Let’s face it; the greatest failing of the human race is that there is so much we can do, but choose not to do. There’s really no reason at any point in our history we couldn’t have fed the starving, housed the homeless, eradicated most epidemic diseases, raised universal education  to an acceptable level, and brought the whole world up to a sustainable level of economic development. Similarly, the technology for the evolution of consciousness is well enough understood, in most every culture, that we could have blanketed the earth in enlightened people by now.

But we didn’t.

And why not? Certainly such things are thinkable. Certainly they are achievable, given sustained effort. So what’s the explanation then, for not doing something that is thinkable, achievable, and undoubtedly profound?

I think it’s connected to another thing, that I’ve seen again and again in my research, particularly into these collapse related matters; people who don’t want to own up to their own ideas. Who don’t take their ideas seriously. People who apparently don’t even take themselves seriously.

And I don’t mean in an anal retentive, control freak kind of way. I just mean, acting consistently with what you believe. Committing to your ideas enough to examine them fully.

I mean, how many times now have I seen the same kinds of figures, where, for instance, within the next five years the natural gas supply to north america will probably be one half what it is now? I realize that natural gas is only a small bit of electricity generation, but it is huge in home heating, and that’s a major fucking crisis in certain places when it gets cold. I recall reading an article not long ago where the governor of the state of maine basically says that if fuel oil prices continue to go up as they have been, the place will be largely uninhabitable in a few years. He’s serious. But he’s one of the few.

And what blows my mind is richard heinberg (not to name names) if anyone has the figures in the palm of his hand, it’s this guy. And yet I’ve heard him give these lectures more than once, and trot out these figures and then say that we could have a real problem in twenty years or so.

I mean, WTF? Is this guy taking the piss? What is his definition of a ‘major crisis’? Marauding fucking cannibals driving SUV’s powered by biodiesel rendered from human fat( I have no idea if you can actually do that, and I’m not sure I want to plant the idea in anyone’s head…)? Realistically we’ve been in an energy related die-off for some decades now, and it’s probably ramping up to mind-numbing levels as we speak. Is this guy serious? Or is he just trying to sell books, and encourage people to backyard garden?

Or Jim Kunstler, who thinks he can roll out 19th century pastoralism, in the midst of millions of people, probably armed, decanting onto the land to flip over rotten logs in search of grubs. Just one more guy pushing his agenda, who thinks he can draw personal lines around something of this scope. Not serious.

And it goes on and on. I mean if you’re not sure about your numbers, then check them again, and if you’re still not sure, then check them again, but if you’re going to open your mouth, then at least be honest about what you see. And these are the guys who are sounding the alarm for humanity? Even the alarmists are not serious.

And really, I’m not much better, if at all. I won’t deny pushing my own personal agenda, but I can at least own up to the fact that the scope of the situation may indeed trump my considerations. But being a spiritual activist, I’m used to history trumping my considerations. It’s not quite so bad anymore.

But still, I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I have the means at my disposal to complete the path as I understand it. There’s no doubt about that whatsoever. So what am I doing now?

Not serious.

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10 thoughts on “Cannot be Serious

  1. Is it a good starting-point to assume there are ‘no reasons’ for the way things are? There must be extremely cogent reasons for it, else the circumstances would be otherwise!

    You’re talking about the gap between knowledge and action. The problem I encounter most often (and which drives me nuts) is when people mistake what they do for what they believe. They believe x, they do y, yet because they ‘know’ they are a pagan / socialist / anarchist / liberal / or whatever, they assume that y is what a person pagan / socialist / anarchist / liberal / or whatever does. Example: supposedly ecological people, who tell me they have to drive a car because a car is useful, or modern living demands one. They ‘know’ they’re an ecological-minded person, so if these arguments weren’t true, how would a person like them even contemplate driving a car?!

    (If you don’t believe that someone could think in this twisted way, then just take a look around. Have a look inside too, because I’ve caught myself doing it as well…)

    I don’t think it makes any sense if we look at the problem as laziness rather than ignorance. Whilst people believe that they can somehow ‘be’ something, the thought of actually doing stuff to support their principles won’t even cross their minds. The people you mention in the article perhaps believe that their beliefs make them what they want to be. And so it stops there, and we get this weird lack of follow-through. But it’s ignorance, not laziness. Indeed, people in general probably work far too much, partly as a means to prevent themselves from having to think.

    Reminds me of the current craze for those exercise games on the Wii. People like watching a little animated version of themselves doing stuff, rather than simply just getting off their fat arses and exercising because exercise is good for you. Yes, there is laziness in play here. But the laziness is arising out of human stupidity.

    I’d suggest, Zac, that by resisting stupidity you’re already pulling your weight in saving the world.

  2. No *good* reasons maybe…

    I guess what I was getting at is, whether it’s stupidity or ignorance or laziness, none of these are really lasting or adequate excuses if you have serious intent in the first place. if you fail, then it must be because you never intended to succeed in the first place.

  3. A key component to that lack of intention is a lack of vision. Jame Howard Kunstler, e.g., can heap scorn all over those who deserve it like the biodeisel salvationists, but his vision is classic carrot-and-stick. He’s estimated that quite correctly the idea of a car culture, even a renewable one, is a failure, but he just stops there. I mean I read his book and stopped driving, and even enjoyed his “architectural disaster of the week” photos, but as you said, these guys seem content to just stop with public debate. And there is value in that–i know some urban design people who love Kunstler and are doing something about it–but at a certain point, you have to wonder why Kunstler hasn’t installed passive heating/cooling and solar panels, unless he’s just proving a point. I’m just taking him as an example.

    That, and a lot of these people think that voting matters.

  4. What about the emotional drive factor? It steers the course of educated vision, and the human condition has mostly abandoned it for intellectual “truth” or materialism … hence failure of vision. Hurt feelings, fear, and lack of love has retarded us all, and empathy dries up in it’s wake.
    Self-medication and colorful sexy adverts derail the best, substituting attractive materialism for genuine succor… we live in a culture of denial as a result.

    anyone read DeRohan’s books “The Right use of the Will” or “Feelings Matter”?

  5. Distilling this thread further?: Dissociation from one’s body. (Easy to do if you spend too much time in visual/text land – take it from me)
    We know we can’t take images seriously, but since we still haven’t gotten back to our bodies, of course we can’t “see” any alternative to images.
    And I bet a lot of people know they have dissociated from their bodies, but they have no reason to go back (it hurts and scares and says too many bad things for our infantilized, disempowered, and programmed selves to take).
    The theme: reunion of heaven and earth? To have them both (or anything for that matter) you need to give them space: Detach, get back to the void: feel what your body says as well as what your mind thinks. The path lies where they meet. Same as always.
    I don’t know about anyone else, but late summer always seems like “maximum angst time”. Don’t know why. Imprinting from school years?

  6. @dude: i think you just might be onto something there. there’s a certain unreality to this type of speculation. and to the same extent, there’s a correlation with power-madness. you can practically see some upper-level management guys acting all coked-out over some latest business exploitation model that is destined to fail in a few years send them to criminal court and their company in bankruptcy (see, e.g., real estate): you’d wonder what would happen if they grounded that ego-high with the physical. my teacher will sometimes say, that one criticism siddhartha faced from mara was that he (gotama) was a sensualist, obsessed with sensations, so sid touches the ground. we’re earthy creatures. at the same time, of course, it’s quite possible to become a “kundalini crack-up” where the metabolism will go bonkers from being earth-focused (i think this is probably a matter of personal proclivities and attitudes) and to certain extent this may be necessary.

  7. One of Gurdjieff’s main forms of helping his “pupils” reach higher (permanent) states on consciousness was to have them repeatedly dig and then refill ditches. It seems to have worked, too, at least in a couple of them (A.R. Orage and C.S Nott, for those somewhat familiar with the 4th Way).

    That whole “kundalini crackup” thing terrifies me though…

  8. i had what i think was a minor crack-up, on retreat. several days of giving off a feverish heat, altered and difficult to control breathing patterns, spontaneous movements… compared to some of what i’ve read it seemed fairly minor, but i’m sure if i had been in a hospital at the time i’d be in a lot of trouble, especially b/c i was easily 100 degrees or more for days with no apparent illness. It is really not *that* bad, though had it continued for months at that intensity I would have gotten sick of it. I think that many of the Kundalini Horror Stories / vicitm-scripts you read about are really just people having an immature, narcissitic response to what’s happening, though obviously if it happens outside a tradition I can to some extent understand that.

    That, and spontaneous movements persisted while I was sitting for a few months afterwards (even when I had already experienced classic markers of “dissolution”) but gradually dropped to very little or none. now I have some ability to raise physical energy in that manner at will, but it feels like it puts a massive strain on my heart.

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