poverty is a social relationship. In rural India, poor people’s expectations for grid-like standards of electricity are shaped by local histories of inequality and exclusion. In the Adivasi villages of southern Odisha, nobody thinks a kerosene lamp or a solar lantern is sufficient to illuminate a home. People living without electricity don’t just want to see in the dark, they want to live in light as others do.

  25. ulvfugl says:

    “All that’s true,” says Assange. “Google’s appetite for expansion is insatiable. But let’s add that Google obeys the Russian rule: Get rich, get even, get legal! Google is not as innovative as most people imagine. It innovates through aggressive acquisition, then integrates what it has acquired. The bigger it gets, the faster it grows. It has built a massive global infrastructure of data centres. Its Android operating system is used by 80% of phones now sold. Google has already bought eight drone companies, and is now buying more. It’s deploying robotic cars, running internet service providers and working on a plan to create Google towns.”

    Without warning, he shifts topic, to Google’s efforts to grab hold of its users. “Google’s colourful, playful logo is stamped on human retinas around 6 billion times each day,” he says, with a faintly sarcastic smile. “That’s 2.2 trillion times a year – it’s an opportunity for respondent conditioning enjoyed by no other company in history.”

    “Respondent conditioning” is a tricky phrase bearing echoes of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Pavlov’s experiments with salivating dogs. Assange means something different. By invoking the old phrase, he’s out to provoke, in new ways. He wants to say that a communication giant like Google should not be thought of as a political leviathan brandishing a sharp corporate sword high over the heads of its subjects. It’s not an alien Dalek coming to get us. Google operates differently. It snuggles up close to its subjects. It wants to be our intimate acquaintance. It wields tremendous seduction power. It gets under our skin and inside our heads. It reshapes our senses and helps define how we see the world, and who we are. The really disturbing thing about Google, Assange contends, is that its manipulative powers are not understandable in conventional terms. We’ve never seen anything like them before, and for that reason alone he rejects the headline-grabbing claims of Maryanne Wolf, Nicholas Carr and others that Google is making us stupid because it is pushing us from an age of narrative intelligence into a society structured by data-driven perception.

    “The issue is not the replacement of our capacity for complex inner reflection by a new kind of self that evolves under the pressure of information overload and technologies of the ‘instantly available’,” says Assange. “Those who say we’re becoming mere decoders of ‘information’, that we’re losing our ability to read and interpret texts deeply, without distraction, are misleading us. Aside from the fact that decoding information is becoming a vital public skill, there’s something else going on. It’s more politically complicated, more subtle and more threatening of our freedoms. We should wake up.”

    Assange understandably rejects the pre-political flavour of grandiose claims about the end of narrative intelligence. He’s suspicious as well of populist literary attacks on Google. I talk to him about Germany’s Manfred Spitzer, a leading neuroscientist who pelts Google and the rest of the internet with the charge that it’s spreading “digital dementia” caused by “addictive” products and processes that outsource human brain power, destroy our nerve cells, and, in both young and old people alike, result in such symptoms as reading and attention disorders, anxiety and apathy, insomnia and depression, obesity and violence. Assange says this line of thinking is “not especially interesting. It could well be bullshit.” He again insists “there’s something else going on” and that “we should pay attention to its novelty”.

    We reach the point in our conversation where Assange becomes most eloquent, most defiant, and strangely despondent. He explains he’s not simply trying to raise a red flag against Google’s fat-cat corporate power. The problem is not straightforwardly that Google is an emerging private digital monopoly whose aggressive market tactics openly contradict the public principles and practice of popular self-government. Assange agrees that the company’s professed commitment to democratic virtues is undermined by its arrogant culture of corporate secrecy. People find that out first-hand when they visit its California headquarters: after they hit reception, if they refuse to sign a non-disclosure agreement, then their access is heavily restricted. Even Google shareholders have grown uppity about the iron veil of secrecy that shrouds the company’s investment strategy. The secrecy associated with Google’s market power is certainly problematic. It contradicts the public spirit and substance of democracy, says Assange. But it isn’t the fundamental problem.

    Assange is sure the public/private formulation that once informed the politics of social democracy is now old-fashioned, out of step with the new reality of Google as a mode of seductive power. “Google is an emerging state within a state. It’s a type of private National Security Agency,” he says. “It’s in the business of collecting as much data around the world as possible, about as many people and places as it can. It stores and indexes this data, builds profiles of people and sells them to advertisers. Spying is its business model. But as the Edward Snowden revelations make clear, it’s also a target and ally of the National Security Agency.”

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