Monday, March 31, 2008

High Weirdness and Life Worth Living


Lately, it seems, some of the leaders of the preparedness sites are backing off or saying “good-by.” Now that the Real Estate Meltdown, Peak Oil, Climate Change, and Financial Collapse are finally being somewhat covered by the lamesteam media, sites like Survival Acres are apparently being inundated by people who are thinking that they better start to do something. But, if they all applied their “stimulus package” checks to freeze-dried or nitrogen packed foodstuffs, there would be such a backload of supply that they’d probably starve before the boxes arrived. Those who have been in the vanguard of the movement are hunkering down and looking after themselves. No more time to sound the alarm. Time to take to the basement, or at least to circle the wagons with friends and family.

Life After the Oil Crash (LATOC) linked to a message from Mike Ruppert this morning. In it, Mike sums up his recovery experience from his personal meltdown after eight years of carrying the flag for us. Then he lets us know that he is back in L.A., has a good dog, and is just planning to live until he dies in the assorted calamities about to manifest. He doesn’t want to be contacted. He’s not answering his mail. So, once again, it’s “Good-by, Mike. We owe you everything.” Personally, I hope he sits with us sometime at our council fire. The dog could come, too. Plenty of room.

I have to admit that I am getting sick and tired of the different collapse scenarios that now are watered down and morphed into some shallow, lukewarm, unseasoned fare fit for the general consumption. Gee, do ya think that we might be in a recession? Huh? Gosh, food and gas are getting expensive, eh? Boy, howdy! We just might have to eat tilapia instead of salmon this year. Uh oh, it’s looking pretty tight on Wall Street. But, the Fed is all over it. Not to worry…cut to a Boneva commercial.

For those of us who have been delving into the intricacies of resource depletion, climate change, and the global corporate and banking crimefest that threatens to put an end to the republic as we have known it, it’s all grey, grey, grey. Men in grey suits, black ops, graphs, charts… cold, hard facts lending themselves to shortages, lack, and the end of liberty. Sunday morning news show pundits (who always give me the nagging suspicion that they walk around their homes in panty hose, or cry themselves to sleep at night), spouting off about Berneke or Paulson, or Bush or Blair. Blah, blah, blah. I can only take so much of that shit before the tune of “Suicide is Painless” becomes the background music in my head.

Is there nothing MORE?? How about something imaginative? Colorful? Bazaar…. Really scary, or wonderful, even.

What else have you got?

That’s when I turn to; Project Camelot; Steve;; Above Top Secret and such. Now we’re talking! I don’t mind dying, but I do not want to be bored to death.

I can’t get enough of those pictures of the secret space craft in stationary orbit that that guy has been taking from a telescope in his home. And, the black ops helicopters that have been harassing him. What’s that about??

How about ancient libraries in Iraq filled with stone tablets with cuneiform writing that tell the routes of returning asteroids and death stars and stories of forgotten civilizations thousands and thousands of years old. Or, a little closer to home, the Project Paperclip project to create mind controlled assassins and operatives to implement the objectives of the Illuminati or extra-terrestrial alternative time lines?


Reptilian off-worlders genetically altering our DNA sometime in the dim past… space portals connecting earth to bases on Mars, secret Norwegian underground bunkers being built to save their citizenry from annihilation – it’s all fascinating stuff. Much better than that lame Tim Russert and his juvenile, sycophantic thoughts on the collective political dumbasserie.

I’m not just kidding around. I really do think that exploring these outside the box issues are good to do. Chem trails, Morgellons

Disease, 9/11 - so much suppressed information, so little time.

“Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that no one is out to get you.”

The pre-digested, corporate-correct Wally-world really isn’t all there is, thank the stars. The Flat World materialists, war-mongers, and greedheads are morally bankrupt and mentally dead to the wonders that have come before us and are about to return.

As I plant my peas and feed the poultry, I look toward the sky and imagine that someone is looking back. I am aware of the elephants that are drawing likenesses’ of themselves. I listen for the song of life that surrounds us and welcome the mysteries and surprises that are our birthright. A time for change? You bet! More than we know.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008



The seemingly helplessness of individuals in our society to affect changes is endemic, or let’s put this another way; changes that have to do with sustainability and survival. Voices that make warnings of social chaos in some future are for the most part ignored, especially at the policy level of government, local and national. It is obvious to me that radical change in how the lives of the citizens are conducted of this country, and for most of the world for that matter, is simply going to have to take place. If we do not have the leadership or citizen involvement, the changes that are going to be forced on us will be chaotic at best.

The intellectual agreement that peak oil is upon us, or soon will be, has not really entered into the national consciousness, nor is the complete ramifications of this treated but for a very few authors and activists. Instead, when the subject is brought up in polite company, the subject is shut down by a collective denial that it can and will happen. This refusal to acknowledge that the era of cheap energy is about over and how it will change our lives simply will not be admitted to by either leadership or citizenry. The cult of “our way of life is non negotiable” is the predominate thinking. After all, what is the use of worrying about a few hundred caribou and our need to drill for 6 months of oil in Alaska?

We are already seeing the first results of expensive energy sources; at the gas station and at the grocery stores. Any expectation that this trend of increasing cost for eating and driving is going to reverse is denial in its extreme, and seems to be based on the idea that there is a never ending source of the energy needed to maintain how things are and have been for 3 generations.

Since the industrial revolution, there has been a constant shift from people involved in food production to urban living, to the point that we now have only 1% of the population involved in food production as compared to nearly 40% in 1900. This 1% is composed of nearly all commercial industrial production with its monoculture techniques. This has led to land degradation, monopolization of seed production, inhumane animal husbandry and excessive use of water to name just four of the consequences. For anyone looking at this it should be obvious that our method of producing food for the maintenance of a society is simply not sustainable.

If we look at a historical precedent, during WWII, when Eleanor Roosevelt planted a victory garden on the white house lawn, (this forced the agriculture department to reverse its policies) and it ended up that nearly 40% of the food production in the nation was put out by these victory gardens. But it took an example by leadership to get it going since the agricultural department at that time was adamantly opposed to it. I’m not sure whether that is a condemnation of the thinking of the general population and foresight of leadership or not, but it was effective in a critical period. Despite any other weaknesses involved, Jimmy Carter made some warnings back in the day about eventual resource depletion and put up solar panels on the white house. Reagan promptly tore them out, right at the time when we should have been making serious policy decision for the eventuality that we would not have the cheap energy sources available any longer. But, what else can you expect from senile leadership? The fact that the man is eulogized today is a sickness and a joke.

I suspect that in the near future we are going to see an increase of historical fact finding, revisionist conclusions and more energy spent in suppression and marginalizing of these findings.

I have been coming across articles and books that take a look at what has happened in the last 200 years, especially dealing with European and American history, particularly how slavery has changed. Instead of a wealthy person owning a human and having to pay for the support while that slave contributed to your wealth, it was determined in the mid 1800’s that is was cheaper to pay a subsistence wage and have a company store where the wage earner had to buy all the stuff needed for survival, at a profit of course. Since choices were severely limited to non existent, the slave was now responsible for his own upkeep. When the big Irish migration took place during the potato blight in Ireland, the Irish laborer immigrants were considered less valuable than the black slaves. They were hired at subsistence wages to do the most dangerous work and the valuable slaves kept for the more benign labor. Still and all, slavery is still slavery. If you can convince people that they have choices (in reality nonexistent choices) and that they are in charge of their destinies, while at the same time eliminating any chance at owning wealth and land, it is still slavery. Your labor is still for the enrichment of the owners and the subsistence of yourself.

Even the middle class are not exempt. The middle class was a phenomenon of the industrial revolution and the fleeting opening up of economic ascension and ambitions to be something other than slaves. But in reality, they were slaves but with more toys, better living conditions and privileges. Sort of like the plantation owner with the household staff with more privileges and better living conditions for being more subservient.

As the title suggests, there are going to have to be some changes in social structure and general attitudes if we as a species are to survive, since how we are organizing society and economics can’t be sustained. It appears to me that the change does not have to be the picture of survival by hunting and gathering, although that is a very real possibility if we continue on this path for much longer. In any event, we are going to have to reduce population to a more earth friendly level. What population we end up with will have to be non centralized, the cities have to go. Cities by their very nature are not sustainable, and instead depend on the exploitation of the surrounding area; in our present case, exploitation of the entire rest of the world.

People’s attitudes about ownership will have to change. Ownership of land will also have to go, for ownership of land demands to be exclusive by imperative, not inclusive. Instead, there will have to be a group effort to preserve at sustainable levels the environment that we depend on to live. We will need to adopt more of the attitude of the North American Indian view that land cannot be owned, any more than water and air, and is treated with reverence rather than exploitation. Clear cutting of vast forest areas, damming of rivers, polluting of the air and water will have to cease. Paving over vast areas of prime growing land will have to cease and the areas now covered by concrete and paving has to be tore up and returned to natural habitat. Local communities will have to become self sufficient, out side of any control by a centralized patriarchal hierarchy. I suspect we will see a far more un-uniform social organization than what we experience now. You will have far more choices on how you wish to live. Those organizations that become self sustaining with no exploitive behavior will have the best chance of continuance. What you will give up is the slavery to wealth, to exploitation and forced labor to continue your life. Oh, and by the way, your free time will go up dramatically. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I have finally finished 3 books by Derrick Jensen. It has taken about 5 times the amount of time I would normally spend reading these books because of the content. About 3 chapters at a time are all I could take at a sitting and I had to walk away from it for a while. I intend to discuss why this is so in a later post. The three books I will talk about are, “The Endgame, vol I and II”, and “A Language Older Than Words”.

For those of you have not read anything by Derrick Jensen, be warned. He is going to take apart all of your cherished beliefs concerning what we call civilization. He is extreme radicalism on this subject, although not the first to be so, but in our contemporary world, I think is the most prophetic, the most adamant and the most rational and compelling.

First, a bit of background on him. As a child, he claims that he was raised in a family of utterly extreme abuse, physically and emotionally by his father. His descriptions of what he remembers of this time are horrific. He evidently has spent most of his life learning to deal with it and to heal himself. He uses this base of experience to draw parallels to our modern civilization, which he does with extreme clarity. He appears to be a well educated and well read drawing on a multitude of references.

His main thesis is that our civilization is killing us, alienating us from each other, and killing the planet, and has been doing so for most of recorded history. He maintains that a very few societies remain that do not operate as our civilization does and serve as reminders of how we can live differently.

At the very beginning of the two books “Endgame”, Jensen puts down 20 premises listed below which he supports with a vengeance throughout the two books.

Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Premise two: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources –gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise three: Our way of living –industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

Premise four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Premise six: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of the degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

Premise seven: The longer we wait for civilization to crash –or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier the crash will be, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system. Another way to put this. Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, require the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landIbase.

Premise nine: Although there will clearly someday be far fewer humans than there at present, there are many ways this reduction in population may occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity which we choose to approach this transformation). Some will be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear Armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by a crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default of our culture. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence—required and caused by the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich—and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps long term shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

Premise ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise eleven: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

Premise twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make the same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Premise fourteen: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hat ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

Premise fifteen: Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise sixteen: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be a though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise seventeen: It is a mistake (more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from them will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise eighteen: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise nineteen: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

Premise twenty: Within this culture, economics—not community well being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.

Modification of premise twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether those decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

More modification of premise twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Another modification of premise twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Another modification of premise twenty: If you dig to the heart of it—if there is any heart left—you will find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.

Because the premises took so much space, I will end this post with only a couple of comments.

There are a few of his arguments in the 2 books that I consider weak, even if true. His writings I find difficult to totally absorb. That he is passionate in what he presents to us is obvious from the very beginning. I find that I have to almost totally agree with his assertions and justifications. He is an author that I consider well worth the time to explore.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I have been involved with and familiar with far more primitive technology in the last number of years. There are all kinds of books out on how to deal with non industrialized means of doing things. Interestingly, almost of those means of doing things, involve to some degree industrialization, some more than others. For instance, if you are going to cut down a tree, the highly industrialized means is a chain saw. The far more primitive means is with some sort of ax or a manual saw, both of which demand ready access to metals and the means and skill to make the tool. When I lived in Arkansas, I worked for a short time with a neighbor who made the old style Ozark chairs. They had no fasteners or glue in them and were guaranteed to hold together for 100 years. Made by hand, a whole lot of manual labor, and it still took a lathe, electricity and various hammers and cutting tools, made from metal. The lathe could be put together to operate on treadle power, but getting around the need for cutters and other parts made with metal I would not know how to do.

Let’s take another example. When I was doing my survival living gig in Arkansas, one of the things that I just couldn’t do without is a hot shower, the pan bath got real old real quick. After trying to bath in the river up until November me and the family decided being that cold wasn’t worth it and we had to do something else. So I built an outside shower room, and put in a kit barrel stove with a copper coil in the smoke stack that filled a 100 gal. tank on the roof with hot water by convection currents and also had a 100 gal. tank to mix cold water with the hot water. The copper coil was a bit of a problem till I figured out you had to fill the tube with sand before you made a coil of it, using a fence post to coil it around. I rather imagine I had the only Finnish sauna in the Ozarks. Pretty primitive, right? Well, let’s see now. I had metal tubing for a 6” smoke stack that I do not think I could duplicate by hand, even if I had the sheet metal available. I had the cast iron kit parts to make a stove using a 30 gal. metal barrel, neither of which could I make by hand. Then there is the copper tubing, the couple of shut off valves and the means of filling the barrel as the water was used. To be able to put this rather primitive shower together takes an infrastructure of manufacturing to make it possible.

I realize that there will be a lot of scavenging going on, jerry rigging and making do. And, I rather imagine there will be lots to scavenge, but, if you’re thinking of going for the remote living, keep in mind just what infrastructure is needed to support what you figure you can’t do without.

I think it is rather self-evident that if things blow up around us and the industrialized support of this civilization goes away, a college degree in physics or an MBA will be little help in coping with the situation.

So what skills or “education” would be useful? It sort of depends on how basic, how self sufficient we will be required to be to survive. We could eventually be forced into the position of the only tools that could be used would have to be fabricated from the natural environment around us. Trying to cultivate land with a big piece of wood or making tools from different types of rock would be outright impossible for all but a very few people. Of course if we have a huge die off of population, the few that know how or are willing to figure out how to do it will probably be the survivors.

So let’s take a look at something happening that is not so drastic.

In modern times, there have been several societies that have collapsed. The most notable is the Soviet Union and Cuba. Demitry Orlov talks extensively about how the Russian society survived. Barring a nuclear holocaust, those are probably one of the more realistic patterns we will see. Cuba also went through some very troubling times when Russia cut off aid. They solved their problems by going quite low tech in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world. Seemingly, despite the embargos and attempts to isolate Cuba they have done quite well. Russia is on the rebound, primarily due to its store of fossil fuels.

In both cases, the need for formal schooling went down drastically, at least in technical skills since there were few technical things to work with. They were not eliminated entirely, just greatly reduced.

I rather imagine in our case, again barring nuclear war, technology will not disappear, at least in our lifetimes. (After all, it took 500 years for Rome to lose the people to maintain their technology and infrastructure). I imagine technology will be vastly reduced and be at a much lower scale than what we have now. I think that electricity will be rationed, and will periodically be unavailable. This is going to cause all kinds of havoc with electric motors. Better know how to fix them. In our throw away society, replacements are going to be scarce to non existent. Better know how to fix mechanical stuff and have the tools to do it. Learn the fine art of “jerry rigging” or “work arounds”. I think that anyone with the “know how” and tools to fix stuff will be in a very good barter position. I am constantly amazed at the sheer number of people that are unable to fix anything. I know a guy that gets hesitant about changing a light bulb, much less about how to wire an on-off switch. Of course, there will be a certain segment of the population that will out of desperation try to figure out how to do repairs and keep things running. I think you will also notice that most of them are older. They came from a time when that was just a normal skill to have, not the exception.

Going to school is going to become sporadic to non existent in most areas. Our school systems have become so centralized that transportation of students will become impossible. The 40 minute to an hour commute to and from school will be impossible. So, local areas will form their own schools. That means there will be some demand for people with knowledge and be able to teach it. (There is a distinction here of knowing and being able to teach it) Another good barter position. In that vein, what we are going to teach kids and adults will change, it will have to since what we teach people now is virtually worthless in that kind of situation. I think we are going to go back to teaching the down and dirty basics; simple arithmetic, basic reading. But, the real education is going to be given by those that have an understanding of why this collapse came about and be able teach it. I taught electronics for a couple of years in a vo. tech. First day of class I told the students that what they were there for was to learn how to think, we were just using electronics as a means to do this. Being able to talk about social organization and teach skills in critical thinking and real problem solving will be important. Can’t you imagine Montana Freeman heading up informal get togethers on the spirit and communing with nature and the respecting of all of our environment? That would be so cool.

I think in conjunction with this, that the older part of our population wherein resides the older knowledge of how to get by will become very popular, at least for those that survive. I imagine them taking apprentices under their wing to learn skills long ago abandoned. For sure, keeping an IPod cell phone or portable CD player operating is going to be far down the list of skills to have. Knowing how to keep a CB or ham set operating would be useful to keep information coming in from outside your area. Of course, the old standby of bicycle repair will be very useful. How many people you know that could build a harness for a work animal, or even put a harness on a horse? For that matter, fix a tire? Or fix a universal joint if you can’t get new parts? (A worn out ½” socket will work for a while). How do you convert that VW beetle into a tractor? How do you make a combustion engine work with a pile of fire wood and absolutely no gas? They figured that one out during WWII. How can you heat a house and cook with no gas, no propane, and no available fuel whatsoever? A wood stove works, but there are other ways too. How to get water from a well with no electricity will be a challenge. I’m working on that one right now.

On a family level, better learn how to produce your own food because in a collapse of a society, there isn’t going to be the well stocked grocery stores any more, even if you have the cash around to buy stuff with. Learn gardening, animal husbandry.

I know, I know, “when would I have the time to do this”. Well, if this collapse gets as bad as I think it will, you won’t have much time then to learn it when things turn bad either. Take your pick. When your hungry and you haven’t figured out how to grow some food and preserve it, and how to keep your chickens alive, you aren’t going to have the time to figure it out then either. What you going to do? Go out and steal the food? Risky business around my neck of the woods I can truthfully say.

Which brings up another subject. In the more rural environments, when the grocery store shelves become bare, the first impulse is to go out and kill some animals. Even in our sparsely populated area, that will last about 2-3 months, if that long. Edible game will be killed off. Then what? I hear this kind of talk and laugh and ask just how experienced they are at getting game when most of the game has been killed off and when you can’t find any to kill, then what? Again, it’s risky business figuring you will just take someone else’s store of food. Better plan ahead better than that. And, even if game is available, where you going to replenish the ammo to go hunting? Does that answer any question on why I reload? And, also for that matter, if you are figuring on hunting for sustenance, what are you going to carry? That monster 300 win mag. Or the 358 mag? Better start thinking more along the lines of .22 calibers and a shotgun and a very healthy stash of ammo while it is available and affordable.

You now also better start thinking about how to protect your stash of food from people intent on taking it away. Better have a group you can depend on to keep watch while you sleep because any marauder worth his salt is going to come when you least expect it. And, that’s not even starting to talk about how you are going to deal with a police state and people determined to mess with you because they can.

Surviving under duress is a tricky endeavor. Surviving well is even harder. Better get crackin’ in preparation or it will be on you before you are ready.