THERE ISN’T A CHANCE in hell that something like the original Wilderness Act could be passed today. Environmentalists today are too much on the defensive. Sure, there have been green platforms and policy papers, but nothing I’ve read matches the urgency of this moment. So I decided to draft a declaration. It goes like this:
We, the citizens of the United States of America, hold these truths to be self-evident: that a rapid decline in living conditions is taking place all around us; that compromise is no longer an adequate way forward (and perhaps never was); that more drastic measures must be taken immediately in order to preserve a livable planet. From these beliefs springs the following list of demands:
We demand that the United States Constitution be rewritten to explicitly prohibit the privatization of profits and the externalization of costs by the wealthy, and to immediately grant both human and nonhuman communities full legal and moral rights. Corporations should no longer be considered persons under the law. Limited liability corporations must be immediately stripped of their limited liability protection. Those whose economic activities cause great harm — including great harm to the real, physical world — should be punished. Environmental Crimes Tribunals must be immediately put in place to try those who have significantly harmed the real, physical world. These tribunals should have the force of law and should be expected to impose punishment commensurate with the harm caused to the public and to the planet.
We demand the immediate, explicit, and legally binding recognition that perpetual growth is incompatible with life on a finite planet. Economic growth must stop, and economies must begin to contract. We demand acknowledgment that if we don’t begin this contraction voluntarily, it will take place against our will, and will cause untold misery.
We demand that overconsumption and overpopulation be addressed through bold and serious measures, but not by approaches that are racist, colonialist, or misogynist. Right now, more than 50 percent of the children who are born into this world are unwanted. We demand that all children be wanted. The single most effective strategy for making certain that all children are wanted is the liberation of women. Therefore we demand that women be given absolute economic, sexual, and reproductive freedom, and that all forms of reproductive control become freely available to all.
There is consensus among the scientific community that in order to prevent catastrophic climate change beyond what the industrial economy has already set in motion, net carbon emissions must be reduced by 80 percent as soon as possible. Because we wish to continue to live on a habitable planet, we demand a carbon reduction of 20 percent of current emissions per year over the next four years.
Dwayne Andreas, former CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, has said, “There isn’t one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians.” He’s right. Capitalism is based almost entirely on subsidies. For example, commercial fishing fleets worldwide receive more in subsidies than the entire value of their catch. Timber corporations, oil corporations, banks — all would collapse immediately without massive government subsidies and bailouts. Therefore, we demand that the United States government stop subsidizing environmentally and socially destructive activities, and shift those same subsidies into activities that restore biotic communities and that promote local self-sufficiency and vibrant local economies.
We demand an immediate and permanent halt to all extractive and destructive activities: fracking, mountaintop removal, tar sands production, nuclear power, and offshore drilling chief among them. The list of activities to be halted must also include the manufacture of photovoltaic panels, windmills, hybrid cars, and so on. We must find nondestructive ways of becoming a sustainable society.
We demand an immediate end to monocrop agriculture, one of the most destructive activities humans have ever perpetrated. All remaining native forests must be immediately and completely protected. We demand an end to clearcutting, “leave tree,” “seed tree,” “shelter tree,” and all other “even-aged management” techniques, no matter what they are called, and no matter what rationales are put forward by the timber industry and the government to justify them. Likewise, we demand that all remaining prairies and wetlands be permanently protected.
Further, we demand that all damaged lands be restored, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. Because soil is the basis of terrestrial life, no activities should be allowed that destroy topsoil. All properties over sixty acres must have soil surveys performed every ten years, and if they have suffered any decrease in health or depth of topsoil, the lands shall be confiscated and ownership transferred to those who will build up soil.
We demand that no activities that draw down aquifers be allowed, and that all polluted or compromised rivers and wetlands be restored. There are more than 2 million dams in the United States, more than 60,000 dams over thirteen feet tall and more than 70,000 dams over six and a half feet tall. If we removed one of these 70,000 dams each day, it would take 200 years to get rid of them all. Salmon don’t have that much time. Sturgeon don’t have that much time. Therefore, we demand that no more dams be built, and we demand the removal of five dams per day over the next forty years, beginning one year from today.
We demand that the United States make an annual survey of all endangered species to ascertain if they are increasing in number and range, and if they are not, we demand that steps be taken to make sure that they do. The U.S. government must be charged with the task of doing whatever is necessary to make sure that there are more migratory songbirds every year than the year before, that there are more native fish every year than the year before, more native reptiles and amphibians.
The United States must immediately withdraw from NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and other so-called free trade agreements, because these agreements cause immeasurable and irreparable harm to working people, local economies. Likewise, we demand that the United States remove all support for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, because these organizations promote and support vast infrastructure projects such as highways, dams, thermal power projects, and mines that disrupt or destroy entire biomes and dispossess and immiserate hundreds of thousands of people (in India alone, 50 million people have been displaced by large “development” projects).
From this day forward, the only conditions under which the United States of America should go to war is by a direct vote of more than 50 percent of U.S. citizens. Furthermore, we demand immediate closure of all U.S. military bases on foreign soil. All U.S. military personnel should be brought home within two years. The U.S. military budget must be reduced by 20 percent per year, until it reaches 20 percent of its current size. This will provide the “peace dividend” politicians promised us back when the Soviet Union collapsed, will balance the U.S. budget, and will more than pay for all necessary domestic programs, starting with biome repair and including food, shelter, and medical care for all.
In addition to the aforementioned, we demand that the U.S. government itself undergo a significant transformation in recognition of the fact that it can only be of, by, and for the people if it is concurrently of, by, and for the earth. And no, the fact that the animals and plants and natural communities don’t speak English is not a valid excuse for failing to provide for their well-being.
Once these demands have been met, we will come up with more, and then more, until we are living in a sane, just, and sustainable culture. We believe that such a culture is our birthright, both as human beings with inalienable rights and as animals who love our home. We have not forgotten that the Declaration of Independence states that when a government becomes destructive of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.
A 4th of July wish list? I thought Xmas and New Years were the times to launch such missives into the skies of magical possibilities. Maybe Derrick is doing this to remind us how totally impossible it is to get any of these wishes/demands fulfilled through the ordinary channels that we are constantly told are the proper means for accomplishing social changes. The same channels that have been carefully rigged to eliminate any chance that they might work to get you what you want. Ergo: on to the revolution! The sad truth is that hasnâ€™t worked either. And never will.
Never until we meet the enemy: us. Yes, the old possum was wiser than most of his human cousins. We are the problem. And nothing is going to really change for the better until we fix us. Or better, transform ourselves. Because there is so much about us that needs to change, a few repairs to the old model just arenâ€™t going to cut it. We need a whole new model, with completely new and fundamentally altered programming.
Is such a radical makeover possible? Yes, the basic instructions to do this have been around a long time in various formulations. The generic name for them is â€œspiritual pathsâ€. Am I talking about religion? No, things classified under that heading have generally gone so fundamentally awry that they no longer qualify as true paths. They have been corrupted over time in the same manner as all the other institutions of culture all over the planet. Of course there are exceptions, but they are relatively miniscule in the big picture.
How does one find these transformative methods? You look, you seek them out. Then you will need to join with a few others to translate them into understandings and procedures that will be effective for inhabitants of the â€œmodernâ€ world. There is a lot of work to be done (in former times it was known as The Great Work) but the reward of a new human and a new world are well worth it. Letâ€™s get started! (Like Derrick I am filled with an insane and unreasonable hope sometimes, that folks will wake from their lethal trance and suddenly start working to save themselves. Forgive me. The deafening silence that usually meets my offerings will undoubtedly sober me up, and return me to an uneasy foreboding about our future as a species.)
Revolution has worked. it’s the only thing that ever has. It may not work every-time. But it’s the only viable option.
Waiting for everyone-else to wake-up is suicide. “be the change..” is inverted.
!) Removing the dams will require a substantial amount of energy. If not done with care, it will devastate wildlife. At five dams per day, we’re still talking 40 years during which time we need some amount of oil and gas and other resources to remove the dam materials.
I like the idea of removing all dams. I just don’t see it happening without some degree of technology that is elsewhere being rejected in this document.
2) Voluntary cooperation is the only sustainable basis for society. Many, if not virtually all the members of the society that I live in want to have the technologies that are being rejected here.
I fear that the change will not happen until nature makes it happen. That doesn’t seem to me to be far off either. Have a look at the number of reported bird and fish kills in the United States in just the last few weeks:
The most important thing is ending this culture. temporary destruction to wildlife and people…is a better alternative than business-as-usual.
There are no good options. There are no easy-outs or viable easy-transitions.
Pler — If revolution works so well, why are we where we are now? Have you checked out what is going on in Egypt these days? That was so predictable. Putting oneâ€™s faith in revolution is like doing the same old things we have done throughout history, and expecting different results.
Pler — Ending this culture appeals to those better at tearing things down than they are at building something new. This culture really does not need a lot of help to destroy itself. If you just step back and let it fall, you will save yourself a lot of energy which could then be used to create something better to build on the ashes.
Pie in the sky.
I never said revolution worked well – I said that it’s the only thing that has ever worked.
Any time people have gained liberation from oppression, some force has been required. I don’t think that now is any exception either
I know that civilization will collapse itself eventually. I don’t want to wait around that long. I don’t want to wait until Tigers have gone extinct…I don’t want to wait until there are no more grizzly bears or wild salmon..old growth forests..prairies..or wild humans. I don’t want to wait until our toxic body burdens are all too much to bare.
Your complacency in the face of injustice, ecocide, and mass-murder is not wisdom. it’s absurd.
Thank you Derrick for the specifity of your clarities.
This agreement already exists among the elders of our landscapes – and this is the path with the vitality of life!
The singing revolution of Estonia is a nonviolent template for successful sudden revolution.
The destroyers foster a trance of dependency which lives through the surrender of personal/collective power. As we gain awareness that the true power is with the earth and come to this collective realization there will be a sudden powerful change.
May we all feed this alliance with the deep sacred beauty of the Mystery of existence on this brilliant planet and collectively say STOP to the destruction.It is life that we all truly want to say YES Too!
Pler — I am a long way from being complacent about our world, and I do not recommend sitting on our hands and waiting for pie to miraculously manifest from somewhere beyond ourselves. Our situation is urgent, and needs our immediate action. The question is: what action(s) do we need to engage? There are many dimensions and venues from which action can be initiated. Which ones will be the most effective for our long term deliverance from the nightmare we have created for each other?
If we limit ourselves to the methods of direct and forcible action against the external manifestations of our problems, the infrastructures and primary human agents of civilization and empire, we will be missing the primary source of all our problems: ourselves. We are what needs to change. If that happens in the right way then we will stop creating the mess we are in and build something better. If we simply tear down the existing external structures (like dams) and yet remain the same selfish, uncooperative, ignorant people, nothing will really change, because like most â€œrevolutionsâ€ we will rebuild the same old flawed culture that was just torn down in the name of â€œprogressâ€.
Only better people can make a better world. We had better get busy developing the means to produce these better people, before it is too late to repair the colossal failure that our civilization represents.
Treothe — Tell me more about the singing revolution of Estonia?
In arising as intelligent beings on this planet, we are presented with a great problem: how do we live well together, so that we may grow to higher levels of wisdom and love?
We have forgotten that this is our primary task. As a result we are destroying each other and our world.
To save ourselves we need to remember our mission, and work to accomplish it. We can begin by coming together in small groups to deeply consider these things, and make truth, love, and beauty effective realities in ourselves and in our world. Is there any other purpose or meaning higher than this?
Question: “how do we live well together, so that we may grow to higher levels of wisdom and love?”
I can’t say that I have the answer to this. I’m not even entirely sure it’s the right question but I like it anyway…. growing in wisdom and love sound like good things.
I’m reading E.O. Wilson’s newest book, The Social Conquest of Earth, and recommend it. I think he’s onto something important. We’re the products (socially) of both individual selection and group selection.
It seems like we’ve evolved cooperation and empathy out of competition and antipathy. As selfish individuals, we reached a point of intelligence during our evolution where we could gain more for ourselves by cooperating with a few of our fellow beings in order to out-compete other selfish individuals (so meta-competition at the group level still exists). There are experiments now about this and I also recommend Jonathan Haidt’s latest TED talk for an example:
The July 2012 issue of Scientific American also has an article about the evolution of cooperation by yet another Harvard biologist, Martin A. Nowak (“Why We Help”) that is also worth reading.
The reason why cooperative beings don’t always take over and win is that you always have a problem with free-loaders who will take what they can from group efforts without contributing in return. You have to solve that problem if the social organisation is to be sustainable. Money for labor is how our society usually does it (so when you hear the word sustainable always ask “over what time period?”).
There’s a narrative that humans are basically selfish, and another about how we are intrinsically social and empathetic. Are we more chimp or bonobo?
It’s clear to me that we’re both, and that trying to deny either part of our nature doesn’t advance the cause of sustaining ourselves for long on this planet. Somehow our competitive instincts have to be put to use toward the goal of sustainability.
In the story where we’re intrinsically good and generous beings, there’s often some villain who has caused the terrible injustices we’re suffering. Maybe it’s the Bilderbergs or Monsanto or GOP. In the darkest reaches of the conspiracy world, it is reptoids from another planet or another dimension who are here to feed on our misery and sorrow.
I call these myths out because they are great distractions to the cause of sustainability. They place the blame elsewhere and in so doing they avoid any real possibilities of change. Virtually all of us are “the problem”. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use fossil fuels, even as I know people who don’t buy them. Certainly no one reading these words can put themselves above reproach, right?
I like where you end up, mike k, and think that this is our best hope:
“We can begin by coming together in small groups to deeply consider these things, and make truth, love, and beauty effective realities in ourselves and in our world.” The World Cafe is one structure for doing just this:
It’s time to move beyond outmoded and destructive religious and cultural dogmas, that are literally killing humanity and all living beings on the planet.
I would suggest checking out the writings and work of Martin Ball at http://www.entheological-paradigm.net/
I loved this piece. It’s everything I’ve been feeling and thinking about for the last few months. Thank you, Derrick for a wonderfully insightful and honest piece.
Despite the call to action, I still feel stuck. I agree with most of what is written in this declaration and feel whole-heartily that this type of change needs to happen ASAP. But I feel as though much of what is being asked is far too lofty to ask a government determined to destroy the natural world for their own personal profit. I think we need to discuss how to educate people and bring them on board with this cause. We need to help others realize what is happening and organize a large enough mass of people to redirect this corrupt government. Yet when I talk to friends and family and explain what is happening they either roll their eyes at my “extremist” viewpoints (and walk away) or reply with an apathetic “oh, well…there’s nothing I can do.”
I often feel very depressed thinking about how muffled our voices (the American public) have become. Or even how helpless people have begun to feel when it comes to democracy in action. I agree that we are now living in a corporatocracy…a place where money buys influence and political power. How can we reverse this? How can we revitalize the environmental movement and make it bigger and better than ever?
Kozandaishi — Martin Ball is suffering from ego inflation, a not too uncommon effect of a few entheogen experiences. When (if) he comes down, he may have some useful things to say.
Mike Lewinski — Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I would however point out that the enormous disparities in wealth and power in our world do not fit with the idea of wacko conspiracy theories. Those wielding this enormous power over the course of all of our lives do indeed bear responsibility for many of the disastrous phenomena threatening all of us. To equate the tiny power most of us individuals have with their mega power is not realistic. These major players have to be stopped, or all our platitudes and pious wishes will come to naught.
In the run-up to the Iraq invasion we witnessed the largest peaceful antiwar protest in world history. The small clique of politicians, military industrialists, and their lackeys in the press simply ignored the will of the people and international law and justice, and went ahead with their evil grab for oil as planned. This is just one example of the ability of the rich and powerful to work their harmful designs on the rest of us, and our precious environment. If a conspiracy is defined as a group of people planning and working together to accomplish nefarious and harmful designs, then we are indeed the largely helpless victims of these folks and their propaganda and power. This is a crucial obstacle to creating the world of fairness, justice, peace and sharing that some of us dream of. The small groups I speak of are more like revolutionary cells bent on overthrowing tyrants, than ineffective forums to bemoan and accept our fate under a system of power and oppression that is destroying the Earth. We need to awaken people to the realities of their oppression quickly before it is too late!
“Martin Ball is suffering from ego inflation, a not too uncommon effect of a few entheogen experiences.”
Tee-hee. Makes me wonder if the scientists barking up the “theory of everything” tree are similarly affected. 🙂
No! Stop It! Don’t! is all I keep hearing. It is not enough to curse the darkness. It is necessary that someone light the way. How can environmentalists denounce energy, even renewables, via their industrially-produced laptops, books, and magazines with a straight face?
I have been told NOT to eat conventional foods because they are poisonous and DON’T eat organics because they are not energy efficient. Unfortunately, the vegan website did not tell me what I AM supposed to eat..dandelions in the summer and acorns in the fall, I suppose; but what about winter? And shall we kill trees for heat instead of create solar panels? Or shall we allow our families to succumb to the famine and frost of a much more vicious era? It’s easy to be AGAINST damnation. All of humanity’s walls and fences (both physical and emotional) will come down with our without our blessing, inevitably.
What is much more challenging, and necessary for the survival of our families and the planet, is to be FOR better ideas. What are we offering other than whine and cheesey diatribes?
Vera — I am not looking down on Martin Ball for his current enthusiasms; been there done that. But after the dazzling brilliance of the occasional encounters with things of the Beyond, there come the periods of quiet reflection, as the bright sparks fall slowly to Earth and go out. Then we are tested as to our seriousness in the face of That, or our lack of it, and our proneness to forgetfulness. There is still real Magic and higher Meaning and the quest for it and the sharing and the hope. How we search makes all the difference. Although sometimes the most precious things we find are hard to share with any but those also on the questâ€¦
Brenda — Sometimes we need to understand the darkness better in order to find how to light the way.
Brenda, you wanna light the way? Get together with a few others and start something good. It does not take a brainiac; anybody can do it.
Here, we just bat words back and forth… 🙂
“We are the sharpened point of the spearhead of humanity. We are the “penetrators,” the “first-ones-into-the-unknown.” And thus we must be the creators of our future, and we must lead our tribes back toward a transcendent dialogue with G/d before it is too late. This is not the tribal God of war, not the God of industry that is exhorted from pulpits of propaganda and patriotism: I am talking about the self-realized G/d. The only real G/d. The G/d contained within each and every one of us.”
âˆ’James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad
Kozandaichi — James Oroc makes a lot more sense to me than Martin Ball. Thanks for the link, it is quite informative. Because of the dire crisis of humanity at this time, I think it is totally legitimate for all possible avenues of deliverance to be explored. In my previous comment I did not mean to imply that I was on the same page as those who ignorantly condemn entheogenic experimentation. On the contrary I feel this area contains incredible potential for leading us out of our current inner darkness. The obstacles to this pathway, however, are formidable.
Our almost terminally sick culture resists with particular vigor those methods and possibilities for a deep cure of ourselves that are perceived as outside the conventions of our warped cultural values. This ignorant backlash of society represents itâ€™s attempt to cling to itâ€™s failed self image and disastrous agendas. This remains the chief obstacle to visionary and truly spiritual solutions. Then there are the erroneous beliefs among some entheogen enthusiasts that represent distortions of their own persistent ego delusions, that inevitably turn off the uninformed public, and give the whole possible movement a bad name. The manic effusions of Martin Ball had that quality for me. Maybe I am too harsh there
We must realize and accept that there is a tremendous amount of thoughtful work that needs to be done among those who glimpse the enormous potentials of entheogenic use. This is in some ways equivalent to devising a new religion for humanity, based on principles that are more spiritually advanced than the current popular mass religions. A new language and deeper principles need to be the foundations for such an enlightened framework for proper use of these powerful awakening substances.
In my own life entheogens played an important role. However subsequent development of meditation practice, study, working in a Sufi group has been crucial for me to unfold the promise of initial experiences. This has been true for others who I have shared notes with on our journeys. I feel that we are at the very beginning of developing advanced methods of spiritual realization that will be accessible to all levels of humanity. I am part of small group that is just concluding a long in depth study of Sri Aurobindoâ€™s book A Synthesis of Yoga. Many strands will need to be woven into the unfolding tapestry of a new spiritual pathway beyond our current confusions.
This article and subsequent discussion have proved to be very rich food for thought. I concur with Sarah W and Brenda Songy that Derek Jensen’s exhortations may go too far in decrying what’s wrong, without providing practicable pathways through the more vital challenge “to be FOR better ideas.” (And thanks to Brenda for the phrase “whine and cheesy diatribes.”)
Mike Lewinski suggests World CafÃ© as a method for accoplishing mike k’s resonant suggestion:
“We can begin by coming together in small groups to deeply consider these things, and make truth, love, and beauty effective realities in ourselves and in our world.”
I have also found World CafÃ© a useful tool. Thereâ€™s a great set of similar tools for coalescing the brilliance of small groups at Liberating Structures (http://www.liberatingstructures.com/). But this only gets us working together in small groups. The essence of the argument for multilevel or group selection (as discussed by Jonathan Haidt) is that this is an evolutionarily stable strategy for competing with other groups.
Can we rethink what that competition is? Could it be a competition between groups for the best solutions, the most vibrant, ecologically-integrated, just and regenerative communities? Could local pride and tribalism work in way that didnâ€™t invite violence, but instead amplified positive deviance? Maybe these are the questions to explore via World CafÃ© and similar tools. Such questions invite us to dissolve the self in the greater â€œwe,â€ perhaps even at the global level, in a collective effort by humans to improve the well-being of all.
I have a longer blog post about this at drpongo.wordpress.com.
Michelle — What I am saying (as in #9 above) is that inner transformation of human minds of sufficient depth and involving enough people is the key to our survival and qualification to manifest the further development of the human capacities of which we are capable. The obsession we have with competition is one of the problems that threaten to destroy us. We need a new mind with new priorities and new ways of realizing them. The small groups I speak of have this transformation as their primary business. I have a lot of ideas and experience relative to how this might be implemented. The initial problem is to get people to even consider this inner pathway (I can see some rolling their eyes at this language, thinking â€œnew age cultâ€) given the materialist conditioning our current age has inculcated in most of us. Many of the spiritual paths from earliest times, shamanism onward have worked with some of the basic methodologies for inner transformation, and we can learn much from a selective use of their wisdom. What is needed now is to reformat knowledge from diverse spheres into a process which can be presented and shared that is free from dogmatism, superstition, egotism, etc. Unless we find ways to awaken the true possible human within us, all our fussing with external fixes will come to naught. The early Greek playwrights and Pogo were right: We carry the seeds of our own destruction within our minds. The Delphic Oracle advised: know thyself. She might have added; or else!
BTW I am exploring your fascinating site. I am finding a lot of deep considering thereâ€¦
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” -Buckminster Fuller
Terence McKenna video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hv_TPlmjkQ&feature=g-all-f
So American! Why not include the rest of the world?
Somehow we have to grasp much more adequately the sum and substance of our distinctly human nature, with special attention given to improving our â€˜reality orientationâ€™ with regard to such vital issues as human population dynamics. Although relatively small in number, evolutionary biologists and scientists in other fields of research understand what the best available science indicates to us about the skyrocketing growth of absolute global human population numbers in our time.Research of outstanding scientists indicate that the population dynamics of the human species is essentially similar to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species. We have uncontested, apparently unforeseen and unfortunately unwelcome scientific evidence regarding the â€˜placementâ€™ of the human species within the order of living things that is everywhere denied; whereas, preternatural theories (eg, Demographic Transition Theory), political ideologies (eg, Conservatism and Liberalism) and economic theologies (eg, neoclassical economics) are widely shared and consensually validated as somehow supported by science. To elect to extol the virtue of ideas that have been refuted by scientific research (evidence which is consciously and deliberately ignored, avoided and denied) cannot be construed as the right thing to do. Even though ‘political correctness’ is predominant and accepted as real, when theory, ideology and theology are directly contradicted by science, then science must be shared. Scientific knowledge must prevail over theory, ideology and theology.
Another speech at the wall, Steve? Are you socially impaired, or is it by willful design?
Steve — I admire your consistent determination to express your vision of truth in spite of negative feedback and ad hominem attacks. Carry on, I am one who has learned from your sharing.
Tee-hee. Determination, he’s got. Sharing? He would not know sharing if it hit him in the head. All he does is make speeches in his head. Solipsism, anyone?
If open dialog were not such an essential key to our survival, it might be ok to decide that it doesnâ€™t merit careful consideration of how to fruitfully engage in it. Respectful listening to those you may disagree with, or whose style of presentation rubs you the wrong way, helps maintain a democratic free speech basis for discussion. Personal attacks and snide remarks usually say more about the one uttering them than about the one they are directed at. In any case, they lower the level of discourse and spoil any atmosphere of mutual respect and harmony. Interacting in groups — even online — has taught me a lot about undesirable aspects of my own ego. Whatever the momentary delight in delivering a clever put-down, the net result of such moves proves other than truly rewarding. If our ideal is world peace, maybe we should begin with a little mutual patience and politeness? Our words have impacts for good or ill. Perhaps Buddha was onto something when he included right speech as a basic spiritual practice.
Well, that’s the question, isn’t it. Someone who has come into Orion forums for years, to speechify at us, how long does one put up with it? Orion does not like it, yet they do not wish to interfere. I respect that. That leaves me to say something. So I do. I am fed up… not with his opinions, but with his lack of social regard for others.
I see no “respectful listening” or “right speech” from Steve. All I see is misusing these forums as his “bully pulpit.”
Vera — I hear your irritation, and you have a right to feel your feelings, and yes, to air them in a forum. I think Steve has a thick enough skin that he is not going to be injured — or silenced! Its just that for me free speech trumps my feelings or personal opinions. It also gives me an opportunity to learn to maintain â€œnoble silenceâ€ or simply to put a lid on it when I am irked — something my wife gently reminds me might sometimes be a good idea.
Actually, there is new material often in Steveâ€™s sharings, and I have learned from those population experts he links to. He has made me aware of the links between what we eat, topsoil depletion, and unsustainable population numbers. Donâ€™t repeat R. Riversongâ€™s mistake of asking Orion to censor folks that bugged him. (I kinda miss Robert — that guy could really get my goat!)
I never asked Orion to censor him; just discussed my annoyance with him with someone… can’t remember if it was Scott or someone else. In those days, they were thinking of creating a discussion on population, I believe. Not that it would have worked… He barges in all over the place, not just here. No fear of thin skin there… more like teflon, I’m afraid.
I miss Robert too. Amazing, the way he stirred up stuff, for no purpose at all, eh? When we mostly agreed with him on the substance…
Thank you, Mike, for such kind and thoughtful words. Let me share with all of you something else that seems self-evident.
How can we fail to see something so huge and visible as a human-induced global predicament? The predicament is in front of us for all to see. Perhaps many cannot see because they have been fooled by fools.
For human beings to count human population numbers is simple, really simple. The population dynamics of human beings with feet of clay are obvious and fully comprehensible. We have allowed ourselves to be dazzled by the BS of demographers just the way human beings have been deceived and victimized by the economic theologians on Wall Street. Demographers and economists are not scientists. â€˜The brightest and the bestâ€™ have sold their souls to greedmongers, duped the rest of us, made it difficult to see what is real, proclaimed what is known to be knowable as unknowable, engaged in the their own brands of alchemy. In their dishonest and duplicitous efforts to please the self-proclaimed masters of the universe, also known as the keepers of the â€˜golden calfâ€™ (a symbol now easily visible as the â€œraging bullâ€ on Wall Street), they perpetrate frauds at everyone elseâ€™s expense, threaten the childrenâ€™s future, put life as we know it at risk, and are consciously, deliberately, actively precipitating the destruction of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Never in the course of human events have so few taken so much from so many and left so little for others.
There are many too many overly educated â€œwise guysâ€ among us who see the blessed world we inhabit through the lens of their own hubris and selfishness, and see themselves somehow as Homo sapiens sapiens and masters of the universe, as corporate kings and emperorâ€™s with clothes. They supposedly are the brightest and best, the smartest guys in the room, like the guy who used to run the global political economy without recognizing that there was an â€œideological flawâ€ in his economic theories and models, the same guy who reported he could not name 5 guys smarter than himself. These are the guys who have sold their souls, denied science, abjectly failed humanity, forsaken life as we know it, the Earth and God. These ideologues rule the world now and can best be characterized by their malignant narcissism, pathological arrogance, risky addictions, extreme foolishness and wanton greed.
Who but a determined narcissist would keep saying the same thing over and over, in speeches prepared for his own ego, recycling the same phrases for years, and regardless of how the discussion goes?
Would you would occasionally pay attention to, and then comment upon the message? You regularly deny the message. It is the message that matters. Anyone can share anything. To focus on the messenger misses the point of all sharing.
My goodness, Steve. You actually made a connection after all these years! Well, since you have reached out as though I am a real human being and not just a vessel to pour your speeches into, I will respond.
Can you document where I have denied your message? I may have disagreed slightly years ago. I mostly agree. What bothers me is that you behave as though relationships could be completely ignored, and that because you have a message worth hearing, you can trample over those very relationships. You sound to me like a narcissistic man who thinks that those with valid messages are *entitled* to trample human relationships, or at best to ignore them.
From my point of view, you have it backwards. Those who trample over human relationships (for whatever “noble” excuse) are still contributing to the evils of the world. After all, it’s what we DO unto others that matters far more than mere words.
I would welcome your side of the story.
We have been down this road before. I cannot think of anything more to say.
Vera — I am curious. How do you see Steve â€œtrampling over human relationshipsâ€? That sounds pretty serious, but what exactly do you see him doing?
What do I see him doing is barging into forums and blogs without any respect for the flow of the conversation, for the state of the discussion that is happening there — indeed without any regard at all for what the discussants are saying and whether his speeches might be intrusive. He wants to be listened to but rarely shows any awareness of himself listening to anything the discussants say. If he does, it is only in relation to *his* ideas, never theirs.
He in fact expects and feels entitled to be listened to without first building relationships with the people in the forum, and creating a sense of reciprocal give-and-take. Not for him to be bothered by the demands of social discourse. That is the DOING I see. In the absence of efforts to build social connections with those he imagines he is addressing, his words strike me largely as self-centered grandstanding. Even Toastmasters require give and take with the listeners…
Try finding a quiet place on this Earth where there is more than about two minutes of relief from man-made machine noise. We (the people and the animals) demand relief from engine noise. We especially demand that all commercial air traffic cease. The destruction to the upper atmosphere, the consumption of fossil fuels, the wiping out of natural soundscapes across the globe, and the resulting stress and reproductive decline of myriad species require an end to what is now ubiquitous practice: flying here and there and everywhere.
The trouble we have caused is so deep, nothing short of a total transformation of Western (now global) civilization will be sufficient. Derrick has it right. There is so much we have to give up that we consider our birthright. In these circumstances, asking that we be told what to DO instead of what NOT to do is like demanding that we have a new shell before we shed the old one. This is what is asked of us now. To shed the old without knowing what the new will look like. Stop doing all these destructive things, shed the life-threatening habits and assumptions about what we want and need in our lives. Start paying attention to how the natural world actually works, and bring our lives into accord with natural processes. When we are wise enough to do our work in harmony with the natural order, then we can do and do and do and it will all contribute to life. But for now there is so much that we must stop doing, because the way we do it is in conflict with natural processes and destructive to life.
For me, paying attention is the key, not formulas or plans or programs. Listening and looking and learning from the animals and the plants and the Earth. Humbling ourselves before the amazing productivity of Life. We don’t know any more how to live well by instinct, our instincts have all been twisted, so now we have to learn from the other inhabitants of the Earth how to live well and then do it intentionally.
Thank you, Derrick.
JohnC — Your ideas are excellent, but I wonder if you have read some of Derrickâ€™s books that outline his proposals in more depth? I am thinking especially of his recent â€œDeep Green Resistanceâ€ which he wrote with his friends Lierre Keith and Aric McBay. The first part of the book explains that however important individual change may be for changing our world, we will never be able to prevent the ongoing destruction of our world by the forces of corporate greed and power, unless we mount an effective direct resistance to their rule. In order to do this we will need to organize a movement willing to do battle with these entrenched interests by direct actions against them. This book is very well written, and has changed my mind about a lot of things. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
In short, I have now come to understand that leaving Babylon will not lead to the world we dream of, unless we leave only to regroup and return to totally dismantle Babylon for once and all.
BTW — The second half of Deep Green Resistance is an in depth examination of how to organize an effective active resistance to the corporate/fascist powers that are destroying life on Earth.
I just read for frist time information Derrick Jensen provided I some of could be true and other parts not so. Like companies get sudsidies did you all know that big power companies in wind mill are get up $2mill dollars back for each wind mill and that the wind mills do not have to do a wild life impact study, also that they have distory meny arces of wild life haditat
There is one other thing that I want to raise, Mike, to wrap this up. Steve has had feedback from other people including folks at Orion, but he never shows any inclination to act on it, to learn from it, and to modify his style to make it more congenial to those who may be interested in what he says. Apparently, the wishes of the hoi poloi don’t matter at all; all that matters is HIS message and HIS style of delivering it. On the rare occasion when he does engage, as soon as it looks like he would be expected to self-disclose, to consider others’ point of view, to show some vulnerability perhaps, he walks off in a huff.
Thank you for helping me get this off my chest. Now, back to Derrick’s stuff! 🙂 I confess that I find the DGR book profoundly troubling.
Dear Sam, Mike K and John C,
How do we get from where we are now to a non-fossil fuel global economy? So great is the power of the fossil fools who organize and manage the global political economy and rule the world in our time, it would mean that David would have to take on Goliath again; that human beings with feet of clay would have win over the self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us. We are faced with really long odds and are in need of the advent of something new, different and real that would appear to all the world as a miracle.
Vera — What troubles you about DGR?
Well, for starters, here is one thing. They say they are all for “security culture” yet they pursue “in your face tactics” openly threatening the PTB. You don’t get far yelling down a psychopath and threatening him with damage and destruction. Eh?
Vera — Let me share a few thoughts in response to your reaction to DGR.
1. How do you recruit folks for a movement without some form of publicity?
2. Just two examples of successful in your face resistances: the civil rights movement and the suffragettes.
3. I think Derrick et al are taking advantage of the few days of our civil liberties that may be left to get their message out.
4. The message is not addressed only to those who will go underground, but acknowledges that these will be a distinct minority of those who respond.
5. Such a movement needs to have a â€œbibleâ€ in print to help organize and educate those seeking to initiate active resistance.
6. To date I cannot think of a single act of sabotage that has been linked to any such movement. If and when such does occur, then the sparks will begin to fly. But then, who ever heard of a revolution without sparks?
7. What better options are there?
8. Time is short. We donâ€™t have the luxury of a long mobilization process.
I could say more, but thatâ€™s for starters. This is not to say that I donâ€™t have my own reservations and questions about this initiative. But I would like to get your thoughts on it first?
Well, I sympathize with what you say, but advertising yourself to the enemy long before anything is done is simply a way to get effectively infiltrated.
What is your beef with them?
Vera — As far as infiltration, that is a given that must be dealt with at any stage of a resistance operation. The first time Derrick wrote a book, he put himself on an enemies list somewhere in the caverns of our rulers. You and I are also listed. Do you want to stop blogging as a result? Some would. You wonâ€™t. Nor I. Being a free thinker has its advantages, and its risks.
As to the value of their style of resistance, I wonder if it can achieve the positive outcome they hope for. Planetary life is so complicated and uncertain! On the other hand, as you know better than most, every conceivable proposal has the same dangers and lack of guaranties. As Kierkegaard put it: â€œTo venture is to risk defeat; but not to venture is to lose oneâ€™s Soul.â€ We are in a forced situation, to do nothing is probably to face certain defeat. Its like one of those devilish Zen Koans: Quick you must answer! Life is often not fair, as I understand fair.
Fortunately its not all up to me, though in my occasional foolish fantasies I sometimes wish it was. But if it was, I wonder if I would do the wisest thing? Kinda like the three wishes trapâ€¦
How does a woman living with a dangerous psychopath recruit allies? Very very discreetly.
DGR could have emulated the very successful model of a security culture provided by folks such as ALF (Animal Liberation Front). These folks vetted people, trained them in secret locations after all sorts of precautions against having been followed. Only first names were used, no paperwork or notes allowed. And so on. Last I heard, they had not gotten infiltrated (in the U.S.). (Their success drove the labs underground.)
Whether or not I or you or Derrick are on the list, and perhaps we are, that is not what I was addressing. I am not endangering anyone but myself. Derrick’s expensive workshops lure young people hoping to do something brave. They can barely afford them, but I am sure the guvmint’s agents can spring the fee and show up to get their dossiers going. That creates a situation where you are a marked person as soon as you show up. Security culture? They gotta be kidding.
And then you raise another issue. Positive outcome? How could wreaking more destruction on top of the div’s destruction be a positive outcome? The war to end all wars? It never works. There’s gotta be another way.
sorry, typo: should have said “civ’s destruction”
Vera — I think I can tell from your comments that you have not read DGR. Security questions are given in depth coverage. As for your concern for young people attending Derrickâ€™s lectures, I donâ€™t think they should have any special concern. Anyone who uses any electronic communication device has had all their conversations run thru the immense facilities and super computers at NSA and elsewhere. Soon there will be almost no person in the USA who does not have a file in the security state archives. I am surprised at your assumption that we have to do something special to come under scrutiny in this constantly developing police state.
Whether hastening the collapse of civilization will mitigate its increasingly lethal effects on all life is open to question, and is in my opinion impossible to decide with anything near certainty. The argument of DGR is that one thing is certain: if this current regime continues as it is, and it shows no sign of stopping, the human race and countless living beings will soon be toast. Desperate times call for desperate measures. It is for each to decide how desperate and immediate those measures need to be. Spaceship Earth has madmen at the helm.
I salute Orion for their courage in publishing DJâ€™s ideas. It probably turns off a lot of middle class readers, who must think he is insane. A little uncontroversial light green consumerism is about all many are really up for. After all, the Naked Truth is pretty strong medicine.
What exactly leads you to postulate that I haven’t read DGR, Mike? Because my idea of a security culture is more like ALF’s and not theirs?
Vera — So you read it? Guess I was wrong. There is a big difference between the security situation of a relatively small group like ALF with its limited objectives, and planning an operation big enough to take down the US government. If you are thinking there is some perfect way to ensure security within a clandestine organization, there is not, never has been never will be. What they are planning is how best to deal with the inevitable leaks, moles, intrusions, surveillances, slip ups, detections, etc. War is messy, there are screw ups, people get hurt. One of the themes of the book is that people who want to be critical of the possibility of this ever working will find innumerable reasons to excuse themselves from being a part of it. That is how it is. Liberals and people on the left want to postpone action or come up with vague ideas, but never commit themselves to real action with all its uncertain and imperfect scenarios. The intellectuals are always caught by surprise when people just get out there and make things happen somehow and it turns out to work. Does it always work? Of course not. But while most of us are sitting around trying to think how it could be made safe and perfect, a few are willing to take the risk to make things happen. Am I going underground and taking part in physical actions? No, I am getting a little to old for that kind of action. But I am not going to sit around pontificating on why it can never work. I donâ€™t know that. Nobody knows that.
Take down the U.S. govmint? Huh? And then what? I thought they meant to take down civ and let the various guvmints fall where they may…
Vera — There is no space between the Elites that rule the world, the US government, and civilization. If you stop one, you effectively stop them all. At least the dismantling of the US hegemony could send the other dominoes cascading into oblivion – maybe. One of the weakest points in the DGR scheme is their vague notions about what kind of world will succeed their demolition derby. If they achieve their deconstructive goals, they may have only created a bigger mess than we are in now. They only give scant attention to this problem. I guess its more stimulating to tear things down than to carefully rebuild them. A problem with all our schemes to save the world is that in our enthusiasm to come up with something that works, we tend to let our critical faculties go on vacation and embrace a lot of questionable assumptions. These unacknowledged downsides could be fatal to our success. On the other hand, thus does conscience make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied oâ€™er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprise of great pitch and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action. Must give us pause. We just donâ€™t have forever to implement whatever ideas we have to turn the tide of the world, which is fast ebbing towards oblivion.
I need to say that I find it disappointing that there are not more participants in these Orion comments threads. The whole purpose of the magazine as I understand it is to stimulate ideas and initiatives to save our dying planet. Is there anybody out there?!
Chris Hedges on Capitalism’s Sacrifice Zones
“The United States is one big reservation, and we are all in it.”
Thanks KDZ. Chris Hedges is a genius of humanity. I follow him every Monday on Truthdig.com.
The USA is a giant plantation and we are indentured slaves on it. If you step out of line you could end up in prison and/or be tortured.
“One of the weakest points in the DGR scheme is their vague notions about what kind of world will succeed their demolition derby. If they achieve their deconstructive goals, they may have only created a bigger mess than we are in now. They only give scant attention to this problem.”
You hit the nail on the head Mike. And the correlation is, when people focus on the skills of demolition, what happens when it’s done and a whole other set of skills are needed? Or will they just keep on with the destruction because that’s all they know?
Sure would be nice if folks came back. Wade? Others?
Sorry, the whole link did not go through a moment ago
Vera — On the other hand revolutions often do move the ball forward, even though their aftermaths are not Edenic. The civil rights movement helped a lot of folks considerably, though it fell short of MLKâ€™s dream. Getting rid of Stalin and his successors reduced the gulag population considerably, although Gorbachov could not turn Russia into a workerâ€™s paradise. Can we say that revolutions are part of a positive evolutionary process in spite of their many shortcomings? Sometimes a vigorous cleansing may be needed to birth new possibilities. Again: desperate times call for desperate measures, collateral damage to all concerned notwithstanding. It is interesting to compare this to the traumatic upheavals that have been necessary for human life to evolve. Poor dinosaurs!
Steve — Is it possible that you posted the link to McKennaâ€™s wild rant? What are you suggesting? He reminds me of some of the typical acid gurus I encountered in the 60â€™s. Is he going to lead us out of Babylon? Isnâ€™t he the one who provided a lot of the juice for this totally wacko 2012 nonsense. Yeah I read some of his stuff years ago. With guys like him for guides you are guaranteed to get nowhere but lost. Enlighten me how this dude is going to help us solve our very real problems? Just drop some acid and all will be well? There is a serious possibility of real inner growth through entheongen use properly conducted. But at this late stage of our cultural nightmare these substances probably do more harm than good. In a more sane world there may be a place for them, but not in the context of desperate need for deliverance we are in now.
I still find it hard to believe that you would subscribe to this fantasy world McKenna promoted. I respect anyoneâ€™s interest in the possibility that entheogens could play a role in a planetary awakening, however unlikely that might be. But I think it is at this point no more likely than cold fusion or a host of other wish fulfillment fantasies.
Dear Mike K,
Let us encourage more imagination, especially of the scientific sort, and also more ‘outside the box’ thinking.
Mike K –
I have not read Deep Green Resistance, but I probably should and will look for it. My hunch is that I will disagree with a lot of it. Not because I have an alternative grand plan, but because I deeply mistrust human motivations at this time.
The revolutionists are human too, just like those they seek to overthrow. If, as I suspect, the root of the problem is in “us” just as strongly as it is in “them” then the new order will be a differently dressed version of the old order. We don’t have time for any more of that pattern. I think the required transformation is political and social, but even more deeply human. Thus spiritual and psychological transformation is also part of the mix. Transformation is not the same as change. Change takes time. Transformation, as I mean it, is nearly instantaneous. As fast as “I changed my mind.” That’s what makes transformation our best hope. It happens that fast.
Steve – “How do we get from where we are now to a non-fossil fuel economy?”
I wish I knew! But even more, I wish I knew that that in itself would be enough. There are other ways to do damage, such as scaling up nuclear fission to replace oil and coal as sources of electricity for electric cars.
The only thing I can come up with that is fast enough and has enough of an impact is for all of us to hugely scale down our demands and desires. In the USA at least, our material “way of life” is considered non-negotiable.
It may still feel like an impossible thing to achieve, but at least it is possible in a practical sense. There are a few people who are slowing down, making do with less, living very, very lightly, consuming very little, traveling very little, and yet living well. I think the Earth can support that.
This can not be imposed on anyone. It happens freely or it doesn’t happen at all. So it probably won’t happen. But it might. All we have to do is to overcome our internal resistance to having and being less. No small psychological achievement, but possible.
I think that if we all just did it, those who depend on us to consume what they produce would be bereft. They would then likely try to impose on us the consumption of that which we no longer want or need, or try to commodify that which is currently provided by natural systems (air, water, soil, food). This is already happening in many ways (e.g. patents on seeds, massive bottled water operations drawing down aquifers) and many opportunities for determined fidelity to a simpler life in balance with natural systems are appearing and will appear. Outcome never clear.
I am not very well read on these things, and have a lot to learn. But I do hope that we can shift our attention a bit away from ourselves and onto the natural world, to learn from it not just from human knowledge bases. The Earth has so much to teach us about living in balance. I think it displays the wisdom and tenacity and resilience and cooperation and interdependence that we humans are rapidly trying to forget.
Finally, I have a very slow dialup connection and a 10-year old computer with a bad keyboard (it has taken me a couple of hours to get this down with all the typos needing correction!), so I do not spend much time online or on discussion forums, but I do find this conversation interesting and hope to drop in now and then if it continues.
best wishes to all.
Steve — I donâ€™t mean to underestimate the positive potentials of enteogenic research, having been involved in it myself. Here is something I published on James Orocâ€™s website (which I recommend) — â€œOnly it has been my observation in myself and others that one of the compromising effects of entheogenic ingestion is an unnatural and untrue inflation of the egoâ€™s drive towards omnipotence resulting in (usually temporary) delusions of grandeur. My own feeling is that these transcendent experiences need to be subject to a secondary process of evaluation and integration in order to yield their profound benefits for our ongoing spiritual development. Traditional practices such as meditation, study, selfless service, open sharing with others on the quest, etc. can help stabilize, and even deepen and clarify the impact of the entheogenic sessions. In the absence of these efforts, the ego may be all too ready to appropriate our experiences for its own inferior purposes.â€
JohnC — I like what you are sharing. You have a sincere interest in the problems we are considering. I feel sure that reading Deep Green Resistance would give you a deeper understanding of the issues and possibilities in our present difficult situation.
Dear Mike K,
Terrance McK had a lot to say. The energy he spent on enteogenic research struck me as a waste of time really. If we set that aside, how do you view the fruits of a fertile imagination?
Dear John C,
Steve — Imagination is an essential tool for creative work, but unless it is in service to reason and reality it can lead to delusion and error.
Dear Mike K,
There is nothing in your statement with which I could or would disagree.
Steve — I’m glad we are on the same page on this one. I respect your opinions.
It appears to me that there are several things we can at least begin to think about: learn how to live without fossil fuels; adapt to the end of economic growth; substitute a steady-state economy for the one we have now; stabilize human population numbers worldwide; and deal with the relentless dissipation of Earthâ€™s limited resources, the reckless degradation of its environs, the wanton extirpation of its biodiversity as well as confront other human-induced threats to our planetary home as a fit place for human habitation. In any event, I trust most of us can agree that stealing the birthright of children everywhere, mortgaging their future, and exposing them and life as we know it to danger cannot somehow be construed as the right things to be doing.
We have to think clearly and as keep our wits about us as we move away from big-business-as-usual practices to a way of life that embraces true sustainability, I suppose. Perhaps necessary changes to more sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.
Allow me a moment to be pedantic about your last comment? Imagination in ‘service’ of reason–or anything else–isn’t the imagination I recognize as part of the human experience.
Steve E. — Einstein used his fantasy or daydream of riding a beam of light to help construct the special theory of relativity. Kekule used his daydream of a snake swallowing its tail to discover the form of the benzene ring. These were cases where productions of the imagination were used for real world purposes. On the other hand the â€˜son of samâ€™ used imagined instructions from the Devil to murder people. On a deeper level we have the theory of Maya in Indian philosophy. Then there is the basic technique in Tibetan dream yoga where one constantly reminds oneself during the waking day â€œThis is a dream.â€
Yes, of course. Didn’t mean to suggest that imagination hasn’t served us or that you didn’t have a clear & thorough working definition of it (both of which your examples clearly illustrate!).
I was thinking in terms of the context of this discussion, i.e. the multitude of paradigm shifts, etc, that would have to take place in order to achieve the vision Jensen conceives of in his article. And I suppose what I wonder about is the extent to which our imaginations, which, as you point out can illuminate our universe & also run counter to our best interests–well, can these imaginations of ours be harnessed in ways that will better adapt us to the planet? Or is this way of thinking just a further refinement, as Jensen in some ways seems to argue (in other columns, if not exclusively in this one), of the worldview that has brought us to such unprecedented environmental problems in the first place.
Pulled this Einstein quote from wikipedia, which I found interesting (& which probably is illustrative of my own limited understanding of these matters, but I digress…): “In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality will become simpler and simpler and will explain a wider and wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is approached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the objective truth.”
Dear Mike K and Steve E,
Thanks for the helpful dialogue. Keep going….