Jun 132012
 
 June 13, 2012  Posted by at 12:17 am Earth
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrFlattr the authorDigg thisShare on RedditPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

I’m using this commentary to ruminate on a thought-provoking statement written by TAE reader alfbell and re-posted to the comment forum by reader Candace:

alfbell says…

“No system will ever be successful until the human mind, and the spiritual being that utilized it, have been isolated and fully understood. Psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, et al. have failed in this area as well. Very too bad because THIS is the key to man’s future survival.

 

Find the source of evil and destructive intentions; the need to dominate; the need to destroy what another creates; man’s inhumanity to man; man’s illogic; man’s low level of morality; man’s “animalistic” tendencies; man’s inability to predict consequences; etc. and you will save mankind.”

There are generally 3 types of “Doomers”, or realistic thinkers, out there:

1) Those who believe humanity is doomed to extinction or near-extinction no matter what we do at this point in time.

2) Those who believe humanity is probably doomed to extinction or near-extinction, but there is a slim chance we can avoid such a fate if the appropriate measures are taken and all the stars align in the right places.

3) Those who have FAITH that significant portions of humanity will make it through its numerous trials in the near future, difficult and painful as they may turn out to be.

I generally fall somewhere between #2 and #3 right now, but I can say with confidence that I rely on faith to instruct my beliefs. What is faith?? Most people consider faith a part of spirituality – i.e. a fundamental belief that human individuals and societies can overcome their inherent tendency towards committing “evil” acts and avoid their experiences of mortal suffering.

All major religions today incorporate the two components of this belief into their spiritual teachings – that 1) humans are inherently prone to sinfulness and suffering (we are born slaves to our sin and mortality), and that 2) humans can ultimately avoid those things by following specific paths (we can break the chains of our slavery).

I find a lot of value in that belief, but I disagree with many people about how to acquire the faith necessary to get on the proper path to changing oneself and, PERHAPS, the course of humanity. A lot of people will try to tell you that faith is an irrational, illogical and emotional drive – that it cannot be derived from the rational (or scientific) mind. This view is best summed up by the following quote:

“If you love [have faith in] something, let it go – if it comes back to you, it is yours forever, if it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be”.

I prefer the exact opposite version:

“If you have faith in [love] something, hold on to it with whatever cognitive ability and emotional strength you can muster – if it still manages to escape you after that, then run after it and try to get it back”.

As you may have guessed, my version is not the EASY one to follow. It is not even the one I practice in most aspects of my own life, because I find it much too difficult. Yet, it is still what I believe to be true. Faith is not about a care-free attitude or an unquestioning, dogmatic belief in certain laws or truths. It is about time, effort, logic, critical examination, emotional stability, and, ultimately, free will. If you want to have faith in the survival of humanity through these trying times, you must be dilligently intent on acquiring it through your thoughts and actions.

Faith in humanity is not about perfection – humans will never become perfect beings. What we can become, though, is free from our desires to destroy ourselves and others around us through our actions and addictions – our seemingly limitless capacity to, as alfbell puts it, destroy what others create; to be inhumane towards others. Once those desires are squashed, it is quite irrelevant whether we stumble and fall once in awhile (we most certainly will), because we will be eternally capable of picking ourselves up.

Candace asks…

“What I’m trying to figure out is if we all fail to be our best selves at least some of the time, are there any structures we can impose on ourselves that will at least keep us from causing massive damage to ourselves and the planet?”

 

 

Yes, but these structures will not be any economic, political, religious or legal systems, or even Divine commandments handed down from a Supreme God. They will literally be our conscious, rational, freely-made decisions to have faith in ourselves and humanity. Once we choose to unshackle ourselves from the chains of our addictions, i.e. once we make firm commitments to strive towards the better angels of our nature – to constantly desire something more sustainable in our minds – the self-destructive materialism that currently inhabits humanity will no longer dominate its future potential.

Those are my ruminations on faith and humanity – what are yours?

Home Forums Ruminations: Faith and Humanity

This topic contains 0 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  ashvin 2 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 47 total)
Author Posts
Author Posts
June 13, 2012 at 12:17 am #8500

ashvin

I’m using this commentary to ruminate on a thought-provoking statement written by TAE reader alfbell and re-posted to the comment forum by reader Cand
[See the full post at: Ruminations: Faith and Humanity]

June 14, 2012 at 3:58 am #3928

ashvin

Candace and Bot Blogger,

I am taking the liberty of moving your comments from that thread over here. Hope you don’t mind.

June 14, 2012 at 5:01 am #3930

Puff

I’m not qualified to disprove the economic and cultural analysis on this site but I am educated enough to think that it is probably quite close to what is going on and the economic predictions of the future are probably pretty close too.

A straight reading of many of these posts should lead a rational person to want to figuratively sh!t themselves (maybe literally too). That is not a good outcome.

This article though is a breath of fresh air in that it is getting there in terms of understanding what the appropriate response should be.

The Sh!tting yourself response does, in a funny way, describe your intent – “I will be afraid and react accordingly”. That’s a clear message of intent. This takes a person further away from understanding their true self (individual and connected – we are designed to do this together).

The response should perhaps be, as a group, we’ve pooped in our nest big time, bugger. Now how do we organise outselves differently now to cope with the mess and develop something better? In other words, I’m ready to move on/up – I don’t need to know all the intricacies of how we got to this point.

Those that have allowed themselves to be depowered by ‘the system’ will fall. Those that keep their power will rise above it and develop something new and exciting. No brainer.

Let’s build/create something new that as far as possible, utterly rejects or at least ignores 90% of the crappy rules we are compelled to live by now.

June 14, 2012 at 5:45 am #3932

rapier

Organized religion is only partly related to spirituality. The degree to which they are related rises and falls over time and at this point it is hard to imagine it getting any less related. In the US organized religion is now dedicated, if they know it or not and most don’t, to finding someone to pay the price for ongoing decline.

To the extent the decline is anywhere near the scale envisioned by TAE, or Kuntsler and the like, the amount of suffering that will rain upon the chosen victims is going to be stupendous. The apotheosis of spirituality is at hand.

June 14, 2012 at 6:14 am #3933

Golden Oxen

I am firmly in group three. We did not come all this way for nothing. My faith and salvation are the track record of mankind, and the brilliant people who have helped us on our marvelous journey. Please, don’t get me wrong, pain and necessity are the mothers of invention, change can be quite a nightmare. I just know there are more Galileo’s Newton’s, Einstein’s, Shakespeare’s, Pope John’s, and Mother Teresa’s among us or in our future to name but a very few.
Doomster’s and their followers are great for telling about our problems but have little to offer in solutions. Their constant reference to the Illuminati is a mere abrogation of their collective responsibility for the mess we are in. We collectively contributed to the current state of affairs and must figure a way out. We will have some members of our sacred human race come forward and help us. Have faith,love, and respect; they are there or will be, and they will help us and show us the way. Faith is the answer, without it we enter hell.

June 14, 2012 at 6:15 am #3934

pipefit

I actually line up with Ash on this one, for a change. Somewhere between 2. ‘probably doomed’ and 3. ‘faith’ might save some of us.

Also, Candace is asking the right question and alfbell is on the wrong track. Regarding the latter, it doesn’t matter, ironically, if one believes in Evolution theory or Creation theory. Both explain why humans are so evil. With Christianity it is ‘original sin’.

With evolution it is almost as basic. We evolved into this because it has permitted the species to survive and continue to reproduce.

Interestingly, a study of naughty penguins conducted in 1910 has only recently surfaced. It was buried due to the shocking depravity. “Levick, fearing to expose the reading public to the horrors of penguin homosexuality, necrophilia, masturbation and rape he witnessed, coded his report in Greek so that only highly educated gentlemen would read and appreciate the depth of depravity of penguins in the Antarctic wild.”

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/326597#ixzz1xj2kVFLm

Point being that humans aren’t much different than lowly animals. Only problem is that we now have nuclear weapons to ram up someone’s behind, instead of lesser weapons.

What alfbell wants to turn off is humans. That is what we are, unfortunately. Hard to believe there is a small spot on the brain that can be removed that would turn off all the ugliness.

Perhaps the coming depression will instill some humility in the race, but I sort of doubt it. Who knows.

June 14, 2012 at 6:57 am #3939

Patrick

Hmmm, nice can of worms Ash. Right off the bat I’m between 1 and 2 with the proviso that only a small percentage of us or our children will or can survive. You need to read William Catton to understand that. We have done what is normal for species to do, i.e. we bloomed (mostly because of the oil), we overshot, (again the oil) and we are crashing (as we speak).

At the risk of insulting anyone; faith is simply silly. As we understand it, faith is that which transcends reason. It is something we prefer to believe rather than what evidence-based reason compels one to believe. Not all the evidence is in but I would argue that enough is to give us a pretty good idea of how we messed this up. The answer lies within evolution and how through that we came out thinking we were not part of the animal world. Our success and our discovery of oil has pretty much done us in. I think we can be forgiven for not understanding back in the day where all this would lead–but it has and we’re here. There is no “meant to be,” it just is.

Golden Oxen says:”Doomster’s and their followers are great for telling about our problems but have little to offer in solutions.” There’s a good reason for that GO: it is that some problems don’t have a solution. Case in point: in 1985 a domestic Japan Airlines flight suffered explosive decompression some 25 minutes into the flight, which tore off the tail fin and ripped out the flight controls. The pilots had some rudimentary control by varying the engine thrust but it wasn’t nearly enough (nor could it have been) to effect any kind of safe landing. However the plane flew on for 32 minutes with the passengers fully aware of their situation. It crashed killing 509 people, 5 survived. That’s about the proportion I see coming out of the crash ahead. We have no steering, it’s too late to steer and all we have is forward momentum until we crash.

June 14, 2012 at 7:11 am #3940

Golden Oxen

@ Patrick Patrick you are describing an unfortunate and tragic development destroying some human beings in a hopeless situation. I am talking about the human race which made it from the caves to the moon and now has about 7 billion members. There is something about that trajectory and the great exceptional people that it has produced that makes me hesitant to predict it’s imminent demise.

June 14, 2012 at 8:01 am #3941

Reverse Engineer

Golden Oxen post=3562 wrote:
Doomster’s and their followers are great for telling about our problems but have little to offer in solutions.

Nonsense!

You YOURSELF are a Diner, and you know for a FACT that all of us Diner Doomers work out Solutions in GREAT DETAIL all the time. You just don’t LIKE the solutions because nobody uses Gold in them. :lol:

So stop spreading DISINFORMATION about Doomers. Peter Bauer, Urban Scout’s stuff is REAL SOLUTION by one Doomer. Peter’s Hydroponics are another solution by another Doomer. The Inquisition of yours truly is yet another (highly unpopular :sick: )solution. To say Doomers do not present Solutions though is a BALD FACED LIE! LIAR! I call you out for this here.

For the TRUTH about what real Doomers really think and the SOLUTIONS they discuss, visit the DOOMSTEAD DINER.

RE

June 14, 2012 at 11:11 am #3946

TheTrivium4TW

Requirements for a reasonably decent long term existent include, IMHO:

1. A correctly calibrated value system.
2. The desire to care about others equal (not more, not less) than oneself.

BTW, that’s the Bible in two sentences – so it isn’t original thought on my part.

Neither of those things will happen, so humanity is absolutely doomed… except for the supernatural intervention of on who possesses…

1. A correctly calibrated value system.
2. The desire to care about others equal (not more, not less) than oneself.

Again, not original to me.

June 14, 2012 at 11:16 am #3947

TheTrivium4TW

Patrick post=3568 wrote: At the risk of insulting anyone; faith is simply silly. As we understand it, faith is that which transcends reason. It is something we prefer to believe rather than what evidence-based reason compels one to believe.

That’s the traditional definition of spiritual “faith,” the establishment narrative, if you will.

I think a much better definition of “faith” is trust in what has been promised.

In other words, one doesn’t have “faith” God exists, rather, one who knows God exists has faith that He will do what He says He will do.

I get this won’t make sense to many people – all I can say is that it will one day and God is NOT the eternal burning sadist that most establishment narratives paint of Him.

He is fair and just and everyone will be offered to choose, with a clear mind, whether they will commit to caring about others equal to themselves or whether they prefer to be as though they never were (hint – Ezekiel 37 shows it doesn’t have to be in this life, contrary to the false establishment narrative).

June 14, 2012 at 11:26 am #3948

Patrick

Holy Cow!

June 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm #3949

Golden Oxen

Reverse Engineer post=3570 wrote: [quote=Golden Oxen post=3562]
Doomster’s and their followers are great for telling about our problems but have little to offer in solutions.

Nonsense!

You YOURSELF are a Diner, and you know for a FACT that all of us Diner Doomers work out Solutions in GREAT DETAIL all the time. You just don’t LIKE the solutions because nobody uses Gold in them. :lol:

So stop spreading DISINFORMATION about Doomers. Peter Bauer, Urban Scout’s stuff is REAL SOLUTION by one Doomer. Peter’s Hydroponics are another solution by another Doomer. The Inquisition of yours truly is yet another (highly unpopular :sick: )solution. To say Doomers do not present Solutions though is a BALD FACED LIE! LIAR! I call you out for this here.

For the TRUTH about what real Doomers really think and the SOLUTIONS they discuss, visit the DOOMSTEAD DINER.

RE

Are you talking about the berating you gave a scientist for saving millions of lives, or your rewriting of history to explain to us that the discovery of the America’s was really the start of biological warfare by the Illuminati ?
My feelings on gold are that it is the answer to our Financial problem, not the myriad of other problems that face us. My reasons for being a member of your website are my concern that we face grace dangers, and try and learn and become more aware of them from the great posters that reside there. Peter is my favorite by far, and one of the most productive, resourceful, and remarkable persons I have ever had the pleasure to meet. When I was talking about doomsters, I was not talking about members of our Diner, you, in your usual fashion, assumed I was because of your constant need to teach, quarrel, and name call people that do not agree with you. We are doomed if we continue on our present course for sure, but unlike the true doomsters, I have faith that we can figure a way out.

June 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm #3952

Bot Blogger

Nice Triv,

The question is a bit too broad for me. I have a difficult enough time with the concept of faith in daily issues of my life, to measure my faith in humanity and its future. My faith is too local to range that far.

Faith is a strange word. It’s like the air we breath and the ground we stand on. Even Atheists need it. Faith suggests to me an approach to what is coming down the tunnel. It’s a matter of where you are putting your focus.

You don’t really need to have faith in God. If there is a God It’s got a universe on its plate. And If God can balance all that, well great then, we have nothing to worry about.

You have to have faith in yourself primarily and given that we live in an addiction oriented society that is constantly telling us all the ways we are inadequate, it’s difficult to do. Instead people put a lot of faith in their stuff (toys and gadgets) that are an extension of their identity. But stripped of all that where will they put their faith?

We need to have faith in the people around us. In that way faith is similar to trust. Trust in my mind is the plural of faith and involves a contract between people. We trust that the people behind the counter at the sandwich shop aren’t going to poison us. ‘I’ve eaten here so many times before what could possibly go wrong.’

I suppose faith’s opposite is despair. The shock of loosing faith could easily lead you there.

And perhaps the only antidote is for us to be faithful to the people we love and spend the rest of our time crushing our enemies. OOPs.

June 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm #3953

lukitas

Spirituality does not necessarily overlap with doing the right thing, it is quite often the contrary. Le Père Joseph was a vicious realpolitiker, but also a grand mystic. D.T. Suzuki was a brilliant zen master, very influential in the cultural upheavals of the 60′s and 70′s, but in the the late 30′s, he described the japanese invasion of China as an act of love through the sword, explained how military discipline was the shortest road to enlightenment for the lay person, etc.
Faith allows well-meaning people to condone and even commit heinous crimes.
On the other hand, faith is an absolute necessity to those who would build another world. We need to believe in a dream, in something that does not yet exist, so that we can make the dream real.
We do need a better understanding of psychology, but I think it is urgent we take a closer look at faith : We cannot do without it, but we cannot really trust it : I think Stalin and Mao were faithful to their beliefs, convinced they were doing what they could to bring a beautiful dream to life, while they brought untold misery upon the people they ruled.
I am terrified at the possibility of seeing new charismatic leaders, joining the people in a mystical union for a better future, the inevitable logic of revolutionary, ‘just’ terror.
But we do need faith in a ‘better’ future. We need to invent the parameters that will stop private foibles like envy and greed from becoming the drivers of society. We do need to believe in the possibility of a fair society, that impossible dream from the new testament : ‘a community of believers, sharing everything’

June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm #3954

pipefit

Patrick said, “At the risk of insulting anyone; faith is simply silly. As we understand it, faith is that which transcends reason. It is something we prefer to believe rather than what evidence-based reason compels one to believe.”

God (or similar) exists or He doesn’t, at least not any more than a concept. Case 1-He exists as more than a concept. In this case, I’m tapping into a power and a strength that can see me through tough times.

Case 2. Doesn’t exist, except as a concept. In this case, I’m ignoring empirical evidence and believing in a power external to myself, and it that way I’m letting of a portion of the ugliness in me. Note that this ugliness is in all humans. It is part of our evolutionary legacy, or ‘original sin’, if you lean that way.

What is so horrible about case 2? How else can we possibly solve Candace’s riddle? Through science? Possibly, but look where the science budget is being spent!!!

June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm #3955

ashvin

Patrick wrote: At the risk of insulting anyone; faith is simply silly. As we understand it, faith is that which transcends reason. It is something we prefer to believe rather than what evidence-based reason compels one to believe.

The answer lies within evolution and how through that we came out thinking we were not part of the animal world.

But why do “we” understand it that way? As Triv suggested, perhaps it’s because that is how mainstream currents of our society/culture have defined it for us.

I believe faith is just as much a rational/logical process as anything else. You must look at all the evidence you can find and, if you don’t understand it at first, you must reflect on it for awhile, and if you still don’t reach an understanding or you still can’t break bad habits, you must buckle down, try harder and reflect some more. That is having faith in your own cognitive and emotional abilities and your own capacity for free will and your own dedication to change your mindset. The fact is that humans ARE different than the rest of the animal world in that way, even though it is very difficult to see that in our current state of nearly helpless materialistic dependency.

June 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm #3956

steve from virginia

Try to be brief …

We are all immersed within two powerful dynamics: industrialization and pop culture. These two social dynamics have become co-dependent and mutually reinforcing. The idea is of business commerce as a satisfactory replacement for ______________________ (everything).

Consequently, we have two groups managing our affairs, businessmen and pop artists. We’ve tried other systems which have all failed: totalitarians, emperors, ‘machine-states’, hyper-militarism. Meanwhile, pre-existing systems that functioned more-or-less satisfactorily for centuries have been rendered useless or obsolete: hereditary monarchies, theocratic administrative states and clan- or tribal hierarchies. The latter have proven to be more durable in the face of modernity, rather at the margins where industrial modernity is unable to reach.

Non-systems simply don’t exist. In any vacuum, a system emerges or is imposed from the outside.

That we haven’t blown ourselves up with nuclear weapons indicates we can act outside the dynamics imposed upon us by our systems. It isn’t up for discussion whether we can or cannot adjust our behavior, we have done so and continue to do so right up to this minute.

Industrialization is powerful because it can transform capital in very short periods of time, in ways that other tools cannot. Pop art is powerful because it humanizes the transformations: from man-to-woman (or vice-versa), from star to convict, from heiress to street bum, from street bum to tycoon. Transformation allows for the creation of simple, accessible ‘one size fits all’ myths. The various iterations of ‘doom’ are pop art myths: the transformation of suburban consumer to a ruritanian: the myth is older than the Bible: Exodus.

Of course, there are products you need to buy: gold, guns, freeze-dried food, etc. A successful doomer needs that ‘right kind’ of flannel shirt, the right kind of water filter. The idea of success itself (Horatio Alger story) is a part of the larger pop art myth; of outwitting/outmaneuvering the dim-witted ‘masses’ (and becoming avant garde ‘doomer-hipster’ as the outcome of the process).

Success is that fifteen-ten billionths of a second of fame, however much is ladled out these days.

Pop culture is hegemonic and intolerant. Whatever you encounter in today’s world is a form of advertising or support for business activity. Pop art: the subject of the artist is commerce and money. Included within the categories of art (for sale) are the various forms of spirituality.

A key strategy of pop art is appropriation. Ideas are stolen then reconfigured, given new (commercial) meanings: this is considered ‘artistic license’. Most of the foundational big ideas that were central to ‘America’ have been transformed into hollowed out pop myths, emptied of any real meaning then put on the shelf for ordinary consumption. These include growth, capitalism, morality, education … free markets. You are indeed free to choose Coke or Pepsi, “any color you like as long as it is black”.

Business exists to serve the interests of business owners only: pop art makes this service ‘hip’ and ‘trendy’, offering a cultural Ponzi scheme that rewards shills, motivating others to become shills themselves.

Go anywhere in the world and it is the same, the same TV shows are everywhere, the same products, the same desires, the same dominion of the businessman and the subjugation of everyone and everything to currencies and interest rates in the name of abstract progress.

The fleeting grasp at progress is why people riot in Cairo and London, die in the streets of Benghazi or Homs, why indebted college students battle the cops in New York and Madrid. They want what they have been promised by business, by popular culture and its instruments, TV, internet, movies, ‘celebrities’.

Pop-art itself is nothing more than a fashion, a trend. All trends have their own story arcs, they become exhausted (this is clearly illuminated by pulp-fictitious politics both in the US and elsewhere). At the same time, industrialization has reached the point where it has no more low-cost capital to transform. What now?

Nobody knows, we’ve never had a post-industrial society before. All the ‘old(ish)’ models are unworkable. The pre-industrial models have been forgotten or are proto-industrial and counterproductive. This is the ‘why’ behind the ‘industrialize or live in caves’ meme. We cannot see what the future holds because the pop art myths that served business interests so well for so long — ‘democracy’, flying cars and hand-held medical scanners — have been too successful. They leave behind scorched earth and a few rusty relics.

I see people groping for something outside of popular culture, finding/forming new and more useful sets of myths, something outside of ‘getting rich easily’ or ‘spending the night in the drunk tank with Lindsay Lohan’. The alternative is new uses for the older myths: ‘getting rich by conserving energy’ or inventing new ways to live that are more fun that watching others live on television.

The new regime? We’ll see …

June 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm #3959

fuzzykoala

Wow. I just started writing an essay about this by accident so I’ll try and keep it short.

I think the thing that alfbell is looking for is that there’s a personality trait that makes it so that people want power. It’s good in moderate amounts, but like intelligence, beauty or natural athletic ability some people have more than others. As far as I can tell, it’s a very desirable quality people look for in a mate. People with a lot of this trait naturally accumulate as much power as they can, simply because they’re wired that way. Whether it’s a bank CEO or a big man in New Guinea, as a group they take all they can get. Again, I think that pretty much everyone has this trait to some extent.

The cage that Candace wants to build will always be broken by these people eventually. In our society, we try to restrict them from taking too much power with good laws, but those laws can only last so long. For me anyways, Plato’s ideal Republic was the first thought experiment to try and cage humanity in such a way as to rid ourselves of our troubles, but he also pointed out that this desire for distinction/money/power would ultimately be its undoing.

Building an artificial cage (natural ones seem to work on occasion) to keep anyone from getting too much power and subsequently wrecking society might be possible, but without taking this trait into account I feel as though we’re basically taking a shot in the dark. The only other solution I’ve been able to think of so far is to get enough people to really understand this, making them freely choose to limit the power they compete for and to act as a normative force whenever someone takes more than they should.

I’m not sure if that’s the clearest, but hopefully I’ve captured the gist of it. If you think I’m wrong or if someone’s done a lot of work in this area already please let me know: I often feel like I’m speculating in a vacuum.

June 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm #3961

Reverse Engineer

Ashvin breaks down 3 Categories of Doomers:

Ashvin wrote:
There are generally 3 types of “Doomers”, or realistic thinkers, out there:

1) Those who believe humanity is doomed to extinction or near-extinction no matter what we do at this point in time.

2) Those who believe humanity is probably doomed to extinction or near-extinction, but there is a slim chance we can avoid such a fate if the appropriate measures are taken and all the stars align in the right places.

3) Those who have FAITH that significant portions of humanity will make it through its numerous trials in the near future, difficult and painful as they may turn out to be.

Going back to debates on this topic held on TBP a little over a year ago, in my Frostbite Falls Daily Rant I broke down Doomers into 2 categories, Doom Lite and Full Doom. I later added a category of Uber Doom.

The categories break down as follows (more detail in the FFDR article)


Doom Lite- These folks see difficult days ahead, but feel we will eventually come through it with similar technology to today.

Full Doom- This group sees a crash of Industrial Civilization and vast knockdown of the population of Homo Sapiens. Sub categories of people believe we can halt techno-slide to anywhere from 18th to 19th century tech, and other go all the back to Paleolithic tech.

Uber Doom- This group sees our current problems leading to an Extinction Level Event for Homo Sapiens

I’m a Full Doomer, currently leaning toward Paleolithic levels of tech in the long term for Homo Sapiens. This is based on the work of Richard Duncan, Albert Bartlett, Marvin Harris and assorted other anthropology and history out there.

Where does Faith really play into this? For me its basically an accounting here of what is likely and what is not likely to occur. You base what you do on the Most Likely possibilities, while also preparing back up plans for some of the less likely ones.

The one you cannot prepare for at all is an ELE. If Yellowstone is going to Blow, a Near Earth size asteroid is going to collide with GAIA or the pH of the Ocean is going to drop to the point the phytoplankton cannot live, we are all toast and its end of story for Human Sentience. So even though this possibility seems more likely all the time, it’s not one I concern myself with in terms of trying to prep up for it.

Doom Lite seems increasingly less likely all the time. To be able to maintain even a facsimile of what we currently have requires techno-fixes that even if possible are not being undertaken fast enough to stop population knockdown and the inevitable chaos that will result from that.

So IMHO, Full Doom is the the best theory which overall fits the facts as we see them unfolding right now. Having Faith that it will improve doesn’t strike me as a credible plan of action.

What is credible are some of the Solutions presented by people like Urban Scout Peter Bauer, and our own Peter on the Doomstead Diner. Typical Ag Based Solutions such as Farming on the Amish model to me have some credibility also, but less so than the previous mentioned ones.

Finally, the toughest thing to deal with in terms of Prep is the Political consequences in the near term here of increasing Fascism, the likelihood of War and Conscription coming down the pipe and how to negotiate that shitstorm while it is underway. Finding good solutions to that is much tougher than just the paradigms for living afterward if you survive are.

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.org

June 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm #3968

ashvin

fuzzykoala post=3588 wrote: The only other solution I’ve been able to think of so far is to get enough people to really understand this, making them freely choose to limit the power they compete for and to act as a normative force whenever someone takes more than they should.

Yes, I think you are on the right track here. Steve from VA makes a good point when he says this:

That we haven’t blown ourselves up with nuclear weapons indicates we can act outside the dynamics imposed upon us by our systems. It isn’t up for discussion whether we can or cannot adjust our behavior, we have done so and continue to do so right up to this minute.

The key thing to understand is that we all have the tools necessary to change, and to free ourselves from our material desires and addictions, constantly reinforced by the system. That does not mean selling everything you own and going off into the woods somewhere. It doesn’t even mean refraining from buying things in the future. It is as simple as changing your mind about what how you want your life to be, and making an honest commitment to not slip away, even when it becomes painful not to. You most likely will slip back or away, but you also have the capacity to re-orient yourself, push through and eventually defeat the addiction. If any one heroine addict can do it, then so can we.

Again, this is a logical conclusion we can reach based on all of the evidence we have before us. And that is from where I derive my faith in humanity’s ability to survive and, ultimately, escape its vicious cycle of destructive expansion/enslavement and collapse. Yes, this iteration could very well be the one that does us in for good, our last chance so to speak, but I think there are good reasons to believe that humanity’s most trying times could produce its most passionate push for personal freedom and love towards one another.

June 15, 2012 at 1:33 am #3971

Glennda

I echo what someone else said – ‘this is a breath of fresh air’. And more than the freshness of it is the call to look for an arrow pointing us to constructive thought and activity.

Ash said
“As you may have guessed, my version is not the EASY one to follow. It is not even the one I practice in most aspects of my own life, because I find it much too difficult. Yet, it is still what I believe to be true. Faith is not about a care-free attitude or an unquestioning, dogmatic belief in certain laws or truths. It is about time, effort, logic, critical examination, emotional stability, and, ultimately, free will.”
If you want to have faith in the survival of humanity through these trying times, you must be dilligently intent on acquiring it through your thoughts and actions”.

While many here refer to religion for their guide, I look at Free Will and Diligence as the best ways to Faith. Actually I don’t think we need an unreasoned Faith, but a rounded look at our fellow humans. Some see evil and self-serving power hungry humans, the “Illuminati”, if you will, but I more often see neighborliness, community cohesiveness and generous sharing of time, if not resources. For me the whole Occupy movement is a sharing of the pain of all levels of our society as we drop from middle class to unemployed. Out of this movement I have been allowed to see what I think are the seeds of the next urban step of salavage and sharing in the Squatters in vacant buildings.

Bot said
“We need to have faith in the people around us. In that way faith is similar to trust. Trust in my mind is the plural of faith and involves a contract between people……I suppose faith’s opposite is despair. The shock of loosing faith could easily lead you there…And perhaps the only antidote is for us to be faithful to the people we love….”

BotBlogger has focused on the real Faith – in people. I agree.

Community and people are the best answer. I think we have lots of evidence that shows how important the social aspect of humanity is. Unfortunately too often the power/greed aspect of war and the ‘rich getting richer’ is the focus of history, yet what we don’t see is all the multitude of day to day co-operation and social enjoyment among people – that doesn’t make the news or the history books.

Luk said
..We do need to believe in the possibility of a fair society, that impossible dream from the new testament : ‘a community of believers, sharing everything’

I don’t know that we all need to live in communes, but the co-operative spirit is very much alive in the Occupy Movement. When the UC Berkeley Farm was occupied, many many people from the nearby parts of Berkeley and Albany came out to donate food and supplies to the farmer/occupiers.The local Transition Town elists forwarded info on events at the Farm. for me this is the icon of the ‘I Can’ of Occupiers.

Fuzzy said
Building an artificial cage (natural ones seem to work on occasion) to keep anyone from getting too much power and subsequently wrecking society might be possible, but without taking this trait into account I feel as though we’re basically taking a shot in the dark.The only other solution I’ve been able to think of so far is to get enough people to really understand this, making them freely choose to limit the power they compete for and to act as a normative force whenever someone takes more than they should.’

That’s why laws and regulations are necessary – to limit people with power. Certainly self-regulation of Banksters has failed. The imperfections of greed will continue, but when people co-operate the scarcity mentality of greed is less necessary. Our media and capitalist consumerism promotes that “need” for goods, that addiction. When the coming Crash hits the fact is we will just go ‘cold turkey’ and money for the unnecessary dries up. Probably most of us here on TAE have quit buying on impulse and are using our cash for prepping. All those people whose unemployment has run out or who have taken early retirement sure have tightened the belt. I agree with Ash here -

Ash said
The key thing to understand is that we all have the tools necessary to change, and to free ourselves from our material desires and addictions, constantly reinforced by the system.
…but I think there are good reasons to believe that humanity’s most trying times could produce its most passionate push for personal freedom and love towards one another.

These ‘trying times’ will likely bring out some interesting responses to what RE says below.

RE said
“Finally, the toughest thing to deal with in terms of Prep is the Political consequences in the near term here of increasing Fascism, the likelihood of War and Conscription coming down the pipe and how to negotiate that shitstorm while it is underway. Finding good solutions to that is much tougher than just the paradigms for living afterward if you survive are.”

I expect that the social side of people could turn into ‘underground railroads’ for the issue of prisons and conscription like it did in the 60s & 70s. In city neighborhoods where there are a lot of vacant/foreclosed on houses, already neighbors are supporting the squats and recommending good places to use. The hardest challenge will be prison camps for squatters and occupiers. Perhaps we can hope that the economics of it all will close down prison for victimless crimes.

Sorry if this is rambling, but there were lots of good points I wanted to respond to.

June 15, 2012 at 1:44 am #3972

davefairtex

Awesome posting. What is your own personal faith, except the lens through which you view the world.

How we all view the future depends on how we imagine the universe is constructed. So here’s what I think:

I think we are here for a reason. Each life we live is a class, and we decide for ourselves before embarking on each class what we want to learn.

On a planetary level, I think humanity is at a turning point here in history. I think we’ve reached the end of one particular road of travel – the Big Oil Big Pharma Big (indebted) Consumer path we’ve been on since (say) 1900.

What comes next? The ones in charge say that the end of their particular road means the end of the world as we know it. Is that so bad?

What do we imagine is outside our current matrix? Our cultural cues give us nothing – its a desert. Either we’ve got Mad Max, or the indebted-consumer happy Status Quo, with nothing in between.

I have the sense based on my world view, that something interesting will turn up once the old paradigm ends for good. Is that faith – “belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence?”

You bet. We are not here by accident. And there’s just no point in the wholesale destruction of humanity.

But I don’t think the current world as we know it will survive as is.

But that’s just my world view.

June 15, 2012 at 3:51 am #3976

davisherb

It is fine to have faith. It is a blurred lens with which to view the world. Scientifically verified reality seems better. If you suspect or believe that it is likely some humansd will survive the coming catastrophe, don’t confuse that with reality. Reality exists today and beliefs about the future are not currently verified or verifiable.
Argument about “faith” seem more appropriate to some other blog.
Thanks and God Bless

June 15, 2012 at 4:17 am #3977

drumbaker

I am delighted to see this topic being discussed; however, I have no interest in faith or religion. I have enormous interest in spirituality which is very different from religion. I proudly identify as a Doomer, and at the same time, the core of my work is emotional and spiritual preparation for the collapse of industrial civilization. I like to say that on one level, one can have all the doom without the gloom—well almost.

I have written two books which I believe must be considered in this discussion: Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition (2011) and Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path Of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse (2009) I invite the reader to read both of my books which are not books of information, but rather studies, providing an extensive toolkit for inner transition alongside external transition.

We are living at the end of one paradigm, but also the beginning of a new one. The new one hasn’t yet been constructed, but it is very important to hold a vision of it alongside all of the horrors that are likely to unfold. Otherwise, we can easily be overwhelmed. There are no guarantees that any of us will survive them, but physical survival alone isn’t the point. The deeper questions that must be asked are: Who do I want to be as I navigate this collapse? and What did I come here to do?

Meanwhile, we must focus on creating beauty in our lives and in the world at every opportunity through art, music, storytelling, poetry, dance, and more. With these, we nourish ourselves and the community. Likewise, it is important to practice gratitude for the smallest moments of goodness in our lives and in the world. Creating beauty and practicing gratitude are twin practices that steady and enrich us as we move through the end of the world as we have known it and as it will never be again.

For more tools, please visit my website at http://www.carolynbaker.net

June 15, 2012 at 7:40 am #3979

Tao Jonesing

This post, the comment that inspired it, and many of the comments to it constitute what has to be among the most disturbing things I have read in a long time.

“No system will ever be successful”

It all depends on how you define success, doesn’t it? The present system has been very successful at controlling people for thousands of years, in part because people it has trained people to insist on systems to control them. And when the “old” system breaks down a “new” system arises that is cosmetically different but materially, and for all practical purposes, the same.

Let’s expand the quote to its full glory:

“No system will ever be successful until the human mind, and the spiritual being that utilized it, have been isolated and fully understood. Psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, et al. have failed in this area as well. Very too bad because THIS is the key to man’s future survival.”

The human mind has been well understood for thousands of years. Plato and Aristotle clearly understood the human mind, as did the author of the Tao Te Ching. The problem is that this knowledge is not generally shared but is, instead, used to exploit the masses through the very type of “system” you insist upon like a slave pleading to be shackled.

In very simple terms, all modern states are based on four things: myths, laws, ethics and hidden truths. The first three are for the masses, who are conditioned to them through our social institutions. The hidden truths, the esoterica that Aristotle insisted to Alexander could not be found in his public writings, are what transform the first three things into a lie that allows the masses to be controlled. From the Roman Empire to the Roman Catholic Church to Classical Liberalism to Neoliberalism, in each case there has been the realization by the masses that their myths, laws and ethics are being used to chain them, but they are so conditioned to being chained that they insist on a new set instead of questioning why they are chained.

“Find the source of evil and destructive intentions; the need to dominate; the need to destroy what another creates; man’s inhumanity to man; man’s illogic; man’s low level of morality; man’s “animalistic” tendencies; man’s inability to predict consequences; etc. and you will save mankind.”

False certainty is the source of evil, and it is precisely what you seem to want. Human beings are very simple creatures: they compare what they observe to what they expect and react based on the magnitude and direction of the perceived difference between what they just saw and what they expected. If you define “rational” to encompass how human beings actually reason, then human beings are clearly rational, and what is irrational is to insist that human beings reason like mathematical machines.

The only thing that is certain in this world is uncertainty. Unfortunately, we have been trained to insist on false certainty which leads us to engage in acts– often evil– to force our world to conform to our expected “true” vision of the world. Anybody who insists on false certainty will construct their “truth” and tyrannize those around them to make that truth reality, and damn the consequences.

The new boss will be the same as the old boss. In the meantime, people will suffer and lament at their lost innocence. If they’d only embrace that lost innocence and accept the uncertainty of the world and what it means to us as a species, you might have the beginnings of a system that does not exploit the masses because it cannot be created or controlled by sociopaths, con men and women who sell us false dreams.

June 15, 2012 at 9:02 am #3980

m111ark

The door to God Consciousness is marked faith.

Of course, facts and truth help one sort out the values one should hold… and since the publication of The Urantia Book it’s sooooo much easier to grasp at faith.

Anyone who has a sincere desire for truth will recognize it when it appears.

June 15, 2012 at 9:26 am #3981

Glennda

Wow, this is really a great ink blot. We are all seeing different things or perhaps just different parts of the elephant.

Not surprisingly I see community efforts, while others see the owners tricking the sheeple.

I think the “discensus” (as coined by JMGreer) here is a good thing, like a variety of hybrid seeds blowing in the wind. Our diversity will be needed, since there is apparently no “answer” to our predicament.

June 15, 2012 at 10:31 am #3982

Patrick

Ash, I think you touch on our point of divergence quite nicely when you talk about “rational processes” and that we are different from other animals. We are blinded by our brain into thinking that yet the evidence I see is that we are not so different.
There is considerable evidence that we are driven more by short term emotion and appetite than by rational thought. Our admittedly wonderful accomplishments in science persuade us that we are the “rational animal.” While the wars, economic catastrophes, profound injustices–the list goes on–suggest otherwise.
Perhaps confusion arises from the fact that some people do act rationally. Some of us advocate for peace and the environment, surely rational approaches. Yet what prevails? You know as well as I and much of this blog is occupied with it.

The closest I come to agreement with anyone here is RevEng (and God where is El Gal when we need his humour and wisdom)? And RE I think you need to add William Catton high up on your list. His book Overshoot: the Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change is the most lucid work out there in this realm.

The carrying capacity of the planet is realistically no more than 2 billion people but we’ve degraded even that. Plus, we would most likely dip well below that in a die-off.

Let me be brutal. In the next 50 to 100 years if not sooner–here I’ll be gentle–at least 3.5 to 4 billion people are going to die and not of old age. That is if we don’t annihilate each other totally first, or suffer some other catastrophic collapse as have been mentioned above.

June 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm #3984

MikeG

Dear Automatic Earth and readers

I don’t pretend to understand half of what is talked about on this site, but I do enjoy reading it, because I too have ‘doomer’ tendencies somewhere in the 2 – 3 bracket.

I believe there is a way humanity can save itself from itself, and that is through an instinctive understanding of the true nature of the mind.

At base we are the ability to know. This is the most incredible thing! What we do however is train ourselves to notice the things that we know and continually overlook the magnificent facility/ability that we are. This is so universal that it appears to be a human fact. It is in the world of ‘the things that we know’ that all negativity and positivity take place. Our true nature is inherently peaceful and loving, just look at a new born baby. It is in a shift of attention towards this common reality where I place my hope for the future.

Towards this end there are now a few people and organisations making some progress, the most notable of which in my opinion is http://www.balancedview.org/ .

Please spend a bit of time getting to know what is being said on this site. It is not about faith or religion or spirituality, it is about what we really are before we give attention to those ideas and is so germane to all the pressing issues occurring right now.

I am not a representative of this organisation any more than you are.

Mike

June 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm #3985

Reverse Engineer

Patrick post=3613 wrote: The closest I come to agreement with anyone here is RevEng (and God where is El Gal when we need his humour and wisdom)? And RE I think you need to add William Catton high up on your list. His book Overshoot: the Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change is the most lucid work out there in this realm.

The carrying capacity of the planet is realistically no more than 2 billion people but we’ve degraded even that. Plus, we would most likely dip well below that in a die-off.

Let me be brutal. In the next 50 to 100 years if not sooner–here I’ll be gentle–at least 3.5 to 4 billion people are going to die and not of old age. That is if we don’t annihilate each other totally first, or suffer some other catastrophic collapse as have been mentioned above.

Yes, I should have mentioned Catton in that list also. Far as El G is concerned, he is back to writing and has published a few recently on the Diner.

The actual Carrying Capacity given some idealized solutions is open to question. If you accept some of AB’s arguments with respect to possible Energy Production and some of Peter’s with respect to Hydroponic Food production, even absent Fossil Fuel Energy the current 7B might be maintained long enough for a controlled Die Off over some time, mostly through old age attrition. Assuming of course you also could implement some Birth control at the same time, and maintain demographics well enough.

Unfortunately of course, we do agree that the likelihood of idealized solutons being implemented rapidly enough is vanishingly small at the moment, so a massive knockdown of population is the most likely scenario. It will not however be evenly distributed here, so this is where there is some possibility for the individual to enhance personal probabilities for survival.

The likelihood also is for an Undershoot to follow the Overshoot. How LOW do we GO on this one? That can only be speculated on, but of course if you take the Deer on St Matthew’s Island as a representative model, it could be nasty indeed.

I remain convinced the best alternatives are in current Low Population Zones, and the further you can reasonably get away from the center of Industrial Civilization the better off you are. With the exception of ELE type scenarios including Global Thermonuclear Warfare or Multiple Fuk-U-Shimas poisoning EVERYTHING, I think the Inuit in Nunavut and the Kalahari Bushmen and some Amazonian tribes will hardly be touched by all of this. For everybody else though, there will be some effect in your neighborhood.

Most of us, including yours truly, are not ready to go so far out as Nunavut. You can however try to make yourself ready for when Nunavut comes to you. Learn the SKILLS of Survival. Pack some of the Tools available courtesy of the Age of Oil in a Bugout Bag and keep it ready at the front door of your McMansion. When the Nazis roll their Tanks into your little town, head for the Forest, head for the Swamps, head for the Mountains. Anywhere the Tanks cannot Roll easily is a better place to be. Be prepared to SURVIVE out there for as long as it takes, and it won’t take long once it really gets rolling. Two growing seasons MAX before the big knockdown.

Good Luck with whatever you choose, wherever you go. Faith may help you to make it though the Zero Point, but Faith alone will not do it. You have to be READY for it on a practical level, and have a PLAN to SURVIVE.

See You on the Other Side.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjaIx079MQo

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.org

June 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm #3987

davefairtex

davisherb – “Argument about “faith” seem more appropriate to some other blog.”

Ash specifically solicited viewpoints on faith and humanity, so I think this thread is appropriate. If you find the subject out of your interest zone (or off-topic for the blog), its a pretty simple matter to just skip this discussion, yes? At least, that’s what I do.

The word “faith” has a number of definitions. Many people have unfortunate reactions to the definitions that are tied to God or religion. I think Ash was using some combination of the following two definitions:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. belief that is not based on proof

June 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm #3990

ashvin

Patrick post=3613 wrote: There is considerable evidence that we are driven more by short term emotion and appetite than by rational thought. Our admittedly wonderful accomplishments in science persuade us that we are the “rational animal.” While the wars, economic catastrophes, profound injustices–the list goes on–suggest otherwise.

Perhaps confusion arises from the fact that some people do act rationally. Some of us advocate for peace and the environment, surely rational approaches. Yet what prevails? You know as well as I and much of this blog is occupied with it.

My belief is that as the scale and complexity of human society increases, the short-term “emotions and appetites” of humans come to the foreground and are also reinforced by centralized institutions. However, I disagree that this is the fundamental “nature” of human beings – that we are no different from any other animal.

When you think about it, that is exactly what one would expect. Higher degrees of social complexity are inherently associated with the concepts of expansion, production, consumption, i.e. materialism. Out of this form of materialism, constantly self-reinforced by societal institutions, grows our destructive thought processes and addictions.

Yet, it is WE who make up the system, and our equally powerful tools of free will, logical/analytical thinking, emotional maturity, etc. are never lost through the increasing scales of complexity. They are still there, laying dormant in many (to varying degrees), but ready to be unleashed at any moment. My faith is in the fact that those tools will always exist and, when used properly (I know, a murky term), will more often than not lead us to the truth… “and the truth will make you free”.

The carrying capacity of the planet is realistically no more than 2 billion people but we’ve degraded even that. Plus, we would most likely dip well below that in a die-off.

Let me be brutal. In the next 50 to 100 years if not sooner–here I’ll be gentle–at least 3.5 to 4 billion people are going to die and not of old age. That is if we don’t annihilate each other totally first, or suffer some other catastrophic collapse as have been mentioned above.

I disagree with the idea of a strict carrying capacity limit, but this is really a marginal point of disagreement for our discussion here. Regardless of what the carrying capacity has now become, the question is whether humanity was destined to arrive at this point and/or whether we are destined to repeat the ecological overshoot if we should survive a planetary collapse this time around. Based on the available evidence I have seen, I would answer NO.

June 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm #4012

fuzzykoala

Glennda:
I’m sorry if I wasn’t entirely clear, but I see laws and regulations AS a cage. In our case, when banks became self-regulating it was just another step as they escaped the laws put in place to keep the Great Depression from happening again.

I like to think of it like Jurassic Park, where the pessimistic mathematician expects that the dinosaurs will inevitably escape from their pens: “Life finds a way.”

Ashvin:
I see what you’re saying, but I worry that it’s too easy to forget. One or two generations might learn this lesson, but if they succeed in creating a better society, the generations that come after just won’t have the experience or the motivation to get them to understand.

I suppose there’s a possibility that with some obvious damage to the world and a good narrative we could change how we organize ourselves. It’s interesting reading Collapse and comparing how a number of North American societies would expand in a series of wet years – not remembering how dry things normally were in their area – compared to Iceland, where the moonscapes there are a permanent reminder that they need to take good care of their soil.

June 17, 2012 at 3:31 am #4017

Greenpa

Just everybody keep in mind there is grave and proven deadly danger of disappearing into your own navel; permanently, down this road. Ick. :-)

June 17, 2012 at 8:15 am #4020

Jagger

Just remember, no one, no one, makes it out of this alive. Everyone will bite the dust sooner or later. And we can’t take that nice house or nice car or a single solitary penny with us when we go.

If there is actually an existence beyond this one, all we can take with us is our legacy and any wisdom gained. So pick your sides carefully as they define you. Make your choices to advance your understanding. Winning and losing is not nearly as important as discovering yourself and developing some wisdom.

June 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm #4030

travelling_without_moving

TheTrivium4TW post=3575 wrote: Requirements for a reasonably decent long term existent include, IMHO:

1. A correctly calibrated value system.
2. The desire to care about others equal (not more, not less) than oneself.

BTW, that’s the Bible in two sentences – so it isn’t original thought on my part.

Neither of those things will happen, so humanity is absolutely doomed… except for the supernatural intervention of on who possesses…

1. A correctly calibrated value system.
2. The desire to care about others equal (not more, not less) than oneself.

Again, not original to me.

Exactly.

Nothing new under the sun…

1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.[c]
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”

12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2073&version=NIV

June 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm #4038

Degringolade

I will be posting this tomorrow on my own blog, but, as an unwonted display of courtesy I will post it here since it is sort of a rebuttal.
I always take the time to read “The Automatic Earth” and the wonderful commentary and articles that make it a treasure. The post in question is “Ruminations on Faith and Humanity“. But I was genuinely shaken to see the following quote expounded upon by the reader “Alfbell” in the most recent post.

No system will ever be successful until the human mind, and the spiritual being that utilized it, have been isolated and fully understood. Psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, et al. have failed in this area as well. Very too bad because THIS is the key to man’s future survival.

Find the source of evil and destructive intentions; the need to dominate; the need to destroy what another creates; man’s inhumanity to man; man’s illogic; man’s low level of morality; man’s “animalistic” tendencies; man’s inability to predict consequences; etc. and you will save mankind.”

Wow, where do I start? Just another go at having a particular, parochial set of thoughts shoved down the throats of others in a sincere, open-hearted attempt to “help”

The human condition is quite simply not one of perfectibility. That is not the point of human existence. The point of human existence is the messy striving and learning and other such unpleasantness that makes up our sin-stained existence. In a very real sense, the world defined by Alfbell is not one where I wish to live.

We are not proto-gods, trying to build ourselves into perfect, luminous creatures. We are a bunch of apes who are trying to get along in a world where we have overshot (by a large margin) the constraints placed on us by a limited world. We are now just getting this little factoid through our collective thick skulls. What is proposed by the oh-so sincere readers of the Automatic Earth is a more thorough understanding of the animal nature so that we can save mankind. Well folks, I think that it is pretty easy to figure out that a pretty complete understanding of human nature is quite possible. Just ask the folks on Madison Avenue.

An individual has a chance of figuring out how to rid himself of illogic, to control his baser desires, to use analytical skills to better produce desired outcomes for himself, etc., etc., etc. But that ability is located solely in the individual. The ability for an external effect to change or “make right” an individual is laughably limited. But that doesn’t mean most people don’t want to give it a try. But what most people want is for the great mass of other folks to just do whatever the person speaking wants them to do. There is no particular moral suasion that is de facto “right”. There are only personal preferences. What most folks want is to die well-fed and comfortably in bed with a minimum of fuss and bother and pain.

Yet individuals such as “Alfbell” request and beseech over and over again for “more study” to be put into the nature of mankind so that the unwashed masses can made civil and subsequently be invited in for high tea. What will be done with the “additional study” will be what has happened every time. Those who desire power and influence will use that same information to garner their heart’s desire.

Folks, there is a reason that there are different disciplines for psychology, sociology, and economics. There is also a reason why all must be taken into consideration when anyone who is intellectually honest makes any call for action in the world of men. We are not fragments of the divine encased in a vulgar shell. We are messy, somewhat greedy apes with the odd bit of potential showing through. The actions of the individual are different from the actions of crowd and different still from the sciences of greed. Taking all three together and trying to make some “Grand Unified Theory” has been a fruitless and sterile bit of research for going onto 12,000 years.

Folks who come to the Church of the Doomer and its silly assortment of motley priests and deacons are partaking in that oldest of human traits, the tribe. When they do so and folks start coalescing around a one set of sect-leaders or another, they are just looking for the seed to create a movement to shove their flavor of the truth down the throats of an unwilling world. Consider another quote from the same article:

Candace asks…

“What I’m trying to figure out is if we all fail to be our best selves at least some of the time, are there any structures we can impose on ourselves that will at least keep us from causing massive damage to ourselves and the planet?”

Folks, my real and true belief is that, barring alien intervention or a sudden insight into the laws of physics which allows a shortcut around the second law of thermodynamics, our descendants will be living in a world populated by around a billion and a half people by 2200. Now, some of the faint of heart might immediately start shrieking and gibbering and pulling their hair and begin mouthing loaded words like “near extinction”. Nonsense. It will just be Professor Ehlich contentedly having the last word. The earth will abide.

The train has already left the station on the current overpopulation on “Mam Gaia” and the concomitant damage to the environment. The work-arounds and patches that have allowed the current state of affairs are beginning to fray pretty badly. The downslope is now ahead of us. No amount of “spiritual” effort will help anyone in the long run except as helping in the crossing we will all make.

Economics boils down we all want more than our share. Sociology boils down that when you get us together in large groups, all bets are off. Psychology boils down to the fragile and flawed set of tools that we have developed to understand a world well out of our control. When you begin tacking words like spirituality, what you are trying to do is grab some shred of an erstwhile moral high ground and use it as a tool to shove your desires and expectations down the throats of others.

June 18, 2012 at 8:55 am #4061

Candace

So, if I understand you correctly you answer is “no” there is no way we will figure out a way to stop ourselves as humans from being greedy and self destructive, but happily it won’t matter because we will die down to a small enough number that our self destructive choices and behaviors won’t have a significant impact on our environment.

Basically we will just be human – there just won’t be so many of us, so that we won’t continue to create massive toxic waste lands of nuclear waste or other types of waste that won’t overburden our environment.

June 18, 2012 at 10:12 am #4063

Tao Jonesing

@Degringolade,

“Wow, where do I start? Just another go at having a particular, parochial set of thoughts shoved down the throats of others in a sincere, open-hearted attempt to “help””

Excellent start, but you get bogged down.

“Folks, there is a reason that there are different disciplines for psychology, sociology, and economics. There is also a reason why all must be taken into consideration when anyone who is intellectually honest makes any call for action in the world of men.”

This is where you get bogged down. Those three disciplines used to be one and the same. Just put “political” in front of psychology, sociology, and economics, and you have the basic outlines of the reality of our forefathers (who just called all of it “political economy”). The further division of intellectual labor since then has not changed the nature of politics or power.

“An individual has a chance of figuring out how to rid himself of illogic, to control his baser desires, to use analytical skills to better produce desired outcomes for himself, etc., etc., etc. But that ability is located solely in the individual.”

Sophistry. Every individual alive today is define primarily by what society teaches him or her. Societal institutions can easily teach everyone how “to rid himself of illogic, to control his baser desires,” but that is not the goal of the modern (or even ancient) state.

“Economics boils down we all want more than our share. Sociology boils down that when you get us together in large groups, all bets are off. Psychology boils down to the fragile and flawed set of tools that we have developed to understand a world well out of our control. “

But the economics, sociology and psychology you define are all based on explaining and maintaining the current status quo. That’s a major problem for your worldview.

@Candace,

I think your assumptions about human nature are fundamentally unsound. We are not all of us greedy and self-destructive. The vast majority of us just want to be left alone to the joy we can eke out of the hand that we’ve been dealt.

Most adult humans are just like children: innocent. They don’t understand the way of the world in the same manner as the real “grown-ups” do. There is hope, but it lies in sharing the unspoken knowledge that those who rule rely upon to rule. Marx proved that sharing that knowledge quickly undermines the position of the powerful. The problem is that Marx shared that knowledge through the language of the powerful and, thus, was co-opted.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 47 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.