"In exclusive interview Douglas Macgregor is back on the show to talk about the war in Ukraine. Macgregor gives his assessment of where things stand on the ground. They talk about the astounding casualty numbers and the horrifying nature of the battle over Bakhmut. Macgregor then gives some predictions for the next stages of the war. They talk about the rising tension with China. They agree there is no need to go to war with China but discuss what may explain the sudden attention shift towards Beijing. Lastly, they talk about the effects of cronyism in the weapons industry and the probability of a nuclear war."
"Spooky shapes seem to haunt this dusty expanse, drifting through the night in the royal constellation Cepheus. Of course, the shapes are cosmic dust clouds visible in dimly reflected starlight. Far from your own neighborhood, they lurk above the plane of the Milky Way at the edge of the Cepheus Flare molecular cloud complex some 1,200 light-years away.
Over 2 light-years across and brighter than most of the other ghostly apparitions, vdB 141 or Sh2-136 is also known as the Ghost Nebula, seen at the right of the starry field of view. Inside the nebula are the telltale signs of dense cores collapsing in the early stages of star formation. With the eerie hue of dust reflecting bluish light from hot young stars of NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula stands out against the dark just left of center. In the broad telescopic frame, these fertile interstellar dust fields stretch almost seven full moons across the sky."
“We may know that the work we continue to put off doing will be bad. Worse, however, is the work we never do. A work that’s finished is at least finished. It may be poor, but it exists, like the miserable plant in the lone flowerpot of my neighbor who’s crippled. That plant is her happiness, and sometimes it’s even mine. What I write, bad as it is, may provide some hurt or sad soul a few moments of distraction from something worse. That’s enough for me, or it isn’t enough, but it serves some purpose, and so it is with all of life.”
“You get that one chance; and damn it, you’ve got to take it! If there’s one lesson I know I will take with me for eternity, its that there are those things that might happen only once, those chances that come walking down the street, strolling out of a café; if you don’t let go and take them, they really could get away! We can get so washed out with a mindset of entitlement – the universe will do everything for us to ensure our happiness – that we forget why we came here! We came here to grab, to take, to give, to have! Not to wait! Nobody came here to wait! So, what makes anyone think that destiny will keep on knocking over and over again? It could, but what if it doesn’t? You go and you take the chance that you get; even if it makes you look stupid, insane, or whorish! Because it just might not come back again. You could wait a lifetime to see if it will… but I don’t think you should.”
"In a short story that was published posthumously in the New Yorker, the inestimable Primo Levi meditated on the limits of language. The story was called “The Tranquil Star.” He writes "The star was very big and very hot, and its weight was enormous," and realizes immediately that the adjectives have failed him: “For a discussion of stars our language is inadequate and seems laughable, as if someone were trying to plow with a feather. It's a language that was born with us, suitable for describing objects more or less as large and long-lasting as we are; it has our dimensions, it's human. It doesn't go beyond what our senses tell us.
Until fairly recently in human history, there was nothing smaller than a scabies mite, writes Levi, and therefore no adjective to describe it. Nothing bigger than the sea or sky. Nothing hotter than fire. We can add modifiers: very big, very small, very hot. Or use adjectives of dubious superlativeness: enormous, colossal, extraordinary. But, really, these feeble stretchings of language don't take us very far in grasping the very, very, very extraordinarily diminutive or spectacularly colossal dimensions of atomic matter or cosmic space and time. We can overcome the limitations of language, Levi say, "only with a violent effort of the imagination."
I spent more than forty years trying to find ways to violently stretch the imaginations of my students (and myself) to accommodate the dimensions of the universe revealed by science. I would project onto a huge screen a photograph of a firestorm on the Sun, then superimpose a scale-sized Earth, which fit comfortably inside a loop of solar fire. I would take the class into the College Quad here near Boston, where I had set up a basketball to represent the Sun, then gathered 100 feet away with a pinhead Earth; we walked together with our pin in the great annual journey of the Earth, and looked through a telescope at the marble-sized Jupiter than I had previously installed at the other end of the long Quad (the next closest star system would have been a couple of basketballs in Hawaii). We walked geologic timelines that took us from one end of the campus to the other.
In one of my Globe essays I used this analogy: “Imagine the human DNA as a strand of sewing thread. On this scale, the DNA in the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a typical human cell would be about 150 miles long, with about 600 nucleotide pairs per inch. That is, the DNA in a single cell is equivalent to 1000 spools of sewing thread, representing two copies of the genetic code. Take all that thread - the 1000 spools worth - and crumple it into 46 wads (the chromosomes). Stuff the wads into a shoe box (the cell nucleus) along with - oh, say enough chicken soup to fill the box. Toss the shoe box into a steamer trunk (the cell), and fill the rest of the trunk with more soup. Take the steamer trunk with its contents and shrink it down to an invisibly small object, smaller than the point of a pin. Multiply that tiny object by a trillion and you have the trillion cells of the human body, each with its full complement of DNA.”
Or this description from 'Waking Zero': “The track of the Prime Meridian across England from Peace Haven in the south to the mouth of the River Humber in the north is nearly 200 miles. If that distance is taken to represent the 13.7 billion year history of the universe, as we understand it today, then all of recorded human history is less than a single step. The entire story I have told in this book, from the Alexandrian astronomers and geographers to the present-day astronomers who launch telescopes into space, would fit neatly into a single footprint. If the 200 miles of the meridian track is taken to represent the distance to the most distant objects we observe with our telescopes, then a couple of steps would take us across the Milky Way Galaxy. A mote of dust from my shoe is large enough to contain not only our own solar system but many neighboring stars.”
But as hard as one tries, the scale of these things escape us. If one could truly comprehend what we are seeing when we look, say, at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photoabove, which I have done my best to convey to myself and others in a dozen ways, it would surely shake to the core some of our most cherished beliefs. Just as our language is contrived on a human scale, so too are our gods.”
1. “The road to the destination is never straight. To reach out to the winter shelter someone must take a lot of turns, travel along rough roads, suffer losses. You have to make sure that you always take food supplies with you.
2. Leave the past behind. If a wolf eats your goat, you can’t do anything about it. Just make sure that next time you will be more careful.
3. Don’t live just for saving money and don’t be stingy. Don’t postpone the tasting of joy for future times. Do it now, while you are still young. Make your hard work worth even more.
4. Struggle, fight. You are the only one in charge of yourself. Don’t be truant, don’t expect your dogs to do all the work in herding the sheep.
5. Ask for the respect you deserve, don’t let others use you as a doormat. Set limits, put up fences, protect your animals.
6. Blessed are the ones who make mistakes. Make mistakes. These are life lessons, we call these experience. Don’t forget who you were until yesterday. Start today and define with your actions who you are going to be from now on. Learn to forgive, starting with yourself. Don’t feel guilty, you have no time for that.
7. Blessed are those who doubt. Don’ t let your life be ruled by dogmas. Remember that if some people hadn’t doubted previous knowledge, mankind would have still lived in caves. Examine the information, be skeptical, think critically, think rationally, revise. You haven’t seen any fairies and ghosts in the forest, just wolves.
8. Be careful. Observe others. Look them in the eyes. Like a Greek saying, “If it is not shown in the goat, it is shown by the horn.”
9. Life is a journey, not a destination. And it is valuable. The previous word you read already belongs to the past.
10. Don’t advise the young constantly, it’s a waste of time. There is no right way to teach them pain or misery, solely experience will do that.
11. Go travel! Trips are experiences that stay with us forever. Get out, try, taste, savor images greedily. Let your senses free. Expose yourself, let it go, crumble, lose your self-control from time to time. Not just your self-control, but stop controlling others too.
12. You have been isolated enough in your winter shelter, get out. Go find your friends and companionship.
13. Do not try to control others. You condemn in anxiety and suffering not only yourself, but also those who you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. Leave the other flocks to their shepherds, take care of yours.
14. Life is not fair. The universe does not owe you any solace, and it is certain that at the end of the road you die. Hurry up.
15. You can be a winner. Learn from those around you. Become a child with children, play with them, but also go to the cafe and talk to the elderly. You can learn from their accumulated experience.
16. Do not take everything into account. Do not take everything seriously. You are probably overreacting today. What bothers you or you are afraid of now, most likely tomorrow will seem lukewarm or insipid. Try to see yourself from a distance, take a look at the sight of your flock from the hill.
17. Have patience. The goats do not give birth every month. But when that happens you need to be there because they need you.
18. Quarrel with your partner if necessary, it is not terrible, let the feelings be defused. Make decompression in anger. The fire is sometimes beneficial. If an area of kermes oak get burnt, spring will give again vegetation, fine food for goats and their young. Careful though, the words you say you can’t take them back. Watch what your goats eat, they don’t know how to pick. If they eat the shoots of trees, the forest cannot be created again, the place will be left bare fallow.
19. Be balanced. Enjoy the food and your drink. Do not forget that the world’s poor walk miles for their daily food while the rich walk miles to digest it.
20. There is no perfect time, the circumstances and conditions will never be ideal. Start from where you are now! Do not postpone.
21. Be polite. A smiling face reflects similar behavior. Make gifts. Even the gift of a good word is important. Behave well to the elderly, you will soon be like them. Behave well to animals, they are not mean or envious, they have no obsessions or selfishness. They forgive without limit.
22. If you know how to read, read a lot! Those who read live extra lives. Not only their own but also all of those who you have read about.
23. Be bold. The fear keeps you tied but it is not real, it just comes from the unknown which is not in your head.
24. Do not get attached to things. Life is like the path of the pastures and the shepherd’s bag. The more you fill it, the harder you will walk. Take only the necessary things with you. The flock keeps walking, it will not wait for you if you can’t move because of too many heavy things. Let them go, release them, feel more flexible and free.”
"Life is not what you see, but what you've projected.
It's not what you've felt, but what you've decided.
It's not what you've experienced, but how you've remembered it.
It's not what you've forged, but what you've allowed.
And it's not who's appeared, but who you've summoned.
And this should serve you well until you find what you already have."
- The Universe
“There are no accidents. If it's appeared on your life radar, this is why: to teach you that dreams come true; to reveal that you have the power to fix what's broken and heal what hurts; to catapult you beyond seeing with just your physical senses; and to lift the veils that have kept you from seeing that you're already the person you dreamed you'd become. There are no accidents. And believe me, that was one heck of a dream.”
"We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer and knowing this allows us to find compassion. From time to time, we may all feel fed up with humanity, whether it’s from learning about what’s going on around the world, or what’s going on next door. There are always situations that leave us feeling as if people are simply not capable of behaving in a way that is coming from a place of awareness. Often it seems as if people are actually geared to handle things in the worst possible way, repeatedly. At the same time, none of us wants to linger in a judgmental mood about our own species. As a result, we might tend to repress the feelings coming up as we take in the news from the world and the neighborhood.
It is natural to feel let down and disappointed when we see our fellow humans behaving in ways that are greedy, selfish, violent, or uncaring, but there are also ways to process that disappointment without sinking into despondency. As with any emotional response, we honor our feelings by feeling them fully, without judging or acting on them. Once we’ve done that—and we may need to do it every day, as part of our daily self-care—we can begin to consider ways that we might help the situation in which humanity finds itself.
As always, we start with ourselves, utilizing our awareness of the failings of others to renew our own commitment to be more conscious human beings. We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer, and remembering this keeps us in check, as well as allowing us to find compassion for others. We may find ourselves feeling compelled to serve people who are suffering injustices at the hands of other people, or we may begin to speak out when we see something that we don’t think is right. Whatever the case, the only thing we can do is pledge to serve the best, rather than the worst, of what humanity has to offer, both in the world, and in ourselves."
"I am standing atop a 100-foot-high temple mound, the largest known earthwork in the Americas built by prehistoric peoples. The temperatures, in the high 80s, along with the oppressive humidity, have emptied the park of all but a handful of visitors. My shirt is matted with sweat.
I look out from the structure - known as Monks Mound - at the flatlands below, with smaller mounds dotting the distance. These earthen mounds, built at a confluence of the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri rivers, are all that remain of one of the largest pre-Columbian settlements north of Mexico, occupied from around 800 to 1,400 AD by perhaps as many as 20,000 people.
This great city, perhaps the greatest in North America, rose, flourished, fell into decline and was ultimately abandoned. Civilizations die in familiar patterns. They exhaust natural resources. They spawn parasitic elites who plunder and loot the institutions and systems that make a complex society possible. They engage in futile and self-defeating wars. And then the rot sets in. The great urban centers die first, falling into irreversible decay. Central authority unravels. Artistic expression and intellectual inquiry are replaced by a new dark age, the triumph of tawdry spectacle and the celebration of crowd-pleasing imbecility.
“Collapse occurs, and can only occur, in a power vacuum,” anthropologist Joseph Tainter writes in "The Collapse of Complex Societies." “Collapse is possible only where there is no competitor strong enough to fill the political vacuum of disintegration.”
Several centuries ago, the rulers of this vast city complex, which covered some 4,000 acres, including a 40-acre central plaza, stood where I stood. They no doubt saw below in the teeming settlements an unassailable power, with at least 120 temple mounds used as residences, sacred ceremonial sites, tombs, meeting centers and ball courts. Cahokia warriors dominated a vast territory from which they exacted tribute to enrich the ruling class of this highly stratified society. Reading the heavens, these mound builders constructed several circular astronomical observatories - wooden versions of Stonehenge.
The city’s hereditary rulers were venerated in life and death. A half mile from Monks Mound is the seven-foot-high Mound 72, in which archeologists found the remains of a man on a platform covered with 20,000 conch-shell disc beads from the Gulf of Mexico. The beads were arranged in the shape of a falcon, with the falcon’s head beneath and beside the man's head. Its wings and tail were placed underneath the man’s arms and legs. Below this layer of shells was the body of another man, buried face downward. Around these two men were six more human remains, possibly retainers, who may have been put to death to accompany the entombed man in the afterlife. Nearby were buried the remains of 53 girls and women ranging in age from 15 to 30, laid out in rows in two layers separated by matting. They appeared to have been strangled to death.
The poet Paul Valéry noted, “a civilization has the same fragility as a life.”
Across the Mississippi River from Monks Mound, the city skyline of St. Louis is visible. It is hard not to see our own collapse in that of Cahokia. In 1950, St. Louis was the eighth-largest city in the United States, with a population of 856,796. Today, that number has fallen to below 300,000, a drop of some 65 percent. Major employers - Anheuser-Busch, McDonnell-Douglas, TWA, Southwestern Bell and Ralston Purina - have dramatically reduced their presence or left altogether. St. Louis is consistently ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the country. One in five people live in poverty. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has the highest rate of police killings per capita, of the 100 largest police departments in the nation, according to a 2021 report. Prisoners in the city’s squalid jails, where 47 people died in custody between 2009 and 2019, complain of water being shut off from their cells for hours and guards routinely pepper spraying inmates, including those on suicide watch. The city’s crumbling infrastructure, hundreds of gutted and abandoned buildings, empty factories, vacant warehouses and impoverished neighborhoods replicate the ruins of other post-industrial American cities, the classic signposts of a civilization in terminal decline.
“Just as in the past, countries that are environmentally stressed, overpopulated, or both, become at risk of getting politically stressed, and of their governments collapsing,” Jared Diamond argues in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." “When people are desperate, undernourished and without hope, they blame their governments, which they see as responsible for or unable to solve their problems. They try to emigrate at any cost. They fight each other over land. They kill each other. They start civil wars. They figure that they have nothing to lose, so they become terrorists, or they support or tolerate terrorism.”
Pre-industrial civilizations were dependent on the limits of solar energy and constrained by roads and waterways, impediments that were obliterated when fossil fuel became an energy source. As industrial empires became global, their increase in size meant an increase in complexity. Ironically, this complexity makes us more vulnerable to catastrophic collapse, not less. Soaring temperatures (Iraq is enduring 120 degree heat that has fried the country’s electrical grid), the depletion of natural resources, flooding, droughts, (the worst drought in 500 years is devastating Western, Central and Southern Europe and is expected to see a decline in crop yields of 8 or 9 percent), power outages, wars, pandemics, a rise in zoonotic diseases and breakdowns in supply chains combine to shake the foundations of industrial society. The Arctic has been heating up four times faster than the global average, resulting in an accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet and freakish weather patterns. The Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia are warming up to seven times faster. Climate scientists did not expect this extreme weather until 2050.
“Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up,” the anthropologist Ronald Wright warns, calling industrial society “a suicide machine.” In "A Short History of Progress", he writes: "Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn't easily moved. This human inability to foresee - or to watch out for - long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer."
Wright also reflects upon what will be left behind: "The archaeologists who dig us up will need to wear hazmat suits. Humankind will leave a telltale layer in the fossil record composed of everything we produce, from mounds of chicken bones, wet-wipes, tires, mattresses and other household waste to metals, concrete, plastics, industrial chemicals, and the nuclear residue of power plants and weaponry. We are cheating our children, handing them tawdry luxuries and addictive gadgets while we take away what’s left of the wealth, wonder and possibility of the pristine Earth."
Calculations of humanity’s footprint suggest we have been in ‘ecological deficit,’ taking more than Earth’s biological systems can withstand, for at least 30 years. Topsoil is being lost far faster than nature can replenish it; 30 percent of arable land has been exhausted since the mid-20th century. We have financed this monstrous debt by colonizing both past and future, drawing energy, chemical fertilizer and pesticides from the planet’s fossil carbon, and throwing the consequences onto coming generations of our species and all others. Some of those species have already been bankrupted: they are extinct. Others will follow.
As Cahokia declined, violence dramatically increased. Surrounding towns were burned to the ground. Groups, numbering in the hundreds, were slaughtered and buried in mass graves. At the end, “the enemy killed all people indiscriminately. The intent was not merely prestige, but an early form of ethnic cleansing” writes anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat, in "Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians." He notes that, in one fifteenth-century cemetery in central Illinois, one-third of all adults had been killed by blows to the head, arrow wounds or scalping. Many showed evidence of fractures on their arms from vain attempts to fight off their attackers.
Such descent into internecine violence is compounded by a weakened and discredited central authority. In the later stages of Cahokia, the ruling class surrounded themselves with fortified wooden stockades, including a two-mile long wall that enclosed Monks Mound. Similar fortifications dotted the vast territory the Cahokia controlled, segregating gated communities where the wealthy and powerful, protected by armed guards, sought safety from the increasing lawlessness and hoarded dwindling food supplies and resources.
Overcrowding inside these stockades saw the spread of tuberculosis and blastomycosis, caused by a soil-borne fungus, along with iron deficiency anemia. Infant mortality rates rose, and life spans declined, a result of social disintegration, poor diet and disease.
By the 1400s Cahokia had been abandoned. In 1541, when Hernando de Soto’s invading army descended on what is today Missouri, looking for gold, nothing but the great mounds remained, relics of a forgotten past.
This time the collapse will be global. It will not be possible, as in ancient societies, to migrate to new ecosystems rich in natural resources. The steady rise in heat will devastate crop yields and make much of the planet uninhabitable. Climate scientists warn that once temperatures rise by 4℃, the earth, at best, will be able to sustain a billion people. The more insurmountable the crisis becomes, the more we, like our prehistoric ancestors, will retreat into self-defeating responses, violence, magical thinking and denial.
The historian Arnold Toynbee, who singled out unchecked militarism as the fatal blow to past empires, argued that civilizations are not murdered, but commit suicide. They fail to adapt to a crisis, ensuring their own obliteration. Our civilization’s collapse will be unique in size, magnified by the destructive force of our fossil fuel-driven industrial society. But it will replicate the familiar patterns of collapse that toppled civilizations of the past. The difference will be in scale, and this time there will be no exit."
Excerpt: “Elizabeth Kübler-Ross defined the five stages of coming to terms with grief and tragedy as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and applied it quite successfully to various forms of catastrophic personal loss, such as death of a loved one, sudden end to one’s career, and so forth. Several thinkers, notably James Howard Kunstler and, more recently John Michael Greer, have pointed out that the Kübler-Ross model is also quite terrifyingly accurate in reflecting the process by which society as a whole (or at least the informed and thinking parts of it) is reconciling itself to the inevitability of a discontinuous future, with our institutions and life support systems undermined by a combination of resource depletion, catastrophic climate change, and political impotence.
But so far, little has been said specifically about the finer structure of these discontinuities. Instead, there is to be found continuum of subjective judgments, ranging from “a severe and prolonged recession” (the prediction we most often read in the financial press), to Kunstler’s evocative but unscientific-sounding “clusterf**k,” to the ever-popular “Collapse of Western Civilization,” painted with an ever-wider brush-stroke.
For those of us who have already gone through all of the emotional stages of reconciling ourselves to the prospect of social and economic upheaval, it might be helpful to have a more precise terminology that goes beyond such emotionally charged phrases. Defining a taxonomy of collapses might prove to be more than just an intellectual exercise: based on our abilities and circumstances, some of us may be able to specifically plan for a certain stage of collapse as a temporary, or even permanent, stopping point."
Excerpt: “As a journalist, I’ve been writing about accidents for more than thirty years. In the last 15 or so years, I’ve concentrated on accidents in outdoor recreation, in an effort to understand who lives, who dies, and why. To my surprise, I found an eerie uniformity in the way people survive seemingly impossible circumstances. Decades and sometimes centuries apart, separated by culture, geography, race, language, and tradition, the most successful survivors–those who practice what I call “deep survival”– go through the same patterns of thought and behavior, the same transformation and spiritual discovery, in the course of keeping themselves alive.
Not only that but it doesn’t seem to matter whether they are surviving being lost in the wilderness or battling cancer, whether they’re struggling through divorce or facing a business catastrophe– the strategies remain the same. Survival should be thought of as a journey, a vision quest of the sort that Native Americans have had as a rite of passage for thousands of years. Once you’re past the precipitating event– you’re cast away at sea or told you have cancer– you have been enrolled in one of the oldest schools in history. Here are a few things I’ve learned that can help you pass the final exam."
"Political disintegration is a persistent feature of world history. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord throughout the social sciences. Any explanation of societal collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all such societies in both the present and future. Dr. Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses."
Freely download “The Collapse of Complex Societies” here;
"Most people think of societal collapse as something like a zombie apocalypse where everything suddenly stops working. Instead of people turning into brain eating zombies, they stop going to work. The “system” collapses, so everyone just stops doing what they normally do all of a sudden. The next day, people divide up into gangs and begin to guard their turf using what is left of modern weapons. Life quickly returns to a hunter-gatherer existence with modern clothes.
This image of collapse is a powerful one. Google the phrase “United States collapse” or some version of it and you get results going back many years. Most of them start with economics but some start with culture. Right now, the people we call the Left for some reason think America is on the verge of collapse because they cannot force people to nod along with their weird morality. Many normal people think collapse is coming because they see the food bill every week.
Of course, there is a market for taking the contrary view. This is a popular gag for internet characters on what we continue to call the Right. They counter the claims from their fellow anti-leftists with arguments for why the “founding principals” will prevail and avoid societal collapse. Maybe they will point out that the magic of the free market has conquered communism, so it will conquer whatever is happening now. It is a form of strategic gainsaying to get attention.
The thing is societal collapse is a real thing that does happen just as civil wars, revolutions, wars and social upheavals are real things. Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed and we got to watch lots of it on television. When people suddenly realized that the guards were not going to shoot them if they tried to escape to the West, it did not take long before order broke down. Once the process started, there was no way to stop it and the system collapsed.
The thing is it did not happen overnight. The collapse actually started much earlier but people did not notice it. Little things stopped working. For example, people in Hungary began to notice that the border to Austria was not always guarded. Maybe the guards were there and ignored their duty or they just abandoned their post. Over time the border was not much of a border. Similar breakdowns of small systems became common over the course of the 1980’s.
Of course, the collapse of the Soviet Union did not send these societies back to the stone age either. Politics became increasingly chaotic. Law and order broke down to the point where criminal gangs were imposing their will on whole cities, because the police no longer had the ability or desire to stop them. The people got poorer in many small ways, but mostly in the breakdown of trust. They could not rely on the system, so they slowly abandoned it for alternatives.
We do not think of social trust as a part of the poverty equation, but in realty it is the key component of social happiness. High trust societies may not have unlimited consumer goods, but the people trust the system, because they trust one another. This allows for long term planning. Africa will never be rich, despite having massive natural resources, because social trust is near zero. Finland will never be poor because the Finns can count on their fellow Finns to always be Finnish.
Social collapse, like war and revolution, will reflect the material relations of the age because those reflect the resources of society. Revolution in the 18th century was peasants with pitchforks, because that is how you can revolt in an agrarian society operating under feudal rules. In the 19th century revolution was workers hurling homemade bombs and shooting at the authorities, because that is how you can stage a revolt in an industrial urban society.
This is the information age, so revolution will reflect the weapons we choose to use in this age, which will be money and knowledge. Money in all of its forms is a type of information that says things about the general state of affairs. In completely financialized societies like the West, money is the big weapon. It is also other information, like the government hiring clowns and carnies to nudge people in the “right direction” during the Covid panic.
The great tumult in the West over the last decade has been centered on the things that are important in the information age. The rise of a new group of oligarchs was made possible by the technological revolution. Just as agrarian people measured wealth in land and industrial people measured wealth in capital, technological people measure wealth in control of information flows. The reason Mark Zuckerberg is richer than Bill Gates is he controls something more valuable than PC’s.
Societal collapse in the information age will, at least at the beginning, reflect the socioeconomic relations of the age. Trust in what we are told by the media has collapsed, because it is easier to see the lying than in prior ages. In 1985 you could think the New York Times was biased, but predictably so. Today, you cannot trust anything they say because it is false in unpredictable ways. Trust in the media has collapsed because their information is chaotically false.
The slow collapse of trust in our information is spreading. We used to think that the courts were predictable, if not always fair. Poor people might not get the same justice as rich people, but the reason was understood. If you could afford a competent lawyer, he would get the most from the system for you. Today, no one knows what the hell will happen in a courtroom. Alex Jones just got fined a billion dollars because the regime supporters are still salty about the 2016 election.
Of course, trust in government is collapsing not because they do not fix the streets or make the buses run on time. Trust is falling because they lie. It is not about politicians lying, which is expected and predictable. It is the government itself. For example, they appear to be faking key economic data. Their inflation numbers are laughable as anyone who buys food will tell you. They also like to change the meaning of words, which puts an Orwellian spin on the lying.
Getting back to the topic of collapse, what happens in the information age when no one trusts the information? In a world where your bank may close down your account because they claim you hold the wrong opinions; how can you trust them to be straight about anything else? If the government is faking economic data, how can we trust anything else they are doing? When the people responsible for 100% of disinformation claim to be fighting disinformation, who can we trust?
When the Soviet system began to collapse, it was the symbols of its power that first came under pressure. When people stopped fearing the border guard, they slowly stopped fearing the system behind it. The same will be true in this age. When people stop trusting the information that runs this world, they will slowly begin to stop trusting the system behind it. It is at that point the system begins to slowly unravel as alternative trust networks form up to fill the void.
The bottom line is those waiting for collapse are mistaken. It is not a thing that is looming over the horizon. It is a thing that is happening now. Every day there is a new reminder that the system cannot be trusted. Maybe it is ten dollar gas in Germany or skyrocketing food prices in England or demonstrably false claims from the drug makers with regards to the Covid jab. These things chip away at trust in the system and like the game of Jenga, the result is inevitable."
"The Trends Journal is a weekly magazine analyzing global current events forming future trends. Our mission is to present facts and truth over fear and propaganda to help subscribers prepare for what’s next in these increasingly turbulent times."
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger, and are noticing massive price increases on groceries! This is not good as we are also seeing some empty shelves! It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products, and also charging extremely high prices!"
"Chinese President Xi Jinping completed his first day of visits in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two leaders seem to be getting along swimmingly, with the West watching closely. The U.S. has begun ramping up accusations that China is considering sending lethal weapons to Russia although National Security spokesperson John Kirby admitted that “the U.S. has no evidence China has done so.” China and Russia are continuously warning about NATO aggression and NATO is giving them reason to by signaling that they will amass 300,000 troops along Russia's borders."
"The fabric of society seems to be falling apart at the seams, and now we’re witnessing a historic inflationary spike, supply chain disruptions, an uptick in natural disasters, and cyberattacks on energy plants and fuel pipelines, while corruption and moral decay is taking over our institutions, and social turbulence is rising all across the country. All of these factors are combining to create the powder keg that is going to explode into widespread chaos.
Preppers who are concerned about their future have already started to stock up on the essentials they will need to survive apart from the rest of society when the collapse accelerates. But everyone else seems to be in shock as they watch the destruction of everything they have always depended upon.
In recent years, prices of consumer basics have shoot up, and Americans have seen nearly every product from food to supplies becoming extremely expensive and oftentimes out of their reach. For example, grains are skyrocketing in price. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They are key to our diets, but we usually take them for granted. If properly stored, grains can last up to 25 years in your stockpile. That’s why they’re a perfect survival food that will provide you with the nutrients you need while being extremely versatile and adaptable in many recipes. However, global grain supplies have been cut by over 25% since the Russia and Ukraine conflict broke out.
Prices of wheat, corn, soy and more have experienced significant increases, and the mass crop destruction of 2022 caused by extreme weather events is yet to hit the U.S. food supply chain. In other words, we haven’t seen the worst of the grain shortage just yet, and short supplies will soon be translated into even higher prices. Buying grains for long-term storage while your are still have them available is the wisest thing to do now. Although prices may be higher than they used to be, having a pantry full of non-perishable items is insurance for whatever could happen in the months and years ahead. If geopolitical conflicts and climate events worsen this year, worsen, grocery stores may not have anything to put on their shelves. And even though we all hope for the best-case scenario, preparing for the worst-case scenario offers stability during uncertain times.
Given that this trend is likely to continue and get even worse in the months ahead, it is only a matter of time before major civil conflicts emerge in the U.S., and our economic, financial, and social infrastructures crumble down. That’s why today, we compiled several products that already spiked in price, and that are about to get even more unaffordable soon. We should all be stockpiling these items now before they face further price hikes or aren’t available at the stores anymore.
We must face the fact that all of these prepping items and many more are going to get even more expensive as hyperinflation sets in and the supply chain crisis reignites. At a first glance, stocking up on food, supplies, and fuel may seem illogical due to the cost. But as survivalists often advise, having these items at your disposal is far more advantageous than having your money sit around while its real-world value steadily collapses. Thinking about preparedness is thinking about your future and how you and your family deserve a good life regardless of the mess that is going on in the rest of the world. So let’s get ready while there’s still time left."
"Except for the rings of Saturn, the Ring Nebula (M57) is probably the most famous celestial circle. Its classic appearance is understood to be due to our own perspective, though. The recent mapping of the expanding nebula's 3-D structure, based in part on this clear Hubble image,indicates that the nebula is a relatively dense, donut-like ring wrapped around the middle of a (American) football-shaped cloud of glowing gas.
The view from planet Earth looks down the long axis of the football, face-on to the ring. Of course, in this well-studied example of a planetary nebula, the glowing material does not come from planets. Instead, the gaseous shroud represents outer layers expelled from the dying, once sun-like star, now a tiny pinprick of light seen at the nebula's center. Intense ultraviolet light from the hot central star ionizes atoms in the gas. The Ring Nebula is about one light-year across and 2,500 light-years away."
“The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb-time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.”
- John O'Donohue,
"Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom"
“On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colors,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.”
John O'Donohue was an Irish author, poet, philosopher and former Catholic priest. He was born in County Clare on January 1, 1956. He died suddenly on January 4, 2008. He is best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality and is the author of a number of best-selling books on the subject.
Freely download "Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom",