“How did we get stuck?” the authors ask—stuck, that is, in a world of “war, greed, exploitation [and] systematic indifference to others’ suffering”? It’s a pretty good question. “If something did go terribly wrong in human history,” they write, “then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence.” It isn’t clear to me how many possibilities are left us now, in a world of polities whose populations number in the tens or hundreds of millions. But stuck we certainly are.Review: ‘The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity’ – The Atlantic
The difficulty, of course, is that you can only take that so far before it’s no longer worth anyone’s while to do those poorly paid jobs on which the whole system depends. Here in the United States, we’ve reached that point, and not just for employees. Go to any town in flyover country and walk down the streets, past the empty storefronts where businesses used to flourish. There are millions of people who would love to start their own business, but it’s a losing proposition in an economy in which governments, banks, and property owners demand so large a cut that most small startup businesses can’t break even. The same is equally true, of course, for employees, whose wages no longer even pay the basic costs of getting by in today’s America.That Untraversed Land | Ecosophia
Eighty million more to starve
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change analysis warns of collapse in food production.
A leaked draft report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints the starkest picture yet of the accelerating danger caused by human use of coal, oil, and gas. It warns of coming unlivable heat waves, widespread hunger and drought, rising sea levels and extinction.
The forthcoming report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by AFP, offers a distressing vision of the decades to come.
Policy choices made now, such as promoting plant-based diets, can limit these health consequences, but many are unavoidable in the short term, the report says.
It warns of the cascading impacts that simultaneous crop failures, soaring inflation and the falling nutritional value of basic foods are…
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At dVerse Merril is hosting the Quadrille (44 words) with an invitation to write using the word seed.
“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” Jack Kornfield
Some Need Fire The magnitude of a seed is mostly only noticed in death, in dying it rises not once, but many times, some need humidity, or damp mixed with dark, some need fire to release their souls, which makes me wonder what nurtures me to grow. ©Paul Vincent Cannon
The historian Johan Huizinga, writing about the twilight of the middle ages, argued that as things fall apart sadism is embraced as a way to cope with the hostility of an indifferent universe. No longer bound to a common purpose, a ruptured society retreats into the cult of the self. It celebrates, as do corporations on Wall Street or mass culture through reality television shows, the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Get what you can, as fast as you can, before someone else gets it. This is the state of nature, the “war of all against all,” Thomas Hobbes saw as the consequence of social collapse, a world in which life becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And this sadism, as Friedrich Nietzsche understood, fuels a perverted, sadistic pleasure.
The only way out for most Americans is to serve, as Biden does, the sadistic machine. The impoverishment of the working class has conditioned tens of millions of Americans to accept being recruited into the service of the militarized police that function as lethal armies of internal occupation; a military that carries out reigns of terror in foreign occupations; intelligence agencies that torture in global black sites; the government’s vast network of spying on the citizenry; the theft of personal information by credit agencies and digital media; the largest prison system in the world; an immigration service that hunts down people who have never committed a crime and separates children from their parents to pack them in warehouses; a court system that condemns the poor to decades of incarceration, often for nonviolent crimes, and denies them a jury trial; companies that carry out the dirty work of evictions, shutting off utilities, including water, collecting usurious debts that force people into bankruptcy and denying health services to those that cannot pay; banks and payday lenders that burden the destitute with predatory, high-interest loans; and a financial system designed to keep most of the country locked in a crippling debt peonage as the wealth of the oligarchic elite swells to levels unseen in American history.Chris Hedges: Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden – scheerpost.com
One of the hallmarks of totalitarian systems is the criminalization of dissent. Not just the stigmatization of dissent or the demonization of dissent, but the formal criminalization of dissent, and any other type of opposition to the official ideology of the totalitarian system. Global capitalism has been inching its way toward this step for quite some time, and now, apparently, it is ready to take it.
Germany has been leading the way. For over a year, anyone questioning or protesting the “Covid emergency measures” or the official Covid-19 narrative has been demonized by the government and the media, and, sadly, but not completely unexpectedly, the majority of the German public. And now such dissent is officially “extremism.”
Yes, that’s right, in “New Normal” Germany, if you dissent from the official state ideology, you are now officially a dangerous “extremist.” The German Intelligence agency (the “BfV”) has even invented a new…
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How might we help increasingly distressed societies avoid a descent into authoritarian and or fascist governments?
This is a question on the minds and hearts of many people who anticipate further disruption, breakdown or even collapse of societies due to the direct and indirect impacts of environmental change. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we witness stupid, corrupt, repressive and diversionary responses from many governments, on the one side, and outlandish clickbait criticism on the other, which does not bode so well for us during further disruptions due to environmental damage.
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In his “Destruction and Creation” (1976), the military strategic theorist John Boyd describes what he calls a dialectic engine. He begins by noting that, as decisional agents, we develop and use concepts and models in order to navigate our environments better, but which nevertheless change as rapidly as we navigate them. (One of Boyd’s paradigm cases for this situation is provided by the dynamics of aerial dogfighting, and he himself was a well-respected fighter pilot and instructor for the USAF.)
In general, the goal of conceptually modeling navigation in this way is “to improve our capacity for independent action.” Put differently, it is intended to help us exercise and retain agency in complex decisional environments, rather than being outmaneuvered and overwhelmed (either by competitors, or by the sheer weight of…
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