John Michael Greer’s Archdruid post for Wednesday October 19, 2011


A Lesson in Practical Magic
Up to this point in our discussion of the intersection between peak oil and magic, we’ve mostly talked about what doesn’t work. That couldn’t be avoided, since the misunderstandings of magic that run barefoot through contemporary culture have to be dealt with before it’s possible to make sense of anything more substantive.

Still, I hope that by this time my readers have grasped that magic is not a substitute for technology, a way of making an end run around environmental limits and the laws of physics, or for that matter a means of forcing society as a whole to deal constructively with the rising spiral of crises that dominates the emergent history of our time. It’s an old and subtle craft that deals with the interface between consciousness and the universe of our experience, using the buttons and levers of the nonrational mind; it has remarkable potentials for good and ill; and some of those potentials have quite a bit to offer in the face of peak oil. Now that the misconceptions have been more or less cleared away, we can get down to the details of practical magic.


First Noosphere World Forum

September 8, 2011

A friend  sent  me to this website:

It took a while for me to get beyond the artwork. Unfortunately their presentation is in reversed type (white over a background) so I took this text from this page and reformatted it so I could read it. Now, I haven’t yet read the other pages, but this seems to me an important initiative. The analysis feels real. It ties in with what I have felt in my bones for most of my lifetime: We are in a once-in-a-species-lifetime transition and it’s a good and hopeful thing!

Arguing about whether climate change is manmade or natural seems to me somewhat beside the point. (It’s clear enough that it’s happening, and, more to the point for me personally, I have “known” since the 1970s that we would live long enough to see Antarctica, or a large part of it, come out from under the ice. That tells me that it isn’t some catastrophic anomaly, but part of a larger picture that I, and of course countless others unknown to me, sensed decades ago.) How much of it is being caused or aggravated by human activities is a matter of debate. The fact that people on all sides of the issue are using it to advance their own agendas is also beside the point. If people could find a way to make hay out of the fact that the sun shines and then, suspiciously enough, doesn’t shine, every 24 hours, they would. The facts the scientists or researchers on one side of an issue are cooking the books doesn’t mean (a) that those on the other side aren’t doing it too, or (b) that the book-cookers may not be correct regardless. (After all, even if cheating is all-pervasive, somebody still has to be more right than others.) Ad hominem arguments are irrelevant, though I notice that the dirty bastards on the other side of the issue use them all the time.

(If that last sentence didn’t make you smile, re-read it. If, re-reading it, you take it as a statement of fact, you’ve gotten too deeply enmeshed in your ideology.)

The importance of addressing the issue as part of the larger noosphere issue is that things seen in context are less likely to be seen distorted; less likely to giver rise to accusation and counter-accusation, and far more likely to lead us off into new, even exciting, mental vistas.

This is another case of my commentary being as long as the piece I’m passing on! Okay, here it is.

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Ventura – One word

August 27, 2011

Michael Ventura’s column, “LETTERS AT 3AM,” from the Austin Chronicle – Aug. 26, 2011


Three travelers in their 20s: Molly, my student in 10th-grade poetry some years back; Shaina, friend of m’lady Jazmin; and Amber, of whom I knew nothing. On their cross-country drive they stopped for an overnight (not the first traveling threesome to share my spare room). Dinner was on me at Rockfish (best restaurant in Lubbock, in case you’re passing through). We sat in a booth and entertained one another. The old coot told stories. The young travelers were appreciative and sharp.

Then Amber, sitting to my left, asked a question:

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30 days

July 7, 2011

The speaker asks an unanswerable question: If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, why not give it a try? And he convincingly says just how to go about doing it. Another in the remarkable series of TED videos.

Nothing definitive here, but every interesting and suggestive. Via a friend, from “Ieee Spectrum:

Schizophrenic Computer Points to New Theory of Disease

Software pays undue attention. Does a diseased mind do the same?


6 June 2011—We know what schizophrenia looks like in humans. We think we know what schizophrenia looks like in mice. Now we may know what it looks like in a computer.

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Three realizations in not very long a time. Spoken to a TED conference in just five minutes. I think you’ll remember them. Can you embody them, too?


That’s the title of my June column for the online magazine The Meta Arts. You can read it by clicking here:


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