There is perhaps a recession of unhope amongst the doomsters (collapsniks) and the “we’re all gunna’ die” crowd. More [fringe] writers and thinkers seem to be either passing through the stage of anger about our economic twilight and onto the “and now what do I do with five hundred pounds of dry beans and guns packed in grease and buried god knows where if shit isn’t going to collapse but will tumble slowly” or getting stuck in a routine schick that produces a following of such-and-such proportions until all at hand are bored.
There is indeed a change in the past few months in what people are saying, however it is less within the pundits of doom claiming gold and tins of Spam, and not at all in the MSM articles about over 50 year olds seemingly never to find work again but “who have hope,” or the next announcement that the government is hiring a “czar of wheat thins” to oversee the vacant malls of America or the Tea Party opposition to the “Czar of Wheat Thins,” but in the many commentators who drop a line or two on blogs and online newspapers and say, OK, we know the fucking show is over already, let’s move past horror and angst and onto the “then what.” I think these writers, the small minor contributors to online discussion (such as it is when it is troll free), are a good bell weather of our national mind (such as it is when it is troll free) and here we may see the next author of the “what next.”
Dimitry Orlov says beware of the SOVIET-style Americapitalist collapse that will be harder on Americans than it was on Russians since we are all hot, dirty, and covered in butter – and bears like butter. We Americans are fat and sassy on corn sugar, he proposes, and it will make us like starving lab rats trapped in a tank all nature red in tooth and claw as we lose connectivity to Youtube and turn on one another since we are unused to cooperation and close quarters (as opposed to Russians who were used to starving and living together using a single bed as two rooms, one the top of the bed, the other under). James Howard Kunstler exclaims in almost iambic pentameter that we are in for a downsizing of our nation and with peek oil hitting the USA and perhaps the world we will usher in the time of Road Warrior. However, not a strange horse drawn steam punk existence of cool cars and interesting head geer, but a mundain time of used car salesmen who now guard plantations of corn and beans and… huh. We live on but cranky and cold – the end. The lesser demons, the discount thinkers of our god-free-millennial line up stand behind gold, neo-survivalist shelters, five hundred pounds of beans in buckets and other collapsenik boondoggles that ask for those worthless treasury notes handed over to an address in Florida to provide some sense that you, your family, or at least the parent you are living at home with will survive the coming… whatever the fuck is going to happen…..
History is not on our side. Roman Empire. Follow the train of thought. However, history is not on the side of collapse since, while as quoting Fight Club – on a long enough timeline, everyone’s chance of survival is zero – the Water World/ Road Warrior/ Red Dawn/ etc, etc world may not come about in the next months, years, or even decade. It has taken the greater part of this writer’s lifetime to go from “global warming is a total myth” to “maybe we need to research this” and “Happy Motoring” to “Happy Motoring but with more efficient cars.” This isn’t much of a shift. We’re not talking about the change experienced in the before 1864 and after in this nation or before and after 1917 in Russia, nor even those old farts who were born in a dirt floor cabin by firelight and lived to see [Martin Scorsese’s excellent version of] man land on the Moon on live teevee.
Our change for my generation has indeed been a sea change – and by that I mean the traditional version as in s-l-o-w-l-y. So, now what? Things are going to stay just… bleh, the way they did for the Russians c. 1948 – 1991 or the Argentinians 1974 – 1990, or African Americans c. 1640 – 1864 (adding an extra hundred years perhaps on either side). Things can stay like shit for a long, long, long time without people taking to the streets or developing a valid counter culture. So, hunker down. Settle down. Enjoy your petro-existence.
First, recognize that you cannot do anything about this change. It is happening and it does not involve you. Get over yourself. The oceans will rise and fall and your silly ass ain’t going to recycle one soda bottle to stop it. You need not participate in government or change laws, they will change on their own, for no reason, and often at the whim of corporations and the Crazies You cannot protest. Streets are closed by militarized police, MSM does not count your true numbers, your message is a sticker placed on an advertisement for hemorrhoid medicine that will be replaced tomorrow with the Christmas Day opening of the Saw XXVI film. Bring a canvas bag to the store to save the plastic bag you give back to the bag boy who hastily opened it in anticipation of encasing your All Bran tosses right into the trash since it is ruined (apparently poor people think that a bag once opened is now animistically connected to your soul – perhaps why they ask for so many when they buy gum – and needs to be discarded in such situations as opening the wrong bag for the wrong person). Mind you, the Chinese children who are losing their childhood to make said canvas bag will thank you for saving the earth, if your friend Zoe doesn’t adopt one and in twenty years the Dalton-educated little shit is having you scrub her floors. Don’t try to save gas. Or oil. Some fat slob will crank up the AC or take their SUV extra miles the second prices go down thereby costing that energy you walked twenty miles to save. Don’t buy a new Prius. It is corporate propaganda. If you knew anything about math, and time, you would understand a car from 1985 still in service gets better energy consumption when you factor inputs than perhaps the extra gallon or two of gas you may use in a week. Again, don’t pay any attention to the government, it only encourages them. If you knew anything about electricity you’d understand that wind power doesn’t work, that solar power stores energy for short amount of time in batteries made of acid, lead, titanium, etc. Please look up on google how to compost acid, lead, titanium, etc. Guess what? You can’t.
Re-fucking-lax. Burn gas to live well. But do so knowing it is running out. Enjoy driving while you can. But drive somewhere that is meaningful and enjoy every moment of driving. Don’t save the world environment for the slob next door to ruin or some factory in India in one week can make up in pollution for your entire lifetime “carbon footprint” living in an off the grid teepee. Get a house, make some friends, invite them over. Turn up the AC while you can. Save the piece of environment that is directly in front of you as best as you can. Plant something. Anything. A garden, a fruit tree in a flower pot, a field of some kind of vegetable. Raise chickens, raise bees, learn about goats. The important things are to connect with food and the earth in front of you as much as you can, even if you know that you spent $25 to raise $2 of tomatoes, as I did this summer or that you’ve created a huge pile of plastic bags putting organic soil into your garden. It is a learning curve we can and must afford during this time of plenty. There is a slight romantic call to the total who-will-survive collapse. What is needed, perhaps, is the day-to-day recognition to tune on, turn out, and drop in. It’s the age of the individual we’ve been told all our lives. So choose to make the most of life with what we have.
And just in case. A few fire arms and a stash of food. Cause, ah….. Ya never know these days.