A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
Here is an interesting difference of views.
Probably most readers here will be familiar with the example of Easter Island ecocide, being put forward as an example of our global situation, in microcosm. People like Paul Bahn and Jared Diamond are frequently quoted as authorities who have researched the demise of the Easter Islanders, as they cut down their last tree and were forced to resort to cannibalism.
“In place of their former sources of wild meat, islanders turned to the largest hitherto unused source available to them: humans, whose bones became common not only in proper burials but also (cracked to extract the marrow) in late Easter Island garbage heaps.”
However, two archaeologists, Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo, have come up with an alternative account which challenges that of Diamond.
The convolutions of the debate are explained by Mark Lynas, and following comments.
Few historical tales of ecological collapse have achieved the cultural resonance of that of Easter Island. In the conventional account, best popularised by Jared Diamond in his 2005 book ‘Collapse’, the islanders brought doom upon themselves by over-exploiting their limited environment, thereby providing a compelling analogy for modern times. Yet recent archaeological work suggests that the eco-collapse hypothesis is almost certainly wrong – and that the truth is far more shocking.
with Jared Diamond's response
Wolfbird and Annie i have so enjoyed your conversations of late. I sit back and read , Id love just to hear it as a simple conversation, Icant quite imagine your voices , maybe Wolfbird with a touch of a welsh accent , deep voiced, almost a soft growl .And Annie attentive leaning forward into your seat, North country i suspect . I might not add anything else . But hear my enjoyment of your warmth and the gentle walk into wisdom . Its Lovely .
Just want to keep up with the conversation . The last part of this year i have found myself living in Sweden , in a little place just north of Kopparberg . There are wolves in the forest here . Ive yet to see one , i have heard there howls from a great distance . But i allways imagine being seen by them . I take great comfort in this . Of course the local population are polarized into Wolf haters and Wolf lovers . I fall into the latter group , I think that the world would be a far poorer place without them . When i think about hunting , i actually dont see that most off what people call hunting these days is anything of the sort , Hunting should involve an element of fair play . I dont see that blasting tame pheasants out of the hedgrow has any degree of fairness. Real hunting proberably finished when we stopped using spears. Id love to see the modern hunter with a spear and an empty belly and aprayer up against a wooly mammoth.[Then they might need those camoflage jackets.
The snow has arrived here in the last few days and the forest is silent and white and all the unseen annimals now leave there myraid tracks, The country is like a blank sheet of paper, with all movments recorded in black ink. Deer , Mooose foxes, rabbits . No wolf tracks yet . But this morning the tracks of a Lynx. Even spaced , travelling at a walk , the prints must have been only 20 minutes old , I could see the place where she stopped and sniffed the air , [was this when i entered the forest ? ]maybe she could taste my otherworld and acrid scent even from the most part of a km . Then she picks up her pace , Ican sense in her movements that somthing has disturbed her , She stops again and faces to the point that i have entered the forest . and then she is off , off at a lope , and away into the deeper country . I left her tracks as she left the logging track on the ridge .She to her safety and me returning slowly down the hill to a hot coffee.
To all those Wolf Haters though , Maybe they will get to eliminate these remarkable beasts from there patch . they will shoot and trap and poison and whatever, and when there are no more wolves to hate , they will hate somthing els and when there is no more of that , well maybe they get to own there own self hate . Its abloody tragic world . And there are times when it completly F....S me off.
However i Will return to the forest at first light tommorow and i will take complete delight in both the wonderfull back ground and the patchwork of amazing tracks.
When I first came to this country , i got very interested in wolves and my own story , I started a series of drawings along the lines of a personal mythology.It is all an attempt to find where i sit in this mad world . The first above is entitled ...
I was not suckled by wolves in the great nortern forest, the earth was not solid beneath my feet , the air not thick with meaning i missed the lovely descent that i was not seperate..The second things began to get a little darker , i came to compare my own up bringing to that of a wolf being civalized.
This one entitled... I was raised by good white christians , who bound me upon a pile of shoulds and shouldnots, my tail between my legs , more loneley than god..
I loved Barry Lopez s 'of wolves and men '
We have much to learn here ,and i think that to look at one of the least' civilized 'of annimals is a wonderfull starter.
This is a lovely book : Neither God nor Devil ; Rethinking our perception of wolves.
Lets agree to keep the conversation as un civalized as possible, Wolf birds call , it was his post , THe conversation is a little more free for not having bounderies , i enjoyed just sitting on the sidelines listening to Annie and Wolfbird chat away about all and sundry for weeeks.
Jesus those old Laments cut me up . My 12 year old boy comes in and says what are you crying about Dad , I told him the story about the last wolf in Scotland, he could not believe that somone would knowingly kill the last of anything , "I dont get it , why would any one want to kill a wolf, Is this music a song to that last one ?"
J E ,i envey your meeting on that loneley mountain road , it is indeed such an incredible priveledge to encounter a wild one like that .
Thanks for the good comments on my drawings , there were several more , th e one that i will give you is really about what we carry to any meeting with a wild beast . Our thousands of years of civilizing...I wanted to illustrate how our minds might seem to be clear, but our bodies are twisted and contorted with all the holdings of our upbringing . Our chested are puffed out in a protected stance ,our knecks are rigid , shoulders tightened in denial , pelvisis tucked in to hide our sexuality. We all have these holdings , wether concious or not.And we carry our bundles of 'stuff.'to all of our meetings
Got to excuse my photography ..
So the question is , if we do carry all this baggage so unknowingly , is there a way to un load it ? And therefore really meet the world .
You know , my favourite way of conversation ,is to go for a walk, with 2 people walking the country begins to dictate conversation .especially if you are off the pathway and into the wildings. Its a lovely thing , but there are some people that i long for this with . and when time lends us the space and space lends the time , thereis no more a satisfying way of conversation . I think that is what the two of yous conversing reminded me of, that free wheeling and free thinking ramble .
I guess i miss it a little here , much as i love the country , i long for home and hope to be finished here by mid to late january.These dark nights , im sure we should be living more communally in the old long house,feasting and fighting and weaving tales into stories into sagas into spring.
Now Wolfbird i know that you have a love of , Zazen ? was it ? But is there a path of more body centered awareness ? Of simply just watching the body , or is this a part and parcel of Zazen ?
Wolf bird , im not sick of Wolves, though i think that Wolves are utterly sick of us by now . I think ive got a few hours of looking and listening to catch up on , thanks for all the Links .
Id never come across Peter Kingsley , but liked not only the content of his talking , but also the way he talks . I came across this very interesting interview.
also the poem that he quotes.
What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
The barbarians are to arrive today.
Why such inaction in the Senate?
Why do the Senators sit and pass no laws?
Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
What laws can the Senators pass any more?
When the barbarians come they will make the laws.
Why did our emperor wake up so early,
and sits at the greatest gate of the city,
on the throne, solemn, wearing the crown?
Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
And the emperor waits to receive
their chief. Indeed he has prepared
to give him a scroll. Therein he inscribed
many titles and names of honor.
Why have our two consuls and the praetors come out
today in their red, embroidered togas;
why do they wear amethyst-studded bracelets,
and rings with brilliant, glittering emeralds;
why are they carrying costly canes today,
wonderfully carved with silver and gold?
Because the barbarians are to arrive today,
and such things dazzle the barbarians.
Why don't the worthy orators come as always
to make their speeches, to have their say?
Because the barbarians are to arrive today;
and they get bored with eloquence and orations.
Why all of a sudden this unrest
and confusion. (How solemn the faces have become).
Why are the streets and squares clearing quickly,
and all return to their homes, so deep in thought?
Because night is here but the barbarians have not come.
And some people arrived from the borders,
and said that there are no longer any barbarians.
And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were some kind of solution.
Constantine P. Cavafy (1904)
What a lovely conversation y'all are having. I am hung up in union discussions for a few weeks and things wander all over the place, Easter Island, linguistics, Arthurian legends, wolves, ravens, and on and on. It's just great!
Prior to that, I assume it had a native american name ( which may be known, but not by me ).
Actually, you do know the Native name for New York, although you may not realize you do. The Native name is Manhattan.
At the time of European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Lenape inhabited a region on the North Atlantic coast in what anthropologists call the Northeastern Woodlands. Although never politically unified, it is frequently referred to as Lenapehoking or Lenape country. It roughly comprised the area around and between the Delaware and lower Hudson rivers. Lenapehoking hosted over two dozen Lenape polities. Some of their names, such as Manhattan, Raritan, and Tappan, remain inscribed on the landscape
This phenomenon of keeping Native place names, or of giving cities and towns Native names is extremely common. For example Illinois is just a frenchified (is that a word?) version of Illini, or Illiniwek, which was the name of the American Indians who were dominant in this area. Illiniwek translates roughly as "the People". Peoria, IL is named for the Peoria band of the Illini. We have the Kaskaskia River, the Kickapoo, the Sangamon. It is everywhere. Pontiac is named for the Chief. In WY we have the Popo Agie river (pronounced pohpohzha) and so on. In fact, these place names are one of the few remnants of American Indian culture that still survives. Devil's Tower is kind of an interesting example. The explorers who "discovered it" got a bad translation. They thought it was "the bad gods tower". In fact, the Lakota call it Mateo Tepee (that's the spelling I was given) which means "bear lodge". It figures prominently in their myth of the Pleiades, which can be seen directly over the tower on a nice June night.
If you go up there in June, the local Indians tie red bits of cloth on the bushes, prayer clothes. Its really pretty.
Wolves and ravens.
Two of my favorite authors use the Hero Twins "Wolf Dreamer" and "Many Colored Crow" as recurring spiritual characters in their ongoing series "Forgotten Past", (e.g. People of the Wolf) So the myths associated with wolves and crows seem to be pretty archetypal. The wolf is an admired figure in alot of Native stories. In many respects he is to be emulated. The crow is a harbinger of doom and dark forces. Good and evil balanced against each other. The coyote is often protrayed as a trickster and the spider is a creative and wise spirit. A good story is Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun.
Yep, they've finally flipped out;
"one might reasonably view man's entire development and creation of civilization as a process of fortifying against wolves."
Better tell Dweebus to get outa there quick smart!
Ah yes. But with a wife and three girls, where would I run to? I suppose the best thing is to hunker down in place for now, download TOR, use Scroogle (or something like it), plant the garden, and keep a bug out bag handy. Haven't seen any black helicopters yet, so I suppose I'm OK for the time being. :)
Do they have black drones?
A newhire where I work is from Nome, Alaska. He was telling us about the hybrid "grolar bears". that are now turning up. According to him, they exhibit some of the characteristics is the extinct short-faced bear, and scientists speculate that the hybridization may be leading to a resurgence of recessive short-faced bear traits in the new offspring. I haven't been able to find any confirmation of this theory, but the grolar bears are interesting (and kinda scary) nonetheless.
Evidently it matters who the bears mother is. If she is a polar bear, the cubs will be raised polar. If she is a grizzly, they will be raised grizzly. So how much of their behavior is instinct and how much is learned? I suppose the Grolars with grizzly mothers have a better long term shot.
Yeah , im still reading too ...However I am intrigued, I know very little about ancient Greece. I am reluctant to judge here with out knowing the full story , i read those pages of quotes, but found them quite disjointed. So curiosity has got the better of me and i have splurged and ordered a couple of his books . [Ive found it quite hard to get much information on Peter Kingsley] I think one of the places that my curiosity leads is the obvious disparity between one who is master of there own states of awareness and the complete blindness of this out of control civilization.
"Not many people or organizations in the West have the faintest understanding of that inner nature, let alone know how to work with it. More or less everybody, spiritual teachers as well as politicians, wants to fix things and make them better; but you can't do that with our inner nature. And if you approach a spiritual lineage or tradition, the chances are you'll immediately be given a string of external techniques and told to do this or meditate like that. It's very rare to find someone who's willing to take you with all your thirst and longing and make a commitment to preserve and increase the power and sheer rawness of that longing. Everyone wants to fill the hole in our heart that could draw us back into our inner nature, instead of helping us to make it bigger'
There was a conversation a while back Wolfbird, where you said somthing like , 'It is not so much Who we are? , but What we are? ". Now this ill admit stumped me . ...
It is relativly easy to ask of one self the question Who am I?The question seems to return to its source that appears to be beyond the mind. a vast space opens up, and an awareness of the thinking mind and that space and the breath and the body appears .A very peacefull place indeed . ...
What are we? is different .It is a question that i could answer from the mind .. [most likely on the lines of stupid , greedy , destructive ... The list goes on . ]
Or from that place of awareness [we are actually beyond the mind... awareness, conciousness. space . peace ]
But how do i marry the two together . in these mad times , where in the space of a day , i can move between the two states a hundred times , between peace and desperation , between awareness of the ticking of the mind , to the sufferings and projections of the mind .
I dont know ... I get the feeling that Kingsley is saying that there is a way to reconcile all this , that Civilization has a deliberate seed. that this understanding of what we are , is of the greatest importance.
I hate what we have done to the world and the way that daily this madness accelerates . Im still seeking answers.
Wolfbird! To think you started an Easter Island discussion and I did not know! And it looks like it's already moved on... :-( ... anyways, Annie wondered why they did not eat birds and rats... they did. They actually thought rats tasty, and as for the birds, they decimated them something awful. Of course, the rats helped the humans decimate the birds, being able to climb the cliffs much more readily for the eggs.
Those palm trees were massive, and I don't see why they would not be suitable as rollers. They are extinct but maybe they could use the related Chilean palms in a simulation...
I am sure there will be more data coming as a result of this attack on previous scholarship. Looking forward to the melee! :-)