Wednesday, July 6, 2011


For the record, I do not actually believe the Chem Trail theory. The violence of the second-to-last paragraph of my last post stems not from belief, but from the nature of the theory and its meaning, if it were true. As an existential threat - one threatening to explode at the very foundation of life - it is one of the more plausible I have heard. If it were true, there would be no point to do anything at all but to make it stop. My words are more like a warning, albeit one without much support from any quarter. But you know where I stand.

And my, my, aren't the existential threats piling up. Every day comes more dire word on the fate of humanity. Seven billion people on the planet. Rising food costs. Global climate change. Peak oil. Nanotechnology and the gray goo. The technological singularity. Failing oceans. The proliferation of toxins. Desertification of the equatorial rainforests. Rising ocean levels. Melting glaciers. Mass specie extinction. Shifting poles. The sun, CMEs and the potential for permanent blackout. The draining of aquifers. Hydro-fracturing. The increasing prevalence of food borne illnesses. A new threat of nuclear proliferation and the danger of aging facilities. The failure of Government. Corporate and Financial malfeasance. The increasing ascendancy of an elite. 2012 and the annihilation of almost everything.

Meanwhile here in America, liberals rail at conservatives, conservatives at liberals, each growing ever more extreme, liberals delusional about the virtue of government, conservatives delusional about the virtue of markets. I've been repeating that old yarn about the liberal being the one who thinks he understands what is in your best interest better than you do, and the conservative doesn't give a damn. Really, which ideology is more responsible for more unnecessary death? Which ideology really takes responsibility for much of anything that is currently going wrong in the world? Both perspectives utterly blind to the balance of opposites inherent in universal porcesses.

What if I said the FDA and USDA were actually much the reason for the prevalence of food borne illnesses in America? What if I said the so-called Green Revolution so championed by conservatives and liberals alike, providing massive amounts of cheap corn to third-world countries and poor and illiterate people living under despots, was much responsible for runaway population growth, and what may very well be impending mass starvation? What if I said they were feeding chicken shit to the cows you eat? What if I said there is a dark energy all-pervading in the world, and you will find that most prominent wherever power collects? If you were a demon or a goddess in her dark aspect, and your goal was to destroy the Earth and all its creatures, what would you do? I'd introduce ideas that eliminate any sense of the divine nature of all things, I'd introduce the idea of a God who sanctions violence and domination, and I'd make as many people as I could rich.

Curiously, despite the evident doom, I've come to intuit that things may not be so drear as they seem. I've been railing at the God and Goddess of late, asking what is the point, how can this mess continue, demanding answers. It is not a sustainable mood; nor do I think it impotent. In fact, the synchronicities have been piling up, some profoundly so, even stupifying, pointing to a far more positive future than I ever considered. At least for me and those closest to me. And of course, extrapolating out, I can't see why that can't be the case for all humanity.

We have all the knowledge, tools and wealth available to provide an eden-like life for everyone on Earth, if that's what we wanted to do. Which of course, would require that everyone start taking responsibility for their life, meaning that everyone stop expecting any government to take care of them; and, that everyone would agree that no human should accumulate for themselves what would otherwise provide a beautiful life for hundreds and even hundreds of thousands of people. I said as much in a comment on a recent post on John Michael Greer's eminently informative blog, @ His response was, essentially: if pigs could fly. Which is not a helpful attitude. But he does not believe in a game-changing event, a kind of quintessentially epic Black Swan, to borrow a phrase from Dr. Taleb. Which seems to me imminent.

It would seem civilization is on a crash course toward ecological oblivion. It would seem we are very likely to destroy the biosphere on which all life depends. But could it be instead, that we are running out of fossil fuels just in time to avert disaster; just in time to come to a different understanding of ourselves, and our place on this Earth, in this solar system, in this galaxy, in this universe? And could it be, that this change could be part and parcel of a radical transformation in global consciousness? I certainly think so. But I believe in a divine universe. It's also true that the end of fossil fuels will be the epic disaster we expect, if that is what we expect.

I believe Homo sapien sapien was essentially still an ape until one first sampled a mushroom containing psilocybin, about 40,000 years ago. There, consciousness bloomed. And here we are now. I intuit that we are on the verge of some similarly grand evolutionary leap. I don't know what that will look like, but none of us can. We can only imagine. And the more of us that imagine what that eden would look like, the more likely we are to make it happen.

For ourselves. For the whole of the Earth.


Luciddreams said...

hmmm, optimism, definitely not a bad characteristic if you can muster it. I consider myself somewhere in between the two but leaning slightly towards pessimism. I consider myself an optimistic pessimist.

Regarding the running out of fossil fuels just in the nick of time, I recently read Heinbergs "Blackout," which was his last book before "The End of Growth. He addresses whether or not we have enough fossil fuels to completely destroy the biosphere. At the end of the book he gives three likely scenarios on how the future will unfold. One is we do nothing and continue BAU, the other we attempt to use renewable energy in a WWII effort to build wind and solar farms...both end in civilizations blackout. The third is we do everything right starting right now and learn to downscale and live with less. Essentially the world agrees to enter into the ecotechnic future willingly. JMG's voluntary poverty, or Thoreau's as it were. And yeah, a snow ball has a better chance in hell than that happening. He did say that the good news is that we probably won't have the ability to completely destroy life on earth with fossil fuels. The book mainly addressed the issue of coal due to the fact that it's the most abundant fossil fuel that is left. Ironically it started this mess and it will end this mess.

Personally I think nuclear holocaust is probably more likely then anything else at this point. I'm more worried about that then I am anything else. Whether it be some mad dictator with a nuke or just nuclear power plants spewing radioactive death all over in a grand finale of destruction.

I agree that we should be optimistic for whatever effect it may have on manifesting destiny. However, I can't help who I am at this point. Michael Ruppert addressed your concern about the future in his last lifeboat hour. He seems to think that enough seeds of lifeboats and arks have been spread and that some will take root and persist in the future. He also seems to think that nature may very well be intentionally attacking nuclear power plants. It's worth a listen if you haven't heard it.

Great blog post man.

Justin said...

Wanted to drop a note. I recognize a very close similarity in what you are saying about having a dark pessimism before reaching an optimism and looking askance at JMG's if pigs could fly dismissal. My optimism is to understand that if I am coming to these conclusions and considerations, then others are too since I should be so unlikely to do so. That is my optimism, and my conclusions are very much along what you say about personal responsibility and so forth.

William Hunter Duncan said...


Learn to downscale and do with less? I've been doing that for three years, and my life is fuller and more joyous for it. Snowballs chance? Certainly, one could argue that it's naive to think humanity will change before we mostly or wholly destroy ourselves. Call me crazy, but I am giving myself permission to believe the unbelievable. It's too easy to linger in the imagery of apocalypse. Doing so, I think, feeds it. And you can change yourself far more than you can possibly think.


One has to pass through the darkness to see the light. And oh, how I have lingered in dark visions of a post-fossil fuel world. Both you guys can start thinking, if you can give yourself permission, that such optimism gives you an evolutionary advantage.

I published your note on "Helios". Yeah, we tend to take the sun for granted. I forgot to put that on the list. I forgot radical pole shifts, as well. Maybe I'll add them.

Russ Goetting said...

I believe in the power of failure. Just look at what it has done for engineering and evolution. It culls what is useless and uses what works. Unfortunately man seems to believe his consumerist ways are the answer for everything. I'm with you, simplify, simplify, simplify.

Justin said...


I got the impression that you feel isolated in your conclusions and actions. I wanted to let you know that this is not the case, I think far more people have reached your conclusions than you realize, even if they cannot yet bring themselves to act. I think this is what you are calling the awakening.

I recognize in much of what you are saying in my own thoughts and conclusions, though I do not come about it the same way you do in some of the details like extra-planar deities.

The simple observation that our civilization and definition of progress today are defined as that which is destroying our global habitat and driving us to extinction, and that it is beginning to run out of steam, is going to become more apparent over time. I imagine that it will take the bulk of my lifetime (I'm 32) for it to completely come unglued, but the hope is that the sooner people recognize it and start taking constructive action, such as yourself, is what will save us from a nasty fate.

Keep the faith.

Justin said...

Afterthought: When I say I do not see some details the same way as you, I do not mean that as a challenge or a way to distance myself, but as room for more discussion if you are interested in such a thing, not as a challenge. Since my own 'awakening', one thing I realized is that I think we are all describing the same things in our own ways. To use the touching an elephant in the dark metaphor, we are all touching different parts of the beast and arguing over what it is we feel, when the point is that we are all touching the same thing, and if we listened to what others were saying they feel, we would have a better sense of what it is we are touching. We are all individually likely right and wrong at once, we are touching something real, but our individual perspective is too narrow to describe the whole of it entirely.

Hope that makes sense, didn't want my last note to come off wrong.

William Hunter Duncan said...


Some say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing expecting a different result. I think it has begun to dawn on Americans that having stuff isn't any key to happiness. If we can fully realize that, it will make the slide down civilizational collapse a whole lot more graceful.


I don't expect anyone to believe what I believe. Freedom, I think, is found in a diversity of belief. It never occured to me to take anything you said negatively. Your second reply simply implies that you are thoughtful, and you want to be understood.

As to the unraveling taking the bulk of your lifetime, many like to point to the collapse of Rome as a comparison. We move considerably faster than the Romans did. I won't be surprised if our collapse is more akin to our pace.

Candice said...

I very much enjoy your posts Mr. Duncan. Thanks again for taking the time to post them.

I do believe in the power of positive thinking. I don't think it will give you everything you want, but I believe it's a good first step. If we don't think there is any hope for a bright future, then we will act accordingly, and vice versa. I struggle with what I believe is going to happen. I would have to say I am in the same boat as Luciddreams in that I am an optimistic pessimist.

I am currently tryin to educate myself more on any and all sustainable practices but it is quite overwhelming. I am pretty much starting from scratch and don't have anyone to learn from until now. I wish my parents taught me some useful skills growing up, but unfortunately I was one of those couch potatoe kids growing up and wasted my time taking college classes towards a Communications degree in Public Relations - yuk.

I am from Massachusetts but currently in Oregon doing volunteer work for the National Forest Service. My stint ends at the end of October. I don't know if this would be an odd request (especially via blog post) but I was wondering if I might be able to come out to Minneapolis sometime next Spring to learn and help you with your farm and anything else you might need at your house in exchange for a place to sleep and some food? It was just a thought I had and wanted to see how you felt about it. I have many other ideas, but my main goal is to travel somewhere new and learn more about organic gardening and sustainable practices. Learn more about permaculture and things of that nature.

If that would make you uncomfortable I completely understand. Just throwing it out there.

Thanks again!

William Hunter Duncan said...


If I actually had a farm, I would more than welcome you, as all farms are chronically short of labor, and as you have been a faithful reader. I'm not sure I will need help, in my garden, which is the size of my yard (more on that in the next post.) That said, if you should find your way to Minneapolis, send me a comment with your email (which I will not publish), and we can discuss the possibilities further. And keep in mind, just about any small, organic farm would likely welcome you. Thank you for reading, and blessings.

Candice said...

I understand. Thank you and I hope all is well. I will continue to read your posts when time permits.