Disorderly and discordant thoughtsDecember 31, 2012
At the end of the year in a winter night that is not cold and dark I let my thoughts roam freely. I let them wander across the hills and valleys, across the diminishing forests and the ever increasing deserts; I let them fly across the polluted waters, the overflowing landfills, the suburbs with nearly endless rows of single-family homes, the shanty towns with nearly endless rows of makeshift shacks, the inner cities with their spectacular skylines of towering skyscrapers, the war ravaged towns where whole districts are laying in ruins.
This winter night is not dark because it is around full moon and the moonlight paints everything in shades of mysterious silvery-blue (which can be alternatively interpreted as shades of ghostly greenish-yellow, if one is in a negative mood). This winter night is not cold because there is unusual warm weather here with daytime temperatures of up to 18 degrees Celsius.
Some flies, beetles, mosquitos, and spiders have woken up, believing that this is spring after an unusual short winter. They will be bitter disappointed when it gets cold again.
The local climate change skeptics are silent, waiting for colder times and jealously eying the international climate change denier movement, which is jubilant.
A cold spell in Russia has killed 142 people until now, another 1,400 needed medical care. Temperatures in Siberia have been minus 40 degrees Celsius for several days, many heating pipes are frozen, water pipes have burst, thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes. Five districts in the Altai region were left without electricity and heat.
133 people froze to death in the Ukraine, most of them homeless persons who lost their lives on the streets at night as temperatures dropped to double-digit levels. The authorities set up 3,000 heated tents for those in need, but not all homeless people took shelter because of mistrust and resentments against the authorities. The Ukrainian cabinet considers now to dispatch patrol teams with officers, doctors, and social workers to forcibly send the homeless to the tents.
60 people, most of them homeless or alcoholics, died in Poland.
How is it possible that most of Western Europe is experiencing Spring-like weather while in Eastern Europe and Asia people are freezing to death? A changed winter jet stream, moving polar ice?
How is it possible, that there are so many homeless people in countries who successfully overcame communism and who are now reaping the fruits of capitalism?
Why did life expectancy of Russian men fall from 64 years in Soviet times to 58 years? Why are 40,000 Russians dying every year from acute alcohol poisoning and maybe twice as many from the effects of alcohol abuse?
Some things don’t add up and there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the official (by the Ministry of Truth approved) narrative that could make one wonder.
There were many pictures about the Russian cold spell, pictures of ice covered trains and cars, of people wrapped in heavy winter coats and scarfs, of burst pipes and fallen electricity pylons. One picture showed a homeless man resting on the ventilation outlet of a building, surrounded by his five dogs.
Pictures of homeless people with pets are common and easy to find and I used already some to illustrate blog posts. While I looked for more pictures I came across various stories about homeless women and men sharing their live with equally homeless fellow animals like dogs and cats — it seems that the lost and forsaken souls of the world can more easily cross the mental barriers of speciecism to become friends and a family.
Can we ever pay back the solace and comfort that our animal friends provide in times of need and distress? Can we ever adequately honor their love and unquestioning trust? Can we ever make good the horrible brutality and the pain that they suffer from the hands of our fellow humans? Can we ever redeem ourself?
A respected and well liked citizen from the little village where I live died a few days before Christmas. He once was the veterinarian of the municipality. Veterinarians are important people in this rural area, where the main economic activity is farming, and they have the same status as the major, the priest, the physician, and the teacher.
He was 98 years old, one cannot say that this was an untimely dead, but there was nevertheless a tragic aspect in his passing: His beloved wife had died three month ago and it was very clear that he simply didn’t want to spend this Christmas without her. He didn’t die of old age, he died of grief.
When I read the news about the hundreds of homeless people who froze to death in the cold spell I asked myself about the animals who will have died in the cold. How many could have perished? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Billions?
I’m always dismayed and deeply saddened when I walk in the forest in spring and find dead hedgehogs, rolled into a ball. No, I never have seen a dead bird, their remains are eaten by the other animals. Once I found the cadaver of a dear, and it stank terribly. A week later there were only the bare bones remaining with no traces of flesh left. In the forest everything is recycled, everything is used to keep life going in one way or the other.
There are many monogamous bird species: Crows, falcons, loons, sparrows, swans, woodpeckers, just to name a few. These creatures look for a mate and when they have found each other they stay together for their whole life. What happens when they are old and one of them dies? Will the surviving bird stay alone, look for another mate, follow her or his companion into death?
Or will they leave this world together? Will they huddle together in the coldest night of the year and sit quietly in their hideout in the underbrush? They have spent many years together, they have raised so many little babies. Only a few of the baby birds survived, just enough to keep the population stable.
When the old bird couple is sitting in the underbrush and it gets colder and colder as the night progresses, will they realize that they cannot make it till the morning, or that one of them cannot make it till the morning? Will they look at each other and softly stroke each others feathers with their peak one last time?
I don’t know why, but when I wrote this sentences and tears filled my eyes I suddenly remembered the horrifying story of a young couple who in 2007 died in the wildfire catastrophe in Greece. The two became trapped in a flaming ravine during a hike in the forest and their charred bodies were found embracing each other.
Two young people clinging to each other, comforting each other in the last terrible moments of their life.
It is a time-honored tradition that at the end of the year professional commenters, dissident journalists, famous activists, and everyone else are publishing wakeup calls and are warning about the imminent breakdown of the ecosphere, of society, of the economy. Disasters of unimaginable proportions are looming, apocalyptic scenarios could become our reality soon, the end of the world as we know it is near, and we are quickly approaching the point of no return.
We are approaching the point of no return since many years and it seems that in contradiction to the steadily increasing frequency of wakeup calls the speed of approximation must have significantly slowed down because otherwise we would have passed the point of no return long ago.
Or have we reached the tipping point without realizing it? Could it be that we have already embarked on the final journey, the journey of no return, thereby eliminating the need to change our lifestyle and learn alternative ways and methods? Reorganizing our life and conducting it in a more modest and sustainable way would make it necessary to abandon familiar habits and routines, which is always inconvenient and sometimes outright painful.
Reorganizing our life would also make it necessary to develop new routines and practices, which could only be done by thorough thinking, research, analysis, and planning. Thinking is hard work and very exhausting, because the brain uses more energy than any other organ (up to 20 percent of the body’s total consumption).
It is understandable that many people don’t want to work that hard and rather avoid thinking (especially critical thinking), it is understandable that people rather consume TV, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Turning on TV or floating in the trivialities of social networking chatter easily avoids the mental exhaustion that critical thinking inevitably will cause.
Is mental laziness the reason that people don’t worry about the ominous point of no return?
Does this ominous point of no return really exist?
Fellow blogger Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez quoted Paul Chefurka in a comment:
“Until recently there was at least a chance that perhaps a combination of behavior change and the reduced availability of cheap fossil fuels might combine to pull us back from the brink, or at least make a much-changed and simpler life possible for a much smaller population of humans and other creatures. That chance is gone.”
And she asked:
“So if this is true (and it may be!) my question is, what should we who are awake to the coming catastrophe be doing with our time? I have been in dialogue with Paul Chefurka on that question this week, and would love to know your thoughts about this question as well.”
My answer will come soon but before that back to the end-of-the-year (end of the word) wakeup calls:
Many seasoned commenters, activists, dissidents have realized that the routine cassandra call alone doesn’t cut it anymore and the target audience (liberals, progressives, lefties, environmentalists, peace-activists) reacts either with yawning, barely concealed disbelief, or biting sarcasm.
In order to avoid such disappointing reactions this year many wakeup calls are spiced with the demand for immediate action. New mass movements, new parties are needed, new leaders have to be elected, the rotten system has to be replaced, the empire has to fall, the good people of the world have to join together in a global uprising, there has to be a revolution.
Nothing less than a worldwide revolution will save us.
SNAP […] Here it is!
In which parallel universe will the revolution begin?
Where are the revolutionary masses hiding?
They are for sure not hiding in the industrialized countries of the West.
The broad public in Western nations is not concerned about global warming, about pollution, habitat destruction, or mass extinction. The broad public is not concerned about surveillance, big data, and the erosion of civil liberties. The broad public is even less concerned about weapons production and proliferation, assassinations via drones, Navy seal squads, or secret agents; the broad public is not at all concerned about the destruction of Middle East nations by Western funded Islamic terrorists, the broad public doesn’t care about the plight of far away brown people.
The broad public is deeply concerned about fuel prices, new electronic gadgets, cell phone reception, the latest TV shows, new video game releases, viral videos and other recent internet memes.
The in the wakeup calls embedded fantasies about a global mass movement, about a worldwide revolutionary uprising, about sweeping away the old structures are not very convincing, they are not even inspiring. The reaction to this journalistic pieces is evidently (and understandably) not enthusiastic, the audience has heard such fantasies recited too often before.
The comment sections of the alternative media outlets where the wakeup calls are published reflect the public sentiment. Dozens of people try to demonstrate that they stand above the fray by pouring irony and acid humor onto the authors and onto fellow commenters. Tenor: “We are screwed,” “we are doomed,” “enjoy the remaining years.”
Standing above the fray, bravely facing the inescapable, unpreventable apocalypse, showing serenity, composure, placidity, stoicism — how admirable!
This is an easy way out for persons who don’t want to change their lifestyle (which is a prerequisite for changing anything else) and who need to rationalize their cognitive dissonance. This indeed comes in handy and some people will be quite relieved to have an excuse for continuing placid and unflustered with their usual routines. They are hypocrites, are short sighted, are not concerned about the plight of the following generations.
No, I don’t accuse Paul Chefurka and Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez to be this kind of persons. First: I don’t know how they live and I don’t know what their carbon footprint is. Second: I get the impression from their writing, that they are serious and ethical persons, eager to make the best possible and most beneficial decisions.
I think they both fall into the trap of uncritical and unquestioning believing scientific predictions. I belief into the scientific method, which is still the best and most useful tool at our disposal to make sense of the world, but scientific predictions and speculations have a bad record. One could even say they have a very bad record. Ask the particle physicists at CERN about supersymmetry.
I always considered chemical pollution and radioactive contamination as the bigger threat to life. I considered and still consider habitat destruction and mass extinction as a bigger threat than climate change. The influence of clouds, one of the crucial variables, is missing in most climate models. If a volcano eruption like Krakatoa happens, the resulting dust clouds will neutralize the greenhouse effect for many years.
What about a nuclear winter caused by a regional nuclear war? (India – Pakistan, Israel – Iran for example).
I always considered wars and weapons (especially nuclear weapons) as the biggest threat to mankind.
Things look grim, thats true, but why should that diminish our resolve and determination? Human history is a succession of ups and downs and we walk, run, jump, crawl from one tipping point to the next. All this talk about reaching the point of no return makes no sense, is futile, is a folly!
Will the doctors kill the patient because she/he has a chronic or even terminal sickness? Will they stop treatment? Or will they try to improve the condition with all available medical procedures, will they try to keep the patient alive, to ease her/his pain, to gain a few more days, weeks, month, years of life and a few more moments of joy and happiness?
Things look grim, thats true, but even if there is not much cause for optimism the hope still remains — the flame is still burning. I will fight as long as I live and I appeal to everybody to do the same. There is no excuse for giving up, predictions can be false, a hopeless cause can suddenly turn into a promising adventure, a lost battle can turn into a resounding victory.
Many people think like me. We are a minority but we are nevertheless many and we are a growing movement, we are part of an unreported, under the radar “paradigm shift.”
And we will never give up!
Will our efforts be enough to prevent the apocalypse, will a minority of kind hearted idealists repel the savages, the monstrous criminals who are about to destroy nature?
Will we be more intelligent than they are?
Just now it doesn’t look good and the struggle is one sided, but many people are thinking out of the box, many people develop and carefully implement unconventional strategies. Sabotage, obstruction, subversion, disruption, disobedience, monkey wrenching, infiltrating, undermining.
Don’t forget, the monsters are not invincible!
The next financial crash is inevitable, several European countries are on the brink, the US FED is creating money from thin air (quantitative easing). The US financial system will collapse when the BRICS abandon the dollar as reserve currency.
Austerity, people will go nuts and they are well armed. The security forces are even better armed and the plutocrats will show their iron fists. Some Western societies will break apart and everybody will be on his/her own. Individualism, everybody for him/herself is of course the unique “American way” since a long time, but it could get even more brutal and lethal than it is right now.
What if the sane people have long ago started to built up their small networks and have changed their life to self-sufficiency? What if the foundations for local small scale economies are already in place? What if determined activists in secluded places have without much fanfare created the model of community we all claim to struggle for? What if the structures of a participatory democracy have been developed to be implemented at any time?
Permaculture, transition town movement, co-ops, slow food, counter currencies, is that nothing?
The present system will not go on for much longer and we are approaching the breaking point fast. Many things will change and if we are well prepared we could significantly influence the flying path of the phoenix after it has finally crawled out from the ashes.
But this is only one part of the struggle, because the monsters have their powerful weapons and they will use them to enslave and exploit the population. They will use the weapons to destroy the alternative networks and the small communities who’s shining example alone will be an existential threat to their rule.
When I read the end-of-the-year 2012 wakeup calls and the included fantasies about a global mass movement and a worldwide revolutionary uprising, I felt pity for the writers and sadness at the same time. How detached can one be from reality without going astray and falling into a deep dark pit?
How can one ignore the millions of guns, the armored vehicles, tanks, jet fighters, cruise missiles, drones? How can one ignore the violent psychopaths who wreak havoc across the planet? They are a minority but they are able to hold the majority of sane and decent people hostage by the power of their weapons.
The psychopaths get the weapons from the super-psychopaths, from the monsters that are ruling the world right now. What can one do against the psychopath? They would need mental care, they would need drug therapy, but they get weapons instead.
Is there any defense, restraint, deterrent, antidote, counteraction to be used against the psychopaths and their weapons?
What can be done to stop violence and wars?
I often dreamed about revenge, about gunning down my enemies with a powerful weapon, about cleaning the world from the bad guys with fire and sword in an apocalyptic showdown. I often felt powerless and was dreaming of having a gun to defend myself and my beloved fellow animals against the evil monsters that are killing everything what is getting in their way.
I still feel powerless but I don’t dream about revenge anymore, because a few years ago I came to the conclusion that violence and weapons will not solve the problem of violence and weapons. I would easily get the license for owning a gun as I have no criminal record and live in a remote place, but after buying a gun I would have to train on a shooting range because without proper training the gun in my hand would be just a useless piece of metal.
I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to spend hours with target practice, I don’t want to endanger my hearing with the gun blasts, I don’t want to add another gun to the already existing enormous arsenal.
I rather ruminate, brood, ponder, dream about how to avoid violent situations, I rather run away and hide, I rather think about strategic moves to weaken and incapacitate the callous monsters, I rather rack my brain looking for ways to dismantle or disable the monsters weapons.
There are hundred of strip manuals for Glock17/19, AK-47, M-16. Maybe someone can produce a quick guide how to take apart or permanently disable the most popular guns. It should be an easy and fast process. Superglue? Breaking the trigger off?
Syrian experts were able to booby-trap ammunition supplies of the FSA terrorists (rifle and machine-gun cartridges, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars) by exchanging the propellant with high explosives. The doctored projectiles were placed on the black market and resulted in stalling and permanent damage of the guns or in injuries of FSA terrorists, when the weapons exploded in their hands.
Would it help to implant GPS-devices in military vehicles, to break the encryptions of communications equipment, jam the signals, infect the military computers with malware? Would it help to spice the psychopaths food supply with whatever works? Would it help to organize early warning systems in which sane citizens use cell phones to report gatherings of psychopaths and track their movements?
Would it help to stop military vehicles with caltrops, with lubricants that make the road slippery, with barriers of various kinds? What about microbes (like the diesel bugs) who disable combustion engines, what about nano-particles and gases who disable sensors, switches, valves, transmissions, what about electromagnetic beams of various wavelength who make the electronic components of weapons systems unreliable?
What about monkey wrenching, hacking, sabotage and obstruction at every level, infiltration of security and military agencies, infiltration of media organizations, subliminal messages, reverse engineered psy-ops?
Could we be more clever than the super-psychopaths and their minions?
I’m quite sure that a lot of DARPA money is spent for research in various related fields, will some of the researchers leak their findings to the public?
Could it be that intelligence trumps barbarity and hate?
We Shall Overcome. This is still a hymn of my life together with Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, John Lennons Imagine, Buffy Sainte-Maries Universal Soldier, Bill Withers Lean On Me, Billie Holidays God Bless The Child. There are many other wonderful songs that elate and comfort me, make me smile or cry. I can’t name them here, maybe in another blog post.
How can I be sure that the my view of the world is right? I’m not sure that I’m right, I’m not sure about anything. I just try to make sense of the incoming information, interpolating and extrapolating, sorting the pieces of the puzzle, connecting the dots, looking behind the curtain. I’m searching my internal memory (in my brain) and the external memory (books, the collected data on my computer harddrives, the data on the internet). I’m sorting, cataloguing, classifying, weighing, comparing, correlating, equating. I use common sense, logic, intuition.
If you dispute my findings, tell me your opinion, I’m glad about any feedback, about any correction. I will look at it, follow every hint, turn the words and try to understand you. I will think long and hard, I’m not afraid of being exhausted after thoroughly thinking through a problem. Our brain is the most powerful tool that we have.
Will this tool be more powerful than the weapons of the psychopaths?
We will see.
I have a psychopath in my cat family.
Ma Xi, a five year old neutered cat, who was a feral cat for most of his life before he joined the family, took offense when my sister in law dumbed a cat mother with three tiny little kittens at my place, which meant, that the cat family suddenly expanded to nine cats.
I told about this incident in earlier blog posts and so I don’t go into details here. I only want to state, that I never intended to host that much cats and still consider one or two cats as absolutely sufficient to maintain the mental hygiene in a household.
Fortunately a couple from Germany took two of the kittens. They seem to be friendly and sensible people and they have a big estate where animals can roam freely. I hope the two cats will have a good life there.
The disappearance of the two kittens didn’t appease Ma Xi, who was so upset about the family expansion that he got a psychosis and started to growl and hiss at the other cats, even at the ones with whom he was good friends before. He is not violent and doesn’t attack his fellow cats, he only growls and hisses and runs away when he sees them.
He doesn’t sleep in the house anymore and comes only to eat hastily and he also doesn’t participate in the daily walks in the forest. He still likes to walk and waits now in the wood across the road for me to come and make a separate walk with him alone.
So I make every day two walks in the forest, one with Ma Xi and one with the other cats. I still consider him as my friend and I hate the idea that he could end as a straying feral cat again. Feral cats don’t get old, they soon die from infections and parasites.
Well, I’m just on my way to the big clearing on the hill top in the middle of the forest. Ma Xi walks beside me, sometimes he sniffs around in the underwood along the way and I wait for him. The big clearing is covered with all kinds of shrubs and bushes and also many one or two meter high young trees who grew naturally from the seeds of the older trees that are surrounding the clearing.
We have a special place there with a big tree trunk where I can sit comfortably and look into the sun. There is no sun at the moment because it is 10 PM, but it is full moon and the moon is shining bright onto us two.
We have been here many times before and Ma Xi expects that we make a long rest now. He runs to the tree trunk and looks at me, waiting that I sit down so he can jump onto my lap. Of course I sit down, I will not disappoint my dear friend.
Ma Xi takes his place and he turns and turns and turns till he is comfortable with his position. I wrap my arms around him and he is laying on my lap like in a little nest, safe and warm. I have learned in the many years that I spent with the cat family how to hold a cat in my arms without getting tired and stiff, so we are able to sit here for a long time.
Ma Xi relaxes and starts purring.
I always talk to Ma Xi and tell him little stories, he likes to listen to my voice. This is what I tell him today:
My little friend, I’m glad that I can help you. You know that you can visit me at any time, you are always welcome.
Life would be so much easier if humans and cats and all other species would always act reasonable and sane. Life would be much easier if there would be no mental disorders, no psychoses, traumas, phobias, depressions, addictions, obsessions.
Is it too much dopamine, too less glutamate/glutamine? Unfortunately there is no cat psychiatrist here and I don’t know if there are psychiatric drugs for cats available. I will have to ask the veterinarian, maybe he has an idea.
Your life would be so much easier if you could overcome your aversion against the other cats. You could sit in a warm place in a separate room. The other cats would not bother you, they know that you are troubled and they would leave you alone.
They even wouldn’t mind if you are growling at them, we all have our bad days and our mood swings.
Time heals many wounds but your mental scars are deep. It will take a long time, it will take passion and endurance.
Love heals many wounds. You will get my affection and love in the same way as I get yours.
Love is the biggest healer.
It will take time and there will be days when I’m overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks and when there is a backlog of work to do. There will be days when you will wait in vain in the forest across the road. You will be angry.
But you will have forgiven me when we again come together for another walk. There will be another day or another night where we sit here in our secret place and I will talk to you and you will purr and everything will be easy. I don’t mind to spend one hour with you. I will never abandon you, I will never forsake you, you can depend on me.
Donny Hathaway produced a magnificent rendition of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. He was also a troubled soul, jumping to his death from the balcony of a New York hotel, just 33 years old.
Ma Xi, at least you are not suicidal! And you ain’t heavy, you are a little cat weighing not more than five kilo. You are my brother of course.
My brother Ma Xi.
Love is the biggest healer, and yet a good outcome is not guaranteed. But we will try and we will be persistent.
And our time together is precious, the hours that we spend together will be in our mind till the end of our life.
You are brother, you are my friend.
Love is the biggest healer.