Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Collective Insanity

I just read an article by someone called Bhikkhu Bodhi, a Buddhist monk. The entire article is here - http://philosophersforchange.org/2015/08/11/taking-notes-49-climate-change-a-moral-call-to-social-transformation/

The article itself is worth reading as it goes into many of the issues humanity currently faces. But I was struck by the last paragraph which goes:

At this point in time we stand facing two alternatives about our common future that lead in opposite directions. One leads deeper into a culture of death, toward increasing devastation and eventual social collapse; the other leads to a revitalization of our humanity, to the emergence of a new culture of life. As climate change accelerates, the choice before us is becoming starker, and the need to choose wisely grows ever more urgent. The resources for making the necessary transition are at our disposal. What is missing is collective insight and unified will.

My question is this - just who is the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi referring to when he talks of collective insight and unified will? Is he talking to the Billions of people around the world whose lives have been reduced to being cogs in the global capitalistic machine? Or is he talking to the well-educated and highly-paid professionals who administer and engineer the elaborate system of oppression and destruction that surrounds us? Or is he talking to the sociopathic men in charge of world affairs who are intent on winning and taking what little there is left of a dying planet? Where does that collective insight and unified will come from?

Beats me!

Here's the classic depiction of the Pyramid of Capitalism -


A more modern version -



So, again, where is that collective insight and unified will expected to come from? Who among the 7.3 Billion people on the planet is doing anything about it?

23 comments:

  1. Satish, thank you for sharing your insight about the time you bought Carbon Credits when you were with Google. Also the fact that there a few native humans way off the grid in jungles & Australia Outback who don't even exist in the hubris of the corporate guilt.

    As much as I am haunted by "The tragedy of the commons" your words to me many months ago on that specific issue deeply sank into my heart. You have greater effect than you might know. I am both sorry & thankful. Life is so complicated...until we return to total balance & simplicity. So glad your still goingkuku. making new content. Going sane. I appreciate you.

    Hope you have moved to a safer place. This is happening on West Coast today: The Fukushima 137Cs signal doubled again to levels in excess of 4 Bq/m3 in the upper 200 m. Adjusted circulation model estimates that match our measured values indicate that future levels of Fukushima 137Cs off the North American coast will likely attain maximum values of at least 5 Bq/m3 by 2016 - Dr. Ken Buesseler. Woods Hole Inst.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mark. I'm indebted to you for keeping us all informed on the happenings in the nuclear world. There have been massive die-offs of bird populations in the Pacific but the media shies away from attributing anything to radiation effects. I'm not sure what 4 or 5 Bq/m3 actually means in terms of health effects for humans and it is a bit too myopic and anthropocentric to think of humans when the ocean is dying. 5 disintegrations per second per cubic meter sounds unnatural. A couple of years ago, I posted this - http://www.goingkuku.com/2013/11/fukushima-is-here.html and the story is just beginning to unfold, it seems.

      Delete
    2. MARK,

      Forgot to mention: my grandfather was a member of the Homosassa Fisherman's Club in the 1920's. Pretty cool, although that meant he was a member of the 1%, sad to say. It was a little different then tho I suppose, but still Industrial Civilization.

      Delete
  2. Hi Satish,

    Ditto to what Mark said. I, too, am grateful for your revelations and for this blog. I have a project that I've barely started working on, and am struggling not to spend all day on the blogs. But one quick question: Do you know whether Google gives grants for "sustainable" projects?

    Stay well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google has a grant-making department called dot org (https://www.google.org/index.html) but I suspect they fund only projects they deem as being aligned with their corporate philosophy.

      Delete
    2. Artleads, also check out this site - https://www.google.com/green/

      Delete
    3. Thanks a lot, Satish. I'm trying to apply for a grant, but unlike Google's, my focus is water (while theirs is energy, based on the second link). Were I in East Palo Alto, I might try to make some "corporate-relevant" connection.

      It strikes me that water is by far the more serious issue. It's too late to do much about energy. Apparently, the fossil fuel energy industry is slipping away. It costs more to extract than the public can pay for it--thus prices for it are falling below what it costs the industry to extract it.Apparently, you can't build, maintain and transport "renewable" energy without fossil fuels.

      My venture is disheartening, for all the grantors appear moonbound. Nonsense everywhere you look!

      Delete
    4. That's what I notice about the Silicon Valley tech elites - "Nonsense everywhere you look!"

      Delete
  3. Satish,

    I have the Wobblies poster, framed and on my wall along with Johnny Cash giving the finger to The Nashville Music Establishment for screwing all the old timers like Waylon and Willie, et.al.

    I went to a George W. Bush demonstration in N.Y. at the famed Riverside Church and and was wearing an International Workers of The World (I had joined) tee shirt when a youg man came up to me all excited and said, very reverently, because I was old, "Damn, Were You a Wobblie?" Had to confess, "No. Just admire them." He was crushed. So was I.

    Shep

    I also have a bunch of Utah Phillips cd's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not surprised, shep :) You're a Wobblie at heart.

      Delete
  4. http://player.vimeo.com/video/41225777?badge=0

    shep

    ReplyDelete
  5. Energy scientist Kevin Anderson analyzes what needs to be done, from a scientific/materialist POV. It will take a whole lot more than that, of course.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF1zNpzf8RM

    The following was recorded more than 20 years ago, but it seems to me to be on target for the present. Maybe even more so now, given the work of Guy McPherson, than ever. Now we actually have the scientific justification for what McKenna was warning and preaching against.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PuyoHH4c70

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Piper to the End" on NBL - thanks Shep. Back when your father was on the Crystal River mine went there on a teenage school trip. The area was very rural back then...they might have crossed paths!!!

    I know this is not exactly accurate since I'm not including homeless and really poor indians on reservations but it is odd to do the basic math & realize everyone in the USA is in the 1% - include Europe too to get 700 million people. 1% of 7 billion worldwide. Terrible problems but we also have it so well (including freedom of this internet) compared to billions in SouthEast Asia. This is just a moment to be thankful for Satish & MO and ARTLEADS & going KuKu together. Seems sorta sane here when we think of 90% stampeding toward their moment of industrial empire. I remember the year world population hit 7 billion on Oct 31. Scary Halloween to all.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't get into the details of anything. I'm looking always at the broadest take on issues, seeing how they interconnect strategically. Trying to anyhow. So I haven't looked into this. I can only say that this mapping looks like what I've been advocating for years.

    http://www.urbanophile.com/2015/10/29/12-ways-to-map-the-midwest/

    I've been advocating for mapping for a long time. From a glance, this program seems to be the kind of thing I've been thinking should be done everywhere. Getting into the details is yet another step.

    I suspect that such mapping is relevant for nuclear site management. Mark, what do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I took some time to look at the maps, and could see nothing relevant to your very complex work, Mark. I reposted this on Land Use, adding the watershed map of the US (which might actually be slightly more relevant). The current post on Land Use is by Ilinda, one of the old timers, who hardly posts now. She's focused on the nuclear plant risk if the grid goes down. I know you've been talking about threats to the grid, and you must have seen Ted Koppel's new book, Lights Out, about those threats. Ilinda should have been reading your posts..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Batter Up

    ARTLEADS WRITES

    I'm trying to understand all this myself. A disappeared grid means you have no centralized heating or cooling...nothing that requires electricity or transportation. No banks, no computers, no supermarkets, nothing. That would be one big problem all by itself. I take your point that, as McPherson has observed, the grid and its correlated global dimming effect not only spikes temperature, but perhaps also triggers nuclear plant mayhem. You say this temperature spike would happen in a matter of days. I have no scientific understanding of the matter. I believe that Kevin Moore (who has a scientific background) has been saying something about the time it would take the ocean to give off its stored heat being longer than you suggest.

    For now, I'm more confident in that first scenario--the grid goes down for months, but temps do not spike catastrophically, and there is still a government and organization that can distribute needed emergency services. If extreme heat of cold is the issue, I believe we'd have a Katrina kind of scenario, not so great for the poor, where people get warehoused in large public structures. Meanwhile, shouldn't we focus on the things we have more control over? That rules out climate. It seems to me we take one step at a time, not expecting anything to come of it.

    ----------------------



    ILINDA WRITES

    Isn't the biggest threat of a total or near-total grid shutdown, the loss of power to all the nuclear power facilities? The issue of AGW won't matter much, compared to the near instant loss of cooling to the nuke towers. Yeah, I know about all the so-called emergency backup generators, but they too will go quickly once their stash of fossil fuel is spent. Then there would be one meltdown after another, without that constant cooling provided by electricity from the grid to pump cooler water into the facilities.

    It's hard to envision food, medicine and water being calmly distributed while nuke towers are going critical in the background.


    ARTLEADS WRITES

    Are you aware of Mark Austin, who has recently been in and out of posting on NBL? He's a very unusual person, has strong political connection, and has been contracted by the DOE to do the best he can to safeguard nuclear plants. He tried to get Guy to visit DC and show the predicament you mention, but his bosses appeared to get cold feet at the end--way too drastic a prospect for BAU for them to grok--and pulled the plug on the visit. I tried to help in my small way, as did Lidia (who met with him around a decommissioning in VT). I also proposed that a way to deal with the nuclear-plant crisis was to involve the communities near the plant, do rigorous community (land use) planning around security, etc. Things like giving tax credits to nearby residents who complied with a permanent, replacement-scheduled fuel storage program. (I agree that if the entire civilization collapses, the nuclear plants must have enough civilization left so that energy can be mined, stored and replaced forever). Mark has done a lot. I'm vague about it, but I think he managed to spearhead a couple decommissionings. Remarkable, giving the low level of support by TPTB to deal with the crisis. It seems to me that this is the case for everything that is critical to sustaining life. Nothing appropriate is being done. All the effort is on BAU and other total, absolute foolishness. I don't know what to do about it. My life is one constant, unceasing advocacy program. But I'm only one rather flawed person. One of the best things I can see to do is sticking with this thread. :-) Thank you very much for weighing in on something that really matters.


    ReplyDelete
  10. Amazing busy week getting 2 more decommissioning deals on the fast track. With progress like this I don't want to retire. Friday, October 30, 2015
    Entergy Prepping to Shut Down Fitzpatrick Nuclear, Another Nuclear Plant Losing Money
    We could have a happy Monday. Entergy is already shutting down Pilgrim, now they may shut down Fitzpatrick, and possibly Indian Point.
    - See more at: http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2015/10/entergy-prepping-to-shut-down Indian Point

    ReplyDelete
  11. Satish Musunuru Says:
    November 3rd, 2015 at 3:21 am
    Gerald said:

    You phrased your position very well, but your short essay would approach perfection were you to jettison any mention of “spirits.”

    ——–

    Gerald, there’s not a whole lot of hidden agenda behind my use of the word “spirit”. I realize the word is overloaded with many connotations and it particularly rubs Science-minded folk the wrong way. But I use it in a very simple sense.

    Think of it this way…pretty much everything that’s worth thinking about, or talking about has a spirit. Spirit is about momentum, it’s about the power to be perceived, and it’s really the motive force behind whatever enters consciousness. For something to enter your consciousness, for something to displace what’s already in your consciousness and make room for itself in your mind’s eye, it needs to have a certain amount of strength, a little bit of power, some momentum, an electric charge or at a bare minimum in a scientific sense, the power to ruffle a couple of neurons! That power is what I call spirit!

    As a corollary, if a thought, an idea, a story didn’t have spirit, or isn’t spirit, it would not enter your consciousness.

    Perhaps the word “spirit” doesn’t hold the right meaning for you. It’s just a word, just a term, easily replaced by a different word that essentially means similar things. But the fact that you’re bothered by the word “spirit” in itself speaks to the power of that word (or shall we say the word has spirit? :)) It entered your consciousness and was powerful enough to bother you. Let’s give it the respect it seems to have earned!

    Consider capitalism. What a spirit! Most here would say it’s a mean spirit, an ugly one, and bad for most of us. I’d agree. But keeping that aside, consider its power. What a spirit it must be if it can hold innumerable men’s imagination in thrall and commandeer their life force and put it all in its own service. Consider all the fertile minds that have fallen under its sway and spread its gospel far and wide. Capitalism has been quite the ascendant spirit over the last few centuries. No matter how much we hate it, we concede it its power over generations of civilized men.

    I sometimes wonder if the human spirit is a mere substrate, a base layer that simply nourishes other spirits. We start out as a blank slate and take on story after story that then come to define us, that provide us an identity and that give our life meaning and purpose. Like the software of a robot that controls all the hardware, the spirits, the stories, really the spirits of stories take charge of man and take him places and make him live his life. What is he without those spirits? What is the Universe other than a Universe of spirits? It’s obvious to us here on the beach of doom how so many out there walk around with all sorts of stories in their heads that have little connection to what’s unfolding. Aren’t those stories more powerful than the people whose hearts and minds they have taken over? Those stories are powerful spirits. So powerful that people are willing to die in their defense.

    Indigenous peoples all over don’t seem to have an issue with thinking of the world as a spirit world. But the modern Scientific man does have trouble relating to this somewhat animistic conception of the Universe. The divide is understandable considering that Science emphasizes the quantitative and measurable aspects of the creation around us while the world of spirit is far richer and mostly qualitative and hence beyond the reach of Science. That brings us to Science itself… oh, what a spirit! The spirit of Science is rather peculiar in that it seeks to disqualify the very idea of spirit! And the spirit of Science has been quite an ascendant spirit over the last few centuries.

    So there’s a story of spirits for you, Gerald! Let the spirit of that story enter your consciousness. And play with it for a while!

    ReplyDelete
  12. In the "Spirit" of appreciation, I'd like to follow ARTLEADS lead and post more of what Satish said on NBL onto his own site.

    Meditation is one of those things that I now look at very differently compared to in the years past. They told me I should focus on a mantra and repeat it. They told me I should stare at a point on the wall in front of me. They told me to use my will power to keep out any and all thoughts out of my mind.

    None of those approaches ever worked for me. It was frustrating.

    I now realize that most of what I was “taught” use the questionable assumptions that one must be diligent, focused, strong-willed and disciplined in their practice of meditation. These are the same attributes that the dominant paradigm has prized in man as it encouraged him and exhorted him to build canals, dams, factories, cities and civilization itself. These attributes that we’re told we need to work hard to inculcate in our personalities have long helped do the work of civilization.

    To me, meditation is something quite different. It’s about mindfulness. It’s about being present with whatever is in my consciousness. It’s not about pushing thoughts away so I can go back to focusing on a mantra or attempting to keep them all out in a show of mental strength. It’s not about a fight with the Universe, or with the creation around us. It’s about respect.

    Why would I want to turn away a thought that is powerful enough to enter my consciousness? Am I not disrespecting myself when I, without a second thought, try to banish it from my mind in an attempt to win the completely artificial war on my own mind? There’s really nothing wrong with random thoughts entering my mind ceaselessly. If anything, it should be a cause for wonder. What if I instead say to myself, “Oh, I wonder why this thought entered my consciousness.” If I respect myself enough, if I respect my mind enough, I would respect a thought that is powerful enough to enter my mind and my consciousness. Behold the spirit of this idea, thought, story, feeling, or whatever is in my consciousness at this moment. What a powerful spirit it must be! And so I entertain it. I allow it to exist. I wonder about it. I play with it. I respect it. I try to be mindful of its presence. I don’t have to do anything about it other than realize it’s there. And when it fades away, oh, behold, a more powerful spirit here comes, one that was just a little more powerful in the here-now than the one before, for the former was displaced by the current this very moment. So I hold the new thought with awe, respect and curiosity. Wonder what it’s trying to tell me. Wonder if I am listening right or listening at all.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Waves of Peace & Love…to both those who exist and those who do not.

    The paradox of infinity is that it must include a point of being non-infinite. Infinity must include everything.

    Eight billion evolving opinions. Delivered by 8 trillion electrons per millisecond. 8 quadrillion grains of sand on a small beach of doom. A universe of atoms and energy in every grain. Salty seas…or not??

    A universe of potential. A universe of doom. A universe for one. No-thing granted for those who see nothing. Not even a sun.

    Duality in decisions. Free will to choose from a range of limited options. Gravity. Levity. Laws of thermal dynamics. Add sum.

    Artificial Intelligence in a full spectrum of grand design. You were not here? An illusion. A delusion. Or a time and space to learn. Nothing & everything might matter. A million atoms in your finger tip..they do not perceive you at all.

    Waves of endless energy composing atoms. Composing you and your issues. More flowing from sources we will never see. Never happened? Not here? Waiting for another universe? Another virtual reality.

    Love to all. It matters to something much bigger & smaller than me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The paradox of infinity is that it must include a point of being non-infinite. Infinity must include everything."

      This way of looking at things points toward the nature of what we call reality. Reality is made up of this and that. And everything that is not this or that. It's a Universe of opposites. It's hard to perceive the true extent and boundaries of one without running into the edges of the other. Even the concept of non-duality makes full sense when we bring the concept of duality into our consciousness and ponder over it. Ah, the distinction between 1 and 2. Or between something and nothing (1 and 0).

      I highly recommend the work of the clever Alan Watts to anyone exploring this way of perceiving the creation around us.

      Thank you, Mark... your words of wisdom make me wonder. "Duality in decisions" indeed.

      Delete
  14. Alan Watts has such interesting videos on Youtube. Thanks for recommendation. Retirement party Friday night Dec 11. Ready to get outta here. 12-12 booked my car on the Autotrain to catch up with boat in Florida. My ship has already sailed south...all aboard. I'll be checking back in here from Miami.

    ReplyDelete