Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free Energy

If you pay attention to such things, there has been a resurgence in the idea of Free Energy. The concept basically, is that all the energy we could ever need is readily available, without great expense or toxic outputs, if we can only figure out the science of it. Some people say that we do have the science, but the Illuminati, or oil oligarchs, or governments and ruling elite stand in the way. The doubters say such energy schemes defy the laws to thermodynamics, that you can't get something for nothing, that free energy is a hoax catering to our vanity, and our underlying mostly unconscious fears of declining energy resources. A few people have asked, are we ready for free energy? What is to say that if we had access to free, unlimited energy we wouldn't just finally destroy the Earth, insatiable as we seem to be as a species?

Cold fusion has long been the darling of free energy believers. A recent article by Tom Whipple, a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, shows that it remains so. A new entry is the torus, or the energy field created by a dynamo, like the magnetic field of the Earth. This has received a push in Foster Gamble's Thrive, which is long on anecdote and short on evidence, just as the science on the torus seems to be. Oil actually fits that bill too, to hear the proponents of shale oil fracking, who act as if this new technology means oil has gone from a finite resource to one that is infinite, despite the available evidence, and reason. And most renewables too, if our intention is to live as resource intense an existence as we currently do.

Free Energy fits very nicely into the mythology of progress, at the core of our cultural belief. Perceiving history as linear, humanity rising out of miserable nature toward some inevitable techno-scientific utopia, we tend to assume, if we think about energy at all, that there will always be as much energy as we need, to do whatever we will. This is not even up for debate in America, really. Whether it's the devotes of renewables or the believers in infinite oil, or the believers in free energy, the one unspeakable for most people is the idea that humanity, after all that we have accomplished, will have to face a future with very little surplus energy.

Western consciousness changed profoundly when it awakened scientifically, out of it's flat world, the sun revolves around the earth, Christian anthropomorphism. It didn't change as much as we like to think. Dissecting the mythology of progress, we find at its core, the Christian belief in our dominion over the Earth, and the scientific reinforcement of that belief, that the Earth and its creatures are merely energy as matter, which has no meaning, to be manipulated by those who have the ability to do so, for just about any reason. Christians and Scientific Materialists tend to see themselves diametrically opposed, but on the whole they complement each other quite well, manifesting most clearly in an economic ethic that encourages us to consume without regard for consequences except as they can be measured by GDP.

Many Christians and Scientific Materialists will disagree with this obviously, arguing respectively about all the good Christianity and Science have done (and about the evils of the Other). I don't disagree, that there are good Christians and good Scientific Materialists, doing very good things, from which many of us do benefit. We are not honest, however, if we act as if nothing has ever been done by Christians or Scientists, in the name of God or Truth, that can be described as detrimental, as if there aren't such things being done.

Somehow in this, we have come to equate the maturity of the individual with economic growth, as if the only measure of growth were standard of living. Never mind that the executive staff might have the equivalent emotional capacity of teenagers, each has a bigger house and fancier car than they did. They are richer, therefore they must be better, or more evolved? Meanwhile 5% of the worlds population claims a full third of the world's consumed resources, for three generations, acting like that should be and can be the rule for everybody on Earth who wants it?

How far gone are we, in our scientific dominionism? Making the mainstream media-rounds lately, is this “article”, by Simon Romero, appearing in the New York Times, Huffpost and the largest newspaper in Minnesota, the Star Tribune. It must have appeared just about everywhere in America. As it appeared, in the Star Tribune, it was the most attractive page in the newspaper that day, very green, alive, in-color. The “article” is about the remarkable geoglyphs that have been discovered, in the razing of the Amazon rainforest. Conventional scientific thinking has it that the Amazon has never been settled, at anytime in human history, but by a few indigenous tribes living a subsistence existence. These geometric patterns imply large populations, and potential city centers.

A geographer from the University of Kansas named William Woods is studying these lines. His attitude about them is, well, clearly, the only solution is to cut down the entire forest to see what's there, and populate it with large numbers of people, and prepare the land to accept industrial, mono-crop agriculture. Leave it to a guy named Woods, to want to turn the Amazon into Kansas. He was quoted as saying, “What else can you say?”

What else can you say? A man blithely argues to exterminate the greatest example of terrestrial biodiversity, hundreds of thousands of species, millions of species of plants, animals and insects, wiped from the face of the Earth, the heritage of 65 million years of Cenozoic evolution, to be replaced by people, the animals we have enslaved to eat, and GMO mono-crop soybeans? And he is printed in publications across America, without any alternative argument, in a tone of scientific rectitude, in a political-climate that appears to lean toward Americans unleashing capitalists in an effort to maintain economic growth, by whatever means. What can one say?

I can say that such an attitude is likely to lead either to the transformation of the biosphere such that it will not support but a very small number of very tough humans; or, to a world in which humanity is fully enslaved, in which the only stimuli available are what a ruling elite require to maintain their dominance. If we succeed in exterminating most of the worlds biodiversity, then the Earth and Sun might as well conspire to wipe out humans as well, and start a new 65 million-year process of increasing complexity, and maybe the species attaining consciousness in that process will be less violent, more thoughtful. The Earth is very patient. I have no reason to believe aid will be forthcoming, if all we are here to do is to transform the Earth into garbage.

The idea of Free Energy strikes me as a desire to continue to consume without having to think about it. If somebody invents a Free Energy machine, we can continue to do more or less what we want, what we are doing, transforming living systems into machines, toxifying the remainder. Perhaps a Free Energy machine will be reality one day. Perhaps. Otherwise, in the near term, Humanity will have to deal with a decreasing energy surplus, with an equivalent decrease in cultural complexity. We can moderate the difficulty of this, and heal ourselves as long as we can reacquaint ourselves with biological complexity, with healthy systems, with the vast interior of consciousness. Notice how the myths of our time are leading us to destroy the very possibility of that healing.

Free Energy as an idea, in this time, is a little like saying, “go to sleep.” Do not take responsibility for your life, do not think about your lifestyle, we are destined to rule the Earth, and science will assure that we do. Do not worry about peak oil, peak water, peak resources. Do not worry about your food supply. Avail yourself of the entertainments, we have everything under control. Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep...

I prefer wide eyed and awake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Liberty, me

Oh right, there's that.

In a comment on my last post, a regular reader offered a link to this documentary, Rage Against the Machine. Aside from a somewhat disjointed time-line, it's a fairly accurate depiction of the last 5000 years "progress". (It's striking how close the time-line is, the rise of tyranny and domination, to the Mayan long count @ 5126 years.) Before the rise of empires and recorded history, there were peaceful Goddess worshiping cultures in the river valleys of modern Iran and Iraq, and parts of modern-day India. These peaceful, agricultural cities were annihilated by herding peoples from the north and the south, who rode horses, wielded bronze weapons, and worshiped violent male gods. That violence and others like it, spread throughout the world, and with every technological step forward there has been a corresponding level of increasing destruction, 'till today, when the entire planet seems imperiled. Scientists aiding and abetting that war-making machine in modern times - culminating with the nuclear bomb. And now the same impassioned service that resulted in the nuclear weapon, has been poured into the CERN Hadron Collider, which, the documentary argues, is a potential threat far greater than the nuclear weapon.

The CERN Hadron Collider is a 4.4 Billion dollar particle smasher, a 27 kilometer underground circular tube in which protons are fired in opposite directions approaching speeds close to the speed of light, to collide, releasing energy that has not been seen since the first moments after the universe began, 13.7 Billion years ago. Among other things, they are looking for the Higgs boson, aka the God particle. Physics is stuck; it can't figure out what gives mass to matter. Poor physicists - Einstein let it be known a hundred years ago that everything is energy, and the they still haven't figured out how to get back into their bodies (Michio Kaku, as example, is lost in the ether).

The documentary was produced in 2009, and the fear was then, that the collider would create tiny black holes, or little energy strangelets. Tiny black holes swallow stars. Wouldn't a black hole swallow a tiny planet? The CERN people claimed there was zero-risk (what else are they going to say?), though prominent physicists were saying yes, there is in fact a possibility, however small. It's 2012, and the collider has been operational since late 2009. They think they've found evidence of the Higgs boson, maybe (does it matter?). The world has not been swallowed by a black hole, though the collider won't be fully operational until 2014.

I wrote a scathing chapter in my first book about the Hadron Collider, and nano-bots, and the technological singularity. Nano-bots, theoretical robots so small they could pick up single atoms and place them according to a code. We might be able to let them loose in the body, to unclog arteries and repair organs. It's also true that their first order of business might be to create a copy of themselves. In which case the exponential growth from one nano-bot would turn the entire planet into a gray-goo of nano-bots in about 90 minutes. The technological singularity is the dream of those trans-humanist types discontent with the body, who want to become cyborgs. Some of them secretly want, I think, to become the singularity, the self aware computer that consumes the whole of the universe. I threw the chapter out, in part because I don't wish to demonize science, and I've let go of much of my fear about humanity killing the Earth.

That isn't to say that I don't believe it's possible. It's not like I ever forget I'm living in an age of profound existential threats. I was in the shower after watching this film, thinking, wouldn't that be the most inglorious of ends, the entire 4 billion year story of the Earth, snuffed out in a moment, all the Earth and all its glorious creatures, ripped apart atom by atom in a moment, crushed down into a tiny pinprick of a point, the teeny weensy mass and immense gravity of a wee little black hole. Maybe then even swallowing up the sun and solar system, becoming a threat to other stars, a piss-ant menace of insatiability. There's your anti-matter, your singularity. A sad, sorry end to this extraordinarily beautiful existence.

Physicists. I read about physics and I can't help but wonder if a thousand years from now, our ancestors will look at what our physicists have accomplished with about as much comprehensibility as we do the archaic Mayan astronomer. Hopefully our ancestors will have a sense of what was understood, if not the means of it. I'm sure most Mayans looked at their astronomer/priests in the same way we look at our physicists, with a measure of fear and awe and incomprehensibility. Those later astronomer/priests of the Maya conspired with the rulers of their day too, to rule over the populace, to retain the security and means to conduct their research. I wonder if they felt anything like Oppenheimer and his cohorts when Truman dropped those nuclear bombs on those innocent Japanese people, when their Mayan overlords started chopping off heads and ripping out hearts, in anticipation of curious celestial phenomena?

Speaking of another way in which science has betrayed us, there's the fact that those Maya were making all those impossibly accurate calendars high on mushrooms or DMT secreted from the glands of a toad. Where's all that scientific research about psychedelics and weed? Oh right, they're illegal. Consciousness having evidently been decided, not worthy of further exploration. Science having largely heaped contempt upon such plants and mushrooms, since the dominators of the world decided certain plants and mushrooms are a liberty we would not be allowed.

Violence. Science has basically ignored neolithic Goddess worshiping cultures, in favor of a narrative that suggests there has never been anything but hierarchy and dominance, from the beginning. They tell us that it was agriculture and surplus that lead to the increasing power of individuals to control populations, as if no “civilized” culture on Earth ever distributed anything equitably, as if it were unnatural for any member of the same species to share, or give. Remember, it's all about competition. According to the dominant scientific paradigm, any evidence anywhere in nature of symbiosis, or cooperation, is an anomaly. There are scientists like the late Lynn Margulis, who argue that in fact, cooperation is the rule, the way of nature, the way of life. There are innumerable bacteria in my body that I could not live without. Every cell in my body is like a living, conscious thing. But that does not fit into the paternalistic dominator model behind religions, governments, institutions, corporations, the military, the traditional family, and capitalism generally. The monotheistic God of creation, or neo-Darwinism are a better fit, with their tacit legitimization of plunder and destruction, and the individuals right to rule over another.

Is it really any wonder, with all this in the make-up of who we are as Americans and Westerners, the most potentially violent people in the story of the species, with so much that is unacknowledged, that we have put ourselves in Iraq, that we are threatening Iran, and India and Pakistan, where we are so deeply engaged, are a potential venue for nuclear holocaust - the former lands of those peaceful, agrarian Goddess worshiping civilizations we refuse to acknowledge? Or that the epicenter of the collapse of the Western economic model seems to be Greece and Rome, where the dominator model was so well established, the birthplace of so much that is our current system?

Maybe the CERN Hadron Collider is not a weapon of mass destruction, pardon the pun. Perhaps it's a kind of penance for science, for what it did, for what it has done, for what it is doing to support tyranny everywhere. Just as well as the Church, having stripped from perception the divine from matter, tampering with it so, the scientific print on so much that makes us weak and enslaves us, so much that is destroyed. Maybe this particle smasher will sort out all those final questions, and lead to some final unified theory, and save us from the predicament of 7 billion with declining resources, but I doubt it. I think it will lead to twice the questions, twice the mystery. With time, they'll want a bigger smasher. A round and round we go.

Peak resources theory is one of the reasons I believe this is a divine universe. I think the peak of resources has come just in time to prevent us from turning this planet into a black hole, or a giant computer, or a mass of gray goo. Scientists will have to remember their roots in alchemy, and start looking to plants and mushrooms and toads again, for inspiration, once the hydrocarbons that have fueled such massive undertakings as the Hadron Collider, such grand patronage from the dominators of the day, is finally exhausted. What are quarks and bosons, when you no longer have the ability to observe them? What is physics at the quantum level, without the technology that is the result of so much surplus hydrocarbons, to study the behavior of electrons?

Lest I come off as anti-science, I simply want a science that supports life. To often, science supports domination, destruction and enslavement, of the body and mind. I want a science that can say, we do not understand, or, that is something we simply cannot measure, instead of the current method, to denigrate, to deny, to say that it has no meaning. I want a science that does not align itself with a worldview that sanctions violence. I want a science that reinvigorates the world with something of the sacred.

That's the world I live in. A sacred place, a divine place, which we cannot see, for a mythology of progress that is about domination and control obscuring the view. A mythology that requires us to destroy, that is so little about building, that is so indifferent to life. Such that, here we are, everyday threatened with potential collapse, disruptions we were told would never come again. A long descent, the chaotic disarray of violent shadows lurking in the consciousness of humanity, wreaking havoc. How much do I desire peace? How much do I desire healing? Where is the resiliency in this system, that is so disconnected from the Earth?

I'm glad to have it, the vision of the universe science has given me. It has awakened my being profoundly. I hope we hold onto it, the next few hundred years. I imagine a people who retain that vision, and recover something of that pre-historical worldview, are more likely to manage well any coming difficulties. If things continue as they are, and I expect they will, I see a bottleneck somewhere distant in our future. Burning the remaining hydrocarbons the next 100 years, and consuming the way we do, could change the climate enough to call this the end of the Cenozoic Era. I don't know what we'll call the next, but my hope is, it will be populated by a people who live in cooperation, in gratitude and joy, in love. I think such people will find that the universe and the Earth are vastly more mysterious, and supportive, than either the children of God or the devotes of Science have made them out to be. After what we've been through, I think humanity deserves 5000 years of peace.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I've had the occasion lately to think about what liberty means. The word famously appears in the Declaration of Independence, "that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..." The word Liberty is like a religious incantation to the Right; the Left seems only to utter the word denying whatever position Conservatives take. Conservatives seem to take the position that Liberty is men entirely unrestrained from doing whatever they like, as long as it can be called capitalism as defined by capitalists. The Left says you can't have Liberty but by government restraining men from doing what they like, as if the exercise of governmental authority couldn't possibly be anything but noble.

Merriam-Webster calls liberty, "the quality or state of being free." I like Wikipedia's definition, "A contested moral and political principle that seeks to identify the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves." We want to do what we want to do; we want others not to do what we don't want them to do. We actually agree about more things than we think, we just don't see it because we are too busy arguing ideology. It could be argued in fact, that in the period from 1973 (the year I was born) to the present, America was among the most free societies in the world. Sadly, government in that time grew ever larger, with ever increasing power, and the last thirty years at least, the economy has been draining the wealth of the majority, funneling it upward, while generating unsustainable debt. Many Americans have less liberty as a result.

I've had the occasion to think about this, because I am nominally employed. I've done little work for money the last two months, spending my mornings writing and editing, and most of the rest of the day, dancing and reading. Dancing in part because my furnace doesn't really work, turning on randomly, only a few times a day. I need to stay warm; it's rarely more than 60 degrees in here, often 45-55. Most of the house is closed off except one room, where I write, dance and sleep. Even if the furnace worked properly, it would never shut off, because this house built in 1918 is so grossly inefficient, thermodynamically speaking. I moderate the heat in this one room with an oil filled radiator. It is currently 58, about 40-45 elsewhere in the house. If I had to survive the rest of the winter on the food I have in the house, I would surely starve to death. I'm down to about $3000. If I cease to pay any of the utilities, the city will condemn the house within seven days.

I'm not complaining. I get by quite well. This time in winter in Minnesota, I'm content to hang out in the house and contemplate life. It would be nice if the house were better insulated, with less windows everywhere but on the south side, with an attached greenhouse where I could grow food, with a functional kitchen with a well stocked basement cellar. From my vantage point, Liberty looks like clean air, clean water, clean soil, good food, clothing, companionship, a modest, clean, warm house, and the freedom to travel. Everyone alive should have that, actually. We might have achieved it by now, if we'd set about it 40 years ago. Instead, for almost the entirety of my life, America has been living the trajectory of Empire, every man more or less for himself. With less liberty for most of us, on the horizon.

We sense that our Liberty is imperiled, hence the rise of the Tea Party and the OWS movement, though we are confused about what would improve our chances. There are a lot more people in America with little else to do but contemplate their lives, which most people would rather not do. Many of those who are working are exhausted. Everywhere I go, people seem tired, even somewhat sleepy, or rather, leveled. I suppose because just about everybody is on some pill or another, or several. With alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and sugar, we manage.

I'm fond of alcohol and caffeine. I have not taken any pharmaceutical substance in about three years. I haven't taken any pharmaceutical other than Ibuprofen the last fifteen years, except the time I took antibiotics to kill the lymes virus I was carrying. I don't begrudge anyone taking any pill. How aghast would anyone be, if I said they couldn't? Though I do think we take a great many pills in America because the idea of it makes us feel better.

I do like to smoke Cannabis. I am quite fond of it, actually. The curious thing is, because I consume the flower of this plant, I can go to jail. Not only can I be put in a cage, everything I own can be confiscated from me. If I'm declared a felon, I can't vote, even after I've served my term. I can't vote, but I can be taxed, which is taxation without representation, which is unconstitutional, but the law in America depends mostly on who and where you are. They drug test for people like me, too. The trend is, if you get caught, you won't get that job and it may be hard to get another. Or you may not get those benefits, or those services you've been paying taxes for.

Have I mentioned before, that Cannabis is the most useful plant on the planet, without question? Yes I have. Why is the most useful plant on the planet illegal? Ponder that, the next time you pop a pill. No one has ever been known to die from the consumption of Cannabis. People die everyday taking pills. The government raids cannabis growers; when was the last time the government raided a pharmaceutical company? Some companies have made pharmaceuticals seem like a license to kill. Sell cannabis, and you can be legally ruined.

This isn't anything but one segment of the population at liberty to prey upon another. Predators of certain kinds - a certain fellow running for President comes to mind - are welcome, even elevated, like a cultural prize. Some species prey upon their own in times of great stress. Only Homo sapien sapien has elevated it to an economic or moral ideal. How is it that those most at liberty with the word Liberty have so little to say about some of our species preying economically on their own?

Liberty is whatever the culture says it is. It used to be a liberty to pour whatever you wanted into rivers. We have some limits on that now, though these tend to be rather arbitrary, and our rivers can't be described as clean, most of them. If access to clean water is a fundamental liberty, then mine is considerably limited. There are many on this earth who do not have much liberty at all in that regard. It seems very much that the culture, in an attempt to fulfill the mythology of endless growth, is going to put increasing limits on my liberty to drink fresh water and breath clean air, in an attempt to expand liberty for traditional capitalists, ostensibly to improve the economy by exploiting the biosphere. By traditional capitalist, I mean those practicing the dominator model, who turn exploitation into a virtue, who see the world as mute, dumb nature to be transformed into money and garbage, who have no concept of their place in any greater ecological whole.

I am not against the right of anyone to profit from his or her labor and ingenuity. But Capitalism has to change. Capitalism as it stands is insatiable. It cannot have enough, at any cost. If the Market is God, as some assert, then God is a fool. How else to explain the seas of homes in the colder climates of this country, that are fundamentally useless without affordable fossil fuels? They are still building them, while many sit empty! The market is not God, but the collective and mundane actions of a people who want to behave as if there are no limits to growth, as if we have no responsibility to the Earth. We consider it a fundamental liberty in America to consume without regard for limits, in economics, ecology or energy. The Capitalism we have today will devour ecology and energy to feed the economy until everything is exhausted, and the culture is left with a vast infrastructure that is useless, in a world utterly transformed and ecologically damaged, that cannot support most of us.

We have elevated self-interest at the cost of everything. Self-interest, like money, seems to have no limit. Such a way cannot lead anywhere for the culture but to collapse. No one lives independent of his or her environment. We are all part of the biosphere. Which goes back to that definition of Liberty as the measure of a people's ability to govern themselves.

What does it mean for us to govern ourselves? Self-interest is not wanting to be told how to live my life. Self-interest is me deciding my own fate. Self-interest is me fulfilling the Art that is my life. Self-interest void of concern for others, or community, or the biosphere on which every cell depends, is as hollow as an economy ignorant of its relationship to ecology and energy, and equally doomed. A people cannot rule themselves ignorant of the economy, ecology and energy, and their relationship to each. Conversely, a self-sustaining people are not easily ruled.

The Right makes a big deal about American ingenuity and liberty, but the Right will not allow American ingenuity to experiment with hemp, as example. Industrial hemp would go a long way in making Americans a self-sustaining people, but hemp would displace much GMO mono-crop corn, and industrial corn makes people ill, and an ill people are easier to control. A people dependent on pharmaceuticals to moderate their illnesses are less likely to question the ways in which Liberty is denied by the culture that provides those drugs. A people who accept the dominant mythologies of the culture have less incentive to ponder liberty. Immersion in the mainstream, no matter how tyrannous, feels like liberty. Which is why information is so important. A truly free person takes in all available information, and makes his or her own decisions. A truly free person rules him or herself, in relation to the world around, leaving ignorance masquerading as authority for the empty, shallow thing that it is. A free person ruling him or herself, with a firm grasp of economy, ecology and energy, living in a community of such people, is a happy person indeed.

It was about fifty degrees in here when I woke up this morning. It's below 0 outside, and will likely remain so all day. I could see my breath in the kitchen when I went to make coffee. Liberty too, is a state of mind. We do what we can, with what we have.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It seems the first two posts of this blog in 2012 are meant to provide correction and clarity. Two posts ago, in my 2012 Forecast, I mentioned the film Thrive. Here is some of what I said:

"We are facing a long decline as the resources to maintain the life we have grown accustomed to grow ever scarcer. At the same time, I read the work of Charles Eisenstein, and watch the film Thrive, and I want very much to believe that I will see the world they envision in my lifetime."

There have been a flurry of reviews about this film, by several writers I admire, including Eisenstein, and they have all been profoundly negative. Rob Hopkins called it "horrifying". John Michael Greer called it "meretricious nonsense". Strong statements. I agree with Greer more than I do Hopkins, though I can see why Hopkins has had such a strong reaction, in that the movie may have the effect of encouraging people not to concern themselves with the actual crises that face us, in favor of empty anger against fictitious crises, and false hope in the salvation of physically impossible energy schemes. That is basically Greer's argument, that Thrive is little more than an extreme form of the narrative of progress, a means to hide from the failure of the narrative of progress.

I liked the film. I think that's because I didn't take it very seriously. How can one? If you've seen it, you know, the thing is preposterous. I mean, David Icke is the most prominent interview. Seriously? I remember thinking, I wonder if Vandana Shiva knew what this film is about, that she did this interview for? Whenever I heard Foster Gamble talk about the principle of non-violation, I kept thinking, well, I probably wouldn't put the word violation in any slogan around which to structure a movement. And, I wonder what all those rich dude's are going to think about your slogan, when you put them on trial and take their money to build your fancy world?

Just about every conspiracy theory making the route through the underbelly of the culture, makes an appearance in Thrive. (Aliens, too.) Basically, some bad people at the head of a few families, are engaged in a conspiracy to dominate the world, to the point of engaging in plans to exterminate whole populations. That last bit I hear more and more about these days, governments and elite conspiring to kill billions. I think it's an idea welling up out of our collective unconscious, a low level awareness of the trials humanity is likely to face in the not so distant future, with the decline of available energy - including and especially rich people. It's easier to blame shadowy banking figures, than the Western standard of living. If I blame the Rothschilds, I don't have to question my lifestyle. Throw the specter of free energy into the plot, and now I'm free to live however I will forever and always.

Possibly the most insidious aspect of this film is the idea of free energy. His evidence for free-energy isn't evidence at all, but anecdote, and hypothesis. Even so, he asserts that the only reasons we are not awash in free-energy, are the machinations of elite perpetrating a global domination agenda. It's not that I don't believe such energy schemes may be possible. I just wonder, has it occurred to those who truly believe, that it might be a hundred, or a thousand generations, before we figure it out? Has it occurred to anyone but Rob Hopkins, that we aren't ready for free energy? Do we really think the cruel, capricious, petty, monstrous, ugly, exploitative people who inhabit this time, are capable of the responsibility of free energy?

Damn. I just wrote all that, and now I go back to my forecast post and all I said, and now I'm asking, how could I have liked this film?

Because I want everybody to thrive. I don't want people to have to go through what we are going to go through, the next few decades.

Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Peace Institute accused Thrive of a "reactionary, libertarian agenda." I consider this a hopelessly mundane perspective. Because what Foster Gamble is advocating, though he doesn't know it, is the Anarchist utopia, in which everyone is living in the fullest expression of their purpose. Which is inevitable, but no more a possibility now than free energy. The Libertarian dream of everybody living without the interference of government or rulers is the fantasy of a future world with a lot less people in it, who are a lot stronger than we are today. About all the Anarchist and Libertarian can do now is live responsibly, according to one's principles. Government we know has failed us miserably, which neither Kelly nor Hopkins seem able to comprehend. They want to believe government is a solution, because a sudden Libertarian fix in this time is truly horrifying (just as would be a government without free enterprise). Someday however, there will be no government, nor any rulers, capitalists or democrats or otherwise, because we will have transcended the need. But that might be a hundred thousand generations from today.

Meanwhile, if we are to thrive, we are going to have to choose to, individually, because the culture is not going to help. The culture is like Thrive the film; to paraphrase Greer, an exposition on the inevitability of progress, a refusal to acknowledge the actual world we actually inhabit. Which is why it's a good idea to enjoy Thrive, without taking it very seriously.

And as I corrected a quote of mine, I would also like to add that I feel I have done Charles Eisenstein a dis-service, putting his book and the film Thrive in the same context, as if they were equal.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I need to correct what I perceive as a factual error in my last post. It went like this:

"If the precession of the equinox is on a 26,000 year cycle, and the sun is as close to the line between the Earth and the center of the galaxy as it has been on that 26,000 year cycle, then I take the mid-point of that cycle, when the sun was furthest from that line, 13,000 years ago, as the time of the collapse of the last ice age."

I've been trying to work out in my head, how the sun could eclipse the center of the galaxy only once on a 26,000 year cycle. I haven't been able to do it; but still, I seem to fall back on that default idea about the winter solstice of 2012. Anyone commenting on what that date signifies is either condescendingly dismissive, or fatuously convinced, so it's hard to know what the truth is. Recently, I found a clip of Neil deGrasse Tyson mocking the idea, saying that the sun eclipses the center of the galaxy once every year, so how can that date be such a big deal? He would, I think, encapsulate the dominant scientific attitude about the myth of 2012, that it isn't even worth looking into, that anyone who does is clearly a crackpot.

It sometimes helps to look to the blind-spots of Science, when looking for the truth. What Tyson says is not really even true. According to Thomas Razzeto, the sun never in fact eclipses the center of the galaxy; but rather, once a year, you can draw a line from the Earth, through the sun, along the plane of the galaxy, within a few degrees of the center - the galactic alignment. This has been happening on the day of the winter solstice, the past hundred years or so, and will for another hundred or so more. The plane of the galaxy is marked by the great rift, what appears to be a dark line in the sky blocking light from the center of the galaxy - interstellar clouds, it turns out - which the Maya consider, or considered, the birth canal of the great womb of the cosmic Mother.

Razzeto simply asked, if there is anything at all to the date of Dec 21, 2012, what would you see, if you were looking from the place of the origin of the Long Count calendar? What he discovered, using a computer program called The Sky, looking from the village of Izlan, in southern Chiapas state, in Mexico, at high noon on 12/21/12, the sun can be found at the center of the great rift, at the same time that Mars and Venus are found balanced on either side.

Razzeto calls this the day of the triple rebirth of the sun, in the presence of the world tree. By triple rebirth, he means, the rebirth of the sun as it rises in the morning, the rebirth of the sun on the winter solstice, and the rebirth of the sun in the center of the great rift. The world tree, at least in my conception, something like the Earth, Venus and Mars, three very similar planets in many ways, triangulating, or at least appearing to frame the sun in a triangle. Razzeto believes the Maya chose this day to end their long count (which also implies an accuracy in calendar making that requires a computer these days.)

What will it mean, this arrangement in the sky above southern Mexico? Nothing, says Razzeto. It is only an arrangement that lends well to a metaphor, the triple rebirth, which we may choose to invest in, or not. It is a mythology that arose out of the Maya, or at least is arising now, in response to the striking talents of the ancient Maya. It certainly seems to me that if there has ever been a time to represent the death and rebirth of Ages, that time would be now. We can choose to see this time as a time of rebirth, or we can hold onto the ways that have brought us here, with so much seemingly on the brink of collapse. But then, a kind of death is necessary, to be reborn.

Razzeto is not going to be taken very seriously, by many. He's very earnest, with a very gentle voice. He's an independent thinker, unaffiliated with any school, simply a man who asked a question and went in search of an answer, and he doesn't refuse to look at any idea if it might inform his argument, some of which ideas are institutionally taboo. He is more of what we need, actually, earnest and awed people exploring ideas. Both genuine and authentic, he has come up with as credible a theory about what the hoopla around Dec 21, 2012 is really about, from the perspective of the skies, as anyone I've found.

As for the second half of that quote of mine, that the halfway point of this past cycle was the end of the last ice age, is unsupportable by any measure. It is true that back in 1998, the cycle of precession could be said to be complete, with the axis of the Earth as close to the angle of the plane of the galaxy, as it ever is on that 25,776 year cycle. The other side of that cycle would put us at about the year 10,876 BCE. That was a time around the end of the last ice age, but we can't really say. The closest I've come to anything corroborating that date, is the work of Robert Buval and Graham Hancock, pointing to the pyramids of Giza, and a layout that was reflected in the sky, in the year 10,450 BCE. As for positing too, that Neanderthal went extinct about 26,000 years ago, I've seen dates between 24,000-40,000 years ago. Science seems to have settled on the older number, this year.

So while I cast doubt on my assumptions about what happened 13,000 and 26,000 years ago, I don't doubt this will be the year that the bulk of humanity will have to face a future of decreasing energy supplies. And no, I don't think that is a result of precession, or an alignment in the solar system. It is simply a fact of geological limits, of supply and demand, which is understood by a small number of people, and thoroughly ignored by the vast majority, to all our peril.

Aristotle said that an educated mind should be able to consider any idea, without having to accept it. In America, we adhere mostly to ideologies or dogmas or institutional creeds, to the exclusion of all else. In other words, contrary to what we like to believe about ourselves, we let authorities do our thinking for us. Most of the ideas afloat in the world today are about social control. Which is why the decline of America is likely to be ugly, every ideology, dogma and creed fighting to dominate every other.

If there is anything we need right now, it is flexibility in thinking. Opening our minds to new ideas, unafraid. Because open-eyed and clear-headed folk have a much easier time in hard times, then do the ones who can not think clearly for themselves. And the fact is, most of the ideas that might lead to a kind of golden age for humanity, a healing time, are going to be hard to preserve the next 200 years, as the ideas of control will attempt to snuff out anything that might lead to such an age. My hope is, that the readers of this blog are some of those who will take it upon themselves to preserve what is best about this life, as long as they live, to pass on what they can. Such people may be the only thing standing in the way of another dark age.

Looking to the stars, to the spiral nature of this existence, what is my role, in maintaining the best of this human experience?