Do you know the provenance of your petrol?

For the past two weeks, I’ve been travelling in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa on a family holiday. In the last seven days of that time, I’ve had no access to the internet or a mobile phone signal so have not been able to deal with comments made to this blog – my apologies to anyone whose comment has been delayed during this time.

One evening during this holiday, in the Satara camp in the heart of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, I had a very interesting conversation with Joe Milewski, one of my two brothers-in-law, and I record here my gratitude to him for sparking the idea for this post. Joe was saying that he is sick of paying money to the big oil companies for petrol or diesel but without being told the country of origin of those fuels. If you ask the filling station staff, they won’t know; if you ask the companies themselves, they will say it is impossible to give that information because so much of the oil is blended from different sources.

Which are the main oil-producing countries? The top ten, in terms of the numbers of barrels of crude oil produced each day, are:

  1. USA
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Russia
  4. Iraq
  5. Iran
  6. China
  7. Canada
  8. United Arab Emirates
  9. Kuwait
  10. India

The next ten, from 11-20, includes countries such as Venezuela, Angola, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Oman and Libya. You can see the full list here.

If one thinks about the large sums of money which, as car owners, we hand over each year to the oil companies, it’s a puzzle why so few of us go on to ask which countries are receiving their cut of that money. Should we really be helping to prop up dictators, kleptocrats and oppressors of their peoples by buying their petrol? Surely it’s time that we knew the provenance of the fuel we are buying so that we have an opportunity of making an informed choice?

After all, we do know the provenance of most other consumer purchases that we make. If I buy meat or cheese or fruit or clothing, I know from which country they originate. If I buy coffee, I know it comes from Columbia or Costa Rica or Brazil etc. Even if I buy a blend of coffees or teas, I will be told which countries contributed the ingredients.  I can find out where my tap water comes from just by asking the water company. Why can I not similarly know the origins of the fuel I put in my car, even if it’s a blend? It can’t be beyond the wit of oil executives to devise a system that would allow this to happen; so it must be because they don’t want us to know, fearing that consumer focus would then turn towards the various dodgy regimes with whom the oil companies are doing business.

It’s a sad fact that the discovery of oil in a particular country or region, which should be a blessing in terms of the work and wealth it brings, is far too often a curse that blights the people, entrenches corrupt governments and pollutes the environment. From what we know of the countries on the list above, it is apparent that many of them are notorious for corruption, human rights abuse or are dictatorships. Only those countries which have a mature democratic process and a judicial system free from government control seem to be able to distribute to their wider populations the benefits that flow from being an oil producer. Of the top twenty producers, the only ones which could be described in these terms are: USA, Canada, India and Norway.

Ethical consumers who wanted to buy petrol only from the countries on that short list would soon find it nearly impossible to fill their tank; and that of course is the point, which the oil companies don’t want us to realise: oil is a dirty business which perpetuates corruption and injustice in the world and makes us all complicit in it.

 

31 Comments

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31 responses to “Do you know the provenance of your petrol?

  1. Pierre Belance

    Thanks for this post Jeremy.
    It made me think that years ago, I don’t know if it’s the same today, a biodynamic farmer in Québec Canada came across the problems which all biodynamic farmers must be facing. When he needs to sell his milk to the major companies, he could only find solace by saying: at least some of that milk might make the rest better for everyone… When I buy milk, as many people do, we have no way to know where it comes from; except that today we have organic milk on the shelves, sometimes, and even then people I know seem to doubt the original provenance.

    Just an observation.

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    • Thank you, Pierre. Your comment about biodynamic milk is very relevant to me at the moment, because Tablehurst Farm in East Sussex (where I work) has just started to produce raw biodynamic milk from a small herd of Jersey cows. The farm has taken the decision that it will sell the milk directly to its customers, which it does via a vending machine outside the farm shop. Perhaps this is one way forward for other biodynamic producers, i.e. to sell directly to your local consumers. This also means that you get lots of feedback from your customers, which is always good to have.

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  2. Demetrios Peroulas

    Dear Jeremy and Friends,

    Look for example what is happening in Eastern Mediterranean (including the Aegean Sea) where, we are told, huge quantities of oil and gas were found. Greece (and Cyprus) are in the brink of war with Turkey (that wants to be a strong regional power) and both countries are obliged to make an alliance with Israel and Egypt under the auspices of USA and the big western oil companies. So (the spiritually and socially ruined) Greece becomes the front man of western capitalism against the eastern one. West versus East and Greece in the center (one more time). As you see, the situation is critical for Hellenism and the regional and global peace and security (amidst the innumerable grave tensions of our times).
    All this brings us face to face with the need for the resurrection of thinking which is possible only when man thinks with his whole body and being, through the whole spiritual-metabolic life cycle of the human being as a whole. In the words of Rudolf Steiner, we can say that he begins to think with his spleen, which mediate the transition from the ordinary ego to Spirit Self, and we can experience with him “this development from Tumpheit to illumination, Sälde; this was what became the motif of Parsifal. Parsifal develops from dullness to Sälde”. (Lecture of 22 October 1922, GA 218).
    “What one needs today is the kind of work that transforms spleen into enthusiasm, into fire so that men do not have a sleepy, but rather a wakeful civilization. This is what should come forth from Anthroposophy: to be awake, to have enthusiasm, to transform cognition into true activity, into deeds, so man does not only know more but will become something through Anthroposophy”.
    Let us join Rudolf Steiner as he reviews the metabolic process as a whole, from a spiritual perspective. The metabolic cycle, he says, must become the model of real spiritual activity, must fire our enthusiasm to do consciously, in our living thinking, what the whole human constitution is doing unconsciously with each intake, assimilation, and spiritualization of our physical nourishment:
    “One can say: foodstuff taken up, killed, revived, astralized, transformed into the ego…”. That is, after the food has been taken up and killed along the digestive track with its excretive processes, it goes through these enlivening, ensouling and spiritualizing stages.
    “It is:
    1. transported into the lymphatic glands;
    2. conveyed to the heart, fired by the heart.
    3. The kidneys then radiate through it, and all is astralized,
    4. taken up by the liver functioning and conveyed to the Ego.
    5. Then the whole can be caught up by the activity of the spleen and then, under certain circumstances the person will be made into an enthusiast, one who receives strength from the spiritual world through the activity of the spleen…the spleen is connected with all those activities of man which go beyond the ego, which approach the spirit-self. The spleen is even directly the organ of the spirit-self. It enters fully into the spiritual realm”.
    This is what it takes to enter fully into the spiritual realm and experience the first seeds of the transformation of the astral body into Spirit Self. This can only take place by means of fully conscious cognitive and moral activity.
    “Then the whole can be caught up by the activity of the spleen and the person will be made into an enthusiast, one who receives strength from the spiritual world through the activity of the spleen”.
    What does it mean to think in a living way? It means that if we want to experience the beneficial inner forces of warmth, whose reversal cause such ecological havoc by means of the so called “global warming”, we better stop imagining the human soul and its spiritual activity to be an isolated island and not an organic part of the earth and cosmos. On the contrary, if we consider the fact that warmth is composed of the inner, intensive etheric warmth forces before they become physical quantitative heat, we will gain a new insight concerning the real cause of global warming. Global warming has indeed much to do with the spiritual reality behind the external causes, such as CO2 emission (which needless to say, we must learn to control and minimize in any case); but when CO2 is exhaled by us and by our civilization, it is not only a material gas production. Etherically speaking, it makes enormous amounts of etheric forces free for creative spiritual and moral activity which they are not used for the good and are reversed and misused for ever greater egotistical greed and power. The etheric streams released by the global combustion, industrialization, transportation, data creation and consumption must find the way to unite and this can only happen in our hearts, minds and deeds with the increased in-streaming of the beneficial, life giving forces of the etheric world. This increasingly intensifying stream of new life brings with it, first of all, new forces of etheric warmth. But this etheric warmth forces are highly moral forces of spiritual fire and when they are neglected by humanity, they are reversed into their opposite and become physical, scorching, heat. Strange as it may sound, the truth must still be said clearly: the external rise in temperature is caused by the reversal of etheric warmth and love into forces of moral coldness, indifference and hatred, produced so abundantly by humans on the earth. The gracefully given etheric forces of life-giving warmth, reversed to moral coldness, turn into external forces of heat, and burn the earth. It is called also, esoterically speaking, “the wrath of God”, which is the other expression of God’s love, because it must burn away the increasingly thick ice of our moral coldness and the cold flames of our hatred to each other. The increase in global warming and external heat is not produced by the material gas emissions but because humans misuse the new etheric warmth.

    Love & warmth,
    Demetrios / Δημήτριος

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephen Hale

    We live on a dying, crumbling earth, wherein materialism holds sway in every economically-oriented valuation system, which means the entire population of human residents herein. As such, this is a certain consideration, designed to simply indicate four places where human endeavours have proven to make our world the place that we most value as consumers. It begins with the concept of “peak oil”, which follows the lead of John D. Rockefeller, and prior to that, the initiative of Leopold II of Belgium in acquiring the resources of Africa, and begins with Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, from 1776.

    All of these initiatives see the earth as a progressive commodity wherein resources are discovered and made into useful enterprises. Yet, only scientific materialism could have ever come up with the idea in the first place. And that leads us back to Sir Francis Bacon, who was the veritable spawn of the logical-empirical movement of Britain in the seventeenth century, and produced people like John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.

    I only offer these articles to read as a kind of review. My inspiration for doing so was the recent post by Demetrios Peroulas, which compelled me to write in response.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramble_for_Africa
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Rockefeller
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations

    I could be more controversial at this time by saying that the present G-7 Summit taking place in France might be where Trump is proposing the idea of America buying Greenland and gaining support for the idea because of the offshore drilling possibilities for oil extraction, which could easily become a venue for the European countries, and eventually leaving the Persian Gulf to themselves.

    Yet, wasn’t it years ago, back in the 1970’s, that we heard that fossil fuels, like oil, were becoming extinct, and we needed to develop solar energy? That seemed like a good idea to me.

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  4. visitor

    The proposition to know oil producers and based on that make “moral” or informed decisions seems pretty naive to me. Namely, there is no way to be “moral” on that level and it shows a certain delusion about ones capabilities to make unmistakable judgments about tangled subjects such as dynamics of oil productions, regimes etc. Not to mention creating a certain top-list of “good” and “bad” countries. Shall we ignore the fact that no doubt great many among free thinkers would question putting USA on top of moral vertical in these times (and not only these).
    Although it is impossible to make anyone change his beliefs based on any amount of rational argument since people are simply not designed that way, nevertheless we should never get tired of trying to highlight here and there some screaming cognitive dissonances in ones belief’s system. That’s basically the most we can do.
    For instance, I think it is useful to remind us, as fervent readers of Steiner’s explanations on origins of 1st World War, and remember how “official” explanations about causes: who was true warmonger and who a fake peacemaker etc. should at least make us cautious and humble in making any similar judgments based on today’s “normalized” knowledge broadcasted from all sorts of mass media. That caution would mark opening of our eyes for the true facts of political life and forces at play and, consequently, we would not depend anymore solely on diet of cold salad made of lies and all sorts of spins served through mainstream outlets for everyone and for free.

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    • Stephen Hale

      It was the United States that discovered oil and made it an industry back in the late 19th century. And, indeed, America provided 90% of the world’s petroleum needs for 3/4th’s of the 20th century, until the 1970’s indicated that the various oil fields drilled from Oklahoma, Texas, and California, had dried up, and the life’s blood of the earth on U.S. soil was gone. This led to the incentive of either developing solar energy, which is clean and inexhaustible, or exploiting other countries to produce oil, like Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela . Thus, this is how this list of producers exists. Yet, the USA went one step further by overthrowing every ecological imperative in preserving the various species of nature, by advocating off-shore drilling for oil, and this is largely what we see today in the continued expansion and dependence on oil.

      So, any list which puts the USA on the top of oil producing nations is owing to its original discovery, and the dominating position that the USA holds in the world’s economic affairs. Solar energy had a huge following and avocation for development back in the 1970’s, and largely due to the warnings of the exhaustion of fossil fuels, and the need for a clean source of sustainable energy, i.e., the Sun. And yet, rather than developing solar-collection devices, which had all the potential for innovation and expansion across the entire spectrum of energy needs, it was seen to be a better opportunity in seeking those oil reserves that existed off shore, in the gulfs and other deposits for the precious life’s blood of the earth.

      Yet, why would the life’s blood of the Earth ever have to be extracted in the first place? Could it be to make a resource for human consumption and dependence? Well, who could have thought of that when any useful cow can give milk and butter; any normal human being only wants what is useful.

      Now, I admit to gassing up with petrol from time to time, but I never have thought of the blend, and where it comes from. Rather, I have seen how many of the petrol stations in my area of the USA are now run by Arabs, which I suspect has to do with the affiliation with the UAE, i.e., United Arab Emirates. Maybe that indicates the provenance here, I don’t know, and further, I don’t care. I drive so little these days in going to and from the market, that I am much more encouraged by the idea of one cow giving milk and butter from a raw milk farm. Maybe she is named Bessie, or Daisy, but the idea is simple. I am sure Thoreau could have had much to say on it. He died in the midst of the American Civil War, c. 1862, and had previously indicated his dismay about the Mexican War, where the United States was forcing Mexico to give up its territories here, c. 1847-48.

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  5. Simon Bolivar

    I normally enjoy reading the Anthropopper so I’m a little disappointed at the neo-colonial stench of this particular posting – presumably, it’s just down to Jeremy’s naivety about global economic and geopolitical affairs, a lack of insight he evidently suffers from along with the majority of the populations in the AngloAmerican sphere.

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    • Stephen Hale

      No, I don’t think so at all. Rather, it has to do with seeing things as they are in today’s environment. For example, last year it was all about the wildfires in Northern and Southern California in late 2018. This year it is about Brazil and the Amazon fires. The President of Brazil sees it as a definite engagement that could be coming from western NGO’s. Now, originally he was not going to accept assistance from the G-7 summit, but now it seems he is going to accept it. Does that make sense? Well, of course it should, and yet where do these rampant wildfires come from? Likely that is the larger issue.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-wildfires-brazil-spurns-20-million-aid-offer-from-g-7-nations-today-2019-08-27/

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  6. Steve Hale

    Hi Jeremy,

    I sent a comment along concerning your latest topic on oil. It was designed to give a perspective in response to the remarks by ‘Visitor’. I hope you will post it because I think this is a very worthy topic. I would like to see more input, and maybe even a dialogue.

    The Brexit final denouement is also coming close, and if Boris Johnson thinks he has an ally in Donald Trump, then we should consider that, as well. The extraction of Oil, the life’s blood of the Earth, is a man-made discovery. It came, naturally, out of the West, and more precisely, the United States, which saw a commodity in the making; one of universal proportion. So, let’s try to keep this conversation open.

    Regards,

    Steve

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  7. Kathleen Finnegan

    In regard to the”neo-colonial stench” among Anglos, this is my understanding of the provenance of petrol: we are cannibalizing the Mother. Floods are her tears, and fires, her fury. We could accept the limitless power of the sun (Son) but sexism, rape and exploitation die hard. And I understand they’re rampant south of the border, too.

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  8. Stephen Hale

    Jeremy, are you intending at all to speak about the latest shenanigans of newly appointed PM, Boris Johnson, and wherein he is virtually asserting a “no-deal brexit”, by 31 October? To my mind, that would accord with your own thinking over the last three years, and wherein a conference of your own making could have come to pass here in 2019. Sadly, it never occurred, but it was prepared for. You see, in this latest post, concerning the provenance of petrol, we get the idea that we do not know the mix of the most vital fluid of the earth, which really never had to be harnessed in the first place, but we also learn how the local cow that gives us milk and butter can be the better regulator of the overall situation.

    So, while I think I understand your own hope for a new Utopian order in which simplicity prevails and it all gets back to roots, and this can certainly take place on a communal level, it leaves out what Boris Johnson is really trying to achieve. Does he want a ‘no-deal brexit’ in order to simply divorce Britain from the European Union, and see what happens, or does he want out in order to align with America, and wherein President Trump has made the necessary overtures that his country will be taken care of if he aligns with the U.S.A,

    Now, I know that you despise Trump, Jeremy, and I do too. I also know that a simple plan to exit the European Union and make do with one’s own resources is what you see as the future. Thoreau said it many years ago, when he made an experiment in order to live the simple life on Walden Pond. Yet, after the experiment, he would rave about such things as the Mexican War, c. 1846-1848, in which the U.S. was fighting Mexico for their territorial rights, and then the Civil War (War between the States), c. 1861-1865. H.D. Thoreau’s simple life ended in 1862 because he had simply had enough. A life ends because it is exhausted. But the beat goes on.

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    • As you know, I did not intend to write any more about Brexit until the issue has been settled one way or the other – but I’m sorely tempted to write something about the present situation, which gets more absurd and humiliating by the day. We shall see…

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      • Silver Moon

        As to Brexit, all that is needed is a competent political party. The Conservatives have demonstrated to the world that they are far from competent.
        Imagine now that Germany voted to leave the EU. The result would be about 65% to leave, by the way – and that in the face of massive media and advertising campaigns of the kind seen in the UK (Remain spent some 10-15x as much as Brexit on their advertising, most of that money was simply wasted; but that is how corporate entities think.)

        Now Mrs Merkel has signed Article 50 and arrives home in Berlin with a pile of legal documents. However, the difference is that Merkel has ministers she can trust. Half of Theresa May’s ministers had the knives out for her. So Merkel hands each minister their brief and they set their legal hounds on the matter. Three months later, they have some answers which Merkel takes to Barnier. He looks them over, and six weeks later has a list of objections and points of clarification. Merkel meets him, takes these home and again saves herself much of the work by giving it to her cabinet ministers – some of whom are from Germany’s Labour Party, the SPD (it was the only way to form a government with the AfD having removed 11% of the seats from political circulation*).

        Another few weeks of legal sleuthing results and a month later, a tired, over—worked Merkel arrives in Brussels. The paperwork is accepted and a meeting is arranged to deal with the last few details. All this has happened within six to nine months of her signing Article 50. This leaves German and European industries and traders some 18months to sort themselves out before Germany leaves the EU.

        However, with a politically incompetent party like the Conservatives, they were given a six month extension with the words ‘don’t waste this valuable time.’ Being incompetent, that is precisely what they did: they went of on holiday. Now Boris Johnson’s best deal is the all-Irish customs zone, to an idea that May had back in late 2016, which was thrown out before it even got as far as the discussion table. But what can Boris do when his party is split down the middle on any genuine political policy? With 25% for the policy and 25% against? What’s more, the rest of the party are in the Commons bar getting drunk because they don’t want to be held responsible for the ensuing mess.

        (*The AfD, the “Alternative” for Germany. They, like their incompetent stable-mates, the British Conservatives, need an absolute majority in the house in order to function. This situation is where nobody has the power to vote them down and means they can do as they please, when they please. They can dispense with policies and get away with snappy marketing slogans that get them votes from the unquestioning who exist in all cultures. The consequence of this is that if they do not hold absolute power, they are unable to engage in politics as they lack the capacity to do so. Thus they will withdraw their services in the way the AfD have and become a negative factor in the political arena, in the way one has suctional forces in nature.)

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        • Stephen Hale

          “As to Brexit, all that is needed is a competent political party. The Conservatives have demonstrated to the world that they are far from competent.”

          Interestingly, I suggested this very same thing some three years ago when Cameron announced a special referendum on “leave or remain”. Of course, he resigned rather immediately after the close vote of 23 June 2016. Now today, he is a typical MP with his own bully pulpit. What a charade it has become, and yet Jeremy asked and was given some really grass-roots indicators of what needed to come forth and make the Brexit initiative a really viable entity. This was given, and yet the process of leaving the EU is an onerous affair, as seen with the various “deals”, which Theresa May proffered from her position as PM, and rejected, and now Boris Johnson, who is also on the road to rejection.

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          • Silver Moon

            More to the point is how one would identify a competent political party in the UK, given that any attempt to even appear competent will meet a barrage of misinformation in the media? Not to mention much un-parliamentary wrongdoing in the House that is not censored by the Speaker.

            It is one thing to have ideas as to what to do; it is quite another to be able to enact these, given the nature and strength of the opposition.

            One example of this is that in the mid 1960s, MI5 was involved in an attempt to oust the then Labour government. That in the UK, is still a hanging offence and is called treason. I say nothing of the things the CIA were getting up to…

            It begs the question as to why certain elements of British (and US) society prefer to damage their economies rather than improve them.

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            • Silver Moon

              Apols, on re-reading that, the word appropriate to the Speaker should have been ‘censured.’

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            • Steve Hale

              “One example of this is that in the mid 1960s, MI5 was involved in an attempt to oust the then Labour government. That in the UK, is still a hanging offence and is called treason. I say nothing of the things the CIA were getting up to…”

              Peter Howard found himself right in the middle of this situation back in the 1960’s. As the leader of MRA (Moral Re-Armament) he wrote a book entitled, “Britain and the Beast”, which details the corruption in British government under Harold Wilson. As a result, he was exiled from his own country, and eventually died in Lima, Peru, in February 1965. He became the targeted enemy of both MI5 and the CIA because he was telling college students in America back in 1964 that the United States had taken control of the government of South Vietnam in order to cause a war. This required the nearly simultaneous assassinations of both the President of South Vietnam, Ngo Diehn Diem, on 1 November 1963, and then on 22 November 1963. the President of the United States, John Kennedy.

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              • Silver Moon

                It is interesting that you focus on the standard claims of the right wing politicians that socialists are corrrupt. I re-state my question as to how you would determine what a competent political party looks like, given the media onslaught against them?

                It is like the British proppaganda against Russia: if it tells you that Russia is in fact the US or UK, it will be a falsification. What little is left is possibly true. In this situation, when the socialists are blamed for doing the things that right wing parties do (Conservative/Republican/Democrat/New Labour) – how would you know what the socialists are really doing?

                An example of this is when there was the well publicized ‘split’ in the Labour party over Brexit, it turned out that three MPs left the party. Compare this to the Conservatives, who on any stated policy are riven in two, with most of its members in the abyss as ‘undecided.’ Or worse.

                In short: when the media says that there is a problem with the Labour party, or corruption, you can be assured that it is modest. If you remember the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour party, the media construes this when somebody tells somebody else that they are a cultural Marxist. To be able to construe an entire campaign from such a banal foundation takes some gall, but British journalists, if they are anything, are inventive. One might call it journalistic lie-sense. The words of Louise Ellman a few days ago about “Labout not being a safe place for dissent,” is more an expression of the fact that any divergence from saying nothing will be hammered in the press with unrelenting force.

                Hence Corbyn is seen as weak and indecisive – imagine now that he stated the facts of his party’s manifesto. The media would put him on the rack. Yet the media claims to be independent and is (more worryingly) seen as being such.

                It is where a thorough study of the Philosophy of Freedom would clear the mind and allow it to see through the veils of deception. After all, London bankers and US corporations have colossal amounts of money at their disposal to ensure that you are misinformed and it is clear you have no defence against it.

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  9. Silver Moon

    You ask where your fuel comes from, yet in your article you mention very little that ought be obvious to those who routinely use it. The fuel put in the tank of a motorcar is an extremely refined product, and is the product (forgive my wording) of much applied intelligence. Furthermore, it is so refined that it is simply impossible to determine where any given litre of fuel emanates from. Crude oil is a very different matter from the highly refined octane that is burned in the engine of our cars. Venezuelan crude – and I speak from memory, so please do not take this as authoritative, but my point will stand – is a heavy and difficult oil to refine, whilst the oil from the North Sea that the British and Norwegians have exploited is a light fuel that has few of the waxy byproducts that heavier crude oils will produce.

    There is one other issue to cloud the nature of its provenance: that the fuel corporations often get their supplies from a common refinery! So much for competition, albeit they do have their individual cocktail of additives that are supposed to make one fuel better than the other… like the anti-pinking agent, lead. Now replaced by something imagined to be less dangerous, but known to be a carcinogen. Even so, the primary agent in our fuel is octane and octane alone. What we call petrol (or gas) is almost pure octane, usually around 96% is octane and the rest will be heavier hydrocarbons, albeit not as heavy as those burned in diesel engines.

    On a final note, and an important one, what becomes of the octane once it has passed through the engine? It becomes exhaust, which as we know is toxic to both human and planet. Be that as it may, we must ask ourselves what we have achieved in burning it, destroying it for posterity, using it for our own immediate gratification rather than leaving it for the benefit of our great grandchildren? We cannot re-constitute it as octane after it has been destroyed. What have we achieved? We arrived somewhere in a matter of hours instead of a matter of days or even weeks. Cloistered up in a motorcar there is little possibility to speak with passers by – as one neighbour greeted me on my bicycle as we passed. Motorcars are inherently dangerous, and getting close to them is inadvisable. It means the people incarcerated in them have no opportunity to express their humanity to others. Worse, those coming the other way in motorcars will be going so fast that there is barely any time to even recognize who is in the car, leave alone pass a few moments of friendly conversation as my fellow cyclist did.

    Why is it that we burn fuel in order that we willingly neglect the demands of our humanity? As Rudolf Steiner opined, technology allows us to be more comfortable – but at what cost?

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    • Stephen Hale

      I think that what Jeremy had in mind with this post on the provenance of petrol had a lot more to do with possibly finding the useful cow who gives milk and butter, and we can trust. In earlier segments on this thread, it was shown that the demise of fossil fuels seen as evident in the 1970’s meant either looking for solar energy as the solution, or going off-shore in order to drill for oil, and risk the ecology. And we know what choice was made.

      Of course, everyone who drives a car likely does so in order to make a living in the sense of the economic order. It can’t be helped, Personally, I remember working for the Boeing Company for 17 years, and driving grid-lock traffic everyday, but what else could I do?

      Now, today, I like hearing from someone who meets a bicyclist on the road, and stops to talk. Likely it means retirement, but that is also a good sign. I often wonder if retirees ever stop each other and wonder about the future. You see, we will always have the younger generation to care for, and even if they don’t know it now. So, I really hope that a simple act of conversing with a bicyclist, or even a fellow patron on the bus, or even in my most recent discourse at the emergency veterinarian clinic proves to at least reflect ourself in the other. That can prove to be really important.

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  10. Silver Moon

    If Jeremy Smith wants to find an alternative to oil, he needs first to find a solution to the problem of corporations that Rudolf Steiner presented in the early 1920s and to date has not been solved. Because the real problem with fuel isn’t the fuel, it’s who is controlling it and why these people are unable to deal with the realities of economics. Control is, after all, an abrogation of economic responsibility and allows unhealthy competition to arise. He also addressed the nature of fuel-driven economies and gave answers; answers that are all around us today, but few recognize.

    Those who use motorcars for economic purposes are those who have no alternative, either in the outer world or in their mind. Imagine that Boeing had laid on buses for its workers so as to relieve the pressure on the roads, in the way a European company might? Well, you can imagine with Americans that they’d all go by car because it would be incumbent on everybody else to go by bus and the bus would thus be empty – and they’d all be back to square one. It is a very different situation in Europe where it is quite normal for the blue collar worker to have a better car than his boss. Or, come to that, the boss arrives by train because it’s convenient and there’s one every fifteen minutes. Economics isn’t just about availability, there is a great deal of egoism that has to be dealt with too.

    Stopping for a chat is one joy of cycling, and it’s a rare day that I don’t stop and chat to at least one person. Cyclist or otherwise. The other day, I met a scientist – albeit he was a botanist – who grasped Goethe’s principle of colour. It’s always nice when someone can grasp one or other of what one might term ‘points of entry’ to the science of the spirit. If they have the conceptual capacity to grasp one element of it, they will be able to grasp all of it.

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    • Stephen Hale

      I think if we consider plumbing the earth for its life’s blood, when solar energy was always the alternative for a useful and clean energy source, it speaks volumes in this kind of engagement of thought. Yet, here we are today, and wherein it is still all about oil. Why is that? Now, today, we stand at a point which is very much similar to the first Gulf War, and wherein Kuwaiti oil fields were seen as under assault by Iraq. This led to the first gulf war, which was clearly orchestrated by the United States.

      Now today. it is all about Iran having assaulted Saudi Arabian oil fields with drones and missiles, and yet there is no conclusive proof. So, what stands out as the latest initiative coming from the side of America?

      Of course, it is all about world dominion and conquest, if you didn’t know it. Personally, I have known it as an American for many years, and can attest to the fact that America rules the world today, and intends to do so for many years. So, when Jeremy writes about a planned exit visa for Brexit, it had better be about the science of the spirit. How else could it even remotely be possible?

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    • Stephen Hale

      Well that is certainly worth a reply. A nice piece for ponderation. Thank you.

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      • Silver Moon.

        Isn’t that what life’s all about? After all, Rudolf Steiner did say that one should consider how one should live in heaven before one dies, rather than leave it to chance… What’s more, those who are interested will be able to throw a different shadow on one’s own thoughts on the issue.

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        • I don’t know about the Steiner quote you cite, which sounds more like coming from a conversation around a cracker-barrel from folks that would like to see the end in sight, but I do know about giving a contemporary perspective on matters, which could equivocate to throwing “a different shadow on one’s own thoughts on the issue”.

          For example, let’s take this into consideration. I think if we consider plumbing the earth for its life’s blood, when solar energy was always the alternative for a useful and clean energy source, it speaks volumes in this kind of engagement of thought. Yet, here we are today, and wherein it is still all about oil. Why is that? Now, today, we stand at a point which is very much similar to the first Gulf War, and wherein Kuwaiti oil fields were seen as under assault by Iraq. This led to the first gulf war, which was clearly orchestrated by the United States.

          Now today. it is all about Iran having assaulted Saudi Arabian oil fields with drones and missiles, and yet there is no conclusive proof. So, what stands out as the latest initiative coming from the side of America?
          Of course, it is all about world dominion and conquest, if you didn’t know it. Personally, I have known it as an American for many years, and can attest to the fact that America rules the world today, and intends to do so for many years. Whether Trump gets impeached is nothing more than tabloid humour designed to get a reaction from the ever incessant propaganda mill. This is what influences public opinion, which is powerless in today’s day and age to effect any kind of fruitful change on the level of a higher consciousness. Only a spiritual-scientific perspective can effectuate this, and we here know it.

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          • Silver Moon

            Stephen Hale,
            as to the quotation I made, I guess you wouldn’t know about it as it is clear that it’s not part of the canon that you have read and considered your own. That doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate and that does not mean it’s not applicable to your good self. If you thought about it, rather than reacting against it, you would find it beneficial. That is the reality of spiritual science.

            As to the issue of solar energy, you are clearly behind the curve. For example, there has been massive investment in solar energy and wind energy in Europe – not that the American media would ever trouble themselves to inform you of this. Did you know that, for example, some 30% of Germany’s electricity is from renewable sources? That the entire railway network of the Netherlands runs on wind power? These things are well known in Europe, less so in Britain which is under the media pall of the US to a far greater degree.

            As to the US and the pranks it pulls in other countries to secure its oil supplies, all it has done is to make the oil less secure than it was before. That is the nature of a country that is not wrestling with its cultural Double. More to the point, it has cost the US more than its reputation for honest dealing (if it ever had one). It has cost the US a colossal amount of money – and all so that it can control (aka secure) the oil supplies by having to do this using military occupations and other illegal acts of that kind.

            Now this is the key to understanding why the US wants the security: it imagines the other countries to be like the US in that they would willingly break their supply contracts in the way the US does. Or, again in the manner of the US, use their supply contracts to coerce other countries to do as they are told. Hence the US cannot trust other countries to stand by their word because the US does not and can not.

            This is an extremely important point: the US cannot trust others because it cannot imagine what it is to trust other nations to keep their word. So let’s put your argument on its head and consider the following: the US has occupied the eastern areas of Syria for the sole purpose of controlling the oil there. Imagine now that the US was able to trust the government in Syria and the agreements they signed – this is of course, hypothetical given the mind of the Americans – the Americans would be able to buy the oil at the spot price and be able to sell it on at a profit. In the way businessmen across the world do. But the Americans aren’t American because they do business in a sensible – leave alone credible manner. They can send in the army at enormous cost to the US government and steal the oil instead.

            Considered from this angle, it’s not looking good for the Americans, is it? But the matter gets worse when you become aware of a few issues where the US media remains mute. Russia is but one; forget the things the US media prattle on about – or the Skripal pantomime that was played out here in the UK. The amount of nonsense talked about here is only alarming because it got past the sub-editor’s desk. The point is that Russia has played a game that has outflanked the Americans on both wings – and the Americans are so busy with their media flashes that they are utterly oblivious to what is going on right under their noses. Decoding the US media is quite easy, just take anything that is said about the Russians behaving like Americans and put it to one side. Which is around 98% of everything the Americans tell us about Russia. What’s left might (or might not) be the truth. But it’s certainly not a direct falsification. Bit by bit you will get a clearer idea of how Russia is handling their poker strategy whilst the Americans are playing happy families.

            This begs the question as to who is truly ruling this world – and if there is one thing that is certain, it is not the Americans, who are being played by more than just the Russians, who in truth have little interest in the Americans. Plus, the Russians – as distinct from the Americans – are not interested in ruling the world and no propaganda campaign will ever change that. What is worse is that the Russians have used this to their advantage. It is because the Americans, using the copybook strategy described in ‘The Karma of Untruthfulness,’ have undermined their own position and have handed their enemies the very things they wanted to achieve. But here, as mentioned, the problem becomes more subtle: America’s enemies aren’t enemies because they want the things the Americans have. They are simply too sensible for that. The Americans are too busy with trying to rule the world to know that they have been undermined on three or more fronts. They are looking forwards and have no concern for what is happening two inches behind their backs; for this, they have no ears.

            However, that does not answer the question as to why people need electricity, renewable or otherwise. In his First Scientific Course, Rudolf Steiner had a few stinging words to say about the destructive nature of electricity. I’ll add that this isn’t the kind of thing that is casually discussed around the cracker-barrel – but I will seize the chance should the opportunity arise. But those times are few and far between, even in a country like the UK where the native intelligence is higher than most.

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            • Stephen Hale

              Silver Moon wrote:

              “Stephen Hale, as to the quotation I made, I guess you wouldn’t know about it as it is clear that it’s not part of the canon that you have read and considered your own. That doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate and that does not mean it’s not applicable to your good self.”

              I really love the way you dissect and analyze the pertinent factors involved here, and yet it is important for you to know that it was not I who reduced, and then excluded your participation on this blog. Personally, I loved it, as I do now. This kind of commentary is what we need today.

              Kind regards,

              Steve

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              • Silver Moon

                Why did you only reflect on the personal elements when there were (as you mention) more pertinent issues to deal with?

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                • Steve Hale

                  Well, because you come across as a “think-tanker”, which I also align with, and especially because we are dealing with the Spiritual Science that Rudolf Steiner specifically advocated. So, for example, in your previous comment, concerning the interface between MI5 and the CIA, I found a rather striking parallel in the demise of Peter Howard, who is hardly even known today, and yet, was the British leader of Moral Re-Armament from 1961 until his untimely death in February 1965.

                  The only previous comment on this blog concerning this subject was from Midnight Rambler, who wrote about it some two years ago. He is a politician who saw some importance in subscribing to the moral world order. Peter Howard, who had been a newspaper columnist in the day of the Daily Express of Lord Beaverbrook in the 1940’s, had found his way to the matter of the book, “Guilty Men”, c. 1940, which had the effect of bringing in Churchill over Chamberlain as PM when it mattered. So, Howard had an early start in saving the world.

                  Eventually, he would go to America. Having been expatriated by the Brits in 1963 for his book, “Britain and the Beast’, he would go on to tell of how America had taken over the government of South Vietnam in order to accelerate a civil war into one more global. His telling the college students in 1964 about it assured his own demise in early 1965.

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                  • Silver Moon

                    Steve Hale, what I find interesting is that whilst I might be describable as a think-tanker, every time I try to tempt you with a remark about the nature of the spiritual worlds – something that would have a neophyte’s ears out on stalks – you take not the least notice.
                    In one of his letters to a friend, Rudolf Steiner spoke of the Vorstand at the Goetheanum. He had given them every hint that someone in his position could, the kind of thing his neophytes lapped up. But after nine months, not one of the Vorstand had done anything to build a relationship with the spiritual worlds.
                    That is modern anthroposophy. It must have broken his heart.

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                  • Silver Moon

                    It would do you justice if you made it clear when you did not moderate a comment, as it would allow your visitors to know that you were being honest with them.

                    It would also explain why the conversation came to a stop without warning.

                    It is no small matter for your guardian angel if you keep your acts private because of the shame you would feel had you done it publicly. After all, Jesus could not help the thief who could not accept His forgiveness. The other thief was with him in heaven that very day.

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