Take a deep breath

The following is a brief guest commentary by an anonymous TheOilDrum reader on coping with general limits to growth anxiety.

If you have your own Campfire topics generally related to resource depletion, please email them to the editors.

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. – Mark Twain

These past few weeks have gotten a little crazy, have they not? The IEA article in the Guardian is a sure step towards Peak Oil becoming an accepted reality for everyone in the world. I know I felt a mini panic attack when I began reading it, because for the first time I thought "man, TS is going to HTF REALLY soon!". The Fort Hood shooting was horrific, but to think that there have been 2 OTHER shootings in the same week is really worrying.

I was a bit of a worrier before becoming Peak Oil aware. I was one of those people that would sometimes get the reaction of “dude, you think WAY too much” when I would begin ranting about the state of the world. When I found out about Peak Oil, it was like God himself gave me the right to say to everyone “I told you so”.

These days I find it ironic that I find I’m worrying less than I ever used to because I’ve accepted that things could go very, very bad and most of it is out of my control. Still, there are some nights when think of what could happen. WW3, food riots, martial law and die-off’s are the worst things I associate with Peak Oil.

But I find ways to cope. My 2 main outlets are outdoor running/cycling and a little poetry/philosophy. I run as hard as I can, for as long as I can, and feel much better upon returning back to Doom.

A piece of poetry that holds a special place in my heart is Max Ehrmanns Desiderata.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Campfire Questions

1)How do you cope with anxiety in general?

2)How are you preparing mentally for when TSHTF? Is this more important than having a year’s supply of freeze dried food in the basement?

3)What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

I am sure at least some readers have memorized parts of the Bible as they were growing up:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?' or `What will we drink?' or `What will we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:25-34)

and Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not (be in) want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death; I will fear no evil: for thou
art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies: thou anointest
my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life; and I will dwell in the
house of the Lord for ever.

There are religious songs that go with these as well. When has a person has these "playing in the background", it is hard to be quite as anxious.

This is not the popular approach now days, but this, or something like it, was what quite a few of our forefathers relied on.

'The kingdom of the father is here on earth and men do not see it." book of thomas. Oops, they left that one out. Wonder why? No, this is it. But if you read a little James Joyce, Campbell, Camus, Sagan, and others it is quite possible to find comfort right here. Live in the moment. All these peak oil problems are in the future, (unless you have already lost your job, health insurance, auto, family, etc), so enjoy for the time being.

Now, there is another bottle neck before us. Been lots before and some of us made it. If you are here now, it is a testimony to the fact that your ancestors lived long enough to propagate. but you are going to die. yep, even you. Learn to savor the moment. All these models and cornucopian ideas so prevalent on TOD are not going to save you. Check the obits tomorrow. American medical care is the best in the world, yet folks are dying everyday. Always been that way. Now consider the following quote, 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.

Thanks for the Gospel of Thomas quote. Living in the now and rediscovering wonder are secrets to inner peace. One of my favorite poems is by Li Po, which seems to capture the heart of the matter:

The clouds above us join and separate
the breeze in the courtyard leaves and returns,
life is like that, so why worry?
Who can stop us from celebrating?

The question of "who" is essential, in that it really isn't anyone else outside of us nor is it outside events that make us crazy, angry, depressed... it's our attitude and thoughts about them that are the cause of pain. In this universe, change is constant despite how much we resist it or try to hold onto making our future look like the past.

For me, I've come to see PO and AGW in a different light. From a very long time scale perspective changes in climate, population, energy use, values, etc. are all part of the natural order and our fight against them is ultimately futile and is the cause of so much mental anguish and lost time. Acceptance of what is enables you to act and think more naturally and pragmatically. Worrying about the future is like paying interest on a debt you might not even owe. Live in accord with your principles and with integrity. I'm practicing ELP, and educating others about PO and exponential human population growth. After the initial shock and grief over discovering PO and such, I still get to choose how I live this current life. So I enjoy what I can now, express gratitude and share of my abundance. Life is short, so live it NOW.

"Split a stick, there you shall find me. Lift a rock, ther I will be." Another splinter of Thomas.

Here and Now and Everywhere Always.

Amen, Gail

As someone who was "guided" into attending church an average of about 2.3 times per week I appreciate the soothing philosophy of portions of the bible. Also, as one who attended college at the height of the Vietnam war and was constantly bombarded by warnings of imminent Global Thermonuclear War. I am concerned about Peak Oil but at times almost amused by the hair-rending of the Gloomers. I've been thru the threat of far worse stuff.

I think the philosophy of: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, is what I'm more or less working on. I'm retired, on SS and have had more than one near death experience in my life. I think it was on this web site that some one posted a comment that every day you're alive is a joy to be treasured, even when it's raining and gloomy. My old uncle ways always saying - "Every day on this side of the grass is a bonus day" and, particularly at my age, I see his point.

The things that usually turn out to matter most are family, friends, neighbors, pets and the times, good and bad, you have with them. Peak Oil will come and go but it doesn't have to take those important things with it. They'll mostly still be there.

My family, on my father's side comes from a stern line of Swiss-German dairy farmers, perhaps almost Amish in the 1700's, and one of their sayings is: "Many hands make light work". My goal in the coming months and years is to simply guide as many of my friends and acquaintances as possible, in a kind and pleasant way, to the knowledge of what is actually occurring around them.

As a way to grab their attention I have reserved the banquet room at my favorite local tavern for an "End of The World" party on 12-21-12. We'll either have a fun time joking on Doomers or have a really great FREE "last party in the world" as I'll be putting it all on a credit card. How about those wacky Mayans!

You are all invited.

I would have been a much happier person, and probably would have accomplished much more, had I never learned anything about the sciences.

Unfortunately for me, I early learned the lesson that the truth in the sciences has absolutely everything to do with the evidence and nothing to do with one's desires or prejudices.

I would trade my understanding of biology and geology in an instant now that I am old for a set in stone belief that I will live forever and be happy forever as soon as my brief stay in this world is finished.

But the fact that I cannot believe in Heaven and eternal life, or the devil for that matter, has not prevented me from studying the KJB,and as a person who has read more books than any body else I have ever known , excepting a couple of academics,I can say with assurance that there is no single greater book.

And having gotten to know a great many people of various philpsophical persausions, I can say confidently that none of them have led better or more fulfilling lives than many simple uneducated Baptists I have known.

They have had but little money but they have had something better-family, community, and peace of mind.Having little materially , as long as you have enough to live a dignified life, enables one to better appreciate what he has.

I watched my Daddy sit down at the picnic table a couple of months ago with a little sugar bomb-a watermelon we grow ourselves-and eat it all , slowly, feeding a mother hen and her chicks little bits , petting Dan the Coon hound who is also nowadays gray and stiff and enjoys the hot sun more than formerly,and enjoying late summer sunshine.Doubtless he was thinking mostly of his friends and family who have gone on to thier just rewards-I can tell.

I have no doubt that he would laugh at the Devil if he were to be offered the opportunity to change places with Bill Gates.

Those who study the KJB with an inquiring mind will find it full of wisdom of every sort that applies to the lives of men.It falls short only in the areas dealing with the physical world.

I would trade my understanding of biology and geology in an instant now that I am old for a set in stone belief that I will live forever and be happy forever as soon as my brief stay in this world is finished.

Well, I respect your feelings and opinion but I personally would do no such thing. I had to work hard to get the understanding of reality that I now have. I'm quite content to know that the atoms from which I am made all came from dieing stars. When I pass and relinquish this ephemeral mantle of consciousness knowing that I will simply cease to exist gives me comfort. I much prefer that knowledge.

Here's an XKCD comic that kind of says it all.


Quite a few of the books were philosophy.Ceaseing to exist does not bother me, I could have written your response myself on a different day.

But as a purely PRACTICAL MATTER I think I have pursued the life of the muse about as far as it will take me.

People who really have the sort of faith I speak of are nearly proof against the slings and stones of this world-my religious relatives have all lived to ridiculous old ages exceopt for a couple who succumbed to accidents.I have yet to meet a person who views life as you (and yes) I do who has been as fulfilled and happy.

I expect we are relgious for reasons built into the very lowest levels of our brains since the time our ancestors began living in family groups.God is the very ultimate in group leaders from this pov.

And only a very few of us , if any , are bossed by our neocortex.My neocortex may insist that it's all just hokum but the wiring left over from the days when my ancestors were living in trees insists that it ain't so-that the devil(a leopard?) is still out there in the dark and hungering for my body/soul but that the all powerful sun bringer of light and warmth and safety, will save me tomorrow-all I need do is have faith and get thru the night.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.unknown

Mac's corollary:Too much knowledge is far more dangerous.


I have yet to meet a person who views life as you (and yes) I do who has been as fulfilled and happy.

Ironically despite the fact that most would call me a doomer and I guess I fit the bill, I'm still very reluctant to say I'm unhappy and unfulfilled.

There are so many things in my life that are just plain great! I'm a son, brother, friend, dad, lover etc... I get back much more than I give. I love life though I have seen dark side of it as well.

As an example today I called a friend, a combat wounded vet to personally salute him for his service. He couldn't have been more thankful for my call, he knows I disagree with the US involvement in Iraq and Afganistan but he knows I fully support him! The list goes on and on.

I decided long ago that I had to follow my own path where ever that might lead. I will only follow those that can prove their own worth, pull their own weight and earn my respect.
I fully accept responsibility for myself, that's not such a terrible way to go through life...

FMaygar,Sorry I got out of line there-I obviously only know you thru your comments here and you come across as realist of the Darwinian sort to me thru these comments.Such people often have a sort of dim view of the human experience and humanity in general.

I did not mean to imply that there is only one route to happiness and fulfillment, or that you personally were not a self actualized centered and happy individual-but I do maintain that the LIKELIHOOD of being such a person is enhanced by a religious faith sincerely held.

Obviously you have been fortunate in your personal life.

Somewhere some way you have luckily acquired the many of the basic values held in high esteem by many religions-love of family, loyalty,giving of yourself, etc.

I learned these values in Sunday school to greater extent than elsewhere and they were reinforced by community and family.A good church fosters these values and constantly reinforces them.

They are a great comfort to me.

Life has meaning within the context of the wiring and programming of our brains.

Outside of that context I am pretty sure if humanity means anything it is as the butt of a cosmic joke along the lines of either David Adams or Kafka.

Cartainly none of the other species sharing this world with us would miss us, excepting a couple of species of lice.

If I were a believer I would not be burdened with this party pooping line of thought.

If I knew how to post cartoons I would post this one.

Tropical scene, jungle, with flying saucer in background.Little green man lounging in grass with chimpanzee and gorilla.Chimp and gorilla appear to be upset , indignant.

Litle green man says "Let me see if I've got this straight-everything was going just fine on this planet until your cousins started getting uppity, right?"

Can't remember where I saw it.

FMaygar,Sorry I got out of line there-I obviously only know you thru your comments here and you come across as realist of the Darwinian sort to me thru these comments.Such people often have a sort of dim view of the human experience and humanity in general.

Not at all! Yes, I do consider my self a realist but I think the take away point is that we do not need any external force or entity to make us fulfilled and happy, that capability is within ourselves.

"Let me see if I've got this straight-everything was going just fine on this planet until your cousins started getting uppity, right?"

Yeah, I've seen it myself, here is a link.

This is one that cannot be posted due to copyright issues.

To post a publicly available image right click it and view the properties, copy the adress:
Here it is for this cartoon:http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/copyno.php

In The TOD FAQ's you find the information on how to format the necessary HTML.

How do I include an image in my comment?

* First, you must upload your image to a web-accessible server. Several image hosting services, such as Photobucket and Flickr provide space for free.

NOTE: You do not need to up load images that are available for public access by their original authors such as the XKCD comic I posted, they have a link that you can just copy and paste directly into the body text of your post.

* Then include the appropriate HTML code in your comment. For example: <img src="http://my.webserver.com/filename.gif">.

I agree. I consider myself happy and fulfilled. I'm from a family of atheists, and many of them lived through much tougher times than I have (so far, anyway ;-) and lived to their 90s, even past 100.

I suspect the real benefit of religion is the sense of community it can offer. But there are other ways to get that.

I've noticed this phenom with a lot of well educated people. Their understanding of science and its many logical explanations for phenomenon seem in many cases to disuade them from a belief of something beyond this life. But where did the energy come from that was infused into mass in the Big Bang? What if it came from a God consciousness, but that reduced part of its consciousness to minimal and dispersed with the mass as centillions of tiny lowest level bits of consciousness. Then those bits are equal to the first arising microbes and that initiates a symbiotic positive loop exchange between physical life and consciousness. In other words each of us got our start in a ribosome or some such microbe, and in each successive life ascended to higher thought levels in more evolved species and individuals.

In this manner, consciousness in the Universe is ascending to higher more energetic thought levels, until all consciousness is once again in one God, and all mass is in one Black Hole. With both single entities overlapped, God releases a thought at rest in the form of thermal energy into the mass to cause a chain reaction expansion into a new Universe.

This would mean that the parallel to E=MC2, is thought equals consciousness times the speed of light squared; T=COC2

What if our thought levels ascended to more energetic levels by way of Intellect and Love? This is part of a Theory I wrote called 'The General Theory of Gravi-Conscilution', in a book I'm finishing up called 'Intellect & Love'.

My Father was an atheist and convinced me of that perspective, until an incident when I was 14 when I almost drowned. My life flashed back accompanied by a commentary from a voice I didn't recognize that explained how important my life had been to the other people in my life. My final memory was lying down on a floor at such a young age I couldn't move, then moving to a white light. The feeling is something you can't describe, but it felt like I was going somewhere very loving. I then jolted myself back into coherence, struggled one more time to get loose from some rope and surfaced a non-atheist.

The Theory is based on the simple hypothesis of a Universe composed of equal amounts of mass & consciousness and it is their interaction that supports an ever expanding and contracting Universe.

It contains 10 predictions, one of which I'm trying to prove in a table-top experiment. I realize if I can't prove it scientifically it will remain just another idea. If the experiment works I'll post it here on TOD as well as in a press release.


Fwiw,I can see no reason whatsoever that there might NOT be a God of some sort, other than our prejudices.The question cannot be disproved so far as I know.

It does not seem to me that Occam's razor can be applied in this instance-the existence of a god of some sort seems no less likely than the existence of the universe itself.Perhaps one implies the other.

Certainly the chicken and the egg are only alternate forms of the same entity.

I have known a couple of people very well who have had experiences somewhat similar to the one you relate.These experiences were adequate to make believers of THEM.

I do believe that if there is a God He , She, or It would find it exceedingly tedious to be bothered with us, and that if such an interested God existed, we would have some unequiovical proof of the same, if he/she/it wants our attention.

Mark Twain wrote a good deal of what I must admit is rather biting satire concerning the Christian religion and I reccomend it highly to those with a taste for such literature.

OFM, Allow me to begin by stating that you're a favorite of mine here. It's not just your name. Your perspectives are mostly appreciated:-) My only comment is that the subtleties of a g_d, whatever the definition of g-d you prefer, is a thing the english language falls far short describing.....BECAUSE, the subtleties of the triune brain are incapable of processing.

Humility, of which you demonstrate a fair share, is something humans as a species needs to find.

Knowledge of the triune brain should make you wonder if that is why religions with 3-headed gods are so popular (father, son, holy spirit = reptilian, limbic, neo-cortical shells? Hmmm)

Never considered this, most interesting. So which is which?

maybe -- father/neo-cortical - holy spirit/limbic - son/reptilian

No, no. Father is definitely reptilian because Father is evolutionary origin. Son is definitely limbic because care for family is a limbic function. And of course, the unearthly and abstract spirit must be the neo cortex which indeed does delve into abstract mathematical and other thoughts.

Here is a link to one of my old lemming blog posts: quantum-religion-ism which may give you better insight into how all religions work: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity.


BECAUSE, the subtleties of the triune brain are incapable of processing.

Incapable or do you think maybe it's possible just rather difficult? What about the triune human brain would make it impossible/very difficult? Is it more of a language issue?

Any books on the subject could you recommend.


For OFM consumption, or others as so desired but mainly to OFM,

My perspective as I studied both American versions of the KJV(Scolfield edition), The Torah(in Hebrew),the rest of the rather recent Hebrew Bible, The Kaballah, The Sefer Yetzirah, Dead Sea Scrolls texts and much more.

Firstly. The (GOD) we speak of here is the God of Israel. Thus "they" deal with that GOD. And they do NOT call him GOD as that is NOT His name. His name is unknownable. It is ineffable. It is unpronouncable.

One CANNOT 'know' God(using the form we find so easily to ripple off our tongues.

That God is known in some ways by the word Elohim or more precisely Eloi. Yet that is still not HIS name...as he told Moses "I AM THAT I AM" (as we translate it) as still that is not His name. The word Eloi is one of several names applied to what is the workings of a God to the Hebrews. I think in fact there are seven or possibly more. El Shaddai is another.

The closest one can come is what is referred to as The Tetragrammaton...a Greek word. The Hebrew writes it as a Ya Hey Vau Hey....the Y,H,V,H in Hebrew which the country bumpkins and others try to vocalize as Yahweh but still this is not correct and is misleading.

In essence therefore NO ONE 'knows' the mind of God(EL)..no one. He is undifferentiated.
Speaking of what he is or might be is fruitless. Preachers love to tell us about what God wants and so forth. They DO NOT know this..its bullshit. They can make suppositions and so forth but knowledge? They have none.

This is the way of the Hebrews and being he is Their God this is how they deal with it.

So when the Tetragammontron is read in the scrolls or books they do not SAY anything and will skip it but more often with use another word and that word is Adonai..or Adanoy or words to that effect but Adonai is mostly substituted.

Fine. And so what do we use in English for this word(Adonai)? We say Lord. That is what the KJV uses.

Lord. Massive confusion now comes into play because the Christians do not know who they are referring when they use the word LORD. Mostly I think they mean Jesus Christ but really I think they are just ignorant enough to use what the KJV says and let it go at that. But its wrong nonetheless.

All this science and jabberwocky by scientists about God this and God that is rather silly then because just as the world of Quantum Mechanics reaches the state of being just "Probabilities" instead of concrete knowledge,such as knowning position AND velocity, they do not know what they speak of but just fall into the vernacular usage dissing the whole subject of a real GodHead.

The Jewish sages and rabbis have studied this area for thousands of years and there are extensive tomes written on this and the studies. The Sefer Yetzirah being one of the earliest and only translated and published for the english speaking rather recently. The abilty to decipher the Hebrew text was extremely difficult due to it being written is such manner as it is. Being much of the Hebrew priesthood taught this orally and passed it on in such manner in the Yeshivas and elsewhere.
Sefer means Bookj and Yetzirah means Creation(loosely translated that is).

Moses Cordova and many many others spent lifetimes in this pursuit. The pursuit of these esoteric tomes and texts. This in my opinion is where Christians demean the whole area with greatly trying to simplify and make trivial the whole cast and issues of the Hebrew God.

We have trivialized it to the point of being dismissed as of having any value whatsoever. The preaching of Christianity by charlatans and riffraff has further caused damage almost beyond belief.

Those asinine little homilies written on signboards outside most churches have further trivialized the study and practice. Pedophile Catholic Priests have almost been the death knell of what is left.

Yet for the seeker there is still a pathway to possible understanding if one pursues the absolute truths and seeks righteously.

I spend much of my later years in just that pursuit and the rewards have been fruitful.

But to each his own. I assume Hell needs sinners just as much as the reverse and there is likely huges supplies everywhere as this country which once espoused spiritual beliefs during its founding now spirals the toilet bowl to death and doom beyond measure.

Airdale-maybe not for you,maybe not for others, maybe what we each pursue is what we are BUT I am a believer nonetheless and will not be deterred by any force on this earth or words of any man or institution,,,,this is the path I walk, I carry no baggage and I mostly along alone as we all must eventually, and finding the very slight imprints of those who have gone on before me but I will study the words of others and take from it what I think is true and reject what I think is false
as I use the only means I have of discernment, my own thoughts and mind and so to each his own and his own ending as they so desire, be it Ghenna,Sheol or Pardes.

Hi Airdale,

I'm glad to see you are alive and well and posting again.

Many people much wiser than I can ever hope to be have come to conclusions close to yours.

I must say that even though I am not a believer in any ordinary sense neither am I convinced there is no God of any sort-I just don't see any evidence there is one-nor any evidence that there isn't.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of abscence.

I have not made a study of the roots of Christianity that can hold a candle to the one you have - I am impressed- I have never met a lay person who knows more and have never associated with professional theologians of any sort except to read a few .

I have read enough to know that what we read in the KJB is about as closly related to the original source material as the end message from the last kid on the old Art Linkletter show is to the message given to the first kid.(They sat about ten little kids in chairs and told the first one something to be passed on the his nieghbor.)

A great deal of my problems with religion arises from the self serving and hypocritical behavior of religious leaders-something you speak of with contempt.

But in the last analysis I must remain a Darwinian who believes that religion is some sort of artifact of our evolving intelligence and that there is no evidence of a God looking over us or after us or even being interested in our existence in the sense of a biologist looking at an ant colony.

I probably have a bad case or sour grapes as a result of this belief-but this is where the evidence leads me.

I do not doubt that people who believe otherwise are happier in many cases.

A good way to describe my attitude toward religion from my PERSONAL POV is that my experience with it has been like the experience of a simple and honest man who falls in love with a woman who is stringing him along and finally realizes the truth.

The love of a good woman is among the most wonderful of all things for those who are lucky enough to have it but it is of no value to those who don't.

That's all very interesting.

Except that it does not account for the fact that among the human species there are dozens if not more religions each worshiping 1, 3 or many gods and each claiming that their version is the only true god(s) and that somehow this god(s) is peculiarly fond of the human species and of the small orb known as Earth from among the billions of orbs in the Universe and the who-knows-how-many sentient species in the Universe.

We know that on our planet there are other sentient beings: dolphins, whales, other apes, our mammalian pets (dogs, cats), birds, etc. What gods do they worship and do they believe theirs is made in their own image?
Thanks for all the fish.
And oh, BTW, the answer is 42.

Could be that there is a common underling reality that religions are built on. Sure religions tend to play power grab games, the struggle for higher serotonin levels, but maybe there is something of value underneath. If so it includes all of life, no just us humans, and it is definitely not based on some Santa Claus type of hierarchical all powerful spiritual entity.

Of course there is an underlying common reality.

It's called the human brain.
You are not "you" although "you" delude yourself into believing so. ;-)

In one respect I count myself among the real experts-books in general.Too bad there's no money in reading all the time or I'd be rich.

Everyboby here can take this to the bank-Douglas Adams' books are so good that you can be ready to commit suicide and yet wind up laughing so hard you become breathless by reading them.

The answer is indeed 42.

Lately I have been thinking about the Tree of Knowledge. As an atheist, I previously thought of it as an example of everything I dislike about religion; it is an example of authority telling the plebes that "You can't handle the truth". Later, I learned about how the church exploited Europeans by only allowing priests and members of the establishment to speak Latin and read the bible, ensuring that the common people would not figure out that they were being duped and that what the church was doing to them was not very christian (even I know that).

My feelings about religion grew from disbelief (that people actually believe this) to feelings of outrage. I hated the idea of an organization which, despite the good work it may do, teaches people that they are being evaluated by God throughout their lives and that this life is just a test run for the next (eternal, much better) one. The Church's desire to keep evolution out of schools and to censor the media and essentially to ban ideas they didn't approve of disturbed me. At the same time, I was learning about the Church's role in the AIDS pandemic in Africa. All this added up to create someone who does not approve of religion in general.

Then, around 03-04, my world changed when I accepted that the official story about a certain terrorist attack was almost certainly untrue. I learned more about the CIA and it's role in history and I became deeply disturbed by this. The idea I had accepted on faith (North American Civilization is basically good) had changed completely, and then I learned about Peak Oil and ecological collapse. I now realize how my own (former) faith in Western Civilization was built on lies worse than the ones the Church told back in the Dark Ages. We have met the enemy and he is us.

But now thinking back to the Tree of Knowledge, I realize why it was a mistake.

The Tree of Knowledge is an interesting parable.

It kind of says, be careful what you wish for, knowledge isn't always a good thing.

Am I glad I obtained knowledge of Peak Oil?
I'm not sure.
The Garden East of Eden was certainly a happier one before PO.


I recently finished "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn; the Tree of Knowledge vs. Tree of Life thing was interesting, to say the least! Like Ishmael's student, I was always puzzled by that myth; viewed from the perspective of people outside the Levantine tradition, it certainly makes a lot more sense.

Great read. Do not stop now. go immediately to The Story of B by the same author. great stuff.

OFM - while I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, I think you've got it together pretty well. Wether heaven and hell exist,IMHO, matters little as compared to what we all do in the present. Biology, geology, whatever don't matter a hill of beans compared to our family and friends.

One take on reality is that heavan and hell actually co-exist in our current physical plane, I myself, have experienced times of bliss that were close to what some might think as heaven while I'm sure the residents of Rwanda were sure they were in hell. As some of my more jaded high school friends would say: It all depends on where your values lie.

I've more or less come to the conclusion that it just doesn't matter. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the nature of existence. Having been raised in a religion that belived in an eternal soul, I contemplated how that might be. Physics tells us that matter is made of molecules. Molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are made of electrons, protons, neutrons and other subatomic particles. Electrons, neutrons and the other sub-atomic particles are made up of spinning bits of energy.

Therefore, what we percieve as solid matter and our everyday reality is actually vast space with tiny bits of spining energy. Nothing we percieve as solid, really is. So, if there is an eternal soul, maybe it too is made up of the spinning bits of energy that all else is comprised of. Who knows. I myself, don't think it's those folks telling me I just have to have faith and believe texts written 2,000-4,000 years ago by folks who went into the dessert and fasted for 30 days and then saw god, and therefore have the knowledge of the ages. A real and true god would speak to us far more often, and not just thru the 700 club. And, maybe, God is speaking all the time and we're just not listening.

Bottom line, Ol'Mac, is that I think you've got as good a line on life as anyone, maybe better than most. Keep on truckin'

How do you cope with anxiety in general?


Hear hear...

Careful. Benzo's are the most addictive drug you can get hold of, especially alprazolam. Been ther, done that, BIG BAD.

The three things I have gleaned from religion and I like to keep it simple #1 He said he would never put more on you than you couldn't carry #2 If you believe there is nothing to worry about and #3 Don't doubt the other two.

Thanks Gail,
and Nate as well,

For displaying some of the more valuable aspects of 'spirituality'. I would say Christianity but that would set off another of those feuds that occur rather often in fact.

To me the Koran preaches violence but all that the prophet of God ever preached was peace IMO and as I read.

There is a huge amount of wisdom in the Old Testament. Many can easily find solace in Psalms as well as wisdom.

Its needful for folks to be able to find an inner peace within. As I lay on the hospital bed after my 'walk through the valley of the shadow of death'(cancer operation) I found myself to be a different person in some respects. The brush with death made me want to add more value and peace to my remaining years of life on this small blue planet, third out from the sun.

I spent all day yesterday with my preacher friend helping him lay headstones and we talked about it and life in general. About troubling times we spoke...apropos of the song "Troubling Times Are Here, filling men's souls with fear................"


"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof".


Hands up all present who are 5's.
I am.
This site is a 5's magnet.

Enneagrams. Way cool.

I agree that TOD is a 5 magnet. It has that analytical/ivory tower quality that makes it irresistible to 5's.

I used to think and behave very 5-ishly. In that guise I was a devotee of TOD and even posted a couple of keyposts back in the early days. But when I finally recovered my Self I discovered I am actually a 9. In coming to understand myself better I also realized why this place causes me so much suffering. Since I've decided to give up suffering for Lent, I don't participate here much any more.

I wonder if Doomers are phobic 6's and Technocopians are counterphobic 6's?

Hmm, apparently I'm a "1". Not really sure what that means.

Gail, On the one hand there's a lot of wisdom in the words of Christ, and hidden elsewhere in the original Christian ideas (1. political authorities, religious authorities AND the masses can be simultaneously all wrong (morally and factually), and the derided individual is right; 2. Resurrection is very real in the sense that even though good honest people are forever being killed and oppressed by evil self-promoters, yet goodness still "resurrects" in human nature (due to nat seln.).

These (plus the belief in courageous honesty and helping and forgiving others) are the ultra-powerful ideas that have led to the supremacy of the Christianity-based civilisations.

And yet the bits you quote seem to be far from wise words of Christ! I reckon that a key factor in the superiority of European and Russian civilisations has been that they could survive only by very carefully organising and preparing to get through cold hungry winters year after year. And they DID have to worry!

My problem is that I can think of a number of positives about peak oil - but they are all immediately negated by the sheer numbers of people around me. My main stress reducer is being out in the natural world. Once one's consciousness is changed, it's a constant pleasure to delight in starry skies, clear springs, moss on rocks, etc. But then I worry about the fragility of all these things due to the sheer mass of humanity. I am glad I didn't have offspring.

It isn't that difficult to get away easily to a beautiful place that engages all one's attention. The problem is, a car is sort of necessary to make it the 25 miles or so that hold the "nearby" lovely areas, lol.

Note: If you have an erection a peak that lasts for more than 4 hours 100 years please consult a physician an economist...

Poking fun (no pun intended, yeah...) at everything around me and taking myself with a huge grain of salt, helps to ward off anxiety and depression as well ;-)

Hey! Keep your poker to yourself.


You need to point that finger at whoever posted that image ;-)

I can think of many positives as well. All it takes to get rid of the "negated by the sheer numbers of people" thing is to bike to work. Within a few minutes I'm reminded how much better a world it will be when most of the dirtbags are on bikes or riding the bus. Maybe like:

And most of the time, the 25 miles is a pretty easy bike ride away. Even if you're doing a pretty leisurely 12mph, that's only two hours. The only problem would be if the roads are too bombed out to make the trip. But in that case, people will have moved out of closer, formerly beautiful places that had been sprawled over. I hope we have the good sense to just become more like Europe. We'd need much less oil and end up with an even better quality of life.

That's awesome!

Yeah, there's a lot of early John Denver that helps. "This Old Guitar", "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", and "Annie's Song" come to mind as well, but once you're old enough, it's hard to beat Poems, Prayers & Promises. Sting's "Fields of Gold" has something of that as well.

I happen to be non religious so I take my comfort from nature, as beautiful and uncaring as she is!


I think EO Wilson is probably correct about biophilia. I find it hard to be stressed or depressed when I'm outdoors, surrounded by nature.

Amen ;-)

I will second that Amen heartily.

To clarify my thoughts a bit-I do not consider having a religois faith necessary to fulfillment and happiness but more as helpful in achieving the same-perhaps essential to some people who have less in the line of internal (intellectual) or external (family, meaningful work ,etc) resources to draw upon.

Religion in this sense is an intellectual tool that will help you get where you want to be-contented and at rest mentally.Its not for everybody-but then niether is another drink.

It is altogether possible and actually quite easy to believe in the brotherhood and philosophy of a religion without accepting any of the mythology as being literally true.

Most people have no earthly idea how many practicing Christians are in this camp-but you must know one of them very well indeed before he will admit this personal secret.

Thier behavior , however gives them away-as when they fail to get upset when they read an article in the paper about say -a new museum exhibit of dinosaur bones accompanied by another article on the same page about the nature of the solar system or the origins of the universe or Neanderthals.

I think the increasing scarcity of oil may bring about some positive things.

I don't think that the world will fall off of a cliff. The price will go up, and people will cope. They'll consolidate trips, they'll drive less. People will carpool, or ride the bus. People will be forced to (gasp) talk to each other.
Life will slow down. Businesses might actually be closed on Sundays again.

Do you remember after 9/11, the feeling that swept the country? People were quieter. More polite. Humble. They also started to think about the things in life that are truly important. On 9/12, I remember how strange it was not to hear or see commercial jets in the sky. On 9/13, I reveled in it. I'm sorry it takes such drastic and terrible events, but I'd like to see that feeling return.

Oil prices will rise, but then demand will fall, and the price will regulate. Price will be high, but people will think about what it's being used for. Things will change, and I look forward to that.

I think that (we) Americans are a lot more resilient than we give ourselves credit for sometimes. Do you think we could go from evening's entertainment being dinner at a chain restaurant and the latest blockbuster at the megaplex to cooking at home with friends and pitching horseshoes?

I think so.

There won't be an energy crisis, and yes, we will all drive electric cars.

In a word: coal. Sad, dirty, but true.

If we were to solve the resource depletion problem then the environmental degradation will get us.

Or alien invaders. Renegade comets. The wolves in the Day After Tomorrow. There's always God's Reckoning if all else fails.

Don't ask me to back those up with proof, or even explain them, I'm just saying.

Thank you, damac, for sounding a non-doomer note - something sorely missing from our beloved Oil Drum. Many seem to think the choice is binary between cornucopia and collapse. I believe that while our society is fat and lazy, it can get leaner in a big hurry when it has to - all humans can. We just always wait until the last minute.

I still have in my possession a manual from 1999, written by an authoritative journal that was telling people how to survive the impending Y2K collapse. It was dire, earnest, and in retrospect makes for hilarious reading. I think about it when the doomerism gets too intense.

No one really knows what will happen, and while Peak Oil is real, our fears are not. Just remember to breathe.

exactly - the possibilities are endless. most on tod are resigned to catastrophic upheaval. yes, there could be a national collapse which would ripple into a global collapse. no doubt. but there could also be a billion other things that happen. i mean, check it out: Tinkering Makes a Comeback Amid Crisis

Engineering schools across the country report students are showing an enthusiasm for hands-on work that hasn't been seen in years. Workshops for people to share tools and ideas -- called "hackerspaces" -- are popping up all over the country; there are 124 hackerspaces in the U.S., according to a member-run group that keeps track, up from a handful at the start of last year. SparkFun Electronics Inc., which sells electronic parts to tinkerers, expects sales of about $10 million this year, up from $6 million in 2008. "Make" magazine, with articles on building items such as solar hot tubs and autopilots for robots, has grown from 22,000 subscribers in 2005 to more than 100,000 now. Its annual "Maker Faire" in San Mateo, Calif., attracted 75,000 people this year.

"We've had this merging of DIY [do it yourself] with technology," says Bre Pettis, co-founder of NYC Resistor, one of the first hackerspaces, in Brooklyn. "I'm calling it Industrial Revolution 2."

as i said in a discussion last week, certainty is delusional. i mean, i definitely wish our fugin government was more nimble and more effective, that'd give me some peace of mind. but the way to deal with anxiety is to take in the positive indicators and give them equal intellectual weight as the negative ones, and to admit deep-down that we don't know what's coming tomorrow - let alone in 2030. i think all we can do is recognize the risks ahead, prepare ourselves for the possibilities (good and bad), and do our best to help people.

Really excellent graph. I hope to see one in the near future that shows lawyers having a similar decline.

John Lennon - Imagine (acoustic)


3)What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

Clair de Lune


that is a wonderful piece of music, I'd never heard it, thanks.
I'll be jamming with this chick this week end
check out lead, not a dime a dozen guitar player

She definitely can crank out some tunes. I'd like to hear her play some of The Who's stuff on acoustic.

All this terror over end of oil doom gives me a pain. Thirty years ago I figured the empire for doom and was glad of it. Nobody had heard of peak oil, global warming or a dozen other things. It gradually became clear to me that the world as I had always known it wasn't about to collapse and that nobody gave a shit about renewable energy. So, nothing to do but use the black stuff up as quickly as possible. So we're finally getting there. The quicker it's gone the quicker people will learn how to live differently. Can't happen soon enough to suit me.

The connection between Peak Oil / Resource Depletion and the police state that most 1st world countries are building is a real one, but I think it would have happened anyway. Eventually, Zebiniew Brezezski's prediction of the Technetronic (his word, not mine) Era would come to pass under BAU. In the Technetronic Era, the state will have access to all information about all people all the time. It would be Stalin's wildest dream. Thankfully, the Technetronic Era depends on cheap energy, and lots and lots of networked devices. On that note, that is one way I deal with the reality of PO; the future we were inevitably marching towards was not a good one.

1. I cope with anxiety in general through meditation, by doing a lot of inner work to reduce my reactivity and bring myself into closer touch with who I truly am, and by cultivating non-attachment. I follow a path composed of equal parts of Buddhism, Carl Jung and Jim Kunstler. Seriously.

2. Mental preparation is much more important to me than canned food and ammo. What I said above applies here. I try to accept the world as it is, in the hope that as circumstances change around me I will see them for what they actually are, and will respond to them with consciousness, wisdom and compassion. I feel compassion is likely to be much more important to my survival than bullets. Being able to make and support friends, and to be generous in times of hardship is the core of community. And community is the one thing that has always been essential.

3. The Sufi poetry of Hafiz has always given my heart wings.

If You Don't Stop That

I used to live in
A cramped house with confusion
And pain.

But then I met the Friend
And started getting drunk
And singing all

Confusion and Pain
Started acting nasty,
Making threats,
With talk like this,

"If you don't stop 'that' -
All that fun -


I find Robinson Jeffers has an outlook on life that somehow describes our predicament, but puts it in perspective. The poem, The Purse Seine, written I think in the 1920's or 1930's states it eloquently.

The Purse Seine
by Robinson Jeffers

Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark of the moon;
daylight or moonlight
They could not tell where to spread the net, unable to see the
phosphorescence of the shoals of fish.
They work northward from Monterey, coasting Santa Cruz; off
New Year's Point or off Pigeon Point
The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color light on the
sea's night-purple; he points and the helmsman
Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the gleaming shoal
and drifts out her seine-net. They close the circle
And purse the bottom of the net, then with great labor haul it in.

I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible, then, when the
crowded fish
Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall to the
other of their closing destiny the phosphorescent
Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body sheeted
with flame, like a live rocket
A comet's tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside the
Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up to watch,
sighing in the dark; the vast walls of night
Stand erect to the stars.

Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light: how could
I help but recall the seine-net
Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how beautiful
the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
into interdependence; we have built the great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
of free survival, insulated

From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet they
shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
Will not come in our time nor in our children's, but we and our
Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all powers
-or revolution, and the new government
Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls- or anarchy,
the mass-disasters.

These things are Progress;
Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps
its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria, splin-
tered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are quite wrong.
There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that
cultures decay, and life's end is death.


Thank you for that. Huge fan of Robinson Jeffers.

Personally preparing by selling off all acquisitions except for farm and turning that into an organic, self sustaining enterprise, and buying tools. Have developed an obsession for stock piling tools. In the evenings I drink a good bourbon on the farm house porch and listen all old wonderful tunes of 70's... America, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eagles, etc.

Also a big fan of this. It sends chills down my spine. It was written in 1937, I believe. Very prescient.


Preparing mentally is a tough challenge. Being part of TOD helps.

A few days back a post posed the question “do doomers really want something bad to happen”. Oh my, am I guilty of this. I later wrote a reply, for me writing things out helps to clarify issues. By then the thread was old so I just saved it. This seems to be a good place to post my reply.

Is there an aspect of “doomers” that WANTS something really bad to happen. I think so. It comes from the hatred of the sub optional dysfunctional aspects of our society. Hatred is a type of anger and anger is self-hidden fear. Therefore, what is the fear that is driving the hatred.

I suspect it comes from knowingness that the wonder of our brief time as physical beings is seriously compromised by the aggregate dysfunctional mindset. It is the fear of this totally unnecessary tragedy that drives the hatred of the manifested aspects of this dysfunctional mindset.

The challenge for doomers is to acknowledge this fear and to realize that hoping for some type of total destruction is feeding this fear. Feeding fears subconsciously makes the feared event more likely to happen.

This is tough to do when it seems that crash and burn has all ready happened, we just don’t know it yet. It’s like being in a car running 120mph, and accelerating, toward a wall that is 50’ away. Your thinking that at 70mph you need 200’ to stop…

The antidoomer types can help by acknowledging the mess we are in and presenting plausible, realistic solutions. It is easy to run amuck when this fear has its way with you and a little realty check sure helps.

What seems the best, likely the only, solution? We all must reduce our ecological footprint to the lowest possible level. Funny thing about this is we must work less. Become human beings, not human doings. We must become happier, more content. However, we all have to work together for this common goal.

It does not mean going backwards, returning to the 1800’s is not a viable option. Maybe a future mostly urban hobbit style life of some type could even handle our present population. Endless physical growth is non-sustainable, but mental growth has not this constraint.

Once again, mindset issues are the endgame.

Feeding fears subconsciously makes the feared event more likely to happen.

What do you mean by this? It doesn't sound very rational to me. I would have thought the opposite was true, fear acts as a driver for preparation and mitigation against a perceived threat. (whether it is real or not).

In saying that, may I present the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.


It is based on the concept that you tend to manifest what you think about. The more you dwell on it the more likely it will happen. From a practical standpoint it is based on the concept that you will take actions, consciously or subconsciously that will help facilitate what you believe will happen. Desire to be right is stronger than the desire for a good outcome.

From a spiritual standpoint, based on my believes anyway, it is based on the concept of projecting your thoughts into the spiritual ream and being given what you ask for (spent time thinking about). The spiritual ream is non-judgmental in that what ever you dwell on it will assist with helping to make it happen.

From a Christian standpoint I think that in KJB Jesus says something about "if you think it you have done it". Maybe this could be interpreted to mean "if you think fearful thoughts the feared event has happened".

krs-one calls it subconscious magnets, and others call it the self-fulfilling prophecy, but it's really so simple: on a moment-to-moment basis, what you believe changes how you behave.

it's like self-'priming' (priming). if you think you are having a bad hair day, you will not smile when your crush passes by. as a result, your crush will not say 'hi' and your feeling that you are having a bad hair day is confirmed.

(but what would have happened had you thought you looked great? identical situation. you're smiling. crush says, 'hi.' you look great! one's got to be careful, so as not to delude oneself -- ha --because really, you look about the same from day to day.)

i think you can see how this also translates into 'market psychology.' if you fear the bottom is going to drop out, you rein in your risk. if others in large enough numbers follow suit? the bottom falls out.

Or, maybe, much more simplistically, like when a kid is learning to ride a bicycle but is wary of that tree near the sidewalk down the block. As he pedals, a bit wobbly, down the sidewalk, he keeps glancing at the tree. Because this is all such a new experience for him, his body follows his gaze rather than his mental instructions, and the next thing he knows...kablammo! The kid has hit the tree.


Something closely related - some would say the same thing - is the concept of the self fulfilling prophecy.

If you believe your lover i9s going to cheat, you are likely to treat your lover in away that encourages cheating.If you believe your garden will grow, it grows because you work harder at making it grow.

"If a man thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole."
David Bohm, "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", p. xi

"Don't seek fame or profit, glory or prosperity. Just pass life as it is , according to conditions. When the breath vanishes who is the master? After the death of the body, there is only an empty name. When your clothes are worn out, repair them over and over; when there is no food, work to provide. How long can an illusory body last? For its idle concerns would you increase your ignorance?"
— Zen Master Dongshan Liangjie (b. 807)

I recommend the book "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chödrön... actually I recommend all her books. I am not sure that the first two questions are different.

It seems to me that if you have a spiritual practice (you don't have to be a theist to have some form of mindfulness practice) it is a good idea to become proficient. Courage is going to be an important attribute as will calm. One way to cope is to take action... grow at least some of your food, even if it is a tomato plant in a pot or some herbs. Turn off the damn TV. Read "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman. It is a history of the 14th century, and it will make you glad to be alive now. Read anything by Robert Aitken, the late leader of the Diamond Sangha Zen community on the Island of Oahu, Hawai'i. Read the poems of Rumi. Read the Sermons of Meister Eckhart. I second the suggestion already made about the Gospel of Thomas.

Go for a walk. Split some wood and stack it. Write a poem. Read a story to a child, or better yet make one up as you tell it. Help a child build something with simple tools some boards and nails. Practice patience: Watch a spider spin a web, or spend an hour doing nothing.


Reading "When Things Fall Apart" changed my perspective on a lot of thing. Similarly with "The Good Earth", although it wasn't as good =)

There is a tendency to feel personal guilt about the fact that you believe (know) that the world as we have known it is heading for a cliff. Occasionally (less frequently as time goes on) friends will ask me for my opinion on the current financial crisis or some recent news regarding energy and the economy. For a time I found myself prefacing my responses with a an apology. "Sorry, but I think we are on the brink of some extremely difficult times, because ........" Finally, I have decided not to be sorry. While certainly not overjoyed by future prospects I am intensely curious as to how events will play out over the months and years to come. I now refer to myself as "the happy pessimist." Yes, we are rapidly moving into a far more uncertain and challenging era, but it will also be exciting and, most certainly, interesting. Growing a garden, raising chickens, spending less money while living simply, finding pleasure in riding my bike, repairing some broken tool, being active in a local sustainability group and just taking time to appreciate the beauty of my environment leave no time or space for regret about what may come. When asked, I still share my thoughts on the problems and realities facing us. However, I feel no compulsion to inject my views into the conversation or to argue with others who insist that all of our problems can and will be solved by science/ technology and the American spirit. Events will all-too-soon test whatever opinions we may have.

1) Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.

2) Preparing mentally by getting going physically: various cooperative projects in the community, mostly food-related.

3) Song: Translucent Carriages by Pearls Before Swine; or anything by Popol Vuh. Poem: Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Story: Hesse's The Glass Bead Game.

I try, although some times it is hard, to find the humor in things while steadily completing the big things in my "Sustainability To Do Jar". Things like a NZE home, learning how to be a farmer, building community greenhouses, rain water harvesting, teaching sustainability classes, canning, etc. I have not quite brought myself to start storing survival food and learning how to shoot YET but maybe someday.

I find it very hard to tell friends about PO, or at least the economic pole reversal we are about to experience so I try to lead by example and help those that are willing to become sustainable right now and hopefully others will follow.

I will leave you with these new words to a song I created for a song that is an old favorite of mine, The Beverly Hillbillies" theme song.

Song Title:
Lets all be hillbillies

Come ‘n listen to our story ‘bout this ting PEAK OIL
And the consequences of it dat ill make your blood boil
Cause one day you be shop‘in for some food
And they won’t have none, cause we used up all our crude

Oil, that is, black gold, Texas tea

Well, the first thing you know, no one’s a millionare
And in fact we can’t afford to drive anywhere
Some said the country is the place you oughta go
So we loaded up the mule and moved out to Ithica

Eco Village that is, no swimming pools, no movie stars

We organized and localized and agreed it weren’t fare
That the @#*& government didn’t make us aware
We took it upon ourselves to be sustainable
Supported local markets and ignored all that bull

Markets that is, exponential growth, corporate bailouts

Now we’ll say goodbye to all those economic rules
And happily move around without those fossil fuels
We invite you to join us in thinking locally
By sharing what we have, THAT’S HOSPITALITY

Community style, back to basics, home grown

We’ll all go back in time now, ya hear

Being a Boy Scout, EMT, mountain climber, outdoorsman and Father, I’ve learned that life is not entirely under our control. I work hard to separate that which I can affect and control from that which I cannot. I think it’s called acceptance. Read, think, discuss, reflect on your situation and keep a clear head. Plan for the worst, hope for the best and settle for something in the middle. For the Sailors out there this Veterans Day, “Steady as she goes, there’s rough weather ahead.”

I have nothing to add. Except I really enjoy reading these campfire posts. I agreed with most of them and completely rejected a few - but there is nowhere else on the web I would rather hang out! These crazy PO inhabitants are the best. Good luck to you all over the next few uncertain years.

I’ve learned that life is not entirely under our control.

In theory you learn that when you are 2-3 the 1st few times you don't get what you want.

But in case the lesson wasn't driven home, when your SO dies that acts like a 10 penny nail thru the cortex.

As for preperation - mental ability to adjust, make investments now in the semi-precious metals (hand tools at auction) will have a far better payback because one day the freeze dried stock will run out for ya and you'd better have a plan for that day.

Being an atheist, I think everything in life comes down to luck and skill, the things you can control and the things you can't. I can be a perfectionist and control freak about the former, and I learn to accept the latter. It also helps to have a clear idea of what goes where as far as luck or skill.

As 'one of the sailors' out here, Naval Aviation to be sure.

I always say "Smooth seas never made a good sailor".

Airdale-5 years and over 3,000 flight hours in my logbook as an 'Airdale'

I imagine that all of us look very closely at this subject,
probably daily. I become too attached, too identified with
peak oil, and all that it encompasses.

So, I stop and listen to Eckhart:


And then I try to be here, now.

Thanks for the Desiderata poem. Beautiful.

At this time of year I usually feel a bit blase due in part to the copious amounts of rain and cloud cover. This year, I'm feeling more blah than in the past and I know that my reading list is a part of the problem. The past month, I've been reading Kunstler, Heinberg, Vandana Shiva, Lester Brown and TOD. It is like taking the anti-prozac. Almost a recipe for madness.

Today I took a long walk in the snow and tried not to think about the IEA news. Just me and the crunch of the snow beneath my feet and the lake and the beautiful trees. Walking meditation.

Let's face it, what most of us have in our heads is scary stuff and most people on the streets either don't get it or don't care to discuss it. That in itself is very intellectually and emotionally isolating for many of us. We peak geeks are a rare breed. I'm thankful to TOD for providing a forum for our mental union.

Gratefulness in general is an important coping mechanism. Each night I try to think about what each day has given me.

The 3 M's also help: Meditation, MJ and Michael Franti. I think you'll find these songs capture the peak oil feeling - ENJOY!



and, don't forget to SMILE!!!

I've had what can only be described as a school girl crush on franti for years.

I was also very happy to see the Desiderata. It is among my favorite readings.

I think in my first or one of my first posts here, I included that, and some bits from other hopeful words that I also use for some support, and the Alpha Male Prophet of Doom immediately squatted over it and left a warm pile of attitude. It was an interesting awakening, but luckily has not been the overwhelming norm here.

I often keep bits from movies and novels in mind in much the same way.. and I like to play a couple bits of Joplin (Pineapple Rag and Easy Winners..) on the piano, which can be both so bright and so sad at the same time for when I want a less verbal connection to the universe.

..and then there's the shop and my endless projects. That is really my ritual for not getting too mired in fear or regrets. Today, I climbed up onto the roof and changed out the Thermister in my hot air box, to get the fan onto autopilot once again. I love being on my roof!

Here's a wee moment from the end of "Our Town", by Thornton Wilder. A show my recently departed Mom put on a couple precious times in her years of teaching through theater.

EMILY: ..Oh Earth! You're too wonderful for anyone to realize you! (To Stage Manager) Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it - every, every minute?

STAGE MANAGER: No - Saints and Poets maybe - they do some.


EMILY: Oh, Mr. Stimson, I should have listened to them.

STIMSON: Yes. Now you know, now you know: that's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those - of those about you. To spend and waste time as if you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another. Now you know- that's the "happy" existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and Blindness!

Mrs. GIBBS: That ain't the whole truth and you know it, Simon Stimson. Emily, look at that star. I forgot its name.

1 & 2) I don't know if I cope very well all the time, but when I start becoming hysterical (and non-productive) about all our problems, I remember that the really important things will never change. Life may become very hard, but true friends and family will always be more important, and don't require much infrastructure or cheap energy. I learn skills and knowledge so I can help my friends if TSHTF, not so I can be a Mad Max.

3) "This too shall pass."

I think many may think of me as an uber-doomer, but logically that cannot be so, simply because when I read William Catton, he scares me, and if I really was an uber-doomer, he would not, and I might even enjoy reading him, but I don't, not really, though I think he knows the score.

I think of myself as a realist, and as a professional teacher, I try to be as truthful as I can. I'm sure what I say sometimes is not politically correct, but I find the graduate and undergraduate students seem open to what I say to them. The faculty meetings, OTOH, are surreal--just arranging the deck chairs, whistling past the graveyard, what-me-worry stuff, etc., so I am silent.

Folks, how bad it will get depends largely upon us. There's the challenge. One could always bail to the life of a subsistence farmer in a tropical land, and perhaps be happy, but maybe the higher calling is to stick it out and help the neighbors, to go down fighting the good fight. If you're depressed, chances are you are worried about losing what we had, but perhaps it was never really worth having in the first place, the only real gold is within you and the value you get when you help others, so help them, as they need it and you'll feel better giving.

maybe the higher calling is to stick it out and help the neighbors

Yes, I'm glad someone else thinks that. I think I could "run for the hills" successfully but I can't morally justify it and I don't think I would enjoy it much.

And I agree with the rest of what you say as well, except that I am not depressed about losing those things that are not worth having, but about the possibility that we will throw the baby out with the bathwater, that community and friendship and everything else that we hold dear could be stretched past their limits as well, at least for a time. Already the far-right movements are gaining strength here in the UK.

Vonnegut; "(The meaning of life is) to help each other through whatever this is.."

Vonnegut: "Here we are in the amber of the moment. There is no why."

Heh heh, also Vonnegut: "We could have saved the earth, but we were too damned cheap."

I think many may think of me as an uber-doomer, but logically that cannot be so, simply because when I read William Catton, he scares me, and if I really was an uber-doomer, he would not, and I might even enjoy reading him, but I don't, not really, though I think he knows the score.

"What do you care what other people think?" Richard Feynman

"Positive mood is not universally desirable: people in negative mood are less prone to judgmental errors, are more resistant to eyewitness distortions and are better at producing high-quality, effective persuasive messages," .

The study was published in the November/December edition of the Australian Science journal.
The study, authored by psychology professor Joseph Forgas at the University of New South Wales,

I enjoy listening to the free podcasts from Zencast.org as listenting moves me more into the present rather than experiencing anxiety about the future.

I live in the country and am often alone with my milk goats, cattle, chickens, dogs, and cats when my husband is away. At times I miss community. I feel too awkward approaching my neighbors about my concerns for the future although they probably know I'm a bit "different" since I ride my bike 8 miles into town to buy groceries and animal feed.

So, seeing the comments from others makes me feel more connected to a community of like-minded people. Thank you.

There is something liberating about focusing on the important stuff.

I focus on doing what I can do. I can take care of myself. I can take care of the people around me. I can garden, each year learning more and gardening better. The only two forms of wealth that count during massive economic restructuring are social capital and the fertility of the soil. Any thing else that survives the commotion is a bonus.

Tomorrow I will dig out the uniform from the back of my closet and attend a young soldier's last trip home. His grandmother is a friend of mine. She is beyond distraught.

We just think that we have problems.

It's always dangerous, from a mental health perspective, to get too close to any one subject. It can be referred to as stalking, obsession, paranoia, anxiety, neurosis, etc. So, don't get too close to PO.....put some space around it.

That space can be religion, nature, meditation, song, or any number of things that work for each of us on an individual level. Work is an option...and seems to be my personal karma:-)

Also, make friends with your devils. Make friends with fear. Facing fear does make it disappear.

As a young boy of 9, and having already spent time in seven foster families, I was walking to school in the snow and cold having been informed that I was moving again. As a young Catholic, I was distraught and praying for guidance. Lo and behold, I distinctly heard a voice say to me, "I hear your prayers, and am going to give you three A's to pay attention to." Those three A's were:


I've always been a fan of appreciation as being the most important of the three. But maybe adaptability will become the most important lesson I heard that day.

Attitude will also be very important.
For not falling into depression.


I actually recently just asked a number of friends this question.

The answers were:
1. Regular, rhythmic exercise -- aerobics, running, biking, anything without too much thinking.
2. Sunlight -- at least 1hr a day of full-body sunlight.
3. Sunday trips to the lake, or some other weekly close-range getaway to get away from things and relax.
4. Talking to a therapist.
5. Talking about my problems with friends.
6. Lots of pot.

and further down the list was my solution:
7. 1-5 plus antianxiety medication from my psychiatrist (clonazepam). Alas, not much of a pot person, it's probably easier to come by in a post-collapse world than prescription meds.


I'm not afraid of death (distinct from being worried about the process of dying)... I know that even if the worst happens, I'm still going to be better off than a lot of people are right now. I'm gay, so I don't plan on having any children to worry about. Being a Taoist helps. I suspect being any religion helps. Athiests just seem to be generally rational people, and rationality is not the greatest thing in the world when it comes to coping with human emotion. Have books around for when the internet goes dark. Learn to appreciate the little things... whatever "little" means for you (family, friends, a home, food, ...)


Inner Universe from the Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex Soundtrack. It's amazing. I used to use it to wake up fir 4am yoga when I was preparing for oral exams in grad school (I'm an "afternoon" person, so I needed to make sure that my 9am exam was in the "afternoon" to my biological clock).

Sky Blue by Peter Gabriel -- as a musician, this piece is stunningly well done.

Miserere by Gregorio Allegri sung by Pro Cantione Antiqua -- an amazing piece of Renaissance a capella music (I'm a singer).

Anything by Sigur Ros is usually a good bet if you like ambient music.

Venus and Sex Born Poison by Air -- beautiful electronic music, great melodies, no oomp-sha.

Tabula Rasa by Arvo Part (a should have an oomlat) -- modern classical music piece with absolutely mind blowing (mind blanking?) beauty. String quartet with piano in places with some amazingly soulful chords of dissonance, symphonic interludes.

"Book of Secrets" by Osho. Truly a brilliant guy, his book of 112 meditation techniques manages to convey techniques I've used successfully to turn all sorts of horrible situations into valuable opportunities to learn, without being preachy.

Read Terry Pratchett.

I should have provided some links to the music and books.

1. Inner Universe - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIVgSuuUTwQ
2. Sky Blue - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSzZEj-jjF0
3. Miserere - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x71jgMx0Mxc (I can't believe this one is on youtube)
4. Venus - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SiIDDoN4lM
5. Sex Born Poison - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xutckhHA098
6. Sigur Ros "[vaka]" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0AZIFmkogY
7. Sigur Ros "Svefn-g-englar" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L64BcCRDAE
8. Tabula Rasa (excerpt set to dance) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OwdlKiB_ro
9. Osho's Book of Secrets - http://www.oshoworld.com/tantra_medi/index.asp
10. Disc World - Terry Pratchett - http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/

I meditate, go cycling, go sailing with my wife (http://sweet-bluesette.blogspot.com), and enjoy cooking - especially things we, extended family, and neighbors have grown. I smile at people, tell jokes, laugh a lot, and try to live a life of gratitude.

A student of Buddhism for a long time, I like this quote, which appears at the end of the movie "Heaven and Earth" (1993):

"When we resist our fate we suffer.
When we accept it we are happy.

"We have time in abundance, an eternity, to repeat our mistakes. But we need only once correct our mistake and at last hear the song of enlightenment, with which we can break the chain of vengeance forever. In your heart you can hear it now. It is the song your spirit has been singing since the moment of your birth.

"If the monks are right, and nothing happens without cause, then the gift of suffering is to bring us closer to God, to teach us to be strong when we are weak, to be brave when we are afraid, to be wise in the midst of confusion and to let go of that which we can no longer hold.

"Lasting victories are won in the heart, not on this land or that." ~ Phong Thi Le Ly Hayslip

I sort of agree, except for the "with cause" part. The intention behind the quote is clear though, and I appreciate the elegance. In fact, I believe it was fairly well confirmed recently that as soon as one accepts their situation, that happiness is generally uniform across the population. As for the monks, being brave, being wise, being whatever... they're just ways to "be". Just be =) Everything happens without cause, nothing happens without cause... it doesn't matter -- all you can do is be, and appreciate the hell out of the opportunity.

A good friend suggested the following:

Search a beach, road, lake, river and find a random rock. Carry it with you for a while, look at it, think about it, and in short order it will become special. Tell me why it's special? Everything is special; and so nothing is. It is important to realize this in order to realize that you (and everything else) are not special, but that doesn't make you (or everything else) any less amazing.

1) How do you cope with anxiety in general?

What anxiety? I go to work like every day. Geese, look around, it’s not here yet. I personally think that generally people have a bottom line like stubbing their toe is really, really the total far out end. One time I was curled up in a bunker in the fetal position and VC rockets were landing close all around. Since then I have followed the idea “Happiness is no incoming.”

"Lynford you're fired." Smile; "Thank you, would you care to join me for coffee"

2) How are you preparing mentally for when TSHTF? Is this more important than having a year’s supply of freeze dried food in the basement?

I go to work like every day. The stores may not be able to keep up so I started to learn about gardening. I now have a supply of food, a solar powered golf cart (7KW) to run the well. I know no one will take care of me and my family so I get to work outside for a while. Really fun watching things grow. Needed some garden tools so I bought them and learned how to use them. My electric wood shop where I build "simple oriental" furniture may not work so I got some hand tools and learned how to use them. My wife knows how to can. I built a solar drier. Tomatoes and other stuff is OK and takes about a day in August to dry. Made some soup out of some of it but it needed different seasoning. It was better than Dundee’s iguana and you can live on it. Apples are ripe this week so I will dry a bunch of them. Next I will make a bunch of turkey jerky because Taleb's cornucopian turkeys will be cheap like five or six bucks for a 20 pounder. I have all the materials to make a parabolic solar cooker so I need to assemble it and test it this winter.

3) What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

An old song … “There are no fighter pilots down in hell. Oh, there are no fighter pilots down in hell. The place is full of queers, navigators and bombardiers but there are no fighter pilots down in hell.” See, no worries; at least for me YMMV.

I doubt if I will ever intellectually understand “Zen” but a couple days after reading “One Straw Revolution” I really saw a tree in my back yard last summer. I don’t know why I saw it. It had no words describing it though I know it is a seasonal green tree about eight inches in diameter and 20 feet tall. I directly saw the object without any sort of duality of difference between me and it. Tears came to my eyes I was so happy. These things are all around; you just have to see them. I don’t set very well so I know it wasn’t a ‘Zen’ thing per se, maybe just a reality thing. I wonder if the whole damn universe is just one thing. If so, how can there be badness or goodness? I don't think that thinking about the problem will figure it out. You just have to see it direct and life is pretty funny. Here we are dancing around about something that hasn't happened yet.

About the time I was going to ship out of Luke AFB, Phoenix to Vietnam my aunt and uncle (bless them) showed up from Indiana. They have religion. My uncle had a vision that something bad would happen to me. On their way out to Arizona they stopped by a prayer tower somewhere in Oklahoma to get some help praying for me. I think it cost them a lot of money too. Well Uncle George was almost right but all the praying that went on certainly helped too so here I am still kicking at 76 no worse for the wear. I personally wouldn't put prayer too far down.

Anyone who spends all their time writing here and on other sites instead of assembling their caca will not make it. Sorry bout that.


Some of the best times I had some 6 or so years ago was going to a small shed down by a live creek out in the middle of nowhere and eating catfish with a bunch of old WWII vets. After frying the fish and the hush puppies et al we would clear the table and play nickel dime poker. Every thursday nite every week,rain or snow.

Those old vets never never spoke a word of the wars or they actions they were in. Not a single word. It was just never brought up. They asked me to join them because I was a vet as well and they knew my ancestors and folks going way back.

They are now all dead and in their graves, as is my father and his 6 brothers who all fought in WWII. We buried the last one two months ago, my last uncle. Their presence has now deserted this county. But my memories of them and what they were linger on.

I am now the oldest and eldest of that line that bears the name. The last male. I was given the paper remains of the youngest who served all his life in the Air Force and married a German and lived but his last three months in Germany. Interestingly enough the land of his Great Grandfather.
He fought in all the wars and actions after WWII until the present. He also never spoke of it to me.

Airdale-I have always been proud of my service and flying the hours in surveillance aircraft to protect the shores of this nation during the Cold War,we lost good men burned to death in crashes and ditchings but some later returned to Midway Island and erected a memorial at their own expense out on that small atoll in the middle of the Pacific where we lived,flew our missions and sometimes died

I am of the general opinion that I am unlikely to "make it" by trying to squirrel away supplies and learn survival skills. I am not much of a tool user, don't like things very much, and am more comfortable with ideas and people in that order. I had a spike of anxiety after reading the story about the creative data management at IEA--kind of a reality check. I really want the BAU optimists to be right. When it hits home that we haven't really got very long before we see bigger trouble, another layer of denial is stripped away. It does help me to give voice to my anxiety even in a post such as this.

My nephew and his wife just had twin daughters. I visit them and hold the little ones and bring chicken biriyani for these new parents. Quite a few posters write of their spiritual roots. My father's side of the family was Jewish, my mother's side was Catholic, Anglican, and Jewish. I have had some encounters with Buddhism and meditation. In one of the gnostic gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, "God causes the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike and God causes the sun to shine on the righteous and unrighteous alike." Whatever happens is independent of our goodness. All I know is that life is good now. I don't know how long it will be good; we must all let go of the sweetness of life at some time. In the mean time, I savor.

"God causes the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike..."

The rain it raineth upon the just and unjust both together
But mainly on the just because the unjust stole the just's umbrella.

and stole the just's car too (tis was a Prius) --LOL

I am of the general opinion that I am unlikely to "make it" by trying to squirrel away supplies and learn survival skills. I am not much of a tool user, don't like things very much, and am more comfortable with ideas and people in that order. I had a spike of anxiety after reading the story about the creative data management at IEA--kind of a reality check. I really want the BAU optimists to be right. When it hits home that we haven't really got very long before we see bigger trouble, another layer of denial is stripped away. It does help me to give voice to my anxiety even in a post such as this.

My nephew and his wife just had twin daughters. I visit them and hold the little ones and bring chicken biriyani for these new parents. Quite a few posters write of their spiritual roots. My father's side of the family was Jewish, my mother's side was Catholic, Anglican, and Jewish. I have had some encounters with Buddhism and meditation. In one of the gnostic gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, "God causes the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike and God causes the sun to shine on the righteous and unrighteous alike." Whatever happens is independent of our goodness. All I know is that life is good now. I don't know how long it will be good; we must all let go of the sweetness of life at some time. In the mean time, I savor.

Nice post.

One slight correction - the Jesus quote might have been in a Gnostic gospel (haven't read all of them) - but it is right from the book of Matthew:

Matthew 5:45 NIV

That you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I almost forgot to relate this: I nearly died in an industrial accident when I was twenty. Spent about a month in the hospital, lost my spleen and got a nice belly scar as a result. The best thing I gained was a deep appreciation for the little things, like just not being in physical pain can make it a very good day. That's one of the main reasons I live in Hawaii, because I turned down an offer of a graduate scholarship to Stanford and went to UH instead. Like Mark Twain said, it's what you didn't do that you'll regret twenty years down the road, so cast those bow lines, set sail, literally try to get lost, get on with your life, enjoy it.

I have no regrets, every day is bonus overtime for me.

i am not sure where to start here, the theme here seems to be put your hands in the air and give up.
It would appear bible prophecy is the "soup d'jour" today. May as well ride it out. Right?
Well, let me ask, who is calling the shots here? The Bible? or the people? I say a certain group of people are calling the shots. We are about to see an increasing oppression of virtually everything we do or use.

There is a group of people (world bankers) running everything. Check out . We are being played. We are being used. You like being played/used? me neither. Listen to Alex Jones at infowars.com

Watch "End Game, The Obama Deception or Fall of the Republic" on Youtube.

Our elected officials are going to run us down the river. They voted in TARP, (though the citizens of the USA were against it, and the switchboards at congress/senate were overloaded ), The majority of the Americans reject a government takeover of health care, (yet congress voted for it, as well as cap and tax, oops i mean't cap and and trade).
Our elected officals are purposely ignoring the requests of their constituitents. They need to be voted out.

Gerald Celente (youtube him) and Alex Jones at "infowars.com" seem to be on the same page.

Get informed and get involved! vote the incumbents out!

Wave 3 on the economy is happening, get ready for the Dow to drop down to below 3000. more likely down to 2400.

I really hate to spread info like this, have been here 3 yrs, and I hate to sound like a doomer, but i must feel that i must spread this info.

The economy is about to hit the fan! Time to buckle up and hold on tight. Times about to worsen, get your survive ability ready.

Barry Mcguire (woodstock 1969) sang that song "eve of destruction", well here we are, on the eve, except it's not nuclear, it's all about world governance.

We are all being played/used by a group of world elites.

get informed!

What a great chat around the Campfire.

I'm a retired bachelor living on SS and have almost finished an isolated cabin and garden in the Boston Mountains. I'm lucky that my good neighbor up the road is building a clan, several related families, and you have to go through their property to get to mine.

I enjoy my friends and family; they don't want to hear about the problems, I don't speak. I figure peak America was summer of 1963; it's still good, I'm enjoying it while I can.

1) I read stuff and and eat reasonaby limited ammounts of comfort food.

2) I try to understand and solve problems. Hopefully this overlaps with the physical preparations for bad times since a problem solver might be usefull for someone. The only thing more important then a healthy mind is having access to air to breath.

3) I use to take a map of some physical infrastructure and contemplate how it functions, how it came to be, where it is growing and where it is withering. And debating things on the net can be good too.

I have gatherd enough good ideas to be sure that this dont have to be especially bad, at least not locally where I live.

I have done what I can to prepare. I have been aware of the issues for some time and I have acted with knowledge and some forethought. I have done the best I can. I enjoy life with a wry awareness that I may look back on these relatively affluent times with a sense of loss. I live every day as though it were my last for one day i am sure to be right.

I live with two ADHDers so reading about peak oil IS my rest and recouperation.

I read a great anecdote years back about some US marines who were doing the island hoping across the Pacific in WWII.

A platoon were taking a rest from the action behind a low stone wall when suddenly a Japanese suicide bomber was standing on top of it. He held a grenade against his abdomen which exploded and amazingly none of the marines were hurt. The suicide bomber was blown back over the wall by the blast but his intestines spilled out fowards over the man directly bellow where he stood. This marine looked round at his buddies and said;

"Gee! was I hit that bad?"

This caused the entire platoon to burst into an uncontrolled fit of laughter lasting 10 minutes. It was this ability to laugh at the dire situation they found themselves in which relieved the massive stress they all faced and many said that the fighting over the next few days after the incident was easier to cope with.

Thank you for this thread. It's nice to hear others voicing the same things, that even if I am a delusional lunatic, I'm not the only one ;o)

1) How do you cope with anxiety in general?

I find it more and more difficult. I guess I'm a problem-solver at heart, so I try to solve problems, but they seem to be further and further out of my control. Even trying to help my immediate friends and family is an uphill struggle, apart from my father who is another rational problem-solver and willing to listen to well-reasoned argument. I suppose I cope by convincing myself that my efforts can really do something to help those around me. But then I go to seminars or read articles about climate change and peak oil and somehow it all seems like waving a little flag at an oncoming tsunami. I go rowing and running and exercise hard to keep my mind off things (although with half a thought towards the idea that this is also good mental and physical preparation for hardship ahead). I do a lot of things with local groups and I try to bring PO and climate issues into conversation as often and unthreateningly as possible - every time someone asks for more information, I celebrate a little victory :o) I take pleasure in small things and everything I do, I do whole-heartedly. My friends would definitely call me an optimist (the annoying type!). I think the quote about "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" sums it up well.

2) How are you preparing mentally for when TSHTF? Is this more important than having a year’s supply of freeze dried food in the basement?

I still haven't worked out where I want to be when that happens. I'm not in the right place now, that's for sure. Freeze dried food is all very well, but it is not a solution, only a postponement of the inevitable. I think I am just not ready for what other people's reactions will be. I know I could not run to the hills and live by myself mentally, though I might be able to physically. In some ways I wish it would happen early and have it all out, but at the same time it is clear that we need longer to prepare. But then we actually need to use the time to prepare!! I have certainly changed my own expectations of what my future holds. I am trying to find more local like-minded people.

3) What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

- Gary Snyder

I am learning to play the piano. I didn't learn an instrument as a child, and couldn't even read music, and had always regretted that. I knew of a wonderful teacher, and so about five years ago started to take lessons, once a week before work. My piano book is called "Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner," which just about sums it up. Reasons why learning to play the piano is good: it's a domain of life where I can see discernible progress. I like watching myself learn. Playing better comes from an interesting combination of striving and relaxing. The music itself is soothing, the way the different parts fit together, the melody, the harmony, the rhythm (I am now working on a minuet from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach.) I can work on each aspect by itself, tapping out the rhythm, then working out the left hand, then the right hand, but in the end I have to bring it all together, which requires focusing on none and yet on all in some complicated way that I don't fully understand but which seems pertinent to systems thinking. When all is going well, playing the piano fills up my awareness in a flow-y state that pushes worries aside temporarily. And if worse comes to worst, I can have music without electricity. From a Peak Oil perspective, it probably would have been better to choose a more portable instrument, but I figure when you find a great teacher, you learn what that teacher has on offer, which in this case was piano.

First, I keep ties with persons older than I am, and I help them. Persons in their 80's may need a hand, and it does our heart good to lend a hand. I also look to those who have lived exemplary lives, and search for gems that they have left for us. Here's an example: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090129jk.html.

Second, I juggle every morning and take careful notes of my thoughts, feelings and the flashes of inspiration that occasionally hit me. I learned to juggle as a kid but started back in earnest a few years ago. Drops, misses, collisions, drifts and days when I'm all thumbs are inevitable and offer a daily metaphor of how ephemeral life is.

Third, I'm a recent new student of afterlife and reincarnation, which started after what I can only describe as a revelation. There's much on the subject. Here are some great interviews from some cautious academics: http://www.ial.goldthread.com/interviews.html

Finally, I think about what heroism is, preparing myself for that moment when or if I'm called. Cousin to suicide is martyrdom, which is a kind of end that we ought to examine if we are looking to grapple with the huge challenge of solving the problems of the nation. Christians—the real kind—are fed to the lions. Those criminal alphas in control, those who enjoy being high and mighty, will not step down without a fight. Opposing them will release the banshees of hell on you. Opposing the lying, stealing, cheating, propagandizing, murdering and war crimes against innocent peoples that our leaders have done requires doing more than writing to our Congressperson or sending a letter to the local paper. Politicians will not directly face the big issues like Peak Oil because these are such a downer and because there is no magic solution. Correcting the system requires passive resistance, civil disobedience and outright defiance of and contempt for those who have broken sacred trusts. I am not inclined naturally to throw my life away; but if we believe the historical record, many persons have made the hard choice to die opposing their oppressors rather than to give in to what they might have considered evil. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates in his final speech gives the classic argument that we have little to fear in so doing because we know not what death has in store for us:

"To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?"—Socrates (470?-399 B.C)

Peak Peace anyone?

"The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent,
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction however,
and heaven and hell are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to know the truth,
then hold no opinion for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the dis-ease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the minds essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The Way is perfect like vast space,
where nothing is lacking and noting is in excess.
Indeed it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous view will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity,
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other,
you will never know Oneness.
For those who can't get enough Oneness, here is the rest

Peak Oil. Ah so.

My hunch is, we are all pretty much saying the same thing. We want Inner Peace under any condition. Because as long as Inner Peace depends on conditions, there is none. Because there is always that anxiety of what will happen if conditions fall apart. That's why I am more attracted to Oneness than religion. Except we have preferences as to the language we want to hear/say it in. I sure do. I have a preference. I'd like to have that no-preference state of mind. But I can't kid myself about not being there. And if and when I get there, it won't matter. Funny about that.

I guess, the blessing of Peak Oil is, it'll be the big test of whether or not we are there yet.

Peak Peace anyone?

Meanwhile, it's nice to hang out with you drummers. Been lurkin' long enough. Happy Peakin'.

Happy Peakin'

I'm ready to admit that I've walked through my own valley of death in PO thinking. It didn't help that I read Latoc, dieoff and some other 'limited scenario outcome' sites :)

But now I'm glad I did. (2)

I really boils down to what Herman Kahn said:

"We must appreciate these possibilities. We cannot wish them away."

To be able to intentionally think about the unthinkable, however low probability, and to come out on the other side, functioning and with sanity intact is a useful trait.

But I don't think it can be quick-trained or transferred from another person. A period of anxiety and not-so-constructive thoughts ARE a part of this process - to a varying degree and depending on personality of course. However, if there are no negative and overloading thoughts, one has not gone deep enough, but barely scratched the surface. Yet, experiencing these thoughts is what eventually makes one stronger. If life is always easy, how well prepared is one in a face of insurmountable adversity?

One must walk the walk oneself. Truth is a pathless land.

Still, if one has the tendency to drop back to overly doomerish states of mind (everybody can draw their own line here), then I think the obvious advice of being present and mindful helps a lot.(2)

'Discipline' is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up--restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain-- just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for 'self-discipline'. It is 'Patience'.

- Mindfulness In Plain English, H. Gunaratana (1)

Is it easy? Hell no. But if there's no other way that works, why not try it. It works.

You can't change the whole world, but you can change how you react to it. That's what can be practised, imho.

(3) As for words of wisdom, there are many and many in Finnish, but recently I was told this and found it apt for this occasion:

Many years ago, a wise peasant lived in China.

He had a son who was the apple of his eye and a fine white stallion, which everyone admired. One day his horse escaped from his grounds and disappeared. The villagers came to him one by one and said: "You are such an unlucky man. It is such bad luck that your horse escaped." The peasant responded: "Who knows. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's good." The next day the stallion returned followed by 12 wild horses. The neighbours visited him again and congratulated him for his luck. Again, he just said: "Who knows. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad."

The next day his son attempted to break in one of the wild horses when he fell down and broke his leg. Once more, everyone came with their condolences: "It's terrible." Again, he replied: "Who knows. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's good."

A few days passed and his poor son was limping around the village with his broken leg, when the emperor's army entered the village announcing that a war was starting and they required all the young men of the village to join the army. However, they left behind the peasant's son since he had a broken leg. Everyone was extremely jealous of the peasant. They talked about his sheer good luck, while the old man just muttered: "Who knows. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad."

Or as Seneca put it:

"A punishment to some, to some a gift, and to many a favor."

every time i see a leaf or blade of grass poking its way through a crack in the concrete, i smile.
PO is a countdown to when the rivers can finally wash themselves clean, when forests can finally start to regrow,
when the air and oceans can finally let the poisons settle and be locked away in sediments. Knowledge of
the difficult times ahead for us as humans caught up in this big economic and ecological mess does not cause anxiety, it is just one of the feautures of a bigger picture which ultimately is quite positive for the living things (humans included) which inhabit this blue marble. The growth, rapacious devouring of the world, and finally violent collapse and convulsions of death of an industrial civilization are merely an uncommon and particularly dangerous phenomenon- like standing next to a volcano or a supernova - fascinating and destructive and even creative at the same time - if it happens in your neighborhood it probably kills you and the best thing for those around is for it to be done and over with quickly. I'm going to give it my best try to make it through the bottleneck and teach my kids whatever i can about how to live in the world as we find it on the other side of the process.
and to smile whenever i see a leaf poking through a crack in the concrete.

If i was fretting about how i was going to be able to drive a car or have mobile phones and microwave dinners
and machines or cheap labor cook and clean and do shit-jobs for me, if i was trying to keep a bunch of shiny
toys and an obsolete mentality, then i think i would be freaking out about what the hell is happening to the world
i knew... but i'm not fretting about those things.

A lot of people I know are aware of whats going on but find it too depressing or daunting to think about, and
go back to their daily lives, watching tv and going shopping and whatever. The magnitude of change overwhelms
them and they just dont want to think about it, and often, they are reluctant to let go of things or ways of
life which we are going to lose willing or not. Some of those people will manage to let go when they really need to,
most of them won't, and will definitely not make it through the bottleneck.. and all the clueless folks with their
heads totally in the sand (or in disneyland) haven't got a chance. knowing how few have any chance, and having a
sense of what's really important and what can be let go.. it's a lot of hard work, but it is not cause for

1) Acceptance of possibly very adverse future scenario's. Also: being as prepared as I can be to meet any challenges for me and my loved ones, both mentally and in the area of tools and supplies.

2) Gathering knowledge, working on skills and pondering possible international, national and local scenario's. Having a full pantry is always a good idea, too.

3) Mika - Relax

And: Three cheers for the TOD-tribe!

Acceptance All very interesting views presented. I can't help recall the story of a very young Marine. Surrounded and outnumbered with no chance of relief he was frightened beyond words. He knew the instantly the moment he accepted his faith: though the heat was terrible he suddenly felt as though he walked into a cold storage room. He lost all sense of fear in that moment. With an acceptance that he was going to die (being taken prisoner wasn't a possibility...not the rule of the day) he had no hope of survival and thus no alternative end to his lot. He did not stop fighting. Though he doesn't really remember the details his fellow Marines later said he continued to battle fiercely. Obviously he survived. Might make you wonder if the accpetance actually played a role in the outcome.

Sometimes I think I perceive the same mind set in some of out TODers. Neither a good or bad thing IMHO...just an occasional observation.

It will not be all bad to disturb the emotional, pain/pleasure equilibrium we have in our lives. Most of us exist along a baseline that leaves us neither too comfortable nor too uncomfortable, too happy or too sad. We are more or less zombiefied.

If conditions make us dip well below the baseline, then we have the potential to burst above the baseline. Instead of a straight-line existence, we may have an intensely wavy existence where we have more and deeper lows below the baseline, but also more and higher highs above the baseline.

You will never appreciate a meal more than when you are starving. You will never appreciate a fire more than when you are freezing. You will never appreciate a gift more than when you are impoverished. People often enjoy their lives more when the dead calm equilibrium of their lives is disturbed.

There you are sitting on the baseline looking at what lies below, careful not to tumble off and be immersed in the imagined misery and pain. Sitting by the side of the pool is no way to live a life. Jump in and feel the cold, the rush of excitement and then climb out and bask in the sun. Don't sit on the baseline worrying about what lies below because you need what lies below to feel what is above.

1) action

2) i don't know how to answer this.

3) glenn gould - the goldberg variations - js bach (somehow it's comforting knowing that gould was on the crazy end of the continuum)

1)How do you cope with anxiety in general?

I plant a tree, or walk the dog, or paddle a canoe. Activity often helps, especially after a couple of hours browsing the web.

2)How are you preparing mentally for when TSHTF? Is this more important than having a year’s supply of freeze dried food in the basement?

I've always been someone who tolerates stress well, and generally my mind turns to problem-solving, after a brief spell of anxiety. While lots of food stores may give one comfort, I think the solution is to develop the tolerances that might serve one in the future.

For example : if the power goes out, one can spend a lot of energy gnashing teeth and yelling, or one can just go and fetch the candles.

I rather think industrial society has a particularly low tolerance to outages of all kinds. We are rather prone to self-aggrandisement. Life can be viewed as being about small things - that may be a lot healthier.

3)What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

I think humor is important. When I lived in the UK, Spike Milligan was a pretty popular comedian. He had his own dark days, battling bi-polar disorder, but yet managed to inject a lot of humor into everyday life. He was able to find humor in everything from WW2 to mindless consumerism to his own illness.

I think one has to be able to laugh at the small things.

One example of his poems:-

"Plastic Woman" (1972)

What are you saying
Supermarket shopping lady
in the scarlet telephone box
Lady with a shopping bag
Full of labelled pollution with secret codes
What are you saying ?
Is this your dream booth?
Are you telling some plastic operator
You are Princess Grace
And can he put you through
to Buckingham Palace ?
Two decimal pence
Is very little to pay for a dream in Catford
If only the label on the door didn't say
"Out of Order"

From a book called "Small Dreams of a Scorpion".

PostScript : Furthering my thoughts on #2 :-

One has to have a Plan "B" for after the dehydrated food in the basement is consumed. As I've probably said before, Peak Oil is a continuum rather than a single event. Stored foods are a great way to deal with a single event, such as an immediate shortage, but a plan has to be made to deal with getting food in a continuum. i.e. one's personal support systems need to be redeveloped and reorganized.

In other words, I find the idea of creating a homestead out in the middle of nowhere with a basement full of canned beans a poor adaptive strategy, long-term. There are better, but, possibly, less intuitive, strategies, such as moving closer together to reduce the transport component required for daily activities such as getting to work and procuring food.

Man discovered fossil fuels.

This allowed an incredible increase an the rate and magnitude of population.

That in turn caused an massive conversion of resources (including fossil fuels) into waste

In using those fuels we have changed the climate, destroyed ecosystems and species at an unprecedented rate.

The human population must reduce to whatever the earth can support (Darwin's Dog thinks this is zero), not just due to peak oil.

The social consequences of this are economic and political disruptions and the end of the industrial empire, but the environmental and climate issues are the real problems.

What is worse for the future of mankind than peak oil? Not having peak oil.

This is our lot - we've lived through the most prosperous time in human history, most of us in the most prosperous places, and now we will see the beginnings of great change. But there is life to live still, even if hardship is coming too. What is coming cannot and will not be planned or controlled - that doesn't mean that you should not try to do what you believe is best, but for the most part we are passengers on this trip. Do your best, follow your own path, live your life.

The thought that keeps coming back to me is the "message" from my two great great grandfathers. I am fortunate in that I live in a house with antiques collected by my parents and grand parents. Included in the collection are three pieces of furniture; a grandfather clock, a rocking chair and an end table made by my two great, great grandfathers. These three pieces of furniture are beautiful (one is dated 1856). They were made by two men with intelligence, talent and sophisticated sensibilities. Yet neither of these two men ever even saw a car; let alone owned one, drove one or even rode in one. Neither one of these two men ever switched on an electric light.

There is a world beyond the "industrial world" and it can be a beautiful and sophisticated place. That is the message my grand parents have offered me.

Very nice. The elders speak to us if we look and listen. Thanks!

A nice notion for a midweek campfire. I'm posting this in aftermath of a car-impact concussion when I shouldn't be allowed to run loose; but that only goes to show that what you may worry about won't be what gets you anyway.

So my opinion:

Anxiety over real things isn't a bug, it's a feature.

It should be treasured and used in self-motivation, so we don't sit on the sidelines while a world is lost. Nothing is easier or less worthy than deciding nothing can be done.

Oblivion will find each of us individually soon enough; before then we should probably seek to be very good at playing the cards we're dealt. Embrace love and humor, abandon personal fear & possessiveness, accept our approaching personal death each day knowing we wouldn't be here at all without it. Strive to be a success by our own personal standards, and genuinely like and respect who we are.

Come to recognize our evolved delusions and avoid the addictions which cloud understanding and clarity of thought, be they drugs, tv, dogma, groupthink or personal rationalization.

Make music when events permit, never have sex with anyone who isn't laughing, learn something everyday and teach something everyday.

And above all, engage the world.

Hi Greenish,

Anxiety over real things isn't a bug, it's a feature.

As a retired computer software developer, I really enjoyed that observation!

I liked your comment and many of other comments as well. But, overall, the comments for this campfire are making me feel more discouraged. I don't want to sit on the sidelines, or decide nothing can be done. I do want to engage the world. But, for me, that means problem solving. I feel the best when I think I'm contributing to solving problems. I also believe that it is essential to understand the cause of a problem before attempting solutions.

Come to recognize our evolved delusions

We have mentioned this many times in other TOD posts/threads. So, reading the comments for this campfire reminds me how extremely difficult it is for people to disassociate from delusions about a supernatual world - delusions that strike at the root of humanity's problems.

I've just started reading "Threshold" by Thom Hartmann. He addresses three thresholds involving environment, economy, and human population. He identifies 4 of mankind's major mistakes:

"The first mistake is a belief that we're separate from nature. Our religions tell us we were created by a supernatural being who is not part of this Earth, not from this planet. He set us apart from all other life, and many among us - perhaps even the majority of the six billion of us - don't even believe that we are animals, but instead think we're a totally unique life form"

Certainly, we should learn from history - regardless of the religious or secular nature of the artifact we study. But this mindset/worldview that gives even the slightest credence to the existence of a supernatual world that favors humans is a fundamental part of the problem.

I wish that the non-believers of the world would come out of the closet and get a lot more vocal about the immorality of religious organizations that fail to advocate human population reduction. That would be the best stress relief for me.

Hi BikeDave, I'm doing a late check since I saw there was one more comment on here... and it's from you. So I'll comment back, concussion and all.

But, overall, the comments for this campfire are making me feel more discouraged. I don't want to sit on the sidelines, or decide nothing can be done. I do want to engage the world. But, for me, that means problem solving. I feel the best when I think I'm contributing to solving problems. I also believe that it is essential to understand the cause of a problem before attempting solutions.

I hope my comments didn't imply that I never get discouraged; although perhaps a better word would be exasperated. My 35-odd (also 35 odd) years as a "whatever works" activist is behind my comments, and it may tend to make my comments sound glib, but it isn't meant that way. It is about problem-solving, and the odds are frequently awful; the tasks - if aggressively chosen - seemingly Sisyphean while in progress. And then there's often failure and restarts.

delusions - We have mentioned this many times in other TOD posts/threads. So, reading the comments for this campfire reminds me how extremely difficult it is for people to disassociate from delusions about a supernatual world - delusions that strike at the root of humanity's problems.

Well, you've seen me go off about that too. I'm not hostile in any way to those with religion, and on some level envy their beliefs, but when it pervades problem-solving discussions I can't help rolling my eyes. Still, to (redundantly?) bastardize Rumsfeld, you go to war with the delusions you've got, and if most people feel the known unknowns know them personally, that's part of the fitness landscape to be negotiated. And the subject of this string - coping - makes it relevant.

Indeed, I may well start an offshoot religion, it's one possible path and I've always preferred sects to drugs and violence. Unbelievers start the best religions, I think. Perhaps I'll take a page from the book of Bokonon.

You probably think I'm kidding.

But I tend to agree that the mindset/worldview that gives even the slightest credence to the existence of a supernatual world that inherently favors humans is a fundamental part of the problem.

I think this goes farther than what are normally thought of as religions; and that what one might call a crypto-anthropo-exceptionalist cosmology is tacitly assumed even by many who think themselves atheists. That is, even those who claim to reject myth often expect that there is a hidden pathway to continued growth embedded in the nature of the physical universe, and that the pathway will always be found - and in the nick of time - if we are clever enough. The "nukes" post on TOD in the last few days pointed out elements of that I think. Under this worldview, held even by many "expert scientists", the fossil fuels were hidden for us like an easter egg by a giant benificent human-loving easter bunny to provide a convenient stairstep between whale oil and fission/fusion. The notion that at some point there simply may not be an easter egg to find is abhorrent to the notion of a universe which was created in a manner friendly to human technological aspiration and evolution.

I wish that the non-believers of the world would come out of the closet and get a lot more vocal about the immorality of religious organizations that fail to advocate human population reduction. That would be the best stress relief for me.

I think perhaps it may be more useful for them to get into the game. It could be that rational ends are not achievable by humans without mostly irrational support, and that religions as viral entities have their own fitness landscapes well detached from those of human evolution.

posting with a concussion: perhaps a bad idea. I'll add some Bokonon quotations to this as poetry; if it's too long I hope the moderator will delete it.


The Books of Bokonon

In Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., created a new religion, Bokononism. The holy scripture of Bokononism was the ever-growing "Books of Bokonon", written by Bokonon -- a British Episcopalian Negro from the island of Tobago whose real name was Lionel Boyd Johnson [ 48 ] -- as a way to distract the people of San Lorenzo from their pitiful lives.

The First Book

Verse 1: All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies. [ 4 ]
Verses 2-4: In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.
And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.
"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.
"Certainly," said man.
"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.
And He went away. [ 118 ]
Verse 5: Live by the foma (lies) that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.

The Seventh Book: Bokonon's Republic
The hand that stocks the drug stores rules the world.
Let us start our Republic with a chain of drug stores, a chain of grocery stores, a chain of gas chambers, and a national game. After that we can write our Constitution.

The Fourteenth Book
Title: What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?
Only verse: Nothing.

The Calypsos

On the creation of Bokononism:

I wanted all things
To seem to make some sense,
So we could all be happy, yes,
Instead of tense.
And I made up lies
So that they all fit nice,
And I made this sad world
A par-a-dise.

From the Autobiographical Section
A parable on the folly of pretending to discover, to understand

I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island, who asked me to design and build a doghouse for her Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be. And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, "I'm sorry, but I never could read one of those things."
"Give it to your husband or your minister to pass on to God," I said, "and, when God finds a minute, I'm sure he'll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand."
She fired me. I shall never forget her. She believed that God liked people in sailboats much better than He liked people in motorboats. She could not bear to look at a worm. When she saw a worm, she screamed.
She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he can see what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon].

A poem on pretending to understand:
Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.

On maturity:
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.

On the ignorance of learned men:
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

The Last Rites of the Bokononism
(Each line is said once by the person giving the rites and then repeated by the dying person.)

God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, "Sit up!"
"See all I've made," said God, "the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars."
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn't have.
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn't even get to sit up and look around.
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!
Good night.
I will go to heaven now.
I can hardly wait...
To find out for certain what my wampeter was...
And who was in my karass...
And all the good things our karass did for you.

On a Boulder near the Post-Ice Nine Mass Suicide

To whom it may concern: These people around you are almost all of the survivors on San Lorenzo of the winds that followed the freezing of the sea. These people made a captive of the spurious holy man named Bokonon. They brought him here, placed him at their center, and commanded him to tell them exactly what God Almighty was up to and what they should now do. The mountebank told them that God was surely trying to kill them, possibly because he was through with them, and that they should have the good manners to die. This, as you can see, they did.

I wish that the non-believers of the world would come out of the closet and get a lot more vocal about the immorality of religious organizations that fail to advocate human population reduction. That would be the best stress relief for me.

Join your local atheist or freethinkers group, if you don't have one start one! Many of us are out of the closet already and are active in our local communities. Be prepared for violent push back, you will get it!

If you are interested in biology as well, then start here for a taste as to what you might expect. If you think talking about Peak Oil will make you a pariah, trust me, fighting organized religion could literally be dangerous.


1)How do you cope with anxiety in general?

I don't. I'm a total basket case these days. But a functional one (aka, cleverly disguised as a responsible adult).

2)How are you preparing mentally for when TSHTF? Is this more important than having a year’s supply of freeze dried food in the basement?

I'm not. I've paid down debt, but have too much left to go. I work 12-hour days so no time to learn new skills. I'm screwed.

3)What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

None come readily to mind.

The richer countries--particularly the United States--have two big cushions that will make the energy transistion a bit smoother.

First is that fact that the poorer countries will take the brunt of the price increases and shortages because we can still outbid them. This already started in 2008.

The second is that we waste a tremendous amount of energy. In the U.S. more than half of all the energy we create is wasted. We can save a huge amount of energy, without waiting for new technologies, just by being more efficient and downsizing our apetitites. Just one example--cogeneration doubles the efficiency of electric production plants. There's plenty of other ways to save too, if we really want to.

Of course there's also the horrendous financial situation we're in.

I haven't got an easy answer for that one .....

My de-stressor and greatest stressor is my son. He's amazing, but his future is dark, at best.

I de-stress by doing something. PRIDe, the Permaculture and Resilience Initiative of Detroit, will be officially established soon.


Even in a time of great difficulty there can still be meaning in one's life. Even if there is sorrow and loss, there can still be love and beauty and caring and joy. It is their time, and they will have to make of it what they can.

Twilight, Thanks for that. you have just summarized Camue's the Plague. Great story of people under extreme stress. I have a 40 year old son who is fighting the same brain cancer which recently took Ted Kennedy. How does he handle the stress, Music. He starts everyday off by listening to this song. says it lifts his spirits. I often listen to it myself on my ipod and can relate even though i don't speak a word of french.


Incidentally, this campfire post reminds me of one of my favorite book. The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoevsky. All the characters are here on TOD in full bloom. Even the subjects treated are similar. Relieve stress, read a good book.

1)How do you cope with anxiety in general?

Many years ago, I read something about the fable of "Pandora's Box" - basically setting out how 'hope' was not a good thing at all - but rather something of a trap. Conciously putting that into effect - avoiding hope - consciously pulling myself up whenever I hear myself thinking 'I hope' and simply accepting that my hoping will change nothing, and is certainly not required to drive my choices, I have suffered very little from 'anxiety' about the future.

Rather, in the absence of hope, the future is something like an interactive novel unfolding page by page - knowing, for example, whether my favourite characters survive would make it less enjoyable - and if they don't, being dissapointed through hope serves no purpose in maximizing my enjoyment of the novel of life.

2)How are you preparing mentally for when TSHTF? Is this more important than having a year’s supply of freeze dried food in the basement?

See above - life is a journey - TSHTF = exciting chapters, they may well be very disturbing and/or upsetting*. Eliminate hope, and along with it hopelessness, and revel in the excitement of not knowing what will come on the next page.

3)What is one song/poem/story that can offer a moment of peace in this crazy world to you?

There are many - but it is perhaps equally important to strive for continuous internal peace amongst the craziness, as find way to temporarily escape from it?

Here, via Wikipedia, is what Nietzsche had to say about Pandora's gift

"Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment."

*I should note that I am not a parent

1) about reducing anxiety: I do some sports, running, cycling, swimming, even if you don't feel like it, it always makes you feel better. And I like to read and learn about the wisdom-traditions of the world, the perennial philosophy, getting to understand our place in the big picture, both on a material/scientific level and spiritually.

2) I think when you have a stable personality, are a righteous person and have (some) wisdom about life, one is mentally prepared for troubled times.
If tshtf, I basically will remain the same person. There can be great turmoil outside, but inside there is a place where you can remain your calm self.
However I am glad that I have already had the opportunity to comfortabally evolve to the person that I am.

3) Music is a great comfort to me (still love Dire Straits), and I somtimes enjoy reading somthing "out of the ordinary" like this:


Preparing mentally: I remember a colleague who talked about making people confident cyclists. I reckoned that more to the point was making competent cyclists. Confidence comes naturally with competence, not the other way round. Work out what you need to do to become competent. In my case it initially involved studying the realities of energy decline, and that involved coming here to annoy Nate and hopefully a few others.

I think another thing in preparing mentally is that I have had the ?bad/good? fortune to have lived through many years of personal adversity. I see a lot of involuntary adversity in the coming years and I don't think there's any way of deliberatly preparing for it that compares with such experience which no-one chooses deliberately or wisely. I mean something much more oppressive than any voluntarily-imposed hardships.

Dealing with anxiety: Rather passé for me. Various technologies which I'll be glad to discuss when you join the energyark group(s).

Song/poem/story for calm: More like in my case to stir to life. Beethoven 3 at correct fast speed (Norrington). Schumann 2, Bruckner 6, or more calm-ish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22x6OZmBiM&feature=related
or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG_lkbv_ik8 ..etc.
Or to resurrect from coma:

I have three comments on this:

1) I find it ironic that Nate's current regimen for dealing with the upcoming doom, would have likely prevented peak oil. People working and cycling to get around instead of living as SUV-driving hedonists in debt up to their eyeballs could have made a huge impact on resource depletion.

2) I have a very intimate knowledge of Biblical scriptures, and I will admit that there are many feel-good scriptures. Unfortunately, I think that the average person picks only the parts that reinforce their behaviour such that they could kill, steal, and commit all the adultery they want and still feel good about it. Obviously, the poor guy who lives a very humble life finds a great deal of comfort in scriptures, but you don't really need scriptures to feel good about living a peaceful, simple, and caring life. Kindness should be its own reward; if it is not, then you probably want something to make you feel good about behaving badly.

3) As a scientist, it is upsetting to know the future sometimes. However, it is more upsetting to me that many scientists (especially students in college) do not accept the future that is coming. Many people believe that education and technology will fix society, or if we just legallized x, y, or z that all our problems would go away. They do not understand that often a solution just leads to more problems. Personally, I find comfort in the fact that sometimes less is more and that you just have to play the game of life. Our purpose is to live, not necessarily to question why unless we know that it leads to problems that we can completely solve.

Didn't Dan Fogleburg (sp?) write
"there's a place in the world for Chicken Little,
There's a future that only she can know".

Is it better to keep my kid's head out of the sand or give them a philisophical way out? Better to teach them how to think or what to think?