Open Thread - 01-14-22 - Can't Find My Way Home

Open Thread image.jpg

As it looks more likely every year that some event, or confluence of events, may very well in the not so distant future end civilization at the least, and mankind itself at the most. Let us pre-guess future historians, if there will be such a thing, and consider the seminal catalytic event or events that triggered the spiral leading to the downfall of species Homo sapiens sapiens.

hqdefault.jpg

Some examples:

Citizen's United?

Corporate Personhood?

Deregulation?

Taking the dollar off the gold standard?

The advent of nuclear weaponry?

WW II?

Creation of the Federal Reserve?

WW I?

The industrial revolution?

The Civil War?

The fall of Rome?

Constantine and Christianity?

The day humankind climbed down from the trees?

???

What do you think?

__________________________

Myself, I think we started on that path the day hunter-gatherers gave up their nomadic life and settled in small villages, and eventually cities, and city states. Mankind lost touch with the symbiotic weave of nature in lieu of food security and safety. We lost sight of the web of life and our position in it. Mankind separated itself from nature.

These were the first steps of empire. Empire that engulfs the land, steals natural resources, pollutes the environment, exhausts it's citizens, and then burns itself out. Only to resurface as the next all consuming empire, expanding outward until the resources are devoured.

And I can't find my way home.

This is an open thread so discuss what you may.

Share
up
20 users have voted.

Comments

Where did mankind go wrong? Or maybe you think that we will pull through this mess.

In any event this is an open thread so I open the floor to you.

I'll be in and out today so I'll try to check in when I can.

up
12 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

up
11 users have voted.

We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

up
9 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

up
5 users have voted.

We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

usefewersyllables's picture

nuclear weaponry. That's the first time we truly achieved the ability to completely obliterate ourselves in only a matter of hours.

The industrial revolution runs a close second, of course, but that only gave us the ability to slowly boil/freeze/starve/mutate ourselves over a matter of many generations. The Gadget can do it in minutes, so it can be regarded as the ultimate perfection of the art of industrial self-immolation.

I already know how it will go, as I've lived it and relived it in my recurring nightmares for over 50 years now. In a way, I find a sort of comfort there: for me, it'll be like the pot of petunias in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It won't happen as a result of thunderous speeches and chess-match-like subtle provocations: it'll happen as a result of a combination of human error and/or equipment malfunction. But once the first one launches (for any reason or no reason), they all will: use 'em or lose 'em.

There have been too many seriously close calls already, some of which were only stopped by the willingness of a single person to say "No, the world will not end on my watch". Look up Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov and Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov for a couple of examples of such.

There are undoubtedly examples of this on our side as well, although we'll probably never hear about them since we've been told forever that our side's weapons are perfect and failsafe; that wouldn't fit the official narrative. However, having said that, with the infestation of our armed forces by right-wing "Christian" dominionists who might well decide to seize the opportunity to immanentize the eschaton, I'm not so sure.

I'm just happy to live within fireball radius of a set of major targets. Like I've said: I keep my tux in the downstairs closet, and the makings for one *fine* Manhattan close at hand, in the case I get enough warning to dress up and go out on the deck to watch the show. Otherwise, any night in my sleep will do.

And on the topic of musical homecomings, this is a favorite:

up
16 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@usefewersyllables
it does seem likely that some psychopath will touch it off some day unless we devise a way to preclude that psychological profile from the reins of power.

Run towards the light.

Thanks for your fine observations, my friend.

up
11 users have voted.

@usefewersyllables

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headed by Mikey Weinstein. His group goes after the Christian fundamentalists who have taken over our military, including the Pentagon by challenging them in court. If you want to know how bad this all is, just check in on their website.

up
8 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

"Somebody holds the key"

I sure do hope so.

Thank you for this exquisite beginning for another uncertain day, definitely not in paradise.

The conflicts are so stark in NYC this morning. The Virus has peaked but Goldman Sachs announced that their people will continue working from home. That means that the small businesses surrounding Goldman's enormous World Headquarters a few blocks south of my home, will stand mostly empty.

The stores in the mini arcade/mall the natives call Goldman Alley will also be empty. Shake Shack, Italian restaurant, Chinese restaurant, liquor store, tiny grocery shop, bagel shop flower shop. And the AMC Movie theater, which has been staggering,sometimes closed and sometimes open, anchors another end of this luxury corridor.

So too the dry cleaning establishements that used to care for the clothing of the thousands of Goldman employees wherever they live around NYC.

Goldman choosing to remain closed is one of the vicious cycle features of the decline and fall of the current empire.

I have no big answers, JtC, but many small ones.

up
13 users have voted.

NYCVG

@NYCVG
let's hope "the key" is not in the possession of Klaus Schwab.

The most base of emotions, fear, is what will ultimately be our ruination in what ever form that may come in, IMHO.

Thanks for the NYC streetscape, mi amiga. Stay strong.

up
9 users have voted.

In the NY Times.

"But something darker and deeper seems to be happening as well — a long-term loss of solidarity, a long-term rise in estrangement and hostility. This is what it feels like to live in a society that is dissolving from the bottom up as much as from the top down.

What the hell is going on? The short answer: I don’t know. I also don’t know what’s causing the high rates of depression, suicide and loneliness that dogged Americans even before the pandemic and that are the sad flip side of all the hostility and recklessness I’ve just described."

The center is not holding.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/13/opinion/america-falling-apart.html

up
14 users have voted.

NYCVG

are the most visible results of humanity’s assertion of self over collective well being and the reciprocity of the larger ‘natural’ order. We have made ourselves ‘other’, to Great Nature. However, the potentially most destructive opus of mankind’s egoistic dominion has got to be the rapid changes in our entire ecosystem which now threaten to outpace Great Nature’s ability to evolve and survive.

Although this trend may have started around a CroMagnon campfire the recent past few generations have accelerated this process by several orders of magnitude. Though the possibility of reversing destructive climate change still exists, theoretically, the combination of civilization’s momentum and the profusion of malevolent and egoistic lies will completely neuter the possibility of that hope.

This leads me to my nomination of two humans acting from within the span of my lifetime who, more than any others I can think of, have inseminated a global culture of lies and deception that now pervade governments and global finance to such an extent that general recognition of the “terror of our situation” with regard to our failing ecosystem will never be meaningfully addressed.

I hereby nominate John Foster Dulles and his OSS/CIA brother Allen Dulles as the two most destructive humans of my lifetime.

up
18 users have voted.

"I fear that monstrous russian dictatorship going to attack the free world with bioweapons it seized in unexisting Pentagon funded humanitarian Ukrainian biolabs."
Greg Galloway 3/14/22

@ovals49
I read nothing I could argue against, including your nominations for the mantle of infamy.

Very astute, ovals. Thank you.

up
11 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

to put in the effort to be structured, organized, linear and coherent in my thinking and/or expostulation today, but I'd still like to toss out some ideas, almost like bullet points or rhetorical questions. There is obviously much in favor of the view you espouse, but also a lot of questions or wrinkles.

It borders on teleology, as if by simply building a hut or planting something or domesticating some critter we became predestined to walk the path we trod. This raises the question of whether or not that/those choices were themselves predestined by some combination of things relating to our tool usage and other manipulation of the environment acted in concert with our nervous system and the evolution and development of the brain in terms of the parts/areas and processes that evolved to form a feedback loop that predestined our invention of settlements. OTOH, it seems that there are hunter-gatherer types that have established permanent settlements, both full time and seasonal, the latter used in an annual cyclical fashion by groups following a closed loop migratory pattern. Some of these have even involved food caches and caches of other utilitarian items as well as short term seasonal plantings.

I can't help but wonder if the problem does not lie in the existence/evolution of certain pernicious ideas, concepts and beliefs. There are a great many of these, but, potentially, at the root of them all is self or ego, not in the fallacious pshrinkological sense, but in the sense of an awareness of physical identity (at least initially) as separate from other stuff (Do NOT cut the foot, it isn't firewood, it is "self"). This needn't be totally pernicious and is definitely utilitarian, especially if one can delimit it and turn it on and off, especially by wrapping it in a heavy layer of empathy and a sense of oneness with both one's fellow humans and with all of nature. Again, is that strictly neurological and unavoidable?

Self becomes problematic primarily through the concept of ownership, me leads to mine which can lead to mine, mine, all mine! bwahahaha. That seems to be the devil in the mix. It seems, unless that is neurologically determined, that settlement need not be pernicious if it is a sharing and communal/community based endeavor. There are examples, though none complete or perfect of such things. Potlatch culture is often used as an example, but the known examples all also raided other groups and took stuff and slaves. Possession and possessory interest is, to me, the crux of the matter. Periods or want and scarcity drive a need for, for example food security, curable by creation and preservation of surpluses. Is there a necessary reason why these need to be personal, individual or household surpluses rather than common or group surpluses? While pernicious overall, IMO, at least in their history, most religions emphasize, in some tiny corner of their doctrine, sharing and hospitality to strangers and wayfarers. The failure to universalize this across all things which can be possessed is part of the problem, as is the very idea of possession(s) and ownership (derived, perhaps, from "own" as in "my own").

Random thought "self" begets "selfish" and that, right there, is the problem! That and some crazy jealousy that leads to the concern that somebody somewhere is "free-riding" and or not pulling their weight, or whatever.

Anywho, all that is exacerbated several thousandfold by overprocreation, the law of large organizations seems to apply to large non-organizations as well. There is ample evidence that the female of the species has known how to prevent that from very early times across many/most cultures. This is knowledge is seemingly trumped by some sort of dynastic impulse on the part of a sufficient quantum of the males of the species as to ensure that overpopulation will eventually win out, which, I suggest, is but another manifestation of the "self-selfish" drive or syndrome. Random thought: "did somebody use the phrase "selfish gene"?".

I think that's enough for this morning, but, as much as I really like the song and the performers, I think it needs a counter:

be well and have a good one

up
11 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

I always pick up a copy in a local health food store in Helena, MT.

https://www.permaculture.co.uk/

up
6 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

enhydra lutris's picture

@Fishtroller 02

be well and have a good one

up
3 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

up
8 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

enhydra lutris's picture

up
4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

if our demise is from ecological disaster, climate collapse, a nuclear WWIII, or whatever. Like our lives as individuals, there is an end point (seemly rushing toward us), the same is true of our species. I think your hypothesis of the transition away from our hunter/gather background may have indeed been the sealing of our species fate.

Rather I think the issue is how we live whatever is left of our lives. Enjoy your time. Treasure your days, your friends, yourself.

I had a lovely morning cleaning up around the pond. Always saplings and grass to be knocked back before the spring flush requires the annual rinse and repeat. Plenty of 5,6 pick up sticks this AM too. Now lots of folks would question how working like that could be enjoyable, but for me I'm sorry they don't understand. A simple life connected to nature is my path, but each to their own. A good tired and a bit sore reminds you of what it is like to be truly alive. The pond is beautiful this time of year...

IMG_4536.jpg

Once wrote a song (rarely sung) with the lyric...
And the moonlit silhouette of the mountain, guides me home all the way

I still have that Blind Faith album but it is so scratchy it isn't fun to listen to...reminds me of an old 78. Thanks for the reminder....and the OT!

up
16 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

earthling1's picture

you thoughts on our downfall beginning with the demise of the hunter/gather existance.
Surely the native Americans, both north and south, created whole civilizations in humongous cities and prevailed for centuries.
Certainly, there was ocasional strife and local conquests. But the reverance for Mother Earth was predominant throughout both hemispheres.
Charles Mann, in his book "1491" gave compelling evidence that all of land on both continents showed the hand of man altering it in remarkable ways, yet never injuring it in any way.
I have posited here before that Columbus stumbled upon the real Garden of Eden, but was too stupid to realize it. Or too greedy.
Christianity? Dunno.
I find myself in a small niche of belivers in exterestial origins of humanity, possibly a superior race of beings, seeding what would otherwise appear to be a perfectly good garden (earth) just to see what will happen over millenia. When they come back, what will they find of their little experiment?
I see no reason to believe that homo sapien is indigenous to this planet.
Certainly, if man disappeared, the whole planet would recover and thrive.
IMHO
Thanks for the OT and the opportunity to express my two cents, which due to inflation I have to increase to two dollars worth.

up
8 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

travels in the US and Central America, I would agree that hunter/gatherers that started in place agriculture, which was also a practice of the tribes in the north east US, began an overuse of the earth, and the inception of wealth, power, hoarding, trading, etc...Along with in place agriculture also came the end of "tribes" of 120 people, or less, who took care of one another in an egalitarian fashion. They became larger, leading to some with land, and some merely working for the land owner. Food was no longer shared, but was used for trade, and also as forms of punishment, and the status symbol of one place in this larger community of people.
From here, one can pile on the strategy of war, the effects of religion, the sporadic population growth and retractions, the attachment of wealth to things from the earth that were designated as valuable: copper, diamonds, gold, and silver.
The extraction and use of fossil fuels has done as much to bring the world to an end and the extinction of everything, be it war, pollution, or the earth being destroyed by fire and water.
Like LO says, there isn't much a person can do to end this disaster, so treasure your own life and gifts to the extent possible.
JtC may be conflating "home" with some time of humanity's resistance that we were one with the earth, the home we loved. I see home is where one's heart is, and with determination, and with luck, one's heart is in the right place.

up
7 users have voted.

as you say. Farming used to be the occupation of the majority of citizens in the US until recently. Now those same people are employees of Agribusiness. Farming is just another sector that is only viewed through the green eyed goggle of capitalism. We impose this template of the cheapest way of doing something for the most profit. It's the same template for health care, for child care, for anything.

Our food is unhealthy, our water and air polluted, all for profit. Weird hormone mimicking chemicals and plastic bits circulate through our bodies. As this crisis unfolds, the only remedy for this is more capitalism. The same capitalism that elevates junk food over real food because there's more profit in it, and streams endless propaganda to get you to buy it.

For me it was Reagan when we lost lost our way for good, though the industrial Revolution is a tie. In the 1970's we made some progress towards clean water and air, and there was Earth Day. It could have continued , but Reagan set us in a downward spiral that still hasn't ended, and the Democrats helped.

up
12 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

@Snode
the Amish lifestyle of living, but we will take them down with us.
Sad. Really sad.
If no one has ever said it to them, I will: I'm sorry for what the rest of humanity has done to your Earth and your future. Some of us tried to change.

up
4 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

@earthling1 and saw tractors, and other gas propelled machinery for farming and processing the particular yield.
So, I think they do things differently now. The Amish woman who guided us had her cell phone nearby. She gave the tour group the info that they were very different (at least in Mexico?) than portrayed in the US.
It I have time, I will find the name of the Museum and post the info.

up
3 users have voted.
zed2's picture

For the masses of humanity.

And since they are being dispossessed, pushed off the edge of the economic world, and have no homes, there is "no way home" to find.

Such is what the British attempted to do in country after country. They represented a sort of cult of assisted thievery. Where the government assisted huge multitudes of theives in their rape of the resources of the rest of the world. This is what Cecil Rhodes was pushing, his secret society to force a global colonialism and imprerialism. They still are.

The WTO just issued this announcement, https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news22_e/gc_10jan22_e.htm Earlier they issued this.
https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/mc12_26nov21_e.htm

The DS-503 dispute between India and the US is still open. If they can do your job for less, they are entitled to be doing it. Thats what Biden meant by saying everything would remain the same. Those plans would be implemented when applicable (when governments are involved in a project -look up the scope of "what is a 'measure'", under the GATS. )

up
0 users have voted.