When you believe you're already dead and you've got nothing to live for, you fight better than you've ever fought in your life! When your back's to the wall. That's the only time when humans actually choose to evolve, at the moment of death. At the moment when we face our destruction. That's when the greatest leaps in human consciousness and the leaps of human heart take place.
I'm tired! I'm ready to die. Great! Bring it, I'm not afraid of death at all! That'll be a big relief for me, that'll be graduation! 'God, I get to get out of this god-forsaken shit-hole!!!'...that I love more than anything else in the world. The scout's knife is sharp on both edges. It cuts in both directions."
-Michael C. Ruppert in Apocalypse, Man
About five years ago, one of my all-time favorite documentaries, Collapse, was filmed and released. I wrote a blog entry about my experience viewing the movie opening night with a Question and Answer session afterward with the movie's subject, Michael Ruppert. The overwhelming critical success (Roger Ebert gave it four stars, including a rare, "you owe it to yourself to see it," recommendation.) of this film gave Ruppert a platform from which he created a new website, CollapseNet.com, which started in 2010. The website still operates, but Ruppert left a couple years later. I really wasn't sure what had happened to him, or where he was.
Now there is a new documentary, currently showing on Vice's youtube channel in six parts titled Apocalypse, Man, that details what's up with Mike. The first part begins with a basic catch-up that is quite startling in explaining why he left CollapseNet and where he is going:
"I could no longer function at a three-dimensional Cartesian analysis of what's going on in the world. The only thing that was important to me was that I leave northern California and all my relations in that world clean. I paid off everybody I could pay off. I gave away what I could give away. I made sure that I was walking away leaving the place better than it was when I found it. And I had no place to go. I was broke. Absolutely broke. I came here to die. Or commit suicide. So I came here with everything that I owned, including my dog Rags, and my vehicle. This was the only place I had to go! I had no money to get a place. And, my good friend, my best friend Doug Lewis, who had been a bandmate of mine in New White Trash, from a band we formed in Venice, he had a bedroom and he had a bed, and he said, 'OK, you're coming here.' So this was how I came to Crestone, I knew nothing about the place when I got here. The path you're supposed to follow is the only one that's left open in front of you."
That path has lead Mike to the beautiful San Luis Valley of Colorado. I find an appropriate symmetry to the fact that the man who created From The Wilderness, which operated out of the same LA gridlock where I currently reside, is now living in a natural setting that can truly be described as from the wilderness. Apocalypse, Man shows him communing among Native Americans, conversing in a teepee. He seems to have found a genuine place of happiness in his retirement. As far as participating in the Infinite Growth Paradigm, Mike Ruppert has truly dropped out.
But he still remains tuned in. He has not lost his point of view, his passion, his fury. Each part of this documentary contains some explosive revelation or penetrating insight that is worthy of contemplation and reflection at a minimum, and if possible, revolutionary (or evolutionary) transformation if we have truly turned on what President Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature." I'll transcribe the portions of what Mike Ruppert says that truly made an impact on me:
From Part Two:
"But then, it's been known about Peak Oil that the world was gonna start running out of oil, crossing the bell curve, since the late 1940's when The Prophet, when the guy who discovered the system, the physicist M. King Hubbert, predicted it. He was the Granddaddy. So the techno-fix for Peak Oil was tar sands. Well, what are tar sands doing?! You've destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of boreal forests; the lungs of the planet in Canada! You burn copious amounts of natural gas which we ran out of to boil water to wash tar sands. Look at the net energy input for that. You're burning natural gas, oil, coal, whatever to boil this water to wash the tar sands. You wash out this super-sticky poisonous substance called bitumen out, which is not oil. And then that has to be refined, and you destroy this most pristine boreal forest. It's killing the wildlife, it's infected the water table, it passes through pipelines. You know, the pipelines breaks and it destroys the ecosystems wherever its exposed.
So, North America passed a gas cliff in 2002-2003. Conventional natural gas, which is you just drill a well and burn it off. So the techno-fix for running out of natural gas is fracking! Oh great, now you can set your water faucet on fire! You can poison yourself, give yourself cancer, you can send the poisons downstream and kill fish and destroy trees! That's the techno-fix. So people who are looking to techno-fixes for these problems are suicidal and they're deluded and they're stupid.
Holes are drilled deep into Mother Earth until it reaches a shale formation. It's hard rock. And what I found due to a patent that was issued to Halliburton; Dick Cheney? They're shooting depleted uranium into Mother Earth to fracture the shale to liberate the gas. And they are pouring horrendously toxic chemicals, benzine, many other chemicals down there to extract this natural gas. Fracking also has been shown to cause earthquakes in Arkansas and Missouri. It deeply disturbs Mother Earth; it's a desperate drive for energy. Which shows that all of the leaders of the industrialized world who talk about growth and who are serving the IMF, the World Bank, the US dollar hegemony; an Infinite Growth Monetary Paradigm which is a pyramid scheme have absolutely no concern, a complete psychotic disconnect for our relationship with the planet. Well, people are realizing that they're dying. I mean, American citizens are standing up when they develop cancer, when their children develop open lesions and sores and leukemia and all kinds of neurological disorders as a result of being poisoned by fracking.
The police aren't arming themselves, they're being armed. It's a giveaway. And this came with the Patriot Act; it was totally, patently unconstitutional. It's an absolute...that should have then prompted a revolution among the American people. As I read the Patriot Act what I said was, 'Oh my God, Katie bar the door, this is the federal government taking over every police department in the country.' All of a sudden these taps were open, all of this money started flowing into local police agencies. But the deal was every police agency had to use a uniform government computer system the CIA and the FBI can get into. It used to be that if I ran a sheriff's office out here the FBI couldn't get into my computer. But now with the software techniques, the US government not only can get into any law enforcement agencies computers, they can shut them down! Radio frequencies were synchronized, standardization of weapons and issues of all that was done with the intent to turn American police departments into a de facto Army. With the same equipment, the same frequencies for the purpose of command and control, information control. So that's pretty much been accomplished. So that, as we reach the point that we're at now that everything is falling apart, you know, no county sheriff anywhere is going to turn down an armored vehicle. But there are strings that come with all of that. So we see Department of Homeland Security buying four million rounds of hollow point ammunition; handgun ammunition. That's to shoot Americans! And I stay away from some of the very unfounded, hysterical right-wing conspiracies, but it's a very clear fact that the United States government has declared the American people to be the enemy."
From Part Three:
"Now, what's clear is, because the US has been the hegemonic alpha dog for so long, is that the world doesn't have a Plan B for if the United States fails. But the United States of America needs to fail. The US dollar needs to fail. There is no hope for any of us unless that oppression, that straitjacket, that iron mask in which we are forced to live is removed. We have to see that.
The US dollar is one of the major legs that must be broken down to change that consciousness about money. It's like Chief Seattle said, "Not until you have killed the last fish and cut down the last tree and poisoned the last river will you discover that you cannot eat money."
So now the dollar is collapsing. The US empire is in retreat. The world doesn't quite know what to do and this was discussed clearly when I went to Moscow in 2001 with the Ministry of Finance. Consciousness has not evolved to the point where people realize that money is nothing. It's not 'money is the root of all evil', 'the love of money is the root of all evil'; the belief that its power. You know, here's the cruelest joke; and I can hear George Orwell and Terrence McKenna laughing their asses off. (Ruppert pulls a dollar bill out of his wallet) What does it say on here: 'In God We Trust.' This is God! This is the God that's dying. This is the fucking God that means nothing! It's not clean air! It's not fresh water!
The world that we live in right fucking now, the hypnosis is going to break. Because everybody is going to realize almost in a heartbeat what matters is: do you have food to eat? Do you have unpolluted water that you can drink? Do you have air that you can breathe? Are you able to maintain your body temperature at night? And at that point, the switches go on and mankind is faced with one of two choices. That's it. When the dollar goes, its going to be a very short period of time before it comes to that real fork in the road." (Evolve or perish)
From Part Four:
"Where I am, with the prioritized threats facing humanity right now, there are only two. One is Climate Collapse, the collapse of the jet stream, global warming, in which we know of an absolute scientific certainty that we have baked a four degree centigrade rise above baseline. Baseline being the start of human industrial civilization; carbon emission. And human life goes extinct after two degrees centigrade, it takes a longer period of time. Four degrees, and now it looks more like five, with 25 positively reinforcing feedback loops, such as the melting of methane hydrates in the seabeds, or the thawing of arctic tundra in Siberia that produces columns of methane, a greenhouse gas 100 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its initial release than CO2. The North Pole is now warmer than it has been in 140,000 years. This is an irreversible trend; we've reached and crossed multiple tipping points with that. Not all of the feedback loops are reversible.
But I have a dear friend, Guy McPherson, who is a Professor Emeritus from the University of Arizona, who is a climate scientist, evolutionary biology, who is just an amazing guy, who walked a similar path: he walked away. Who has compiled now irrefutable multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that we got four degrees cooked in and calculated showing human extinction by the year 2030. The science is there; it's not being covered by mainstream. We live in a world that's been taught to deny everything. That's what's producing the bizarre weather all over the planet that we are seeing. The jet stream is meandering and collapsing which is sucking arctic cold way too far south, but it happens in bands, so you have a biblical drought in one band and then you have torrential rainfalls in another as the jet stream gets weak.
Climate collapse, climate chaos, what it does is it makes it impossible to do things like permaculture, which is one of the things that I love more than anything else. Permaculture, one way of looking at it is thoughtful and protracted observation, but it implies that by observing and interacting with the land, doing permaculture on the land, learning how to harmonize all of the things in your ecosystem, that you're going to have a stable climate in which that observation has some value. Climate collapse takes that away. Plants cannot adapt, animals cannot adapt quickly enough. We just had 100,000 head of cattle freeze to death in South Dakota. Which was, they were grazing on summer pastures one day, they hadn't grown their winter coats yet, they were hit by a blizzard, they all froze to death. There was not malfeasance on the part of ranchers who had lived there their whole lives, they couldn't adapt to the climate. We had 20 something inches of rain in Boulder, Colorado, biblical flooding there not to far from here recently. Plants cannot adapt that quickly to a changing climate. And what people who are disconnected from the earth don't understand is if the animals die and the plants die, we die! There are too many people who have been hypnotized into believing that their food actually comes from a grocery store. It doesn't come from a grocery store! It comes from Mother Earth!"
From Part Five:
"The second threat, which is more imminent, is Fukushima. It is an unprecedented nuclear disaster. March 11 of 2011, there was a Richter 9 earthquake off the coast of Fukushima, eastern Japan. The massive earthquake caused major damage to the reactor buildings, but they survived to one degree or another intact, so that when the tsunami arrived after the earthquake, it was a big tsunami, like 40 feet, that went many, many miles inland. Killed many tens of thousands of people, 10, 15,000 people, 20,000 people.
What the tsunami did was overwhelm the diesel generators that had been installed in a very low-lying spot close to the beach and drowned them. So there was no electrical power supply to pump water. Which made it inevitable that you were going to have meltdowns. There was some heroic action on the part of the TEPCO staff who eventually decided to flood the reactors with seawater, which is very corrosive, it's not a good thing to do, you destroy the reactors, but what they did was they saved three small atom bomb explosions. They prevented that for a short period of time.
But then you had inevitably without power, meltdowns. And the core reactors become super hot. They melted through their containment vessels, out of the buildings, out of the structures, and melted into the earth. Some of them, because they were in pressurized tight spaces, water will decompose, break down into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen, hydrogen being extremely explosive. So you had a hydrogen explosion at Building Three, which just blew the top off, I think everyone has seen the film of that. You also had explosions at One and Two. What happened as a result of that, you had catastrophic releases of radiation into the upper atmosphere immediately, within days of the earthquake and tsunami.
And what we are finding out now, and it's been covered up, covered up by the Japanese government, covered up by TEPCO, covered up by the United States government, it's been hidden: we have been bathed in radiation. The northern hemisphere has, it's traveled the globe. It's been detected heavily along the West Coast, where infant mortality soared in April and May, birth defects soared, leukemias have soared. We now know the West Coast is being bathed in radiation, not only from the atmospheric release, but now, from what we've learned in the last few months, from the fact that TEPCO has been dumping three or four hundred tons of super-radioactive water into the ocean every day for two and a half years! And those leaks are getting worse and the amounts of radiation being leaked are getting worse because the site itself is deteriorating, it's degenerating. And Building Four is teetering, it's absolutely rickety.
There are six spent fuel pools at Fukushima. The one that's suspended in this teetering, rickety building above what was Reactor Number Four, contains the radiation equivalent of 15,000 Hiroshima bombs! If those fuel rods have an open air combustion, and they're very long and very heavy, like cigarettes in a pack, and the way they used to be removed is they would have a computer operating a crane to remove them very slowly so that they didn't contact, especially in open air, because that's when you get the disaster. The cranes have been destroyed, the building is teetering, the computers that were there to run the cranes to make sure that you didn't get a contact have been destroyed. They're going to have to be removed by hand within a couple of months, because everybody knows the building is going to fall over. This is almost an impossible task and I'm seeing some tacit admissions, 'We don't know how to do this.'
But now everybody knows, it's out, that the ground underneath the reactors is turning into mud. They've been pouring hundreds of thousands and millions of tons of water just in there trying to keep everything cool so that you didn't have another critical event. But it's eroding the foundations and the land from underneath the building. And that water's been pumping directly into the Pacific Ocean for two and a half years. The plankton eat it; and then the krill eat the plankton, then something comes along and eats the krill, the small fish, the bigger fish, so by the time you get to a bluefin tuna eating what it eats, the radiation has been concentrated through four or five meals. And 100% of the bluefin tuna that have been caught recently off the coast of California have tested positive for radiation. Starfish are dissolving, mackerel are showing up with bleeding eyesockets and ulcerations, sockeye salmon are turning up with radiation, killer whales off the coast of Vancouver are losing their ability to vocalize, they're dying at an alarming rate. The Pacific Ocean has been lethally poisoned, the northern Pacific. But eventually the oceans will circulate it everywhere.
But Tokyo, electric power, the Japanese government has lost control. The radiation now, currently, even without the fuel pool falling over, is so intense near Buildings One, Two and Three, Reactors One, Two and Three that it disables robots. And there has been admitted that nobody has the technology to build a robot capable of withstanding those amounts of radiation to get close to it to do anything. Radiation also turns metal extremely brittle, they've had a crane failure there. There are two cooling towers that have already broken loose from moorings big enough that they could fall on Building Three or Building Four at any time. And we expect that with typhoons or another earthquake. So that radiation is already so intense that you really can't work on what's there, you can't contain it. We don't know where the cores are, the cores could be hundreds of miles down below now. They've passed water tables, nobody knows where they are.
If Building Four falls, the whole site must be abandoned. There's no debate about this! Nobody disputes it under any circumstances. Not the Japanese government, not TEPCO. If those rods go, then every other set of fuel rods has to be abandoned and they cannot be kept cooled and they will go. The combined radiation from all that will be released if Building Four goes is 85 times the amount of Cesium alone that was released from Chernobyl. Now you have a million deaths already from Chernobyl. This is a human extinction event. We are all dead if this happens. It is a human apocalypse. Not just to humans, but to all life on the planet. Fukushima is not a Japanese problem, it is not a North American, it is a human problem, every human being, every living thing on the planet is at risk!"
From Part Six:
"There is going to be a die-off. That is a balancing. That cannot be averted. I cannot offer some happy Pollyanna solution to that. Love is the only vibration that's a higher vibration than fear. Our physical reality is a product of our consciousness which is a product of what we carry in our hearts. And if we carry fear in our hearts, to the point where the consciousness is one of fear, then all we would manifest would be more destruction. The means to save, to resurrect, to make amends with, to reconcile with, to heal ourselves with Mother Earth and everything that lives here, will only become available to us once we realize that cooperation rather than competition, that love rather than fear is the only state of consciousness in which we can successfully live, and lo and behold, those are the ways our ancestors lived 40,000 years ago. Those are the ways the Lakota lived on the plain, the way the Apache lived in the desert, the way they lived in South America, the way the indigenous people; they lived in a state of love and balance for everything. But we are drunken humans on this mad addictive desire for another line of cocaine, another dose of cheap energy, another car, another joke, another...what? Look at where it has brought us.
Now, now that all of human race stands at the brink of extinction, and we may die, life will go on, spirits gonna be fine, we're just gonna go to some other place. I don't believe that death is an end, it's a door, you go through it. You know, Crazy Horse, the great mystic, said, 'The spirit world's more real than this one.' He wanted to spend more time there than here. Cuz this place gets to be real hard sometimes. But we stand at this most amazing moment, the end of the Fourth Sun. There is an answer. Now seven billion souls aren't going to make that. I don't think, it would be nice, it might happen, I don't know what miracles lie out there. But one thing that people on this planet are , it's really starting to sink in, is what we've been doing is not working. What the whole human race has been doing. Until you change the way money works, you change nothing. You have to stop Infinite Growth.
We can't feed anymore people, we can't fit anymore people on the planet. Human population's still growing exponentially, although the die-off is pretty significant now, it's going to get a lot more pronounced. But beyond all of that now, Fukushima and Climate Collapse have brought us to a place where we face the end of our species within 17 years! At the outside, 2030-2040. The only way if we wanna live and if we want children to live after us is to stop human industrial activity right now. Otherwise, we're an alcoholic cocaine addict, heroin addict, sitting at a bar stool weighing 80 pounds, anemic, trying to convince ourselves that we look good, with AIDS and herpes and all these damn diseases, we're slamming booze down our throat, we're sticking a needle in our arm, we're snortin' the line, and we're committing suicide saying everything is under control. It ain't!
So we are reaching a climax and some people would say, and I don't believe this at all, some people would say that Mother Earth is going to kill us like we were an infection. I believe, and it's my experience even now, that Mother Earth, because we are of her, we are her children, we are created from her, what mother can not love her child, still loves us unconditionally and is begging us to wake up.
Somebody asked me to slow down on my Facebook page and remember the Everyday Man and I said, 'I gave up on the Everyday Human a long time ago. Now I only serve the exceptional ones. I serve the warriors, I serve the ones who are out there, who are the best of the best, and that makes us sharper together because nobody is as smart as all of us, I get feeds from all over the world, and I can really see and participate in this awakening that is taking place. And it's one of those great dramas: will the awakening happen in time to make a difference? And I don't know that it does make a difference and this is where I have come to just in the last two or three weeks looking at Climate Collapse and Fukushima. Which is that - I think we are all dead. But I'm utterly convinced that the state of mind we are in when we die will make all the difference in the universe as to where we find ourselves once we walk through the door! You know, I firmly believe that the level of consciousness and love that we carry and we create and the people we surround ourselves with, what we hold in our hearts at the moment of our death makes all the difference in the world.
There are people who would lay down and die. Well, that's not a warrior's path. You know, just give up, just get loaded, just get stoned, just party, well that doesn't...you get tired of that real quick if you try it. But it's what's in your heart, it's what you're doing, it's the warrior's way - you fight until the last minute! One way or another, no matter what happens, there is a balancing that's coming, there is a balancing that is here, that it is now. And what's left for us is to decide how we're going to face it. And what's important. But between climate chaos and Fukushima, there shouldn't be anything else that anybody, anywhere on the planet is concerned about. Because unless those are dealt with, we're all dead anyway."
So what do I take away from all this?
First, on a strictly aesthetic level, I think VICE did an excellent job of editing this documentary. It helps to have seen Collapse first, this almost plays as a sequel. While I loved the title play on Apocalypse Now, you could also call this Collapse Part Two: Walk Away. It not only updates the original in thematic content, but also illuminates Ruppert's personal evolution as well. Hopefully in the future this documentary will also be available in one continuous edit, as opposed to the current six part format.
But is it all true? Well, Mike is always very meticulous about laying out the facts he collects from other sources. So the real question is are the threats he spells out really that imminent? I believe they are. But that doesn't mean we should give up. As we face the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the disaster at Fukushima, Japan, it is important to understand the full nature of the ongoing and unresolved threat that humanity is confronted with there. This is something that many major governments and major media outlets won't face, but it is being reported and we need to be aware. Because this threat is potentially so immediate, and because the location of this threat is so focused, I believe the appropriate steps, while being hidden from the public, are being taken to contain and neutralize this threat. Granted, my guts are probably glowing from all the radioactive Pacific Ocean seafood I've digested in the last three years, but hopefully the cinematic vividness of this situation will motivate authorities to prevent a human extinction event. Time will tell whether these steps are enough.
That's about as far as my Pollyanna outlook extends. I wish I could be as optimistic regarding Climate Collapse toward human existence as I am toward Fukushima, but I'm not. I don't believe that humanity is capable of overcoming the threat we face there. That's regardless of whether you accept the inevitability of a Near Term Extinction (NTE) event or not, although being familiar with the work of Ruppert's friend Guy McPherson (despite his fatalistic outlook, he has a wonderfully droll sense of humor; the title for this post came from a phrase I first heard from McPherson), I am starting to accept the possibility of a 2030-2040 homo sapien expiration date. (I'll have to do more research to verify just how much of a probability this possibility is.) But it's not essential to accept to understand why humanity can't overcome this crisis. As Ruppert explains at the beginnning of the documentary, civilization is committed to using money to solve the crisis of Global Warming. Our entire economic infrastructure, whether capitalistic or socialistic, is predicated on Infinite Growth. Unless you change the way money works, you change nothing. If human beings cannot survive a global climate 3.5 degrees Celsius above baseline, then the question isn't if civilization will collapse, but when.
But the lesson of Fukushima makes clear that as bad as things are with Climate Change, our nuclear industry has created a Catch-22 making things even more complicated. Let's say we solve Fukushima, but there is an NTE connected with Global Warming that destroys civilization. Certainly there could be some pockets of humanity that finds a way to grow food to keep the species alive. But if civilization breaks down completely, what about all the other nuclear facilities in the world? In order to avoid global nuclear meltdown which would commence in the absence of a functioning electrical grid, we must sustain civilization. Yet in order to sustain civilization, we must continue the carbon consumption that has taken our climate to the edge of being inhospitable to human life. What to do?
Something tells me this will be the predominant subject of the majority of my future posts. Everything else at this point seems trivial by comparison.