Everything is divided, nothing is complete
Everything looks impressive, do not be deceived
Put on your anthropologist’s spectacles, and take a look at the popular depiction of superior extraterrestrial life: the limbs are flimsy and weak, the body gaunt, the head and braincase engorged. The overall impression is grotesque. Why? Because they no longer need their bodies. Only the mind matters. They are hopelessly dependent on technologies to survive. Here is the naked expression of the real ambitions of technocratic civilization: to transcend the body, to live among the stars. Is it any accident that the most geriatric cultures seem to evolve towards a similar wish to evaporate, to become ethereal, elongated, sexless, personless: to live among cloud vapor like the Chinese, or among starstuff like the Egyptians?
More and more we understand that Euro-American culture is too fatigued to hold much promise. The future is elsewhere. We want to see it, we want to be transitional figures, we want to translate the heritage of the last 2,000 years for the benefit of the next 1,000. What matters? Overcoming latent Christian morality. Overcoming the stalemate of Western politics. Overcoming the reliance on fossil fuels. Overcoming the alienation from the body.
There are at least three factors which contribute to the likelihood of eventual global economic decline:
Depletion of fossil fuels
Depletion of arable land
Take note of what’s not on this list: global warming is largely a red herring. Climate change is already a fact, but the consequences may take anywhere between 10 and 1,000 years to play out. Moreover, climate change by itself does not represent something we could not overcome. If Florida and Venice and Amsterdam are swallowed by the sea, if tunafish and polar bears go extinct, if firestorms and hurricanes become more common: none of this matters at the millennial timescale. In fact what most people are unaware of, is that the earth regularly undergoes massive climate change due to the glaciation cycle with periodicities of 40,000 and 100,000 years – otherwise known as Milankovitch cycles. This means that hominids have lived through at least three or four ice ages even in places where they’d be seriously affected by it: Europe and the northern Asian steppe. In other words, climate change is an old enemy we’ve beaten many times before.
What will hurt much more immediately is quite simple. It is much less arcane, much more personal, and much more inconvenient for those activists and moralists for whom climate change and global extinction rates serve as beloved effigies. The problem I’m speaking of stares us all in the face every day, yet it is something almost everyone in the first world has never really known: hunger.
It’s amazing how no one listens to the experts: Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, called “father of the green revolution”, credited with preventing the starvation of a billion people – and yet no one wants to hear him talk about overpopulation and the uncertain future of food. It’s very simple:
There are too many human beings. To grasp the scale, realize that there is now more human biomass on the earth than all other wild mammalian forms of life combined. Adding our ecologically expensive livestock to the figure results in a mass greater even than all the blue-green algae of the ocean. And again adding our cereal crops comes out to a mass greater even than all the fish in the world.
There is effectively no more arable land and most of it is already cultivated at maximum. The only way to procure more, is to remove more forest. This will probably happen despite the consequences.
The only reason we have so much food is due to the exploitation of petroleum in transportation and the production of synthetic fertilizers. The “green revolution” lies partly in better strains, but much more so in increasing the yields of arable land using machinery powered by fossil fuels and inorganic fertilizers whose production is made possible by fossil fuels. This in concert with lower infant mortality is what made the population explosion of the 20th century possible.
Let’s make this even simpler. The energy our bodies consume must come from somewhere. Ultimately all ecological energy is solar energy, via photosynthesis. So if we’ve always consumed solar energy and still do, what’s the problem? To answer this we’ll outline our ecological history in three phases:
The hunter-gatherer era. For at least one million years, that is for the vast majority of the existence of our ancestors, Homo species hunted and gathered food from their environment. As emerging apex predators, we consumed prey which were in turn much more numerous, just as they still are in the wild today: many rabbits, few hawks. Imagine eating a wild antelope: the antelope’s meat was grown from the grass, which grew from the soil and was powered by the sun. The antelope has “gathered” the energy for you: you need only harvest it. The same is true for any plants consumed. We sat at the top, or near the top, of a pyramid with a very wide base.
The agricultural era. For roughly the last 10,000 years, Homo sapiens has learned to produce more food from less land by controlling plant growth. We both eat the plants directly and raise animals on those plants. Yet the net energy per capita harvested in an agricultural system is not necessarily greater than hunting and gathering: farming is hard work. Then why farm? Because population pressure demands it. When a wild ecosystem can no longer support a burgeoning predator population, the usual consequence is depopulation of the predator followed by recovery of the prey. This no doubt happened many times in human history. Agriculture circumvents this ecological balance. Thus human civilization as we know it begins at this point: agriculture allowed not only greater concentrations of human beings than ever before, but made wealth possible, and hence class distinction and mass warfare – civilization did not triumph because it is “better” for anyone, but because it is overwhelming. The main limiting factor in this phase is the reliance on human and animal labor and the difficulties of transportation and storage. Empires such as Rome and China were therefore sprawling, and transporting food from the rural periphery to the urban center was a constant concern. Meanwhile, most of the population must be engaged in agricultural work: this was the shape of the ancient world.
The industrial era. The discovery and manipulation of fossil fuels began in England in earnest at around 1800. For only about 200 years now, we’ve been burning coal and oil on an industrial scale. It’s not clever technologies and innovations and wise planning that has made the last 200 years an era of exponential human population growth: it’s the cheap energy of fossil fuels. And what are fossil fuels? Concentrated solar energy from millions of years of photosynthesis. All talk of inevitable human progress and the salvation by technology is blind to the glaring fact that our rise to godlike status in the 20th century has been a jetfueled monstertruck headed for the stadium wall at full speed…
Let’s not confuse skepticism of petroleum dependence with some naïve formula like “oil is evil”. The mastery of combustion is the original human genius: animal life itself, the human body included, is nothing but a furnace. Oxygen + hydrocarbons = fun. As someone who lives “off-grid”, I know the value of fire. Therefore I’m highly doubtful that those who imagine they oppose petroleum production and its more obvious damages in the shape of hydraulic fracturing, have taken the trouble to try living without petroleum products, including the food they eat. But what is likely to be missed even more, is not just the miracle of the combustion engine and the energetic density of gasoline, but cheap plastics. Unless it’s an industrial secret kept from the general public, there is no feasible way to efficiently mass produce high quality plastics from recycled plastic: virgin oil will be perhaps more highly prized for this reason alone than any other.
One important fact need be emphasized above all else: food prices are currently dependent on cheap fuel. Oil is the magic energy we turn into cheap surplus food. Before the industrial revolution, about 80% of the population was involved in agriculture. This number is now around 4% in developed nations.
This incredible food surplus is only possible with cheap, readily mined fossil fuels. Again, fossil fuel is nothing but concentrated solar power. There is no other known way to cheaply concentrate solar radiation on our timescale; none of the alternative energy sources produce sufficient net energy at a rate that would allow both complete dependence on such sources and the maintenance of our current high energy lifestyle. This is also ignoring the still unsolved problem of the battery, which has an energetic density many times lower than fossil fuels. All the proud little graphs you see about expanding green energy production are measures of electricity production only. Look at the total energy produced and consumed compared to the output of any alternative source: fossil fuels account for about 80% of all “total primary energy supply”, according to the International Energy Agency as of 2018. The next largest source is “biofuel” – essentially woodburning – at 10%: which means that 90% of our energy still comes from setting things on fire. The renewable sources like solar and wind in which we place so much hope come to… 2%. The rest is enormously expensive hydroelectric dams and nuclear fission. And according to the same experts, what energy source is most likely to see the most stable growth worldwide in the next few decades? Coal. In the 21st century, the “Space Age”, the “Information Age”, when we’re supposed to be living on the moon with personal helicopters and robotic bodies – coal will probably assume an even greater role than it already has alongside natural gas, simply because there’s still a lot of both.
Forget the gas in your car: what will hurt is the rising price of real food. What is already happening, is that cheaper manufactured substitute “food” will gradually assume the leading role in the diet of the majority. Soy and corn and other low quality calorie sources will only become more commonplace. Animal protein, fresh vegetables, tropical fruits, and other costlier produce will gradually become something only the rich can afford. Peak oil drives all of this.
Because of fracking, oil shale, and certain reserves like the Venezuelan deposits, my guess is that we may have another 50 years of business-as-usual ahead of us. But by 2050, it seems unlikely that food price inflation will not be somewhat visible in the first world. Yet due to the tremendous inertia behind us, the astounding ingenuity of oil producers to extract their product, alongside certain unexploited resources such as the huge quantity of methane under the ocean floor, it’s possible that another two centuries of fossil fuel dependence will pass before we absolutely must find another energy model. All of this may happen slowly and gently. However, in this scenario the average quality of life in the first world will decline, until there is a small elite who live as they did in the 20th century, and a vast underclass of the protein-starved, frustrated, and vaguely confused. Destratification and homogeneity at the bottom level will emerge. Urban centers will gradually, perhaps imperceptibly, degenerate and decay, while the wealthy few sequester themselves in remote fortresses and “gated communities”. Global trade will slow, and the infinite consumer paradise we currently enjoy will be constricted and expensive. However, due to the invincible nature of human adaptation, there’s also likely to be many small populations in rural places practicing barter economy and some cooperation. There may even be places relatively untouched, which by virtue of simply being left alone will quickly recover their natural abundance: Java, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Hawaii. Life in a few out of the way places may be better than ever, and this era of “decline” may turn out to be one of the most creative and interesting times to have lived.
Among artists, Hayao Miyazaki seems to grasp our fate best. Nausicaä (風の谷のナウシカ) articulates this kind of distant future of vestigial technology mixed with a renewed reliance on the more archaic. One day there will be no significant fossil fuel reserves remaining. We will revert to human and animal labor, the slow ways of wind and water power, and biomass combustion: woodburning, steampower, forged iron, etc. “Ancient” technology from our era will be much coveted and little understood.
Coal liquefaction may take the place of petroleum. There’s supposed to be enough proven coal reserves to last us another 150 years even accounting for acceleration. You think the future is electric cars? The future is much more likely to contain at least 100 years of coal-fired industrial activity on an even larger scale than presently. This all becomes even more likely once you understand that China has immense coal reserves. Since the Chinese are known to be farsighted and capable of multigenerational leadership, one wonders what the plan could be relative to environmental degradation, global food shortages, and depleted fuel supply. My guess: they don’t care. World domination through untold accumulated wealth is the plan. The cost in ecological terms is irrelevant. If the resulting world is hot, hazy, and miserable: so be it. That’s the real 中国梦. – I won’t translate here, because we better get used to seeing it just like that.
China: si vis bellum, para pacem. So much rests on what she does. The struggle between China and the States for dominance: will it ever erupt into a military conflict or will it remain economic? Will they be content to rule Asia? Will the tension around Taiwan snap? For all its farsighted economic cunning, did Chinese leadership stumble and fail to account for the geriatric topheavy demographic aftereffect of the single-child rule? Will it sag under its own aging population or will its immense accumulated wealth be turned into a technocratic army to rival the American? Will its corner-cutting, peasant-like shoddy workmanship play out there too, and will it fail to stay ahead of the American talent for weapon engineering? What will come of its ownership of African resources? Will Darfur be a mere prelude?
There is yet another term to familiarize yourself with: “peak phosphorus”. Before the efficient manufacture of fertilizer from mineral phosphorus was discovered in the 20th century, the availability of fertilizer was a significant limiting factor in human population growth. There was a time in the late 19th century when guano counted as among the chief items of industrial trade in the Pacific. But there is only so much easily mined rock phosphorus, and the problem will only compound as petroleum fuels become scarcer. Again, I see two astoundingly stupid factors at play: 1) The experts aware of these problems don’t talk about it much, or aren’t listened to. 2) Climate change and extinction of vulnerable species is so much more appealing to the general vanity of the environmentalist – so much more so than talking about where our future manure might come from – that we generally remain ignorant of even the most basic facts of 21st century livelihood. “The Manure of the Future” has a passable death metal ring to it, no?
I don’t predict collapse: indeed I’ve tried to write this chapter with a minimum of self-assured predictions – we’d be better served by learning to see current trajectories, past patterns, and the holistic character than indulging in believing we know. We’re better off learning to dream, than to “know”. To dream wholeheartedly is to learn to live with the unknown, and sometimes the unliveable. Also as psychologists, we must suspect a projective resentment and an unanalyzed wish-fulfillment whenever doom is prophesized… and beware of this narcotic.
Global capitalism is too robust for “collapse”: it not only absorbs failure efficiently, it thrives on multiple failures. Decentralization and deregulation may result in an ugly, uninspired, ignoble world – but it outcompetes restraint and beauty every time. We musn’t believe that our world is the “best of all possible worlds” by any measure: efficiency and the average prevails over the longterm – evolution is not the triumph of the “fittest”, but the most numerous.
4% is that magical annual rate of change by which worlds can be turned upside down, without anyone caring or remembering any other reality.
All “concern for the environment” is yet another red herring. I doubt whether “the man” even needs to encourage this distraction. The hysterical attachment to some obscure species on another continent – doesn’t it make all legitimate discourse on the fate of human civilization seem silly? A tree frog will disappear from the Amazon? No one cares nor ever will, because it was never about the frog. Environmentalists want two things simultaneously: to feel powerful, and to feel blameless. To exercise power with a clear conscience: something not easily obtained today. What do their actions say? That they want to continue living precisely the same as any other first world slob, but “greenwashed” with the same sickly teal-green of smug satisfaction their Subaru wears. But make no mistake: if the price of food becomes exorbitant, if famine ever strikes, a type so given to moral posturing will hesitate all the less to eat anything, everything, and anyone.
No one wants to talk about overpopulation. Since the 1970s, the problem has faded from the popular discourse. Scientists in isolated niches assure each other that a target of 12 billion is not too many; but they don’t talk openly about it enough for the whole picture to emerge. I once asked a sociologist from the United Nations this question, and she merely expressed her certainty that population stabilization will occur – but amazingly, did not seem to be aware of the energetic demand involved in feeding that number: overspecialization and moral fear keeps the science dampened. Yet if we had unlimited energy, we could probably get away with it. Even given shortages of arable land, inorganic fertilizer, and fresh water, combined with a global loss of biodiversity, climate instability, ocean acidification, and perhaps even a great dieoff of the algae that produce so much of our oxygen – with enough surplus energy all of this could be overcome, aggressively. The result might be ugly, but we could force the planetary system into supporting an absurd human biomass, indefinitely. And with enough planning and foresight and realism, a sustainable model could probably still be achieved. The problem is certainly not our lack of cleverness. It is the modern weak stomach that hinders us.
The ecologically sane perspective almost no one is prepared to hear, is that 100 million human beings is probably more than enough and already too generous, since 10 million is near the global maximum for most large land animals: can you imagine the paradise this world could be, for us and the other creatures who live here, if we had both the modesty and the courage to control ourselves? Can you imagine the godlike standard of living and abundance such a people would enjoy? With a single stroke, within a few generations, we could reduce human population to a reasonable number which would allow us not 50 but maybe 1,000 years to solve the energy problem at our leisure.
We have some of the most obedient populations that have ever been: propaganda and a shifting cultural norm could work wonders. Wouldn’t it be wise if we finally put all that morality and obedience to work for something worthwhile? China has proven what can be accomplished with minimal coercion: although there have been costs, including the millions of “missing girls” – overall it’s remarkable how humanely enacted the one-child policy seems to have been. Yet as a freethinker it’s unpalatable to consider government involvement in something so personal and bodily as childbirth, else it encourages human trafficking and other ills…
You see, even this much vision and farsightedness is too “violent” for our feeble hearts and moral sentimentality. No one wants blood on their hands: interestingly we are more comfortable with the blood of unborn children than unconceived children. And absolutely no one in the Western world will touch the issue of sterilization – even the idea of humanely incentivized sterilization is too forceful, too much leadership, too rational. Yet one day the facts will force the issue, and we will have pissed this opportunity down our collective legs like the frightened children we are.
No one seems to understand that the project of depopulation is not about wanting death, but life. A depopulated world is a world of unbounded opportunity: to have the wealth of the past without the burden of the present, the promise of the future without the failures of the old. It’s a question of setting our children free: I consistently find myself siding against the rapacious gerontocracy – so greedy for a life they never began living. When did we become incapable of a sacrifice for future generations?
More of us does not equal more humanity: we do less now with more than ever, communicate and think less now with more noise than ever. Every cultural blossoming happens within a relatively small group of freely borrowing and rivalrous peers. On the other side of this human infestation, an unlimited human renaissance hesitates on the horizon like an uncertain guest. We are speaking of nothing less than the redemption of the project of civilization: surely more than one heart stirs at this thought.
This is no “greenwashed” agenda: taking the most anthropocentric perspective imaginable, reckoning even a hostility towards nature, depopulation is obviously the right choice. But I’ve come to understand that there is no chance of it happening willingly: necessity, destruction, wrath, disease must be paid their due. Death will have its wergeld one way or another.
I know I shouldn’t be amazed how rarely anyone puts all the pieces together, despite how readily obtained all this information is. The despair and guilt evoked, the unconscious resistances, the temptation to resort either to wishful doom or willful ignorance: these forces in concert are too much for most observers, and so they fall either into a self-congratulatory and impotent “green party” attempting to save the world with recycling and bicycles; or a more realistic but even more heavily moralized status quo which repeats “we can feed 10 billion people” without ever putting that figure next to a realistic assessment of shrinking energy supply and the cost to human health; or the easiest position of the flag-waving march of profiteers.
The apemind fundamentally believes in reward and punishment: this one wants to see humanity punished for its excesses, that one wants to be rewarded for his obedience, this one wants to see the weak punished for their weakness, that one wants to see the strong punished for their strength, this one wants to be rewarded for his morality, that one wants to be rewarded for his immorality…
Yet despite all this, I know that I am not alone in calmly thinking these thoughts to their rational conclusion: there is as yet no magic replacement for fossil fuel; we are unwilling to give up our lifestyle; overpopulation is a fact; the standard of health is already declining; current moral climate absolutely precludes any discussion of population control; if we fail to take action this century the future is highly uncertain… And we arrive back where we started: COVID-19 as immunosuppressant primer. But again, through experience I’ve learned to doubt the existence of this much planning and foresight and the reckless courage a real conspiracy would require: consider for example how easy a terrorist attack of a variety of kinds would be, and how remarkable it is that hardly anyone attempts it… The planes that struck the Twin Towers in 2001 were hijacked with little more than butter knives. In addition, we must be suspicious of how much we want a conspiracy of doom… The truth is hardly ever this gratifying and glorious.
There is a still darker possibility. My darkest vision yet: that we will succeed in developing an alternative energy source in time to prevent constriction of global capitalism, that the freemarket will prevail, that our inexhaustible technological apemind will “save” us, that there will be no great reckoning, that we will not be forced to give up industrial agriculture, that we will not experience depopulation, that we will not be forced to relearn the use of our bodies. In this longterm dystopia, humanity becomes ever more reliant on technology, ever more sickly, ever more pampered and shielded and watched over, ever more dependent on drugs and medical intervention, until what remains is a grotesque obese invalid. In some places, in a Walmart parking lot feverdream, one sees this already happening. It’s possible that our inexhaustible cleverness will hold off nature’s final triumph for millennia, by which time we will have become truly and perhaps irreversibly wretched.
The countless drones of the herd trample each other for the sake of the latest wireless toy dispensed by the glistening teats of Chinese manufacturing – yet we believe these same people, when they finally learn what hunger really is, will not turn to cannibalism? The “goodness of the human heart”: I don’t believe a word. What I do believe, is the indelible will to live and adapt of the human spirit. Even in the darkest of scenarios, there will certainly be survivors and even those who thrive. In fact, an age of “darkness” such as we’re describing here, could turn out to be the golden age for an entirely different type of human being than what thrives now: the violent, predatory, and joyous type could emerge again, shake loose the moral crust which was after all only lightly adhered, and carry on as though the Pleistocene had never ended. And centuries later, in the long aftermath, there could be another golden age of peace, longevity, and abundance such as the human being has rarely known: a kind of island life, a medieval pace, an agrarian simplicity, a dream worthy of Old Long Ears himself.
There is virtually no risk of human extinction at any timescale worth discussing: as much as I share the sentiment, nothing damages the realistic assessment of ecological limits like an overreaching and wishful prophecy of annihilation – it makes the advocates of infinite growth seem more reasonable. I choose to deposit my misanthropy elsewhere: psychology as the heatsink of unrelenting misanthropy, rechanneled like a steampowered auger into this yet more realistic and more appreciative worldview… My ambition is to love both shadow and light, blood and nectar, wrath and joy. We are the indomitable ape: to imagine that none of us still possess the instincts and the grit to live like our ancestors did for hundreds of thousands of years, is to betray not only what one wishes upon one’s neighbor, but what one already knows about oneself…
Let’s try on this possibility: that the new Middle Ages has already begun. That the years 1496 to 1969 will be considered peak modernity. That no one will perceive it this way for many centuries. That the next millennium will see the slow resurgence of feudalism and the old world order: massive wealth concentration at the top of an international aristocracy; the corporation will eventually resemble the old guilds more than anything else; mercenary armies will return to predominance; the nationstate will dissolve into monarchies, empires, fiefdoms; China will regain its place as the wealthiest and most stable empire, a title it held for 2,000 years until the 1800s; Europe will become the preferred vacation and retirement center of the elite few; India will continue to be overcrowded and chaotic; sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be exploited and never get a chance at post-industrial consumerism; the US will age, mellow, partially fragment, and become increasingly irrelevant – as Britain has. But just as the Byzantine empire continued the Roman traditions for 1,000 years after Rome itself decayed, just as the Islamic world blossomed so unexpectedly, there are many unforeseen possibilities – and “medieval times” were not such “dark ages” for many. Ignorance and peasantry would not necessarily be a worse fate for the millions of thrashing and drowning “informed consumers”; literacy and the illusion of democracy has not been proven to improve humankind generally…
For some readers it may seem out of place and hopelessly out of fashion for the same book to discuss prehistory, compassion, Wittgenstein, and peak oil. Others may only call it hubris. But to my eyes this is a timidity and a polite academic waltz I refuse to obey: all those with the intellectual prowess to face down these questions with the proper historical and psychological scope preemptively lock themselves away and hide their ignorance of the world behind obfuscation. It’s analogous to what’s happened to the natural sciences: biologists don’t spend time in nature anymore. Our philosophers don’t acquire experience; they curate vocabulary.
Therefore while we may be mistaken about the imagined ecological reckoning on the horizon, we are not wrong about the importance of confronting what our world is and will be. Moreover as long as all environmentalism refuses to be honest about the fictitious quality of our moral attitudes, as long as we cannot stop fantasizing about “nonviolent life” and the abolition of exploitation, as long as we continue to imagine that 10 or 12 billion human beings is not grotesque and irresponsible, we seem bound to make many fatal errors that future generations will not forgive.
No solution. When we point all this out – the maladaptation of modern humankind, the awkward fit of these Neolithically conditioned genders into current roles, the pathological origin of our morality – we hear you responding: “But what then is the solution? You can’t negate all the bright and eager hopes of liberated humanity without asserting your alternative!” But we can. There is no reason at all to assume an ideal arrangement of civilization, or that humankind is fated to live with a maximum of both technology and happiness. The nationstate is not natural, nor fated, nor guaranteed to ever be anything but a monster. We must stop hallucinating an “invisible hand” where there is none. We must stop foisting responsibility for this experiment called civilization upon some absent implicit divine intention, as all politics and most philosophy still does. We are in the midst of a 10,000 year experiment, and although it initially seemed to yield grander beauty and wonders that redeemed the untold suffering it cost, it has gone awry and to some of us, no longer seems to justify itself.
Therefore, what has become my best wishes to humankind: we will not adopt another energy source before the end of cheap fossil fuel. We will not avert the consequences. We will experience depopulation.
Yet remain cheerful! We refuse the gloomy attitude of the postmodern intellectual elite with nothing better to do than dream up reasons for fashionable ennui and self-pity: the last 200 years has been a party of epic proportions and the climax is nearing. The “singularity” is nearing, although it may not be what some hope: a spectacle of chaos and hunger and horror not seen by human eyes in many years. But the harder the brake, the better the aftermath: it’s well known that the generations after the Bubonic Plague enjoyed a greatly increased standard of living and a new freedom which catalyzed the Renaissance.
What does the overall course we take now look like? Like an immature young man having inherited big money too soon, like his week-long party you’ve stumbled into where he blows most of it in one go. When else will you get a chance to crush a Lamborghini with a backhoe?
The Mad Max apocalyptic fantasies multiply: why? Because we want the end. We spend our inheritance of black gold like we can’t spend it fast enough – we want out! Out of this mess, these unliveable cities with unliveable noise and unliveable constraint – and even more so these unliveable moral demands, this sense of constant surveillance, constant failure, unending guilt – the panopticon must topple! The totem is full? Topple the totem! Our ancestors are calling us back to their ways and we want to take our place beside them…
This is an excerpt from Bartholomy’s book, The Moral Disease.