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We Can Be Certain Of This

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

We Can Be Certain of This  

Just as the addict feels "I can't live any other way," so we continue clinging to a way of living that is equally self-destructive because we too see no other way to live.

Yesterday I discussed the intrinsic uncertainties in complex systems. (Certainty, Complex Systems, and Unintended Consequences). Amidst this sea of uncertainty we can be certain of this: humans will continue down an unsustainable path that inevitably leads to a tragic end until they succeed in destroying themselves or they reach a point of no return and abruptly change course.

That process of clinging to the present arrangement "because I can't live any other way" until that arrangement collapses is the primary narrative of our era. It is truly remarkable how humans will cling to a visibly self-destructive, no-exit arrangement because they see no alternative, and then after the present arrangement crumbles and the wreckage is cleared, we somehow manage to find some other arrangement.

Sadly, we only rouse ourselves to change when there is no other choice, that is, after we've destroyed the previous arrangement. Take the seas, for example: we're losing the oceans. The scale of our destruction of this resource is unprecedented and easily visible to all. The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction (Foreign Affairs) Over the last several decades, human activities have so altered the basic chemistry of the seas that they are now experiencing evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago.

Every trawler that goes to sea (often subsidized by governments anxious to maintain the employment and protein offered by wild fisheries) stripmines another percentage of a fast-dwindling resource, and as a result fisheries are collapsing around the globe.

This propensity to exploit a resource made a certain kind of sense when humans numbered a few tens of thousands. Find a tree with ripe fruit? Pick every one, and then move on.

Unfortunately there are no other blue-water planets teeming with edible fish within our reach. Once we stripmine and despoil our planet's oceans, there is no "move on to the next one." The same is true of fresh-water aquifers, soil, and so on.

We can print IOUs, credit and paper money, but we can't print fresh water once the aquifers are drained. Yes, we can spend billions of dollars and build desalination plants, but this option is limited to small wealthy populations. It is not a solution, it is simply a work-around that consumes extraordinary quantities of energy and capital.

Those of us who are not addicted to heroin wonder how addicts can continue down such a visibly self-destructive path. But how different are we? Just as the addict feels "I can't live any other way," so we continue clinging to a way of living that is equally self-destructive because we too see no other way to live.

Just as the addict feels that the alternative is too frightening and painful to contemplate and shooting smack is by far the easier, more comforting routine than risking the pain and trauma of going clean, so we cling to the present arrangement, as doomed and self-destructive as it is, because we too are afraid of change and want to avoid the pain of adapting to new arrangements.

And so the addict continues to the inevitable fork in the road; he either succeeds in destroying himself, and the arrangement ends that way, or he reaches a point so close to the inevitable end that the recognition awakens his instinct not just for survival but for a better life.

And then a small miracle occurs. An alternative way of living becomes visible in the addict's mind. His fear and desire to avoid pain (not just the pain of withdrawal but the pain of self-awareness and personal responsibility) are still present, but he finds the pain is bearable and the benefits of pursuing this alternative way of living outweigh his fear of change.

His certainty that there is no other way to live but addiction was false. It was always false, but in the mindset of fear and fierce devotion to the present arrangement, no matter how self-destructive, there was no alternative.

And so we continue clinging to the present arrangement, certain there is no other way and that we are powerless to change our circumstances, until the current arrangement collapses beneath us, and we have no other choice but to make another arrangement.

This is the second great narrative of our era. Our job is to describe and discuss another arrangement, a sustainable, non-addictive one that isn't doomed to collapse from the start, so all those currently clinging to the path of self-destruction will have an alternative when the Status Quo comes apart and the smack they "need" to continue living is no longer available, or no longer available in sufficient quantity or quality.

There is no point in trying to take the needle from the addict when he is certain there is no other way to live; for him, there is no other way to live. The only point of change lies ahead, when he reaches the cliff edge and must decide to plunge to his death, clinging to the present arrangement to the end, or he stumbles away from the edge and musters the courage to seek some alternative arrangement that doesn't lead to the abyss.


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Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:24 | 4441899 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

That certainly brightened up my Sunday morning.


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:26 | 4441902 remain calm
remain calm's picture

Pass me my dirty needle, I would rather just get high, I don't see the cliff yet.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:49 | 4441932 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

I'm surprised the "everything is a conspiracy" crowd here hasn't said the growing heroin problem is a planned means of reducing population and/or a means of funding foreign radical forces in toppling enemy governments!

Tylers:  Did you miss this one for the conspiracy theory crowd here??


Ooops.. . I see Kurt has got the idea in a post below.


And don't miss the big tin foil special sale today at WalMart!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:52 | 4441952 stant
stant's picture

i was told that the deaths from heroin in lexington ky have gone from 1 a month to 39. i have warned my kids of it. i also explained why this is going on. to fund those with budget problems.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:59 | 4441971 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

I know many of you hate me, but that is AOK, that is your right.  There is a way to effect change:

I feel this is going to be a dicey situation, but it is an action that needs to happen.  So instead of banging keyborads, and your head against the wall, look into becoming a part of the restoration!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:10 | 4441986 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

But Abi.. I like banging my head against the wall!!

Cause it feels so good when I stop!

However, I believe the growing heroin problem is due in part to reduced law enforement of the War on Drugs cause of budget cuts.

So it could be considered a conspiracy in that sense.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:25 | 4442015 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



You guys ain't seen nuthin' yet. With AB-109 out here in Kalifornia, we can no longer imprison drug dealers.

Contrary to popular belief, most criminals aren't that stupid. They've figured out that they can't be sent to prison for non-violent offenses; so that's what they're doing: car thefts, commercial burglaries, drug dealing...

Guess what? Crime DOES pay (at least in California...)


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:42 | 4442050 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"...we can no longer imprison drug dealers."

When did we ever imprison individuals in the CIA?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:04 | 4442091 new game
new game's picture

heroin cards! needles to go, inject, baby inject - all your troubles gone. trowlers strip the oceans, earth movers rape the surface from everything of value for tha next lutury (rare earth to coal). fracc that shit mon, frac baby frac til no water potable. crash baby and burn btichez. enjoy whilst you can. find a corner least infected from growth disease on a finite shere of influence...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:16 | 4442109 Prisoners_dilemna
Prisoners_dilemna's picture

I inject gold in my veins and sniff silver up my nose.

How f*cked am I?!?


Keep coming back to ZH. It works if you work it.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:12 | 4442358 toady
toady's picture

The man with the golden arm?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:22 | 4442390 spine001
spine001's picture

This rule is true for  al biológicas systems that are close. Al organismos keep con reproducing until they reach the limit of the resources of the system and only then they adapt. Adaptación always comes as fights forma resources where only the fitest survive. Mercy is a luxury only reserves forma times of abundance. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:34 | 4442030 MontgomeryScott
MontgomeryScott's picture

By the year 2001, Afghanistan's Opium production was approaching zero, thanks to the provisional Taleban government. That all changed, however, when U.S. forces invaded and occupied that nation.

You, sir, need to wake up and see the larger picture. It has NOTHING to do with 'budget cuts' on the 'war WITH drugs'. Think 'Air America' and 'Evergreen Aviation' and al-CIA-duh, here.

When the conspiracy is so vast as to be unbelievable, people will withdraw, preferring to believe the fairy tales that the conspirators tell them.

Sleep well, 'headbanger', and let those sugar-plum fairies dance in your flouride-induced stupefied head.


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:40 | 4442046 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Flouride??     Oh that explains everything.

Don't forget about all the artificial sweeteners.

Aren't you missing out on your chemtrail conspiracy group watch now?

And be sure to stop by WalMArt for the big tin foil sale today!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:33 | 4442136 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

"When the conspiracy is so vast as to be unbelievable, people will withdraw, preferring to believe the fairy tales that the conspirators tell them."

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 15:16 | 4442538 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Paranoia runs deep..

Into your life it will creep...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:10 | 4442807 MunX
MunX's picture

There is no anonymous. Its the CIA. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:14 | 4442001 NoMoMrNiceGuy
NoMoMrNiceGuy's picture

While I am not a fan of Jones and a lot of his topics - not everything is a "theroy" - for instance - do you not think the Market by central banks is a Vegas Style Conspiracy designed to benefit but a few? How about the Manipulation of Gold ? You see - not everything is a theroy - there are real conspiracys in this world. If you are blind enough not to recognize them then so be it. But to lable another man for his beleif as something other than good or ordinary is short sighted. I do not think less of you or deny your right to disagree, but I will do so in a way that does not denegrate you. You are welcome to your opinion, and I to mine. If you thnk mine is wrong then so be it. Iwill however listen to your ideas and decide if there is truth in them. That is how I learn.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:08 | 4442648 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Control of newspapers and television channels makes the difference between a “conspiracy theorist” and a “talented writer”, or between “the next probable President” and “the crackpot leader of an obscure political party”.


The corollary of not believing in conspiracies is believing everything 'your' government tells you.  Isn't that correct?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:12 | 4442801 BobRocket
BobRocket's picture

It is not a 'Conspiracy', they all lie to you, your kids ('it wasn't me'), your wife ('someone at the mart must've hit it'), your boss ('your job is safe'), your CEO ('I have full confidence')...


All the way up to your leader ('I believe in You') (lying Twat)


But it's ok cuz you lie everyday, you lie to yourself that it will all be ok.

You lie to your friends that you will support them

You lie to your parents that you will look after them

You lie to your boss that you will work hard for them

You lie to your children that you are building a better future for them...but you aren't

You've been lying to yourself all along (and that is why you have ulcers)


It is only a conspiracy whilst you continue to decieve yourself.


The world you live in is of your own making, until you admit responsibility for the complete clusterfuck that is your world around you then nothing will change (it will continue to deteriorate)


Only by making a clean breast of it can you come to appreciate that the world you live in is a direct reflection of who you are.


Ask yourself this question, and answer honestly.


'What kind of world do I want ALL children to live in ?'


Only by answering that question honestly can you change the world WE live in,

till then it is 'Business as Usual'



Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:52 | 4442017 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

The state is nothing if not competing conspiracies — i.e., various factions gaming an inherently corrupt system for their "rightful" share of its stolen goods — doing so in the sense that Bastiat meant when he said: "The state is that great fiction whereby everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else."

It's not actually everyone, of course, just the "more equal" few — the Wall Street / Washington nexus, the military-industrial complex, the education/indocrination complex, the myriad bureaucracies, etc. — that feed off it at the expense of the many, increasing numbers of whom are bought off with freebies one sort or another, until the sociopathy is so rampant that the sytem collapses.

As for "brightening up [one's] Sunday morning" the choice is there to be made every morning — — the question being what the "bright" thing to do is.

Deep down, everybody knows, of course, but as only a tiny few "go there," most having been rendered incapable of doing so, the "great fiction" goes on.

Until the greater nonfiction known as reality inevitably has its way.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:23 | 4442393 toady
toady's picture

Please. That conspiracy theory is so well documented that it's considered conspiracy fact at this point.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows the only reason anyone cares about Afghanistan is because of the heroin, and the only reason the US is still there is so the CIA can fund illicit activity.

Any conspiracy theorist worth its salt runs with things that are hard or impossible to prove, not things that are already proven

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:21 | 4442243 scrappy
scrappy's picture


If we build a “Common Law” Grand Jury, the people will come.


Join us.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:41 | 4441930 highly debtful
highly debtful's picture

If you want a bright sunday morning, you better wake up and stay away from Zerohedge. If I want some light, cheerful reading, I always turn to articles on King World News. Now there's an optimist if I ever saw one. Nice chap, never missing an opportunity to ask his guests why we're all going to hell in a handbasket. He uses nice pics too, you know, meteorites impacting on a planet that curiously resembles ours. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:49 | 4441947 nmewn
nmewn's picture

For reals.

Apparently the author thinks spending (wasting?) billions of dollars to build de-sal is a non-starter and is more important than the aquifer (and the people needing it to survive) that he laments is being depleted.

"Yes, we can spend billions of dollars and build desalination plants, but this option is limited to small wealthy populations. It is not a solution, it is simply a work-around that consumes extraordinary quantities of energy and capital."

So who is the targeted audience?

Must be former Solyndra, Fisker & GE etal execs and the officialdom brainiacs who gave them billions of our money to squander ;-)

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:32 | 4442135 Nobody
Nobody's picture

Have you ever stop to think about what the waste product for a Reverse Osmosisi De-Sal system is?
The efficiency of that system is 10%. Which means for every 10 gallons of salt water treated, 1 gal of drinkable water is produced. That leaves 9 gallons of concentrated salt enriched water. Where does it go? Sometimes it is poured back into the sea, other times just poured into a sink hole on site. There are always consequences for every action.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:24 | 4442251 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Yeah, its not a good idea to dump it into slow moving bodies of water (like at the top of a bay) because you raise the salinity of the water too high.

But piping it offshore to mix back into the gulf or ocean (in the case of California) isn't that big of a deal, the water is moving, mixing. I can't help people choose to live or farm where water is in short supply, that will be the price they have to pay.

And we're talking about salt here, only people like Bloomberg thinks salt is a level one carcinogen ;-)

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:29 | 4442412 Nobody
Nobody's picture

I agree with your comment on the idiocy associated with people living and deriving their livelihood in areas that are water deficient.
In regards to saline pollution however, it is not what we deem to be a pollutant, it is what the government or next door neighbor does.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:00 | 4442626 Being Free
Being Free's picture

I can't help people choose to live or farm where water is in short supply, that will be the price they have to pay.

How true nmewn, reminds me of this clasic Sam Kinison bit...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:05 | 4442093 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Is it too early to start drinking?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:25 | 4442254 scrappy
scrappy's picture


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:52 | 4442467 toady
toady's picture

Its gotta be noon somewhere. Three martini lunch?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:19 | 4442096 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Sunday morning is still designated for dealing with guilt, just not the God kind anymore.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:09 | 4442351 AmericasCicero
AmericasCicero's picture

Now the NSA can take your confessional quickly and convieniently!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:27 | 4441903 BadKiTTy
BadKiTTy's picture

We wont be the first and we wont be the last to go down this route.  

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:27 | 4441905 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

"Do the right thing only after all other options have been exhausted."

That was posted by somebody in the office of a previous employer of mine.  I don't work there any more.


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:36 | 4441920 Wahooo
Wahooo's picture

That should be the mission statement of the company I work for, hell could apply to 95% of them.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:04 | 4441921 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Right.  Making money -- grabbing the maximum short term profit  -- is valued above all else.  When we were few and the resources many we could 'afford' that kind of community/personal greed.  And we're caught in a debt money system that demands we continue this irrational course and behavior.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:58 | 4441951 highly debtful
highly debtful's picture

Actually, that was something Winston Churchill  originally said about his closest and most powerful allies during WW II: "You can trust the Americans to do the right thing. After they have tried all the other options."

And he would have known: he was half Amercan himself (American mother).


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:23 | 4442117 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

The British tried socialism and they're still trying.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:30 | 4441908 stock trout
stock trout's picture

But President Obama has promised millions of dollars to California to fix the drought there. So it will be ok now. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:31 | 4441909 Obese-Redneck
Obese-Redneck's picture

You can be certain that Ayn Rands beaver was so thick and musky that John Gault wouldn't touch it with your schwanze.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:19 | 4442114 duncecap rack
duncecap rack's picture

Where the hell did that come from?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:23 | 4442116 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Perversion is a prerequisite for statism?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:33 | 4442139 remain calm
remain calm's picture

I guess you had to be there

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:33 | 4441915 kurt
kurt's picture

Brought to you by an International Foundation, Malthusian Murder Incorporated. Umm, shithead, why don't you just check out and spare us the chunky resinous dark vomit?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:33 | 4441916 Shad_ow
Shad_ow's picture

The addict should be allowed to make his own choice but he should not be allowed to stick the needle in my a$$ or force me to support his life and expenditures while he lives like royalty.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:04 | 4442633 BobRocket
BobRocket's picture

The addict should be allowed the freedom of choice to do as he will but it is assholes like you that criminalise his non-invasive acts that make him act the way he does, leave him alone and he will go about his private business as he sees fit.

I mean, how would you react if a minority, for reasons of idealogy, managed to outlaw the posession of Gold ?

They would say it was for your own good, that Gold is a corrupting influence on the young, that you were evil and that the sellers of Gold were worse.

They would kick in your doors at 5am and parade you before the courts, set an example of you, make you unemployable, just because you owned a few grams.


Fuck off and die you neo-libertarian fascist twat.


(edited to include the word twat at the end)

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:37 | 4441922 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Can you really fly off the cliff.....if you are just going around in circles ???

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:59 | 4442190 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Its more of an ever-widening spiral. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:44 | 4441934 viator
viator's picture

Yeah well, on the other hand, more human beings have been lifted out of poverty in the last 25 years than in the prior history of the world. I and everyone around me have successfully survived maladies that would have killed or crippled us all even 75 years ago. I routinely eat every day meals that even the wealthiest man could not find or afford 100 years ago.

We live in an age where everybody who can put ten words together seems to undoubtedly know how best to run the world and the people who can put more than ten words together come up with the most astoundingly wrongheaded theories. I expect we will do what we humans have always done, find a reasonable path forward by much trial and error.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:58 | 4441970 spinone
spinone's picture

We are just a bunch of crazy hairless monkeys.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:24 | 4442013 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Bingo!     "The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris is a must read!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:17 | 4441980 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Yeah, good point. I also imagine that the initial exhilaration, having jumped off of a tall building, is outstanding.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:13 | 4441998 kito
kito's picture

Yeah well, we have been burning through earths capital to achieve this. And along the way we have allowed ourselves to become overpopulated fattened thanksgiving turkeys that
Mother nature will surely sacrifice until the planet reverts to the mean

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:52 | 4442066 Debt-Penitent
Debt-Penitent's picture

more human beings have been lifted out of poverty in the last 25 years than in the prior history of the world. I and everyone around me have successfully survived maladies that would have killed or crippled us all even 75 years ago. I routinely eat every day meals that even the wealthiest man could not find or afford 100 years ago.


All in the name of debt my friend.

Everything you see and experience that's "nice" (every municiple and capital expendature) is because of unsustainable debt.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:09 | 4442097 manofthenorth
manofthenorth's picture

And our children and grandchildren will pay for it.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:27 | 4442123 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Debt that cannot be paid back, won't be.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:44 | 4441936 eddiebe
eddiebe's picture

Yup it's going to get ugly.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:00 | 4441974 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



....and loud.....really really loud.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:21 | 4442010 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Got hundreds of foam ear plugs and half dozen sets of head phone protectors..  So I'm good.

However, it's the radiation and bio-weapon shit I still need to work on

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:46 | 4441941 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

There is one exception - if you are a politician in Washington DC you move from your current arrangement directly into an arrangement featuring a lifetime inflation-adjusted pension, lifetime free healthcare, and lifetime consulting deals with universities (democrats) or businesses (republicans). No collapse required - at least for the politician...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:01 | 4442326 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture


Just an FYI.  We need a fundraiser to keep this guy 'happy and healthy' along with his friend(s) who attended this meeting last week.  Please send your tax deductable check or paypal donation to this address:

I'm sure there are plenty of Syrians that want to help him and his friends in Congress out!


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:48 | 4441945 Evil Franklin
Evil Franklin's picture

So, the number that I keep hearing is 500,000,000.  That allows the kings and emporers throughout the world to have enough peons to support them and still maintain control.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:53 | 4441956 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Robots have destroyed us after all, without a single blow...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:52 | 4442068 shutdown
shutdown's picture

To reduce the population to a somewhat sustainable 500,000,000 will require that around one million die of non natural causes every day for twenty years. When the drop occurs it'll probably be much faster, like over a period of months. Either we decided how to lower the number or nature will decide for us. And it's going to happen fairly soon, too.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:49 | 4441946 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Time for nostalgia and to dust off that movie with some wonderful lines from those "addicted".  Beauty of this treasure is that it wasn't about just being a heroin addict.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:02 | 4441981 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Very disturbing scene when I first saw it.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:53 | 4441953 Imagery
Imagery's picture

anyone else having trouble getting text from articles on ZH?  i read CG's "When the Law Falls Silent at home computer.  Wanted to get it at work today to forward to friend and text will not come up????

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:44 | 4442052 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Imagery   Blocked? They don't want you reading on their time?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:54 | 4441958 DOT
DOT's picture

Long ago I was told that, "Life is successful to the degree that it can create order from chaos."  Another gem laid at my feet was the second Law of Thermodynamics which curtly states that chaos will win.




Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:18 | 4442008 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Yeah that entropy thing is real bitch!

Just wait and see when you get older..

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:58 | 4442129 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Chaos?  More like, things tend towards thermal equilibrium.  If everything is in thermal equilibrium, you cannot extract any energy.  Think of the 2nd law of thermodynamics as a statement that you can never exceed 100% efficiency, i.e. you cannot get more energy out of a machine or system than is put into it, and in reality, you will rarely, if ever, obtain 100% efficiency. 


That giant ball of hot gases undergoing fusion is something that you should be thankful for in light of this. 


EDIT:  You cannot extract any thermal energy, that is.  If you have a bunch of U235, you can extract energy from nuclear reactions and convert that to thermal energy that can then be extracted.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:55 | 4441962 BadDog
BadDog's picture

Mr. Smith's Sunday School

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:57 | 4441965 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

I do not recall this country falling into place at the ruin of the British Empire. You cannot blame humanity at large for what banksters do.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:29 | 4442125 Shad_ow
Shad_ow's picture

Thank you for that.  It is the evil that wins in some humans.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:06 | 4441966 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

In other news, I see that bitcoin is trading down at $250 this fine Sunday morning.

Wonder if we'll see fonestar today when ZH posts its daily btc article.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:12 | 4441995 JustUsChickensHere
JustUsChickensHere's picture

You can no longer count the MtGox quoted trades as representative of the Bitcoin economy. For an 'exchange' handling national currencies and BTC, being unable to remove your funds from their clutches, basically means they are like a bank that has failed... but just wont admit it yet.

Try '' to see the weighted average exchange rate(s) in many currencies.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:34 | 4442031 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Right.  I took it from here:

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:44 | 4442293 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Yeah I spoke with Satoshi earlier this morning when he called me looking for "foney".

Apparently they had a date last night for some ritualistic shaving which is on the menu for the both of them every Saturday.  To make a long story short, fonestar said he wouldn't be doing it for "Bitcoin" anymore!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:39 | 4442042's picture


Gox is creating the buying/trading opportunity of a lifetime. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:46 | 4442056 JustUsChickensHere
JustUsChickensHere's picture

Not really - that only works if you can extract your funds from MtGox to get the arbitrage to work. The only people who can do that at present are the CEO of MtGox and his friends.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:51 | 4442065 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Buy low sell high.

You can't transfer bitcoin out of MtGox. But you can hold them and hope that eventually you'll be able to transfer them out.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:57 | 4441967 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Pack hunting carnivores have developed a pretty sucessful system.

Maybe we should just quit pretending and save ourselves the disappointment.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:59 | 4441973 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"Pack hunting carnivores have developed a pretty sucessful system."

... till ya run out of sheep.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:01 | 4441979 balanced
balanced's picture

This is a very relevant (however unsettling) article. Acknowledging this reality, and factoring it into your financial and pretty much every other decision-making process will lead to much more accurate estimations of future trends.

This is something that we all know to be true; but it's one of those things that is commonly denied or ignored. It was perfect timing for me, because I am currently behaving exactly this way to my own detriment. Reading this article was a bit of a wake-up call, hah.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:03 | 4441983 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

I know many of you hate me, but that is AOK, that is your right.  There is a way to effect change:

I feel this is going to be a dicey situation, but it is an action that needs to happen.  So instead of banging keyborads, and your head against the wall, look into becoming a part of the restoration!

My apologies, the date May 16th,2014, the pace, Washington there or be not!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:16 | 4442006 kellycriterion
kellycriterion's picture

What are the first big concepts absorbed by the infant?
1. Internal/external, subjective/objective, the ever present, taken for granted, much abused, frame of reference. This is a first necessary step to generalization/abstraction.
2. The causality of discomfort and pain.

These are the building blocks of the mind. Quite logical. However these building blocks begin in a state of extreme ignorance, extreme vulnerability, extreme dependence, and primitive mammalian strategies(emotion). It's also the beginning of ego and fear. And when the infant begins to understand his environment and move from intuitive to directed thinking, then comes childhood and introduction to larger society and a whole new set of problems. Same story with adolescence and adulthood. I won't attempt to examine the plethora misinformation and misconception that is absorbed in the layer upon layer of coping and defense mechanisms and strategies. The point is you don't have ego, you are ego. You don't have fear, you are fear.

The ego panderers, the fear merchants have an audience that are literally junkies. They need it, they demand it, and at some level they know it's a game, a scam. But it doesn't matter. It's the equivalent of a hypnotic state.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:23 | 4442012 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

As long as the music is playing. We really have no choice, but to continue to play the musical chair game.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:27 | 4442018 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

now there's an analogy that's never been drawn before. [/sarc.]

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:30 | 4442026 besnook
besnook's picture

is this utopia day or something can be done to save us from ourselves day? accept the fact that man is doomed to doom himself and party like the reality that there is no meaning in life except to eat, sleep and fornicate like the rest of the animal kingdom. pass the opium.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:04 | 4442090 Jayda1850
Jayda1850's picture

I'm already to the point of, "fuck it, ride it until the wheels fall off." sooner rather than later I hope.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:35 | 4442033 smacker
smacker's picture

A good article but it avoids to mention that the main reasons people continue doing the same thing till "The Tragedy of The Commons" strikes them is because:

a) very many people are resistant to change and

b) people are fundamentally lazy and it's easier than creating a new paradigm, which involves thinking and work - two activities that a vast majority of people avoid at all costs.

Doing the same old same old lends itself to continuity and security. Change does the opposite.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:57 | 4442067 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

People who drink too much, take drugs, consume junk diets, or otherwise X themselves to death probably deserve sympathy but I'm old enough now that I recognize that few who damage themselves reform (I stress they do it to themselves, they can make good choices, society does not do it to them) (I turned my thinking, thus my life, around), and I'm resigned to the fact that it's their life to ruin. They didn't ask me or anyone if we mind that they will use the government to get "free" benefits paid for by others until they die., so please excuse me for saying I'm sick of hearing about them and I'd rather not read bleeding-heart articles here.

Bring on the down votes...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:52 | 4442071 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

    Sad but true, that for 99% of humanity the "path of least resistance" is the only path...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:54 | 4442072 q99x2
q99x2's picture

There are 85 enemies of the world. They are destroying it and need to be stopped.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:57 | 4442075 loveyajimbo
loveyajimbo's picture

This guy loves to blow smoke and act like a wise buddha... bullcrap.  if he had any nutsack, there are a handful of individuals on this planet that, if suddenly dissappeared, would be a huge step forward for mankind... so this verbose fag should pick up a Roscoe and get busy.. or shut up.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:58 | 4442078 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

shutdown Got epidemics?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:16 | 4442110 shutdown
shutdown's picture

Yup! Got crop failures, too. And oil depletion, which comes with lots of war. I'm talking about when the ongoing catastrophe called the Sixth Extinction starts accelerating.  Have a nice day. :)

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:59 | 4442080 Wilcox1
Wilcox1's picture

It does seem that people are hard-wired as far as behavior and it follows that talking sense to the individual is probably not effective.  It would be kind of like telling individual foraging ants that their colony was in the path of a planned building footing.  That is probably why polarization of human behavior is achieved through the political process.  These key people are stuck in their own situations too.  Ok, its true.  We're doomed.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:00 | 4442083 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture


Good one! Made me smile.  

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:01 | 4442085 Flux
Flux's picture

Tyler, this website is worth $80M. You guys pull in over $1M a month. You're not really suffering. And while I appreciate your gesture to the unwashed masses, it seems a bit inauthentic. It's like Brad Pitt sneering at the models, then heading home to fuck Angelia Jolie.

Do the sheep here acknowledge the hipocrisy ... or is this simply more entertainment?

Just curious.


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:12 | 4442103 Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

Charles, you ignorant slut.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:24 | 4442118 lewietheparrot
lewietheparrot's picture

How nice-----

to have a Sunday sermon

ZH is quite the moralist these days----moral hazard???

I see no problem we are all christians here---right?

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:26 | 4442121 Graph
Graph's picture

Everage american work hard, conditioned by the system,  to aquire a lot of things. At the end, worn out and tired, that is all that most can show. How you tell them that was all for nothing? ...Which it was:

How many, and most of them with meager and disposable professions were,  wth help of attorney, refinacing and "saving" their home. Some of those homes were builder's monster abortions in the middle of nowhere to which they were lured into by pure mindless square footage and "gated" community. There is no better welcome than "grand looking" gate letting you in after hour or so on the freeway, returning from work. "Pride of ownership" smile, when they are welcoming guests, is mixed with blue circles around their eyes....

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:35 | 4442141 Shad_ow
Shad_ow's picture

The addict only turns from his addiction if the consquences are greater than the pleasure.  Eventually the high doesn't come and hitting bottom will hurt.


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:39 | 4442148 Curt W
Curt W's picture

This earth cannot support 7 billion people if we all insist on getting everything we need from the other side of the world.

It is cheaper for me to go get a new pair of shoes shipped around the world than to have a new sole put on down the street.

We are using up vital resources, be cause someone wants watermelon when they are not in season in this hemisphere.  Its ok we will send some around the world.

People need to live more local and shop local, if you live in a desert don't expect lucious fruit daily

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:51 | 4442464 SilverFish
SilverFish's picture

Well, so much for my addiction to home delivered Thai poon.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:44 | 4442155 jal
jal's picture

The powerful and wealthy people will spend “their” money on what they want.
If they want a good road that’s where they will spend their money.
If they want a windmill then they will get it.
If they don’t want to see starving people then they will close their eyes.

Q: What will the rich and powerful people do when they cannot get their way?


There are not enough lifeboats ….. 




  We Can Be Certain of This   (February 15, 2014) 

Our job is to describe and discuss another arrangement, a sustainable, non-addictive one that isn't doomed to collapse from the start, so all those currently clinging to the path of self-destruction will have an alternative when the Status Quo comes apart and the smack they "need" to continue living is no longer available, or no longer available in sufficient quantity or quality."


Will we be able to change our definition of wealthy and live by it?


The wealthiest and most powerful person is the one that does not need to use any energy to replace his/her energy expenditure.


ie. A sufficient and steady cash flow from a pension would do the job.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:51 | 4442169 dragoneyes74
dragoneyes74's picture

Gold and silver go boom.

I'm buying every dip until silver hits the gap just below $26.  I'm expecting a significant pullback there to the uptrendline it will form along the way.  If all goes well, silver could make it into the $30s, but that would likely require the dollar to lose $79.  One step at a time.

If a miracle happens and silver backtests the breakout level, I'm pushing all-in.  This is my market.  I've been waiting for a sustainable uptrend for almost three years and this has all the markings of one.  God speed. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:43 | 4442882 Fate
Fate's picture

Wise move.

I don't pay much attention to current price/oz.  Only when I can no longer afford it, will I know I'm done buying.

Buy and hold physical.  There is no other way.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 12:59 | 4442186 Curt W
Curt W's picture

Just last Friday, Americans spent billions, and consumed millions of gallons of fuel,


to send dead flowers to someone they love.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:19 | 4442236 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

I watched some guy in the grocery store drop $75 on some of those dead flowers.  No idea if it was on credit or what.  It seemed like a big waste to me.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:01 | 4442194 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Carpet bomb "K" Street and the FED, then we have a chance....

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:10 | 4442219 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Those of us who are not addicted to heroin wonder how addicts can continue down such a visibly self-destructive path

Brain adapts to the external enviroment based upon a set of perceptions made possible through interactions between the internal and external. The perceptions are further augmented by study and analysis. Adherring to virtues additionally frees the individual to perceive clearly. Reality then may be properly defined as the unbiased, fullest perception individually possible at any particular point in time. The brain continues to reconstruct its wiring from moment to moment.

Brain doesn't do that on drugs or when it is not living a virtuous life. Instead it learns to live like an animal and die like a vegetable. The insidious aspect to the way the brain functions is that since the individual arises out of neural functions it cannot easily see what the heck is going wrong until it is too late.

But from being an AAer for a long time I know that being straight, exercising and practicing virtue changes perception very dramatically towards peace and joy.

It works if you work it.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:10 | 4442220 starman
starman's picture

You can get your free fill in  Santa Cruz California! 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:13 | 4442228 MarcusAurelius
MarcusAurelius's picture

Too true Tyler. I would agree with your argument. Having worked in addictions for many years I know this dilema well. That is why they should do a follow-up to the ridiculous reality show "till debt due us part". Come back in six months and see how many of these people stay clean (or out of debt in this case). If you were lucky 20% of them would be clean (or have made the behavioral change). 

To stay clean is a daily battle once you have been hooked and relapses are a common thing. Being addicted to spending is not much different than cocaine. Being addicted to hoarding your billions (ie. the Bill Gates, Warren Buffet mentality) is no different. It is a behavior. Period. One that is desirable or it would not be sustainable. 

We do things as human beings generally to avoid pain and we openly seek pleasure. Or the perception of pleasure (such as building a society that idolizes spoiled hollywood stars or ego centric billionaires) The pursuit of "more" has been well seeded in our society for about 30-40 years now. 

Learning to live within the boundaries of what we need is more psychological in nature which is the form of most addictions longevity. 

We see all these multi-millionaires and billionaires and we desire a similar status because we perceive that life is infinitely better this way. However this is a fleeting pleasure and what we find in the long run is that we are all intricatly tied together and how well we do is a direct reflection of how well my fellow human's are doing. 

We are going to learn very soon that caring for each other never became outdated and whether it is graciously accepted or paifully put upon us it will once again become the norm. 

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:25 | 4442253 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.


Those who do learn from history are destined to stand around helplessly while everybody else repeats it.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 13:46 | 4442296 novictim
novictim's picture

CONSERVATIVE VALUES: Just as the addict feels "I can't live any other way," so we continue clinging to a way of living that is equally self-destructive because we too see no other way to live.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:10 | 4442806 DOT
DOT's picture

Unless you mean:

Be conservative in your use of energy;

Be conservative in bringing new lives into the world;

Be conservative in your consumption of natural resources;

Be conservative by rejecting the next new fad;

Be conservative in telling others how they should live.






Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:14 | 4442815 BobRocket
BobRocket's picture

DOT +++

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:33 | 4442419 vxpatel
vxpatel's picture

If you want the system to collapse:


Eat less meat

Bank at a credit union

Buy fewer new things

Stop all processed foods, fast foods, sugary drinks.



Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:02 | 4442785 MissCellany
MissCellany's picture

Working on it now...

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:37 | 4442429 SilverFish
SilverFish's picture

I'd be gay by now if it weren't for the fact that I like pussy so much.



What this has to do with the topic at hand, I have no idea, but I'm sure it has it's place somewhere.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:52 | 4442468 killieboy
killieboy's picture

Smart arsed twat.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:44 | 4442454 killieboy
killieboy's picture

Why is almost everybody commenting on ZH a smart arsed twat? What could be a valuable international forum is stuffed with twats.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 14:56 | 4442473 SilverFish
SilverFish's picture

I'll tell you why......



It helps ease the pain of the coming reality, without the use of mind altering substances.



PS - It's spelled "Smart assed twat"

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 15:05 | 4442460 Element
Element's picture

@ Charles Hugh Smith

Your blub about the oceans is complete balderdash. I would not be so blunt and rude if it were not. Much of what you wrote was disappointingly narrow, actually, though done within a grandiose style.

I understand you probably think it is, as stated, but I don't think you know shit about that in many respects. But then again I find many posts at zh like that these days, more so than ever before, loaded with mindless doom bubblegum. It's just getting annoying to wade through so much slop, most of which is pure fantasy, or so overstated as to be distasteful. I'm responding to you, but its not just this post from yourself, but to lots of other contributors also doing it. So don't take this as heaped up on you per-sec.

Claiming a thing is true and believing it is true is quite a bit different from it being true.

And I know many in zh are so heavily imbued with off-the-scale doom-addictions these days about anything and everything. You don't suppose there's a negative feedback there do you? So many can't think straight about almost anything, without falling into the same mental circular trench-'o-doom.

It was funny once, in a weird way, because people were more angry and indignant than just wallowing in a drip-feed of doom. Righteously angry people can be very funny, and funny people laugh, and laughing people are a lot better adjusted and happier, than people declaring the end of the world is nigh and really believing it's so.

Of course it isn't the end but to them it is. And do you really believe what you write on that level?

I hope not, but if you do, I pity you.

Sad people are not a good thing and you and other contributors ain't helping them out like that, so how about considering this a bit when you're drafting?

I bet you'll produce much better posts if you do.

Look there are problems, many real ones, and many totally fake ones, too. The ones that matter are the real ones that we can do something about, deal with, and this is not assisted via constant tossing in a lot of old bollocks, is it?

Saying this may poke you, and some readers in their confirmation-bias socket. OK, sorry about that, but you'll have to deal with it, as I'm not going to pander to favorites and fantasies or touchy sensibilities, its just a blog page, not the fall of the Roman Empire.

When way too much doom is not nearly enough, there's a problem.

And it was not always like this. There used to be a lot of very cool-headed non-knee-jerking discussion about a full spectrum of real problems, and their issues.

So would it kill contributors and readers to try harder in that respect and make zh and related blogs better for you and for everyone rather than let it all-hang-out kind of stuff?

I bet everyone can do a whole lot better, in fact I know they can.


zh is best when it's funny as hell, and I'd rather go laughing, if it's the end of the world, thanks.



PS: Just for any one taking exception and about to pop a vessel, posting a pile of confirmation-bias perfected blog links you like and scary blurb 'stuff' about oceans from the usual suspects, does not amount to informed counterpoints. They wont be followed. Instead, maybe look at what I said. It is a critique, yes, but it is not unfair, or offensive, or looking to harm. It is my opinion though and despite appearances, to you, it is an informed one - already. I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 21:41 | 4443587 SKY85hawk
SKY85hawk's picture

The climate doomers really hate when the great global cooling scare of 1974 is dredged up.



Mon, 02/17/2014 - 07:40 | 4444536 kurt
kurt's picture


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 15:18 | 4442542 geno-econ
geno-econ's picture

Life is temporary so most mortals try to enjoy life as much as they can which is not the same as those that try to enjoy life as long as they can for themselves and their offspring. It's all a matter of time horizon but in the end we are all dead

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 15:45 | 4442590 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Element: glad to see  you, have missed you. I agree with your comments about this article.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:01 | 4442629 Element
Element's picture

You're welcome df, kind of you to say. Lot of commitments these days so don't get my zh time so much. :)

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 17:04 | 4442788 pupdog1
pupdog1's picture

It is almost impossible to read even a short piece that is a ridiculous combination of bold, italics, and regular font.

Pain in the ass.


Sun, 02/16/2014 - 20:13 | 4443315 don quixote
don quixote's picture

Oh rubbish, humans have always adapted to survive. What is certain is that in every age there'll always be someone like this that says humans will wipe themselves out. Go cry to mommy already.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 21:36 | 4443559 FlowerofLife
FlowerofLife's picture



Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!