One of life’s big lessons is that what we anticipate and what we get can be very different things
This podcast was prompted by an e-mail from a good friend of mine, concerned about the climate crisis.
Here are my current thoughts on the climate and environmental crisis. I have reservations about the current climate picture: it’s not wrong, but it isn’t quite right either.
And this issue isn’t primarily environmental, it’s social, psychospiritual and about the nature of planetary civilisation.
Each and every one of us has to get behind this for it to succeed – form a world consensus that everyone can buy. That’s tricky. The breakthrough point on climate will come alongside a breakthrough point in humanity.
As a forecaster – working mainly along social and geopolitical lines – I’ve learned a few things about predicting the future: what we currently visualise for the future and what actually happens when the future actually comes can be quite different things.
Introduced by the waves at Portheras Cove, a few miles from where I live, here in Cornwall.
And if you’re mulling over the world’s future, try this. It’s the concluding page from a report I did in 2018 about the world in 2050, called Possibilities 2050. In the report I outlined four possible scenarios: manageable, difficult, disastrous and transformative. Here I map out what could be likely.
Jupiter and Saturn have been sailing majestic and low in the sky around midnight. Jupiter is the really bright one – at its brightest right now at the time of the sun’s annual opposition to it – and Saturn is the less bright one about ten moon-widths to the left. During the Jupiter-Pluto-Sun-Saturn period of conjunctions back around January, the whole Covid thing started lifting off, and now we are at a junction point where things could get better or worse, or different for different countries and people. Plus the wider reverberations that arise from all this which, in a way, are more important than Covid itself – there are social quakes coming, as we grasp the full emergent implications of all this.
Later, at winter solstice 2020, we’ll have a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. That’s to say, the process we’re in is going to continue and normality won’t return. Longer term, in a 5-10 year perspective, things are hotting up for major shifts and changes, and we’ve already, since January, seen the starting symptoms of an escalating lanslide of issues that will unfold in the coming decade as things accelerate. This is not just about Covid – which historically is but a catalyst – but it’s about the wider and deeper social-economic-ecological changes afoot.
The issue that drives this, really, is ecological, and the way it is now reaching into human society. Covid is caused by human incursion on nature, and nature is coming back at us. Other things are going on too – just yesterday Lynne and I were down in the field below the farm, and the quietness, the lack of insects on a balmy, warm summer’s day, was noticeable. This is big. And that’s just one thing.
But this ecological starting point then reverberates through the social and economic realms, this time through the agency of Covid, but in future it will be other catalysts. They will be unpredictable even though foreseen – anything from megastorms and droughts to invasive species, extinct species, toxic events, social or political madnesses, or anything. I’ve covered the full range of foreseeable issues in my Possibilities 2050 report. These will impact on us in multifarious and intricate ways, just as Covid has done.
Here I’ve been, locked down in the far beyond, watching. ‘Far beyond’ is the literal meaning of the name ‘Penwith’, where I live. But in another sense I watch from the far beyond, listening closely to things more than people. I watch and listen for the underlying threads, and in my long hours wooning in bed in my fatigued post-chemo stupours, it moves around in my psyche, turning over and, occasionally, out comes a big ‘Aha’. If I had time I would write it down or record it, but my plate is full already, and I’m active and serviceable only 6-8 hours each day.
Besides, most of my focus is on finishing the book I’m writing. Home stretch now. I’m being careful with it, trying to make sure everything I write holds up, because I’m saying a lot and it will rattle a few cages. Most of my books are about three books in terms of density of ideas. This book, Shining Land, is both about the ancient sites of West Penwith (which has more per square mile than anywhere in Britain) and it’s also about ‘megalithic geoengineering’ and its relationship with consciousness. I reckon the people of the neolithic and bronze ages knew how to engineer consciousness, how to build it into the mechanisms of their civilisation and how to work with the inner component of nature in ways that we, in coming decades, need to learn more about.
So, I’m making good use of the situation I’m now in – leaving behind some ideas while I’m still here to leave them. Which goes to show, there can be virtues in having cancer – or in anything we customarily regard as adverse. It has been hard over the last month or so: things have been changing but I am not, overall, getting better. I seem to have cracked the myeloma itself, at least for now, but my back and bones are not good, and I have achey, naggy arthritis. At least, I was told it was arthritis, but I am not sure, and no one is giving it attention.
What’s most troubling is that I do not have overall guidance and supervision from any doctor or practitioner who is knowledgeable in both conventional and complementary medicine. Someone to help me understand and assess the whole picture. I have loads of disparate specialists, doctors and practitioners, bless them, each saying their own bit and recommending their own strategies, and some of the things they get excited about are not my most pressing concerns. So I have to think and feel my way through all this very carefully, and I get an interesting conflict sometimes between what I am told and what intuitively I actually feel. Hardly anyone actually touches me, looks in my eyes or listens to my heart – it’s all remote. It’s MRIs, CTs, PETs, or I even have a radionics genius in Canada or another on an E-Lybra machine in Devon.
The paradox is that, throughout life, I’ve had good health, so few doctors and practitioners actually know me. This is tricky because I’m a one-off odd-bod, and I don’t seem to conform to the normal rules of health and medicine. So doctors and healers take a while to figure out how this guy works. I’ve had several instances in recent months where I have healed or responded far faster and easier than was expected. I do seem to have good medicine-buddhas. But I have also paid a high price in after-effects from some of the drugs I’ve imbibed in the last six months. And I’m the sort of person who can’t easily be shoved through the system in the allotted forty minutes.
Tomorrow I’m going to a chiropractor. He knows me from the time before I was diagnosed with cancer, and that’s a great advantage. He’s also very experienced. I’m in such a state skeletally that I’m not sure how much even he can help, but I need to have a new template for my twisted bodily frame to align to. I’m working on my posture and movements but I feel so out of sync that I need re-setting, to have a design or standard to work to. My bones click on an hourly basis, and when I lie down on my back at night (it’s painful at first), I can click myself in four or five places. It’s a relief to do so, but it’s troubling to be so flexible and frail.
So the doctors think my biggest risk is lung cancer, while I think that, if I’m going to kick the bucket anytime soon, it will more likely be from complications arising from broken bones. My bones have been eaten away by the cancer, a blood and bone marrow condition, so I am susceptible to impacts, and I am yet to find out how many such instances I can take before it’s better to check out.
So things are progressing, and also they aren’t progressing, and it’s a labyrinth to stagger though – walking sticks flying as I totter my way through life. Yesterday we made pilgrimage to my favourite place, Carn Les Boel. It was a mile each way and we took it slowly. Pity the poor person who walks with me, but Lynne said yesterday that she’s observing small things in nature that she didn’t give attention to before, because we walk so slowly. This is one of the gifts of doddery old age – you see and bear witness to things others don’t!
I’m not that old – hitting 70 in September – but my body is around 85 and my psyche has had to change to get used to that, to become somewhat like the psyche of a distinctly old man. It’s easy to get annoyed or upset over things I can no longer do, but what’s the point? It just makes life more difficult, for me and for those helping me. The gift here is that being threatened with death makes me very grateful for each day, no matter how low things go. And no one is bombing my house, and a hurricane isn’t on its way: some people have to face stuff like this even when they have cancer, and in this I am lucky. People ask me how I am, and mostly I say, and really mean, “I’m still alive“! Problem is, apart from this, my answer can change hourly, depending on what’s happening right then. Sometimes I’m glowing and sometimes I’m like a lead weight.
Yesterday, at Carn Les Boel, I was glowing. I love looking out over the ocean, and the spirit-beings on the carn are ancient and benign, like old friends, holding me in their upstretched hands. My soul grows and I get stronger in spirit, and this lies at the core of this process. I asked for healing and wholing and offered up my life, to be where I’m most needed and to do what best I can do. I listened to the linguistics of the waves, visited infinity and felt my way round the world, blessing people I know and people I don’t. It was a holy day, and certainly a good change from the rather quiet, shut-in life I’ve been living recently. And God bless Lynne for making this pilgrimage with me – and it’s her pilgrimage too.
Planet Earth is a strange yet beautiful place, and humanity is in such a mess yet so full of promise. I feel so engaged in my heart yet so distant from people and places. I wish I could return to Palestine, to be with old friends there – they are really going through it, both with Covid and with current politics (Palestine’s annexation by Israel and indifferent sabotage by so many countries, including Britain), and their economy is stumbling more than it usually stumbles, and they really don’t deserve this.
I’d love to go to Mali to visit Tinzibitane, the Tuareg village I’ve worked with since 2014. Talking of which, I’m going to try to organise a whip-round to support them soon, so please consider scraping together what you can. In general, the village has been doing well, but Covid has drained their finances. They want to do more to sell their crafts abroad, since tourism in Mali has collapsed. They’re perhaps 70% self-sufficient but when they interact with the wider world they need money. They now have no capital to invest in materials, so I want to try to help them get capitalised so that they can start work on this. More about this soon.
Even here on the farm, far from the madding crowd, there’s a sense of things hotting up around us. The prop planes that take off for the Scilly Isles have been flying in and out. Go out on the roads and the big, black, shiny cars of the English are here. There’s more of a buzzing in the air. But it’s motors, not insects – and one consequence will be fewer birds, like the swallows and bats that swoop around outside my window, who feed on flies.
Bless you all. All will be well. But so much of the secret lies in the way we see things. Life is a problem or life is a gift, and the choice we make about the way we see things is where our free will truly lies – whatever our situation.
There’s a lot of conspiracy stuff going on right now. In my estimation, some of it is more or less correct, and quite a lot is projection and a rather paranoiac interpretation of life, history and geopolitics.
In a way, conspiracy thinking is useful. Divide and rule. Polarise the debate. Analysis paralysis. Release some useful information, knowing that some people will interpret things extremely, then rubbish them. This is partially deserved because of many conspiratorialists’ deficient sense of historical and political proportion. Shit does happen, yes, but a lot of what looks like shit isn’t really.
Nothing is as black-and-white as we might wish. It’s not just smoke and mirrors: reality is like that, a matter of perception and interpretation – Buddhists, the world’s first psychologists, have been teaching us that for over two millennia.
There’s a selectivity to conspiracy theories: it’s easy to rail against things we hate and resent, but we fail to go the whole way – conspiracy buffs still love their mobile phones, oppress women and believe whites are in charge. Some have a strange way of adopting populist right-wing politics.
I was a victim of conspiracy at age twenty, persecuted as a dissenter and dealer. The masons did it for me and I landed up in trouble, eventually seeking refuge in Sweden. I learned something from that experience: my oppressors lacked true intelligence and they were on the wrong side of history. I felt sad for them.
They are victims of a virus, an emotional-mental virus driven by fear, a narrowness of spirit that believes that self lies at the centre of all things. A fear of the vastness, of ‘God’, of the other inhabitants of the universe.
Here we come to Covid. I’m going to say something strangely controversial: Covid is a great gift. It represents a solution, a breakthrough, a relief, the beginning of a great healing. By saying this I seek not to deny the dead and the suffering (I’m getting my fair share). The best medicine does taste bitter. But Covid is saving us from far more deaths and much more suffering later on.
How so? Covid is accelerating change and bringing forward issues we need to face. We were too busy deluding ourselves, avoiding the big questions. It’s significant that Black Lives Matter is coming up right now – black people are beginning to assume their future role as leaders of humanity, following after the Chinese by the end of this century.
They raise a bigger question on behalf of all of us: is the system here for the people, or are the people here for the system? Thanks to African-derived people for bringing this up: their frustration is sufficient to actually rock the boat.
We’re being saved from a bigger catastrophe. We’re being let down slowly in an incremental series of shocks. Though some are dying and having a hard time, these shocks are saving us from a bigger, potentially terminal, catastrophe. The soul of humanity is in a process of redeeming itself. It’s a shock even to archangels as they watch a world die, and they debate how they might save eight billion hurt, damaged and excarnated souls from a destroyed Earth, who risk infecting the wider universe with their anger, ill-will, corruption and pain.
On the news, as I write, in a shocked tone they are announcing that the UK economy shrank by 20% in April. Well folks, this is a gift. It has long been needed. The economy will have to shrink yet more in order for us to achieve sustainability. People have had a revelation through Covid: a realisation that the lives they lived were not the lives they feel best living and giving to their kids.
Now we shall see who has the guts, the necessary despair, to follow through.
Problem is, there are conspiracies. And some things look like conspiracies but they aren’t. Covid was not caused by conspiring humans – that’s too narrow and reductionist an assessment. But, given that Covid is happening, power-holders indeed are making use of Covid as a way of increasing social control, reinforcing fear, making money and pursuing their agendas, driven by a fear of losing power, of facing their naked truth. But it’s not a neatly simple conspiracy, and there are also rivalries at the top.
Some things look like conspiracies but they are often coincidences, fuckups or groups acting in concert since they share interests – there is an ingrained, conditioned tendency amongst humans to act in self-interest and we’re good at it. Also, conspiracies, even the great Illuminati themselves, even when advised by the greatest of professors, do not have all the answers or exercise their full intelligence, because they are limited by fear. And as white men, their time is ending.
And as an educated, relatively privileged white man, my time is over.
Conspiracies rarely work properly. They can jog things in certain directions to an extent, but look more closely at the main issues that have been labelled as conspiracies in recent decades. Most were screwed up, or circumstances overrode them, or they’ve created unintended consequences. Oil interests did not succeed in the Iraq war. The British empire fell, and badly. PNAC, the Project for a New American Century that devised 9/11, is producing the opposite result longterm to what was intended. Organisational systems are clunky. There are wild cards. And the world system is inherently flawed and self-destructive.
If Covid was indeed thought up by a conspiracy, then they needed to think further. It wasn’t a good plan. They could have done better. The mobile phone and EM conspiracy is far more effective than Covid, though fortuitously Covid has given it a lift. No, if Covid was devised, it was devised by nature and higher powers, as a perfect awakening plan. Shake up the humans, twist their arms, put a spanner in their works – give them a revelation exposing where power really lies.
Besides, are you not part of a conspiracy? If not, why not? People think Big Brother is the only show in town – this is a father/authority complex that obscures clearer vision. No, it is not the only show. History is on the side of the conspiracy that has thus far been suppressed: the people, nature and the ways of the universe. The Unconscious always wins because the Conscious and the Ego are but concepts, complexes. However, they’re strong, and people sincerely believe in them. If in doubt, head for the nearest security – we all do it.
This concerns competing viral thoughtforms. There is the Logic of Destruction and the Logic of Life. We’re all being faced with another layer of a perennial question: which side are we on? The battle for the hearts and minds of humanity is hotting up, and our children and grandchildren have come here for it. There’s more to go.
There’s also a further truth hidden behind this. Life is a movie, a phantasm, a fiction. Everything we have ever experienced passes. There’s light and dark within all of us. Light shines awareness on hidden things, and darkness gives meaning to light.
Both levels are true. This paradox doesn’t make sense, but rationality is a construct, an explanation, not a reality. So, listen more clearly to things than to people. The fear of death that so dominates the Covid crisis arises from a fear of facing a deeper truth: the unavoidable truth that life is like a fart in the Void and we’re all forgotten. Everything that starts comes to an end.
So give thanks – we live in blessed times. The curtains are being opened, stage by stage. The main problem is summed up by philosopher Edmund Burke: for the triumph of evil it is necessary only that good people do nothing. And that the goodness within all of us remains dormant, withheld, concealed unless we let it out.
So yes, be aware of hidden dynamics in our society, of where the power is believed to lie, but get on with your life while you have one.
Follow your truth. Be willing to self-question and re-evaluate. This way, the evolution of humanity is accelerated. This way we avoid disaster. This way, we teach our children well, conveying a lesson they won’t be taught in school. To qualify as humans we need to pass the tests of heart and soul. Pass this, and we qualify for the next stage.
Well, that’s what I believe, at least. With love. Palden
I’m sitting here in my little house on an organic farm in Cornwall, and this is where this blog starts.
Having designed it, I sat here for a few days wondering where to start. Then tonight I suddenly started writing.
What has been hovering around in my psyche this last few days is a rather big issue. For better or for worse I’m tuned in to global-scale matters and always have been, since my teenage years and the days of Silent Spring and A Hard Day’s Night.
My friend Alan sent me a paper about ‘deep adaptation’, and it talked of things I’ve been rattling on about too. It’s all about adaptation in response to climate change, and it’s by by Prof Jim Bendell of the University of Cumbria, UK. It’s refreshing when someone comes up with similar ideas. We come from different positions but we reach similar conclusions.
The idea is this: mitigation, or seeking to prevent or reduce climate change, is not an advisable main strategy for the future. We need to invest far more attention and resources in adaptation to climate change. That’s to say, it is already too late to try to stop it – the time for that was fifty years ago, around 1970. Yes, we do need to put work and resources into mitigation, but we need to put far more into adaptation.
I agree with much of what Bendell says – though not all. But that’s fine. For him, this is an idea he’s come upon relatively recently, and he needs to think around it some more. I (and others) have been chugging away on this for years, and we’ve had a chance to ruminate on all aspects of it – long, grinding years, and we’re well accustomed to being disregarded, disbelieved, sidelined and discredited. But now things are beginning to change. All this uestion is covered in the chapter on climate change in my latest book Possibilities 2050.
Time to get on with it
Much more attention needs to go into adaptation. People need to stop standing around arguing about whether or not climate change is happening and get on with dealing with the observable issues we have before us today – there’s enough in the way of climate extremes and weather events to get on with, and we can already see roughly where things are going. Stop arguing over theories – get on with the business.
We need to stop wasting time with avoidance and bargaining strategies – trying to persuade ourselves that things are going to be alright really, as long as we all buy an electric car – and we need to get on with really changing things. Otherwise there will be far more hardship and death than we are ready and willing to deal with – and it will affect you and me and our children, not just somebody else. Have you taught yourself yet how to deal with hunger, or what to do if there’s no electricity? The Tibetans used to say, “How can you call yourself civilised if you cannot sleep on a rock?“.
This is big. It concerns resilience, multilevel resilience – the practical and psychological ability to deal with whatever gets thrown at us. Yes, renewable energy and recycling are fine, but this is deeper and bigger. It involves social change. It involves serious change of our life-patterns. Socially it involves cooperating on a profound level, and consensus, and befriending strangers. It involves agreeing, supporting and behaving.
It isn’t about regulations and restrictions: it’s about changing our lives so that we do the right thing. It involves psycho-spiritual change – yes, for the last 50 years the social mainstream has believed it can avoid this, but psycho-spiritual change will not be an optional extra, more a core survival strategy. It concerns how we deal with the fact of sleeping on a rock and making the best out of a tough situation.
End of an era
That’s one reason why we’re seeing such outbursts today of Trumped-up uncooperativeness, nationalism and small-mindedness in many countries (especially declining ones) – Brexit, polarisation, building barriers, brazen competitiveness, callous social behaviours, right-wing politics, inequality, a splintering into a myriad minorities, and mutually-assured victimhood. All to justify keeping the show on the road while that show is careering drunkenly toward a cliff-edge. We’re at the end of an era, and these knotty issues are a symptom of it. A symptom of underlying fear.
These are all symptoms of something deep coming up and, for many, it’s scary. What’s coming up is a global-scale imperative to cooperate and hang together, if we wish to survive and to avoid a catastrophic carve-up of everything and everyone. It’s an imperative to get real, to get off our screens, out of our bubbles, and look after each other. It’s about faith and things much bigger than ourselves. That’s really scary.
In my 2050 report I sketch out four conceivable scenarios for the world: manageable, difficult, disastrous and transformative. The conclusion I come to is that we’re heading not for a manageable but for a difficult scenario. In the report’s conclusion, I describe a difficult scenario to be like this:
We might see more loss, deprivation, sacrifice, crisis and detriment than we prefer, and it could involve engaging in something like a ‘war effort’, with rationing, evacuations, mandatory labour and obligatory sharing. It could be an all-hands-on-deck scenario. Or it could be chaos and everyone-for-themselves.
This sounds threatening but, if faced with such a reality, humans have a tendency to get on with what they are presented with, when there is no alternative. Ahead of a crunch, anticipations wax large and things look worse than they land up being after the crunch. When reality strikes, a rapid shake-out happens and much changes. It’s not at all easy, but life goes into a different gear.
At times and in places people could be faced with extreme emergencies. There could be tragedy, horror and destitution, as some people experience today, but more so and in more places. Much could go wrong – biodiversity loss, climate change, economic stress, food and resource shortage, social disintegration, geopolitical disarray and uncomfortable levels of hardship, cruelty and death.
A difficult scenario could see the overwhelming of social and government services, uprooting of populations, social unrest, conflict, piracy, armed convoys, intense climatic extremes and weather events, currency breakdowns, dictatorships and mad regimes, terrible moral dilemmas, battles over control of weaponry and strategic assets, technology breakdowns and a host of other problems.
In such circumstances, the bit we can change is the way we deal with these issues: much depends on human responses, at street and village level, across civil society and in government.
Leaving it there
You’ll see more about this issue here in future. My book about it, Possibilities 2050, is a readable, balanced, comprehensive, non-preachy, non-thundering report on the world’s future. I believe so, at least. It’s free, with no strings – just download it.
This blog will dip into a far wider and deeper range of subjects. But this is where it looks as if it has started. And there’s some good news about the future coming too, later on. Some transformative thoughts to help you see that we are already in the future. It’s happening.