The UFO Phenomenon: Fact, Fantasy and DisinformationThe UFO Phenomenon: Fact, Fantasy and Disinformation by John Michael Greer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Discovered this while eBrowsing for John Michael Greer eBooks.

It never ceases to amaze me how wide Mr. Greer’s education is. Not only can he write books like The Ecotechnic Future, The Long Descent and Not The Future We Ordered, all about what the future of humanity in the mid-collapse and post-collapse world will probably at least resemble: he can juggle between rationally arguing pro and against science, “conspiracy theory”, apparitions, aliens… He’s remarkably open-minded but somehow managing to avoid the negative traits the New Age or or other spiritual movements are associated with, e.g. naivety, or confusion of science and “pseudoscience”, a term I despise but which can be used to describe a lot of what New Agers say to portray their beliefs as valid and/or worthy of so-called mainstream scientific investigation.

To cut a long story short, Mr. Greer doesn’t believe that UFOs are actual spaceships piloted by alien intelligent life; his main argument is that most UFO sightings (Unidentified Flying Objects, remember?) have been the result of a shifting public consciousness: in over 70 years, people have learned to interpret mysterious lights in the sky in very specific ways, mostly because of science fiction and popular culture that goes back to the first half of the 20th century, in turn a particularly American cultural phenomenon that for geopolitical and social reasons went global.

“I want to believe” goes part and parcel with the clumsy moves involved in the change from a world dominated by religion to one were religion has been replaced by overwhelming materialism: when there’s nothing to believe in any more, something to believe in has to be invented.

In a recurring theme for Mr. Greer, he makes the point that it’s not just the “believers” that are looking for something to latch onto: scientism, materialism and positivism are the skeptics’ pacifier, and both believers and skeptics use flawed reasoning to win over the other side. The former states that UFOs exist but fails to imagine that there can be other answers to “what is that thing flying over there?” apart from “aliens, of course!”; the skeptics, on the other hand, fail because they restrict themselves to debunking the believers: either the believers are right or they are not, which somehow gets warped to “UFOs are alien or they do not exist”, which is a false dichotomy. They of course proceed to give all the reasons why any sighting must either be a hoax, or a hallucination, or “swamp gas”; Mr. Greer is right to ask “what if a UFO sighting is legit, that is to say, not a hallucination or a hoax, there really was a strange light in the sky, but it simply was not alien?”

Before listing his own attempts at explaining UFOs, he goes over how a hypothesis has to be disprovable in order to be scientific—in fact, that’s the very basis of the scientific method. He mostly leans towards American or Soviet secret/black budget projects, as of yet unexplained natural phenomena and aethereal/immaterial encounters, reports of which have been appearing in cultures all over the world for millennia.

For me the most interesting was the chapter on the black budget projects (think Area 51) and the secret aircraft: it would actually make sense that the US government through its denial and refusal of disclosure would fuel the fires of suspicion that what its Cold War secret military projects really were were alien spacecraft and in this way muddy the waters. Get your population as well as the Ruskies to believe that UFOs are a thing and you can fly any superweapon around and draw little suspicion as to what you’re actually doing.

Mr. Greer discusses these conspiracy theories with so much data and references to draw from and paints such an easy-to-follow picture, always within context, it’s just insulting to claim the material discussed is merely conspiracies at this point. Of course, each case is unique and some are still shrouded in true mystery, but that’s precisely what Mysterious Universe is for!

Great book, amazing and inspiring man. Couldn’t stop flicking my phone’s screen running PDF Reader.

Just one thing: for all that’s good in this world, do try and find a better cover artist!

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Το ριβιού.

Αν και όχι τέλειο, το παιχνίδι με ενέπνευσε με την απεικόνιση της μετάβασης του κόσμου από τα τέλη της Ρωμαϊκής Περιόδου στην επονομαζόμενη Σκοτεινή Περίοδο.

Περιμένει άραγε τον κόσμο μας σήμερα μια άλλη, νέα σκοτεινή περιόδος, με ανάλογες καταστροφές, όπως περίμενε την Ρωμαϊκή Αυτοκρατορία στην αρχή της κατρακύλας μια μακραίωνη και επιταχυνόμενη κατηφόρα;


The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial AgeThe Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age by John Michael Greer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently read two of Mr. Greer’s books,
The Long Descent
and The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World. This review is for both of them, as they made me feel and think more or less the same things. For your information, both share the same ideological and theoretical ideas, but they were different in some aspects: The Long Descent’s explanation of what the myth of progress is and how and why it came about I enjoyed more, while it was the practical information, tips, guidelines, the rough sketches of the direction humanity should/will be taking in the next few decades or centuries and the different aspects and challenges of life in the future that I thought were exceptionally valuable in The Ecotechnic Future.

Some have expressed the problems of The Long Descent as in this review, especially related to the more practical aspects of recycling old technology. If you disregard these problems, or are willing to accept them for what they are or look into them for alternatives, these are tremendous books that serve as manuals on theoretical, philosophical and practical levels on how to perceive what’s imperceptible for most people in the present, prepare for the future and predict what it might look like and understand history in a different way which would raise plenty of eyebrows.

Nevertheless, Greer’s argument is incredibly solid. He presents the myth/religion of progress, the inevitability and unavoidable reality of the long peak-oik collapse and the fact that any suggested workaround that comes from the same “myth of progress” mental space as void of meaning and practicality, so convincingly, so eloquently, so overwhelmingly… I have few words left to express without exaggeration my level of admiration and approval I can show to this man.

He may be a druid (just adding it here because for some people it’s a minus, for me it’s a plus), he may have chosen to live without a cell phone or never tried playing video games, he may be “anti-science” or “anti-progress” (silly words coming from people who don’t but superficially grasp the meaning of these concepts), but few times have a I read the work of a man more in line with what I understand the true scientific spirit to be and only rarely do I come across the writings of a person who’s done his or her homework so deeply on what he or she’s purportedly against.

I’m serious. This is a challenge for you, if you’re up to it: persuade me that the points raised by these books and Greer’s work are moot. I can tell you from now that if you try you won’t be able to and will most likely resort to some variation of the typical “it will sort itself out/they will figure something out” or “it’s the next generation’s problem”, that are the popular ways of handling the prospect of the decline of industrial civilization today.

Mr. Greer’s work is not for everyone, but in my view it should be: almost every person living today, especially if their age marks them as young, would benefit from experiencing looking at industrial society and civilization through the prism future generations, who will live by scavenging iron off skyscrapers, to give one particularly memorable prediction off these books, will judge us by. It’s quite a revealing, shocking but also strangely rewarding experience.

The matters laid out by The Ecotechnic Future and The Long Descent form a significant part of what has been bothering me lately and will most likely influence my future decisions. For that I’m grateful. Not happy, at least not yet, how can one be happy when he or she has realised the profundity of his or her own uselessness, but grateful nevertheless.

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Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Eternal ProgressNot the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Eternal Progress by John Michael Greer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick read, rich in information, read on Kindle. John Michael Greer is my recent obsession I discovered through Ran Prieur and the links he posts on his blog.

Having been a regular reader of JMG’s blog The Archdruid Report for a few months now, the content and topic of Not the Future We Ordered didn’t come as a surprise. In short, it’s about how progress is our contemporary “civic religion” and myth; what the psychological impact of living through peak oil and its aftermath will look like in the wider population (surprising and fascinating to read) and what people should be doing to build some foundation for the future and for young people to improve their chances of survival in the future, the current situation being what it is. Made my current desire to go find some land somewhere, cultivate it and develop my hardly existent practical skills even stronger.

Overall, if the topic interests you–it absolutely should–but you’re kind of put off by the fact that JMG is, well, an archdruid, take my advice and allow yourself to be surprised by how eloquent, backed up, bulletproof and to the point his argumentation is. I’m giving this book just three stars out of five because a lot of the information I felt I had already come across in the blog (albeit in the book it was more structured) and because it was short! What can I say? I love me some JMG.

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There’s No Tomorrow

Amazing film on energy, growth and food (έχει και ελληνικούς υπότιτλους). It’s Ecology 101, really. Watch it; if you can come up with a good way to get out of this mess -apart from mass conversion to degrowth– tell me. In the meantime, also tell the rest of the world; if no inhuman corporate interest intervenes (including in the form of public disapproval/indifference), you just might become the most important person of the 21st century, if not the whole of human history, at least as we can envision it today.

Alas, many have tried, and today, as far as I can see, there truly seems to be No Tomorrow, at least for the world as we have come to know it. Young people alive today will have to be ready to take the responsibility of being the founders of the post-collapse society.

Are you up for it?

Thanks to Séverine from Heterotopies for posting this on Facebook some months back; only today did I decide to clean it from my tab dump by actually watching it. Internet distraction… ><