Keep Calm and Carry On
Today’s Contemplation is my comment on a recent post by Alan Urban that speaks to his experiences attempting to share his learnings on ‘collapse’. For those that have read it, you can likely recognise similar reactions from others; I certainly did.
After years of experiencing the same ‘frustrations’ in attempting to share my ‘insights’ regarding our predicament, I’ve come to understand that we all believe what we want to believe and that regardless of the evidence/facts that point to our inevitable collision with ‘collapse’ most will reject the idea and carry on in the belief that tomorrow (and the future) will be much like yesterday and today. For the most part, that’s a good belief system and one that has been proven correct again and again for people, and how others respond to challenges to this system are fairly typical.
The list of psychological mechanisms to avoid anxiety-provoking thoughts is almost endless. And the idea of ‘collapse’ is most certainly anxiety-provoking. Fight or flight. Groupthink. Going along to get along. Deference to authority/expertise (especially the ruling caste of our societies — e.g., government, legacy media). Cognitive dissonance reduction. Stages of grieving (particularly denial of reality and bargaining). These are next to impossible to overcome.
So, while I write about the situation (see https://olduvai.ca) and my perspective on it, I don’t engage too many others — especially in my personal, social circles — with my views. The exception being those who respond to my writings and are interested in the topics involved.
I have also completely abandoned any ‘hope’ that our political systems (or even most (all?) non-governmental ones) are the place to look for ‘salvation’. These systems are designed for the most part (and motivated by) self-preservation and the status quo. There are few if any that truly aim to ‘deconstruct’ our extractive/exploitive systems that have led us to where we our. That’s not their role; in fact, quite the opposite.
Our governing systems in particular are pre/historic institutions in place to maintain/expand the control of wealth-generating/-extracting systems that provide revenue streams for a select few. Their current iterations weave comforting narratives about ‘representation’ and beneficent policies/actions for the masses, but these are propaganda meant to appease and mollify — nothing more. Their aims are primarily oriented towards growing these systems of extraction and exploitation, regardless of the social and/or ecological systems costs.
We have not only cyclical complex society ‘collapse’ processes to contend with in our modern-day experiment of a globalised (and financialised) system, but the various symptom predicaments of ecological overshoot as well — especially depletion of probably the most fundament of resources to our modern complexities: hydrocarbons.
If pre/history is any indication of how things will unfold (and I would contend it very much is), then most of us will deny/ignore the signals long after our decline is well and truly underway — as many argue it already is. We will carry on in our ignorance and complicity, believing things will improve and someone, somewhere will ‘solve’ all this. Keep calm and carry on.
Keeping the ruling caste’s feet to the fire is commendable (if the pressure directs them in a way to degrow our existence, not grow it via even more ‘green/clean’ technology) but ultimately will not result in system changes. It will be Nature that corrects our Overshoot, as it always does with species that blow past its natural carrying capacity.
Perhaps our energies are best focused upon attempts to mitigate the consequences as best we can for our local communities. Relocalise and simplify, or as John Michael Greer has suggested: Collapse now and avoid the rush.
If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website or the link below — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers).
Attempting a new payment system as I am contemplating shutting down my site in the future (given the ever-increasing costs to keep it running).
If you are interested in purchasing any of the 3 books individually or the trilogy, please try the link below indicating which book(s) you are purchasing.
Costs (Canadian dollars):
Book 1: $2.99
Book 2: $3.89
Book 3: $3.89
Feel free to throw in a ‘tip’ on top of the base cost if you wish; perhaps by paying in U.S. dollars instead of Canadian. Every few cents/dollars helps…
If you do not hear from me within 48 hours or you are having trouble with the system, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find a variety of resources, particularly my summary notes for a handful of texts, especially Catton’s Overshoot and Tainter’s Collapse: see here.
It Bears Repeating: Best Of…Volume 1
A compilation of writers focused on the nexus of limits to growth, energy, and ecological overshoot.
With a Foreword and Afterword by Michael Dowd, authors include: Max Wilbert; Tim Watkins; Mike Stasse; Dr. Bill Rees; Dr. Tim Morgan; Rob Mielcarski; Dr. Simon Michaux; Erik Michaels; Just Collapse’s Tristan Sykes & Dr. Kate Booth; Kevin Hester; Alice Friedemann; David Casey; and, Steve Bull.
The document is not a guided narrative towards a singular or overarching message; except, perhaps, that we are in a predicament of our own making with a far more chaotic future ahead of us than most imagine–and most certainly than what mainstream media/politics would have us believe.
Click here to access the document as a PDF file, free to download.