No one will ever thank you for telling them about peak oil. Your friends won’t pat you on the back when they find out that the financial world has actually collapsed. There is no award for Doomster of the year.
It has been interesting over the past weeks that the discussions have actually died down, the chattering of the internets and comments to blogs, or been reduced to idle discussions and rants as the more native thinkers have dropped back and taken a break, the posts grow stale, and the general feeling in the air like a fad that has run out of steam and some people are left with far too many Wacky Wall Walkers, Pet Rocks, Yo-Yos (1999 iteration), or Furbies. However, it is strange that as the fad of TEOTWAWKI has ebbed, the signs are no longer the mere scat and tracks of The Change, blurry photos and old men blogging from garages out in the yard on old main frames or Tombstone Apples, but front page photos of some victim of The Change. Clear footprints at the river’s edge that The Change has been here, drank deep from the Fracking tainted water, and moved on to chew someone’s currency like cud and spitting out our old paradigms and the new paradigms we replaced the old ones with.
Perhaps it is just the summer. A lazy time when news needs to be created. I remember old 2008 when the banks were turning into what Grand Ma had said ruined her life and made her pick corn out of her neighbor’s poo for ten years to get a decent meal. It seemed that the Euro would finally lead the dollar, that cats and dogs would rain out of the sky, and in some way our system would get the needed shock and return to a New Normal. However, the “can,” as commentators call TEOTWAWKI, was kicked down the road a bit… as if our nation walks or has enough muscle left in our collective porky legs to kick anything. The Summer of 2008 looked like the breaking of the ship on the rocks of Change. Banks, bombs, and a black man. Yet, the inertia, or perhaps it is actually the momentum, took the Hopiechangie and made it a TARP tossed over the rotting nation that is now like some project motorcycle out in the yard of a deadbeat dad who thinks if he yells at the telly long enough the damn think will fix itself. In that summer I did a lot of dumb things. I had to, as my cost of living had rocketed up with the price of gas, the cost of insurance, and the stagnation of my wage. I blogged a lot, far too much for a man my age. I did reckless things like bought Euro, gathered up all the gold and silver and put it in one place and looked for some rube to sell it to, attempted to pay down debts, wondered if I needed to stash away supplies, downsized to a smaller room in the shared rental to save money and pay my increased COL. I must admit. I was wrong about what little I thought I understood about the economy. I was wrong that home owners would be baled out. I was wrong about gas prices remaining high, as well as commodity prices. I was wrong about the US with drawing from our TWO WARS. I was wrong about Somerville, MA not having any cool people to hang out with.
And over the next years things have not changed drastically. And it seems that they wont. No one will thank you for telling them about The Change since this change is a longer emergency than we can understand from a lived experience. Most people won’t even be aeware of The Change. Or believe you. The editor of the Skeptic wrote a book on the strange things people believe, and I must admit, I am one of them. Those people who have believed in things that are not true, because the mind is wired to think about this moment, and not the collective experience of fifty or more years. Humans, people, you, do not think in geological time. Given the duration of our life on earth, even for the most healthy of us, this would be foolish as well as psychotic habit of mind. Lovecraft in his clumsy but brilliant prose described beasts and dimensions that did not exist separate from our own, but were invisible to our minds because we cannot process the experience. Like a family dog stopping to admire a photo of the family. The thing exists in the same dimension as Fido, but in the experience of the dog, it is neither food nor a leg to hump or a rubber chicken that squeaks and therefore, invisible.
We will see the clouds gather in the sky. We will worry. We will learn of this or that collapse, or this or that reduction in value. We will worry. We will fear terrorists with antique Stielhandgranate can take down our entire nation and that teachers with out-of-date text books are robbing our nations coffers and cheating our children of the Mao Zedong education we wish so our children can not only compete globally but with one another but cheating us as a nation of wage slaves who somehow fear a work day with a lunch hour, a paid vacation, and middle class securities. We will fear Iran. Maybe we’ll bomb them. We will fear a new Mid East. Maybe we’ll build a few more bases there. We will fear since that is what we have been taught to do for so long and that the only way to combat fear apart from buying new military toys, is to go to the mall or click online and shop since apart from masturbation, shopping is our national self-soothing pastime (who can afford tickets to an actual sports game anymore?).
I wonder in all this chatter whether there are ideas forming like clouds, or just idle men and women clicking away in silence, alone and wishing for a world that can be understood taking up time and endless digital space with empty words – the professors mumbling into their beards the revolutionaries of old complained of. I wonder if this summer will bring forth another autumn as 2009 found us robbed, further in debt, working long hours to afford less, but still here in the same rat’s maze we have been building and running in for thirty years but otherwise passively moving into our New Normal. The MSM has had a few interesting tidbits about doom. The stock portfolio created to make a profit on doom. The firm on Wall Street trying to make “New Normal” ™ their own brand as if we nattering ranting Doomers ™ hadn’t been tossing about that idea in our free market of ideas for years. I wonder if the debt ceiling will blow over and leave us poorer but intact. It is truly the death not by Armageddon but by a thousand blows. More like taps. Water dripping on our forehead. Water mixed with a proprietary brand of chemical that cannot be disclosed as much as the location of the table we are tied to can be disclosed. If our muttered warnings of immediate change are true, no one will thank us. If this change takes years, no one will remember us. While many discuss a collapse of our financial system and give details of this-or-that set of risks or this-or-that outcome, more than likely, we are all going to be wrong and that one who got it right…. He or she may have not really believed enough to stock up on fifty years of Spam. More than likely, nothing will happen. Prices will go up. Down. The morning paper replaced by electronic media and Youtube. We will work longer and for less and there will be more of us.
This, bland and inglorious march into stupidity, is the New Normal.
This is how the world ends…. not with a bang but a whimper – TS Eliot