In a Bad Spot

After traveling some, speaking with lots of people, reading, and digesting, I cannot escape the conclusion that things remain hopelessly off track.  Whatever form of 'recovery' is being sought here simply will not arrive.

The core of my views is shaped by the idea that the very thing being sought, more economic growth (and exponential growth, at that), is exactly the root of the problem.  I suppose I would take a similarly dim view of an alcoholic trying to drink their way back to health as I do the increasingly interventionist central bank and associated political policies the world over.

Go on then, drink more, but I think we all know what the result will be.

The most pressing concept at the center of it all is the idea of net energy, or the energy returned on energy invested.  As I explained in the Crash Course, the price of energy is not really the most pressing that we need to keep track of.  Instead, what we care about is the net, or surplus, energy that is returned from our energy exploration and production efforts for society to do with as it wishes.

Figure 1:  This hypothetical chart reveals the energy returned (green area) on energy invested (red part) and postulates what trying to live in a world of 3:1 energy returns would look like visually.  Where petroleum finds of just a few decades ago where offering 95% or greater returns on energy invested, a future of 3:1 oil offers just a 66% return.

The above chart reveals the world towards which we are rapidly moving with new petroleum finds being deeper, tighter, smaller, and generally more difficult to get to and extract, thereby offering lower net energy returns than in the past.

If there's less 'green area' in which to organize ourselves, then we will simply have to do fewer things.  However, the idea that we are going to get increasing amounts of exponentially-growing economy in conjunction with falling net energy is simply nuts.  It is insane, or at least developmentally immature.

Predictions for a World of Declining Net Energy

The world around me makes a lot more sense when I think about it in terms of net energy and where we are in that story.   Everywhere I go, I simply see oil, oil, and more oil, expressed in jets in the air, cars and trucks on the road, abundant and varied food types at every time of the year, and stores crammed with consumer goods from hither and yon.  We truly live in the age of abundance.

Yet that abundance is heavily subsidized by petroleum as well as other fossil fuels.

Where the prior 150 years were defined by ever-increasing amounts of both gross and net energy, a remarkable experience unlikely to ever again be replicated, the next 150 will be defined by its exact opposite.

The predictions for living in such a world are impossible to make in terms of timing and magnitude, but the trends and direction can be pinned down.

The big picture items are these:

  • Living standards are going to fall.  Ever-rising gross and net amounts of energy provide the essential building blocks for rising living standards, both directly through the goods and services brought to our doorsteps, such as food and warmth and mobility, and indirectly by allowing lots and lots of people to deploy their talents to things other than securing the basics.  In fact, this process has already begun; it will follow the 'outside in' model where the weaker elements of society and the weaker nation states will absorb the first effects of 'less than there used to be.' 
  • Inflation will come.  Because of the tendency of humans to try and print their way out of trouble, and because the system is now so saturated with debt that 'allowing' it to crumble to meet the realities of a world of less would risk a catastrophic systemic collapse of institutions and ruling parties, there's not much doubt that sooner or later all this will end in a very scary round of inflation.  Some currencies will not survive at all, and the areas served by them will experience hyperinflation first and complete monetary destruction second.
  • Stocks and bonds will fail to generate real returns.  Real returns, meaning positive growth in the value of stocks and bonds after inflation is subtracted, are an impossibility in a world where the economy is not growing in real terms.  You have to have real growth in the economy if you want real growth in stocks and bonds (in aggregate, that is).  Stripping away all of the gobbledy-gook, real GDP growth is simply not possible without real increases in real things – and those depend, in very large measure, on how much net energy there is to go around.  With declining net energy, there will fewer things to sell and do. 
  • Retirements will be postponed, if they happen at all.  It is only the very recent generations that have been afforded the reality of this thing called 'retirement,' which is the idea that you can live off of one's prior savings and investments for a decade or three, consuming and not producing the whole time.  Not so coincidentally (to me, at any rate), retirement and the exploitation of fossil fuels came along at roughly the same time.  That is, with enough 'green area,' we humans can do anything at all that we want with all that surplus energy. We can go to the moon, we can take long holidays to distant places, we can host Olympics, we can retire or do any of a billion other things.  For many, especially those at the margins of society, retirement will simply not be an option.  Retirement as a concept, and these individuals specifically, will be casualties of circumstances.
  • We're just going to do fewer things and produce less stuff.  What exactly will go away as the green area gets pinched downwards is impossible to predict, as much will depend on decisions that have not yet been made.  Perhaps we'll do something completely surprising with our remaining energy, channel the spirits of Easter Island, and build some huge yet frivolous monuments to ourselves.  Perhaps we'll squander the last bits of good energy on bad wars that end up destroying infrastructure that could only be built when there was enough surplus to go around.  Or maybe we'll get it right and choose a future that we can strive for and use our remaining resources wisely to achieve those dreams. While the exact features are impossible to predict, we can say that the map of our territory will shrink.  We won't be able to do everything, or even very many things as compared to before. 
  • More resources will be dedicated to and consumed by the energy sector.  One easy observation to make is that if net energy is declining, then we are going to be spending more of our energy wealth on the process of obtaining more energy.  This is one great field to be in, whether in the production side or the efficiency side.  If it takes more and more energy to get energy, what does that mean?  It means more drilling, pipelines, processing facilities, and all of the thousands of job types and millions of parts and components that are needed to get the energy out of the ground and to market.  As prices inevitably rise, the desire (if not the necessity) of using energy more efficiently will skyrocket.  Everything in the entire "built" environment, from commercial and residential buildings, to factories, to how we move ourselves around, and the water we drink will be targets for improvements and enhancements.  If you are thinking of a career to move into, the energy sector is a great place to start.

Eyes Wide Shut

I think we're in a bad spot.  I mean the globe here, but the developed economies in particular.  I am losing hope that we will navigate towards anything other than a hard landing at some point because even with copious amounts of data accumulating suggesting that the old ways are not working, I cannot detect even the slightest hint of original thinking or new thoughts coming out of the marbled halls of power.

Business-as-usual and more-of-the-same seem to be the only operative ideas right now.  And that's not really unexpected; systems always try to preserve themselves long after it should be obvious that a new tack is in order.  So there's nothing really surprising here about where things seem to be headed.

But what is a bit startling to me is the number of individuals that have not yet caught onto the idea that things have permanently and irrevocably changed. 

In Part II: If We're Ever Going to Take Control of Our Destiny, the Time is Now we take a deeper look at the dangers of inaction and explore the key question: What steps should we be taking right now to enter this new future at any other trajectory than a collision course?

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; paid enrollment required for full access).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I talk a lot to very highly educated folks in a local book discussion group about the concepts in the Crash Course. Many of them just don't think we are on a "crash path".  They say either that the human race is very creative and innovative and will somehow find a way out of this problem or that I/we haven't really taken the energy from natural gas or coal into account. The first objection is really a matter of faith and, in my opinion, largely the result of wishful thinking. As for the second, I think we need to point out the contribution offered by electricity.
As I read the material above, it is clear that most of the emphasis is on the increasing scarcity of oil.  Somehow, Peak Prosperity needs to define the role of electricity (via coal or natural gas) and its contribution to our gross domestic product and economic growth.

I get frequent comments about the natural gas boom resulting from fracking and the enormous amount of energy generated by burning coal. I also am told that transportation will soon be revitalized by a conversion to battery powered vehicles.  I know that these are complex issues and I attempt to explain why electricity is not a replacement for liquid fuels but I meet a lot of skepticism.

Any help in this area would be appreciated. 

And that's a good thing, even though it hurts.  Thanks to Chris for visiting Iowa and speaking in Decorah tonight.  (BTW - this delightful little town is well on the way to solving these issues for itself: local food sourcing, building sustained energy installations, creating time exchange groups, and I suspect the cohesive quality of community so evident here will put it in an enviable position as austerity is forced upon us all.)
"I only change when it hurts more not to", a friend once confided.  Insightful if grammatically awkward.  My experience with human nature suggests this is true of most people.  

Dear ftealjr,

Your friends are comfortable.  For now.  After all its not real for them yet.  At least not painfully real.

It will be.  Then you'll have an audience.  Will it be too late ?  Isn't it always ?

But most of us will get something to eat and have a dry place to sleep.  The shift will begin.  It will take time.  Liquid, calorie-rich and portable energy reliant systems will give way to less convenient, higher mainenance and more expensive systems for transportation, industrial production, etc.  Plastics will be replaced with fiber based materials. Walmart will sell fewer pieces of junk made in China.  Petroleum will take on a premium product status.  The Prius next to you on the tollway will be carrying 4 people into work rather than one.  Fewer stops for "skinny moacha lattes with whip"  may ensue.  

People are creative and we will adapt, but the materials, structures and behaviors will evolve.  Evolving takes time.  There will be wrinkles.  It will be mightily inconvenient.  It will hurt.  Doesn't it always ?

Dislocation, dislocation, dislocation.  Dislocation offers opportunity.  Dislocation is our history and the inflection point to transcend that which is unsustainable.  Don't be afraid.

Rush the horizon.






ftealjr,The problem with any new locomotive force is scaling to make a difference. Imagine if someone were able to make an efficient battery so an electric car could travel a couple hundred miles between charges. Here are some problems:
The mining, manufacturing, marketing, and transporting the car to your local area takes energy. Supposedly, each of these steps would utilize the newfound technology. Which leads to …
Our electric grid is already operating near peak electricity carrying capacity (at extreme weather events.) Imagine the strain that a few hundred million extra vehicles being recharged would put on the grid.
The US has about a quarter billion passenger vehicles. There are another 15.5 million commercial trucks in the US.
Those vehicles will take a while to be replaced. This site shows annualized passenger vehicle sales rates by month. It is currently trending at ~15 million per year. (Increased recently due to pent up demand and low interest rates - IMO.)
It will take nearly 9 years at this pace to replace half the vehicles.
We don't have the technology, our grid couldn't handle it if we did, and we couldn't scale up fast enough to make a considerable difference before oil becomes that much more dear.
Your friends can hold on to their beliefs, but unless they are 100% convinced that human ingenuity will solve the problem, they should "buy" some of the "insurance" that the crash course recommends.

We like to think of ourselves as rational, thinking creatures with free will.  Many of our internal narratives include the idea that we are in charge of ourselves and our decisions are based on conscious elements of which we are aware.
More often than not, the truth is that we make decisions based on underlying beliefs that are hidden from our conscious minds.  These beliefs sit there, undetected, running the show.

As living organisms, we collect experiences and then fashion them into beliefs that hopefully serve us in the future.  The unfortunate reality is that quite often these beliefs serve to limit our future adaptability and therefore resilience.

I said 'organisms' because you can see the same dynamic at play in other animals.  In our family we have a habit of getting our cats from the pound.  The last one we got was only 3 months old, but something had happened to it before we got it.  It was desperately afraid of our feet (if we were standing) for all the years we had it.  My guess is that it had been kicked a few times on purpose as a youngster and fashioned that into a world view that persisted until the day it left our lives.  

It did not matter that the traumatic experience had occurred a limited number times somewhere in the very first few months of its life and never again.  That cat operated for the rest of its life with the belief that standing humans would kick it.  

I can understand how and why nature has programmed us all this way; it is a fast and quick method to learn and survive.  On this basis it serves us.

Where it goes astray, especially for humans, is when we receive what appears to be solid, confirmatory evidence for how the world works when the evidence is only temporary or coincidental or even misleading.

In the case of technology, which for everyone alive has only been a one-way progression of wonderful advancement during their entire lives, there are many inappropriate associations that have been made along the way.

Mistake #1:  Assuming that the progression will linearly continue into the future forever and ever, amen.  Maybe, maybe not.  The Romans brought incredible technology and architecture to Europe, but after they left, all of that progress was lost for centuries.  Human societies have gained and lost more understanding and technology over time than is commonly appreciated (how did they make the cement used to form some of the pyramids all those thousands of years ago?)

Mistake #2:  Living standards and technological advancement have gone hand in hand.  Part of this was coincidental in that energy extraction and use, the ultimate comfort food of any society, played a huge role in the advancement of the easy lifestyles that we all enjoy.  The error is in attaching too much significance to the role of technology is creating all that abundance.  Sure it played a big role, but there is a lot more to the story than technology alone.  

Mistake #3:  Some people, perhaps I should say many people, have drawn the misleading conclusion that somehow technology can create energy for us.  It cannot.  All it can help us do is transform energy, perhaps more efficiently and usefully and other excellent things, but it cannot create energy.  To simply look at the progression of humanity as we are headed towards 9 billion people and 3 billion of whom are headed towards middle class lifestyles by 2030, and then glance at the many hundreds of quadrillions of BTUs of energy required to support that, there is virtually nothing anywhere on the horizon that is in a position to be a source of energy to replace fossil fuels.  Nothing.  So we will continue to burn fossil fuels and they will someday run out.  And yet many people hold the belief that somehow technology will find something or fix this predicament without having the faintest idea what they are hoping for specifically. They have confused the presence of more technology and more energy as being the same thing when in fact it was the presence of surplus net energy that gave us the ability to form the brilliant new technologies, not the other way around.

The thing about such beliefs is that they can (and usually will) persist for long after it is utterly obvious that they are no longer true or even supported by current facts and realities.  Much as my cat remained in deep fear of my feet despite never being kicked or stepped on by them, many people will be utterly stumped by why our technological utopia never actually arrives.  

Dr Chris? Our reaction to the way things have always been is robbing us of the initiative to deal with things the way they are now.  In military tactics, I believe this is called "fighting the last war." It's why we still have a big military base in Germany, even though WWII is history.
Now let's call the battle to survive and thrive in the present, and future, a battle. (It is one, you know.)  If we are still trying fro exponential growth when that is no longer possible, we are not 'concentrating our forces' in the right location. To take the analogy further, our troops are poised where we were attacked last time. But the enemy is somewhere else, and we are gonna get clobbered.

The Powers That Be are trying to jump-start economies with tools that might have worked in an era of cheap oil. They will not work now, because the situation has changed.

I often feel like Cassandra. If you're not blinded by expectations and habit, if you're livnig in the present, and not the past, it's obvious where we are headed. Painfully obvious.

However, as you pointed out, you can learn from the past. As Mark Twain once said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." Civilizations ebb and flow. After the fall of the Roman empire, civilization had to rebuild. After the Black Plague, same thing. There was a very rich empire in Aftrica - gone. Look what happened to the Mayans. The Aztecs.

I do wonder if there is a body of scientific evidence on how to break through to unwilling subjects and get them to see painful truths. Our civilization desperately needs an intervention. Unfortunately, history shows people in denial will only change when it becomes painful enough.

This is an interesting conversation. My wife has always said "you weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you won't die with one there either". I have always concluded that she is right. I believe this, life is a process of ebbs and flows. So many changes, so many challenges that these times we live in and the changes expected are not something either of us fear because so long as you keep moving forward, with effort, then survival will just be. It is why also that personal wealth or values of things haven't the impact on us that we have witnessed with others if lost. Our approach has always been what is mine is yours, and yours is mine. Share and share alike. There's something to this guys. All of our families are immigrant to the United States, and adversity has been a common thread as well as a work ethic. These values have been passed along now and exist with our children and their children. I imagine now that these values have been attached way before even our grand parents in the old country. Interesting…
I read somewhere that the potato famine effected that generation terribly, and that their children adapted by having a slower metabolism and thus the kids stored fat easier as a result even though they had not experienced the famine. The results were shubby kids as the parents experience triggered a response so powerful that it change the kids genetic structure was my interpretation. I'll look for that article.

Chris, if aware of this perhaps you would clarify this to me and others. More to your education than mine. 

Go Humans-Go Tigers


Goooo Tigers


Thank you for the information on what might be involved in the conversion of our vehicles to electricity. I assume the conversion to natural gas would be equally daunting. Both "solutions" also assume that the continued burning of fossil fuels would have no consequences for extreme weather and food shortages.  I think, as Chris might say, we have put ourselves into a predicament.

I am not sure that I want to rush the horizon but I am very consoled that we all have each other.  That is a great comfort.

Muse:  The 2nd Law - Unsustainable

Since the Banksters have screwed us on most investments what is to say they won't with Gold?  I would like to hear some solid reasons that gold will not be under threat from manipulation ala housing CDO and confiscation with a haircut (i.e. "bought" with devalued money).


As Dr Martenson highlights, there are strong counter forces suppressing our individual ability to understand, form a broad consensus, and act coherently to address new challenges, particularly when the costs are as high as they are.

Though one could likely come up with an extensive list of Mistakes, to Dr Martenson’s list, Charles Hugh Smith would likely add, Mistake #4. Namely, that of those currently holding positions of privilege, influence, and power (i.e. the "elites"), will also be the most resistant to adaptations that destabilize their position of advantage.  At present, these "elites" are largely homogeneous in their interests and they span the globe.

 Additionally the mechanics of the new global economic system have converged to a single monotype, ie a central banking system built upon debt and debt-manipulation. For lack of a name, I’ll call it the “Centralized Debt Manipulation System”.   The competing economic ideas within socialism, fascism, communism, and capitalism have been distorted, subverted, and displaced. The lack of competing alternatives in the global system also has a stifling effect on broad comprehension and adaptation.  (Mistake #5)

To wrap up my thought, because the entrenched elites have power and influence they tend to minimize and broadly dismiss the data and in so doing further suppress adaptation (Mistake #6).

In my view, a shift of power and influence must occur before we, as a culture, will begin to re-align with a long-term sustainable economy.  As it is, on our current path of denial and delusion, mother nature is eventually going to impose her correction.

Though one could likely come up with an extensive list of Mistakes, to Dr Martenson’s list, Charles Hugh Smith would likely add, Mistake #4. Namely, that of those currently holding positions of privilege, influence, and power (i.e. the "elites"), will also be the most resistant to adaptations that destabilize their position of advantage.  At present, these "elites" are largely homogeneous in their interests and they span the globe.
Much agreed Concobb2.  Concentrated wealth seems to engender a concentration of power. Power is a fuzzy word but I think of it as "the belief machine" that an elite group (be it priests in Mayan civilisation, or bankers in ours) employs in order to restore glories the past.  For the Mayas, it meant more human sacrifice, for the bankers - sacrificing the purchasing power of the citizenry.

Both end up with a weakening or dilution of the very stuff that makes a society prosperous. 

In a similar way our societal wealth reflects the inverted pyramid of power. This may explain the Western obssession with democracy:  trying to convince the masses that our collective exerts some control on governance, when in fact the top 1% has the access.

In my Latin American studies, I remember hearing in my Anthropology course that the contemporary descendents of the Mayas had no idea who had built the temples and pyramids in the jungle.  So much for legacy.

Cheers, Joanne.

When "all revenue is good revenue" forget about legacy.

Below discusses issues re gold confiscation.As for any paper gold product. Bank on it going to zero. Get physical allocated or in your possession.

Can you mention energy intensity when you talk about GDP and energy?  Energy intensity (energy / $ GDP) is not constant over time so it kind of needs to be talked about otherwise your argument makes no sense.  

The amount of known fossil fuel reserves should probably be mentioned so that people are educated about when energy resource depletion is likely to occur.  For instance, my understanding is that oil might be depleted in our lifetimes but probably not coal or natural gas.  I think we are more likely to run into your scenarios due to having to switch energy sources early to avoid climate change (assuming the climate scientists are correct).

Renewables do not suffer from the depletion over time problem you mention so more renewable energy sources in the mix will improve the situation.  Individual states are setting renewable energy targets so we seem to be making (slow) progress here.

Energy efficiency improvements tend to be the easiest for people to do since they do not have to make major lifestyle changes.  Quite frankly the US has "grown up" with cheap abundant energy sources so there is likely lots of energy efficiency improvements we can do.  We already know we can drastically improve fuel efficiency of cars, energy efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances, can do an order of magnitude improvement in lighting, etc.  Lots of good stuff here which actually save people money if they can get the capital to make the improvements in the first place.




Thank you so very much for turning that marvelous mind of yours towards what I see as the essential cause of the problems you so efficiently outline in your book and the website, that being the unconscious driving forces of our western first world culture.

After reviewing the proceeding posts (both here and in part II) the majority of the solutions tend to deal with externals; solar this, metal that and the popular geographical cure. (I attempted this many times in my 20’s and no matter where I went, there I was) The predominant narrative solution is external.

I argue for the opposite.

In my own life experience only when I looked inwards to discover the unconscious forces (stories) that were driving my life, did lasting change occur. The question then becomes how does one accomplish the inner inventory. Many tools are available. The most potent that I have discovered is to pay attention to projections that erupt from the psyche. 

A projection is present when one experiences an emotional response or even a physical affect to a person or idea. We have all had the experience of not liking someone, without even knowing them or being offended by an idea so much so that there is a heated response. That is the projection at work. A quality or aspect of ourselves that we dispise has been repressed in the psyche only to be mirrored as a projection onto some one or some thing else. (we also repress/project our postive attributes that we refuse to take responsabilty for)

Countries can also behave this way. Witness the projections between Israel and Iran right now. The tragic outcome of these psychological events is that sooner or latter they can manifest into physical nuclear projections.

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung is quoted ‘We are the great evil. It is not out there but exists in each one of us. The world hangs by a slender thread and that is the psyche of man. What if something happens to the psyche.’

As you might expect the reason this is method of retrieving projections is so unpopular is that it requires us to change; to turn the ever present judgment inward, towards ourselves. I can assure you from experience it is  entirely unappetizing. And yet this simple act of witnessing our responses begins the deconstruction of the old narrative and makes way for the new life that exists from conscious choice. One can cease living the unconscious cultural story we came in with and commence living their lives out of present moment decision making capabilities.

I sense this ‘practice’ is at the basis of the religious experience. I shudder to use the word ‘religious’ due to the enormous emotional projections that such belief systems sustain. Yet I engage the word in its original meaning, that of the Latin stem ‘regilio’, which can be translated to ‘reassemble’.

There is a need in the human psyche to tear down that which exists and to reconfigure. I suggest this must occur on a personal level before it will manifest on the collective. Our personal issues are a result of the unconscious individual, familial, cultural and era related collective projections.

One healthy psychological dividend of this emotional and psychological investment is that of com-passion. The union of the prefix ‘com’ signifying collective, present in the words community and commerce and ‘passion’ defined as suffering. Once a person has retrieved a projection the natural result is the faculty of 'com-passion'. The abilty to witness that same ‘suffering’ in others. This deepening of connection with the previous ‘other’ goes a long way in understanding the motivations of other suffering folks. Not a shabby commodity aquisition, given today’s psychic bear market.

This arrival of compassion also breaks the overwhelming mental illness du jour, which is the belief that we are all alone. That we are the source of all emotions, all out comes good or bad, are due to our individual effort. In ancient Greece one would never say ‘I am sad’. That would be seen as complete insanity. To attempt to sustain the colossal energy of an emotion ordained by the divinities is impossible. But it was possible to have a sadness visit one. Already one begins to identify, to truly personalize the woe that has visited one in that moment. Yet we feel, in this egocentric culture, that we are these emotions ourselves. The indoctrination begins quite young.

From the time we can talk we are asked what is it we want; ie. chocolate or vanilla ice cream, but we want strawberry. This early identification with the ego produces a rock hard monster of ego that is unable to attain any semblance of happiness unless all perceived aspects of fulfillment are present. Just witness the reactions in a coffee line up if one’s double, skinny, 118 degrees, nonfat, decaf, mocha-chino with sugar free, non dairy whip is discovered to be too warm. The ego entitlement of its expereince riegns supreme.

It is a case of what author Paul Levy in his book ‘Wetiko’ calls " ‘malignant egophrenia' and what Native Americans call wetiko psychosis…" a self centered madness that has become normalized in the first world.

I suggest this ‘wetiko’ can only exist in a psyche or culture that refuses to become an adult. I define an adult as one who can entertain an idea that one does not believe in. The non-adult lives in an infantile 'either-or world'. It is present all around us, on a consistent basis. Politicians say ‘you are either for us or against us’. You are either happy or sad. Republican or Democrat. Good and Evil. Right or Wrong. The extent of this polarity of thinking srtuck me with full force when I realized that on every table in North America sat a white spice container and a black soice container. It seems the majority of the western first world is set up in the never ending struggle of duality. In my experience, the only way to break this epidemic hold is to feel your own feelings within a struggle and not default to a family or cultural accepted norm. But this requires personal integrity, an integrity that more often than not, starts with the admittance of ‘not knowing’.

I suggest that we sit within the query of not knowing what to do, the bad spot and NOT fix it. Otherwise the knee jerk projected answers that we are willing to fight for or against consume the energy that is required for ‘radical’ (meaning from the roots) change to occur.

Like Jonah and the whale symbol that was chosen for this article, we need to stop denying that we as individuals and a culture have been swallowed. And sit with that. Other wise all of these external ideas, geographical cures or precious metal purchases will do nothing to free us from the grip of the ego centric consciousness that we been swallowed by.

How can we do that? Another whale myth is that of the Polynesian culture, where they have an image of a fisherman standing on a whale fishing for minnows. I sense our prime existential struggle is attempting to find the answer outside ourselves instead of within us. In the still witnessing of our projections we can tickle the whale’s mouth open and walk out or realize that we are the standing on the whale/answer ourselves.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to express my experiences.    

Cheers; Doug Hamel




Chris, I note that you make much of the financial and energy woes we face, but nary a mention of the unfolding disaster of AGW (anthropogenic global warming).
I urge you to remedy this, even if it means alienating some of the anti-AGW brainwashed readership.

To help you focus on this issue, please review:

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts


PBS Frontline: Climate of Doubt

I agree, but Chris has thus far declined to discuss climate change in any significant way, although that refusal is becoming less justifiable as the evidence rolls in and the effects are ever more obvious.  Nonetheless, there is an extensive and lively and civil discussion here:

Dear Chris, Doug, and ftealjr,
Great questions and comments. Chris, I appreciate your comments on beliefs trump all, and Doug,the  same goes on your follow up in regard to projection. I just finished reading the Crash Course, and I'm very thankful you wrote it.  I have had a good handle on the economic predicament that has been building, especially in light of the massive leveraging in the derivatives. It is nice to have the energy and environmental issues brought under the same umbrella. It is also much to clearer to me now where this is all heading and how I can prepare for it and help those around me. 

I would like to recommend another book that parallels your book. It's called "Our War on Ourselves, Rethinking Science, Technology, and the Economy" by Willem Vanderburg (University of Toronto). Similarly, he points out that the two main myths (Doug, here's the Jungian part) we currently live by are that science has become our only way of "knowing" and technology is our only way of "doing." He stresses that we are putting our faith in "technological experts" that are stuck in their disciplinary silos. To deal with the predicament that faces our world, he argues we need to move away from looking at every problem through a scientific lens, or "scientific way of knowing." Similarly, we need to reevaluate our methods of implementing technology, and take a more balanced approach to consider the potential costs to society, our culture, and the environment. The immediate benefits of efficiency, profitabilty, and productivity may often have a much higher cost to our society in the long run, but are often not recognized until much later. Then the argument of "you can't going back" is applied, and therefore new end-of-pipe solutions are implemented to the problems which only create a new set of problems or predicaments. I'm sure this is now sounding familiar. Vanderburg has a background in engineering and the social sciences. The book intuits many of the same points underlying the Crash Course, and is worth the read.

Chris, I was pleasantly surprised to find that you relocated to Montague. My family and I live in Gill. I hope our little town is as resilient as Montague. We will do our best to spread the word of your triple Es to those around us.


Greg (Gillbilly)