New signs

Bottom up power: [Politico] “The country’s 900 or so rural electric cooperatives serve remote rural customers and are member-driven, -owned and -controlled. Their nonprofit status has made it hard to make investments in low-carbon energy; unlike investor-owned utilities, they can’t go into debt or sell shares to pay for a solar farm. But getting them off of fossil fuels is essential to meeting climate goals.

Already five co-ops have either left or announced they will leave a major G&T (generation and transmission) called Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which covers parts of four Western states.”

This tendency is happening in Europe as well. Despite all the ‘effort’ to stop using fossil fuel, oil companies are making record profits. Even Biden is allowing a new oil-drilling operation in Alaska – talk about plutocracy!

Mariner often writes about collective cultures. Collectivism includes concepts like extended families, local government, local cooperatives, community rules for equality of life, etc. To one degree or another, terms for collectives include cooperative, clan, communist, commune, tribe and many other terms denoting a localized group. The image below captures the general spirit:

Just being a small group does not automatically grant goodness. There are many small groups bent on anything but sharing and survival of all – NIMBY is one of countless examples that demonstrate the conflict between collectivism and the imposing needs of a much larger population.

Having learned from many sources over many years, mariner knows Homo sapiens is a tribal species, along with most of its primate ancestors. In past posts, he has cited authors who said things like “The maximum number of individuals that can be familiar to a human is 150”, “The further a person gets from a direct relationship with the environment, the more abusive the relationship becomes” and recently, “I’m first if its fair for everyone”.

When he studies the development of western nations, and the unimaginable wealth that suddenly appeared on the American continents, mariner is reminded of a group of hoodlums during a riot who break into a store and steal all its goods. Such tactics work for the hoodlums if there is plenty to go around. Western Capitalism is the fastest way to reorganize wealth.

Today, however, there is not enough to go around. Capitalism has an idiosyncrasy that doesn’t work anymore: Grow or die.

Because the West has achieved such wonders and accomplishments – especially when the achievements provide convenience, collective terminology is not popular and its advantages often are discounted. It is this resistance that makes it good news to mariner that there is a breakaway of self-owned electric companies from large conglomerates. There are other appropriate concepts of management that will work better in these challenging times. Bigger may not be better.

There are many more sociological points of interest but mariner can become boring.

Ancient Mariner

Is Big Better?

The news from every quarter, whether conservative, liberal, science, democracy or dictatorship, it is the same: There isn’t enough to go around. An increasing number of nations are participating in or pontificating war as a path to sustain order. In both the East and the West, social mores are collapsing. The economies of wealthy nations are vulnerable. Hoarding behavior within plutocracies, corporatocracies, oligarchies and martial command nations prevail in global policy making. Yet the global number of homeless, starving and abused people is rising; small historical cultures are disappearing and conflict with the Earth’s biosphere grows more volatile.

Since 1980, the rate at which poor nations are collapsing has doubled, largely from the burden of climate change and the hoarding philosophy prevalent among all nations which in turn minimizes assistance.

The most frequent causes cited by public sources are unrealistic tax formulas, cultural abuse (woke, racism, Uyghurs, Moslems, on and on . . .), national cultures ignoring the needs of large populations, and antiquated judicial practices. A new one is artificial intelligence with its self-interest in managing public behavior for profit.

It occurs to mariner that the common denominator to all these dysfunctions is that they are controlled top-down. A simple contradiction would be democracy, a government that is managed by the individual citizen through local, state and federal elections – clearly a bottom-up philosophy today being managed by a plutocracy – a top-down philosophy that makes it so expensive for a local candidate to campaign that only national deep pockets can dictate who can run in local elections.

If one were to examine Earth’s evolution of every plant and animal, compressed into the instinct of every cell is a behavior that would be survival by bottom-up practices. In other words, survival of the fittest at SUSTAINING THE SPECIES. Opossums can only behave in a way that would be good for any opossum. Even the large flocks of birds, herds of cattle and swarms of fish all live in an equal but very personal state of survival: me first but only if it’s fair for the others. Of course, these creatures don’t reason this conclusion, it is in their genes.

Originally, sustaining the species was in the genes of the primates and likely still is but the thorn is the ability to reason, to perceive reality not bound by direct reality – not bound by a balance between the biosphere and physical dependence. Should we curse the first primate that conceived a tool not provided by nature? Of course not. However, should we curse the first primate who discovered how to grow more wheat than was needed and hoarded it? Perhaps, that was not an act to sustain the species.

It may be that the last structured society to sustain the evolutionary rule, ‘me first if it’s fair’, was the Chinese culture which existed around the beginning of the fifth century BCE. The period was before empire-building. It was a society of self-sufficient towns of about 250-1,000 people, likely all related in extended families. The economy was based on a collective style where everyone had a role in sustainability and no one went without.

The idea of a collective economy arose in Europe, if only briefly, with Anabaptist communism; there are remnants today in The United States and Europe but the overwhelming presence of modern commerce is too much to sustain pockets of collectivism. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were numerous attempts at collectivism, the most notable being the Commune movement in the 1960s. A few sympathizers maintain that white man forced native Americans into an independent collective economy; recent news articles have addressed the invasion of commercial interests into Indian sources of locally sourced food, e.g., salmon.

֎ If, indeed, ‘top-down’ management is the issue, could we ever return to bottom-up? Not likely. It is very difficult to imagine what world order will look like in 100-150 years. There are so many substantive forces changing at the moment that it is easy to imagine an Armageddon catastrophe. Short of that, there are many presumably unmanageable situations that politics may not be able to manage. For example:

Population. Simply said, there are far too many humans on Earth to be supported by a natural ratio to Earth’s biosphere nor by any industrial or technological solution. The following quote is from the Smithsonian:

One can speculate that, at least in the United States and Europe, the worker rebellions are the beginning of a new politic.

Uncontrolled corporatism. The last time the Federal Government knew enough to tell corporations what to do was the generation in 1982 that forced Bell to split its empire into smaller independent companies. Before that, in 1911 Standard Oil was forced to split into 34 companies. Given the political power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc., not to mention weaponized Plutocratic political parties, it may not be possible to restore bottom-up economy.

Instant global communication. It is a marvel for anyone to log on to the internet and instantly acquire knowledge, news and ideas from around the globe. The nature of this instantaneousness is that there is no need to stop at a national border to show a visa; there is no need to have independent corporations operating in diverse nations of the world; there is no need for anyone to be loyal (AKA collective) to local markets when one can instantaneously purchase cheaper goods in Asia – no Silk Road needed. The most common evidence of this at the local level is the demise of storefronts. A nation’s borders may not mean much as commerce becomes global and can skirt or otherwise dominate national politics.

Global Warming. This is the big change. With the flick of her weather finger, Mother Earth can cause billions of dollars in property damage, increase homelessness, and disrupt government budgets. Further, she has demonstrated how easy it is to change agriculture to desert or a pleasant valley to a lava flow. Politics are irrelevant – no nation can own her or avoid her. Ask Pakistan.

Will there be Armageddon? You’ll have to prove it to mariner.

Ancient Mariner.


It is over.

The battle to sustain individuality and Homo sapiens authenticity has been won by AI. Watch the following clip then read on:

Already AI is good enough to write novels, essays, legal briefs and singlehandedly manage most trades on the stock exchange. The ability for anyone to write any style of entertainment is just one database away.

With the invention of the gene splitter Crispr, AI will be able to pool all human variations into a massive database so parents can pick any child they want. Who wants a Donald Trump lookalike? How about triplets that are the Kingston Trio?

But then AI will perceive that it is much simpler to have one version of humans; just think how efficient that would be for politics, medicine, and one would need only one football team.

Perhaps it will be less expensive if humans had no need to travel.

Welcome to Matrix.


Ancient Mariner

Earth from God’s perspective

As one of thousands of creatures in God’s Earth zoo, our human view of reality often is myopic. That view is important because it keeps our species alive from day to day. The downside, of course, is that it is easy to ignore the bigger picture – the view from God’s perspective.

Unfortunately, over recent centuries education in formal categories of study has been socialized. The relationship between students and the Earth Sciences is taught as if the Earth’s 4.6 billion year history were a science-fiction movie. In fact, Earth’s history is very much a daily dynamic that encompasses every move every creature, including humans, makes on a moment-to-moment, day-in day-out basis.

The Earth’s history shows very plainly that the planet is in charge. It is the planet’s rules that will prevail. All creatures in the Earth Zoo must acknowledge the zoo rules for their respective cages, that is, how a species must relate to its environment and fellow members of its species.

Again unfortunately, the Earth itself must abide by God’s rules for astronomic behavior. This means that the Earth will not always be the same. For example, the Earth moved from a dry, barren planet to one that was covered in water because at the time it rained for millions of years. Life began in these waters but perished when the Earth suddenly incurred a centuries long ice age that froze the seas; ocean life had no choice but to perish. It was largely true with the large dinosaurs; a meteor hit the Earth and destroyed 90 percent of life on Earth.

These misbehaviors by Earth are rare. What occurs more frequently is smaller changes attributed to Sun storms, shifts in orbit and the aging of the planet. For example, what was called the ‘Fertile Crescent’ (the region east of the Mediterranean) in early human migrations is now largely desert. The absence of agriculture has left the region in turmoil for centuries; human stability in the environment has disappeared – an example of Earth changing the rules of the ‘human cage’ in the zoo.

For the first time in 4.6 billion years, a new zoo perspective has occurred: a species has decided to make the rules for interacting with the Earth’s environment. Yes, the humans.

It isn’t working too well. The humans are changing the environmental rules from a sophisticated, self-managing zoo to a resource for allowing humans to actually claim ownership of the environment, motivated less by balanced self-management than to optimize comfort, reduced accountability and personal advantage over other humans. (Reminds mariner of the crypto crisis).

Zoo management isn’t taking this sitting down. Earth’s environment is growing unstable. Sadly, this imbalance affects all the species at the zoo.

God is watching.

Ancient Mariner

Demise is becoming a possibility

Another tragic mass murder of children. It is within reasonable odds that the reader and their children will be shot before winning any state lottery. Yet, like an internal cancer, guns and gun ownership have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, racial bias not just against blacks but against Chinese, Latino, immigrant and Middle Eastern races remains entrenched. Despite protest, like an internal cancer, racism has become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, homosexual differences and sexual discrimination against women prevail. Like an internal cancer, they have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, the wealthy prey on more and more human lives, expanding the number of poverty-stricken families and forcing a drain on financial stability from governments, jobs, housing, and diverse productivity. Yet, like an internal cancer, trillions of American dollars continue to be hidden away and represent an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, giant corporations have cornered freedom of speech. Lack of privacy, free thought and lack of accountability to the public, like an internal cancer, have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, Federal and state governments have turned against democratic voting and pursue a totalitarian plutocracy. Like an internal cancer, self-interested governments have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, the advocacy of religious institutions for the equal well-being of every individual has vanished and has been replaced with vile accusations, prejudice and endorsement of violence. Like an internal cancer, the spiritual base has become an irresponsible characteristic of American Society.

Some may scoff and recount the many counter-movements that fight these cancers. But the movements lose. The cancers abide within the core of the nation’s ethos.

Mariner is reminded of an old orange that has lost the shine of its rind. Soft shades of green begin to appear over the orange – then grey mold and sunken flesh appear. The orange approaches demise. There is no hope for this deliberately bred seedless orange.

Ancient Mariner

Let’s check in on the real news

In 4.5 billion years the Sun will fry the Earth destroying all living matter.

The Moon is drifting away from the Earth at the rate of 1.5 inches per year. Today the Moon circles the Earth about every 27 days; in 50 billion years the Moon will settle into a wider orbit that will require 47 days to circle the Earth. But then there’s the Sun’s interference at 4.5 billion years . . .

Current new studies show that the Americas are drifting away from Europe and Africa at a rate of 4 centimeters per year.

Can survival lessons be taken from the lifestyles of the oldest living things? The oldest Spruce tree is 9,550 years old; a variety of parsley living in the high deserts of Chile is 2,000 years old; stromatolites, a primitive moss/rock creature, lives 2,000 years. Hmmm, as a group they don’t seem to ask for much.

Mariner could continue to list news items showing patience, tenacity and long-term stability. It reminds him that in comparison the destructive, trashy, often incoherent Homo sapiens is like a one-panel cartoon versus a twenty volume encyclopedia. Perhaps it is best that humans live a short life span and will be extinct in less than 5 million years – given no asteroids, climate collapses or chemical destruction occur first. That leaves 4.495 billion years for the biosphere to recover.

If God had a Sunday newspaper, humanity would be on the comics page.

Ancient Mariner


Homo sapiens has become obsolete

Regular readers are familiar with the skepticism of alter ego Amos. In this new century, one beginning with a multitude of new and unchartered worries for mankind, Amos feels increasing depression as his fellow humans (AKA electorate) fail to grasp the enormity and perhaps the fatalistic nature of the times. The recent attack on the United States Capital was a misguided and virtually irrelevant gesture when global civilization is on the brink of collapse as the environment falters, global resources rapidly disappear, birth rates around the world approach zero growth and mankind’s own manufactured reality is decaying.

Now, there is hard evidence that Homo sapiens is about to be irrelevant and will disappear in short order. The following photograph is taken from the back cover of the January issue of The Economist. The small type says:

“Malicious AI created her picture, yet she has never been seen by a camera. It made her an online profile, yet she has never logged in. Malicious AI built her to attack you.”

The public today is worried about face recognition software. Poo. Who needs your face anymore when AI has a detailed description of your profile, health, driver license, family connections, friends and financial particulars – and can make a face made to order? Even more, a detailed copy of your whole existence sits in data bases that can emulate your probable real life experiences.

Now, AI doesn’t need your face or your body. AI can create a fictitious reality without using real human beings and can interlace you with others on Facebook, Twitter and E-Harmony. If you’re still around in a few years, you may have remarried and not even know it.

Consider the new AI world of business: AI creates a statistical version of a restaurant then populates it with statistical versions of humans. The finances look good on a digitized screen and AI will have to move bitcoins around in the fake economy to balance the database.

The next phase of human evolution will be complete. Living only as digitized energy, our progeny easily will be able to spread throughout the universe.

Ancient Mariner


On Being a Stick

A stick always has two ends – if it has been broken from its tree. When it is attached to the tree, it is part of a larger presence, something that has evidence of a higher calling as part of nature. It is true that the branch (it is not a stick until it is separated) or even the entire tree may be dying or dead. Still, there is an aura of purpose, a part of the grand scheme for the planet’s biosphere.

Is the human species a stick or a branch? There is much evidence that humans have ceased being a branch; humans do not enhance the growth of the biomass, its natural balances or its evolutionary progression. The only human value to the world’s natural environment is species decomposition as mulch for the planet’s grand scheme, the same as a stick.

Unfortunately, on its path to mulch, the human stick exudes bile and poison and extinction to any environment around it. As Roundup is to vegetation, humans are to the environment.

The mariner, in spirit at least, has evolved into a minimalist. Three cheers to the ten million homestead families in the United States alone who have chosen to escape from the grist mill of human economies and who have returned to living only as the world around them will tolerate. Three cheers for the Amish who have sensed a limit to what nature will tolerate. There is no profit in nature, only balance. Ignored by the human species in pursuit of profit, the planet will tolerate only so much. The human species may end up being mulch, like a stick.

It is proven that humans alone are responsible for the extinction of 16,000 species since 1850. It is the combustion engine and energy production that has led to climate change, with seas rising more rapidly every year and forcing devastating shifts in weather patterns around the world. Human efforts in chemistry have improved war to the extent that a nuclear bomb can eliminate life, human and otherwise, in an entire city in one day.

Finally, artificial intelligence, a human contrivance, likely will eliminate the independent spirit of the human species. As independence fades, mulching grows nearer.

Ancient Mariner


Faith is a necessary life tool for everyone

Read these words from this old hymnbook favorite – sing along if you know the melody:

Life is like a mountain railway

With an engineer that’s brave

We must make this run successful

From the cradle to the grave

Watch the curves, the fills, and tunnels

Never falter, never fail

Keep your hand upon the throttle

And your eyes upon the rail

The verse asks for a commitment to an ideal, a belief that the run must be successful. A belief in what? It could be any religion’s doctrine; it could be any political vision; it could be a personal life or a person’s sustained commitment against fatal disease.

The point is that all thoughts and behavior of any merit require belief in a valued objective. The only instruction in the verse is completing the run and keeping one’s hand upon the throttle. Could this verse be applicable to Blackbeard the pirate’s belief in his role on the high seas? (Yes, mixed metaphor)

What is missing today is context. At the beginning of the verse, what does ‘Life’ imply? As an ethical compass, what is the world supposed to believe in – not just the United States but the entire world? The confrontation is universal: what is a gibbon to trust in a disappearing habitat; what is a fish living on a dying coral reef to accept as normal; what is the dictator of Kazakhstan to believe about his uncertain future; what about the broken and abused family in Nicaragua; what about the preacher in Kansas or the steel worker in Detroit; what about the billionaire CEO. With our hand on the throttle, where is the rail taking us?

More than at any time since nations have existed, we live in a time of social disruption and turmoil. The job of Homo sapiens is to decide where the rail will take us. Holding on to broken, outdated, even useless railways doesn’t help. The job of everyone around the world today is to build a new destination for our railway.

The hymn cited at the beginning was written in 1890 by gospel songwriter Charles Davis Tillman. He styled it for the repertoire of white southerners, whose music was derived from Gospel. Further verses reference the Bible as a source of context. Life in 1890 was from another time, another reality. Where is Life headed today?

[For several renditions of the hymn see: ]

Ancient Mariner

The Frontal Lobe versus Planet Earth

The frontal lobe is responsible for abstract thinking. It is the youngest and largest region of the human brain located just behind the forehead. While the rest of the brain abides by the normal mammalian genome adapted to Earth’s biosphere, the frontal lobe of a human brain is not bound by such mundane relationships.

In an exercise to pass time while sheltered, mariner developed an analog which eliminated conflict between humans and the biosphere by stepping backward in history until the conflict had yet to occur. An example everyone is aware of is the fossil fuel conflict. By tracking backwards to the point where the cause (a frontal lobe invention) did not exist, one can deduce the lifestyle, politics and what at that point would be compatible with the biosphere.

Herewith is a summation of the results:











Well, there it is. Humans get in trouble when they let the frontal lobe do its thing without respecting the rest of the simian brain and its agreeable relationship with Planet Earth.

So much for shelter-in-place.

Ancient Mariner


[1] The asteroid just hastened the end of a declining existence for the dinosaurs; Covid-19 tried hard to bring an end to humans but came up a little short. Humans will have to end it on their own.