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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Creation Now

It's been nearly a month since I last blogged!

Yolanda had to go back to Louisiana and I've been missing her.  I felt like I had acquired a daughter.  It has been bitter cold here, and I was amazed Yolanda was willing to come at this time of year, when she had never been in such cold climate before.  Not only that, she talked much with me how she was going against the grain of her culture coming out here to meet me.  Now, she said, African Americans feel they have a world of opportunity in front of them, with examples like Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powel, and Tiger Woods to follow.  But Yolanda sees a greater success and a freedom that the world doesn't see. 

I've been camping out again.  The weather looked like it was finally getting warmer, but decided to revert to crazy cold again.  I've been sleeping way well, much better than when I'm indoors.  I double up 2 sleeping bags (when I'm at the near-town camp) and feel cozy warm.  But I only need blankets up the canyon in the cave.  I've been spending a lot of time near town these days, having a lot of projects going on here.

Creation Now

At the suggestion of Al (the commenter on the last blog entry) I checked out and read the book, "The Survival of the Sickest", by Sharon Moalem.  I couldn't put it down.  It is a science book that reads like a mystery novel, and Moalem has a deeper understanding of the principles of science than most anybody I've read.  It reads to me like a spiritual treatise, and it made my spirit soar.  One of its main themes is how what we consider "disease" in our culture is actually an adaptation to help us survive.  What may be beneficial in one environment and culture may be disease in another.  Since reading it, I hope to revise my ideas in the website on evolution and natural selection.

The concept that creation is happening now intrigues me to no end.  We are in the midst of miracle, but we become so blind we look for miracles some place else & in some other time.  Perhaps literalist "fundamentalists" are not literal enough!  Genesis is literally in the present tense, forever and ever and ever.  Hmm, this sounds strangely Hindu, huh?  What if we said, "Let light Be,"  or "Let animals Be," or "let the heavenly bodies Be".  What if we accepted everything in nature As It Is, in full and complete submission.  What if I accepted you as You Are and what if I accepted myself as I Am:  I Am Who I Am.  If we accepted what is as It Is, I have the deepest hunch we would no longer be controlled by nature, we would no longer serve nature, but Nature would serve us!

Isn't it common sense that if you accept your lover as She Is, as He Is, she or he will then want to serve you automatically, without your coercion?

And I have a hunch that we would become We, the participants of creation!  "Is it not written in your law, 'Ye are Elohim?" (John 10:34 quoting Psalm 82:6)    "In the Beginning, Elohim is creating the Heavens and the Earth. (Genesis 1:1)"  Hmm, am I taking scripture too literally?  :-)

Frankenstein Monster

I'm still questioning what the role of technology is in our lives.  I feel deep down that our technology is part of human nature, part of all of nature.  But we end up doing technology for profit, not from instinct.  It has become our Frankenstein Monster.  I usually think we would be better off with no technology than the technology we now have.  I'm still mulling over this dilemma.

Yes, funny how we modern people, with all our wealth and "labor- and time-saving" gadgets, think we are masters of creation.  But we have less time and we slave more than ever.  Why?   

A Culture Living Gift Economy Today

I just read about one of the few remaining Hunting and Gathering tribes in the world in the December, 2009 issue of National Geographic, called The Hadza, by Michael Finkel.  They live near the Rift Valley in Tanzania.  I'll quote from the article (emphasis mine):

They have no crops, no livestock, no permanent shelters. . . .

Food production marched in lockstep with greater population densities, which allowed farm-based societies to displace or destroy hunter gatherer groups. . . .
Agriculture's sudden rise, however, came with a price.  It introduced infectious-disease epidemics, social stratification, intermittent famines, and large-scale war.  Jared Diamond, the UCLA professor and writer, has called the adoption of agriculture nothing less than "the worst mistake in human history"--a mistake, he suggests, from which we have never recovered.

The Hadza do not engage in warfare.  they've never lived densely enough to be seriously threatened by an infectious outbreak.  They have no known history of famine; rather, there is evidence of people from a farming group coming to live with them during a time of crop failure.  The Hadza diet remains even today more stable and varied than that of most of the world's citizens.  They enjoy an extraordinary amount of leisure time.  Anthropologists have estimated that they "work'--actively pursue food--four to six hours a day.  And over all these thousands of years, they've left hardly more than a footprint on the land.

Traditional Hadza...live almost entirely free of possessions.  The things they own--a cooking pot, a water container, and ax--can be wrapped in a blanket and carried over a shoulder. . . .

Individual autonomy is the hallmark of the Hadza.  No Hadza adult has authority over any other.  None has more wealth;  or, rather, they all have no wealth. . . .

Gender roles are distinct, but for women there is none of the forced subservience knit into many other cultures. A significant number of Hadza women who marry out of the group soon return, unwilling to accept bullying treatment. . . .

The chief reason the Hadza have been able to maintain their lifestyle so long is that their homeland has never been an inviting place.  The soil is briny; fresh water is scarce; the bugs can be intolerable.  For tens of thousands of years, it seems, no one else wanted to live here. . . .

None of the other ethnic groups living in the area... are hunter-gatherers. . . . Many of them look down on the Hadza and view them with a mix of pity and disgust: the untouchables of Tanzania. . . .

No Hadza I met... seemed prone to worry.  It was a mind-set that astounded me, for the Hadza, to my way of thinking, have very legitimate worries.  'Will I eat tomorrow?  Will something eat me tomorrow?'  Yet they live a remarkably present-tense existence.

This may be one reason farming has never appealed to the Hadza--growing crops requires planning;  seeds are sown now for plants that won't be edible for months. . . . To a Hadza, this makes no sense.  Why grow food or rear animals when it's being done for you, naturally, in the bush?  When they want berries, they walk to a berry shrub.  When they desire baobab fruit, they visit a baobab tree.  Honey waits for them in wild hives.  And they keep their meat in the biggest storehouse in the world--their land. . . . 

Tanzania is a future-oriented nation, anxious to merge into the slipstream of the global economy.  Baboon-hunting is not an image many of the country's leaders wish to project.  one minister has referred to the Hadza as backward.  Tanzania's president, Jakaya Kikwete, has said that the Hadza "have to be transformed."   The government wants them schooled and housed and set to work at proper jobs. . . .

The school-age kids I spoke with... said they had no interest in sitting in a classroom.  If they went to school, many told me, they'd never master the skills needed for survival.  They'd be outcasts among their own people.  And if they tried their luck in the modern world--what then?  The women, perhaps, would become maids; the men, menial laborers. It's far better, they said, to be free and fed in the bush than destitute and hungry in the city.


More Hadza have moved... to Mangola... in exchange for money, they demonstrate their hunting skills to tourists. . . .  Yet among the Hadza of Mangola there has been a surge in alcoholism, an outbreak of tuberculosis, and a distressing rise in domestic violence, including at least one report of a Hadza man who beat his wife to death. . . .


There are things I envy about the Hadza--mostly, how free they appear to be.  Free from possessions.  Free of most social duties.  Free from religious strictures.  Free of many family responsibilities.  Free from schedules, jobs, bosses, bills, traffic, taxes, laws, news, and money.  Free from worry. . . .


The days I spent with the Hadza altered my perception of the world.  They instilled in me something I call the "Hadza effect"--they made me feel calmer, more attuned to the moment, more self-sufficient, a little braver, and in less of a constant rush. . . . My time with the Hadza made me happier.  It made me wish there was some way to prolong the reign of hunter-gatherers, though I know it's almost certainly too late. . . .


However, then Finkel explains why Hadza life isn't for him, mentioning negative aspects of Hadza life he sees:



But I could never live like the Hadza.  Their entire life, it appears to me, is one insanely committed camping trip.  It's incredibly risky. . . . About a fifth of all babies die within their first year, and nearly half of all children do not make it to age 15.


But he, like most of us in modern civilization, don't know how to handle death.  We think we have it conquered when we experience just as much death as the Hadza or anybody ever did or ever will.  We don't get it.  We are people of possession.  Loss of possession is death.  Finkel brings up the solution to the problem right before his eyes:


So, after two weeks, I told everyone in camp I had to go.  There was little reaction. The Hadza are not sentimental like that. They don't do extended goodbyes. Even when one of their own dies, there is not a lot of fuss. They dig a hole and place the body inside. A generation ago, they didn't even do that—they simply left a body out on the ground to be eaten by hyenas. There is still no Hadza grave marker. There is no funeral. There's no service at all, of any sort. This could be a person they had lived with their entire life. Yet they just toss a few dry twigs on top of the grave. And they walk away.

Who is the real Serpent in Eden?

It is intriguing how the attitudes and ways of the Hadza, described above, are what all the religions and psychologies and politics aspire to.  And their balance is what all our economists and environmentalists aspire to.

Once in a while, a religious leader renounces everything and discovers what the Hadza have known for eons, and all of civilization swoons around him/her and makes an icon of him/her, and claims him/her as civization's foundation!  How tragically, ironically comical!  

When I visited missionaries of my own Christian denomination in the jungle in Ecuador, all the sudden my eyes were open: missionaries were doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught.  When you do the opposite of somebody, you are anti-that-somebody.  Anti-Christ.  This revelation astonished me, sent a chill through me in that hot jungle.

Most governments the world over love missionaries.  Missionaries tame wild people, teach them to possess, teach them money, sedate people so they can be cogs in commercial civilization's machinery.  Ironically, anybody who has read the Gospels of the Bible knows that Jesus clearly taught giving up possessions, and taught that we must give and do, expecting nothing in return, that we must act not for the sake of self-credit (money).  {See Here's the One Point We Know the World's Religions Agree Upon in the website}

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus himself says:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,* hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one convert, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
(Matthew 23:15)

*[Pharisee, by the way, is a term meaning and sharing the same root as separitist, also sharing the same root as Puritan.  Such separatists are the zealous holders of the letter of scripture of every age, called "the people of the Book" in Islam.] 
..................................................................................
Added February 6, 2010:

 If you want to explore these subjects more deeply, check out these essays in the website:

 Our Fall From Grace: Our Departure From Gratis: The Beginning of Money

The Seven-Headed Dragon: World Commerce  (this is hard-core Bible theology, showing who the Serpent in Eden really is)

62 comments:

  1. That's the real problem with civilizations. As when Emperor Chin unified China, he actually conquered autonomous cultures and forced them to comply with his rule. All civilizations are nothing more than the success of an egocentric culture which has over powered other cultures. The Romans are the greatest European example and ever since then we have been modeling ourselves after them. Without respect for the authenticity and validity of other ethnicity's to be who they are, we are just brutes forcing everyone to comply. The scary thing is how pervasive the propaganda is. We all believe it on some level or other.

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  2. er... and the Greeks, Craig? and the Bantu? and the Aztecs? the Romans did nothing new. They just did it better than it had been done for a while.

    without civilisations, how could we get together and blog?

    "Jesus clearly taught giving up possessions" - I'd be interested to hear your exegesis for this.

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  3. Hi, Suelo

    Been thinking about you lately. Good to hear from you again.

    Lovingfriendliness,
    Brother Geronimo

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  4. Hi Daniel,
    It's always great to read from you!

    Indiana

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  5. Hi,
    I am new to your blog-but am loving it already.
    Judgment and forced conformity seems to be absolutely everywhere... sad really!
    Why is it so human nature to have to dominate others???
    I wish the Hadza people could just be allowed to live their happy and stress-free lives!

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  6. Arukiyomi -
    You're correct, and I think that's exactly what Craig is saying, that the Romans did nothing new, just in a bigger way.

    We can get together & blog now, but I'd be perfectly happy if we didn't have to. Loving our neighbor is superior to loving people through digital windows around the world. The computer is okay in moderation, but I hope people turn off the computer & go out and love.

    About Jesus preaching giving up possessions, see "Here's the One Point We Know the World's Religions Agree Upon," which I just put a link to in the article above.

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  7. Suelo,

    You speak as a puritan asking people to turn off their computers and get out. Don't you know computers extend our reach of interaction?.

    Soon we won't be limited to our current bodies for "physical" interaction. No, we will use virtual bodies for experiencing "real" life, by new technologies that allow the communication of sensory experiences directly to our brains.

    So much for getting out to the real world. The real world, as we know it, will be obsolete.

    Mind my words.

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  8. People who think you can experience "real" life through technology have no idea what real life feels like.

    If we lived like the Hazda we wouldn't need blogs. We wouldn't be sitting in lonely rooms endlessly clicking on links trying to learn how to live happy lives like the Hazda. Instead, we might just be experiencing the extreme intuition, tangible intelligence and joyful physicality of life out in nature.

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  9. Piper,
    I completely agree with you, especially the part about "clicking on links trying to learn how to live a happy life". heck, if we knew how to experience life the way it was meant, we wouldn't even KNOW what a computer is!and the sad thing is that we are all guilty of doing just that..sitting in front of a computer screen,looking for something to entertain ourselves! How did we as a society let technology take place of the natural wonders all around us?? It seems there are becoming fewer and fewer groups of people like the Hazdas, because we convince them that technology will "improve" their lives, but it never seems to do that. how can we "fix" what wasn't broke to start with??

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  10. Nice post Suelo, and thanks for the mention. I'll have something to say later about the role of technology in our lives.

    For now I wanted to add some background to your mention of primitive societies. I also read the NatGeo article on the Hadza when it came out and found it fascinating. You may be interested in these resources, which support your premise. These excerpts will give your readers a summary.

    The Bioethics of Hunting and Gathering Societies
    Louis Leakey in
    "Coevolutionary economics: the economy, society, and the environment" By John M. Gowdy
    Hunting and gathering societies are generally considered to represent the lowest form of human existence. These societies, when mentioned at all by economists, are held up as examples of the terrible fate awaiting us if we waiver in the quest for technological advance and economic growth. By contrast, it is argued in this paper that the hunting and gathering way of life represented, in many ways, the most successful lifestyle humans have yet devised.

    Studies of contemporary hunter-gatherers show a patten of generally good health, especially in comparison to agriculturalists...Dunn (1968) in a report prepared for the WHO found in a study of several hunter-gatherer groups that (1) malnutrition is rare, (2) starvation occurs infrequently, and (3) chronic diseases, especially those associated with old age, are relatively infrequent. Contemporary examples are given by the situations of the !Kung and Hadza during times of drought.

    The new view of hunters and gatherers was presented most eloquently by Marshall Sahlins (1976) in his book Stone Age Economics, particularly in the first chapter, "The Original Affluent Society."
    Sahlins points to two paths to affluence: the path of producing much or the path of desiring little. The familiar conception, the Galbraithean way, makes assumptions peculiarly appropriate to market economies: that man's wants are great, not to say infinite, whereas his means are limited, although improvable: thus the gap between means and ends can be narrowed by industrial productivity, at least to the point that "urgent goods" become plentiful. But there is also a Zen road to affluence, departing from premises somewhat different than our own: that human material wants are finite and few, and technical means unchanging but on the whole adequate. Adopting the Zen strategy, a people can enjoy an unparalleled material plenty -- with a low standard of living (Sahlins, 76, p. 2). This Zen strategy, according to Sahlins, describes the hunter-gatherers.

    It is still an open question whether man will be able to survive the exceedingly complex and unstable ecological conditions he has created for himself. If he fails in this task, interplanetary archaeologists of the future will classify our planet as one in which a very long and stable period of small-scale hunting and gathering was followed by an apparently instantaneous efflorescence of technology and society leading rapidly to extinction.
    ...an awareness of the characteristics of hunting and gathering societies may be instructive for the following reasons, (1) It was a lifestyle that prevailed for some 99 percent of human existence, (2) Such a lifestyle offers clues as to ways to make our own economy more environmentally benign, (3) A the same time clues are offered as to ways to make our won economy more socially equitable.

    Full text of "The Original Affluent Society" by Marshall Sahlins can be found in

    Limited wants, unlimited means: a reader on hunter-gatherer economics and the environment

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  11. Also interesting with respect to the role of technology is this passage from-

    Ecological economics: principles and applications

    From Hunter-Gatherer to Industrialist
    "Anthropology and archaeology together provide us with a reasonable understanding of the hunter-gatherer economy. Rather than the “nasty, brutish and short” life that many imagine, early people met their basic needs by working only a few hours a day, and resources were sufficient to provide for both young and old who contributed little to gathering food. A recent study of the !Kung, who live in a very arid, marginal environment, found that 10% of the population was over 60, which compares favorably with populations in many industrialized countries.

    If for most of human existence, private property and wealth accumulation were impractical and absent from human society, it is hard to argue that these are inherent characteristics of human nature, rather than cultural artifacts. Gradually hunter-gatherer societies developed the technology to store large quantities of food for months on end, an essential precursor to agriculture. Agriculture ended the nomadic lifestyle for many early peoples. People began to settle in towns or small communities, which led to greater population concentrations than had previously been possible. The technologies of storage and agriculture changed the nature of property rights, and were in fact required before property rights could make sense. Certainly agriculture itself made some form of property rights to land essential. Surplus production allowed greater division of labor and specialization, which in turn led to ever-greater production, fostering extensive trade and eventually the development of money"

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  12. Piper & Rob - good points, as usual... and Dawn, too, thanks.

    Bro Geronimo - so nice hearing from you again after so many years!

    Al, thanks for more thoughts & links. In the website I talk about the Kung and "The Original Affluent Society" that you mention. I just put links to that essay at the end of this blog entry.

    Miguel, you funny trickster, you.

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  13. Suelo,

    Meatspace is almost obsolete, I tell you. Never bet all your money on the same horse, or you could miss the boat.

    Imagine a virtual Hadza community. Everything seems the same as in the real world, except for one thing, it's running on a computer.

    Think about it.


    Questions to ponder:

    What's the difference between real and virtual?.

    Isn't the world a dream?.

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  14. The past two summers I lived more of a Zen-affluence lifestyle. I lived on a long trail walking daily with all my possessions on my back. I never felt so free and so wealthy. I swear every day I said to myself out loud that I felt like the wealthiest woman in the world. My life was wealthy in time and in wildflowers and in experience. I felt fully alive in a way that no computerized, virtual experience ever could provide. It wasn't just because I was "on vacation", either. It was much more than that.

    Recently I read a book called Born to Run about some ultra-marathon runners and a tribe of people who live in rugged canyons in Mexico. This tribe runs 50 mile races for the fun of it, wearing just sandals on their feet. The author researched these people and learned about other people here in the US who try to run barefoot or in minimal footwear because all the technology put into running shoes causes more injuries than it prevents.

    The book talks about anthropologists who tried to figure out why we have bone structures that suggest we are running animals. How could we be running animals when we are so slow? The answer is in our endurance. We have superior endurance to any other individual animal, even horses.

    Anyway, the anthropology in your blog post talks about a culture without need for money and possessions and this book talks about a culture without a need for high tech footwear and about how as a species we were built perfect, not with broken feet that need technology to cope. It seems there is convergence here, that many people are seeking pathways toward happiness that start from our high-tech, nearly broken culture and lead back to the beginning, toward a simpler way of life with less complexity.

    Al is right. This way of life that started with agriculture is just a blip, an anomaly for our species. Our way of life might even do us in. I wouldn't invest much of my life energy on "virtual" existence. You might get a few hours of thrill not unlike going to the movies, but the end result won't be real and lasting.

    Meanwhile, at the end of this era, people like Suelo are making a life off the waste of a world gone berzerk and trying to show us one piece of the puzzle toward a possible answer.

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  15. im following you..
    pls follow me back ;-)

    http://bloggerautofollow.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looking at the sustainability of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle versus the lack of sustainability of our own lifestyle should make it obvious which one is the better long term choice. Almost a hundred thousand years (more if you count it being done by species other than Homo sapiens) of hunter-gatherer economics posing no threat to the long term viability of the planet, yet the invention of agriculture less than 10,000 years ago set us on the ecological road to disaster that we're dealing with now! Perhaps if there is a good thing about this phase of history, it will be that we can look back on it and learn from its misery and problems after our current system collapses.

    While I can certainly see advantages to continued technological development (resistance to extinction by moving out into space and prevention of major asteroid impacts come readily to mind), why do our governments and many individuals demand that we all be on board with "progress"? It can't be for the sake of having more humans working toward an end goal- most people never reach their potential because of a lack of opportunity or encouragement. I suppose that the answer is that the point isn't to reach a common goal. Instead the point is to control people as much as possible!

    I think that a more "civilized" world would encourage people to live how they want, be it in space, in a computer, or out in the wilderness.

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  17. A hard truth to ponder:

    If we lived as the Hadza, Suelo would be a non-issue. As Suelo mentions in the article above.
    Scarcity seems to drive the price of people or things to overrated levels.

    Because we are so bored with consumerism, artificiality and corruption, we look towards the natural, beautiful and perfect world that Suelo presents to us.

    The reality, however, is that nature is little more than a nightmare, with endless competition for life and power struggles among those of the same species. Not to mention sickness, starvation and death.

    It's interesting that Suelo presents to us these terrible realities of nature, as wonderful tools used to mantain everything under control. And because of the illusion of a perfect world, most Suelo followers prefer to ignore this displays of cynicism and cruelty of Suelo himself.

    I am sure that if we examined the Hadza society a little closer, we would probably find out they are not as perfect or wonderful as portrayed here.

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  18. Not so hard to ponder.
    The hunter-gatherer way of life may not have been a walk in the park. Nevertheless, it is not a practical solution for modern man. We are far too technologically advanced to revert to such a primitive existence. In any case, Hadza and !Kung are nomads, who can migrate to new environments when under ecological stress, such as droughts, or when local resources are exhausted. Their way of life also imposes natural population controls. All these things are not practical now. Global population of 6 billion is expected to reach 9 - 10 billion by 2050. The things we can learn from them, as suggested by anthropologists and coevolutionary economics, is the concept of ecological equilibrium with the environment. What they say is that neoclassical economics is flawed. We demand constant growth and exploit the limited resources of the planet, without regard to the problems of overpopulation, pollution, and social inequality. We are on a collision course. The result will either be something like "punctuated evolution" or extinction, depending on our actions in the next 20 years. Read the "warning to humanity" by the Union of Concerned Scientists

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  19. You know good and well I am not saying hunter-gathering society is a perfect world, Miguel, if you read the blog again.

    The point is that accepting the inescapable law of nature as it is, with its imperfections, is perfection and balance. To delude ourselves into thinking we can escape the infinite laws of nature, of life and death, is when we descend into hell. Nature is a nightmare when we can't accept it, when we're looking for salvation somewhere else. The Beast is a beast until Beauty embraces him. Heaven is hell that is finally accepted. When we confront our deepest terror, realizing there is no place else to escape to, then we find peace. This is called Submission.

    So let's talk about eutopic idealists! If you can't find happiness right now, amongst all the goods and bads, what makes you think it will be better in a nanotechnic "eutopia"? We bring our baggage with us to every world we create. Nature is inescapable, my friend.

    If technology were based upon creativity, it would serve us. But our technology is based on discontent and escapism, so we are enslaved to it.

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  20. Suelo,

    Your argument in favor of nature could be made in defense of anything. In fact there are many people who have submitted to capitalism, modern technology, socialism and much more.

    They are happy because they have accepted their fate and try to ignore the ugly aspects of it. It's no big deal, it's called resignation.

    I agree a nanotech utopia could be a nightmare, but so is everything else, including our present state.

    You blame discontent and escapism, but yet those are the reasons that made you give up our modern world to embrace a "natural" life style.

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  21. Leaving the debate on whether happiness is a worthwhile goal, or whether a more natural lifestyle or a more "nanotech utopia" lifestyle gives humanity more happiness aside, the problem with the "nanotech utopia", or technological singularity vision of humanity (as proposed by Ray Kurzweil et al) is that it's unsustainable, even if we were able to reach that state. The vast majority of humans on the planet will perish.

    As it stands now, if everyone on the planet consumed as much resources as the average American, we'll need multiple planets to sustain this lifestyle. Will the "nanotech utopia" vision for humanity bring about less resource consumption to sustain us *all*? Or would it be available only to a few? So what happens when the few reach this "utopia"? What happens to the vast majority of the world who can't?

    It's either we, as a species, adopt a less consumerist, less/no money-grubbing lifestyle by choice, or we'll have it forced upon us by natural causes, brought by overpopulation and over consumption of resources.

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  22. Indeed this is the wrong argument. This is not a question of personal lifestyle. That's as relevant as a speck of sand on the beach. The choice, for all of civilization is between unrestrained capitalism and science. Science has already weighed in and said we're headed for a catastrophe. Capitalism says wait a minute, we can keep burning carbon fuels and keep growing. We just need for technology to catch up. Let's have clean coal, let's pump volcanic ash into the atmosphere. Let's genetically engineer trees that use more C02. That's technology divorced from reality, no longer guided by science but by faith. We might get there, but more likely we'll make the planet uninhabitable. The population will collapse to a few million who can huddle in synthetic biospheres till they can figure out how to reverse the damage to the planet.
    You were correct in the previous comment thread, Suelo. Unregulated growth, without regard for the whole organism, is a cancer.

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  23. Al, you have a very limited view of Science. Not all scientists are catastrophists and some believe we are going in the right direction, even helping our planet.

    Check this one out: http://www.hedweb.com/

    Or this one: http://www.terasemcentral.org/

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  24. Joe Goh, nanotechnology was not invented by Ray Kurzweil. It was stablished as a discipline by K Eric Drexler, and it's implications were developed in his book "Engines of Creation".

    Ray Kurzweil joined the frenzy later and made it an essential component of his predictions. To my view he is overrated, although I consider him a must read author.

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  25. Whether the Hadza lifestyle is feasible for all 6 billion+ of us is irrelevant. If our economy collapses because we've over-consumed, our numbers will be reduced to the point where the biosphere (assuming there's anything left of it) will support the survivors in a Hadza type of lifestyle. Indeed, in this scenario the survivors won't have an alternative other than that of a stone age lifestyle.

    Of course, another possible future is that our technology will become advanced enough to provide us with a high material quality of life without overtaxing our environment. I think this is improbable though, given the speed with which we seem to be approaching ecological collapse and the lack of concerted effort to develop such technology.

    Even if we do develop such technology we'll still have to make hard choices: Do we keep growing, even if it means covering the planet with suburban sprawl? Will we have to leave the Earth in order to keep growing while leaving some of the planet's biosphere intact? If we decide that the entire Earth (and perhaps the entire solar system or even galaxy) should be a suburban sprawl, how will we deal with the psychopathology that will inevitably crop up in people who love solitude and find consumerism empty?

    Looking at all of these problems and tough decisions, isn't it just easier to accept a simple, low-tech, low impact existence and find a way to turn it into your own personal utopia?

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  26. I hold the consensus view of Science. The vast majority of scientists, including most nobel laureates, endorse the consensus view that we are on an unsustainable course. I am well aware that there are naysayers and gadflys like yourself, even respectable scientists like Freeman Dyson, who think there is no problem we can't solve. But these are the outliers, the self-described "heretics". A lot depends on them being right. And so far the evidence, accepted by the scientific community, is pointing the other way. I would say it is you who hold the limited view. You need to have blinders on to see only the outliers and ignore the trend.

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  27. Al: Which "you" are you addressing?

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  28. Al, do you refer to climate change?. Because that's the main point of contention of many scientists today.


    Watch this:

    The Great Global Warming Swindle, part 1 of 9
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TqqWJugXzs

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  29. Why am I somehow not surprised that Miguel endorses anti-global warming conspiracy nuts? Is it the Illuminati who are behind this international hoax or perhaps the Lizard People who secretly live among us?

    Miguel, your shtick is beyond old. Why don't you stop shilling for this this magical, fanfiction, holodeck, nano tech future dystopian fantasy and stick with sci-fi roleplaying games and Second Life.

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  30. Do you mean anyone who doesn't buy into man made global warming is a conspiracy nut?. You seem very narrow minded and it doesn't suprise me to find such bigots in here.

    Btw, I don't endorse conspiracy nuts. Not I remember mentioning Illuminati or Lizard people, or linking to any of that. I have read too much about politics and economics to believe such nonsense.

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  31. I was going to post a long-winded reply to Miguel. But Ancient Weaver's comment is probably all he deserves.
    Miguel is free to hold whatever views he wants. My views expressed here are not limited to global warming, but it serves as an illustration of my point about science. Any scientific statement will always remain open to questioning, because that is the nature of scientific theory. If it is not "falsifiable", as defined by Popper, it is not scientific.
    But in presenting your criticism, in this case against anthropogenic global warming, by linking to "The great global warming swindle", you open yourself to this kind of ridicule.
    Man-made global warming has been endorsed by every national science academy that has issued a statement on climate change, including the science academies of all of the major industrialized countries. With the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007, no remaining scientific society is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.
    However you would rather believe in a completely discredited film which was described by one of the scientist it misquotes as "pure propaganda". It was debunked as a hash of half-truths, lies, and deception.
    Miguel is welcome to continue to play the gadfly here, but he's not convincing anyone that he has a clue about how really science works.

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  32. I don't understand this. Al at least you know how to make a serious argument. Are you really endorsing Ancient Weaver's gross mischaracterization of my position?.

    Does Al Gore know how science really works?. He got a Nobel prize for serious pseudo-science.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Inconvenient_Truth

    And where are the global warming scientists protesting?. No, they don't protest, they praise this charlatan, because it furthers their agenda.

    Not all scientists are that stupid, obviously.

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  33. Is Al Gore your chief scientist?

    If so your idea of science is twisted.


    Read this:

    They call this a consensus?

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=c47c1209-233b-412c-b6d1-5c755457a8af

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  34. Suelo, I love your site, but.

    This site cracks me up. You so called deep thinkers. Especially Miguel. It's obvious that Mig can't tie his own shoes. Migy tries to debate, rebut, refute and dispute all logic. Apparently, Migy has never heard of evolution. Oh, pardon me, Capt. Kirk concurred the Klingon's


    And look dip shit, "aka" Miguel, Gore and Obama did nothing to be winners of a Nobel Prize. In case you need an example, elect yourself.

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  35. Miguel, I offered you the collective judgment of ALL the scientific academies of the industrialized nations. And you come back with a link to some right wing hack, who doesn't even refute that his so call "deniers" never actually denied man-made global warming. His first piece of "evidence" in that article you linked is an 18 year old Gallup poll, which even Gallup said was misrepresented when George Will first trumped it up. This guy carefully cherry-picks and distorts statement from a few scientists to bamboozle people like you, just like the "swindle" movie-maker you want to believe.
    Look, its fun and all shooting down all your dearly held fallacies. But as Ancient Weaver said, your shtick is getting old. Bye now.

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  36. Hahahahahhaa... Now, why would I waste my time on a good argument for somebody who is clearly beyond reason, Miguel?

    Dude, you don't have a clue, and you probably never will.

    You might really believe in all these wild, speculative fantasies about "meatspace being almost obsolete," and how we're all going to become virtual selves living in computer simulations, etc. Unlimited progress through future science and technology. Better living through chemistry. It's just around the corner. Fine. Believe whatever you want. Who cares?

    But, what does any of this have to do with this blog, what Suelo is doing with his life and writing about? Suelo is speaking about things that are rooted in his actual experience during these past 10 years. You, on the other hand, are merely spinning tales about things in the mythical future that will never come to fruition.

    And hypothetically, even if what you're talking about came to pass (which it won't ), there have always been horrible, unintended consequences that come along with all new technological developments. But every person like you who has an almost unquestioning faith in progress, technology, and science has never learned this lesson, and probably never will.

    Suelo is talking about a way of living that is available to almost everyone. It's different than what we're used to now, but up until the advent of civilization in these last thousands of years, it was what people did. This is a factual reality, not some half-baked scheme cooked up in a Babylon 5 chatroom.

    You are talking about things that not only don't exist, not only probally will never exist, but would only be available to certain elite members of the population if they ever did in fact exist. Beyond that, who says that people even want to live in the kind of tech-topia you're talking about?

    The vast majority of us are here because we think Suelo is onto something. The internets is vast and wide. Go peddle your ideas somewhere where people are interested in them. Or better yet, why don't you get your nanobots to engineer a virtual blog where people are virtually interested in your flights of fancy that nobody asked to hear about in the first place.

    If every ecosystem has it's irritants, then you are the irritant of the Moneyless World ecosystem. And I fully expect none of what I've written to sink in, so whatever. At least I've said my piece...

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  37. Al,
    Well said. But it will go over Miguel's head.

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  38. I think Al has a good point. To begin with I am not a scientist. But I expect Al to be a scientist in an area relevant to his claims.

    What are your qualifications, Al?.

    Are you really in a position to claim that "Science" states we are in an unsustainable course?.

    And, what do you mean by science?. Biology?. Psychology?. Maybe Geology?. Be specific.

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  39. And Al, btw. Science is not made by accepting a consensus, in fact it's made by going against it. All mayor scientists from Newton to Darwin have gone against scientific dogma, to be able to stablish their own ideas. That's how science is made.

    Mediocre scientists on the other hand, accept whathever "consensus" there is, without investigating further.

    I guess you are a scientist of the second type. (If you are a scientist at all).

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  40. I meant major scientists, not mayor.

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  41. Every time I visit this site, I'm amused at Migiy's "Miguel's" thoughtless insight and ignorance. This guy can't spell and his use of the English language is deplorable. Migiy is digging a hole and is waaaaaay over his head.

    Migiy, Pleeeaassse,,, use spell check and buy a Webster's! In case you don't know, Webster's is a book. This book shows you spelling and word definition.

    If you want to talk about science, the only science here is trying to figure out what planet you are from.

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  42. You are far worse. Look at the mirror (or your own writings). It shows thoughtlesness and a complete lack of self-respect.

    You are probably ugly and stupid. It's too bad for you, but nature is rather cruel sometimes. You have to accept that.

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  43. Migiy, It sounds like a hit a nerve. Take an asprin and call me in the morning.

    Sleep tight and rest what little brain you have.

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  44. Miguel and Anonymous,

    Both of you need to quit the immature name calling! all you are doing is ruining a good site with this nonsense!

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  45. My wife says I'm immature, but I say she's a big fat doodie head!

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  46. Miguel fires up discussion, and is an exaggerated caricature of all the naysayers. When I lose confidence in what I am doing, Miguel re-instills it into me, strangely.
    Whether or not you are conscious of this, Miguel, I don't know. Whatever, thanks, my friend.
    Maybe I'm spoiling the game by saying this. Whatever, it might mean it's time for the game to end.

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  47. Daniel,
    I hope you are not thinking about ending your blog here..you have a lot of people who enjoy this site, and reading about what you have been up to!! You are an inspiration to many, including myself! take care my friend!!!

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  48. No, I didn't at all mean ending this blogger game, Rob! Thanks for the kind words, amigo.

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  49. Yeah, what exactly does that mean Suelo? You are talking in riddles again.

    Let's not obsess over Miguel. He's not all bad. But he tries too hard to be provocative, and ends up monopolizing the discussion.

    People come here because they see someone who actually has the courage to change the reality of their life. I believe a lot of people are hungry for change, but feel trapped by modern existence and the cage of our technosphere. Maybe Miguel knows this too. Stay in touch.

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  50. I beleive that anything can be good or bad if put in the wrong hands. Technology put in the right hands can help heal people. It can feed people and even save their lives. In the wrong hands it can cause greed, pain and suffering and a lower quality of life. Don't hate the technology, just frown upon the people who abuse it. I decided to use blogger to help others http://howtogetunfat.blogspot.com/

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  51. Suelo, I've been working on a music project and plan to release it under a creative commons license (the attribution version). This would allow people to freely listen, download, share, even for their derivative of it, so long as they acknowledge the original part to the original artist. I wonder if you have thoughts on the creative commons or open source concepts.

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  52. Hey Suelo,
    I was awakened last night by my boyfriend sobbing. I asked what was wrong and he said he was up late doing his taxes and discovered that someone had hacked into his bank account and stolen all his money. He was very distraught. They took a lot of money. Among the many thoughts I had, I thought about how your life and essays would still leave me with hope had it happened to me.

    Another thing you might enjoy is this Onion post. They may have gotten the idea from your essays.
    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/u_s_economy_grinds_to_halt_as

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  53. Hasn't Suelo or anyone else who remains a free agent in the work world AND reduces their possessions to the bare minimum accomplished what the Hadza are doing? I've reduce my possessions to the bare minimum. In doing so, I've had to work only part-time in my field. We can pursue the leading edge of information building on information, which manifests itself at this stage as technology, and still be hunter-gatherers. I hunt for projects.

    As much as I agree with all the criticisms of Miguel's posts it's important to have someone taking his stance on this wonderful blog. Here's why:

    -------


    "How We Decide" by Jonah Lehrer © 2009

    217.2
    the only way to counteract the bias for certainty is to encourage some inner dissonance. We must force ourselves to think about the information we don't want to think about, to pay attention to the data that disturbs our entrenched beliefs.

    217.3
    We can consciously correct for this innate tendency. And if those steps fail, we can create decision-making environments that help us better entertain competing hypotheses. Look for example at the Israeli military. After failing to anticipate the 1973 war, Israel thoroughly revamped its intelligence services. It added an entirely new branch of intelligence analysis, the Research and Political Planning Center, which operated under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry. The mission of the new center wasn't to gather more information; the Israelis realized that data collection wasn't their problem. Instead, the unit was designed to provide an assessment of the available data, one that was completely independent of both Aman and the Mossad. It was a third opinion, in case the first two opinions were wrong.

    At first glance, adding another layer of bureaucracy might seem like a bad idea.
    But the Israelis knew that the surprise invasion of 1973 was a direct result of their false sense of certainty.

    The commission wisely realized that the best way to avoid such certainty in the future was to foster diversity, ensuring the military would never again be seduced by its own false assumptions.

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  54. Diversity of world-views and opinions is valuable, and there are definitely a lot out there. It appears that Israeli Intelligence has learned to do something that most people are notoriously bad at: Considering the opinions of others without letting one's bias get in the way. We should all emulate this attitude.

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  55. I learned a lot of new things, even though I already know and read a lot about topics that are discussed in the book.

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  56. Blog is too religious for my taste, if the world is to evolve and we are all to return to nature, religion cannot be an obstacle or reason to fight.

    I believe this is the reason why it will never work. Beliefs get in the way. People think too much.

    Peace -> Then reform. It is impossible. I will live alone for my life as every action no matter how kind it is, is done in one's own self interest. All relationships have hidden agendas.

    Good luck to you sir.

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  57. I hear you, Mr Mountain. I often want to see religion go away. But religion is part of evolution, is instinct, the language of humanity! What good to be too proud to speak to folks in their own language? I love thinkers like Nom Chomski, but they talk gibberish to regular humanity because they don't speak regular humanity's lingo!

    Religion is a powerful tool,& the greed-heads & war-heads have hijacked it & twisted it for thousands of years, blatantly made it do opposite it's core message. It's time to take religion back! Imbibe it with truth & love & reason again,even if it offends both the right & left to do so!

    I must follow my heart, no matter what, and religion is a passion of my heart.

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  58. Totally agree Suelo, how we can ignore the spiritual side; the essential part of human beings. I can not understand atheists, they're missing so much living in denial, it's like living in an incomplete body. Ana

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  59. Ana, true we must not ignore our spiritual side. But our spirituality is not complete until we face & understand all parts of ourselves, and thus we understand all people. A part of myself, and a part of every person, is an atheist. What human does not lose faith?

    I can totally see why a person can deny the existence of God in a world of greed & injustice, a world where those who claim belief in God are the greatest promotors of greed & injustice. It's hard not to be cynical. If a person fully understands him- or herself he or she will fully understand the atheist. I could say the same to the atheist: fully understand yourself and you will understand the God-believing.

    I must say that one of the most giving & compassionate people I know considers himself an atheist. He doesn't believe in the common image of "God" society has created. Neither do I! But the fruit he bears testifies to what is really in his heart.

    I like the idea of reclaiming the word "God" from the greed-heads, imbibing it with truth again. Then the religious greed-heads lose their power, which is only in their meaningless words.

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  60. Of course, we should be judge by our actions not by our beliefs. I don't doubt that many atheists could be good people (in fact statistics show that in the most religious countries there are as much crimes as the non-religious ones).
    To believe you have to open your heart(to surrender is an act of maximum humility)and the best motivation for believers to see others are their brothers, sisters and part of the big humanity family; believing we are connected at a deeper level, we have the potential to be more caring and compassionate toward others. Ana

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