Volatility

January 24, 2020

2020

Filed under: American Revolution, Freedom, Peak Oil, Tower of Babel — Tags: , , — Russ @ 11:17 am

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I’ve been writing this blog for near eleven years now. Have I made any progress? It seems not. My personal life never got any real benefit from it. More recently I’ve totally shipwrecked and the blog seems to mean nothing. Nor are my modest prayers for personal life being answered.
 
Has the rest of the world gotten any better? Not on the surface, though we might have some hope that the final collapse is accelerating.
 
Let’s start over from the point of view: The civilized have credited the inculcation of the ability to make promises, to take responsibilities beyond the self-indulgent whims of the moment, as a great civilizing step.
 
But in reality it’s a mistake to think responsibility is a trait unique or endemic to civilized people. On the contrary, primate ancestors and early hominids, on through to “savage” tribal groups and societies, all had tight group cohesion and responsibility of each for all and all for each. They embodied this as part of their natural character. If they hadn’t, group primates and hominids never could have survived to evolve into modern humans. Ironically, it’s only amid the breakdown of natural tribal cohesion that the conscious idea of contracts had to become a thing, and “taking responsibility” had to become a conscious shibboleth.
 
Meanwhile, modern capitalist-productionist-consumerist ideology and its religious reflections, “Prosperity Theology” and the New Age cult, through their explicit denigration of the very concept of promises and responsibilities, through their explicit proclamations that each individual hominid is a Randroid island that should do nothing but indulge its whims of the moment in the most narcissistic sociopathic way, are working to destroy civilization’s capacity for contracts, promises, responsibility. Since there is no longer any underlying natural-tribal basis for these human traits, what this means is these ideologies and religions comprise a movement to render humans feral and savage in the worst sense of the term.
 
When Hobbes wrote that life in what he called the “state of nature” is “nasty, brutish, and short”, he wrote it as nothing more than myth. Hobbes never thought his state of nature really had existed anywhere. On the contrary, he considered this the state of civilized, tamed man where men are not kept brutally in line.
 
Hobbes took the modern “civilized” individual, one domesticated into fear and mercenary greed, or indoctrinated into liberal individualist ideology, and pictured this monster in the absence of the overawing state power. He envisioned how nasty and brutish such persons would be under those circumstances. Then he fraudulently called this the state of nature. But in fact such an atomized, distorted hominid has nothing in common with an organic human being living within a natural society. This fraud is at the core of the bogus “competition” ideology which is 100% artificial and requires massive propaganda, bribery, threats, fear and violence in order for it to make any headway against our natural humanity. In nature, organic human beings are cooperative.
 
Nietzsche composed a similar civilization myth in his Toward A Genealogy of Morals, Essay Two.
 
According to Nietzsche, humans first came to see themselves as social beings with social responsibilities through evolving a “memory of the will” and the capacity to make a promise. This had to overcome our innate faculty of active forgetting which is necessary for sifting the dross of sensation and thought. It rendered us “calculable, regular, necessary”.
 
How did man become calculable and necessary in his actions? According to Nietzsche it was only through the long process of what he called the morality of mores:
 
..the labor performed by man upon himself during the greater part of the existence of the human race, his entire prehistoric labor, finds in this its meaning, its great justification, notwithstanding the severity, tyranny, stupidity, and idiocy involved in it: with the aid of the morality of mores and the social straitjacket, man was actually made calculable.
 
This morality of mores is the primal world view centered on mystery, ritual, taboo, fierce adherence to the traditions or else the rains won’t come. It’s the time of obsession with an inscrutable supernatural, and the stark cause and effect reasoning which knows that only strict fealty to the rituals can appease the terrible forces of fate. Groups assume this first out of hope and desperation and later, as power grows, out of assertion and the feeling of power.
 
For thousands of years groups judged according to supernatural and ritualistic causes and effects, and the rituals were designed to render the effects calculable and necessary. In the process the human psyche was melted and hammered and bent and distorted until it took shape.
 
In a dialectical gyre the rituals tightened tribal cohesion and empowered tribal, ritual promising. These promises bolstered the individual sense of communal responsibility, first instinctual and then conscious, and made members more firm and reliable in their ritual promises.
 
Arising in prehistory from the primal ecology and later to pull itself upward from the post-industrial chaos of a collapsed mass, the free-as-a-bird individual becoming a reliable maker of promises represents the potential for a new communal coherence. To realize this social coherence, movement integrity is then the presupposition for individual integrity. That’s what Nietzsche wrongly thought happened before, when in reality Gaia was the craftswoman of this primal capacity.
 
But what if humanity staggers through the self-destruction and collective suicide of the modern economic civilization and then attempts to build new societies upon some remnant? At least in the short run, there seems no prospect that Gaia shall show the way. Rather, people will cling to whatever they recall of the devastation and try to reprise it. Perverse as people are, there seems to be no other way.
 
All we see today from political and media and intellectual Leaders is the call for slave conformity. The great revolutionary promise of the sovereign individual was supposed to be that freedom would transcend itself, that autonomous individuals, precisely because they so cherished this great gift of sovereignty, would assume the highest social responsibilities, since only this could preserve and augment the aggregate freedom. The public freedom, the highest form of politics, would be the consummation of the human condition.
 
What went wrong? Concentrated wealth, especially the concentrations afforded by fossil fuels, machine technology and the capitalist mode of organization allowed the slave mentality (enslaved to materialism, greed, power-lust) to hijack autonomy and debase it to sociopathy. Freedom degenerated to promiscuity. Liberty became license and the “right” to be a private vandal. Public, positive freedom was rejected and overridden by the libertine primacy of private indulgence and crapulence. The citizens debased themselves to consumers. The idealists prostituted themselves to materialism. Every promise became a lie. Everyone came to believe religiously in the primacy of worthless material junk over living as human beings.
 
The decadent economic civilization has lost the ability, the will or right to promise; it has squandered it. There’s no legitimacy left, no authority. God is dead; religion, government, law, business, ideology, nationalism, tribalism, all are dead insofar as they pretend to exist within this anti-human framework. This framework has eroded everything beyond recognition, leaving just hideous cackling caricatures in a haunted house of mirrors now burning down even as everyone still staggers about inside, drunken and cackling and crying and screaming.
 
If we’re ever to be able to promise again, we need complete renewal, Renaissance, Return. This has to start with a new moral world, complete rebirth.
 
The economic civilization is hollowed out by its rot as the ground erodes and slides from under its supports. Its dollar and predator drone delusions prop it up for the moment. But everything is decaying. That’s the only exponential curve still steepening. That’s the only debt curve still arcing. Resource depletion, ecological collapse, the destruction of the exponential cancer economy and worldwide war and civil war shall be the secular and physical confirmations of the great spiritual event: The immolation of the modern atomized tribe on the pyre of its own burning altar upon which it stacked far too many sacrificial branches, the apex victim of its own lust for extermination.
 
What will it mean to start anew as reawakened tribes? We can’t foresee the new forms in detail. These will be extemporaneous, decided by the tempo of the flames and the motions of those running through them.
 
As we emerge, we’ll emerge with a new ritual, a new credo, a new way of living. We shall sing the song of the next circle of society and promise, debt and delight, responsibility and right, family and freedom, law and liberty.
 
 
 
 
 
 

March 17, 2019

Two Atmospheric Transformations

Filed under: Climate Crisis, Dance of Death — Tags: , , , , — Russ @ 9:25 am

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Sometime over 2 billion years ago photosynthethic purple and green bacteria whose energy was based on extracting hydrogen from hydrogen sulfide and other gases were proliferating to the point that they faced a shortage of these hydrogen sources. Much free hydrogen also was being lost to space. Although water (H2O) was abundant, these primordial photosynthesizers lacked the ability to break the powerful bonds of water molecules. Under this evolutionary pressure some blue-green cyanobacterial ancestors developed a more complex mode of photosynthesis which was powerful enough to crack open water molecules and use their hydrogen.
 
This new source of abundant energy drove a population boom and generated great amounts of oxygen as waste. Before this, oxygen had never been a significant constituent of the atmosphere. Almost all free oxygen quickly recombined with environmental carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, or iron. Although the organic process of burying carbon began at some point, this always has been only a slow, gradual opportunity for oxygen to build up.
 
For a long time the newly generated excess oxygen continued to be assimilated by reducing gases, organic bodies, and exposed minerals. But as radioactivity and volcanism decreased, the amount of available sulfur and iron decreased. Free hydrogen continued to float away to space, while the proliferating water-cracking bacteria were incorporating more carbon into their biomass and releasing more oxygen to the atmosphere.
 
This led to Earth’s first pollution crisis. Free oxygen is poisonous to life which hasn’t adapted to it. Combined with light it instantly kills unadapted cells. In the bodies of respiratory creatures it creates free radicals which can cause mutations and cancer. Aerobic photosynthesizers and oxygen-breathers had to evolve chemical defenses against these effects.
 
Initially this was a great organic crisis and probably caused a mass extinction. But some cyanobacteria developed a way to use free oxygen for energy and evolved respiration and the necessary defenses against aerobic toxicity. Thus the crisis drove the greatest revolution in Gaian history. There were now two kingdoms of bacteria, the aerobes and anaerobes. All subsequent evolution of nuclear-celled life (eukaryotes – plants, animals, protozoans, fungi) stemmed from aerobic bacteria.
 
There’s no way of knowing if the original oxygen-polluter species were the same who adapted. Most likely they were among the extinction victims of their own waste. And since bacteria always have evolved much more quickly and profoundly, especially in a crisis, through horizontal genetic transfer than through gradual mutation the way more complex creatures do, it’s problematic to separate bacteria into different species as opposed to viewing them as a giant collective of quasi-species who are always no more than a few steps away from genetic trade.
 
At any rate, in any crisis, facing any great challenge, bacteria always will be the fastest to adapt and the most resilient. There’s no comparison between the survival prospects of bacteria and those of hyper-complex, hyper-dependent creatures like hominids.
 
 
And that’s a grim omen for today. For today a second cabal of creatures is driving a fast, artificial transformation: a small group of bacteria (those which benefit from industrial practices which destroy ecological constraints upon them and open up a free-fire terrain for them), and the berserk hominids whose brains they control. They systematically are pumping the air as full of greenhouse gases as they can, as fast as they can, with the goal of heating up the Earth as much as possible as fast as possible, generating as much climate chaos and ecological destruction as possible. Modern civilization has complete consensus on this campaign. (This is in spite of the fake “climate movement” it’s coughed up. This movement’s purpose is nothing but to tout various scams, each of which boils down to the promise that the ecocidal binge can continue, that you can destroy the Earth and live on it too.)
 
The ecocidal-genocidal civilization very probably will collapse within the next few decades and the worst of the emissions and sink destruction will cease. But the heating and chaos effects will intensify for centuries as they catch up with the carbon already emitted.
 
Although we’ll never know which bacteria adapted and which failed during the Archaean-Proterozoic oxygen transformation, we do know that civilized hominids will be the apex victims of their own campaign of global heating, climate chaos, poisonism and mass extinction. The only question is whether the human species will survive and recover on an ecological basis, the only basis which will be possible.
 
After the tremendous depletion and degradation of all “resources” by the modern binge and by previous civilizations, post-civilized re-primal humanity will face a material existence far more threadbare than that of the primal peoples, prior to civilization. This is one great challenge to species survival.
 
The second is that the fossil-fueled atmospheric transformation, and the general devastation inflicted upon the Earth by civilization, will force Gaia as a whole to undergo a transformation. This will be a phase change to a new state in accord with the heated and perturbed climate, the toxified environment, and the cataclysmic destruction of biodiversity wrought by the “Anthropocene” mass extinction event. This phase change will endure at least for many centuries and perhaps become the basis of a permanently different world ecology. It’s impossible to know beforehand the magnitude and details of this transformation and what new challenges it will pose to post-ecocide Gaian humanity. We can only guess.