Troubling times.

We all could easily be drinking in ‘the last chance saloon’.

After I published my book, Learning From Dogs, last December I was invited to a number of book signing events. In each case I gave a short talk of about 20 minutes in which I explained the philosophy behind the book. Perhaps no better articulated than by Dr. Jim Goodbrod’s Foreword to the book. Take this paragraph, for instance, from that Foreword:

 Dogs represent to me that innocence lost. Their emotions are pure. They live in the present. They do not suffer existential angst over what they are. They do not covet material wealth. They offer us unconditional love and devotion. Although they certainly have not reached the great heights of intellectual achievement of us humans (I know for a fact that this is true after having lived with a Labrador Retriever for several years), at the same time they have not sunk to the depths of depravity to which we are susceptible. It could be argued that I am being overly anthropomorphic, or that dogs are simply mentally incapable of these thoughts. But nevertheless, metaphorically or otherwise, I believe that dogs demonstrate a simple and uncorrupted approach to life from which we all could benefit.

During my opening talks on each occasion I would ask the audience: “So raise your hands if you are someone who is not worried about the future?”

There was never a raised hand!

My introduction to a recent essay published by George Monbiot that is republished here with Mr. Monbiot’s permission.


The Drums of War

32 thoughts on “Troubling times.

    1. Per, your point is very apt and well-presented in your post that I have just read. Yes, just because they are non-human workers doesn’t, in and of itself, justify a tax-free process.


      1. Roll on robotic unions! 😉 (Was even tempted to write “Roll on robotic politicians!” but that would too inflammatory in these present times!)


  1. Remember what I said about 2017 Paul?… All the signs are gathering.
    I read this article when it came into my inbox from George.. And it smacks of truth…
    When he said

    “”Governments across the world are making promises they cannot keep. In the absence of a new vision, their failure to materialise will mean only one thing: something or someone must be found to blame. As people become angrier and more alienated; ,,,,,,”””

    And that is why you see the frustrations of people who Want Change, yet whose opinions are not being listened to or their needs being addressed.
    The little man is taxed on his energy bills with his hidden green taxes while governments keep on churning out the toxins..

    We are going to see again a repeat of past History for that is the only way Mankind has learnt how to address his anger.. By warring with one another..
    Why Mankind can not sit down with his neighbour and work things through is beyond me.. But then when have neighbours or even families ever got on… So why should we expect Nations to agree to find suitable solutions.. Instead we bury our heads and repeat the same old same old mistakes..

    Until we begin to see and understand it is not someone else’s problem but ALL of our problem.. Until WE change ourselves and our ways of being, then mankind is on course for destruction..

    The world though, yes she is hurting, she is scarred, poisoned and bleeding.. But she will recover if it takes another billion years… It is we who are the parasites unfortunately … And I fail to see us changing our warlike ways any time soon.. Unless Mother Nature Stops us all in our tracks..

    Thank you for posting Paul.. I live in Hope that we one day may all see we are ONE.. I keep on keeping on . beating my own drum for Peace and Unity..


  2. Mr. Monbiot’s article is one of the most unbiased accounts of our current state of affairs. Majority of the news items I read are full of vitriol & anger. People want change but yet they don’t seem to want to discuss what needs to be done. They would much rather complain. We need to come together. We need to be a united front. We need to move on & look toward the future. We can’t change the past. It is time to be productive. This was a wonderful post, Paul.


    1. Yes, I have been reading Mr. Monbiot’s essays for years and have a deep respect for both his perspective and intellect. Shortly after starting this blog he gave me permission to republish any of his essays. I thought that very generous of him. Thanks Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Paul. Long time no speak. I hope you are keeping well.

    Sigourney Weaver was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 this week. When asked what she thought of Donald Trump’s success, she said she was appalled that nearly 50% of Americans think it is OK to elect someone who is so clearly mentally unstable and unfit for public office… and terrified at the prospect of what he might do once he takes power.

    Donald Trump has already repudiated many of his campaign promises but the greatest betrayal, of many of those who voted for him, is his blatant failure to “drain the swamp”. Far from doing this, he is surrounding himself with establishment, billionaire, climate change deniers. He is even considering appointing Exxon Mobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State. Can you believe it?

    As incisive as ever, George Monbiot says, “Governments across the world are making promises they cannot keep.”… Trump has already demonstrated the truth of this and he has not even taken office yet. However, having myself tried and failed to bait Trump on Twitter (via my old Twitter account @JamesDelingpile),I hope the Pentagon will be able to convince him that global warming is not “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese”.

    I was going to say that I am terrified to think Trump could be so stupid as to believe this. However, what really terrifies me is the evidence that time for the denying primary human causation for climate change has finally run out… This is the time for Anthropocene Reality:

    The two most terrifying graphs ever?


    1. Rick,

      Lovely to hear from you and I applaud totally the message and the angst that underpins your message. We had our monthly meeting of our local humanists and freethinkers meeting this (Sat.) morning and listened to a long talk by William Kotke. His proposition is that unless we quickly find a way for humanity to live in biological balance with the planet, as was done in the era of hunting & gathering, then we are quickly running out of options.

      Compelling and I hope to write a post on the meeting later this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is unfortunate that millions of Americans believe that phased out jobs will come back. They are gone for good because of technology and other forces. However, there are millions of more jobs coming in with future technology, many are here already, they just don’t have the work force that is trained to do them. Where I live, there are pages of unfilled tech jobs. I do have to disagree with one point and that is President Obama and Hillary both wanted job training for the new jobs available now and in the future. Congress refused to do allow that to happen and that is undeniably true.

    Another problem altogether is our planet that is being killed by fossil fuel and there has been solutions for years, but the oil and gas industries obviously don’t care about what is happening to our world. And now with Trump, it will get worse. I do believe that with the previous ice ages we have had and will have again, we survived as a species. As the climate warms other opposing climate forces will cause our world to get much, much colder, like the mini ice ages that happened in 13th, 16th and 17th centuries that followed a sharp warming trend due to volcanic activity and plaques that killed millions of people.

    For us it is the over use of fossil fuels and industries the foster it. Adapting to the planets ever changing climate is something humans can and will adapt to. Change is always frightening, however what scares me is the all of the nuclear storage sites in America and around the world. Now, that will obliterate the world and 99% our species and it will take 500 years to even begin to recover. Humans will be at the stone age level once again.


    1. You articulate very clearly the challenges facing the vast majority of the human race. Challenges that cannot be ignored for very much longer. I wouldn’t like to predict where we will be in even just five years time!


    2. Human activity has pushed the Earth’s climate system way outside the envelope of the last 800 thousand years (and its accompanying ice ages).1 This is why the sixth mass extinction of species is already well underway.2 Unless radical steps are now taken to prevent it, the Earth is heading for a much warmer state from which it will take 100 thousand years to recover.3 Therefore, as Stephen Hawking has suggested, humanity may only survive by moving home.4

      These are “Troubling Times” indeed.


      1. Rick, thank you for that summary and the references. I will be going through this information before putting down my own thoughts later this week.


      2. Yes, I completely agree, we are headed toward mass extinctions as the climate heats up and it is far to late to do much of anything about it. What happens next will be what as always happened after period of unusually increased temperature that has happened way too quickly, an abrupt switch in temperature that also leads to more mass extinctions. This time though it will be a lot worse than a “mini ice age” it will by a major ice age that will last for thousands of years, exactly what happened during the last major ice age and it also depends on the position of the earth’s axis and other factors.


      3. K.D. I fear no ice age. The burning of fossil fuels has put an end to the cycle of the last million years. Unless we chose to stop it, the Earth is heading for the kind of climate that wiped out Dinosaurs 65 million years ago.


      4. I suppose that is possible too. I don’t know. However, in Malaysia 75,000 years ago the one of the largest volcanoes erupted and blocked out the sun for a number of years, this did cause great extinctions, in fact, they estimate only 15,000 humans survived world wide. They earth became very cold, an ice age, a stone age kind, not the snow ball that lasts for a very long time. I worry about the Yellowstone Cauldron, if that blows, it doesn’t much matter about anything else. However, with the use of all that oil, it is surely going to upset the balance of everything on this planet. The planet will survive, but we wont. Thank you for your kind response and for your knowledge! K.D. 🙂


      5. Fortunately, even though we cannot stop them, cataclysmic events are very rare. It is therefore much more disconcerting to realise humanity could actually stop what is now happening:
        “Waking the Giant: How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes” by Bill McGuire, published by the Geological Society of London (2013)
        ‘How climate change triggers earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes’, Bill McGuire in the Guardian (October 2016)

        That Guardian article is here.


      6. Rick, so much information, so much data that points so clearly to where we, as in humanity, are heading.

        Yet, in terms of millions of people and so many governments so much indifference.

        Not every person and not every government, far from it, but way too much to bring about the changes we need today.

        Very good to have your comments, Rick.


      7. Rick, you are right. Our changing climate does cause all of those things too. I do remember that title and I will read it. I will copy it as you have listed here. Thank you! K. D. 🙂


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