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The Anthropocene 
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Post Re: The Anthropocene
Here are my latest comments on the environment, from other boards, relating to the mythology of the anthropocene.

Conventional patriarchal monotheism seeks to alienate spirit from nature by suppressing cosmic knowledge. If I can make a comparison, in ancient Babylon there was a mythopolitical conflict between Marduk, representing the Heavenly Control of the King, and Tiamat, representing the Oceanic Kaos of the Mother, as an archetype we could compare to Maxwell Smart versus Siegfried, or Rocky versus Natasha. The social consensus in ancient patriarchal times was that Marduk was Good Spirit and Tiamat was Evil Nature. Their battle represented the struggle for cultural progress, a battle which found its way into the Bible, informing ideas as various as dominion and fall, sweat of the brow, and the war in heaven between Michael and Satan.

The goal of dominion reflected in Genesis was to exercise control over nature. However, this simplistic consensus around dominion, which has been the basis of the patriarchal psychology of social control, fails to see how creativity emerges from the edge of chaos, through an openness to the mystery. By condemning chaos as evil, the attitude of control became rigid, narrow and misogynist, holding to a dogmatic exclusion of everything it did not understand.

So the wall built up around conventional faith throws out the astronomical baby with the astrological bathwater. This means that since ancient times scientific observation of the cosmos and how we connect to it has been condemned whenever a feared association with magical speculation has been seen. This is really important to explain the shuddering irrational hostility that greets astrotheology. People only want to recognise what they can control. Astral symbolism recognises the uncontrollable divine in nature, whereas conventional theology kicks God upstairs into an imaginary heaven as some sort of supernatural fat controller.

The idea that Tiamat was a matrifocal Goddess whose worship was replaced by the patriarchal Marduk is rejected by modern academic consensus. While this rejection is itself highly culturally interesting as showing prevailing misogynist bias, I find this suggestion of Tiamat as an earlier object of veneration plausible as a model for an older peaceful society in harmony with nature, replaced by the warlike imperial spirit of control. This is what Robert Graves discusses in The White Goddess.

So, with the question of Catholic alienation from nature, we see a patriarchal vision in which the power of the king, the Marduk archetype, is justified by hierarchy and dogma, whose social power is seen as more important than the Tiamat archetype of natural truth.

While I consider the Gospels to be purely fictional, I consider that the Jesus story provides our deepest understanding of the actual social conflict between good and evil, and can be reclaimed from the controllers. I see the gospel Jesus as harking back to an older vision of equality between the sexes. The cross and resurrection motif of the passion indicate how Jesus held to an integral vision respecting ancient chaotic understanding of peace and love, symbolised as Tiamat. The imperial society of his day, based on Marduk-style assumptions, rejected this natural vision of equality and its ultimate power. The resurrection is therefore a symbol of the return of Tiamat - that the eternal chaotic cosmic power of the oceanic feminine will overwhelm the alienated historic masculine efforts to exclude and control nature.

THis mythic conflict between Marduk and Tiamat is at the root of the observation that we are living in the anthropocene, a new geological epoch where human attempts to control nature are decisive for planetary ecology. The essential mutation, flowing from the earlier emergence of language, was the growth of technology, especially industrial agriculture. Language makes humans different in kind rather than in degree from dumb animals. The coordinating function of language means the Biblical concept of human dominion over nature is inevitable, because words enable humans to achieve unrivalled power through technology. Human control of nature has grown exponentially since the 'fall from grace' got underway around 4000 BC. And yet, the Bible also contains a message of redemption and atonement, through the comment at Rev 11:18 that the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth.

God is Gaia, purely natural. Mother Earth is storing up wrath against the alienated human fantasy that dominion means spirit is in control, that humans are separate from and superior to nature. If we imagine we are aliens from mother earth she will kill us. That is why supernaturalism is evil. But the anthropocene can shift gear from the harsh Biblical hostility to nature expressed in the fall dictum of ‘sweat of the brow’. Dominion should mean stewardship, not control. Dominion can change to a humble stewardship of nature, respecting nature as encompassing culture. We have the brains to deliberately mutate into a global civilization of universal abundance and peace and ecological harmony.

As we move into a new paradigm of respectful dominion, we need new values that enable human productivity in harmony with nature. My view is that the core problems can be seen at various levels, both religious and political. The religious problem is about reconstructing myths to understand how we can atone for our sins against mother earth. The political problem can be approached through the lens of climate change, and the hostility of the alienated towards research and development into new energy technology.

My personal view on climate change is that the leading candidate for a new technology to achieve climate stability is large scale ocean based algae production to replace fossil fuels and provide abundant food, fertilizer and fabric. The technological key in my view is use of bags of floating fresh water to innovate new industrial oceanic processes, using energy from tide, wind, wave, sun and current to churn the oceans and build floating cities and factories. By moving to the ocean, using technology to achieve this shift on a vastly accelerated scale compared to whales, humans can achieve a sustainable global population many times our current level while giving back ecosystems to the wild animals. While this may read as science fiction, I remain interested to conduct laboratory tests to explore feasibility of these ideas.

We do not need sacrificial hair shirts or Jeremiads to transform the global economy. But we do need to recognise that the current apocalyptic problems facing our planet are prefigured in the Bible, for example in the war in heaven between Michael and Satan, which can be reconfigured and flipped on its traditional head to see the evil power of Satan as the prevailing patriarchal paradigm of alienated control, and the archangel Michael as representing the good forces symbolised by Gaia and Tiamat.

QUOTE=neilzero;2117788]These things are difficult without government and/or rich institutional incentives. [/QUOTE]Global warming is the primary threat to human security, so should be prevented through a new Apollo/Manhattan Project led by NASA and the Copenhagen Consensus. Research and development of geoengineering technology offers the promise of universal abundance through climate management and carbon mining, but has to be approached in a way that will guarantee ecological sustainability. [QUOTE=neilzero;2117788] We need to give the mad scientists some protection from punishment for their mistakes, otherwise few will move beyond ideas on paper. [/QUOTE]Group-think is a powerful force, for scientists just as much as for non-scientists. The sad fact is that the current strategy of emission reduction supported by scientific group-think is a useless failure. The equation is simple. We are exponentially increasing emissions, now standing at about 32 gigatonnes of CO2e per year. To stabilise the climate we need technology that can remove more than 40 gigatonnes of CO2e per year to stop the impending collapse of human civilization. Tinkering at the margins by carbon taxes, hair shirts, earth hour and other minor sacrificial stunts is worse than useless because it gives the false impression of activity. Carbon taxes are like pushing on a string – it does not move anything at the other end of the string. To pull the string we need a new Apollo Project to develop technology for climate management. [QUOTE=neilzero;2117788] I suspect thousands of underfunded and too small scale projects have been tried and abandoned, some of which would have been great had we persisted. [/QUOTE]Possibly, but I also think that most renewable projects lack a path to scaleability. For example solar cells and wind turbines are resource intensive. Leveraging oceanic energy using waterbags has a clear path to planetary scale, since the produced algae can be used to fabricate new bags, and all the needed power comes from the sea. [QUOTE=neilzero;2117788]Brain storming has seen some great success = a few additional details can change failure to success. [/QUOTE] I actually think the problems we are discussing involve quite a deep cultural paradigm shift, so conversation about the philosophical issues around climate management is valuable. [QUOTE=neilzero;2117788]
I agree the 800 meter breakwall I suggested will take all the profit and more. Possibly something like coral is possible on a platform that floats a meter or two below the surface = Barnacles thrive even on ships frequently moving though the water at moderate speeds. Neil[/QUOTE]
A related idea builds on work of James Lovelock, William Calvin and others for pipes to pump rich water from the deep to the surface. These pipes can be modelled on jellyfish, with a flat flexible waterbag platform floating just below the waves, using wave undulation to accumulate central energy to pump up water through tendrils reaching down to the deep, and with the rich water then spreading across the platform in a way designed to maximise algae growth. Tethered in the open sea, this will become a reef supporting abundant marine life. The ocean is so big that there is plenty of space to make and mark such machines without causing shipping hazards or other risks. Adding CO2 to the water mix, mined from the air, will further increase productivity and make the ocean deserts bloom. Start off in a lab with a one metre diameter model, and in a few decades we can aim to have jellyfish algae pumps across the world ocean with size up to many kilometres wide, as the operational problems of scaling up are solved.


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Post Re: The Anthropocene
Arguments that make the Bible or other mythologies responsible for our history of exploiting the earth run into a couple of problems. The Hebrew word translated as "dominion" has to do with ruling or governing. The choice of "dominion" yields a different connotation that isn't necessarily in keeping with the ethic of governing. What the Bible commands only reflects, of course, what people had already been doing for thousands of years, though much less successfully than we have been able to do lately. All romantic notions of being but a part of nature to the contrary, humans are all about, and must be about, governing nature. What the limits are, whether this should mean control, is where the debate comes in, with people like me believing that geo-engineering on any large scale is folly, an attempt to control that only continues hubristic beliefs.

Another problem is that, regardless of scriptural or mythological foundations, humans have basically the same instinct to alter or control the environment. The religions or philosophies of the East have not resulted in a kinder, gentler treatment of the earth. The causes of our exploiting the earth are not to be looked for in any writings or oral myths.



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Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:53 am
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Post Re: The Anthropocene
DWill wrote:
What have been your actual activities as an environmentalist? That's the question that first comes to my mind. If your religion has empowered you to live more sustainably than the rest of us, good for you and good for it (religion). I conceive of environmentalists (though not a word I like much) as rallied around one cause, regardless of religious or even political beliefs. Would you make common cause with an atheist for the larger sake of doing better by the planet?


Starting in 1968 with the Communiversity proposal, and 11 years before my 1979 religious conversion and going to the present day, I have authored and organized the following social change ideas and projects: You can read about my experiences over 40 years of social change and environmental protection activism. And at 69, I'm still at it, currently waiting on an important tribal council election happening next month to see if my tribal partner on the Heartlands Project and I have any reason to hope for a new start of this grand ancestral land reclamation project and much more.

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DWill
Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:08 pm
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Post Re: The Anthropocene
DWill wrote:
Arguments that make the Bible or other mythologies responsible for our history of exploiting the earth run into a couple of problems. The Hebrew word translated as "dominion" has to do with ruling or governing. The choice of "dominion" yields a different connotation that isn't necessarily in keeping with the ethic of governing. What the Bible commands only reflects, of course, what people had already been doing for thousands of years, though much less successfully than we have been able to do lately. All romantic notions of being but a part of nature to the contrary, humans are all about, and must be about, governing nature. What the limits are, whether this should mean control, is where the debate comes in, with people like me believing that geo-engineering on any large scale is folly, an attempt to control that only continues hubristic beliefs.

Another problem is that, regardless of scriptural or mythological foundations, humans have basically the same instinct to alter or control the environment. The religions or philosophies of the East have not resulted in a kinder, gentler treatment of the earth. The causes of our exploiting the earth are not to be looked for in any writings or oral myths.


Traditional religions, including traditional (Pauline) Christianity have not recognized the Celestial Torah Christ as God's universal Humanitarian Model as the central core theology of the Near Eastern prophetic religions. Nationalism in terms of religious loyalty were the focus of these religions but underneath the tribal mythologies is this constant theme of "righteousness" being more about lovingkindness towards others than demand for absolute obedience to tribal law supposedly from God's commandment. Jesus took that type of "righteousness" to the highest level of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. In effect, Jesus was countering "biology" and it is God's Grand Strategy to do so. This is why I am a "Christian" because it appears only the Christ traditions have an inkling of the importance of producing a universal Model for a truly Humane Being. A truly humane being must sacrifice the otherwise "natural" instinct of men and women following men, to be subject to biological urges to establish and defend territories against perceived threats.

In order for men especially to learn the importance of Alpha leadership sacrificing power for love God provided the Christ crucifixion icon, the world's most psychologically powerful icon of self-sacrifice. An Alpha, must do this to provide the role model for other alphas to follow suit. If they don't, they continue the biologically based social and individual warfare. It only works by establishing a dominant Alpha Model who sacrifices and that's Christ. Buddha, somewhat.. but not the whole way like Christ sacrificed so Buddha comes in second place as universal Humanitarian Model. There are other problems with Buddhism too but here Buddha does fit into the sacrifice model of a highest Alpha changing the otherwise "normal" biological territorial imperative that governs human social life. The Biomystical meaning of Jesus' sacrifice: http://biomystic.org/biosacrifice.htm



Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:27 pm
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Post Re: The Anthropocene
sonoman wrote:
DWill wrote:
What have been your actual activities as an environmentalist? That's the question that first comes to my mind. If your religion has empowered you to live more sustainably than the rest of us, good for you and good for it (religion). I conceive of environmentalists (though not a word I like much) as rallied around one cause, regardless of religious or even political beliefs. Would you make common cause with an atheist for the larger sake of doing better by the planet?


Starting in 1968 with the Communiversity proposal, and 11 years before my 1979 religious conversion and going to the present day, I have authored and organized the following social change ideas and projects: You can read about my experiences over 40 years of social change and environmental protection activism. And at 69, I'm still at it, currently waiting on an important tribal council election happening next month to see if my tribal partner on the Heartlands Project and I have any reason to hope for a new start of this grand ancestral land reclamation project and much more.

I get you to the extent that individual conversions of some kind seems to be the only way humans could possibly reduce their collective impact on the planet. Environmental laws mean unacceptable government coercion, and technological fixes are probably chimerical. The project does involve a sacrifice of what is thought of as God-given rights by the religious and simply the right to pursue happiness by the secular. I've disagreed with Robert that a technology like bio-fuel from algae is anything like a solution to threats to the environment.



Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:54 pm
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Post Re: The Anthropocene
DWill wrote:
Arguments that make the Bible or other mythologies responsible for our history of exploiting the earth run into a couple of problems. The Hebrew word translated as "dominion" has to do with ruling or governing. The choice of "dominion" yields a different connotation that isn't necessarily in keeping with the ethic of governing. What the Bible commands only reflects, of course, what people had already been doing for thousands of years, though much less successfully than we have been able to do lately.
I agree that ‘dominion’ does not intrinsically mean dominate and control, but can also reflect a concept of stewardship. In the Taoist tradition that the best king is unknown, the king retains dominion but exercises it through natural law, rather than in conflict with nature.
DWill wrote:
All romantic notions of being but a part of nature to the contrary, humans are all about, and must be about, governing nature.
”Romantic” is a pejorative way to frame this debate on the relation between humanity and nature. It is a scientific fact that humans are part of nature. The phrase “but a part of nature” implies somehow that humans lack free will. Of course we are literally 'but a part of nature', as is human free will. The problem for the anthropocene is that we have a dominant myth, summarised as dominion theology, which actively denies that humans are part of nature, seeing such understanding as pagan and evil, and as in conflict with a preferred model of economic growth. The anthropocenic trajectory is sending us towards human extinction because it is based on the false premise that culture transcends nature. This premise is central to the old paradigm governing our planet, and has to be replaced by a new scientific paradigm in which nature transcends culture.
DWill wrote:
What the limits are, whether this should mean control, is where the debate comes in, with people like me believing that geo-engineering on any large scale is folly, an attempt to control that only continues hubristic beliefs.
Geoengineering is an urgent emergency necessity. We have to first whiten the Arctic clouds to stop all the polar ice melting next summer, which would establish catastrophic feedback loops. Then we have to establish a new Apollo Project led by NASA to work out how to mine more carbon from the air than we emit. Global warming is the primary threat to human security. Emission reduction is a useless distraction from the real crisis of climate security, which requires global technological response.

The real hubristic folly is the idea that we can control nature through mining fossil fuel, rapidly shifting unprecedented amounts of carbon from the crust to the air and causing earth’s sixth extinction. That is what the Anthropocene has in store for us without a paradigm shift to a global gaian understanding, a Gaiacene.
DWill wrote:
Another problem is that, regardless of scriptural or mythological foundations, humans have basically the same instinct to alter or control the environment. The religions or philosophies of the East have not resulted in a kinder, gentler treatment of the earth. The causes of our exploiting the earth are not to be looked for in any writings or oral myths.

Myth documents values and reflects prevailing attitudes. The mythology of a society encapsulates how it views the cosmos and world, and what it sees as ethically good and evil. Judeo-Christian myth is distinctive for its aggressive alienation of humanity from nature, its vision of security as derived from faith in a Father God in heaven. This transcendental alienation of Christian faith enabled the rise of capitalism and the conquest of the world by Europe. The memetic causality is highly complex, but the interaction between faith and economy is strong, since people will reject a faith that does not support their material interests.

Eastern religions are in fact kinder and gentler towards nature than Christianity is. For example, the Christian doctrine of rapture suggests that true believers will be spocked up to heaven by Jesus at the second coming, leaving this stinking earth to destruction. That may seem a sick and evil parody of the prevailing myth, but it is one that has influence at the highest levels of America’s Republican Party. Deep in the heart of Texas the level of comprehension of the problems of the anthropocene is nil.


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Post Re: The Anthropocene
Your real beef is with Abrahamic religions and if you were serious about changing the impact and domination of Abrahamic religions on the world's environment, you'd be promoting the archeological findings of Israeli archeologists that destroy the root Abrahamic belief system, i.e. the writers of the Bible myths have been outed and proven to have made up all the major stories of the Old Testament. Even Muhammad took those stories as real history so all Abrahamic religions are coasting now on the lack of intellectual interest in historical truth and lack of concern of religious belief system out of control. I try my best to wake up intellectuals to their responsibility as guardians of wisdom for the whole community. But in the face of superior political power, intellectuals fold and do not speak up, do nothing to stop Abrahamic religious madness from continuing on and on. The Pope gets a new face and says, "he's sorry", but don't rock the boat of traditions, and nothing will change until the whole Catholic priesthood is allowed marriage which won't happen as long as intellectuals let the RCC go its merry way without protest. Same for Evangelical Christians allowed to influence Presidents and lest we forget our major Puppeteer of American foreign policy, Israel, and Zionist Judaism also gets a pass. Who in America even thinks about the fact that they are paying for Jewish racism and genocide of Palestinian society in the form of Jewish settlement building for Jews only of course, something that if done in America or any European country would be instantly labeled racism. But it gets a pass because intellectuals say nothing. No protests of religious madness and evil. Yet where it's safe on these internet discusssion forums, we see atheists intellectuals constantly on the attack against Abrahamic religionists.

Who will help organize a showdown conference discussing the spiritual and ethical validity of Abrahamic religious beliefs now that Abraham has been outed as a Jewish mythical ancestor?



Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:41 pm
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