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The Demise of Hopium

The Demise of Hopium

Hopium (n)

  1. Irrational or unwarranted optimism. [YourDictionary.Com]
  2. That deranged condition in which a person is deluded into thinking humanity will survive omnicide. [DoomforDummies.blogspot.com]

I am not here to re-litigate the inevitability of the near-term collapse of global industrial civilization and the obvious consequence that billions of humans will suffer terribly as a result. Collapse is the endpoint of overshoot and overpopulation and it has already begun. While the speed of this collapse may be altered by various projects, plans and efforts, the end result will not change. Exponential growth on a finite planet is unsustainable, period. (If you need a reminder of what’s coming, review this article.)

Hopium pervades the climate change and environmental movements. It festers in every green industry, boils in the rhetorical language of world bodies like the UN and IPCC, is demanded in academic journal articles and grants, and lands like a heavy-handed thud as a tool of suppression by the media and popular authors. Hopium is a psychoactive medication, an addiction, a coping mechanism and a group therapy session. Hopium offers escape from the nightmarish reality the planet is plummeting towards. Hopium is a delusional distraction, fostered by mass media, politicians and academics. And hopium is harming us by creating more suffering and restricting free choice.

The rhetorical catalog for hopium includes the use of a phrase like “we need to …” or “we must …”  or “if we don’t …”. These phrases divide humanity into “we” (good) and “others” (bad).  The point is to identify a goal or policy that if achieved will mitigate collapse, a group who are willing to pursue the goal and a group who are obstructing the goal. Implicit in all such rhetoric is the belief that mitigating collapse is possible…

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The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion

One of the things that is so pervasive in today’s society is the constant flow of hype, advertising, marketing, and propaganda, and many people fail to see through it. Steve Bull came out with this article explaining the same scenario. They are led to believe that everything is a problem and that technology or some product produced from technology can solve it all. The truth is that technology and its use is actually the root source of these issues; and they are predicaments, not problems. Furthermore, more or new technology can do nothing but cause yet more damage. Technology is what supports civilization, as I pointed out in my last article (see the top picture)Agriculture is technology. Civilization is unsustainable, so we cannot solve portions of civilization and stop the damage caused by civilization, which is causing those portions to develop trouble in the first place. In other words, we cannot switch out ICE (internal combustion engine) cars for EVs or coal- or gas-produced electricity for non-renewable solar panel- and/or wind turbine-produced electricity and claim that we have solved anything. ALL the exact same mechanisms civilization uses to destroy life on this planet are still intact. So switching out or substituting different “portions” of civilization won’t help. Civilization cannot be made sustainable.

One of my friends, Chery Young, pointed this out; quote:

Historian H. Maynard Smith contended that a person who could perceive two conflicting sides of an issue might be overwhelmed by a mentally inflexible person:
A broad-minded man, who can see both sides of the question and is ready to hold opposed truths while confessing that he cannot reconcile them, is at a manifest disadvantage with a narrow-minded man who sees but one side, sees it clearly, and is ready to interpret the whole Bible, or, if need be, the whole universe, in accordance with his formula.

The illusion of control or agency and the attachment to it creates such suffering.

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Agency – Do We Have Free Will?

Agency – Do We Have Free Will?

One of the things most misunderstood is the concept of free will. Most people have the misconception that we all have free will and (more or less) can “do whatever we want.” In reality, this is actually false. While we have the ability to make certain choices, those choices are all constrained to certain norms on average, based upon the reward of dopamine. As Dave Pollard writes about a year ago, “Everything we do is dopamine-driven, based on experiences that have, through positive reinforcement or coercion, dictated our entirely ‘unconscious’ behavior since we were born. There is no ‘us’ somehow apart from these evolutionarily conditioned animal bodies, to intervene to do things differently.” Now, Dave explains why assigning blame is pretty much useless and nothing more than theater here. Nate Hagens adds this to the mix.

A little more than a year ago, I wrote an article about blame because of the amount of blame I was seeing constantly in the groups I am a part of. It’s true that there is more than enough blame to go around; but at the time, I was seeing the assigning of blame as a complete waste of time and wanted to encourage those engaging in it to discontinue the drama. It’s always easy to point one’s finger away from oneself; but in reality, one often may as well be standing in front of a mirror. As the facts in that article (and many others I have written) bring to the forefront, we simply do not have the agency we often think we do. It is this assumed thought process that we have agency (which in reality we don’t) over these things which lead to hubris, arrogance, and denial of reality which inevitably lead to optimism bias.

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Give Yourself a Gift Next Year: Agency

Give Yourself a Gift Next Year: Agency

We think we’re powerless because we don’t have wealth and power over others, but nothing could be further from the truth.

To have agency is to have power over your own life and control of your assets, options and resources. There are a great many things that influence our lives that we do not control, but there are also many things we could influence in our lives but do not.

The conventional view puts great weight on the agency created by money, as an abundance of money enables people to do a number of things that people with little money cannot do: live comfortably in costly locales, buy a larger home, buy a second home, buy a boat, pay for college with cash, pay for expensive medications not covered by insurance, take extended vacations and start enterprises without ceding power to outside investors, to name a few.

Our culture only has eyes for the agency of money, as this narrow band of agency is ceaselessly glorified. Yet what’s striking is how little of importance money can buy. Not only can it not buy love, it cannot buy true friendship, trust, affection, community, emotional intelligence, wisdom, skills, purpose, meaning, health, confidence, creativity, conviction, self-discipline, resilience, self-expression, integrity, authenticity, faith or inner security.

What gift would you want for yourself in 2021? Whatever you identify as the gift you’d want to give yourself, the odds of obtaining it improve if you give yourself the gift of agency first. While money is a resource that can leverage certain kinds of agency, it isn’t the foundation of agency; the foundations of taking control of one’s life are internal.

I wrote an entire book about this process of taking control of one’s life: Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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