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This is going to be one of my choir’s first body percussion songs. Memorizing is challenging, but adding actions and neat stuff happening on the off-beats…well…its next level stuff. When it gets all together though, it will be amazing. :)

Is the cost of embracing the reality of our existence sadness and misery?  These are excerpts from an insightful essay found over at Aeon magazine by Julie Reshe. I would recommend you follow the link and go read the full essay, as Reshe’s writing and conclusions she has reached seem to be quite compelling.

For instance, this passage eloquently speaks to the emotional fracture I felt back in 2018 when my wife decided to end our long term relationship and marriage.  It’s like, ‘whoa, right there with you Julie’…

 

“The reason for my depression was a breakup. But what led to depression was not so much the reaction to our split, but the realisation that the one you believed loved you, who was closest to you and promised to be with you forever, had turned out to be someone else, a stranger indifferent to your pain. I discovered that this loving person was an illusion. The past became meaningless, and the future ceased to exist. The world itself wasn’t credible any more.”

[…]

 

“Although the depression following my breakup doesn’t rise to the level of existential angst, it was the strongest perspective-shifting experience of my life. It irreversibly changed and traumatised me at the core of my being, and I am now generally sadder and more withdrawn than I used to be.

Alas, what if this is the cost of losing our illusions and learning infinitely more about reality itself? We might be getting there. Some studies suggest that existential suffering and mental distress is rising worldwide, but particularly in modern Western culture. Perhaps we chase happiness precisely because it is no longer attainable?

The vicious cycle in which we find ourselves – the endless pursuit of happiness and the impossibility of its attainment – hurts us only more. Perhaps the way out is actually accepting our raised level of consciousness. In our melancholy depths, we find that superficial states of happiness are largely a way not to be alive. Mental health, positive psychology and dominant therapy modalities such as CBT all require that we remain silent and succumb to our illusions until we die.

In closing, I must address you, my dear reader. I realise that, as you were reading this essay, you must have experienced a ‘yes, but…’ reaction. (‘Yes, life is horrible, but there are so many good things too.’) This ‘but’ is an automatic response to negative, horrifying insights. Once exposed to these forces, our positive defence mechanisms kick in. I myself was caught in the drill while writing this essay (and pretty much during the rest of my life). Without this protective measure, we would all probably be dead already, having most likely succumbed to suicide for relief.

A small proposal of mine would be to explore disillusionment and refuge from positivity as a new space to experience life, hopefully before a suicidal reaction follows. Next time, before you plunge into alcohol, or make appeals to loved ones, friends, psychotherapists or to any other of the many life-affirming practices, remember that almost all constructions of meaning – from work to sport to opening our hearts to Jesus – are inherently illusory. An alternative to running away from life through illusion is to explore an illusion-free space for as long as possible, so as to become more capable of bearing the reality of a disillusioned and concrete life. If successful, you’ll free yourself from your faux-positivity and your chains.

In the end, of course, we might not be able to liberate ourselves, either from suffering or from illusions. Life is hell, and it looks as though no heaven awaits us, to top it off. This, in itself, might be a path to liberation since, after all, we have nothing to lose.”

Age old question really, ignorant and happy or informed and discontent?  Which is better?

 

 

 

The American people do not have an appetite for war and the suffering it causes.  The same cannot be said about those who directly benefit when tensions rise and the likelihood of war increases.  The arms industry and their associated lobby are firmly on board with the idea that adding another disastrous imperial venture to the already overloaded table of lost wars and failed rearguard actions would be a good thing.

 

“Experts predict as many as a million people could die if the current tensions lead to a full-blown war. Millions more would become refugees across the Middle East, while working families across the U.S. would bear the brunt of our casualties.

But there is one set of people who stand to benefit from the escalation of the conflict: CEOs of major U.S. military contractors.

This was evident in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian military official on January 2. As soon as the news reached financial markets, these companies’ share prices spiked.

Wall Street traders know that a war with Iran would mean more lucrative contracts for U.S. weapons makers. Since top executives get much of their compensation in the form of stock, they benefit personally when the value of their company’s stock goes up.

I took a look at the stock holdings of the CEOs at the top five Pentagon contractors (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman).

Using the most recent available data, I calculated that these five executives held company stock worth approximately $319 million just before the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani. By the stock market’s closing bell the following day, the value of their combined shares had increased to $326 million.

War profiteering is nothing new. Back in 2006, during the height of the Iraq War, I analyzed CEO pay at the 34 corporations that were the top military contractors at that time. I found that their pay had jumped considerably after the September 11 attacks.

Between 2001 and 2005, military contractor CEO pay jumped 108 percent on average, compared to a 6 percent increase for their counterparts at other large U.S. companies.

Congress needs to take action to prevent a catastrophic war on Iran. De-escalating the current tensions is the most immediate priority.”

The negligent spreading ‘peace & democracy’ in foreign lands is a supremely profitable venture.

Funny how that works.

 

 

  It would be strangely terrible if the beginning of humanities decline was prefaced with something known as the “Big Burp”.  The methane in the arctic is a super green house gas, and if the facts are correct, it is going to over salt our soup sooner than later.

 

“Wadhams puts to rest the common criticism by many in the scientific community that say not to worry about ESAS starting a bout of dangerous runaway global warming (RGW) because subsea methane deposits oxidize and dissolve in the seawater as released and never make it into the upper atmosphere, to wit: “The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is exceptionally shallow — more than 75 per cent of its entire area of 2.1 million square kilometres is shallower than 40 metres — so most of the methane gas avoids oxidation in the water column and is released into the atmosphere.” (Wadhams, pg. 123)

With ESAS getting more and more active as of recent, it is important to evaluate the risks of further breakout. For example, Wadhams says that Natalia Shakova, the leading expert on ESAS, believes it contains up to 700 GT of CH4. The risk is rapid release, a big burp of 8% of the deposit or 50GT, which, in turn, would crank up worldwide temperatures by 0.6°C over two years. This would have an extremely negative impact on the overall global climate system with unknown but likely horrific results as temps crank up to, or beyond, the IPCC danger zone of 2°C much sooner than anybody expects. Wadhams believes this is society’s biggest climate threat because at 2°C above pre-industrial crop yields start going down, very rapidly. An ESAS big burp would do the job.

The risk of an ESAS methane big burp alone should be enough of a threat to motivate global governments to call an emergency meeting at the UN to do whatever it takes to halt excessive greenhouse gas emissions on a worldwide basis as soon as possible.”

 

What a time to be alive!

 

 

More Cogent, careful analysis from Jane Clare Jones. Please soak in all of Dr.Jones feminist thought goodness.

Jane Clare Jones

Yesterday Kathleen suggested that, rather than making endless dark subtweets about what an evil toxic force we are, Alison Phipps actually tried talking to us like human beings and engage in debate about the ideas at the heart of this conflict.

debate

Of course, that offer was refused. On the grounds that “’Reasonable debate’ cannot counter unreasonable ideas.’ Which is both convenient, and, if taken at face value, a pretty staggering statement from someone who is supposedly in the business of dealing with ideas. If taken at face value, ‘unreasonable’ here would mean something like ‘lacking in reasoned argument,’ or ‘not capable of being justified with compelling reasons.’ Maybe this is what Phipps means, but if so, she would have to, y’know, actually demonstrate that the many reasons we have given for our position are not, in fact, reasonable. Which would, indeed, be the entire point of asking her to intellectually…

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We better have turned the damn corner on this cold snap. The week of -40 has well worn out its welcome.

MATLAB Handle Graphics

Let the great mini-thaw begin. More of this please.

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