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C-Realm Feedback

I usually don't do this, but I'm going to post an email that I received from a listener. It's long... the kind of thing I'd read aloud to fill out a show when I didn't have two full interview segments to play. The exact opposite is the case for the coming week's program.

Recently, I'd come to the conclusion that while a lot of listeners come in through the peak oil sites, they were mainly single-issue listeners who only tuned in for the likes of Nate Hagens, James Howard Kunstler, or Dmitry Orlov and who had no truck with the larger family of themes that motivate the C-Realm project. In particular, I was under the impression that the real supporters of the show where the psychedelic tribe. This was mainly because I heard the names of many C-Realm benefactors repeated when Lorenzo thanked his contributors, and more recently I've heard Martin Ball thank some of those same people on his program.

Pre-amble complete. It's a long letter, so I've put it behind a cut tag for them what don't care.


Not sure where to start - I have a feeling this may get kind of long, but I'll try not to overdo it.

First of all - thank you! I've been an avid consumer of podcasts for the last 18 months, listening regularly to perhaps a dozen or so. I found your podcast perhaps a month and a half ago, following a link from www.theoildrum.com (I think to the interview you did with Nate Hagens). Halfway into the first episode I downloaded, I realized this would become my new favorite podcast, and I'm methodically working my way (alternately in chronological and reverse chronological order) through all the episodes from 18 onwards. Now relegated to second place are Radio Ecoshock (www.ecoshock.org), Living on Earth (www.loe.org) and Treehugger Radio (which has many great interviews). I also listen to Grist and a few other environmental ones, and download a lot from Global Public Media (which has a lot on Peak Oil, localization, intentional communities, etc.). The C-realm podcast has introduced me to many new topics (psychedelics) but also reacquainted me with some long lost friends (mediation and spirituality, for example).

Echoing many of your other listeners, I must thank you for your excellent mix of topics and guests, the earnestness with which you engage with your topics, and your awareness of not subscribing to ideologies and beliefs. There is also something very... gentle perhaps (?)... about your episodes. Some would perhaps find this a surprising adjective, given the frequency of episodes dealing with topics such as malthusian die-offs and the like, but I think it has more to do with your genuineness, your personal anecdotes and your carefulness not to engage in negativity. In a sense, it has been almost like gaining a new friend. I realize of course this is not literally the case - you don't know me, for a start - but I very much appreciate the tone of this podcast, and look forward to every new episode.

You mention in one early episode something about the difference between KMO the podcaster and KMO the blogger (the latter being more edgy, confrontational and opinionated or something like that - I can't remember the exact words you used). I find this resonates with my own experiences. I have spent quite a bit of time online the last year and a half, reading blogs and keeping an eye on climate (and lately Peak Oil) news updates. I find the tone of many blogs, discussion forums, etc. rather too bickering, opinionated and argumentative for my liking, and sometimes end up feeling emotionally drained and walk away from the keyboard full of righteous anger. However, as you have said a few times - if something doesn't give you energy, don't do it. So I've cut down on my blog watching, and have also stopped investing so much energy in it. I keep an eye on the news and blogs, but have instead started investing in the skill sets I think will help me and my family in the future. On one level, I also have a feeling that humanity as a whole is moving in the right direction even if we cannot always see it. I can't explain why, but I have faith that it'll all be okay. Something big is on the move and while things may seem hopeless, rapid changes are taking place under the surface - not just in the physical realm (climate change, peak oil, etc.) but also within humanity. I have hope.

A few lines about myself: I'm Norwegian, but work in the Philippines. I studied Anthropology and Philosophy at university (including environmental philosophy), and fully intended to move to a farm with a group of like-minded young idealists back in the early nineties. However, fate willed it otherwise, and I married an Australian, and spent the next few years moving between Perth and Norway, studied languages, had children, and became a teacher. International school teaching offered the opportunity to travel the world, and is also surprisingly well paid... for a teaching job at least. However, in November 2006, we had a screening at our school of An Inconvenient Truth, which for me was a very powerful experience. It was like waking up from a fifteen year long sleep. All the things I had been reading and thinking and talking about at university, but had since forgotten all about, hit me head on like a fifty-wheeler road train and I realized with a shock that these hitherto purely theoretical matters were now well underway in the real world and actually had been all along while we were sleeping, dreaming of endless economic prosperity.

It is interesting how when something unpleasant moves into your field of awareness, you can no longer ignore it. You start to see everything in a new light. While an awareness of environmental degradation and the coming troubles for our current civilization is hardly a pleasant thing, there's no way I'd want to go back to being ignorant of these matters. I am glad for having had my awareness expanded. It explains perhaps why I've never really enjoyed mainstream media, and the vision it presents of the kind of life you should strive for.

Okay, this is getting a bit lofty, so I'll return to the reason why I decided to write to you...

I appreciate very much the myriad connections explored in the C-Realm podcast between consciousness, spirituality, community, environment, culture, energy (of many kinds), etc. This has actually been another reunion with a long-lost interest for me, having spent several years in my early adulthood exploring meditation, yoga and questions of mind, consciousness and spirituality.

Anyways - I'm rambling now. I wanted to try to contribute some money to support the service you are offering, but have not managed yet to get my Norwegian bankcard to do work from here. I've come to the conclusion my bank blocks online payments from IP addresses in the Philippines (for security reasons - you have to be very careful sending bank cards here, as they're often intercepted in the mail). I guess I'll have to contact the bank to let them know I actually do mean to do online payments from here... It will have to wait till later.

What I can contribute right now, though, are some suggestions. You may not have read or listened to these people, but I think you might find them interesting.

Paul Hawken has written a book called Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being, wherein he explores the hundreds of thousands of environmental and social justice groups around the world, working in synchronous unison (without any central organization or coordination) towards essentially the same goal: preventing the theft of the future in the present. He likens this movement (which until now has not even gained awareness of its being a movement) to the human immune system, which perhaps more aptly could be called an immune network. It is an inspiring, touching and powerful book. If you're in a hurry, you can download a 1 hour speech he gave at the Long Now Foundation last summer from Radio Ecoshock (http://www.ecoshock.net/eshock/ES_071102_Show.mp3). I find it very inspiring for many of the same reasons I find your podcast inspiring.

Derrick Jensen is another interesting character, who reminds me in some ways of Ran Prieur in his views on (western) civilization (of which Gandhi said "I think it would be a good idea"). His website is http://www.derrickjensen.org/, and he has written books such as Endgame and The Culture of Make Believe. Many would say his ideas are rather radical, but I suspect many indigenous people, as well as animals, plants and rivers would appreciate what he has to say.

Time to sign off. Take care, and thank you again for the time and effort you put into this important work!



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
Looks like some great, helpful feedback!

I'm a little skeptical of those on the "Inconvenient Truth" bandwagon. You have to be a little incredulous to fall for the inaccuracies Gore went out of his way to include.

As for Derrick Jensen, he seems like an environmentalist's version of David Icke. He spoke here in Van a few months ago. Based on the 'information' on the flier, I was cynical of whether it'd be worth $10 to attend. After looking online for more of his work, I decided that paying money was secondary - attending wouldn't be worth my time.

We all progress through different paths and collaboration will be essential to enacting real solutions. Hopefully more people will progressively be attracted to empowering solutions rather than the implicit misanthropy within Gore, Jensen and peak oil's rhetoric.

All in all, I'd guess you get a good bit of feedback in support of your valuable work. What about 'negative' feedback? In my experience, negative feedback often consists of expletives, spelling errors and poor conjugation.

Mar. 9th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
I haven't read any of Derrick Jenson's books. I've watched interviews with him on YouTube. I can't really say I know enough about his positions to say whether I generally agree or disagree with him, but a good many C-Realm listeners have requested that I get him as a guest on the show, so I will be investigating further.

As for an inconvenient truth, yes, it goes overboard in places, and I think Gore's prescription, i.e. change your lightbulbs, is laughable. As far as I can tell, Al Gore still toe's the mainstream corporate/governmental line that we can achieve and should strive for unlimited economic growth, and so I don't count him as a voice for sanity, but I think his film did serve as an entry vector into important areas of thought for millions of people like the listener whose email I posted here.

I don't get much negative feedback directly. Sometimes Peak Oil types who link to shows that feature their favored spokesmen will post some acerbic remark to their blog along with the link to the tune of, "Skip ahead ten minutes to avoid listening to the new age fruitcake who hosts the show ramble on about nothing," but for the most part I don't get the kind of negative feedback you describe. What instances of it I have received have been in the listener comments section over on PodOMatic, and I always delete them without responding.

My guess is that the folks who would post the kind of small minded hostility you described would be so turned off by the tone of the show that they wouldn't stick with it long enough to even hear something they disagree with. Just a hunch.

There is one character over on the C-Realm forum who goes in for small-minded hostility and personal attacks which he has directed at me as well as other forum participants, but it's pretty clear from his comments that he's not a regular listen to the show. He just seems pugnacious and lacking in impulse control and adequate socialization. Not surprisingly, he's a techno-utopian.

Edited at 2008-03-09 05:18 pm (UTC)
Mar. 9th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Feedback
I'd be surprised if your listeners didn't want Jensen. I wouldn't denigrate your listeners, as he is relevant to the fields you're working with.

I think in many ways "Manufactured Landscapes" humiliates "An Inconvenient Truth", and it does so without resorting to lies and half-truths. However, "An Inconvenient Truth" has done a damned fine job of expanding the eco/fascist agenda while deluding people into thinking recycling will improve matters. I'm not sure that kind of motivation really helps matters.

Mar. 10th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Manufactured Landscapes
I watched the trailer on YouTube:


It looks stunning. I'd love to see it.
Mar. 10th, 2008 02:41 am (UTC)
Re: Manufactured Landscapes

Mar. 10th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Manufactured Landscapes
I'm afraid I don't know what to do with that link other than click on it, and my laptop doesn't know what to make of it when I do. :(
Mar. 10th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Manufactured Landscapes
Le sigh...

Are you on broadband, wireless or dialup?

For a user-friendly torrent client, you might try uTorrent [v. 1.7.7 stable, not the web gui]

Download and install uTorrent (or another client - Azureus, Mainline, ABC, etc). Download the .torrent file I linked you to. Open the .torrent file with your torrent client. You might have to set the download path and etc, but it should be pretty self-explanatory from there.

Mar. 10th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Manufactured Landscapes
A C-Realm listener over at the forum directed me to a TED talk by Edward Burtynsky:


As for the bitorrent thing, I'm on satellite with Hughesnet. If I download more the 300 megabytes in 24 hours, they cut off my service for 24 hours. Would a bitorrent movie download take up that much bandwidth? If so, I'll have to pass and keep my eyes peeled for a low cost DVD.

Thanks for bringing Burtynsky to my attention.
Mar. 10th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Manufactured Landscapes
In that case, you should not download the torrent. However, I'd be remiss for not pointing out that this seriously limits your exposure to information crucial to your efforts.

Mar. 17th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Bandwagon? ;)
About "bandwagon": People find the entry points they find, as you also allude to. While I have little hope that Gore's proposed solutions will solve much - and I guess even if they were, I'd like to see more substantive change in society as the current oppressive mainstream version is mind-numbing - the film certainly did an awful lot to raise the smallest common denominator in the climate change debate. (And just to be on the safe side, and I'm not offended by your reference to "bandwagon", nor do I think it was intended that way).

I haven't actually read any of Jensen's work, but find I can relate to much of what he says. He quoted John Livingston in a podcast I listened to recently and brought up a really interesting point: from a biological perspective, we are designed to live in the natural world. Therefore, the big urban experience does not lead to sensory overload - on the contrary, it leads to complete sensory deprivation, as in a city we see nothing that is natural, nothing that has not been mediated by human intervention. And what happens when you are deprived of sensory input? You start to hallucinate. Basically, people who live in entirely urban environments (he argues) have lost their minds and are hallucinating.

I'm not sure how literally one can take this, but it speaks to me loud and clear at the moment. I'm from a country with a population of 4.5 million, but for the last five years have been living in a third world city with a population of about 13 - 17 million people (no one actually knows, as there are so many homeless people).

The majority of people here are already struggling, and we've seen food and oil prices increase by about 20% just since last year. People at the bottom are definitely falling off the edge, and I don't want to be here in a few years time if current trends continue. Most everything you can buy in the supermarket has been produced in the US, so this is one fragile system.

Anyways, glad to have found this community.

Suggestion: as someone who lives outside the US, I'd be interested to know how many others there are. Have you thought about putting a Clustrmap widget on the side?

Mar. 17th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
Re: Bandwagon? ;)
Hm, being slightly pedantic about grammar, it totally bugs me that I cannot edit previous comments now that I just reread what I wrote before. The first paragraph almost doesn't make sense, for example.

Never mind, I think I got the gist across: I've more in common with those who (like Gore) assert the reality of anthropogenic climate change than with those who'd rather spend their time denying it all, proclaiming all at once that it's not happening, that we're not to blame for it, that there's nothing we can do about it, and that in any case it'll be good for us!

At the same time, I cannot for a second identify with those pushing "green" capitalism and those whose main concern it is to find alternatives to fossil fuels with an eye to keeping all our cars on the road. If green business helps, then that's great, but I'm not convinced it'll work. It seems to me there's so much in-built bias in our global capitalist society towards corporate profit, and I can't see how well-intentioned "sustainable" business will be able to make any difference. GDP growth is still the benchmark for success.

Feedback: Every now and then in each episode, an Aussie lass chimes in with a line about how 'C' stands for consciousness or some other short phrase like that. I'm not crazy about the echo effect in "and getting it all reconnected" - too techo for my liking... My favorite, which I think I've only heard in one of the earlier episodes, is "You're listening to the C-realm podcast. Good on ya!". Plain and simple. It put a big smile on my face.

Thanks again!
Mar. 17th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Bandwagon? ;)
Actually, you CAN edit your comments for a time after you post them. You'd want to click on the blue pencil icon in the upper right hand corner of the box in which your comment appears.

As for the Aussie lass, that's Black Beauty of BB's Bungalow. Some people like the "all re-connected" bumper so it will remain in rotation, but I'll throw the "good on ya" bumper back into the rotation.

Edited at 2008-03-17 02:42 pm (UTC)
Mar. 17th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Bandwagon? ;)
Hi Pratimoksha,

thanks for listening and for posting a comment. I'm not familiar with the widget you mentioned, but if you point me in the right direction I'll see if I can work it into my list of tasks. The to-do list is always significantly longer than the have-done list, so any help you can provide will increase the likelihood that it will actually happen.

In general, most of the listeners are in North America and Wester Europe with a few scattered across Asia. I get some downloads from Southern Iraq, and I imagine that those are from US (or "coalition") soldiers. I wish them the best.
Mar. 18th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Re: Bandwagon? ;)
I was thinking the voice sounded familiar - she's been on your show once, hasn't she?

Yeah, I'm new to livejournal so still figuring things out. I actually just created the account in order to join the discussion here, but I expected there'd be an edit comment button somewhere. However, it was hours later when I came back and reread my post.

I'll fiddle around with LJ and see if I can put together some directions on putting a map on your page here. I find them kind of neat - you get a red dot for every location someone's surfed in from, and the size of the dot indicates number of visits over time. I use it on a wordpress blog I maintain for work.

Actually, would it be more relevant to have such a map for your podomatic account? Is that where you get most visits? Or do you already get sufficient stats for that in the podomatic admin backend?

Take care
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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