The Green Energy Cargo Cult


Are wind generators and solar panels a replacement for fossil fuels? A lot of people still seem to believe that, even after the recent flood of bad news on this front, but a few people are already beginning to suspect something.

Although some people claim that wind and solar farms have an EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) of 5 or even 7, it is trivial to prove that this just isn’t so. If, for each 1 kWh of energy invested in their design, marketing, production, installation, maintenance, removal and safe disposal, they were to return 5 or even 7 kWh over their useful lifetime of, optimistically, 20 years, and assuming a constant (inflation-adjusted) cost of energy, they would produce at least 400% of pure profit! Compare that to a bank deposit or a guaranteed income investment yielding 3% over inflation (if you can find one!). Over the same 20 years it would produce a mere 80% profit, which is equivalent to an EROEI of just 1.8. If wind and solar installations were so lucrative, their promoters would not be asking for government subsidies; they would be running away from frenzied mobs of investors shouting “Shut up and take my money!” Such a huge, and guaranteed, rate of return, is something to die (or at least risk going to jail) for.

Instead, the wind and solar energy sectors have turned into gigantic state subsidy sponges. Not only have they squandered money and natural resources, but they have become a major headache for grid operators because they have managed to force through regulations requiring grid operators to take whatever electricity they produce regardless of demand. However, there is generally little risk of them ever producing too much electricity; for instance, wind farms for all of 2021, for all of Germany, have produced just 20% of their rated capacity and solar farms barely over 10%. In any case, all they have to show for several trillion dollars of squandered public funds, and huge swaths of land and sea blighted by their installations, are much higher electricity rates. In Russia, which has so far avoided this green plague and has instead concentrated on developing hydroelectric and nuclear generation capacity, electricity rates are 10 (ten!) times lower than in the West. Thus, the real EROEI of wind and solar is not 5 or even 7 but much less than zero: they are a net waste of energy.

While such very simple analysis is sufficient to demonstrate that wind and solar farms are not just unprofitable but a net waste of energy, a more in-depth look would reveal that they also impose exorbitant costs on the rest of the electric grid. That is, if wind and solar installations were entirely free, connecting them to the electric grid imposes costs on other energy producers because their output fluctuates randomly, depending, as it does, on the availability of wind and sunlight, instead of being matched to real-time electricity demand. This forces other electricity producers to waste fuel, whether by spinning idly or by rapidly ramping up and down, in order to compensate. In turn, this causes energy rates to fluctuate wildly (in some cases going negative on cool, sunny, windy days while shooting up into the stratosphere on cold or hot, overcast and windless ones), making it impossible for energy-intensive businesses to plan their production so as to avoid financial losses.

The problem of ragged energy generation from wind and solar, which is unmatched to real-time energy demand, could be remedied by the introduction of mass energy storage, but electricity storage doesn’t exist except for a few boutique applications, and scaling it up would only compound the overall waste of energy. There are just a few locations on Earth that could reasonably be used for mass electric storage: that is where there is a lake at a high elevation in close proximity to a lake at a lower elevation that could be connected together using pipelines, pumps and turbines; all other mass electricity storage ideas have so far turned out to be duds and, given the physics of the problem, are likely to remain so. Thus, it would be far more cost-effective and energy-efficient, overall, to keep wind and solar farms disconnected from the electric grid; not as good as never building them at all, but a major step in the right direction. As far as building any more of them, here is an interesting datapoint: spot prices for polycrystalline silicon, a major ingredient in solar panels, having reached an all-time low of $6.30/kg in mid-2020 have since gone up 600% to $36/kg and are now predicted to continue to increase over time.

Thus, the effective EROEI of wind and solar farms is comparable to that of a classic cargo cult, in which native tribes that have become inured to the indignity of regular airlifts providing them with humanitarian relief in the form of, say, beer and pizza, when suddenly deprived of this affront to their native dignity, take to building fake airstrips with fake control towers, and burning bonfires in place of runway lights, in the hopes of luring more transport planes laden with aforementioned beer and pizza. The natives then sit around and wait for some transport planes to land, remaining hungry and sober. Eventually, sanity returns and they wander off into the jungle in search of something to eat. With regard to renewable energy, we are not quite there yet, but it may be time to try to move things along because with any more of this nonsense a lot of people will end up very cold and very hungry—and very angry as well.

Noosphere, Part V: Dualistic mythologies


“In Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy, organized into the cycles of Yin and Yang and formed into objects and lives. Yin is the receptive and Yang the active principle, seen in all forms of change and difference such as the annual cycle (winter and summer), the landscape (north-facing shade and south-facing brightness), sexual coupling (female and male), the formation of both men and women as characters and sociopolitical history (disorder and order).” [Feuchtwang, Stephan (2016). Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations.]

Yin-yang dualities are numerous, but one of the most easily observable ones is the feminine-masculine distinction: the essential sexual dimorphism of the Homo sapiens. Members of our species are unable to function—be it as bands, tribes, nations or civilizations—without maintaining distinct gender roles and a dynamic equilibrium between masculine and feminine ways of being. The history of collapsed cultures and civilizations, which often go through a period of sexual deviance and decadence as their end nears, offers a never-ending stream of object lessons in the validity of this cosmological model. All previous cultures that denied human sexual dimorphism, including the current bout of sexual dysphoria gripping the West, are telltale signs of a failing culture and can reasonably be expected to go biologically extinct before too long.

This is the world’s most important and prevalent dualistic mythology apart from the Jesus and Mary cult, which we will discuss later. It is a highly nuanced cosmology that towers above NULL, 0 and 1-type religious mythologies because on the one hand it gathers in the whole universe and on the other it is based on specific, observable distinctions, tying it all together into a single sacred whole. It does not attempt to rule out or to compete with gods, godlings and godlike thingies but relegates them to their proper place as cultural artifacts, elements of tradition and outlets for people’s superstitious natures. Most importantly, it introduces the notion of dynamic equilibrium of complementary rather than opposing principles, embracing the concept of endless change as central to the entire cosmology—not as progress but as oscillation and flux. Thus, the pseudo-arithmetic expression for it is 1+1=1: out of duality comes unity.

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Global gas wars: the fun has just begun!


Spot price for natural gas in Europe has just breached the psychologically important level of $1000 per thousand cubic meters, or a buck a cube. This has already had some significant results all across Europe. In the UK, fertilizer plants can’t operate at such prices and have shut down. This will in due course cause food price inflation later on, but the immediate effect is to deprive consumers of packed meat and beer because of a shortage of dry ice that is a byproduct of fertilizer production. Meanwhile, all the way on the other side of what remains of the European Union, in the Baltic statelets electricity prices are now 10 times higher than just across the border in Russia. Of course, they are welcome to buy cheap and plentiful electricity from Russia, but that has to come in via Belarus and Lithuania and the Lithuanians have strategically wrecked relations with Belarus by harboring the fugitive Tikhanovskaya the cutlet queen who is a sort of Belarussian Juan Guaidó.

On the other side of Belarus lies the Ukraine, where things are even more fun. Back in spring of 2019 the Ukraine declined Russia’s gracious offer to sell it gas $240-260 per thousand cubes (a quarter of the current spot price) and instead opted to buy it on the spot market. The result is that the Ukraine needs 13 billion cubes of gas in storage to get through the heating season but has less than 5. But it can always buy what it needs on the spot market, right? Wrong! The Ukraine is broke and has zero budgeted for this purpose. Luckily, it can still buy cheap electricity from Russia—at least until Ukrainian nationalists decide to blow up the transmission lines to Russia like they did with the ones to Russian Crimea a while back, causing energy shortages there and forcing the Russians to construct an energy bridge to it from the mainland in a process that took close to a year.

But Unlike the Ukraine, which is broke, countries within the EU don’t have to freeze because they can just buy the gas they need on the spot market, in the form of liquified natural gas, right? Wrong! The LNG market is global, and Europe’s East Asian competitors—China, South Korea and Japan—can always outbid them for the available supply. These three countries have been running structural deficits with the United States for decades and have accumulated an unwholesome hoard of US federal debt. With the US now nearing national bankruptcy and/or triggering dollar hyperinflation by allowing its national debt to breach the $30 trillion threshold, they are eager to unload as much of this hoard as possible, exchanging it for needed commodities such as natural gas. They don’t much care how much the gas is going to cost because the eventual price of the US debt is going to be zero and something is always better than nothing. Thus, there is a good chance that the EU will be shivering in the dark this winter in solidarity with the Ukraine.

But things are much better in the United States which, after all, is a proud exporter of natural gas thanks to what is left of its fracking industry. Wrong again! The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA), a chemical and food industry lobbying group, has just demanded that the US Department of Energy place limits on LNG exports. Otherwise, they say, very high natural gas prices will render numerous US enterprises noncompetitive and force them to shut down. Prices have already gone up by 41% over the past year. But that’s not enough to stimulate production: natural gas production in the US is falling together with the drilling rig count and the amount of gas in storage is currently 7.4% below the previous five year average. Attempting to put limits on LNG exports will cause loud screams from energy industry lobbyists, who have plenty of clout on Capitol Hill, and result in protracted political battles in an already sharply divided and disagreeable US Congress.

Meanwhile, back in the EU, there is something that can be done immediately to avert this crisis: turn on NordStream2, which has just been completed, by setting aside European bureaucratic foot-dragging protocols that will stretch out the process of certifying it and by throwing out the truly idiotic restriction that it only be used at 50% capacity. Russia’s Gazprom would be perfectly willing to sign a long-term supply agreement at a reasonable price, just as it did with Hungary just a few days ago. But for now such a change of heart seems unlikely. On the one hand the free market fundamentalists are still full of blind faith that the free market will somehow keep their people from freezing; on the other, environmentalists seem to believe that freezing would be a virtuous act that will help save the planet from overheating. Come next spring, melting snow may reveal a political landscape littered with the frozen corpses of environmentalists and free market zealots. We should all wish them the best of luck, of course, whether they deserve it or not.

Noosphere, Part IV: Monistic Mythologies


After a few tens, perhaps hundreds of millennia during which Homo sapiens dwelt in the company of a multitude of gods, goddesses and godlike thingies (along with heaping handfuls of demons, sprites and trolls) the idea arose to put an end to the madness and, as a disciplinary measure, declare that there is just the one God whom everyone must perforce worship and revere. Much blood has been spilled as a result, until a sort of tense standoff was reached, in which various theologians confirmed, squirming in their seats the whole while, that there is just the one God, be he God of the Jews or the Moslems, in spite of such minor doctrinal differences as the right to have more than one wife or whether serial adulterers should be stoned to death by an enraged mob or invited to talk shows together with their multiple jilted lovers.

The source of monotheism can be traced to Zoroastrianism, which arose in Persia in the 6th century BC. In its current state, this religious mythology is represented by its two most prevalent forms—Judaism and Islam. Both can be adequately summarized by the statement “There is no God but G-d/Allah.” This statement of denial indicates that not all is well with the “mono” aspect of monotheism: the necessity of denial ipso facto admits the possibility of affirmation while emphasizing its undesirability. Right in the second book of the Old Testament is the following line: “I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God…” [Exodus 20] “Jealous of whom?” inquiring minds automatically want to know. Thus, the relevant arithmetic-defying formula of monotheism is 1≠1.

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A Stalingrad for Natural Gas


European natural gas hub spot price has surpassed $900 per thousand cubic meters with the psychologically important threshold of $1 per cubic meter not far off. This is an astronomically high price that is likely to bankrupt a lot of European energy companies while causing their customers to die of exposure this winter.

Just in the UK, where around 10 thousand people freeze to death during a normal winter with normal prices, so far PfP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy, People’s Energy and Utility Point have kissed the world good-bye, their customers getting picked up by the government regulator Ofgem. Acting wisely, Ofgem raised the annual price cap for a typical household by £139 to £1,277. Just to make things even more interesting, the underwater cable providing electricity to the UK from France just failed, knocking 1GW out of the 2GW link.

What’s behind all of this chaos and mayhem? Call it the wages of stupidity.

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Biden’s Little Victories


Kamala Harris lays flowers at a memorial to the Viet Cong who shot down John McCain

Victory comes to mean different things as we grow up and age; for an infant, victory may be in spitting a mouthful of food farther than ever before; for a grown man in his prime, victory may be in bedding down a beautiful woman; and for someone Joe Biden’s age, victory may be in successfully moving his bowels. Let us not lose sight of such relativities as we consider America’s victorious exit from Afghanistan and its forthcoming victorious exits from Iraq, Syria, the Ukraine, Kosovo, Israel, Taiwan, Qatar, Okinawa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Alaska, to name a few.

A well known fact about the US is that its national policies generally, and its “vision thing” (as George Bush-père called it) in particular are formulated by liberal arts graduates of Ivy League schools. Their training generally consists of reading and thinking about some books, but their reading lists tend to be rather short. However, they always include two titles: 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Perversely, they remember these not as cautionary anti-utopias but as sets of instructions, 1984 especially, and proceed accordingly.

Please recall that on the wall of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth were inscribed three slogans:


Back in 2014 it had occurred to me that these apply just a little too well to the way the Washington, DC establishment operates, and I have been tracking its progress in light of this realization ever since with excellent results.

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Noosphere, Part III: Polytheistic mythologies


This set of myths encompasses polytheism in all of its myriad forms and is symbolized by the mathematically invalid expression 0 = ∞. The number is zero because in this scheme there are exactly zero actual Gods. Here, 0 is very different from the previously discussed NULL state, which is the atheists’ strenuous denial and/or the experienced absence of all that is divine. Zero is also infinity since the number of lower-case gods, goddesses, and godlike beings is unconstrained by any principle. If you have a forest goddess, then why not a tree goddess, and bush goddess, a shrub goddess and a sapling goddess? Toss in a heaping handful of nymphs, trolls and goblins to round out the tableau.

Another distinction is that NULL appears to be a transient state indicative of a crisis whereas 0 = ∞ is a steady-state condition that Homo sapiens have experienced and will in all likelihood continue to experience over countless millennia. Various monotheistic religions and cults, symbolized by 1≠1, 1+1=1 and 1+1+1=1, which we will discuss later, occupy a middle position: they are not transient; neither are they permanent but tend to decay to 0 = ∞ over time.

Lower-case gods form a continuum from truly godlike entities that create and destroy worlds and can only be appeased through regularly scheduled human sacrifices, preferably of virgins, to deified humans whose mummified remains perpetually lie in state in mausoleums, to pop stars and celebrities and all the way to little idols—Chinese kitchen gods, for instance, which are statuettes one can properly appease by smearing them with lard once a year. Fetishes and talismans fit at the far end of this continuum. The existence of neolithic “Venus figurines” shows that this has been going on for at least a few thousand years, probably much longer, lending credence to the theory that the penchant for religious mythology is an evolved trait among Homo sapiens which scientific atheists are silly to try to fight: gods and godlike beings and things may be software but that software runs on dedicated, special-use hardware built right into the human cranium.

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The Afghanistan Rout and American Glasnost’


[In Bulgarian]

[In Russian]

Recent events have forced me to interrupt regular programming to bring you a report on the developments in Afghanistan and what I believe they portend for the US. The US and NATO have finally left Afghanistan after a 20-year occupation. At this point, they are still retaining a toehold at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, from which they are attempting to repatriate their nationals along with those Afghanis who served the occupation. These collaborators now fear for their lives from the Taliban, who have swiftly taken over almost the entire country in what was probably the most bloodless regime change operation thmat part of the world has ever experienced.

The US occupation of Afghanistan was rationalized based on an entire edifice of lies. At its foundation lay the lie of Nineleven. Above it towered the lie of fighting terrorism (while training and equipping the terrorists). Somewhere along the way the lie of aiding Afghanistan’s development into a vibrant, modern democracy with gender equality and other bells and whistles was added to this already stupendous structure (while the only actual development was that of the heroin trade). And, of course, overlaying all of the above was a truly staggering amount of corruption and theft.

If you believe the official narrative, Osama bin Laden was a sort of latter-day Jesus who repeated the miracle of loaves and fishes except with skyscrapers, knocking down three of them (WTC 1, 2 and 7) using just two airplanes. Another of his miracles was to make an entire passenger jet, piloted by an amateur, pull some truly stunning aerobatics that no passenger jet has pulled before or since, then ascend unto heaven through a wall of the Pentagon, engines, seats, luggage, bodies and all, leaving behind a small charred opening plus a part of a cruise missile that apparently had been hidden on board and that was subsequently carried away wrapped in a tarp on the shoulders of some very nervous and displeased-looking gentlemen in office attire. Another plane full of passengers left a smallish charred pit in the ground and recordings of rather scripted-sounding cell phone conversations held while the supposed plane was in an area lacking cell phone coverage. Bin Laden orchestrated all this mayhem by satellite phone, or by telepathy, without ever leaving the comfort of his cave in Afghanistan. I encourage you to believe this narrative because believing the alternative may cause you to lose your mind. Many people already have.

And if you wish to be stubborn and refuse to believe the official narrative, then it becomes quite plausible to think that Nineleven was a lavish American hoax: that the three skyscrapers were mined by some Americans, that the Pentagon was hit by an American cruise missile fired by some more Americans and that Osama bin Laden was a CIA agent who made grainy videos and scratchy audiotapes to inspire America’s pet terrorists (branded Al Qaeda, later rebranded ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Islamic Caliphate). Osama was looking forward to a comfortable retirement somewhere in friendly Pakistan—a retirement that was cut short by an attack by a group of navy seals some time after his death from kidney failure.

Why would the Americans do this to themselves? Why, to rule the world, of course! They had bought into Mackinder’s cockamamie “heartland” theory, according to which whichever world power controls the heartland of Eurasia will control the world. If you think that controlling a pile of rocks inhabited by ornery, warlike natives whose minds are stuck in the middle ages is not conducive to ruling the entire world, then you are definitely smarter than the average turnip, but still not good enough to be one of America’s brilliant geopolitical strategists.

The developments of Nineleven provided the rationale for the 20-year US/NATO military occupation of Afghanistan, which cost over $2 trillion and caused half a million or so wrongful deaths. This was by no means a bargain—putting a hit on someone doesn’t cost anywhere near $4 million a pop, especially not in Afghanistan, which is very poor and awash with weapons. A conservative assumption is that much of this money was simply stolen. Indeed, seeing reports of erstwhile Afghani president Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country in a helicopter so overstuffed with cash that a lot of it had to be abandoned on the tarmac is a clear indication of how funds were being allocated in the course of the US occupation.

It is officially known that a little over half the money went to fill the coffers of five defense contractors—Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman. Their products were freely used over the entire expanse of Afghanistan, resulting in fabulous amounts of collateral damage. Some also went to arm the Afghani military, which surrendered to the Taliban without a fight, weapons and all, except for 22 military jets and 24 military helicopters which fled to Uzbekistan along with 585 soldiers. This hardware, including top of the line Black Hawk helicopters with all the recent gadgets installed, will now be picked over, and probably laughed at, by Russian experts. (The purpose of US weapons procurement is not to produce effective weapons but to make profits for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman.)

But, you may ask, What about the fruits of controlling the heartland? What about controlling the whole world once ensconced there? Once there, the Americans discovered that Afghanistan didn’t offer much of anything except ornery natives and poppy fields. And while the former were of no use at all as far as securing world domination, the latter, turned into heroin, could be used strategically to weaken the whole of Eurasia by turning its population into a bunch of junkies. To this end, Afghanistan was turned into the world’s heroin factory, producing 85% of the estimated global heroin and morphine supply, a near monopoly. Prior to the US/NATO invasion of Afghanistan, poppy cultivation had been banned by the Taliban, so this was entirely a Western achievement.

The plan was to have Afghani heroin ooze out all over the surrounding Eurasia by camel caravans traversing huge uninhabitable deserts, and some of this indeed happened, but it quickly turned out that there was more money to be made by airlifting it out using US military transport planes flying to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, which became the major heroin transshipment point. And so a lot of the heroin ended up in the US and in the EU, to a point where there are over 10 million opiate addicts in the US and deaths from opiate overdoses in the US alone amount to half a million a year and growing fast, with drug-related deaths the leading cause of death among the non-geriatrics. But it seems that these are just the opioid addicts who stand up to be counted, whereas opiate abuse is far more widespread and, judging from rapidly dropping overall life expectancy, quite severe.

A good question to ask is: What will happen to the heroin addicts after the Taliban once again clamp down on poppy cultivation. It will be easy for them to do now that there are no US/NATO troops guarding the poppy fields. They will make up the revenue shortfall by selling trophy US weapons on the black market. The probable answer is that the junkies will switch (and already are switching) to the synthetic opiate fentanyl, which the Chinese are happy to provide in arbitrarily large quantities. Any suggestion that the Chinese might want to stop doing so may lead to a polite mention of the Opium Wars and a suggestion that what goes around comes around. At one point a quarter of the Chinese were addicted to opium; let’s see if Americans can beat that record. To be sure, Afghani heroin is not alone to blame for the epidemic of opiate abuse in the US. The Sackler family did a great deal to construct a veritable conveyor belt that first hooked people on prescription pain killers, then abandoned them to street drugs once the prescriptions ran out. But Afghani heroin qualifies as a major US policy boomerang, alongside many others.

Another good question to ask is: Whence the urge to dominate the world by seizing control of the heartland and inundating it with heroin (and Afghani refugees)? There is certainly the need to keep the military-industrial complex humming and funneling money to congressional election coffers, and then there is the general megalomaniacal ambition of various Washingtonians of both parties, but that’s far from all. The overarching need to disrupt, degrade and generally wreak havoc is a key element of America’s overall business plan, which is to continue to live beyond its means simply by printing money.

The only way to make this business plan work is for the US to present itself as an island of stability in a chaotic world and a financial safe haven where the world’s thieving oligarchs can safely launder their ill-gotten gains. Once this plan fails, the US will fall through third-world-dom and straight into an endless Civil War reenactment with live ammo. Hence all the current Sturm und Drang over the US/NATO hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Because who cares about Afghanistan? Sure, it has heroin, but fentanyl is even more potent and doesn’t involve all the messiness with growing poppies and harvesting and processing poppy juice. And excuse me if I don’t believe that dead US servicemen or US nationals left behind qualify as some sort of national tragedy; it’s what typically happens in a hasty retreat. And when have Americans not abandoned their local allies? The Kurds of Northern Syria, which retreating Americans abandoned to the ever-so-friendly Turks, are the last example that springs to mind; but how many Americans still remember even that far back. It’s simply what Americans do—always.

This hasty retreat signals, somewhere in the deep subconscious (because the realization is too painful) the end of the something-for-nothing economy on which the US has increasingly come to depend since Nixon took the US dollar off the gold standard 50 years ago. This disease may have been slow to develop, but it is chronic, incurable and invariably fatal. The 2021 US federal budget is $6.8 trillion and the budget deficit is $3 trillion, meaning that out of every dollar spent 44 cents are printed into existence. This is a hospice care-level dosage of financial morphine.

At this point no amount of financial morphine will allow the American patient to arise from his bed, yank the IV from his arm and go and wreak even more havoc in the world, sowing fear and chaos. The fear and chaos are now right within the US itself. The $753.5 billion the US is spending on defense in 2021 is more than the next nine highest-spending countries spend combined, but it’s not enough to cause sufficient mayhem to scare the entire world into continuing to honor the US dollar in international trade or to invest in dollar-denominated assets; all that’s left is financial inertia and a bit of excitement around the world’s largest market bubble which the US federal reserve is desperately blowing.

The mental anguish produced by this situation results in dire media images from the Kabul airport. Ignored is the fact that the rest of Afghanistan has suddenly become rather placid, with bright-eyed, bushy-bearded Taliban lads armed with the latest and greatest US weapons patrolling markets and street corners. ISIS-K, America’s pet terrorists in Afghanistan, of the Bin Laden/Al Qaeda pedigree, have gone quiet. They used to regularly organize bomb blasts in Kabul, routinely killing hundreds of locals, but now the only place where they still blow people up is at the airport, which is also the only area still under American control.

The Americans were nice enough to share their clever battle plan with their NATO allies, which is why Lord Pederast of England and Madame Petite-Pute of France (I can’t be bothered to look up their actual names) went public with news of this terrorist attack well before it transpired. Thirteen US servicemen died; many more locals died because surviving US servicemen opened fire on the victims. Nobody got court-martialed and nobody resigned; this is business as usual. Why the boys of ISIS-K were charged with this mission is obvious. The Americans need a reason to cut short the evacuation of their nationals and their local Afghani servants, as demanded by the Taliban, and now they have an excuse: the safety of their servicemen is paramount.

The American retreat from Afghanistan was inevitable, but what has amazed and appalled the entire world is the simply unimaginable boneheadedness ham-handedness of the operation at every level. Compared to the Soviet withdrawal, it is a profound national humiliation. The Soviets withdrew in battle order, flags flying, and left behind a functional government that stayed in power for another three years, successfully resisting Western efforts at overthrowing it, and only fell when Soviet support stopped because the USSR had collapsed—essentially because of Gorbachev’s treason. But the Afghanis remember and still like the Russians, still call them “Shuravi” (Soviets) and are grateful to Russia for everything that it had built there. The Russian embassy in Kabul is fully staffed and functioning normally, maintaining well-established channels of communication with the Taliban. In contrast, over their 20-year occupation the Americans have built nothing, destroyed much, and are by now almost universally hated and despised.

I believe that the extreme and apparent incompetence of the Americans in Afghanistan is the result of the corrosive effect of lies. A foundation of lies is inevitably a shaky one and can only be kept from crumbling under carefully controlled circumstances. For instance, a certain shady oligarch may promote a certain vaccine as effective against a certain virus whereas his real intention is to stop population growth by making women sterile. This works because corporate structures can be organized around a management strategy known as mushroom theory (keep them in the dark and feed them shit). But it doesn’t work for an entire sprawling military empire, where the truth inevitably leaks out, contradictions mount and morale plummets. One lie always deserves another, and then the making of mistakes, the efforts to fix mistakes and the efforts to hide mistakes all become largely interchangeable. At one point the CIA’s terrorists were battling the Pentagon’s terrorists in Syria. That was really awkward and hard to hide. Luckily, the Russians fixed that problem by bombing them all into oblivion.

The Afghanistan occupation started with the horrendous lies of Nineleven, continued with the ridiculous, contrived excuses for the invasion and then went on for 20 long years, each much like the previous, with each year’s lies piling on top of the previous years’ lies. America had to stay because of the terrorism caused by the terrorists whom they first organized to fight the Soviets, then kept as pets. And now speaking the truth in America is akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater. Poor old Joe Biden, his brain ticking ever more loudly, struggling to form a coherent sentence, laboring under the crushing load of these lies, can do no better than assume the fetal position right in the middle of a press conference. Can you imagine what Bedlam would break out if he were to suddenly stop lying? I shudder to think! Stocking up on thorazine beforehand would seem prudent. But such a bout of American glasnost’ seems all but inevitable. Sooner or later the truth will spill over this giant dam brimming with lies. The ensuing flood is sure to sweep away everything in its path.

Noosphere, Part II: Atheistic Mythologies


In  spite of their great diversity, the myths that serve as the foundational elements of the noosphere can all be sorted into categories identified by a member of the following set: {NULL, 0, 1, 2, 3}. These identifiers indicate atheistic, polytheistic, monistic, dualistic and trinitarian mythologies. These numbers do not obey the laws of arithmetic but behave in the following counterintuitive and non-obvious  ways:

Atheistic: NULL is NULL
Polytheistic: 0 = ∞
Monistic: 1≠1
Dualistic: 1+1=1
Trinitarian: 1+1+1=1

As promised, we shall now look at each one of these. This week’s installment will address atheistic mythologies.

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The Technosphere and the Noosphere of the Earth


In my 2016 book Shrinking the Technosphere I described the technosphere as a nonhuman global emergent intelligence driven by an abstract teleology of total control, a networked machine with some human moving parts (fewer and fewer every day), utterly devoid of any moral or ethical sense (but skilled in using morality and ethics for manipulative purposes). The technosphere can keep you alive and comfortable if it finds you useful but can just as easily kill you, its killing technologies being some of the most advanced. I made the case that we ought to work diligently on shrinking the technosphere; not eliminating technology altogether, mind you, since that would spell the death of billions, but reigning it in and becoming the master of it rather than it being the master of us.

My book did define half the problem but, concentrating as it did on technology alone, it ignored the other half by placing an important question—What drives the totality of the human endeavor?—out of scope. Yes, the technosphere doesn’t particularly care whether we live or die. If we must shrink the technosphere, then to what purpose? The technosphere is powerful, and to wage battle against it requires some measure of heroism and wild abandon. But what is to motivate us to become heroes—fear of death? Well, fear has never produced a hero. Why try to be a hero if mere cowardice can produce similar results?

What can control and shrink the technosphere is not you or me and our puny and pathetic efforts but cultural and civilizational forces beyond our control. In order to understand them, we first have to admit that nothing is out of scope. We need to start by examining the variety of religious mythologies that serve as the basis for most human motivations. Some of them constrain the technosphere in purposeful ways while others allow it to run rampant. These mythologies, along with everything that is built up on top of them, comprise the noosphere of the Earth, which I will attempt to describe.

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