Home » Posts tagged 'civilization' (Page 3)

Tag Archives: civilization

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Cycle of Civilization

COMMENT: Interestingly enough, in Switzerland the -in majority- leftish and Pro-EU government has been trying to push Switzerland into EU for years as you’re aware of.

Now the SVP is fighting against a new international contract, called “institutional agreement” which would give (amongst others) the EUGH the Supremacy Clause over Switzerland – end of Swiss direct democracy plus all still existing “state” rights (despite 60% – 80% of all new regulations/laws are already taken over from Brussels..)

REPLY: While the revisionists want to claim that the Civil War was only about slavery when in fact the overwhelming majority of Confederate soldiers owned no slaves, they say history is written by the victor not the loser. There is never a single reason for any war. Iraq was claimed to be protecting the people who Saddam Hussein was gassing. The weapons of mass destruction was thrown in for good measure to make it sound urgent when it was Dick Cheney and his greedy buddies looking for oil. Nevertheless, the Civil War was really part of the Cycle of Civilization. We band together creating large governments and then we disband and move back to tribal jurisdiction. This Cycle of Civilization has been going on for thousands of years.

Indeed, this trend is part of the Cycle of Civilization we must understand run the course throughout history of human existence. The Roman Empire took over states and absorbed them to dominate the Western World. Previously, those states suppresses tribes to create states with a central power. When Rome fell, it broke up not into states, but back into tribes and then feudalism. As invaders reemerged, then these feudal castles banned together for a common defense.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity

Jordan Osmond and Samuel Alexander Image from ‘A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity’ 2016
On July 27 2015, I posted a 2-hour interview with Nicole Foss that was recorded when we were in Melbourne in April that year. The interview -though not the full two hours of course- was always meant to be part of a documentary by our friends Jordan Osmond and Samuel Alexander. The documentary is now out.

Below, you can find the trailer, the full documentary, as well as a re-run of the full interview with Nicole. I haven’t had time to watch the documentary, just got the mail from Sam, but I will later today. No doubt, it’ll be worth your while and mine. I remember complimenting them on the sound- and picture quality of the interview last year. Plus, get the likes of our dear friend Dave Holmgren together with Nicole and Ted Trainer, amongst others, and you can’t very well go wrong, can you?

(NOTE: Saw some rushes, and it may contain a tad much hippieness and/or reality-TV semblance for some)

The trailer:

With the text published with it: 

The overlapping economic, environmental, and cultural crises of our times can seem overwhelming, can seem like challenges so great and urgent that they have no solutions. But rather than sticking our heads in the sand or falling into despair, we should respond with defiant positivity and try to turn the crises we face into opportunities for civilisational renewal.

During the year of 2015 a small community formed on an emerging ecovillage in Gippsland, Australia, and challenged themselves to explore a radically ‘simpler way’ of life based on material sufficiency, frugality, permaculture, alternative technology and local economy. This documentary by Jordan Osmond and Samuel Alexander tells the story of this community’s living experiment, in the hope of sparking a broader conversation about the challenges and opportunities of living in an age of limits.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Civilization Ebbs and Flows: You Remain

CIVILIZATION EBBS AND FLOWS: YOU REMAIN

When I was planning my three Matrix collections, I made this note:

“Civilizations ebb and flow, rise and fall, but the individual remains. He needs, under any and all circumstances, to keep two capacities intact: 1) reasoning, logic, analysis; and 2) imagination. These are the well springs. No matter what situation he finds himself in, he will need these. He should not only preserve these two faculties, but also expand and deepen them. Nothing that could be happening around him is an excuse to desert these cores.”

What is happening around us now, in these times, certainly provides major distractions and diversions. It’s easy to go off on tangents and engineer reasons why we can’t achieve goals and embody our dreams. But that doesn’t help us. It doesn’t serve our interests.

After 30 years of working as a reporter, author, and researcher, I’ve come to understand that an imagined vision of what a person truly wants is his North Star. Working at higher and higher levels to fulfill that vision and make it into fact in the world eventually produces unexpected rewards. And also spills over into benefits for others.

The phrase “truly wants” is a key. When you reach down to that level of desire and see it, you find both peace and energy.

You find leverage. Now circumstances tend to adjust to you, rather than you adjusting to them.

It is as if the status quo has been waiting for a change, a transformation, and it moves toward you for assistance.

At the root of ancient alchemy was the notion that nature, in all its manifestations, was engaged in conflict, and a “quintessence” was needed to work a higher resolution. That quintessence is born out of imagination, the envisioning of new possibilities.

 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The other side of the global crisis: entropy and the collapse of civilizations

The other side of the global crisis: entropy and the collapse of civilizations

When we discuss the impending crisis of our civilisation, we mainly look at the resources our economy need in a growing quantity. And we explain why the Diminishing Returns of resource exploitation pose a growing burden on the possibility of a further growing of the global economy. It is a very interesting topic, indeed, but here I suggest to turn 180 degrees around and take a look at the “other side;” that is to what happens where the used resources are discarded.

Eventually, our society (as any other society in history) is a dissipative structure. It means that it exist only because it is able to dissipate energy in order to stock information inside itself. And there is a positive feedback: more energy permits to implement more complexity; and more complexity needs, but it also permits a larger energy flow. This, I think, is a crucial point: at the very end, wealth is information stocked inside the socio-economic system in different forms (such livestock, infrastructures, agrarian facilities, machines, buildings, books, the web and so on). Human population is peculiar because it is a large part of the information stocked inside the society system. So, from a thermodynamic point of view, it is the key part of “wealth”, while from an economic point of view people can be seen as the denominator of the global wealth.

The accumulation of information inside a system is possible only by an increment of entropy outside the same system. This is usual with all the dissipative structures, but our civilisation is unique in its dimension. Today about 97% of the terrestrial vertebrate biomass is composed of humans and of their symbionts and we use about the 50% of the primary production (400 TW?), plus a little less than 20 TW we have from fossil fuels and other inorganic sources.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Cashless Crisis: “With Digital Payments, Civilization Comes To An End Until Power is Restored”

Cashless Crisis: “With Digital Payments, Civilization Comes To An End Until Power is Restored”

grid-vulnerable

The coming brave new world may also be a fragile one.

As most of the Western world is pushed into abandoning cash and embracing a fully digital cashless grid, it is apparent how vulnerable populations will become in times of crisis.

If the power grid were to go down in a storm or an attack, it is readily apparent that the system of commerce would go down with it; payments would stop and desperate people would line up for help. Those with their own supplies, barter items and physical commodities will remain the most comfortable, but the very fabric of society could come unglued.

Will they really ban cash when so much could go wrong?

Paul-Martin Foss writes for the Carl Menger Center:

Cash is being displaced by credit and debit cards, which are themselves beginning to be displaced by new digital currencies and payment systems …

But despite all the advances brought about by the digital revolution, there are still quite a few drawbacks. The most obvious is that it is reliant on electricity. One major hurricane knocking out power, a mid-summer brownout, or a hacker attack on the power grid could bring commerce to a halt. With cash, transactions are still possible. With digital payments, civilization comes to an end until power is restored. Unless you have food stored or goods with which to barter, you’re out of luck. Just imagine a city like New York with no power and no way to buy or sell anything. It won’t be pretty.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Opaque Process of Collapse

The Opaque Process of Collapse

The ultimate cost of protecting the privileges of the few at the expense of the many is the dissolution of the social order that enabled the rule of the privileged few.

When I write about the demise of unsustainable systems, readers often ask me to describe the collapse I see as inevitable. This is a tough assignment, as there are as many kinds of collapse as there are systems: fragile ones can collapse suddenly, and resilient ones can decay for years or even decades before finally imploding or withering away.

Another way of describing collapse is: complex systems become much less complex.

Certain features of modern life could collapse without affecting everyday life much–for example, the derivatives markets could stop working and the impact would be enormous on those playing financial games and those who entrusted money to the gamblers, but the consequences would be extremely concentrated in the gambler/speculator class. Despite the usual cries that financial losses in the gambler/speculator class will destroy civilization, the disruptions and losses would be widely dispersed for the economy as a whole.

Other collapses–in food or energy distribution, digital communications, etc.–would have immediate and severe impacts on daily life.

My three primary models of decay and collapse are:

1. Historian David Hackett Fischer’s masterwork The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History (given to me by longtime correspondent Cheryl A.)

2. Thomas Homer-Dixon’s The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization

3. The decline of the Western Roman Empire (the process, not Edward Gibbon’s epic 6-volume history). My recommended book on the topic (a short read): The Fall of the Roman Empire

Fischer’s primary thesis is that society and the economy expand in times of plentiful resources and credit, and this increased demand eventually consumes all available resources. When demand exceeds supply and excesses of credit reach extremes, inflation and social disorder arise together.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Derrick Jensen has Inspired Me to Question Civilization

Derrick Jensen has Inspired Me to Question Civilization

liberate from civilizationPhoto: Hartwig HKD/Flickr CC.

I rode my horse out through the woods the other day. It was a beautiful Autumn afternoon as golden light filtered through the trees. My horse was keen to graze in an open meadow, so we found a spot where he could forage for some greenery among the late season grasses.

On my ride out, I had been thinking about the widening gulf between the natural world and contemporary civilization. I had recently read Derrick Jensen’s anthology, How Shall I Live My Life: On Liberating the Earth from CivilizationIn this collection of interviews, Jensen discusses the destructive dominant culture with various people who have devoted their lives to trying to re-vision it.

In the meadow, it seemed as if I were surrounded by the natural world.

There were birds, rabbits, deer, trees, grasses, insects and even a dried up creek bed. I could hear my horse snorting softly, with satisfaction, as he munched.

But, I also heard the sounds of the dominant culture’s industrialization — the railroad, the highway, chainsaws, lawn mowers, motorcycles, backhoes, leaf blowers, motorized children’s toys. All vestiges of our current civilization.

It didn’t have to go this way. We could have built a civilization that harmonized with our home, the Earth. But we didn’t. Instead, we built a civilization that revolved around money. And, as Marx said, money is dead. So, if we’ve built a culture around something that is dead, we will soon become dead ourselves. And kill the whole planet in the process.

As we begin to notice this, we can challenge the idea that a life motivated by desire for personal gain is either necessary or desirable. We can point to things like the collapse of the environment, suffering of the Third World, alienation, the harried style in which we live and the reductionistic values of most of Western culture.

– See more at: http://transitionvoice.com/2015/10/derrick-jensen-has-inspired-me-to-question-civilization/#sthash.5oHuGZvM.dpuf

Impunity, Functional Equivalent of Genocide: Collapse of Social Institutions

Impunity, Functional Equivalent of Genocide: Collapse of Social Institutions

The horrific refugee problem we see today, so reminiscent of population movements during World War II, next to the Holocaust itself in the historical annals of Crimes Against Humanity, and to which it was then related, remains in our times below the moral radar screen as though somehow inevitable, beyond solution, something that just happens. That is how jaded the world has become. Human flotsam, period; humanity, as the central organizing principle of life, stinks in the nostrils of nations preoccupied with other things to do. This is what I mean by the collapse of social institutions, with no guiding hand (where in all of this, e.g., is the UN or some suitable alternative if such were possible?) to prevent the humanitarian crater where a power vacuum reigns and the bottom has dropped out of global responsibility for the lives and dignity of people.

Events (i.e., human suffering) have already gone beyond what self-proclaimed civilization would allow, raising questions about whether or not there is a moral order shaping, defining, underpinning the international political system and its capacity for ensuring, or at least working toward, social justice and even human sustainability. Children and their mother drown, trucks sealed tight become mass graves, ordinary people, their belongings on their backs, pushing baby carriages, marching/walking along railroad tracks—from a descriptive point of view, prelude to World War III? Perhaps not. The world can contain (somewhat) volatility, but does a lousy job at removing the causes of human misery, indeed seems to require such a condition as validation of power and national sovereignty.

Why do present-day actors, starting with alliances, nations, social movements, and corporate units of the great chain of capitalistic being, finally, individuals in their asocial behavior, have and enjoy the capacity to act with impunity—no effective whistles blown, the smugglers of human traffic (impersonalization as seldom seen in recent years) serving as a microcosm of the whole. 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Noam Chomsky: How America’s Way of Thinking About the World Naturally Produces Human Catastrophes

Noam Chomsky: How America’s Way of Thinking About the World Naturally Produces Human Catastrophes

The scholar talks about the seemingly innocuous elements of our socialization that promote one-world view over another.
 

Tavis: Noam Chomsky is, of course, internationally recognized as one of the world’s most critically engaged public intellectuals. The MIT professor of linguistics has long been an unapologetic critic of both American foreign policy and the ideological role of the mainstream media.

He joins us now from MIT to talk about the seemingly innocuous elements of our socialization that promote one-world view over another. Before we start our conversation, a clip from “The West Wing” that I think will set this conversation up quite nicely.


Tavis: Professor Chomsky, good to have you on this program. Thank you for your time, sir.

Noam Chomsky: Glad to be with you.

[Clip]

Tavis: I think that clip, again, sets up our conversation nicely. Let me just jump right in. Why all these years later is the west better than the east, the north better than the south, Europe better than Africa? These notions continue to persist. Tell me why.

Chomsky: There’s a generalization. We are better than they, whoever we are. So if you look through the whole history of China, one of the most ancient, most developed, civilizations which, in fact, was one of the centers of the world economy as late as the 18th century, China was better than everyone else.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Earth’s Battery Is Running Low

The Earth’s Battery Is Running Low

We’ve drained our planet’s stored energy, scientists say, with no rechargeable plug in sight.

In the quiet of summer, a couple of U.S. scientists argued in the pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that modern civilization has drained the Earth — an ancient battery of stored chemical energy — to a dangerous low.

Although the battery metaphor made headlines in leading newspapers in China, India and Russia, the paper didn’t garner “much immediate attention in North America,” admits lead author John Schramski, a mechanical engineer and an ecologist.

And that’s a shame, because the paper gives ordinary people an elegant metaphor to understand the globe’s stagnating economic and political systems and their close relatives: collapsing ecosystems. It also offers a blunt course of action: “drastic” energy conservation.

It, too, comes with a provocative title: “Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the Earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind.”

The battery metaphor speaks volumes and then some.

In the paper, Schramski and his colleagues at the University of Georgia and the University of New Mexico compared the energy state of the Earth to “the energy state of a house powered by a once-charged battery supplying all energy for lights, heating, cooling, cooking, power appliances and electronic communication.”

 

It took hundreds of millions of years for photosynthetic plants to trickle charge that battery. Those plants converted low quality sunlight into high-quality chemical energy stored either in living biomass (forests and plankton) or more lastingly in the dead plants and animals that became oil, gas and coal.

But in just a few centuries humans and “the modern industrial-technological informational society” have spent that stored chemical energy and depleted the Earth-space battery.

Society partly drains the battery by converting forests and grasslands into agricultural fields. It diminishes the battery further by burning fossil fuels to plow fields and build cities. Human engineering of one kind or another has left a mark on 83 per cent of the planet.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Cimmerian Hypothesis, Part One: Civilization and Barbarism

The Cimmerian Hypothesis, Part One: Civilization and Barbarism

One of the oddities of the writer’s life is the utter unpredictability of inspiration. There are times when I sit down at the keyboard knowing what I have to write, and plod my way though the day’s allotment of prose in much the same spirit that a gardener turns the earth in the beds of a big garden; there are times when a project sits there grumbling to itself and has to be coaxed or prodded into taking shape on the page; but there are also times when something grabs hold of me, drags me kicking and screaming to the keyboard, and holds me there with a squamous paw clamped on my shoulder until I’ve finished whatever it is that I’ve suddenly found out that I have to write.

Over the last two months, I’ve had that last experience on a considerably larger scale than usual; to be precise, I’ve just completed the first draft of a 70,000-word novel in eight weeks. Those of my readers and correspondents who’ve been wondering why I’ve been slower than usual to respond to them now know the reason. The working title is Moon Path to Innsmouth; it deals, in the sidelong way for which fiction is so well suited, with quite a number of the issues discussed on this blog; I’m pleased to say that I’ve lined up a publisher, and so in due time the novel will be available to delight the rugose hearts of the Great Old Ones and their eldritch minions everywhere.

None of that would be relevant to the theme of the current series of posts on The Archdruid Report, except that getting the thing written required quite a bit of reference to the weird tales of an earlier era—the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, of course, but also those of Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, who both contributed mightily to the fictive mythos that took its name from Lovecraft’s squid-faced devil-god Cthulhu.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

The Day the Earth Died

The Day the Earth Died

And Why Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Etc., Were Virtually Silent About It

As the civilizations that we all know, and love, and lived, slide increasingly into totalitarian misery; and the environment, which had been our lives, becomes less and less livable, there will be, in retrospect, one key day, which historians will mark, as the turning-point toward Earth’s death; and it was 23 June 2015. That’s the day when the U.S. Senate, which had previously turned down the procedural move (called “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority,” and discussed here) that opens the door to passing U.S. President Obama’s falsely-called ‘trade’ deals, finally (in effect) passed it — thereby reducing the Constitutionally required two-thirds of Senators that’s needed to approve any of these treaties in order for it to become law, down to merely an unConstitutional 50% of the Senators (+ the Vice President as the tie-breaker), as if a treaty were like any merely ordinary law (which requires only 50%+1); “Fast Track” thus enormously increases the likelihood of passing any of Obama’s world-murderous ‘trade’ treaties, from approximately 0%, to approximately 100%.

Here is how these treaties will murder the Earth:

Each of these ‘trade’ deals is about lots more than merely international commerce; it is far more fundamentally about sovereignty — who rules?  There is a feature in each one of them that empowers international corporations to sue any member-nation to the treaty, which tries to pass any regulation, including any environmental regulation, that is stricter than what is set in stone forever in the given ‘trade’ deal. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Kondratiev Goes Surfing

Kondratiev Goes Surfing

“Excursions from the comfort of the normal to the uncertainty of the new typically happen brutally and violently.”

We read recently in aSouthern California newspaper that climate change may wreck the shape and direction of waves that make for some of the world’s best surfing beaches. We wondered if it might have a similar effect on Kondratiev cycles.

Our species now has to focus on three overarching tasks:

  • switching away from fossil energy and onto renewables;
  • degrowing industrial dependencies and shedding our profligate ways in a very resource-constrained new environment; and
  • mending the damage we’ve done by undertaking massive works of ecological restoration – returning us to a garden planet and restoring Gaia to her full health.

Among collapsologists, the surfing analogy works at several levels. Instead of passively observing tsunami-size Kondratiev and Elliott waves pound civilization to rubble, we can get out and ride those waves. We are not destroying anything to have our fun. Its renewable energy. We are degrowing our footprint, which is growing hope in inverse proportion. Surfing hits our dopamine receptors. With newfound friends, in ecovillages and organic farming collectives, this big wave surfing can be a lot of fun.

“Surfing is a very experiential or ‘now’ activity,” a surfer recently told the San Jose Mercury News. “When waves die in one spot and pick up in another, you move to that spot.” This is the phenomenon Kevin Kelly described as “scenius,” observing that throughout history certain geographical areas attract creative human energies, often passing into and out of their heyday with unexpected suddenness. As Benoit Mandelbrot says, “Wave prediction is a very uncertain business.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline

Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline

A historially common marker of failing civilizations

My first Uber lift was in South Carolina.  My driver was from Sudan originally, but had emigrated to the US 20 years ago.  Being the curious sort, I asked him about his life in Sudan and why he moved.  He said that he left when his country had crumbled too far, past the point where a reasonable person could have a reasonable expectation of personal safety, when all institutions had become corrupted making business increasingly difficult.  So he left.

Detecting a hitch in his delivery when he spoke of coming to the US, I asked him how he felt about the US now, 20 years later.  “To be honest,” he said, “the same things I saw in Sudan that led me to leave are happening here now. That saddens me greatly, because where else is there to go?”

It’s time to face some uncomfortable ideas about the state of civilization in the United States. This country is no longer the beacon of freedom illuminating a better way for the world. Why not? Because it has ceased to be civilized.

The recent spate of police brutality videos and the complete lack of a useful or even sane response by the police unions is shaping my writing here. But it goes well beyond those incidents and extends into all corners of the lives of US citizens now, as police abuse is only one symptom of a much deeper problem.

What do we mean by “civilized?”  Well, take a look at its official definition and see if you note any descriptors that are lacking in present day US culture:

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Global System Catastrophe” Is Key Threat To Human Civilization

“Global System Catastrophe” Is Key Threat To Human Civilization

 – Oxford Scientists Cite “Global System Catastrophe” Among 12 Plausible Threats To Civilization

– “Global System Catastrophe” More Of A Possibility Than Most Western People Suspect

– Study Described As A “Scientific Assessment About The Possibility Of Oblivion”

– Other Threats Include Nuclear War, Environmental Degradation, Geological Events and Out of Control Technology

Recent research undertaken by scientists in Oxford University to identify possible threats to human civilisation has identified “system-wide failures caused by the structure of the network” as one of twelve major threats.

goldcore_bloomberg_chart1_23-02-15

Global economic collapse, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology have been named alongside nuclear war, ecological catastrophe and super-volcano eruptions as “risks that threaten human civilization” in a report by the Global Challenges Foundation.

The world’s economic and political systems face systematic risks because of their intricate and interconnected natures. The researchers say more work needs to be done to clarify what parts of the system could collapse and destroy western civilization.

The authors of the study say it is about “how better understanding of the magnitude of the challenges can help the world to address the risks it faces, and can help to create a path towards more sustainable development.”

The foundation was set up in 2011 with the aim of funding research into risks that threaten humanity, and encouraging more collaboration between governments, scientists and companies to combat them.

Apart from failure of the systems of civilization the report also looks at the threats posed by the following:

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase