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Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Examples of how human societies are changing the planet abound – from building roads and houses, clearing forests for agriculture and digging train tunnels, to shrinking the ozone layer, driving species extinct, changing the climate and acidifying the oceans. Human impacts are everywhere. Our societies have changed Earth so much that it’s impossible to reverse many of these effects

Nuclear bomb testing left its mark in the geologic record. National Nuclear Security Administration/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY

Some researchers believe these changes are so big that they mark the beginning of a new “human age” of Earth history, the Anthropocene epoch. A committee of geologists has now proposed to mark the start of the Anthropocene in the mid-20th century, based on a striking indicator: the widely scattered radioactive dust from nuclear bomb tests in the early 1950s.

But this is not the final word.

Not everyone is sure that today’s industrialized, globalized societies will be around long enough to define a new geological epoch. Perhaps we are just a flash in the pan – an event – rather than a long, enduring epoch. 

Others debate the utility of picking a single thin line in Earth’s geological record to mark the start of human impacts in the geological record. Maybe the Anthropocene began at different times in different parts of the world. For example, the first instances of agriculture emerged at different places at different times, and resulted in huge impacts on the environment, through land clearing, habitat losses, extinctions, erosion and carbon emissions, forever changing the global climate.

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

The Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy

The Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy

Our society has a legal structure of self-rule and ownership of capital, but in reality it is a Neofeudal Oligarchy.

The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000 is not an easy, breezy read; its length and detail are daunting.

The effort is well worth it, as the book helps us understand how the power structures of societies change over time in ways that may be largely invisible to those living through the changes.

The Inheritance of Rome focuses on the lasting influence of Rome’s centralized social and political structures even as centralized economic power and trade routes dissolved.

This legacy of centralized power and loyalty to a central authority manifested 324 years after the end of the Western Roman Empire circa 476 A.D. in Charlemagne, who united much of western Europe as the head of the Holy Roman Empire. (Recall that the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire endured another 1,000 years until 1453 A.D.)

But thereafter, the social and political strands tying far-flung villages and fiefdoms to a central authority frayed and were replaced by a decentralized feudalism in which peasants were largely stripped of the right to own land and became the chattel of independent nobles.

In this disintegrative phase, the central authority invested in the monarchy of kings and queens was weak to non-existent.In the long sweep of history, it took several hundred years beyond 1000 A.D. for central authority to re-assert itself in the form of monarchy, and several hundred additional years for the rights of commoners to be established.

Indeed, it can be argued that it was not until the 1600s and 1700s–and only in the northern European strongholds of commoners’ rights, The Netherlands and England–that the rights of ownership and political influence enjoyed by commoners in the Roman Empire were matched.

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An Examination Of The Leftist Cult And Their Religion

An Examination Of The Leftist Cult And Their Religion

There is a common misconception among newer activists in the liberty movement that the idea of the “false left/right paradigm” means that there is no political spectrum; that the entire notion of left vs right is a fabrication. This is not exactly the case. When we talk about false paradigms in regards to politics (or geopolitics), what we are actually referring to is the elitist class, otherwise known as globalists, and the fact that they have no left or right political orientation. They do not care about Democrats or Republicans, they have no loyalty to either party. Their loyalty is to their own agenda, and they will exploit BOTH sides to get what they want whenever possible.

Beyond the globalists, average people do indeed fall on a political spectrum that could be broken down and simplified to a set of basic ideals or ideologies. On the left side of the spectrum we find the collectivists and socialists, who believe that society (the group) is vastly more important than the individual and that the actions of individuals must be strictly monitored and governed to prevent negative effects on the group.

The core argument of the leftists is: “We are all a part of society and must act in harmony with society so that the system continues to function. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…”

On the right side of the spectrum we find the individualists, sovereignty activists and true conservatives. People who, in varying degrees, believe that society should be restricted from dictating the life of the individual and that group participation should be voluntary. Where leftists seek to centralize, people on the right seek to decentralize.

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The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

In what is arguably one of the most craven opportunistic moves by a business/media group to increase its circulation/profitability, on 10 April the New York Times (NYT) embarked on what it describes as its Privacy ProjectA day later on 11 April, no doubt with the NYT’s foreknowledge of what was to come thanks to an unofficial US government tip, Ecuador revoked Julian Assange’s (Wikileaks founder) asylum in its UK Embassy and fed him to the British Police dogs eagerly awaiting to arrest him and dump him in jail.

In May 2017 I wrote that Assange was doomed from the get-go to be arrested and handed over to the US Government and that it would only be a matter of time before Edward Snowden befell a similar fate.

Chelsea Manning’s leaked information made WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, a household name. It also made them permanent enemies of the US State. In 2010, Assange released a video that he called Collateral Murder. The video shows an airstrike in which Iraqi journalists are killed. Other releases based on Manning’s leak were known as the Afghan Diary and Iraq War Logs. The diplomatic cables exposed some of the silly machinations of the US State Department and the over classification of documents.

Meanwhile, mainstream media (MSM) outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post feasted on the leaks and gave them prominent coverage daily, even as they excoriated Assange and his merry band of leakers. The MSM believes that WikiLeaks is not “real” journalism even as they used the classified material Assange provided to bolster their subscription numbers. Aren’t they accessories to Assange’s crime? Apparently they are not.

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The One True Thing

wikimedia 

The One True Thing

Until you understand it, it will rule your life.

Until you see clearly how the rules of society work, you will be trapped within a system of control.

What you mistake for reality is instead a fabricated simulation, designed to keep you trapped right where the system wants you.

Your social conditioning, education, and family structures program you with a set of beliefs, values and norms — often unexamined — that “properly” align you in such a way that you focus your life and labor on keeping the existing social hierarchy in place and that you never deeply question this arrangement.

Put visually, your culture is in the shape of a pyramid. And what keeps you pinned to your particular layer is your belief system. 

Every civilization has its own defining narratives that, while beautifully diverse, all generate exactly the same structure: a pyramid consisting of many more people at the bottom than at the top.

Every civilization throughout history had One True Thing that determined each person’s position on that pyramid.

In some past eras, it was royal bloodline. In ancient Egyptian culture, it stemmed from being a direct descendent of the Sun god Ra. And today, it’s a function of how much money you have.

No matter the marker, the pecking order is held in place because everyone accepts the rules.  They’re fully understood by the citizenry, and are only rarely questioned (usually at great personal risk). 

But even though accepted as “100% true” by the participants of one culture, social markers often don’t translate when applied to another.

For instance, if you traveled back in time to the height of the Aztec empire with $1 billion in cash, your paper bills wouldn’t have any accepted value.  You’d probably have trouble acquiring even a single tortilla with them.

Your modern currency just wouldn’t be money to that ancient culture.

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

Will Globalists Sacrifice The Dollar To Get Their ‘New World Order’?

Will Globalists Sacrifice The Dollar To Get Their ‘New World Order’?

Trade is a fundamental element of human survival. No one person can produce every single product or service necessary for a comfortable life, no matter how Spartan their attitude. Unless your goal is to desperately scratch an existence from your local terrain with no chance of progress in the future, you are going to need a network of other producers. For most of the history of human civilization, production was the basis for economy. All other elements were secondary.

At some point, as trade grows and thrives, a society is going to start looking for a store of value; something that represents the man-hours and effort and ingenuity a person put into their day. Something that is universally accepted within barter networks, something highly prized, that is tangible, that can be held in our hands and is impossible to replicate artificially. Enter precious metals.

Thus, the concept of “money” was born, and for the most part it functioned quite well for thousands of years. Unfortunately, there are people in our world that see economy as a tool for control rather than a vital process that should be left alone to develop naturally.

The idea of “fiat money”, money which has no tangibility and that can be created on a whim by a central source or authority, is rather new in the grand scheme of things. It is a bastardization of the original and much more stable money system that existed before that was anchored in hard commodities. While it claims to offer a more “liquid” store of value, the truth is that it is no store of value at all.

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Society As Platform — A New Frontier in Complexity Science

Society As Platform — A New Frontier in Complexity Science

Cities are profoundly complex incarnations of cultural evolution. Image Credit: Vincent Laforet

Humanity is now confronted with new challenges unlike anything we have experienced before. Our evolved history as a species has not prepared us for what is happening now. It is time to start seeing culture as a complex system that evolves according to Darwinian principles.

What do international terrorism, human-caused climate change, and the rise of speculative bubbles in finance have in common? At their heart, each is fundamentally a cultural phenomenon that is often confused with its more superficial elements associated with religion, politics, technology, or economics. There are hidden “governing dynamics” that arise as ideologies and worldviews, diverse modes of social organization with associated norms and practices, and the foundational ontologies and epistemologies that define what is real and knowable for a given society.

Humanity has gone from subsistence living where our daily survival was a struggle to weave healthy relationships with the natural ecosystems around us to one of living within social niches of our own creation. Long ago, it was rocks carved into spear tips that determined our ability to acquire food. Now it is the use of fossil fuels extracted by large machines, which are then sent to refineries for modification and redistribution, eventually finding their way into chemical fertilizers used to extract nutrients from the soil.

All of this arose through the processes of cultural evolution.

Every major challenge in the world today is deeply and profoundly cultural — and cultural systems are always complex. They are comprised of many interacting parts with critical interdependencies that are not reducible to usefully meaningful modular parts. There are threshold effects, phase transitions, chaotic attractors, various kinds of self-organization, and all are deeply dynamic and emergent as evolutionary processes at the intersection of culture and the environment.

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The Real Difference Between Left & Right

 

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; You have worked with politicians worldwide and both sides. What is your opinion of the politics that has emerged post-Great Depression?

LM

ANSWER: The major difference between the socialism supported by the Democrats/Labour in Western Society is that to them the individual has no value, it is the collective society, which they then elevate themselves to rule. Conservatives believe in the individual has rights and value and that the state is to serve the people. In the eyes of socialism, it is not the individual but the collective society which is the value and they are qualified to rule from above. The socialist always seeks to control others and in so doing, the individual is always sacrificed for the collective state. It is not what your country can do for you personally, it is the teaching that you as the individual are to be sacrificed for the greater good of the whole which is controlled by the politicians – i.e. former the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, the socialist always pretend that they are on your side. They have flipping everything upside down. Your personal well being is only possible by surrendering your individuality to the state. It is what they have done with Death Insurance. The insurance companies could not sell Death Insurance, so the reversed it and called it Life Insurance. Like fire insurance protects against fire, life insurance does not protect you from living forever. They reversed the label to make you feel proud how much Death Insurance you own. Socialist did the exact same thing. They get people to surrender their individuality to the state and always blame the rich when your quality of life declines.

Keep in mind that career politicians even on the right also support the government against the individual. Thomas Paine in Common Sense took the position.

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Our Economy Is Failing Our Society

Our Economy Is Failing Our Society

If we want to extend the opportunities for positive social roles to everyone, we have to change the way money is created and distributed in our economy.

One of the most unrecognized dynamics of our era is the structural dependence of our society on our economy. One set of pundits, politicos and academics wring their hands over the fragmenting of civil society (the rise of disintegrative, divisive forces and the decay of integrative forces) and decry the rising inequality that is our economy’s dominant feature, while another set of pundits and academics celebrate the economy’s remarkable adaptability or focus solely on reading financial tea leaves (interest rates, Fed policy tweaks, unemployment rates, etc.)

Those few analysts who escape their respective silos/academic ghettos rarely get past generalities such as the erosion of social mobility, a dynamic that is clearly economic and social. But the precise mechanisms behind the secular erosion of social mobility are lost in platitudes about how A.I. and robots will free us all to be poets or consumers of a vast and endlessly enjoyable leisure.

The key understanding that’s lacking is that economic structures organize and limit the social structures underpinning civil society. To understand why civil society is disintegrating on so many fronts (public health, civil discourse, etc.), we must understand how our economy has failed to support the social structures required for an integrative, inclusive civil society.

Our economy is transforming/adapting as a result of powerful secular trends:the 4th Industrial Revolution (a.k.a. the digital-networked-AI-Big-Data revolution), globalization, the commoditization of ordinary capital and labor, the financial and political dominance of quasi-monopolies and cartels, and perhaps the most unrecognized dynamic, the devaluation of ordinary capital and labor in favor of scarce and often rarified forms of capital and labor in the fields of technology, entrepreneurship and finance.

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Rulers, ‘Foolers,’ and Shooters: They’re Closing the Cage in Plain Sight

Rulers, ‘Foolers,’ and Shooters: They’re Closing the Cage in Plain Sight

A picture that has been around awhile depicts Homo sapiens society at its finest…as it truly is. There are four “tiers,” so to speak, with the politicians, royalty, and rulers occupying the uppermost level, followed by the clergymen and religious swamis on tier two, and then the gendarmes/police/soldiers on tier three. The bottom tier is occupied by the people, supporting the other three tiers upon their back. The caption is “We rule you [Leaders], we fool you [Religious Heads], we shoot you [the “Enforcer” class].

These “tiers” are to be found in every nation, among every people and tongue. It is not a new concept: these three levels of nabobs have existed ever since man formed social communities that encompassed more than the nuclear family.

The difference between the past and now: for the first time, these tiers will soon be interconnected regardless of location and mutually supportive of one another to obtain global totalitarian rule.

They already have so much in place, as outlined in previous articles: cell phones for most of the populations that transmit user location along with biometrics (in the latest models), interconnected CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras that coordinate and fix your position with the phones, and a record of all that you buy or sell at a POS (Point of Sale) in the happy big-box stores. They have laws to make you pay taxes on income, property, and they will come to seize your property and/or you if you don’t pay it…with force.

The laws are increasing in number, tightening the corral around you in your daily life…controlling where you can live, what type of home you can build, how you can communicate on the Internet, how you conduct business. Every business has a corresponding government inspector or regulator.

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How To Recognize When Your Society Is Suffering A Dramatic Decline

How To Recognize When Your Society Is Suffering A Dramatic Decline

When historians and analysts look at the factors surrounding the collapse of a society, they often focus on the larger events and indicators — the moments of infamy. However, I think it’s important to consider the reality that large scale societal decline is built upon a mixture of elements, prominent as well as small. Collapse is a process, not a singular event. It happens over time, not overnight. It is a spectrum of moments and terrible choices, set in motion in most cases by people in positions of power, but helped along by useful idiots among the masses. The decline of a nation or civilization requires the complicity of a host of saboteurs.

So, instead of focusing on the top down approach, which is rather common, let’s start from the foundations of our culture to better understand why there is clear and definable destabilization.

Declining Moral Compass

There is always a conflict between personal gain and personal conscience — this is the nature of being human. But in a stable society, these two things tend to balance out. Not so during societal decline, as personal gain (and even personal comfort and gratification) tends to greatly outweigh the checks and balances of moral principles.

People often mistake the term “morality” to be a religious creation, but this is not what I am necessarily referring to. The concepts of “good” and “evil” are archetypal — that is to say they are psychologically inherent in most human beings from the moment of birth. This is not a matter of faith, but a matter of fact, observed by those in the field of psychology and anthropology over the course of a century of study.  How we relate to these concepts can be affected by our environment and upbringing, but for the most part, our moral compass is psychologically ingrained. It is up to us to either follow it or not follow it.

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The Core


Jerome Liebling May Day Union Square Park New York City 1948
Dr. D. peels the American political onion to get down to what it’s all about. I’m impressed. He explains America better than just about anyone. Turns out, there ain’t much left. So yeah, what happened?

Dr. D: The news cycle runs so frenetically it’s easy to lose track of the bigger tide. Let’s go back a week and look at something the Automatic Earth has been talking about since the beginning.

This weekend at a speech in Mumbai, Hillary Clinton said:

“If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won. …I win the coast….I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.”

There are many ways to look at this: for one thing, by number, over 90% of the counties are Red. Yet over 50% of the population is concentrated in the cities and Blue counties. Clinton officially won the popular vote. Yet the United States has always had a geographical Electoral College system. A compromise of representation between small, weak states and strong, large states, and the rules of the 2016 campaign were no mystery or surprise. Yet that’s only the middle-sized picture.

The Big Picture is Mrs. Clinton saying she’s representing the important people, the right people – even the working people – and that 2/3rds of those people live exclusively in Blue districts on both coasts. While this is arguably true, it wasn’t always true. NYC or San Francisco have always been important, but from their founding until now, places like Dayton, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, or New Orleans were considered vital, important places, places where their own specialty happened: tires or flour, steel or shipping, lumber or mining.

What Happened? In a way the election was a referendum on “What Happened?” What happened to my community, my country, my area, and all the vital work those long-abandoned areas used to do, what happened to the massive GDP those areas used to contribute, and the answer is simple:

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Sarah Woods on imagination and “the crisis of what comes next”.

If it is true that we are living through a time in which our collective imagination is increasingly devalued and undernourished, what might be the role of story in that, and how might story be part of the remedy?  There are few better people to discuss this with than Sarah Woods.  Sarah is a writer across all media and her work has been produced by many companies including the RSC, Hampstead and the BBC.

Her opera ‘Wake’, composed by Giorgio Battistelli, opens in March, as does her play ‘Primary’, about the UK state education system. Alongside many other projects, she is currently writing the musical of the play she co-wrote with the late Heathcote Williams ‘The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency’, about squatting and DIY culture. Her play ‘Borderland’ just won the Tinniswood Award for best radio drama script of 2017.

Sarah is a Wales Green Hero, and her work is about, as she told me, “story wherever it’s most useful, across the board”.  I started by asking her the question I always ask in these interviews, but never as the first question.  If you had been elected as the Prime Minister at the next election and you had run on a programme of ‘Make Britain Imaginative Again’, what might be some of the things that you would announce in your first 100 days? 

“I would want for everybody to start looking at society and their lives as systems, which is about three things isn’t it?  Elements and interconnections and then the things that come out of that.  I suppose at the moment I feel that we’ve got a problem with the way that we’re relating to each other.  There’s a lot of division so that we’re in little boxes.

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Ruin is forever (revisited): Why your death isn’t as bad as that of all humankind 

Ruin is forever (revisited): Why your death isn’t as bad as that of all humankind

It should be obvious that the death of an individual human being isn’t as bad as the death of all humankind. But that’s only true if you accept the following premise laid out by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his upcoming book, Skin in the Game:

I have a finite shelf life; humanity should have an infinite duration. Or I am renewable, not humanity or the ecosystem.

The quotation actually comes from a draft version of one chapter available here. The book is not yet out.

But what does this mean in practical terms? The simple answer is that human societies should not engage in activities which risk destroying all of humanity. Nuclear war comes to mind. And, most, if not all, people recognize that a nuclear war would not only result in unthinkably large immediate casualties, but also might threaten all life on Earth with a years-long nuclear winter.

But are we humans risking annihilation through other activities? Climate change comes to mind. But so do our perturbations of the nitrogen cycle which we are now at the very beginnings of understanding. In addition, the introduction of novel genes into the plant kingdom with little testing through genetically engineered crops poses unknown risks not only to food production, but also to biological systems everywhere.

The thing that unites these examples is that they represent an introduction of novel elements (artificial gene combinations not seen in nature) or vast amounts of non-novel substances (carbon dioxide, nitrogen compounds and other greenhouse gases) into complex systems worldwide. Scale, it turns out, matters. A population of only 1 million humans on Earth living with our current technology would almost certainly not threaten climate stability or biodiversity.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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