The Oil Drum QuoteCollage (No Comments Just Quotes) 2/20/2009

I was going to write something tonight on natural capital and how all the talking heads on the networks are completely missing the bigger picture. Instead, let's mix it up a bit by having a post with one rule: anyone can post up to TWO (2) quotes (with or without links) from academic or historical literature that have bearing on the current social/financial/energy morass. Please, for this thread only, no discussion, just posting of educational, relevant, pithy, or interesting quotes. (For those unfamiliar with html, here is primer on blockquotes.)

The problems facing humanity have been discussed long before 2009 - we just happen to be living them. Let's try to accrue some generalist wisdom from the breadth of specialists that read and post here. My two, below the fold.

"The idea that low-entropy matter-energy is the ultimate natural resource requires some explanation. This can be provided easily by a short exposition of the laws of thermodynamics in terms of an apt image borrowed from Georgescu-Roegen. Consider an hour glass. It is a closed system in that no sand enters the glass and none leaves. The amount of sand in the glass is constant-no sand is created or destroyed within the hour glass. This is the analog of the first law of thermodynamics: there is no creation or destruction of matter-energy. Although the quantity of sand in the hour glass is constant, its qualitative distribution is constantly changing: the bottom chamber is filling up and the top chamber becoming empty. This is the analog of the second law, that entropy (bottom-chamber sand)always increases. Sand in the top chamber (low entropy) is capable of doing work by falling, like water at the top of a waterfall. Sand in the bottom chamber (high entropy) has spent its capacity to do work. The hour glass cannot be turned upside down: waste energy cannot be recycled, except by spending more energy to power the recycle than would be reclaimed in the amount recycled. As explained above, we have two sources of the ultimate natural resource, the solar and the terrestrial, and our dependence has shifted from the former toward the latter."

From Herman Daly and John Cobb, FOR THE COMMON GOOD, 1989


All animals present individual differences, and as man can modify his domesticated birds by selecting the individuals which appear to him the most beautiful, so the habitual or even occasional preference by the female of the more attractive males would almost certainly lead to their modification; and such modification might in the course of time be augmented to almost any extent, compatible with the existence of the species.

From Charles Darwin, 1871, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex p. 750-751.

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

Quote shamelessly grabbed right out of the random quotes section of

You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being. Aristotle was an encyclopedic polymath, an all time intellect. Yet not only can you know more than him about the world. You also can have a deeper understanding of how everything works. Such is the privilege of living after Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Watson, Crick and their colleagues.

For the first half of geological time our ancestors were bacteria. Most creatures still are bacteria, and each one of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria.

Richard Dawkins

"...we'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent life forms everywhere ... and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys."

Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.

Robert A. Heinlein

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
-Henry David Thoreau

We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

Origin debated - could be Roman..

Believe it was Petronius Arbiter about 230 BC

Perhaps Charlton Ogburn and a lot more recently than Roman times. The Arbiter attribution might be counted as a wishful appeal to authority, but the quote is couched in 20th century business-school jargon the Romans could not possibly have produced.

A pair of Alberts...

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

Albert Einstein

An oldie but a goodie...

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

Albert Bartlett

When you come to a fork in the road you should take it. Yogi Berra, I think.

Predictions are hard, especially when they involve the future. Yogi Berra I'm sure.

That money talks, I'll not deny
I heard it once, It said, "Goodbye".
Richard Armour

The flight crew of the future will consist of one pilot and a dog. The job of the pilot will be to feed the dog. The job of the dog is to bite the pilot if he tries to touch anything. -Stephen Fry

"Energy is what we have to spend not money, money, is who has the energy."
-Nate Hagens

The quote I think you refer to was from my letter (manifesto?) to Obama:

Energy and scarce resources are what we have to spend – money is just who has the energy (for now)

That precise word combination might be mine, but the thought that energy, not money, is what we have to spend is at least a century old, (and hammered home to me by Jay Hanson).

"It is, in fact, the fate of all kinds of energy of position to be ultimately converted into energy of motion. The former may be compared to money in a bank, or capital, the latter to money which we are in the act of spending ... If we pursue the analogy a step further, we shall see that the great capitalist is respected because he has the disposal of a great quantity of energy; and that whether he be nobleman or sovereign, or a general in command, he is powerful only from having something which enables him to make use of the services of others. When a man of wealth pays a labouring man to work for him, he is in truth converting so much of his energy of position into actual energy...The world of mechanism is not a manufactory, in which energy is created, but rather a mart, into which we may bring energy of one kind and change or barter it for an equivalent of another kind, that suits us better -- but if we come with nothing in hand, with nothing we will most assuredly return." -Balfour Stewart, 1883

As I read the Book of Genesis, God didn't give Adam and Eve a whole planet. He gave them a manageable piece of property, for the sake of discussion let's say 200 acres. -Kurt Vonnegut

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Friedrich Engels

That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.

Marcus Aurelius

This is a quote of a quote. I forget where I got it:

Anytime a liberal points out that the wealthy are disproportionately benefiting from Bush's tax policies, Republicans shout, "class warfare!"

In her book, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with his children watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.

That is class warfare. Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not.

I believe this quotation is from Al Franken's book "Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them".

It's not the size of the tank, it's the size of the tap.

Jean Marie Boudaire

Leslie White:

“the basic law of cultural evolution” was “culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased.”. For White “the primary function of culture” is to “harness and control energy.”

from "The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome" (1958)

'Cheshire Puss .... Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where --- ' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

"Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carol

He picked up the letter Q and hurled it into a distant privet bush where it hit a young rabbit. The rabbit hurtled off in terror and didn't stop till it was set upon and eaten by a fox which choked on one of its bones and died on the bank of a stream which subsequently washed it away.
During the following weeks Ford Prefect swallowed his pride and struck up a relationship with a girl who had been a personnel officer on Golgafrincham, and he was terribly upset when she suddenly passed away as a result of drinking water from a pool that had been polluted by the body of a dead fox. The only moral it is possible to draw from this story is that one should never throw the letter Q into a privet bush.

--The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
-- Albert Einstein

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

-- Albert Einstein

The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems—the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behaviour and religion.
- John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946), British economist. First Annual Report of the Arts Council (1945-1946).

Honest poverty lives happily; ill gotten wealth worries.
-Chinese proverb.

Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviors that will avoid extinction.

- R. Buckminster Fuller (in Synergetics, 1975).

"I still hold. . . that the suburbs ought to be either glorified by romance and religion or else destroyed by fire from heaven, or even by firebrands from the earth."
G.K. Chesterton, The Coloured Lands, 1938

"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half."
Sir Winston Churchill

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All Rubin's forces
And all Bernanke's mien
Couldn't put Humpty
Together again.

I've got all the money I'll ever need, if I die by four o'clock.

Henny Youngman

Who is rich? One who is content with what they have.
-- Talmud

He that lives upon hope will die fasting.
-- Ben Franklin

“When things are going well, something will go wrong.
When things just can't get any worse, they will.
Anytime things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.”
Richard Feynman
"Economists (and others) who are satisfied with nature-free equations develop a dangerous hubris about the potency of our species."
Garrett Hardin

Respect those who seek the truth; beware of those who find it.


“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

-Joseph Goebbels

When you're drowning, you don't say 'I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,' you just scream.
John Lennon

Wherever You Go, There You Are
by Jon Kabat-zinn (or Buckaroo Banzai)

Think-tanks are people who are paid to think by the people who make tanks. -- Naomi Klein

The most violent element in society is ignorance. -- Emma Goldman

first time posting...pardon the length...but the following Nietzsche quote about the "Death of God", I think is profoundly relevant to those studying the limits to growth...just think of growth as our secular surrogate for God...

“The meaning of our cheerfulness.— The greatest recent event—that "God is dead," that the belief in the Christian God has become unbelievable—is already beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe. For the few at least, whose eyes, the suspicion in whose eyes is strong and subtle enough for this spectacle, some suns seem to have set and some ancient and profound trust has been turned into doubt: to them our old world must appear daily more like evening, more mistrustful, stranger, "older." But in the main one may say: the event itself is far too great, too distant, too remote from the multitude's capacity for comprehension even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived as yet; much less may one suppose that many people know as yet what this event really means—and how much must collapse now that this faith has been undermined because it was built upon this faith, propped up by it, grown into it: for example, the whole of our European morality. This long plenitude and sequence of breakdown, destruction, ruin, and cataclysm that is now impending: who could guess enough of it today to be compelled to play the teacher and advance proclaimer of this monstrous logic of terror, the prophet of a gloom and an eclipse of the sun whose like has probably never yet occurred on earth?.. Even we born guessers of riddles who are, as it were, waiting on the mountains, posted between today and tomorrow, stretched in the contradictions between today and tomorrow, we firstlings and premature births of the coming century, to whom the shadows that must soon envelop Europe really should have appeared by now: why is it that even we look forward to the approaching gloom without any real sense of involvement and above all without any worry or fear for ourselves? Are we perhaps still too much under the impression of the initial consequences of this event—and these initial consequences, the consequences for ourselves, are quite the opposite of what one might perhaps expect, not at all sad and gloomy but rather like a new and scarcely describable kind of light, relief, exhiliration, encouragement, dawn ... Indeed, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel, when we hear the news that the "old god is dead," as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, premonitions, expectation,—at long last the horizon appears free to us again, even if it should not be bright; at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been such an open sea.”

-Nietzsche – The Gay Science Book V – Section 343

"God is dead" -Nietzsche
"Nietzsche is dead" - God

"Nietzsche is God" - Death

"I'm just going to keep right on building. You do the best you can to stop it".

"Cities are for traffic".

Both by Robert Moses.

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Nazi Reich Marshall Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg War Trials

The encouragement of mere consumption is no benefit to commerce because
the difficulty lies in supplying the means, not in stimulating the desire
for consumption; and production alone furnishes those means. Thus, it is
the aim of good government to stimulate production, of bad government to
encourage consumption.
- Jean-Baptiste Say, A Treatise on Political Economy, 1803

"To be is to do"--Socrates.
"To do is to be"--Jean-Paul Sartre.
"Do be do be do"--Frank Sinatra.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

"Here's what I think the truth is: We are all addicts to fossel fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey."

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

YOUR PETITIONERS ARE ATHEISTS and they define their life-style as follows. An Atheist loves himself and his fellowman instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now — here on earth — for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellowman can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellowman rather than to know a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be build instead of a church An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter. He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsibile persons, that the job is here and the time is now.

[Madalyn Murray (later O'Hair), preamble to Murray v. Curlett, April 27, 1961]

Pray for evolution
Earl Daily

"In the long run, we are all dead" -- JM Keynes

“ A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Isaac Asimov

Mahatma Gandhi's famous Quote:

"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption in our work - he is the purpose of it.
We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to serve him."

Quotes of Jawaharlal Nehru (India's first Prime Minister)

• The only alternative to coexistence is codestruction.
• Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes.
• Action itself, so long as I am convinced that it is right action, gives me satisfaction.
• Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage, that they force us to think.
• Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.
• A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.
• Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.
• It is only too easy to make suggestions and later try to escape the consequences of what we say.
• The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.

"As for the still-unfolding future, there are guideposts and warnings here. Heinlein continally reminds us that history is a process, not something dead and embalmed in textbooks. The ultimate problem is man's control of his own inventions- not only the minor ones, like the crossbow and the atom bomb, but the major inventions - language, culture and technology. We are a tough and resourceful lot, and all things considered; our descendants will need to be tougher and more resourceful still.

The odds are against them. The stars are high, life is short, and the house always takes a percentage. But Man himself is so unlikely that if he did not exist, his possibility would not be worth discussing. Heinlein's money is on Man; and I have a hunch that the next century will prove him right." Damon Knight, forward to Robert Heinlein's 'The past through tomorrow'

"There are at least two kinds of games. One would be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.

The rules of a finite game may not change; the rules of an infinite game must change.

Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.

The finite player aims to win eternal life; the infinite player aims to win eternal birth."

James P. Carse (My Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism Prof at NYU)

Nature, it seems, is the popular name
For milliards and milliards and milliards
Of particles playing their infinite game
Of billiards and billiards and billiards.

Piet Hein

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.
Aldous Huxley

Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are hosting radio talk shows or meth addicts.
George Burns (slightly amended)

"... as long as I'm the dictator. he-he-he." - Dumbya

"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either." - B. Franklin

"War is the ultimate failure." - me

"I dream of a day when I will hear a child say, 'Mother, what was war?'" - Anonymous, supposedly found in a Scottish church. Apparently pretty old.

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.

Edward R. Murrow

There is a fatality about all good resolutions. They are invariably made too soon. --Oscar Wilde

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. --Buckminster Fuller

Before the effect one believes in different causes than one does after the effect.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Houston, we have a problem."

"We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality" - Ayn Rand

Si vis pacem, para bellum

The car is on fire, and there's no driver at the wheel
And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
And a dark wind blows

The government is corrupt
And we're on so many drugs
With the radio on and the curtains drawn

We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death

-Dead Flag Blues, Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Thus spoke the devil. Ultimately cynical and moral or rather something human in one of his roles: about a twilight of the gods without the gods, the Armageddon of progress, the end of time through the ecological death of the human species in the lower vermin of insects, or the soul death of an ice-age society, the Universal Judgment without jurists and hence just at last, infinitely dreadful. Making room for the next generation, on the next star, after this one becomes definitively self-annihilating, due to the human species.

Now they'll say that we're crazy, and those who thought us up and made us. Yet we cannot even manage to describe this world in praises.

-Hitler: A Film From Germany, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg (translated)

There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.

Fritz Lang 1927 (Metropolis, silent movie)

God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west... keeping the world in chains. If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locust.
- Mahatma Gandhi

And that's when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: "Life isn't fair, Bill. We tell our children that it is, but it's a terrible thing to do. It's not only a lie, it's a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it's never going to be." Would you believe that for me right then it was like one of those comic books where the light bulb goes on over Mandrake the Magician's head?.

- William Goldman, indroductory comments, The Princess Bride

No matter how exotic human civilization becomes, no matter the developments of life and society nor the complexity of the machine/human interface, there always come interludes of lonely power when the course of humankind, the very future of humankind, depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.

- From the Tleilaxu Godbuk


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

The human species may be seen as having evolved in the service of entropy, and it cannot be expected to outlast the dense accumulations of energy that have helped define its niche. Human beings like to believe they are in control of their destiny, but when the history of life on Earth is seen in perspective, the evolution of Homo sapiens is merely a transient episode that acts to redress the planet's energy balance.
-– David Price

"If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Five? Nope, calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one".

...can't remember who...

"The description is not the described".

J Krishnamurti

The menu is not the meal. Not sure who said it first. I say it all the time

Look at you... tried to do what's right. Just like her. You still don't get it. It's not about right. Not about wrong.
(Cut from the Master to...)
Buffy: It's about power.

"I'll call you, and we'll light a fire, and drink some wine, and recognize each other in the place that is ours.
Don't wait. Don't tell the story later.
Life is too short, this stretch of sea and sand, this walk on the shore, before the tide covers everything we have done.
I love you.
The three most difficult words.
But what else can I say?"
Jeanette Winterson, "Lighthousekeeping"

"The problem confronting the West is at it's heart an ethical problem."
Humanitarian, Doctor, musician, philosopher Albert Schweitzer

As regards the education of children,

I think we should teach them not the little virtues,
but the big ones.

Not thriftiness,
but generosity and indifference to money;

not prudence,
but courage and the despisal of danger;

not cleverness,
but frankness and love of the truth;

not diplomacy,
but love of one's neighbor and self-abnegation;

not the desire for success,
but the desire to be and to know.

- Natalia Ginzburg (Italian writer 1916-1991)


The contemplation of things as they are
without substitution or imposture,
without error or confusion,
is in itself a nobler thing
than a whole harvest of invention.

- Francis Bacon

Teacher: Life's a game boy, a game you play according to the rules.

Boy: Life's a game? If you're on the side of the hot shots it's a game. But if you aren't on the side of the hot shots what's the game? Nothing. No game.

JP Donleavy

You can't win
You can't brek even
and you can't get out of the game

Michael Jackson, The Wiz or Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics

"If the principles which I have endeavoured to establish be false, I most sincerely hope to see them completely refuted; but if they be true, the subject is so important, and interests the question of human happiness so nearly, that it is impossible they should not in time be more fully known and more generally circulated, whether any particular efforts be made for the purpose or not."

Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798

"Now, economic history confirms a rather elementary fact -- the fact that the great strides in technological progress have generally been touched off by a discovery of how to use a new kind of accessible energy. On the other hand, a great stride in technological progress cannot materialize unless the corresponding innovation is followed by a great mineralogical expansion. Even a substantial increase in the efficiency of the use of gasoline as fuel would pale in comparison with a manifold increase of the known, rich oil fields.

This sort of expansion is what has happened during the last one hundred years. We have struck oil and discovered new coal and gas deposits in a far greater proportion than we could use during the same period. Still more important, all mineralogical discoveries have included a substantial proportion of easily accessible resources. This exceptional bonanza by itself has sufficed to lower the real cost of bringing mineral resources in situ to the surface. Energy of mineral source thus becoming cheaper, substitution innovations have caused the ratio of labor to net output to decline. Capital also must have evolved toward forms which cost less but use more energy to achieve the same result. What has happened during this period is a modification of the cost structure, the flow factors being increased and the fund factors decreased. By examining, therefore, only the relative variations of the fund factors during a period of exceptional mineral bonanza, we cannot prove either that the unitary total cost will always follow a declining trend or that the continuous progress of technology renders accessible resources almost inexhaustible -- as Barnett and Morse claim.

Little doubt is thus left about the fact that the theses examined in this section are anchored in a deep-lying belief in mankind's immortality. Some of their defenders have even urged us to have faith in the human species: such faith will triumph over all limitations. But neither faith nor assurance from some famous academic chair could alter the fact that, according to the basic law of thermodynamics, mankind's dowry is finite. Even if one were inclined to believe in the possible refutation of these principles in the future, one still must not act on that faith now. We must take into account that evolution does not consist of a linear repetition, even though over short intervals it may fool us into the contrary belief."

Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Energy and Economic Myths, Southern Economic Journal, volume 41, no. 3, 1975

OIL MORE THAN ENERGY - Very importantly, oil is also a raw material for myriad products including medicines, paints and plastics. Oil and its close companion natural gas, are the bases for thousands of other petrochemical products, especially chemicals to promote crop growth and to defend against insects and disease. Bartlett (1986) correctly states that modern agriculture is simply a way of converting petroleum into food.

Richard Duncan and Walter Youngquist (also quoting Bartlett (1986)), "Encircling the peak of World Oil Production" 1999

“I'd put my money on solar energy… I hope we don't have to wait til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” (Thomas Edison in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, March 1931)

“...democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov)

"it was the salmon mousse"

...grim reaper
(the meaning of life)

..."but I didn't eat the salmon mousse!"

"The more ice is bathed in the light of compassion,
the more it becomes the flowing water of reality."
~ Shinran Shonin (1173-1263)

Part of an off-the-record conversation that I had six weeks ago at (precise location deleted, but an excellent restaurant somewhere inside the Gamma Quadrant) with H.M The Borg Queen Herself. Quoted with permission.

First. “The inhabitants of this planet are culturally and / or genetically inclined to be bellicose, genocidal, greedy, homophobic, litigious, loud-mouthed, mendacious, neurotic, self-righteous, short-sighted, superstitious, unpleasant, xenophobic and thoroughly awful people without any notable redeeming characteristics at all, beyond their tendencies towards self-destruction.
Second. The (species name deleted) are barely sentient, definitely unintelligent, and absolutely not prescient.
Third. They have reached their limit of evolutionary development.
Fourth. These irredeemable tendencies towards self-destruction should be encouraged and reinforced if at all possible.
Fifth. They are inedible because of high levels of contained contaminants.
Sixth. Additionally, they have green teeth, bad dandruff, worse breath, and BO that would stop a Talaxian goat. And that’s just the females”.
“I take it the Borg don’t want to assimilate this species.”
Seventh. “The Borg Do Not Wish To Even Think About This Species.”

“Are you saying that to avoid being assimilated, all a species has to do is to become totally annoying?”
“The degree of aggravation required is very high, but it could not hurt to try. You might be reassured to know that, as far as the Borg are concerned, your self-styled “Homo sapiens” is already quite close to qualifying. Your self designation is considered to be one of the most fatuous comments of the millennium in the Alpha Quadrant by your neighbours. “Homo sapiens” also have most of the characteristics listed for Species X.”
“My species? Why Bee Em (Your Borg Majesty)! You know very well that I dissociated myself from them in the last millennium. They can find out for themselves what happens when they make lumpy custard for all I care”.
“Well, no longer "Your Species", then. Touchy, touchy”.

“The Borg are considering several alternative fates for “Homo sapiens”:
Either extermination as a public service to the Alpha Quadrant;
Or ignoring them in the hope that they will self destruct some time before the end of this century.
But not assimilation; one has to draw the line somewhere”.
“I didn’t think the Borg “did” public service”.
“Only when extremely provoked. And our “line” for assimilation is now being raised much higher, way above “Homo Sapiens”, although the Ferengi still make the cut. More tea?”
“Thank you, ma’am, and the Vienna Cakes here are delicious”.
“You’re quite welcome”.
"So, do you come here often?"

"You will be approximated"

— Dyslexus of Borg

"Today's population cannot be sustained on the 'interest' generated by natural ecosystems, but is consuming its vast supply of natural capital..."

Paul Ehrlich, 1998

" is proposed that a form of free dialogue may well be one of the most effective ways of investigating the crisis which faces society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness today. Moreover, it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated."

David Bohm

"The Other Side of History:
Those who now proclaim the virtues of sustainability speak as though industrial society - with its accumulated legacy of liabilities - had not existed for 200 years. The process of colonial expropriation was based on the destruction of sustainable practice. It was a form of development by which the colonial powers exchanged wealth for poverty in the colonies. The methods included the direct transfer of wealth, the de-skilling of people and their induction into the global economy, the dishonouring of traditional knowledge and culture.
The almost universal belief is that we are poor now because of our own deficiencies, and that the West is rich because of their hard work in creating the industrial revolution. In fact, both the poverty and the wealth are mainly the result of colonialism. Further, the process of spoliation did not stop in 1947: it is still going on under such misnomers as "free trade", "technology transfer" and "cultural exchange".

From: Winin Pereira and Jeremy Seabrook, 1990, "Asking the Earth: Farms Forestry and Survival in India", Earthscan Pubs. London. p.1

Sit, be still and listen
for you are drunk,
and we are at the edge of the roof.


"Vanity, Vanity, all is Vanity" - Ecclesiastes

"If anything can go wrong, it will" - "Murphy"

Whatever the twists and turns in global politics, whatever the ebb of imperial power and the flow of national pride, one trend in the decades following World War II progressed in a straight and rapidly ascending line -- the consumption of oil. If it can be said, in the abstract, that the sun energized the planet, it was oil that now powered its human population, both in its familiar forms as fuel and in the proliferation of new petrochemical products. Oil emerged triumphant, the undisputed King, a monarch garbed in a dazzling array of plastics. He was generous to his loyal subjects, sharing his wealth to, and even beyond, the point of waste. His reign was a time of confidence, of growth, of expansion, of astonishing economic performance. His largesse transformed his kingdom, ushering in a new drive-in civilization. It was the Age of Hydrocarbon Man.

Daniel Yergin, "The Prize" 1992

What was communicated explicitly here was that the chiefly families would be the last to die. The implication was that special groups, namely commoners, would have to be sacrificed to guarantee the survival of the chiefs and the maru [the chiefs overseer-enforcers, usually their brothers or close relatives]. In fact, everyone, commoners included thought it would be unthinkable for the chiefs to die. Theoretically, the chiefly families own the land and there is a mystical connection between the well-being of the chiefs and the well being of the land. But in spite of consensus on the necessity of preserving the chiefs, the commoners had no intention of sacrificing themselves.

Spillius, J. Natural Disaster and Political Crisis in Polynesian Society 1957

“Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary.”

E.O. Wilson, D.S. Wilson, Rethinking the Theoretical Foundations of Sociobiology

The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. ... No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.

--Richard Feynman to Koichi Mano (3 February 1966); published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track : The Letters of Richard P. Feynman (2005)

Nature must, in the not far distant future, institute bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization, and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming species following their exuberant expansion in response to the savings deposits their ecosystems had accumulated before they got the opportunity to begin the drawdown.
-William Catton, Overshoot

Look at the land: steep hills farmed right up to the crests, without any protective terracing; rivers thick with mud from erosion; extreme deforestation leading to irregular rainfall and famine; staggeringly high population densities; the exhaustion of the topsoil; falling per-capita food production. This was a society on the brink of ecological disaster, and if there is anything that is clear from the study of such societies it is that they inevitably descend into genocidal chaos.
-Jared Diamond, "Collapse"

The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
-John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our "original mind" includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

With every mistake, we must surely be learning. Still, my guitar gently weeps

-- George Harrison

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.

-- Henry David Thoreau

Why don't we do it in the road?

Sir Paul McCartney

I think Lily pretty much sums up the problems we have today...

The Fear

"...I am a weopon of Mass Consumption... It's how I'm programmed to function..."

" doesn't matter 'cus I'm packin' plastic, and that's what makes my life so f*ckin' fantastic..."

-Have we raised a 'Lost' Generation?


They live as idiots and machines all the time, at work and in their leisure. Like idiots and machines, but imagining they're living like civilized humans, even like gods. The first thing to do is to make them admit that they are idiots and machines during working hours. 'Our civilization, being what it is' -- this is what you'll have to say to them -- 'you've got to spend eight hours out of every twenty-four as a mixture between an imbecile and a sewing machine. It's very disagreeable, I know. It's humiliating and disgusting. But there you are. You've got to do it; otherwise the whole fabric of our world will fall to bits and we'll all starve. Do the job, then, idiotically and mechanically, and spend your leisure hours in being a real complete man or woman, as the case may be. Don't mix the two lives together; keep the bulkheads watertight between them. The genuine human life in your leisure hours is the real thing. The other's just a dirty job that's got to be done. And never forget that it is dirty and, except in so far as it keeps you fed and society intact, utterly unimportant, utterly irrelevant to the real human life.

From the novel Point Counter Point, by Aldous Huxley.

No discipline [ except economics ] attempts to make the world act as it thinks the world should act. But of course what Homo sapiens does and what Homo economicus should do are often quite different. That, however, does not make the basic model wrong, as it would in every other discipline. It just means that actions must be taken to bend Homo sapiens into conformity with Homo economicus. So, instead of adjusting theory to reality, reality is adjusted to theory.

Lester Thurow - Dangerous Currents, 1983

There is one feature I notice that is generally missing in "cargo cult science"... It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards... For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it... Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.

Richard Feynman -"Cargo Cult Science", adapted from a commencement address given at Caltech (1974)

"It's the Oil Exports Stupid!", Jay Hanson, 1999

"..the maximum power principle ... states that systems which maximize their flow of energy survive in competition. In other words, rather than merely accepting the fact that more energy per unit of time is transformed in a process which operates at maximum power, this principle says that systems organize and structure themselves naturally to maximize power. Systems regulate themselves according to the maximum power principle. Over time, the systems which maximize power are selected for whereas those that do not are selected against and eventually eliminated. ... Odum argues ... that the free market mechanisms of the economy effectively do the same thing for human systems and that our economic evolution to date is a product of that selection process." (Gilliland 1978, pp.101-102)

"You cannot walk for a long time in the right direction on a boat that is heading in the wrong direction."

Michael Ende (german author)

"Our wealth does not come from our work, but from nature."

Karl Marx

Two appropriate for current days

"The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

Ludwig von Mises.


"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense...They are themselves always, and without exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society."

Adam Smith

You can drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, on every continental shelf and atop every hill in America for that matter, and you still won't reverse the fact that our oil production is in permanent decline. We're just sopping up what's left, digging ourselves into a deeper hole.

-Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), quoted by Paul Salopek
in “A tank of gas, a world of trouble,” Chicago Tribune, 29 Jul 06

anyone can post up to TWO (2) quotes

Sir Nate Hagens

Aside from poor relief, there was virtually no welfare legislation in (Adam) Smith's day--the government was the unabashed ally of the governing classes and the great tussle within the government was whether it should be the landowing or the industrial classes who should most benefit. The question of whether the working class should have a voice in the direction of economic affairs simply did not enter any respectable person's mind.

--Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers

[T]he second great law of [Adam Smith's] system: the Law of Population.

To Adam Smith, laborers, like any other commodity, could be produced according to demand. If wages were high, the number of workpeople would multiply; if wages fell, the numbers of the working class would decrease. Smith put it bluntly: "...the demand for men, like that for any other commodity, necessarily regulates the production of men."

Nor is this quite so naive a conception as it appears at first blush. In Smith's day infant mortality among the lower classes was shockingly high. "It is not uncommon," says Smith, " the Highlands of Scotland for a mother who has borne twenty children not to have two alive." In many places in England, half the children died before they were four, and almost everywhere half the children lived only to the age of nine or ten. Malnutrition, evil living conditions, cold, and disease took a horrendous toll among the poorer element...

Population, like glove production, is a self-curing disease...

--Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

All is number.

-- Pythagoras

When the weather changes, nobody believes the laws of physics have changed. Similarly, I don't believe that when the stock market goes into terrible gyrations its rules have changed.

-- Benoit Mandelbrot

Adversity builds character.
Success can develope arrogance.

I don't know if this is a quote of mine or if I heard it some where, however I wrote it inside my copy of thoughts on the bussiness of life by M Forbes.

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does also.
-- Theodore Roosevelt


I was writing a suicide note, and I got a paper cut. It's a start.
-- Stephen Wright

*edit: that's more than two, but they're short :)


Remove all of the mystique that surrounds technology, and what is left, naked and exposed, is a transformer. Every technology ever conceived by the genius of humankind is nothing more than a transformer of energy from nature's storehouse. In the process of that transformation, the energy flows through the culture and the human system where it is used for a fleeting moment to sustain life (and the artifacts of life) in a nonequilibrium state. At the other end of the flow, the energy eventually ends up as dissipated waste, unavailable for future use.

It is ironic that as technology has become more complex and has enlarged its domain in the world, we have come to see it as something independent of nature, as if it were generating its own energy from scratch or, through some mysterious process, were adding to the existing energy source to get more out of it than was there in the first place. The fact is, technology never creates energy; it only uses up available energy. The larger and more complex the technology, the more available energy it uses up. As awesome and impressive as our technology might sometimes appear, it too operates under the supreme reign of the first and second laws, just like everything else in nature. Those laws again: first, all matter-energy in the world is constant; it can be neither created nor destroyed but only transformed from one state to another. Second, the transformation of energy is always from an available to a dissipated form, or from an ordered to a disordered state. Technology is a transformer- nothing more, nothing less.

Even though this all rather obvious, we still continue to live under the delusion that our technology is freeing us from dependence upon our environment, when nothing could be farther from the truth. Life is not a closed system. Human beings, like all other living things, can only survive by exchanging with the environment. Without a constant flow-through of energy from the environment we would perish within days. Technology makes us more dependent upon nature, even as it physically moves us farther away from it; we have become more dependent as we have required increasing doses of nature's energy to sustain our cultural patterns and our personal life-styles.

We also entertain the belief that technology is creating greater order in the world when, again, that is only part of the story. The Entropy Law tells us that ever time available energy is used up, it creates greater disorder somewhere in the surrounding environment. For example, when we burn fossil fuels, we create dissipated energy in the form of carbon dioxide which is then spewed into the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect. The massive flow-through of energy in modern industrial society is creating massive pollution and waste in the world we live in. The faster we streamline our technology, the faster we speed up the transforming process, the faster available energy is dissipated, the more pollution and waste mounts.

In short, we live in a kind of nightmarish Orwellian world. We have convinced ourselves that the way we go about things is creating a world quite different from the one we are really making. Just as in Orwell's 1984, where society was convinced that war was peace and lies were truth, we have come to believe that disorder is order, that waste is value, and that work is nonwork.

Even as our world slips deeper into chaos, we become less willing to identify the source of the problem. Instead, we wrap ourselves tightly in our technological garb, defending it against all criticism, unable to acknowledge what it is doing to the environment we live in, and even less able to acknowledge what it is doing to us. We continue to cling to the fiction that we are securely clothed and protected, even as we become more exposed and endangered by the disordered fragments of a world of our own making.

Jeremy Rifkin

What allows a tribe of paleolithic farmer-shepherds, Campanella's City of Sun, a jewish sect at the time of Tiberius, a commune of californian hippies, an urban structure of 6000 years ago, a buddhist community of the IVth century BC, a benedictine coenobium of the VIth century AD, a cistercence abbey of the XIIth century, a big factory of the XXIth and the future society to form a coherent set ? Is it possible, beyond huge differences of history, culture, geographic zones and of our knowledge of them, to draw a schema joining them together with at least one common element which furnishes us with an explanation of social transitions?

Expressing the problem in dollars is entirely the wrong way to think about it. - Leanan

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

"we close with good night and good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you

all of you on the good Earth. "

crew commander of Apollo 8, in orbit around the moon.

We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?

Wendell Berry

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect...We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.

Aldo Leopold

This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

- "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams

"You tell me whar a man gets his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
Mark Twain

American freedoms are strange. A person who doesn't have enough to eat has the right to complain about it as much as they want, but they don't have a right to something to eat.

-Chinese exchange student

Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. - - - - In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. - - - -
The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons - the modern working class - the proletarians.

-Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party 1848 is followed by death; death is followed by life. The possible becomes impossible; the impossible becomes possible. Right turns into wrong and wrong into right - the flow of life alters circumstances and thus things themselves are altered in their turn.... The wise man therefore, instead of trying to prove this or that by logical disputation, sees all things in the light of direct intuition.

From "The Pivot" of Chuang Tzu (as told by Thomas Merton)

Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.


Sounds like Steven Wright.

Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Take every day and say, this is my day, I shall do unto this day whatever it takes to give me and my family and my descendants the day after.


Take care of the people and the dollars will take care of themselves.
E.F. Shumacher

Always ask, What if everybody acted that way?

The flow of energy through a system acts to organize that system.

Harold Morowitz

"We share half our genes with the banana. This is a fact more evident in some of my acquaintances than others."

- Robert May, ecologist

"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

Kenneth Boulding, economist

A little more slowly, perhaps, but just as surely, men would have destroyed themselves by destroying the world they lived in. They couldn't escape. He had them skewered on both His horns. If they managed to wriggle off the horn of total war, they would find themselves impaled on starvation. And if they were starving, they would be tempted to resort to war. And just in case they should try to find a peaceful and rational way out of their dilemma, He had another subtler horn of self-destruction all ready for them. From the very beginning of the industrial revolution He foresaw that men would be made so over-weeningly bumptious by the miracles of their own technology that they would soon lose all sense of reality. And that's precisely what happened. These wretched slaves of wheels and ledgers began to congratulate themselves on being the Conquerors of Nature. Conquerors of Nature, indeed! In actual fact, of course, they had merely upset the equilibrium of Nature and were about to suffer the consequences. Just consider what they were up to during the century and a half before the Thing. Fouling the rivers, killing off the wild animals, destroying the forests, washing the topsoil into the sea, burning up an ocean of petroleum, squandering the minerals it had taken the whole of geological time to deposit. An orgy of criminal imbecility. And they called it Progress. Progress," he repeats, "Progress! I tell you, that was too rare an invention to have been the product of any merely human mind -- too fiendishly ironical! There had to be Outside Help for that. There had to be the Grace of Belial, which, of course, is always forth­coming -- that is, for anyone who's prepared to co­operate with it. And who isn't?

- Aldous Huxley. Ape and Essence, 1948

"Whereas we," said Dr. Robert, "have always chosen to adapt our economy and technology to human beings---not our human beings to somebody else's economy and technology. We import what we can't make; but we make and import only what we can afford. And what we can afford is limited not merely by our supply of pounds and marks and dollars, but also primarily---primarily," he insisted---"by our wish to be happy, our ambition to become fully human."

- Aldous Huxley, Island, 1962

"But the Krell forgot one thing! Monsters, John! Monsters from the id!"

Forbidden planet

"It's like burning the Mona Lisa to heat the Louvre."

— Buckminster Fuller

"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
- Somewhere in the first few pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

. . . imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.
- Douglas Adams

... and of course, what Douglas Adams' quotes are these without this message in large friendly letters:


'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.' ....
Thomas Jefferson

"Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion---when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing---when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors---when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you---when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice---you may know that your society is doomed."

Ayn Rand

"There came into the world an unlimited abundance of everything people need. But people need everything except unlimited abundance."
Karel Capek

"History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men."
Blue Oyster Cult

"The human body is a machine.
The more a machine is used the quicker it wears out"

David Shannon

Heavily weighs on me at times the burdensome reflection that I cannot honestly say I am confident as to the exact shape of the once- seen, oft-regretted Cube; and in my nightly visions the mysterious precept, "Upward, not Northward," haunts me like a soul-devouring Sphinx. It is part of the martyrdom which I endure for the cause of the Truth that there are seasons of mental weakness, when Cubes and Spheres flit away into the background of scarce-possible existences; when the Land of Three Dimensions seems almost as visionary as the Land of One or None; nay, when even this hard wall that bars me from my freedom, these very tablets on which I am writing, and all the substantial realities of Flatland itself, appear no better than the offspring of a diseased imagination, or the baseless fabric of a dream.

Edwin Abbott, Flatland

Who has then the power to simplify complexity, imposing a particular standard and procedure of valuation? As in other environmental conflicts, political power appears at two levels:first, as the ability to impose a decision; second, as the power to impose one particular decision-procedure and a standard of valuation. How this power is exercised in different societies in different moments of history is indeed a worthwhile topic of study for social historians.

Joan Martinez-Alier

One says to me, "I wonder that you do not lay up money; you love to travel; you might take the [railway] cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the country." But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, Suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is thirty miles; the fare ninety cents. That is almost a day's wages... Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night... You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening... And so, if the railroad reached round the world, I think that I should keep ahead of you...

- Walden, Henry David Thoreau

"The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

- Dom Helda Camara

"As long as we remain trapped by the ideology of competitive growth, there is no solution. We are reminded of the South Indian monkey trap, in which a hollowed-out coconut is fastened to a stake by a chain and filled with rice. There is a hole in the coconut just large enough for the monkey to put his extended hand through but not large enough to withdraw his fist full of rice. The monkey is trapped only by his inability to reorder his values, to recognize that freedom is worth more than a handful of rice."
Herman Daly, 1991

"We share many of the same genes as monkeys. I am not optimistic." Jay Hanson, somewhere last year


It is easy to say, 'find a man of the faith and he shall tell you of what you need!' I say, find a man who will tell you the correct time of day.


"In a different way than in the past, man will have to return to the idea that his existence is a free gift of the sun."

p. 21 The Entropy Law and the Economic Process by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Winston Churchill

It is disconcerting to reflect on the number of
students we have flunked in chemistry for not
knowing what we later found to be untrue.

Robert L. Weber

“If you can’t forecast well, forecast often.”
- Harold Hart, Shell Canada executive.

Here are two that relate to labor and overpopulation. From Frederick Engels, letter to Kautsky, 1 February, 1881:

"There is, of course, the abstract possibility that the number of people will become so great that limits will have to be set to their increase. But if at some stage communist society finds itself obliged to regulate the producion of human beings, just as it has already come to regulate the production of things, it will be precisely this society, and this society alone, which can carry this out without difficulty. It does not seem to me that it would be at all difficult in such a society to achieve by planning a result which has already been produced spontaneously, without planning in France and Lower Austria. At any rate, it is for the people in the communist society themselves to decide whether, when and how this is to be done, and what means they wish to employ to the purpose. I do not feel called upon to make proposals for giving them advice about it. These people, in any case, will surely not be any less intelligent than we are."

and from Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, an American labor radical and an early proponent of family planning back before 1920. She said:

"The large family system rivets the chains of slavery upon labor more securely. It crushes the parents, starves the children, and provides cheap fodder for machines and cannons."

You know it's true, because it is a fact! (Bugs Bunny.)

Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me... (Talbot Rothwell.)

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

"The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with existing or changing conditions."
-- Dave E. Smalley

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see.

- Edward Abbey

Man is a Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute.

- Mark Twain

"Nothing is innocent now but to act for life's sake."

- Cecil Day Lewis

On Leadership prior to Collapse:

The greeks called it hubris, the japanese, shoribyo (victory disease)... When wave-riders begin to believe that they are wave-makers, the Great Wave breaks...

D.H. Fischer, The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History

On civilization:

The human animal appears to have adapted brilliantly... but he has not had time to change biologically, to evolve into a new, genetically civilized species. This civilizing process has been accomplished entirely by learning and conditioning. Biologically he is still a simple tribal animal."

Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo

"Resistance to change is the source of all pain."

The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.

Ghanaian Proverb

Be Prepared!

- Baden-Powell

Two somewhat contradictory statements by college students in a CNN roundtable discussion regarding the economy this morning:

I want a fix.

The current generation is borrowing against the next generation's future.

...If the Second Law is valid for the universe, (we of course do not know if the universe can be considered as an isolated system) how did it get in the state of low entropy ?
On the other end of the scale, if all processes known to us have an increase in entropy associated with them, what is the future of the natural world as we know it ?
...We see the Second Law of thermodynamics as man's description of the prior and continuing work of a creator, who also holds the answer to the future destiny of man and the universe.
--Gordon J. Van Wylen
--Richard E. Sonntag

"The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present, and all the power of science has been prostituted for this purpose."
-- William James

Sir Bedevere: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
Peasant 1: Are there? Oh well, tell us.
Sir Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches?
Peasant 1: Burn them.
Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches?
Peasant 1: More witches.
Peasant 2: Wood.
Sir Bedevere: Good. Now, why do witches burn?
Peasant 3: ...because they're made of... wood?
Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
Peasant 1: Build a bridge out of her.
Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?
Peasant 1: Oh yeah.
Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?
Peasant 1: No, no, it floats!... It floats! Throw her into the pond!
Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?
Peasant 1: Bread.
Peasant 2: Apples.
Peasant 3: Very small rocks.
Peasant 1: Cider.
Peasant 2: Gravy.
Peasant 3: Cherries.
Peasant 1: Mud.
Peasant 2: Churches.
Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!
King Arthur: A Duck.
Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically...
Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood.
Sir Bedevere: And therefore...
Peasant 2: ...A witch!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Reg: "All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

Monty Pythons life of Brian

The difference between theory and reality is larger in reality than it is in theory.
- me

Theories and models come and go; a good observation lasts forever

- John Garrett

Let light be light
Let heat be heat
Let food be food

Steve Crandall

"The process of capital accumulation - the transformation of life (living work and nature) into commodities, money and steadily increasing capital - is polarizing and irreversible. In other words, money and capital can grow out of life, but no new life can grow out of capital and money. Life always has to be added to capital in order to make it palatable and bring it to livfe. Money that 'breeds' more money out of itself (as through interest) is a myth.

We call subsistence or life production that which has to be added to dead money/capital. If we truly want a future for ourselves and for nature, of which we are part, life production has to be delinked from the production of capital. It once again has to become the centre of our concerns. In other words, colonized and marginalized spheres of reality (nature, women and children, etc...)have to become the central focus of economic activity and the earning of money has to become secondary and peripheral again." - Maria Mies and Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen _The Subsistence Perspective_


"It is impossible to restore the sustainable societies of indigenous and aboriginal peoples. But the values they embodied - careful stewardship of the earth, modest use of its riches, safeguarding the future of the generations to come, restraint and as high a degree of self-provisioning as possible - can reanimate ancient and still unrealized dreams of a secure sustenence for all." - Jeremy Seabrook

Sharon Astyk

The publishing of data is a political act

Jean Laherrere

For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert

Charles Fort


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth - Genesis I, i

Game over - Super Mario Bros

The tide waits for no man.


The original quote apparently goes back at least to Chaucer, but "Tyde" meant "Time" in that era.

Time and tide wait for no man. A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide.

Mark Twain

"The way in which we experience and interpret the world obviously depends very much indeed on the kind of ideas that fill our minds. If they are mainly small, weak, superficial, and incoherent, life will appear insipid, uninteresting, petty, and chaotic. It is difficult to bear the resultant feeling of emptiness, and the vacuum of our minds may only too easily be filled by some big, fantastic notion – political or otherwise – which suddenly seems to illumine everything and to give meaning and purpose to our existence. It needs no emphasis that herein lies one of the great dangers of our time."

-E. F. Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, 1973

. . . If we think this task of rebuilding local economics as one large task that must be done in a hurry, then we will again be overwhelmed and will want government to do it. If, on the other hand, we define the task as beginning the reformation of our private or household economies, then the way is plain. What we must do is use well the considerable power we have as consumers: the power of choice. We can choose to buy or not to buy, and we can choose what to buy. The standard by which we choose must be the health of the community - and by that we must mean the whole community: ourselves, the place where we live, and all the humans and other creatures who live there with us. In a healthy community, people will be richer in their neighbors, in neighborhood, in the health and pleasure of neighborhood, than in their bank accounts. It is better, therefore, even if the cost is greater, to buy from a small, privately owned local store than from a chain store. It is better to buy a good product than a bad one. Do not buy anything you don't need. Do as much as you can for yourself. If you cannot do something for yourself, see if you have a neighbor who can do it for you. Do everything you can to see that your money stays as long as possible in the local community. If you have money to invest, try to invest it locally, both to help the local economy and to keep from helping the larger economy that is destroying local communities. Begin to ask yourself how your money could be put at minimal interest into the hands of a young person who wants to start a farm, a store, a shop, or a small business that the community needs. The agenda can be followed by individuals and single families. If it is followed by people in groups - churches, conservation organizations, neighborhood associations, groups of small farmers, and the like - the possibilities multiply and the effects will be larger. . . .

- Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, 1992

In the search for perfect solutions we do nothing.

Ray Torres
UNICEF representative to Muldova

I figure I'll be champ for about ten years and then I'll let my brother take over - like the Kennedys down in Washington.

I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want.

Muhammad Ali

"Power comes from the barrel of a gun".


"Why don't conservatives ever CONSERVE anything?

- Matt Bodden

To every generalization, including this one, may be appended the words, "But it's more complicated than that."

-- Jim Loudon, 1944-88 (Loudon's Law)

The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.

-- Ralph W. Sockman

… The fact that most humans are hopelessly unprepared for the ultimate crisis was driven home for me several years ago when a survey of boating accidents on Chesapeake Bay produced a curious detail: most of the male corpses fished out of the bay over the years had their flies open. The inescapable conclusion reached by the authorities was that all these people met their end while blithely peeing over the side. Their last thought, I'm sure, was astonishment…
-Sterling Seagrave, foreword to Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls: True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors by Edward E. Leslie

If two people live in an apartment and there are two bathrooms, then both have freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want to stay as long as you like for whatever you need. But if you have twenty people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person; you have to bang on the door, “Aren’t you done yet?” In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive. Convenience and decency can’t survive. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one person matters.
-Isaac Asimov

Down one road lies disaster, down the other utter catastrophe. Let us hope we have the wisdom to choose wisely.

Woody Allen

A banker is a fellow who lends his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

Mark Twain

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.

Groucho Marx

The extended version of the Woody Allen quote:

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

Talent hits the goal that no one else can hit
Genius sees the goal that no one else can see
Leadership makes it available to all
– Maybe Max Dupree

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.
– Elvis Presley

The certainty of a fool impresses the mind faster than the wisdom of 1000 sages.
– Paraphrase of a biblical saying

There is no solution. Seek it lovingly.

Harlan Miller

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

There is, indeed, a most dangerous passage in the history of a democratic people. When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education and their experience of free institutions, the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint…. In their intense and exclusive anxiety to make a fortune…. they neglect their chief business, which is to remain their own masters.

A constitution republican in its head and ultra-monarchical in all its other parts has always appeared to me to be a short-lived monster. The vices of rulers and the ineptitude of the people would speedily bring about its ruin; and the nation, weary of its representatives and of itself, would create freer institutions or soon return to stretch itself at the feet of a single master.


"None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes."
~Johann von Goethe

Why has America become so fact resistant?

As the enemy drew nearer Moscow, instead of the Muscovites' view of their situation growing more serious, it became more frivolous, as is always the case with people who see a great danger approaching. At the threat of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one quite reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of averting it; the other still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man's power to foresee everything and escape from the general march of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes, and think about what is pleasant.
--Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone 'America died from a delusion that she had moral leadership'.
- Will Rogers

"The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." science fiction writer
William Gibson


Carroll Quiqley on the Two Party System

"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one perhaps of the Right, and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy... But either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same policies".

-- Carroll Quigley, "Tragedy and Hope", 1966, p. 1247-48

Carroll Quiqley on the Central Banks

The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."

"The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank . . . sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

-- Carroll Quigley, "Tragedy and Hope", 1966, pg 324

(Bill Clinton's favorite teacher btw)

People with opinions just go around bothering each other.

Siddhartha Gautama

There is grandeur in this view of life.


May you live in interesting times

Some Chinese Guy

"Energy = Mass * [Speed of Light]^2"

--Albert Einstein

"Reform is not pleasant, but grievous; no person can reform themselves without suffering and hard work, how much less a nation."

--Thomas Carlyle

"We are in a raft, gliding down a river, toward a waterfall. We have a map but are uncertain of our location and hence are unsure of the distance to the waterfall. Some of us are getting nervous and wish to land immediately; others insist we can continue safely for several more hours. A few are enjoying the ride so much that they deny there is any immediate danger although the map shows a waterfall ... How do we avoid disaster?"

George S Philander, 'Is the temperature rising?'

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof."

J K Galbraith

Maybe something good will come from it. A little revolution, now and then, is a healthy thing, don't you think?

- Capt. Marko Ramius (played by Sean Connery) in "The Hunt for Red October (1990)"

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences.

- Sir Winston Churchill, addressing the House of Commons on 12 Nov 1936

It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion about them.

On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.

Douglas Adams

Faith in immortality was born of the greed of unsatisfied people who make unwise use of the time that nature has allotted us. But the wise man finds his life span sufficient to complete the full circle of attainable pleasures, and when the time of death comes, he will leave the table, satisfied, freeing a place for other guests. For the wise man one human life is sufficient, and a stupid man will not know what to do with eternity. Epicurus.

"Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper."

--- Robert Anton Wilson

In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. If the road between two villages is impassable, the peasant says, "There should be a law about parish roads." If a park-keeper takes advantage of the want of spirit in those who follow him with servile obedience and insults one of them, the insulted man says, "There should be a law to enjoin more politeness upon the park-keepers." If there is stagnation in agriculture or commerce, the husbandman, cattle-breeder, or corn- speculator argues, "It is protective legislation which we require." Down to the old clothesman there is not one who does not demand a law to protect his own little trade. If the employer lowers wages or increases the hours of labor, the politician in embryo explains, "We must have a law to put all that to rights." In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice.

--- Peter Kropotkin

"In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interest, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press....They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. "An agreement was reached; the policy if the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers."

--- U.S. Congressman Oscar Callaway,

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.
"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.
"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?
"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

--- John Swinton

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."

Saul Bellow

"A Small army of Experts has disseminated an alarmist notion of imminent global oil exhaustion followed by economic implosion, massive unemployment, breadlines, homelessness, and the catastrophic end of industrial civilization. Their alarmist arguments mix incontestable facts with caricatures of complex realities, and they exclude anything that does not fit preconceived conclusions in order to issue obituaries of modern civilization."

- Vaclav Smil, in 'Global Catastrophes and Trends - The Next Fifty Years' (2008)

There are five major reasons that the transition from fossil to nonfossil supply will be much more difficult than is commonly realized: scale of the shift; lower energy density of replacement fuels; substantially lower power density of renewable energy extraction; intermittence of renewable flows; and uneven distribution of renewable energy sources."

- Vaclav Smil, in 'Global Catastrophes and Trends - The Next Fifty Years' (2008)

**Editors temporary vote for #1.


By contrast, in the spaceman economy, throughput is by no means a desideratum, and is indeed to be regarded as something to be minimized rather than maximized. The essential measure of the success of the economy is not production and consumption at all, but the nature, extent, quality, and complexity of the total capital stock, including in this the state of the human bodies and minds included in the system. In the spaceman economy, what we are primarily concerned with is stock maintenance, and any technological change which results in the maintenance of a given total stock with a lessened throughput (that is, less production and consumption) is clearly a gain. This idea that both production and consumption are bad things rather than good things is very strange to economists, who have been obsessed with tile income-flow concepts to the exclusion, almost, of capital-stock concepts.

John Ruskin. From Ad Valorem:

The real science of political economy, which has yet to be distinguished from the bastard science, as medicine from witchcraft, and astronomy from astrology, is that which teaches nations to desire and labor for the things that lead to life; and which teaches them to scorn and destroy the things which lead to destruction.

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakeable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.

Richard Dawkins (1941 - ), "The Root of All Evil", Channel 4 UK, 2006

(via email from reader tpverde on intermittent dial-up in CostaRica):

The development of capitalism has arrived at a stage when, although commodity production still "reigns" and continues to be regarded as the basis of economic life, it has in reality been undermined and the bulk of the profits go to the "geniuses" of financial manipulation. At the basis of these manipulations and swindles lies socialized production; but the immense progress of mankind, which achieved this socialization, goes to benefit... the speculators.

From Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money."

Apparently a native Indian saying.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- Albert Einstein

We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
~W.H. Auden

Nature has no reset button
by ?

"A whole generation of citizens thought that the carrying capacity of the earth was proportional to the amount of land under cultivation and that higher efficiencies in using the energy of the sun had arrived. This is a sad hoax, for industrial man no longer eats potatoes made from solar energy, now he eats potatoes partly made of oil."

Howard T. Odum, "Environment, Power, and Society", 1971

"The party's over."
-Richard Heinberg

"Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high.
There's a land that I heard of Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue.
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true."

Dorothy (E. Y. Harburg)

It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and end as superstitions.

T H Huxley

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

Abraham Lincoln

"I may not know much but I do know that I don't know anything about that."

--my son, at age 11

Selv de, der vil give deres børn alt, vil åbenbart ikke give dem en fremtid.
Eget 2008.