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« What Can the Next President Do? | Main | Stuck in Hurricane Sandy »

October 17, 2012


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João Neto

That sounds a quite interesting subject. Do you have any online material?

And if they video the lecture, don't forget to post the link :-)

Have a nice conference!

step back


I suspect that evolution has molded us into a species that desires to "win" each game on a short term, game by game basis.

So if the name of the game is "debate", we wish to win, no matter how inconsequential or silly the whole enterprise is for our long term prospects.

If the game is MLB, we go bats for the homers. (Major League Baseball).

If the game is NFL, we rush blind for the goal line. (National Football League)

Too bad there is not a GSL "game" called Survival of Civilization'as Known It'was To Us (a.k.a. SOCK It To Us).

(Global Sustainability League)


""Money, Energy, & Debt", presenting the rationale for using exergy as the standard for money and money supply. Stay tuned for my report."


If you recall from our days posting on TOD this was my favorite Hobby Horse.
It still is actually and I think it is the best way to synchronize a man contrived economic system to the larger ecosystem while utilizing the maximum input and creative abilities of all participants in a positive and less destructive way.
If energy is the "money" and people continue to behave consistently in their pursuit of gaining to most while "spending" the least then we have a situation where energy conservation will be by default and energy utilization through the best uses and most energy efficient methods becomes the default behavior.
Perfect for harnessing the seemingly indomitable human tendency to always be busy doing something.
Since we can"t seem to sit still then the best thing to do is figure out a way to direct that activity toward behavior that at least does minimal damage.

By the way this idea has been around for a long time.

Technocracy co-founded by M. King Hubbard back in the 1930ish time frame had this concept as one of their central tenets.


George - all the best at your conference, knock 'em dead and so forth.

All I'd like to add is that few people appear to get it that the presidential election is utterly irrelevant to those who pull the strings in the USA. It is tragic and comical that anyone would even want to watch the so-called debates, which is similar to watching two whiffy tramps fighting over a cigarette butt. For the elite who continue to rape the US public and the rest of the world for any convertible resources they can get their grasping hands on, it doesn't matter a jot which joker is awarded the laughingly titled “top job” in November - they know he will be entirely pliable to their will. It will be business as usual in the Democratic People's Republic of America.

In hindsight, how could we have been so naive to believe Obama's Yes-We-Can call to action a mere four years ago. He has shown himself to be the same puppet on a string as all "elected" leaders, and was even overt in accepting the imposed appointment of financial rapists to his inner circle as minders, a.k.a. "advisers".

All in all, we can hardly feel disappointment about politics in 2012. We always knew the whole game stank. What’s changed is that there is no longer any veneer of respectability. Just about every country is indisputably being run for the aggrandizement of a few thousand thieves among the seven billion of us Homo nonsapiens.

If this is the natural outcome of Darwinism, preordained from the moment we started farming the land, good luck and good night.

Regards, Oliver


Stop calling the fricken psychopaths elite!!! They are anything but!!!

Despotic oligarchs!!! is the appropriate title. Or worse......

It is time to wheel out the guillotines.


Porge - duly noted. Except that I use "elite" because the psychos google this word when in self-preening mode, and this means they are more likely to come across scary sites such as this one.

As for Madame Guillotine, she and the rest of the family of dispatchers are sure to be busy - schedule yet to be arranged.


I never thought of using the term as a search criteria to draw the eyeballs of the narcissistic bastards. Very shrewd indeed.

Robin Datta

I decided to listen to a bit of the debate last night,

That is among the reasons that the show goes on. As far as I am concerned, I would perceive no difference if there were no elections - even a change in the name of the POTUS referred to in blogs like this would not necessarily be indicative of an electoral process.

Robin Datta

As for Madame Guillotine, she and the rest of the family of dispatchers are sure to be busy - schedule yet to be arranged.

I applaud your optimism, Oliver!


My choice for presidential candidate (Jill Stein) got arrested trying to attend the public debate at Hofstra, like Nader was disallowed when he was running.

i know it isn't going to matter which of these two clowns gets the job since climate change has already shifted into the public consciousness (finally, but now it's too late to do anything about it) and will really start to bite in the coming years. i almost feel sorry for whomever is in the White House when the ongoing collapse of civilization accelerates to the point of chaos and madness (and probably martial law).

i'd like to read more about your ecological economics if you have some suggestions as to where to begin, George. Enjoy your symposium (from the ancient Greek - a drinking party)!

Robin Datta

An Introduction to Ecological Economics (free e-book)


Looking forward to reading about the discussion at the conference.

All the best.

Like reading Oliver's comments too. :)


Btw, Mr. Mobus, am just curious. Have you ever jammed with Mr. Jeff Rubin or met him? Find his thoughts resonate with yours.



For the FIRST time in my adult life, I almost didn't vote, but there are a couple initiatives I'm interested in, and I had Rob McKenna in my class at Sammamish High in Bellevue. The thought of that smarmy little blanker being governor is more than I can bear. So I voted and sent the damn ballot off, but not out of any conviction that it matters. Alas. Have a fine time at your conference, and may you run into other like-minded folks. Take care.

Nick Dahlheim

I just avoid the debates and all presidential election politics like the plague. To me, it's all irrelevant and hearing about it only fuels my depression. I think climate change, Peak Oil, overpopulation, species extinction, et al. will hit civilization harder than many will be able to take. I was so depressed about this that I dropped out of Columbia University to deal with the depression. Still trying to figure out how to confront this reality and live a productive and impactful life. I was reading a series of stories and scientific journal articles about the ice melt this year both near the North and South poles. Combining this ice data with the clearly accelerating pace of climate change (a pace of acceleration MUCH faster than even the most circumspect and pessimistic climate forecasters had anticipated thus far), my own intuition is telling me that sometime in the latter half of the 21st century we will witness the development of an anoxic Canfield Ocean. And, as a result, we will probably not avoid precipitating a Permian extinction event--an event that will likely eliminate 98-99% of all life on Earth, Homo "sapiens" included....

Nick Dahlheim

Oliver, porge, Robin Datta, George, et. al.,

Be careful what you wish for in wanting to promote the guillotine as the measure to deal with our elites. During my younger years at the beginning of my 20s (I’m now moving closer to 30), I was a rabid Leftist. I was passionately opposed to the Bush regime and I eagerly joined any Leftist, anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-racism, anti-“fascist” protest or speak out that I could. It was no use, and the more I gained an appreciation for human nature and I started to see the many shades of gray that muddy distinctions; the more I’ve walked away from that youthful Leftism. Indeed, to by more mature recollection I have come to realize that many of the most “democratic” and “pacifist” persons on my college campus harbored a secret love of power themselves, even if their little fiefdoms were quite small. My rage “against the machine” and strident “opposition against the man” was simply that of youth and the typically high levels of testosterone that accompany it. Many professional Leftist activists, though, are quietly little bourgeois tyrants patterned Cromwell, Robespierre, and Lenin. The pattern of middle-class led revolutions since modernity (even the Bolsheviks were led primarily by middle-class radical intellectuals) has featured a religious devotion to ideology followed by a significant civil war with blood-letting for many classes of people before order gets restored under a strongman. Historically, the middle classes have confused aspiration, material striving, puritanical aesthetics and modes of life, and ideological purity for wisdom and excellence. Indeed, much of the rage that seems to be motivating, at least in the U.S., the Occupy movement has been the growing realization that the striving and materialistic middle classes are finally seeing that their desire for rising social and economic status cannot be met under the current paradigm (or any that involve dwelling on the planet in its present state). Nowhere has Occupy shown wisdom enough to discuss the kinds much less consider the existence of the systemic problems you and a few others (I’m thinking of Jesse Henshaw of synapse9, Dmitry Orlov, and Dave Cohen over at “Decline of the Empire” chiefly among others) study in great depth. And, as conditions inevitably deteriorate and political gridlock and corporate malfeasance continually get exposed; the authoritarians in the Left who are embedded with Occupy and related movements will rise. Unfortunately, the building rage will not have any “banks” to store it up and redirect it properly to the harder tasks of intelligently powering down global capitalism to prepare for the salvage and scarcity economy of the future. Raging against the bankers and corporate executives of the “1%”, corrupt as they are, will do little to solve our problems. And, say, even if such a middle-class revolution results from Occupy and the other Leftist types out there; how would they govern any better than the current “1%”? If anything, the success of such a movement may intensify current problems as a new elite rises to take over and the same problems of scarcity and environmental degradation continually rear their ugly heads. In this age of civilizational decay, cultural decadence, anomie, and ennui I find it hard to believe that any new authority can even legitimate their rule. I say all this to preface my next few remarks.

I’m no conservative in that I most definitely DO NOT support the Right in its current pathetic, vile incarnation; and my sympathies are more broadly with the Left. I really wish that some kind of Kropotkin or Bookchin like Leftist-anarchy could rule the planet. Maybe we can all return to Terence McKenna’s Stoned Ape by wise imbibing of hallucinogenic plants. Somehow these and other utopian dreams have captured hold of people’s imaginations, and they appear attractive. However, the group dynamics of human societies, intensified and magnified as they are by the sheer numbers of Homo sapiens; vitiate such utopian projects. And surely some alternative would be preferable, in my view, to some kind of ideologically utopian driven radical revolution from the myopic middle classes. Considering how crowded the planet is, and how heavily armed even many poor people are, especially in the United States; the collapse of the elite and/or the likely poor aftermath of any radical revolution from the middle classes could cause chaos that is probably almost beyond the worst horrors the imagination can conjure. Moreover, once even the genie of martial law has been let out of the bottle, especially in a country where the absence of direct martial law probably does much to maintain the illusion that America is a “free” country (as if any country with huge inequality and a global military presence used to fight multiple wars were “free”—as if the public even could think on that level); the elite’s days are numbered. Giordano Bruno speaks of this, “magical states” that can maintain and disseminate a fictional story to buttress claims to legitimacy have great durability, “police states” such as those that will go under martial law are inherently unstable. That instability is felt both between the social classes in countries as well as within specific social classes.

Needless to say, I’m very worried and skeptical of all players. I hope the current governing elite find themselves able to maintain civil order. I fundamentally mistrust the Occupy movement—they only seem to have organized now that the poverty they blithely and subconsciously thought was a condition of the Other (the stereotyped poor according to the middle class Puritan ideology so prevalent in the U.S., but even the other Western social democracies to an extent) now is visiting them. As such, Occupy et. al appear “reactionary” in the most denotative sense of the term.

What is needed instead is some kind of planetary governance, but one whose elites would appear to be able to govern more wisely than our current group of capitalist elites who seem to be doing a rather poor job of ascertaining the dire nature of our situation and exercising the prudence with foresight. How order, the beauty of human culture and civilization could be preserved to some degree, thus, are questions which concern me deeply. But count me fearful of the guillotine—revolutions eat their own children, especially ideologically driven middle class revolutions where “rage” is overflowing. And count me wishing that there were a way to have humans evolve towards the true sapience George has outlined so well. I’m very suspicious though, and I hope that my suspicious and curious mind will open up doors for me to contribute to that project of sapient evolution—the only project probably worth backing in the years ahead.


Nick D - interesting comments that add much to the debate.

I would just say that you are mistaken if you think I am calling for the "Guillotine Solution". As an observer of non-violent mentality, I am simply expecting it to happen as a natural consequence of the Great Theft that has occurred since 2007. The perpetrators can hardly expect a quiet life after such blatant pillage, and there aren't enough police, private goons and soldiers to protect them from the numbers of the recent dispossessed.

Of course, this won't solve the underlying issue, which is our formidable defects as a species. (The primary failure is "our" inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the laws of thermodynamics, resulting in the brazen rapid exhaustion of energy resources.)

George has ably covered these factors, and it is his expertise and insight that inform many of us Question Everything visitors speculating whether a transition to real sapience is likely or even possible.

As far as I know, this blog is not frequented by Occupy adherents. And personally, I have moved far beyond fear and depression after long study of these issues. I am quite a lot older than you, so it is perhaps easier for me to deal not with hope but with facts about how our species is approaching a necessary bottleneck.

The justifiable anger towards the robber baron elite is as much a sideshow as the US election. These alpha males are simply a rather stunning example of the deficiencies of Homo sapiens.

All the best, Oliver


Nick and Oliver....VERY interesting posts - many thanks!

Nick Dahlheim

Thanks Oliver, I appreciate your reply. And I hear you on the guillotineing. I hope I didn't give the impression that I took you 100% seriously. I'm worried that an uprising will happen and the violence will spiral out of control because the government has been unwilling and unable to prosecute fraud and theft. Academy Award winner Charles Ferguson said it best when accepting an Oscar in 2011, "3 years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, nobody has been investigated or prosecuted and not a single financial or banking executive has gone to jail--and that's wrong." But, I do appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement especially re: my struggles with depression.

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