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  • The Anthropocene: zestful people vs automatons?!

    Will the Anthropocene be an era of ever greater conformity or ever greater individual expressiveness? I am rooting for Lloyd Price's approach!

  • The Security and Sustainability Guide: A Compass for the Anthropocene

    This video discusses the Anthropocene, the Age of Humanity, a new geological era that began about 200 years ago. Most geological eras last for tens of thousands, if not millions of years. Unfortunately, the Age of Humanity is auditioning to be very short-lived. Humanity is in charge, but it's evident that, much of the time, we don't know what the heck we're doing! The Security and Sustainability Guide (SSG) is a way to orient yourself to this new era. There are thousands of organizations and tens of thousands of dedicated individuals doing wonderful work on all sorts of wicked problems. The SSG is a reference resource to hundreds of them, and new ones show up constantly. Overtime, the Guide will assist good people who want to make powerful connections to improve the prospects of life on Earth surviving and thriving.

  • Interoperability Creates Hope

    The past is beating the dickens out of future Dr. Michael E. Mann made a fundamental contribution to the "Observed Climate Variability and Change" chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report published in 2001. That analysis established humanity’s responsibility for global warming and climate change. He and ardent climate activist, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, recently addressed the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media, where Mann is the Presidential Distinguished Professor. Their conclusion: "A future of abundant, affordable, sustainable energy is achievable – if politics don’t stand in the way." The problem, of course, is that politics are obstructing the adoption of the many technological solutions to the climate crisis on a worldwide basis. Solar, wind, hydro, conservation, etc., etc. are tested and ready to go. Infuriatingly, fossil fuel interests cynically fund misinformation and doubt, which promote a general inertia and fear of the globe’s population. Massive social and economic changes are necessary to transition to a green economy, but they are not happening. Achieving a net zero by 2050 is like a mirage that becomes ever more out of reach. One emission reduction deadline after another is missed. Progress is being made, but it is way too slow. The facts are very depressing to anyone who is paying attention. Folks who’ll be alive for most of this century have every reason to be panicked, disgusted, and enraged. The assumptions, thinking and behaviors of the past are strangling the bright possibilities of the future. Organizational interoperability is the path to victory Interoperability is the capacity of differing organizations to work together without losing their distinctive identities. Interoperability is all around us. Think of furnishing a room with purchases from ten different vendors. They fit together when you put them in a space, but they never lose their unique qualities. They act as a unit. If you move, you don’t have to take any of them with you. Organizations can and need to operate in harmony. People create organizations to pursue specific missions. Every organization has its own culture. When they are asked to or expected to “partner” or “merge” with each other to accomplish goals that seem similar but aren’t the same, there are frequently problems. Like people, organizations cherish their independence. Great plans turn out to be bad ideas. An enormous number of organizations know something about managing Earth’s resources rationally and sensitively. Unfortunately, they are losing the battle. The political strategies of denial, egomania, and greed have been and are more successful than the tactics of us who see the climate crisis clearly. Their ignorance, disinformation, and short-term thinking dominate and distract. Many/most cultural and educational institutions, and media outlets don’t act like there is a climate emergency. Aware people need to stop complaining about the callous politics of their opponents. We need to develop political strategies that defeat their contempt for our impotence. We must win this is existential battle for the future. The security/sustainability nexus Expanding the definition of a problem is a creative way to see it with new eyes. Climate change is usually thought of as an ecological issue. Given the fact that many people and organizations dump their pollution, waste, and filth into the natural environment without any concern, it’s clear that billions think of the environment as being someone else’s problem. Meanwhile, huge sums of money are being made off the general public’s ignorance and inattention. It’s not so easy to dismiss security problems, however. Try kicking a grenade down the road; it might just kill you. The world’s security situation is deteriorating. Nations and sub-national groups are expanding arsenals and fighting ruinous wars within and between nations. The detonation of nuclear weapons remains an ominous possibility. Cybersecurity, actions by terrorist organizations and violent “lone wolves,” economic instability and rising inequality, and devastating pandemics spawned by drug-resistant superbugs or new bioweapons are all part of the security mix. And they all can and do have devastating and immediate impact on the climate, nature and on scores of thousands of people. Security experts worldwide view climate change as a threat in and of itself and as a threat multiplier when other problems arise. Al Gore recently compared climate struggle to nuclear war. Both are “civilization ending.” If climate change were to be seen as a clear and present danger to life and limb today, not tomorrow, humanity would start paying serious attention to it. People may not care about what happens to an old growth forest hundreds of miles away, but their kids getting shot at school or their water being poisoned by terrorists will get their attention in a heartbeat. Like Mark Twain said, “Nothing so focuses the mind as the prospect of being hanged.” Humanity has built its own gallows; we just don’t want to admit it. Make the security threat immediate, and the center of the world’s attention will change quickly. Luckily, serious organizations are working on the problem The Security and Sustainability Guide is proof that thousands of organizations, tens of thousands of committed and trained people, and billions of dollars in resources are working on some aspect of the security and sustainability nexus. Unfortunately, these organizations frequently don’t know about each other, don’t always “play well” together, and/or don’t necessarily trust each other. Organizations are usually internally focused. They pursue their unique vision and mission. Many security-oriented organizations and personnel neither pay attention nor have respect for environmental activists. Similarly, many ecologically-focused organizations assume that they are working at cross purposed to security institutions and their personnel. Both sorts of institutions often compete with others in their own fields and never even think about making connections across the larger security and sustainability context. And, of course, individual and team interests and egos are always involved and frequently in conflict. Informal coalitions and formal alliances frequently work better than marriages or mergers Interoperability reduces common organization tensions. Think of this Venn diagram as a network, where each character represents a specific organization. Each of the circles contains a set of organizations, and each circle intersects with the other two. The organizations in each of the circles share some common features with each of the other organizations in that circle. Their missions are similar and/or their operating infrastructures are parallel. Notice that there is a “sweet spot” where organizations in all three circles share common characteristics. Organizations achieve interoperability when they all unite around what they can do better together than as one. Once that objective is accomplished, they can move on to other activities, including ones where they may disagree. Ukraine is demonstrating the power of interoperability: Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine is a vivid illustration of the security and sustainability nexus. Ukraine is a diverse society in a global context. Tens of thousands of organizations are involved and affected. All the world is amazed and impressed by the tenacity and the resilience of the Ukrainians, who face an overwhelming and brutal military force. On the first night of Russia’s invasion, President Zelenskyy and his senior staff emerged from their bunker. They announced to Ukraine and to everyone everywhere that they were still there and that they weren’t going to give up their democracy without a fight to the death. As President Zelenskyy said, “Ukraine became a single fist.” Non-critical differences continue to both plague and be put aside by Ukraine and its allies. Ukraine’s viability depends on the interoperability achieved by the larger system. When the climate situation is seen as the threat that it is, security and sustainability organizations, worldwide, can became one fist Thousands of approaches and solutions to the ecological crises are sprouting up everywhere daily! Imagine what it would mean if the international security systems were to agree that the climate crisis is a Code Blue emergency for the planet. The impact on education, economics and the media would be profound. Perhaps then humanity would take an ancient and wise teaching to heart: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became an [adult], I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Version) Climate activism is an antidote for depression and anxiety Ecopsychepedia is an effort to understand and treat the mental health wide-spread consequences of climate anxiety. A recent study by Yale and Suffolk University demonstrated that collective climate activism is a way to break free of the chains of this kind of depression and distress. Climate anxiety can paralyze young people. They are woke to the scope of the crisis in a way that many of their elders are not. Tragically, many psyches are dominated by a narrative that assumes the inevitability of humanity’s extinction … soon. That feeling makes people pessimistic, nihilistic, depressed, enraged, fatalistic, numb … you name it. Collective activism is the way out of this doomsday space. the room with the “No Exit” sign over the door. Interoperability supports massive collective action. Distinctiveness is expected; diversity is a positive. Interoperability is a strategy for victory. It creates a narrative of hope. ARTICLES AND ONLINE SOURCES Climate Change Is at a Political Tipping Point, published by the World Economic Forum on March 10, 2022, a podcast by Al Gore Climate change is a risk to national security, the Pentagon says, National Public Radio story, October 26, 2021, by Noel King. Erlanger, S., “Spat Over Patriot Missiles Reveals Deepening Rifts in Europe Over Ukraine,” The New York Times, December 10, 2022. “Extreme Avoidance: A future of abundant, affordable, sustainable energy is achievable – if politics don’t get in the way.” The Pennsylvania Gazette, November/December 2022. (Full coverage of the event can be found at the Perry World House YouTube site.) Light, S, “The Surprising Role the Military Plays in Environmental Protection,” Knowledge at Wharton, July 29, 2014. Maloney, C., Chair, US House Committee on Oversight and Reform Press Release, “Internal Documents Reveal the Industry Is Making Long-Term Fossil Fuel Investments as They ‘Resist and Block’ Climate Regulation,” December 9, 2022. Resilience policing and climate change: Adaptive responses to hydrological emergencies, published by Taylor & Francis in The Routledge Handbook of ‘Policing within a Crisis’ (Eds. Gary Cordner & Martin Wight), 2022. Sales, M, “The Security and Sustainability Guide: A Compass for the Anthropocene,” December 2022 podcast. Yale researchers find collective activism can be a buffer for ecoanxiety and depression, published by Yale News on March 8, 2022, by Chole Nield. Sixty Minutes interview with President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy, “We became a single fist,” on April 10, 2022 Was This $100 Billion Deal the Worst Merger Ever?, published in The New York Times on November 28, 2022, by James B. Stewart BOOKS AND REPORTS Alinsky, S, Rules for Radicals. New York: Random House, 1971. Argyris, C and Schön, D, Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978. Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary for Policy (Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities). 2021. Department of Defense Climate Risk Analysis. Report Submitted to National Security Council. Fuller, R.B, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1963. Lakey, G., How We Win: A Guide to Non-Violent Campaigning. Brooklyn: Melville House, 2018. Michael Marien, Michael Sales, and David Harries, Principals, and others, The Security and Sustainability Guide: Beyond Fragmentation toward Cooperation Moran, D., editor, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATIONAL SECURITY: A Country-Level Analysis, published by Georgetown University Press, 2022 The National Security Implications of a Changing Climate,, published by the White House, May 2015. Oshry, B. Seeing Systems. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler, 1995. Sales, M. “Understanding the Power of Position,” in Organization Developments, A Jossey-Bass Reader, Gallos, J., editor. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2006. Schwartz, S.E.O., Benoit, L., Clayton, S. et al. Climate change anxiety and mental health: Environmental activism as buffer. Curr Psychol (2022). Senge, P. The Fifth Discipline. New York: Penguin Random House, 2006. United Nations Development Program, 2022 Special Report on Human Security New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene: Demanding Greater Solidarity, published February 2022. Ury, W. and Patton, B., Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York: Penguin Group, 2011. von Oech, Roger, A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative, New York: Grand Central Publishing, April, 1990. Zelm, M., et al, Enterprise Interoperability. Newark NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2018.

  • Octaves, Plagues and Progress

    I started smoking in 1955 when I was 11. By the time I was 26, I had about a two-pack-a-day habit. My dad was my hero. He went through three packs a day. He had a triple bypass in 1985 and died of cancer two years later. By the time I was 23, I realized that cigarettes weren’t good for me. It took me three years to quit. G.I. Gurdjieff got me to stop. Although some dismiss him as another hokum slinger who used women, was intolerant of anyone who wasn’t heterosexual, and scoffed at applying science to analyzing his claims and methods, Gurdjieff exerted a remarkable influence on those who became his students. I was attracted to his fundamental assertion that folks are mostly asleep even when they think they are awake and that few of us have engaged in the inner practices necessary to open our souls fully to the true depths available to consciousness. He taught that most people are creatures of habits of which they are virtually completely unaware. He describes people constrained by their habits as being like a single musical octave that constitutes the permanent resting place of being. This Stuckness is epitomized by going round and round the same cycle of thought and action without realizing it dynamics or being able to affect it. We assume that intention proceeds as a straight line from resolve to result. Smoking was a way that stuckness showed up for me. I started every day for years with a sincere intention to stop, an intention I’d remind myself of 17 hours after having my last cigarette of the night. Gurdjieff reminds us that we assume that intention proceeds as a straight line from resolve to result. His observations and analyses led to exactly the opposite conclusion. According to Gurdjieff, every action plan has an octave-like structure, and there are two points – intervals – in every action cycle where the conscious will is required to keep ascension to a higher octave or descending to a lower one is required. Without that will, distractions of various sorts will intervene and pull our intention away from its original objective. The result: we cycle back to a very similar point to where we started without realizing how our own thoughts and behavior contributed to an expenditure of energy that is essentially wasted. I started applying greater will to being in conversations and to smoking. Without an awareness of when will needs to be inserted in a conversation, many conversations go nowhere. There is no learning, no progression of thought. Take introductions. Many introduce themselves in a scripted fashion. “I did this…then I did that … and then I did this.” Unless someone interjects something like, “You mentioned X. What did you learn doing that?” and keeps taking that line of inquiry deeper, the person producing the script is unlikely to get underneath her or his existing definition of h/erself to h/erself or others. So, the next person or group s/he meets will hear the same introduction. The speaker may become bored of h/erself of put h/er introduction energy into honing the elevator speech ever more closely to impress whomever in some way, but not to truly be in relationship. I started noticing when I was talking without really having anything to say. I started listening to others with an intention of remembering how our conversation had unfolded from its initiation with some topic that was of interest to me to get back to the point in the interaction where it seemed to move in another direction (Gurdjieff’s interval), the point where I might form a closer connection to the other person or people with whom I was speaking and creating a deeper level of learning for all who were part of the interaction. I found that doing so made conversations more generative, more likely to open doors and lead down pathways no one had anticipated. With smoking, when I found a cigarette approaching my lips, I began to realize that there was some line of thought that was initiated at some point shortly before the brand of the day (Pall Mall, Marlboro, Cools, Sherman’s, Hava Tampa, Luckies, L&Ms, etc.) was being lit and my lips were opening to receive it. I forced myself to go back in my mind to the moment when I had that first impulse to light a cigarette. With close to a two-pack/day habit, I had to go through this exercise thousands of times. I finally realized that anxiety and creativity were stimulating to pick up a cigarette. When something worried me, smoking gave me a bit of relief. And, when something excited me, smoking gave me another kind of relief, i.e., not having to put in the energy needed to see an impulse through to its conclusion. By the time I’d lit the smoke, inhaled a couple of deep drags, and exhaled satisfaction, I’d completely forgotten whatever it was that got me started in the first place! Unless I had a strong creative impulse or a pressing worry, there was zero forward progress. I was back in the same place, a little older, but no wiser. Humanity as a species is largely stuck in a rut. It strikes me that, as with my smoking, humanity as a species is largely stuck in a rut. We’ve made extraordinary advances in technology, but our capacity for compassion and fundamental change doesn’t seem to have shifted very much. “Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands." After all, the true statement by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, that climate change has created a choice: “Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands,” garnered another collective “ho-hum” from a world that continues to burn carbon at a rate of 50 billion tons/year, an uptick of 18 billion tons since the publication of the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was issued in 1990, establishing the direct connection between human activity, greenhouse gas emissions, and global warming. While climate change lies at the heart of many other crises, it is only one of the extraordinarily dire threats facing our species and our biosphere. Take war. According to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, only 8% of the last 3,400 years have been ones where there has been peace on Earth. Those few years have been scattered throughout recorded history. Upwards of 108,000,000 were killed in wars during the 20th century. There are at least 27 conflicts happening right now. As of September 2021, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 387,000 civilians have been killed in wars since 9/11. Can there be any better examples of humanity’s stuck condition than our collective unwillingness and inability to address climate change and to end war?! The linkages between these two threats confront our species with a requiem scenario: we either get a handle on ourselves and move to the higher octave of environmentalism and peace that we say we want to achieve, or we’re kaput. The human psyche seems to have taken a stance that is metaphorically like that of Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus. According to Hebrew mythology, God threw ten plagues at Pharaoh. Each one was worse than the one before. I mean, yech and ouch!!!! With every plague, it seemed like Pharaoh was going to relent and free the Jews from their bondage, but, after a little while, his heart hardened and he decided “Not So Much.” We must find the collective will to push through these forces that distract us from our intentions of improving our conditions. While I don’t dismiss it completely, I’m not saying that the hand of the Deity is at work in the polycrises of wars, pandemics, climate tragedies, crime and violence, mass migrations, food shortages, poverty, and on and on assaulting life on our little blue speck in the universe. I am saying that we must find the collective will to push through these forces that distract us from our intentions of improving our conditions. Will to impose restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions; will to level the economic playing field; will to educate everyone regarding the carrying capacity of Earth; will to prevent and stop imperialistic aggression by egomaniacs; will to end the violence fanatical power holders inflict on those that are weaker… The list goes on. The United Nations was established to treat the plagues of the modern and post-modern eras, to exert the will necessary to focus the world’s attention on moving forward toward the objectives that have been espoused by world leaders for at least 100 years and probably more. In America, the work of the United Nations receives little attention, and its inability to address Russia’s aggression calls its global legitimacy into question. However, the UN is a massive organization engaged in peacemaking activities and thoughtful consideration of serious problems across the planet. To date, it has not been particularly effective at pulling the attention of humanity together, but it is an international body where the intent to do so still exists. A stronger UN would result in a clearer understanding and better management of the Anthropocene. A feckless and flaccid UN takes us ever closer to a bad end.

  • A New Paradigm

    Last year, I sustained a back injury. It immobilized me for about a week. I saw my chiropractor, who’s helped me with issues before. He didn’t lay a finger on this pain. His view was that I should get an MRI immediately. My primary care physician gave me a thorough workup and a tentative diagnosis. I asked him if he wanted me to get an MRI. “I wouldn’t do that unless you really have to,” he responded. “You know that, if they look, they’ll find something. That’s what they do.” This exchange opened the door for me to write about some ideas that have been jostling around in my head for a long time: Do things that weren’t there before emerge when we go looking into the depths of where they have been residing? Do things come into existence that wasn’t present before we created a means by which they might be observed? This line of thought is sort of like having a personal Schrödinger’s Cat. Erwin Schrödinger had a cat. Schrödinger was connected to Werner Heisenberg. They were two of the first articulators of quantum theory. Heisenberg came up with a thought experiment involving the cat to develop the uncertainty principle. He wondered if a cat, put in a hermetically sealed box along with radioactive material, would be alive or dead inside the box. Werner Heisenberg Schrödinger’s Cat Schrödinger concluded that there was no way to know without opening the box and observing the cat. Otherwise, the outcome was surrounded by uncertainty. Through their pioneering work in particle physics, these innovators, plus their colleagues, Neil Bohr and Paul Dirac, went on to evolve all sorts of ideas about the "neither this-ness nor that-ness" of reality. The idea that everything is made up of atoms has been around since Democritus 2,500 years ago. Being only 100 years old, particle physics is of much more recent vintage, and it is in no way broadly discussed or understood. If one has been exposed to a robust educational system or studies a lot, one has likely had some awareness of particle physics. If one hasn’t gone to school where science is taught seriously or explored these concepts by oneself, it’s quite likely that they are completely foreign. In other words, most people have never heard of particle physics. 200 is the number assigned to a variety of subatomic particles roaming about inside every atom, although the total number of fundamental particles is assumed to be significantly smaller. The Higgs boson (an elemental particle) has been called the “God particle” because it seems to give mass to the other subatomic particle. Turns out that the subatomic world is a quirky place. When we use our senses to look at something or touch something, we don’t question its existence. We say, for example, “That’s a cat.” But when we get down to the fundamental, underlying nature of what we’re observing, the subatomic domain, it turns out everything’s fuzzy. Unlike our cat, which is wholly formed and recognizable to us, a “quantum object” – a particle -- has many probable states to choose from when the moment arrives that we observe it. (The question of how it makes those choices we’ll investigate some other time.) Image Source: Scientific American Something like the quirkiness of reality at the submicroscopic level is also displayed in humanity’s space explorations. (Brief rant: the idea that we are exploring “outer space” is a misnomer. We are in “outer space!” There is no such thing as “outer space!” All research humanity conducts happens in “outer space!”) Many questions about the nature of the Universe are unanswered, for example: 1. Since the Universe is so big, why do other civilizations seem to be so rare? 2. What is the meaning of “next” when the Universe shuts down? 3. Is personal death similar to the death of the Universe? 4. We know that there are other dimensions, but what do we know about what goes on in and with them? 5. If you are ever in time, can you ever be out of time? The 2022 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has added virtually unlimited mystery to where we are at. As discussed in Scientific American, early images from JWST revealed: An inexplicably massive object that dated back to just 300 million years after the big bang, older than any galaxy ever seen before. A virtually infinite number of new galaxies were just discovered! (Or maybe not) This discovery led to another, astonishing question: Could the bevy of anomalously big and bright early galaxies be illusory …If genuine, could they somehow be explained by standard cosmological models? Or, just maybe, were they the first hints that the universe is more strange and complex than even our boldest theories had supposed? Conclusion: The inner and the outer natures of reality are both hard to pin down and profoundly mysterious. This ambiguity makes me think of, Blow Up, a film that has been a favorite of mine since its release in 1967. David Hemmings plays a hedonistic fashion photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic. He is taking pictures at a park and, by happenstance, photographs several images of Vanessa Redgrave with her lover, an older man. Hemmings is fascinated by Redgrave, who enters his life in the course of the movie and blows up the photos to magnify various aspects of the park’s surroundings. In one image, he sees what very well could be a man pointing a gun at the lover…but we’re not convinced that he has and he may not be either. By the end of the movie, Hemmings has moved from being a jet-setting party animal to a man who has lost his compass, a man who may be aware of possible realities that others cannot see, or a man who has gone mad. The Anthropocene has no compass. The orienting arrow has lost its way. We’re not only not in Kansas anymore, but increasingly we’re nowhere that we recognize. Delving deep into the interior of matter and the vastness of space’s content and void is exposing humanity to worlds and possibilities that are both endless and unbelievable from the perspective of the structures of our minds, our ability to perceive, and reality. Joan of Arc and many thousands of others have asserted and are asserting that they’ve been guided by voices and angels. For millennia people have been certain that they’ve seen and communicated with ghosts and the spirit world. Many others report that they’ve seen unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and more than a few claim they’ve traveled on alien spaceships. These UAP reports have gained enough credibility that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has authorized in-depth research into such sightings. The possibility that there are dimensions that humans cannot see with their typical physical equipment leads many to discount any reports of alternative realities or states of consciousness that are radically outside the norm. But “What Is” is becoming radically altered with each step deeper into the Anthropocene. The philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, wrote and spoke about eras when the anomalies of existence start to overwhelm the explanations provided by “normal” science, i.e., science that has adequately explained almost everything for quite a while. Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum theory have thrown Newtonian physics out the window, which is a shame because most people haven’t even caught up with understanding even that! We are in an immense paradigm shift and many/most people can’t explain the model we’ve been living in for the last 350 years! Our instrumentation is showing us truths and possibilities that we’ve never considered. Thinking about them, and speculating on them shakes us up. It’s scary. A very new and different reality is emerging in real-time, and most of us can’t or won’t see it. We’re wearing glasses that were crafted in the 1700s. It’s time to see the optometrist! Let’s do it before we crash into an Anthropocean wall. Let’s turn that wall into a door by learning about the era we are in rather than clinging to the one that is vanishing. Our dreaming consciousness is one key to opening that door. Like the emergent Anthropocene, our dreams have many confusing elements that seem to float in from everywhere and anywhere. Yet, many are sure that they tell us both a personal and a universal story. They give us information about our concerns and our blind spots, the places we need to look at to grow. And, according to the Jungians, the content can present us with knowledge discovered and possessed by our species over the course of many millennia. They can ground us and show us the path that we want to be on even in the face of the Anthropocene’s swirl. The unconscious has insights beyond the understanding of our conscious, thought-filled, ego-focused minds. They can help us make informed choices even when our compasses seem to have broken down.

  • Replace the Aristocracy with the Anthrocracy

    The death of Elizabeth has gotten me to think about the validity of aristocracy continuing to exist as we move deeper into the era where technology advances in a variety of directions with unknown consequences and traditional mores continue to come under pressure. Signposts back to the past are becoming more difficult to see, even as billions desperately cling to them. The word “aristocracy” derives from the ancient Greek word meaning “the best.” In The Republic, based upon Socrates' teachings, Plato asserted that "...those who ought to govern are those who are trained to know about politics and are trained to know what politics is about. To know about politics is to be able to produce and assess accounts of political processes; to know what politics is about is to be able to produce and assess accounts of the issues that people engaging in political processes use these processes to deliberate and decide." In other words, those who govern should be experts. Continuing in this line of Grecian thought, Aristotle distinguished between oligarchy and aristocracy. “Election by wealth is oligarchic, while election by merit is aristocratic.” Virtue is the defining factor of aristocracy as contrasted with “freedom” as the defining feature of democracy. Populism contrasts with aristocracy. Here’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of populism: Populism is an appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups. “Ordinary” is a particularly slippery term. At one time in my life, I was quite close to four men. Rick was a mixed-race Puerto Rican and Black. Steve, a white guy, was, presumably, some sort of a student at the University of Chicago or had at one time been, maybe for like half a semester. Louis was Black as was Bobby. Rick pumped gas at a station down the street from me and made most of his money dealing weed. He was tight with Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop. Steve’s means of employment were unclear. I never saw him without his prescription sunglasses and working man’s cap. I came to believe that he slept in them. Louis read avidly on many topics. He worked on a garbage truck. One payday, I recall his articulating the following with perfect precision of speech. He wasn’t angry; he was stating a fact: “There is no possible way that they could ever pay me enough for the indignities that I have to endure.” Bobby was a connoisseur and cosmopolitan, who was so broke that, when we walked into a nice restaurant, he ordered “The Hobo Special,” which he defined as a glass of water and some sugar cubes along with some bread and butter. All were men that the OED would likely define as “ordinary,” but at the moment in time when I knew them, they carried themselves with a strikingly aristocratic bearing. They were courageous. They faced the “police riot” that characterized the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. While I haven't seen them since then, I’m sure that life dealt them all some staggering blows, but these “ordinary” men taught me lessons in being for which I will grateful as long as I am me. It was also very true that many/most of the men and women who took that courageous stand against the police in Chicago that summer were part of a popular uprising, but they were unequipped to govern a complex society. They believed in a particular cause vehemently, but they were nothing like the trained experts the early creators of democracy thought of critical to social stability and progress. A populist movement can be very appealing to those caught up in its passion, but it can descend quickly into chaos, lawlessness and incompetence. When populists have been in charge, their track record of achievement has been spotty, Populism is great at starting and driving change, but it tends to silence the minority voices and dissent democracy depends upon for learning, Spaceship Earth is going to work a lot better as a new aristocratic class -- The Anthrocracy -- emerges. The Anthrocratic Class is already making its presence felt. It is made up of people with a range of characteristics. It most effective members manifest the populist ideal of treating everyone with dignity and real respect, and they also possess deep expertise that comes from being trained at something (and maybe many things) they happen to have an innate talent for. Frequently, these women and men will radiate the kind of self-confidence that makes them immediately attractive to others. The humility they have - both naturally as a result of their fundamental character - and acquired by paying attention to lessons of living makes them the antithesis of demagogues. They are about being awake and present; petulant narcissists are about themselves first, last, and always. Of course, the Anthrocrats are human. They make mistakes. They have regrets. They grow. They fall back. Sometimes they’re sure of things when they ought not to be. Sometimes they are not sure of things when they should be. They have their critics. They come from every walk of life. They are magisterial. It can be easy not to notice some/many of them. Money might give one power, but it doesn’t make one an Anthrocrat. Nor does the possession of money, privilege, and access mean that one cannot be an Anthrocrat. It’s a class based on demeanor, values, and competence. If everyone in history had the leisure time and access to education and a broad range of experiences that those with money and privilege have, we’d have a lot more aristocrats. Aristocrats derive from a particular tradition, although it is largely watered down. In the West, they have been called “all-arounders,” i.e., men and women who are good at many endeavors. They aren’t necessarily oriented toward making money. Many do carry on the tradition of raking in more capital, in part because they are steeped in the family tradition of doing so. But they have the time and resources to think, study, play and create if they want to. The money is likely to be there. In fact, if they’re anxious about money, they probably aren’t all that aristocratic. That’s like a really bourgeois way to think and operate. Philanthropy is characteristic of the aristocratic class. The few real aristocrats I’ve known share some traits. They went to serious schools. Vocational preparation was not the only or the pre-eminent focus of their education. They learned how to think. They were exposed to many kinds of ideas. They engaged fully with topics in school and in life that subsequently were of real interest to them. They were expected to assume leadership positions in society, and they became aware of and developed their leadership capabilities. They both created and inspired organizations. Their class positions, their lack of concern with the constraints that so many people must confront, and the acceptance of their influence in a multiplicity of contexts led them to be at ease and courageous in positions of authority. I’ve also known personally or become aware of a bunch of so-called aristocrats through the media that are nothing but bums. Given that innate talent and intelligence are randomly distributed across all demographic groups, that tail end of the bell curve where one is likely to find those “virtue” oriented aristocrats the Greeks were so excited about, it likely to constitute a very small percentage of the entirety of the aristocratic population. Because of all the resources, training, and access they have, their numbers may be a little higher than that of the general population, but probably not much. Howard Gardner seems to have proved that there are nine types of intelligence: This IQ bell curve reminds us of the likely random nature of the distribution of all of them. Talent is also widely and probably randomly distributed. Talent can be defined as “a superior, apparently natural ability in the arts or sciences or in the learning or doing of anything.” Of course, as Lana Turner demonstrated, luck plays a significant role in whether one’s intelligence and talent intersect with opportunity. But credibility must be given to the adage that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” There are trend lines at work in the Anthropocene that could vastly expand the opportunities for “ordinary” people to have access to the sort of education and life experiences that aristocrats have had and have taken for granted for centuries: Awareness of inner life has become more prevalent. Two stats to support this assertion: there are now approximately 190,000 clinical psychologists in practice in the US. The field continues to grow steadily. Lord knows they’re needed! Something like 600,000,000 worldwide suffer from anxiety and depression. Millions of people describe themselves as “spiritual” rather than “religious.” And, of course, billions more identify as religious. Putting aside critiques of these three activities, they frequently indicate a strong interest in the inner life, the life of the heart/mind/consciousness, and the life that aristocrats have had the freedom to explore. Technological advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and renewable energy (to name but three) will mean that a lot fewer people will be needed to do what constitutes today’s “work.” What’s happened to agriculture will happen to many other industries and occupations. The internet has made first-rate, advanced education become much more accessible and inexpensive via Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). For example, Coursera offers 19 specializations in Physics, including 247 courses touching directly or indirectly on particle physics. EdX offers 43 courses in History, e.g., “Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories.” One can enroll in a four-year curriculum in Astrology. Here is what seems to be a complete list of MOOCs. Even hands-on occupations like piloting an airplane are being taught online and the prospect of flight training via simulation must be an enticing possibility for major airlines that can’t find the pilots to fly their planes. Support high quality, low cost public education at every turn. For example, the proposal to make community colleges free of tuition costs has been circulation for several years and free early childhood education has been advocated by the Democratic Party and others for even longer. And, of course, there are tens of thousands of free or inexpensive events and analyses generated constantly by organizations of every conceivable nature. The several thousand organizations identified by the Security and Sustainability Guide can be a useful resource to those with a geopolitical perspective. The philosopher (and aristocrat), Bertrand Russell, asserted that it is deeply wrongheaded for people to be tied to jobs day in and day out for forty years and then retire and wait around to die: "If we allow work to occupy every waking hour, we are not living fully….Leisure, previously something known to only the privileged few, is necessary for a rich and meaningful life…The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need for slaves. Our capacity for play and light-heartedness has been eclipsed by the cult of efficiency. A society that took leisure seriously would be one that takes education seriously – because education is surely about more than training for the workplace. It would be one that takes the arts seriously because there would be time to produce works of quality without the struggle that artists have for economic independence….Such a society would lose the taste for war because war involves “long and severe work for all.” (Paraphrased from the article about Russell in DK Publishing’s The Big Book of Philosophy.) The Anthropocene is going to be very rough on anyone without a good/great education. The ability to learn and to act on what one learns is the hallmark of the aristocracy’s success. That is why the well-to-do are so willing to pay the exorbitant tuitions that elite universities charge their children. That kind of education is within reach for everyone who wants it today. Grasping that opportunity is resulting in the creation of tens of thousands of people who can become and are becoming Anthrocrats. Of course, there are powerful obstacles facing this happy scenario. As the quote from Aristotle noted at the outset, wealth doesn’t equate with merit or virtuousness. However, unlike many other variables, wealth is not randomly distributed. Although it’s happening in fits and starts, the ‘Cene is pulling the world ever more tightly together. While the one percent can fight it off ruthlessly for a long time, this pie chart is a recipe for revolution and disaster. I don’t know where and don’t know when, but this predictable calamity is likely to occur sooner than we think. With a few exceptions, racial and ethnic minorities make up a disproportionate percentage of the poor and the disenfranchised. An end to racism, in particular, and ethnic and religious intolerance more generally can bridge the gap between the virtue ascribed to the aristocrats and freedom, which Aristotle describes as the central feature of democracy. We’ve had so many examples of talent and wisdom possessed by members of second-class citizens on Spaceship Earth. Imagine an Anthropocene where these arbitrary and absurd divisions are abandoned. Imagine a quantum increase in the size of Anthrocratic leadership! Millions of people possess this virtue the Greeks admired. Enabling them to manifest their competencies fully can save democracy. Although they have died, James Baldwin and Nina Simone are but two examples of the Anthrocrats that are already showing up. The complexity of Baldwin’s reflections on race, sexuality, and politics anticipated the confusion and nuance of the Anthropocene today. Baldwin was and remains renowned. His influence will be felt down through the halls of the future. He did not get the rapt attention he deserved during his lifetime, however. His is still a name that most Americans do not know, and, if they did, many of them would ban his books. For the ‘Cene to make the scene, to survive and thrive in the indefinite era of realization that beckons it, people like Baldwin should be respected as royalty. Not surprisingly, Nina Simone was a friend of James Baldwin. One of eight children growing up poor in segregated North Carolina in the 1940s, Simone faced racism at many, many turns. She was an extraordinarily gifted classical pianist, who sought acceptance at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She was devastated when her application was denied. Many are convinced that Simone, like Billy Holiday, was hounded by racial prejudice. In the 1980s Simone was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. That may have been genetic and always present. On the other hand, it may have also been a result of the pressure of having such incredible talent and being continuously oppressed because of the color of her skin. How would you feel if the Klan had the right to hang you simply because they wanted to? That would sure make me nuts. QAnon and Company are itching to bring us back to those days and before. Royalty for Nina in the ‘Cene! So, let us not renounce aristocracy. Let’s reframe what we mean by it in the Anthropocene. Let’s make it more inclusive, bigger, and yeastier. [1] The words “ordinary,” “disregarded” and “elite” all need to be unpacked.

  • An Environmental Dictatorship Is Closer Than You Think

    War and Civil Liberties Don't Mix Writing in the December 20, 2021 edition of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, security analyst Arnaud Boehmann, reminds us that concerned world leaders are calling for a planetary “war” to be declared against climate change: In 2020, climate activist King Charles III said, “We must now put ourselves on a warlike footing, approaching our action from the perspective of a military-style campaign.” More recently, John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, said the world needs a “wartime mentality” to fight climate change. The civil liberties people living in democratic states take for granted come under assault in wartime: Americans rely on basic legal protections spelled out by the Bill of Rights," writes reporter Angie Cannon, "but during past wartimes, civil liberties have been curbed dramatically," ranging from the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798—which made it a crime to criticize the government—to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II Throughout the Civil War, newspaper reporters and editors were arrested without due process. In 1918, Congress passed the Sedition Act. Those who used "disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language" against the flag, the Constitution, and the uniform of the armed forces risked up to twenty years in jail. Unless addressed now, allowing the climate change pot to come to a planetary-wide boil will have unimaginably negative consequences for democracy. For example, strict military-style control could be exerted over the economy. Resources might not be distributed by market forces but, rather, by politburos deciding who should get what. Cultural revolution-style neighborhood brigades might impose punishment on households that don’t act “normal” when it comes to following recycling mandates. It is estimated that the carbon footprint of every child in a developed country is 58.6 metric tons/year. Deciding not to have children is one of the most important steps one can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Consider the scenarios that would play out if governments were to forbid anyone from having more than one child and incentives were offered to neighbors for reporting on others who disobeyed such a directive, as they are now in Texas for reporting on anyone seeking to have an abortion. What if a requirement like this were to be imposed in a very brief period, e.g., one year, in the wake of a global environmental catastrophe. Enforcers Punish The experience of many societies demonstrates that there are, unfortunately, tens of thousands of people of all sizes and shapes who are all too willing to be enforcers: Enforcers feel compelled to punish wrongdoers and stamp out injustice… Self-assertive, with a deep sense of right and wrong, and with occasional authoritarian tendencies, enforcers do whatever they feel is necessary to keep their community in order. Theodor Adorno and associates’ research from the 1950s placed enforcers in the classic personality type known as "authoritarian," which included conventionalism, respect for and submission to authority, aggression, stereotyping, power and toughness, and scapegoating and childhood exposure to a strong, authoritarian father or male figure. If a war against climate change were declared and backed up with socially approved of punitive legislation, an enormous squad of enforcers would delight in watching everyone’s every move to make sure that all are performing our civic duties perfectly, reporting us to the authorities if we do not, and/or personally intervening to make sure that others conform to the norms that they obey. They would not only punish the wrong doers among us, but they would also have the glow of hearty social approval. Eco-fascists would be marching under the banner of heaven. No one is more dangerous to democracy than the true believer with God (or the inspiring leader) on his/her/their side. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers would volunteer to be platoon leaders. So, what's needed? What can we do now to avoid the imposition of democracy-destroying rigid enforcement of environmental regulations? Here are a few ideas: Plain-speaking leaders from every demographic need to tell the truth about the climate crisis. While controversial, Bill Gates is an example of an exceedingly wealthy, bright, and influential person who has gotten the message regarding the severity of climate change. Thousands of well-to-do leaders should emulate him. We are 30 years behind schedule. The United Nations recently issued the powerful and extensive New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene. The report’s conclusion: planetary solidarity is needed to create the kind of global covenant of trust to encourage experimentation with and cross-fertilization of action. We need thousands of initiatives far beyond what we’re experiencing now. Perhaps just as important, we need persuasive communicators to tell the story of their achievements so that people in one locale learn about successes in another that might be applicable to their situation. We need the media, and maybe especially social media, to get the message that reporting on climate change and success in addressing the problems it create is their Job #1. Given the hyper-capitalism of many private sector platforms, who value the commercials more than they do the content, this might require legislation and regulation. While jawboning is preferable to regulation, once the recognition takes hold that the battle to save Earth and its inhabitants from extinction represents the biggest “World War” humanity has ever faced, there is a point where humanity ought to conclude that outright denial of climate change and/or environmental degradation more generally is misinformation and should be banned from media that draw support in any way from public funds and from any form of public education. Raise your hand if you’re ready for that! Persuasion not coercion. All responsible media need to show respect for and act upon the insight and advice of private sector actors, policymakers, regulators, scientists, inventors, engineers, educators, students, and working people who understand the severity of the climate crisis and stand ready to help others to do so. These spokespeople, especially those with oratorical skills, e.g., Neil deGrasse Tyson, should be elevated to rock star status. The Bottom Line: Act Now Before Democracy is Lost With the passage of laws such as the recent climate elements of the Inflation Reduction Act and California’s banning of the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars starting in 2035, we can see that the Big Green Shift is starting to get seriously underway. But, as Nina Simone’s song about the Civil Rights Movement made clear, we’re moving too slowly! We’ve got to achieve a profound change in our hearts and minds to address the volcano that is already starting to explode. This is the alternative to the imposition of increasingly rigid and bureaucratic measures. What can we do to address these impacts? Protecting Democracy at the Local Level: An Action Research Approach We need global priorities and objectives, but local action. Here’s an incomplete and imperfect image of how to elaborate this democracy-building idea: Every neighborhood would have its own environmental caucus that would set policy for the community with the linkages between local behavior and global priorities clear to both the residents of the neighborhood and external observers. Each of these local boards would have to have at least one member who had a strong interest in making a transition to a cleaner and greener society and at least one person who has a considered critique of that other person’s ideas. They would debate their points of view in public on a regular basis and decisions would be made based on a majority vote. External actors, e.g., members of bordering communities who would be affected by local decisions would have a right to participate in these conversations, as would members of the community. There would be other members on the neighborhood decision-making panel. Panel members, including the expert and h/er critic, would cycle off the group periodically with no one having longer than a six-year term. To help avoid the kind of burnout that citizens frequently experience when serving on local committees, meetings would be time-limited, e.g., to a maximum, e.g., 3 hours, and occur on some sort of humane periodic basis, e.g., once every three weeks. Obviously, there are a lot of blanks in this plan that needs to be filled in! Further Reading Books and Reports Adorno, Theodor et. al., The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950. Gates, Bill. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. New York: Penguin Random House, 2021. Hoffer, Eric, The True Believer. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951. Reich, Wilhelm, The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1946. United Nations Development Programme, New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene. New York: 2022. Selected Articles and Online Sources A History Of Civil Liberties During Wartime, published in [ND] “The Enforcer Personality Type,” [ND] The Enforcer Personality Type Assessment, [ND] Feng, Wang et al., “The End of China’s One Child Policy,” in Studies in Family Planning, 30 March 2016. Teich, Mark, “Field Guide to the Enforcers: The Punishers,” Psychology Today, March 2009 Tyson, Neil deGrasse, Star Talk Live – Climate Science, 2020 Wydra, Derek, “The True Believer Summary: 8 Best Lessons from Eric Hoffer,” [ND]

  • American Fascism Poses a Threat to the Anthropocene

    Given the calamitous outcome of fascism in the countries where it’s been fully implemented (e.g., Italy and Germany in WW II), Americans have every reason to be vigilant about and to act against this dogma. The polycrisis nature of the Anthropocene makes it and everyone living in it vulnerable to the emergence of extremist ideologies. Unlike “Authoritarianism” or “Totalitarianism”, Fascism is an easy word to say, and that may be why it’s used (and misused) a lot. Just because fascism is a term that is overused and loosely applied, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a political ideology that has specific components. They are worth knowing and reflecting upon. Fascism is characterized by: Unwavering and unquestioning loyalty to the “strong man” leader, and his oligarchic supporters. (And it’s almost always a ‘he’ because Fascists, e.g., the Proud Boys, see women as “the weaker sex”). The Rule of Fear rather than the Rule of Law. Flagrant lying and rumor-mongering to gin up anxiety and terror in the population Conformity and the loss of individualism. People who don’t agree with the Leader are to be ostracized and/or hunted down as threats to the stability of the State Militaristic nationalism and a state of perpetual warfare. Enemies are everywhere. Only “pure” folks, whatever that means, are true citizens. “Foreigners” who don’t have the proper pedigree (e.g., don’t speak a society’s official language well) are suspect. Minority groups and people with skin color or religious traditions that are not held by the majority of the population constitute a threat. Even if they reside in a territorial possession or colony of the Leader’s society, they are not “one of us.” The majority is aggrieved usually by a supposedly nefarious and secretive "elite" minority whose allegiances to some other homeland or creed outweigh its members' commitment to the dominant culture and its ways. They should be watched closely and, under various circumstances, interned or expelled. War and chaos are better than peace and tranquility. War gives men a chance to be real men. Chaos makes you tough, and helps you face “the mean world with the required strength.” Peace activism is feminine. An independent media is the enemy of the state. The function of the media is to propagandize the point of view and fine character of the Leader. Many people are considered no better than vermin; they are subhuman “infestations.” One of the best ways to conduct foreign policy with other authoritarian regimes is to pay no attention to the topic of ‘human rights because every society has its malingers and malcontents who question the authority and probity of the Leader. Critical thinkers like artists, intellectuals, and scientists are frequently the worst offenders. Doctrinaire Religious Leaders join the government in calling for subservience to authority. Election fraud is widespread and campaigning is a one-party farce. Corruption and cronyism are rampant. In the United States, through our system of checks and balances, the behavior of any individual or group seeking to be the singular voice of authority over national affairs is constrained. Our Constitution was designed to protect the republic from every brand of tyranny. Attempts to debase the power of the Justice Department by Trumpism feels fascistic. Fascism’s un-American tendencies are all too ascendant in the current era. There are many reasons why this is the case. For example, our educational system and our media have not and are not preparing us to engage the complexity of the Anthropocene within which we are embedded. We are distracted, ill-informed, and, therefore, vulnerable to misinformation and conspiracy theories. Much more can and will be said on this topic. In my opinion, it will be simpler for those of us who understand the centrality of the Constitution to the American project to name the fascist tendencies of the MAGA Movement. If the shoe fits, make them wear it! Clearly articulating the parallels between current regimes worldwide (e.g., Russia, India, Hungary, etc.) and Fascism can awaken those in the thrall of the short-term benefits and the emotional fire of authoritarianism to the real dangers and long-term risks fascism poses to our freedom and our form of government. Roosevelt's The Four Freedoms are the Antithesis of Fascism Norman Rockwell's depiction of them: Freedom of Speech Freedom to Whatever Form of Spirituality is True for the Individual Freedom from Want Freedom from Fear

  • I Missed the Vroom!

    Starting in 1995, I’ve wanted to purchase an all-electric vehicle. That’s when I first became aware of the work of Stan Ovshinsky. Compared to Edison by his obituary in The New York Times, Stan died with over 400 patents across multiple disciplines. With a compelling life story, Stan was an extraordinary Anthropocean. His nickel metal hydride battery was instrumental to the creation and production of GM’s EV-1, a vehicle that went from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds. As chronicled in Who Killed the Electric Car, a documentary film about the rise and venomous destruction of the EV-1 by General Motors, what happened to Stan’s work is another tragic example of the fate suffered by many thousands of visionaries whose character and accomplishments are and will be largely forgotten by history. Boy, could we use people like him now! It was an honor to be his friend. The demise of the EV-1 left me without an electric car hope until 2008 when I started reading about Tesla. It took me a while to work up the nerve to purchase this new vehicle. It was expensive; it wasn’t clear that the company would survive; its founder was/is a polymath and a nut. Thanksgiving Dinner, 2019 made my decision. At a dinner party, I met some Tesla owners: a Canadian couple who had already owned two of the vehicles and a beefy guy with gray hair and a big smile. My conversations led to action. A lot of parents should only love their kids as much as the Two-Timers love their Teslas! They'd driven their car from Montreal to Florida. Even before the ongoing build-out of Tesla’s current 25,000 superchargers worldwide, they dismissed any concerns that one would run out of power on the road with a wave of the hand. They glowed when describing the ride and the car’s acceleration. They waxed poetically about the scope of the windshields. I felt like I was talking to salespeople at a service center, but they were only speaking as happy customers. My partner and I listened very closely to their “presentation.” It moved us closer to the purchase. Mr. Beefy spoke almost as extravagantly about his experience as the couple. The coolness of the interior. The automaticity of electronics and technology. The pride he took in being an early adopter. But, there was one key difference in his commentary: "To tell you the truth, I just traded my Tesla in for a BMW CS. The Tesla is a great, great car, but I missed the vroom! I just have to have that sound of the car’s power! I love that, live for it!" (Paraphrase) [1] Being a person who’s been trying to get off the internal combustion engine and gasoline power for 30 years, Mr. Beefy did an excellent job of reminding me that I didn’t want to be him. I do not miss the vroom. I want to be a long-termer, someone for whom the future is as important as the present. I want the Anthropocene to be a safe place. I don’t want Earth to repeat Venus’ experience. I bought a Tesla. A lot of people “live for the vroom.” Let me guesstimate their numbers in the US: There are 290 million cars There are 40 million trucks There are 9 million motorcycles There are 115,000 gas stations There are 143,000 used car dealerships There are 19,000 new car dealerships The lobbying budget of the gas-powered auto industry as a totality is difficult to estimate. Taking into account a variety of inputs, I think a conservative figure might be around $300,000,000. Of course, not every driver has a psychological identification with muscular-sounding vehicles. But do not count them out. There is one whole heck-of-a-lot! For example, there are 425 commercial drag strips and hundreds of oval race tracks. I can’t validate it, but my guess is that we’re talking about 2,000,000 hard-core muscle car, truck, and motorcycle guys. And, of course, since charts and lists can be boring, there’s the experience we all have of everyday aggressive drivers doing crazy and dangerous stuff. That’s twice the number of people in Wyoming. In other words, a lot of people are going to miss the Vroom. Take a little time to look at this ten-minute clip taken by road drivers in somewhat common vehicles demonstrating just how much the Vroom means to them. They are, obviously, risking their lives, that of those that are in the car with them, anyone they might injure or kill through accidents, etc. Are they worried? Absolutely not! They are having the time of their lives! In the clips, their girlfriends – because they’re mostly guys – are super-turned on. And they love capturing their machismo on video for whatever little bit of posterity they may get to enjoy as much as the folks who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Flash forward to 2035. California recently announced that it will ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles beginning 13 years from now. California’s approximately 33,000,000 gas-powered vehicles consumed 14 billion gallons of gasoline in 2021. It is the US’ largest car market. Forgetting about the Vroom for a minute, consider how many millions of people are directly and indirectly tied into the fossil fuel transportation system in this one state right now. How in the name of everything having to do with the Gaia, are we going to deal with the dislocation they are going to go through to switch over to alternative energy? What are their reactions to that dislocation going to do to all of us who are already sold on the vision of a green and circular economy?! As I write, the Federal Reserve Commissions Chair, Jerome Powell, has re-iterate the FED’s intention to fight inflation. The US is headed into recession. “Households will feel some pain.” 300 talking heads mentioned “soft landing.” The stock market dropped by 1,100 points. If today’s economy is challenging to manage, imagine one where millions and millions of people are going to go through multiple wrenching social shifts be like? Vehicular transformation is only one. Diehards are particularly wedded to the past. Is it possible to alter the behavior and maybe even the values of men who are totally absorbed in their rides? What are we to do with the men (and some women) who cannot imagine themselves without their hot rods? I don’t have good answers to my questions, which is one reason the Anthropocene is so up for grabs. There are so many unknown unknowns. I was reminded reminded that kids put cards on their bike wheels to create noise. Maybe that can be adopted by EV manufacturers?! I heard that an electric car company is coming up with an acceleration noise that’ll be graded to sound like the gas-power vroom. Legislation outlawing making EVs noisy is surely in motion. Maybe intern the Vroomers at an enormous race track in Mississippi like we did with tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans during WWII?! (Not a serious proposal.) Perhaps when noisy fast cars are outlawed, only outlaws will have noisy fast cars?! I’d call those ideas quintessentially short-term fixes. How about this: Green-focused education at every level of schooling starting now! I don’t know the average age of the masculine muscle car or truck romantic today, but let’s say it’s 32. Those who don’t die as a result of their recklessness will be 45 in 2035. Let’s also assume that the average age of kids in Pre-K to 12 at all schools is presently 10. They’ll be 23 in 2035. Assume that the young people in school now get a thorough education about climate change. Assume that any parents who thinks that climate change is a hoax will be unable to shape local school education policy, that the denial of climate change will be roundly and repeatedly repudiated and mocked in 95% of the media and that the teaching of climate change denial will not be allowed in public schools. What difference would it make in the thinking, norms, and behaviors of these young people who will be entering adulthood in 2035? Probably a lot. There are multiple climate change resources available for educators, including for the very young. For example, this clip from Learn Bright, introduces kindergarten and first graders to the distinction between weather and climate: Learn Bright has an extensive curriculum of climate and nature-related video lessons ( is explicitly focused on helping children understand the drivers and dynamics of climate change in order to prepare them to be part of the solution. Clean Net is committed to climate and energy education: But education - and public education, in particular - is needed to achieve the transformation in societal consciousness. Of course, given the degree to which the teaching of climate science is such a polarizing and politicized topic, it’s a lot to assume that climate change denial will no longer be tolerated in certified educational settings by 2035, but hey, it could happen! Without focused, redundant, omnipresent, and well-funded climate education, intensive civil strife over a changeover to renewable and alternative energies is completely predictable. Since a polycrisis of problems with climate change as one of the key drivers is not going away, conflict over the push to make the shift to a green economy makes the imposition of a severe – and probably stupidly bureaucratic – environmental dictatorship becomes increasingly likely. More about that speculation subsequently. [1] The CS is the most powerful car in BMW's M division’s history. The current model features a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine uprated to produce 635 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. It gets approximately 17 mpg.

  • “Look, The Reality Is…It’s Inevitable”

    My mind tends to cringe when people say this to me. It is a statement that is usually/almost always delivered in conjunction with the “eye-lock,” a way of looking at people combined with a tone of voice that communicates “You know what I’m about to say is right” and/or “I’m the grown up in the room when it comes to this topic.” It’s a kissing cousin to “Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth.” Here's an example: In 2018, Cesar Sayoc, a career criminal and an ardent supporter of then President Trump, sent 16 bombs via the US mail to a combination of Democratic politicians and news organizations like CNN. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden were all intended targets. Cesar Sayoc’s Van When ABC News reporter, Tara Palmer, asked Mike Pence if he thought Trump’s rhetoric and behavior contributed to Sayoc’s attacks, the then-VP responded: Here’s the video. "Look, the reality is the people responsible are the people responsible. And what the president and I stand for, and I think every American stands for, is that threats or acts of political violence from anyone, anywhere, for any reason should not be allowed." [Emphasis added.] Needless to say, there are a lot of people who don’t see it that way, Mike. And that’s the point. My guesstimate is that well over 75+% of all categorical “advocacy” statements like Pence’s could and should be subject to question. One making an advocacy statement believes that he or she is stating a fact, regardless of the evidence. Here’s an example of an assertion within an inquiry statement that makes the opinion open to being disproven. "Given the dynamism, insecurity, and rate of change in the Anthropocene, can we agree that this era requires a dramatic shift in the ratio of inquiry to advocacy statements?" Chris Argyris, his collaborator, Don Schön, and their “guild” (of which I am a member) engaged in an extensive study of the behavioral strategies of people under organizational stress of one sort or another and determined that most people use advocacy statements most of the time in any situation that they feel called upon to express a point of view. Stress is a moving target. Something may be stressful for one person and not stressful for another. Many psychological and sociological factors determine what will be stressful for a person. Regardless of these variations, people under stress are vulnerable to absolutist thinking and behavior. This evidence about how we tick seems highly relevant to effective function in the Anthropocene because, increasingly, the very definition of reality is up for grabs. As discussed in another blog entry, George Soros asserts (and demonstrates with data) that there is a “reflexivity” between mind and matter. Matter exists, but the emotions that matter evokes in us and the ways in which we think and act upon our reactions to matter tend to blur the character of whatever aspect of reality we’re responding to. A mindset about what is observed can be as important if not more so than the material in the question itself. Once you’ve seen it, can you not see it? Once we have a frame of reference regarding a phenomenon, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to change our minds about “know to be true.” Neuroscience elaborates on the nature of reflexivity. Based on extensive experimentation and analysis, Anil Seth is a prominent neuroscientist who holds that “our brains hallucinate our conscious realities.” We trust our senses to inform our consciousness, but, apparently, it’s the other way round. The part of our brains that decides what is going on weaves the perceptions of our senses together in a part of the brain that is remote from the components of the brain where “reality’s” inputs arrive. Consciousness’ pre-existing conclusions regarding meaning are applied to input received and say “This is A” or “This is Q.” Intriguingly, and not surprisingly, quantum physics arrives at a similar conclusion: “reality is what you choose it to be.” It seems that everywhere we look, what we see is what we get. Given that most of us most of the time are unaware of the fact that we’re making up reality and given that it’s also completely clear that, paradoxically, reality does exist, it’s not surprising that a belief in inevitability walks hand-in-hand with the certainty with which most of us proceed through life. Here are some examples: It’s inevitable that the United States and China will go to war It’s inevitable that the worst effects of climate change will unfold It’s inevitable that experimentation is anything other than heterosexuality leads to depravity It’s inevitable that capitalism ruins people It’s inevitable that socialism stifles innovation It’s inevitable that we’ll find life on other planets It’s inevitable that we’ll discover that there is no life on other planets You get the picture. If one arrived in the Anthropocene from the Middle Ages, for example, the experience would be astonishing and overwhelming. There would be ways in which human beings and some elements of nature would be familiar, but the technological accomplishments of humanity would be beyond any concept of possibility available to all but the rarest of Medieval minds. I suspect that most immigrants coming here from 1200 would have heart attacks within half an hour of arrival. I’m sure that folks 800 years ago had many assumptions about what was absolutely going to transpire on our planet in the future, and 95+% of those expectations would have been completely incorrect. So, look, the reality is, we might believe that we know what is going to happen in the 'Cene, but that isn’t the same thing as actually knowing. It’s our story of the truth, rather than the truth itself. We’d be advised to hold our beliefs tentatively, to think more in terms of hypotheses than certainty, and to pay particular attention to evidence that disconfirms our convictions. It’s hard to learn from what we know. Isn’t it what we don’t know that can teach us? P.S. It’s a Dalmatian

  • Respect Public School Educators

    I Don't Get No Respect" - Rodney Dangerfield I like my dentist and my chiropractor. Sometimes their treatments can be quite painful. I put up with it because I don’t question their insights, qualifications, or skills. I see diplomas and certificates of professionals standing on their walls. I know they must keep up with well-researched standards of practice to maintain their licenses to practice. I get good results from seeing them. They have my confidence. I contrast the way I feel about these practitioners with the way in which I see so many public-school teachers, educational administrators, and academic institutions treated by many parents and politicians. Instead of respecting educators, the news is filled with stories of public educators being denigrated. As reported recently, thousands are leaving the field of public education: "Why are America’s schools so short-staffed? Experts point to a confluence of factors including pandemic-induced teacher exhaustion, low pay, and some educators’ sense that politicians and parents — and sometimes their own school board members — have little respect for their profession amid an escalating educational culture war that has seen many districts and states pass policies and laws restricting what teachers can say about U.S. history, race, racism, gender, and sexual orientation, as well as LGBTQ issues." Oddly, public school educators are being replaced by men and women who have no training as teachers or in other positions in the educational system, e.g., school boards. Public school educators in America sit in the crosshairs of social conditions and culture wars: The consequences of poverty Racial tensions The prevalence of guns in American life, in particular The impact of fundamentalist religion on schools Broken and unhappy families The status of higher education for teachers and educators The existential context of climate change Public school personnel are sitting ducks. Well-to-do elites understand some of the elements required by and unfolding in the Anthropocene. They purchase a lot of learning-related equipment and often send their kids to private schools, and/or they live in a zip code where public education is a very high priority as demonstrated by college entrance results. But in the ordinary world of the 66% of American families earning $100K/year[1] or less, kids go to public schools, and their educators are bombarded with all the deficiencies of American democracy in peril. It turns out that a heck of a lot of personnel engaged in the public education system working with these millions of kids and young adults have qualifications like those of my dentist and chiropractors and their staffers, those people whose qualifications I do not question. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville provides an illustration of what I mean. The University, founded in 1794, is a secular, public university with about 30,000 students. It is a solid state school. It is not ranked among the top 50 graduate school programs in education in the United States. ­­­­­­­I thought it’d be useful to look at what kind of training one must receive to qualify for teaching or educational administration credentials at this non-elite institution. At the undergraduate level, UT Knoxville offers credentials in 8 courses of study. There are 36 graduate-level education degree or certificate granting programs. The master's program in Literacy, for example, works with educators and administrators to enhance their understanding of how reading and writing develop, and on ways to support learners from the initial stages of reading, spelling, writing, and thinking acquisition to later stages of critical thinking through technology, writing, while promoting self-regulation, motivation, and a growth mindset. It requires a minimum of 33 credits to receive the degree. At least four courses in Literacy are required, covering topics such as Assessment and Instruction of Emergent Learners, PreK-2, Literacy, and Literature in Middle School, and Advanced Studies and Theoretical Models of Reading. In addition to earning a relevant degree, most states and schools require teaching professionals to earn a minimum number of continuing education units (CEUs) or continuing education credits (CECs) every five years to renew their teaching licenses. Nebraska, for example, requires its teachers to complete at least 18 hours of continuing education every two-year period. In other words, if you get a 3.0 or better at the Bailey School of Education at UT Knoxville, you’re going to work your butt off and, once you do, you’ll know stuff. You’ll be a rigorously trained educator. If you want to stay in that profession, you’ll have to continue your education indefinitely. My point: a certificate to practice as a teacher isn’t the same as meeting the training demands faced by dentists or chiropractors, but it is deserving of respect. Increasingly, that respect is not forthcoming. Instead, what is swelling are politicians, angry parents with no background in education, and various kinds of agitators screaming at teachers and school administrators and threatening them with violence over: Curricular programs like sex education, social-emotional learning, the Common Core, anything having to do with racial injustice and oppression, science-based public health interventions, or not being nice enough to their “special” children Bans on prayer in school or on school grounds Any recognition that there are alternatives to heterosexuality People who’ve never cracked a serious book about teaching, why the goals of education (e.g., the ability to read widely and write well) exist, the racial, ethnic, and religious differences among students, the disciplinary dynamics of a classroom, the management of students in the same classroom who possess different kinds of aptitudes, the evolution of human development across a diverse population, how curricular choices prepare students for life in a democracy, the complications of institutional bureaucracy, etc. are absolutely sure they are right about everything! Right enough to threaten and beat people who don’t agree with them. They see “left-wing plots and conspiracies” in math. They ban and burn award-winning books. They force teachers of the year into retirement because they are gay. They denigrate the arts, humanities, history, civics, and social studies. They attack public schools as an entity that have no right to exist, “government schools” intent on the indoctrination and grooming of children without conservative parents having any influence. They believe that our government “of the people, for the people, and by the people” is a lie, and that the United States government is pushing a “woke” agenda through the schools. They believe Alex Jones, but they’ve never heard of Robert Hutchins. Here’s what a veteran history teacher has to say about the hostility she faces: The headlines in North Carolina, the state where I live and teach U.S. history, civics, and economics, read: “North Carolina House approves bill to limit teaching of race.” ….This cannot and will not continue. And it’s not just North Carolina. Lawmakers in states around the country are attempting to block the teaching of critical race theory, which looks at how racism continues to affect individuals and society. (One such bill was signed into law in Tennessee very recently.) I am a Black woman and teaching my history — telling the truth about it — should not be controversial. Teaching historical facts in context should not merit a parent email that turns into a parent conference with the administration. An award-winning, vetted book should not be why calls are made to the district central office. Teachers are professionals, and while every lesson is not perfect, each teaching moment has the potential to challenge students, help them grow, and inspire their love of learning." I am not contending that there aren’t lousy teachers, non-performing schools, dysfunctional school systems, legitimate controversies surrounding educational programs, or misbehavior by educators at all levels. The police – another large and diverse community – have demonstrated that corruption penetrates many of the professions we depend upon repeatedly. I am saying that educators deserve at least the level of support and trust shown to the police and the military. I am saying – like the thousands of health care heroes that sacrificed themselves at the height of the COVID crisis – that most educators care deeply about their work and their responsibilities. I am saying that the percentage of educators who possess at least the same level of expertise in their profession is equal to what the cops and members of the military do in theirs. The most vociferous public education critics should spend more time inquiring into the thinking and the choices of professional educators and less time yelling at them. This Age of Humanity we have entered, this Anthropocene, has spun itself into far past equilibrium territory. In The Anthropocene Reviewed, John Green writes of the love that he has come to feel for the stability of Indianapolis. I’ve been to Indianapolis a number of times, and I found it as boring as it is stable. But I know what Green means. It’s damned difficult to feel anything but off-kilter if you really feel the turbulence of the world around us and maybe the world within us as well. Those who can teach us to think and to act with intelligence and character are so critically important to the success of the Anthropocene. They are the allies of families that sense the nature of this inflection point, not their opposition. [1] Statistica

  • The Lonely Liar

    In his defense of the British soldiers who fired on and killed eight colonists during “The Boston Massacre,” John Adams said: Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. Given the degree to which misinformation, conspiracy theories in search of evidence, and unrestrained lying characterize current American political discourse (and probably that of many other societies as well), one suspects that facts are falling out of favor. Many Republican Party candidates and platform planks have virtually no relationship to facts: Climate change? A hoax! Diversity? A left-wing plot hatched at the UN! Biden’s Election? Stop the Steal! Viruses? Invented by George Soros using satellites put up by the Rothchilds in the 1800s! The truth stands about as much of a chance these days as an allied bomber did flying over Berlin at Noon on a sunny day in 1941! One could discount my concern about the state of facts by asserting that this "lies lead over truth" has been around for a long time. After all, Mark Twain said that “a lie can get halfway around the world in the time that it takes truth to put on its shoes.” Given the speed of social media, lies can now get to the moon and back several times before truth has even thought about putting on its shoes. Why is the truth in so much trouble in the Anthropocene when climate change and other threatening trends are creating such a desperate need for it?! I believe that loneliness is closely connected to the willingness to lie and to believe lies. As I’m using the term here, loneliness is a feeling of terrible emptiness and anguished longing for connection. One wishes to be with others, to be cared for by others, to belong to associations with like-minded people, to be liked, and to feel loved and supported. One of the key benefits of fused families is where everything is thought about and spoken of in the context of a “hive mind”, where there is no “dead air,” no moments or extended periods of independence from the talk, the thinking, the faith, the chores, the gossip of the family and, frequently, the clan to which the family belongs. Fused families aren’t all the same. They can range from conditions where every member of the family thinks and feels “happy” to ones where family members all feel miserable, but still, stick together because they aren’t lonely. The promise that you won’t be lonely is what keeps many social units intact. Think of people who are constantly on the phone with someone or forever tuned into television shows or are compulsively knowledgeable about everything that’s happening in sports or join gangs or spend every weekend going to parties or cruise around in packs of thousands of motorcycles. Many of these people are lonely and will become enraged or break down in tears if anyone says so. FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out] has become a national compulsion. If one has a bad case of FOMO, it’s well-nigh impossible to get a break from it. There is so much to know and all of it seems so important! The Anthropocene presents us with virtually unlimited options for stimulation and almost no limits on lifestyle options. It’s impossible to be cool across all the fronts that all of us are encouraged to learn and know about. The vastness of possibilities may increase loneliness because choosing anything means knowing that so many alternative paths aren’t being followed and all the people one might meet by doing so. The tree of life presents so many alluring branches. It’s hard to choose, but not choosing can lead to a deeper sense of psychological disquiet, a feeling of being lost and not knowing which way to turn. Economic anxiety augments the paralysis of not knowing what to do. Applying attention to poor choices puts people in a deep hole. Loneliness is knowing that you could be such a wonderful friend or lover if only people would give you a chance. Loneliness is having a lot of secret thoughts that you know you can’t share. Loneliness is living day after day with no one else touching you. Loneliness is longing to receive the kind of attention and support you are so entitled to and knowing that it will never come. Loneliness is living a life of quiet (or loud) desperation in the context of a society that frequently cares a lot more about possessions or profits or ideologies than it does about people and nature. Loneliness is a precursor to being manipulated. It’s a vulnerability that makes many of us willing to say or do anything to belong to something that is bigger than us, something that will make us feel that we fit in. Demagogues know that lonely people are available selves. They don’t have a core identity even when they are sure they do. They can be enrolled in extremist movements. The character of Professor Rath in Blue Angel (1930) is an example of someone who begins the film quite confident that he has a very solid, upright self, who tolerates no foolishness or lasciviousness from his students. But then he goes to a nightclub and becomes completely entranced by Marlene Dietrich, a femme fatale with a well-formed identity, who chews the professor up and throws him away like trash, sort of like Trump devouring a Big Mac and then chucking his leavings on the floor for someone else to clean up. As Clay Brown reminds us in his video essay, the Professor’s vulnerability, the loneliness that he did not know he had, his openness to be controlled and dominated by an aggressor as portrayed in the film anticipated the majority of the German population’s eager renunciation of that society’s profound achievements in art, culture, and science to embrace a blood-thirsty murderer’s insane ideology. Manipulators know that many, perhaps most, people don’t have a true core of being. Many of us are more like Kevin McCarthy than we are like Liz Cheney. This weakness of character, which is difficult to acknowledge even to ourselves let alone others makes the lonely easy prey for cynical powermongers. In his monumental The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich referred to these narcissists as “freedom peddlers.” A freedom peddler is a con artist who leads others to believe that following him or her will liberate them to be their true selves when all the fraud truly wishes to do is to turn suckers into true believers who will pay the swindler to lie to them. Of course, the situation becomes even worse when the Jim Jones of the world believe their own horse pucky. These sociopaths are willing to die for their psychoses and to take everybody else with them. Since despair and rage at the unfairness of the world are frequent companions of loneliness, the freedom peddler who gives meaning to the lives of the lost can persuade them to do all sorts of things that they would never have considered if they didn’t become part of a movement. Lonely people can easily be transformed into fanatics, and large groups of people who are deeply alienated from everyone and everything – including themselves –can be turned into violent mobs by exploiters who know how to massage their fears and their neediness. As a colleague and friend says, “when things are pretty bad, people are willing to believe things that are too good to be true.” For example, in the United States and in a variety of other societies, the lies of authoritarians and their regimes are getting louder and louder. Here’s what they sound like: “We are the master race. A hidden cabal of evil, corrupt, and filthy rich people that have sacrificed no blood for our soil are trying to replace us in our homeland! They are running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor in DC! They are seeking to destroy the feelings of pride we have in our heritage. They distort our glorious history to try to make us feel bad and guilty! They are mocking the flag! Everything they say is fake news. These vermin are enemies of the people! Get rid of them and put people like me in power and your troubles will be over!” Of course, all statements like these are lies, but ideas like these have been widely believed across centuries, as they are now. They continue to be held fervently even when they are disproven over and over again. QAnon didn’t suffer any great loss in popularity when it turned out that JFK Junior really is and was dead. The need to belong to something that validates one’s being and animates one’s passion is more important than the truth for millions, if not billions of people. At the climax of George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith is so tortured that he agrees with Big Brother’s party that when The Party says 2+2=5, it’s right. That is the sort of conformity people can be manipulated into believing devoutly when they are bereft of an internal compass. They would be happy to reload Big Brother’s gun when he starts shooting people on 5th Ave. So, what is the antidote to the emptiness that loneliness generates? This is an excellent question, for which I don’t think there is any easy answer. One response is that loneliness presents us with an opportunity to develop an intense awareness of ourselves, an awareness that prepares us to make better choices about the communities we join and what we do in them. Loneliness gives us an opportunity to pay attention to what we pay attention to. The psychologist, Clark Moustakas, elaborated on these ideas in his books on the topic of loneliness. Personally, I’ve found great value in remembering my dreams and paying attention to the powerful positive forces and feelings that can appear in them, as well as to worrying emotional reactions that point me toward doorways to change which I need to walk toward and through. There are many viewpoints regarding dreams. I believe and I am confident that something called the collective unconscious is real and that through dreams, and probably other methodologies as well, one can become open to and influenced by primordial archetypes of the essence of human nature that can provide us with a kind of succor and insight that is greater than the sadness and trauma of loneliness. But that’s just me. That’s my way of finding peace, sometimes, in the hurly-burly roller coaster of the ‘Cene. What’s yours? If we could find unifying responses to the profound feeling of loneliness that so many of us suffer from, we’d have a heck of a lot happier and more hopeful Anthropocene. # # # [1] I believe that this is an actual sign posted in the Paoli, Indiana News on March 15, 2021. Because I was not actually in Paoli, Indiana on March 15th, 2021, I cannot verify it was.

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