Friday, May 25, 2012

Requiem


I've been in the garden every day, the last week, 6-12 hours a day. I needed it. Not only did I spend more time than that every week the three weeks prior, remodeling my house, I've come to a dilemma, again. The last two days especially, I've come to an end of sorts; I see the world more clearly now, and what I see has left me bereft, and all my plans for the future seem as nothing in the face of the enormity of it.

We are seven billion Homo sapien sapien and counting. For a long time now, America and the Western nations have lived a very energy and resource intensive lifestyle, and there are about 2 billion more who are wanting and increasingly able to live like Westerners. At the same time, we have reached a peak of resources in both fossil fuels and water. They say we are going to be 9 billion in 2050, but I no longer believe it. That sounds like propaganda, to keep us thinking growth is inevitable as long as we are alive. I think we're very close to a peak in population as well.

Also, the global economy is showing increasingly profound signs of decay, with an immense amount of debt which anyone not overly invested in the illusion that those debts be paid, can plainly see they won't. As evidence of a collapsing economy, consider the case of Facebook, that rigged 16 billion dollar IPO that no one even pretended would generate a job, that evaporated twice-over in two days time, people perhaps realizing, there was never going to be any more growth for Facebook that could possible be good for a social network.

As for global debt, usury isn't anything at it's core but some people living on the labor of others, with ever increasingly intolerant demands of payment, and ever egregious accumulation at the top. Usury has helped propel us to a view of the material cosmos, but it has led also, in combination with the burning of fossil carbons, to the exponential function as applied to population and what we consume. On top of that, it has all been defined by a patriarchal, command and control doctrine in it's worst familial, empirical, institutional and religious aspects.

And now we have, globally 4** nuclear facilities, all of them on rivers or standing water close to population centers, untold nuclear weapons in scattered placement, and perhaps 10's of thousands of off-shore oil wells. Therein lies the crux of my dilemma. I don't see how we are going to properly shut down and contain most if not all of them. Together, they have the ability to end life as we know it, and leave humanity, if there is any left, in a wasteland of sterility. We have made ourselves profoundly vulnerable, and yet I check my Facebook account, that social network helping unite the consciousness of Homo sapien sapien, and I don't see a glimmer of awareness how.

Leaving aside the possibility of a meteorite or earthquake or volcano initiating tectonic instability globally, or the sun destroying the global electrical grid, or seas rising suddenly 20-30 ft, all known possibilities, we'll simply focus on the economy. As I said in my most recent drunken lament, those nuclear and off-shore oil facilities sustain the economy/the economy sustains them. Our fiat currency has reached it's logical conclusion; there is nothing left but plunder and collapse. Looking at a pdf I found googling off-shore oil facilities, from the oil platform design company KBR, I was astounded at the sheer amount of energy invested in the process of drilling for oil. Where is the energy to come from, to decommission that astounding infrastructure, so that all those holes we punched in high pressure, under water oil reservoirs, don't all eventually bust open and flood the sea with oil?

If the collapse is a free-fall, Seneca-style precipitous drop, as outlined by Ugo Bardi, rather than the posited catabolic, step-down process over centuries, as outlined by John Michael Greer, then just about every one of those facilities will go down with it. That is an extreme scenario, but entirely possible. Even in a step down process, I see a good deal more social pressure to keep aging facilities running, than shutting them down responsibly. To shut any one of them down is to constrict the economy. If the economy is contracting, where do the resources come from to properly shut down facilities that simply aren't needed anymore?

Don't even bother talking to me about free-energy. Aside from the improbability of it, free-energy let loose in this culture could only exacerbate the likelihood of our extinction. And renewables are a fantasy if you aren't also talking about a fundamentally simplified existence for the West, and fundamentally diminished aspirations of extravagance, for everybody.

Weeds increasingly resistant to chemicals, invading industrial agricultural fields; increasingly antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses, poised to exploit the collapse of industrial Health Care; American's current health care demands far out-pacing the willingness of the wealthy to pay for it; harsher, extreme weather causing ever more expensive damage; debt rising faster than economic growth; peaking critical resources.

The more I think about it, the Mayans got it right. I think a 5,126 year cycle comes to an end, this year. 5,126 years of usury, and patriarchal command and control domination, that has led us to the very brink of apocalyptic devastation. 2013 isn't going to be anything like anyone expects, and every year after will feel less and less like the future we imagined. And I don't know that isn't going to mean eventually, a relative handful of homo sapien sapien living a life of meager, ignorant poverty in a sterilized biosphere, for tens of thousands of generations. Homo existentialus.

I hope instead it means a people renewing a relationship with the earth, with plants particularly, letting go of the energy provided by oil and nuclear with dignity, restoring the culture in rhythm with the living earth. It's a choice we all have. What do you want the next 5,126 years to look like? That work starts with you, now, at the core of your being. If this is indeed the requiem for Homo industrial, there is nothing else to be done.

In the interest of the curiously dark trend I would appear to be on, and in respect to the plant kingdom, and how plants might help us through industrial collapse, I'll be profiling the family Nightshade, with the next post.

12 comments:

mwk said...

This week I am visiting my brother and of course I've brought up many of the topics that you mentioned above; the futility of our debt-based, growth dependent economy, the time bomb that is our nuclear power plants/weapons, the coming scarcity of water and food, etc.

He's stuck in the middle, he watches FOX news religiously, and yet is astute enough to know that a good deal of it is basically advertising for the status quo and not news in the least (why he still watches it he can't answer, he just does).

So after a lengthy conversation about the grim reality of our predicament, he asked, 'so what can we do?'

That's the 7 billion person question. What CAN we do? All of these potential game enders are in play and yet we can't seem to get past gay marriage. It truly is disheartening.

At the end of the day all I could come up with is to live our lives the best we can, in service to the creation. He rolled his eyes.

The truth is, we're most likely doomed, but we can still chose to go out with integrity and in defiance to the death machine of the consumption culture. What's the alternative? To join the madness and go shopping? To get a satellite dish and 500 channels of noise?

Actually, maybe that is what we need to do, to SURRENDER to this unsettling truth and move on with our lives, for whatever time we have left. By moving on don't mean turning on the TV and tuning out, but instead accepting the fact that we're probably not going to win, but that the fight needs to be fought regardless.

It's all a dream anyway, we might as well wake up swinging.

William Hunter Duncan said...

mwk,

What can we do? I say, learn a skill or several, establish a relationship with plants, and enjoy life immensely. Those aware of collapse and investing in themselves and their joy, are most likely to carry through collapse, what humanity needs most of our heritage.

inishglora said...

All this is why I refuse to procreate.

I hadn't posted anything in response to your wee-hours question of demonic forces--mainly due to not wanting to come across as a religious nut--but I have come to believe that could very well be the case. For context, let me say I used to be a dedicated Pagan, solitary by nature, observing the solar holidays, etc. I scoffed at the idea of Satan, considering him merely a Christian demonization of the Horned God.

But there are so many diabolically clever scams and towering edifices of deceit built on centuries of lies, that I can't help wondering if there is some force of evil prodding humans to commit inconceivable horrors against one another and the planet.

William Hunter Duncan said...

inishglora,

I did a post on Arhiman and Lucifer, awhile back, a riff on Rudolf Steiner's notion of a dual demonic force loose in the world. To say though, there are demons, is also to say there are forces of good, and perhaps the state of humanity is such that we have stopped calling out to those forces, whatever they may be. And perhaps there are cosmic forces we cannot fathom, and for some unfathomable inhuman purpose, demons masking as the upright and good and even green, are preeminent in this end of a cycle. Or maybe it's just plain ol' logic in service to plain ol' self-interest.

Justin said...

MWK,
I've found that 'what can be done?' sentiments get a lot easier and a lot less foreboding a question if you keep all your considerations out of the abstract.

What can be done about 7 billion people? Too abstract, dial it back to the concrete. What can be done about a global economy steaming toward collase? Dial it back.

WHD,
I think we are going to see a domino effect with nuclear leakages. Consider that we are heading into a time when it will be politically and economically impossible to pull the plug on nuclear power. A slip or two will make the entire system more unstable as nuclear pollution becomes normalized.

Luciddreams said...

MWK...I share your sentiments exactly...at my most optimistic that is.

Lately the phrase I keep hearing over and over in my head, as the only optimistic mantra of certainty I can come up with is Gandhi's "be the change you want to see in the world." This is the only thing that makes any sense to me where action on my part is concerned. What else are we to do? Lay down and die? Suicide in the seeming face of hopelessness? Perhaps go to the general practitioner and get your fukitol prescription therefore joining over half of the zombies in this god forsaken land? All viable options, but not options offering hope.

Be the change you want to see. I'm certain that regardless of all else this is wisdom that is worth informing your life with. If nothing else it seems to me to be a sort of golden rule to live by. Just be the change and don't worry about the rest cause it's all product of our collective mentalscape.

As far as procreating, my son will be two in June. I spent several years debating whether or not to procreate. My wife has baby fever and wants another...so do I, yet it's also the last thing I want to do. Her point, "if our parents had thought that way then we wouldn't be here." What can you say to that? "30 years ago there wasn't 7 billion people on the Earth." No there wasn't, there was probably 5 billion and counting? What's the difference. Before I was born books were being written about the inevitable outcome of industrialization and growth economics. Here we are, where they said we would be. We're perched on the precipice of immediate disaster for all of mankind via various possible catastrophic events...all of which are already in motion and fit to mature. So do we give up? Stop procreating?

Ever seen Idiocracy?

William Hunter Duncan said...

As to procreating, I have not, which is one of the reasons I feel able to write what I write. I also love kids, and count many families with fun, intelligent, happy kids as my friends. Having more kids isn't going to make one bit of difference to the collapse of industrial civilization. It will bring joy and responsibility to your life, though, if you are open to it. It's around the children, a true community revolves. Consider that, if you are peak-resources aware and concerned about establishing community.

inishglora said...

Thanks, I'll look for that post. I'm familiar with Steiner's writings on demonic forces because experimenting with Biodynamics led me away from scoffing about Satanic influences. And as an amateur astrologer, I see so much going on above that mirrors goings-on below, that I can't help but believe there is some hidden hand guiding it all. And Les Visible, of Smoking Mirrors blog, and the author of "Spiritual Survival in a Temporal World: An Exploration Toward the Ineffable," has posited that Lucifer is God's double agent, among many other things. I don't know quite what to believe anymore... which is appropriate because we're witnessing the ending of the Age of Pisces (which rules belief and blind faith, as well as fossil fuels).

Luciddreams said...

at the last permaculture event I went to, one of the elders of a local ecovilliage/intentional living place was asked what their image was in their community now as compared to the beginning when they were seen as liberal hippie douches. She said that they are now known by the locals as the people who treat their children so well. There is a lot of truth to your last comment WHD.

As far as contemplating the nuclear disaster waiting for us...we ain't gonna survive it if it happens. However likely it is, I see it as contemplating a black hole moving into our solar system. What's the point in stressing over it?

William Hunter Duncan said...

As to this discussion, I blogged about kids at my web site blog, with a link on my blog page.

Inishglora,

I call out to many, and look for the signs that the path I am on is just, and generally do not concern myself with demons at all.

luciddreams,

There is no point stressing out. There is only so much one can do, and if you are doing what you do well, then that is all you can do.

The communities I know of that put children at the core, are happy and thriving. The ones that did not, that were all about the adults, devolved into sexual boundlessness and even rampant pedophilia, and imploded.

Justin said...

Lucid,
That's it exactly. Whats not immediate is properly compartmentalized as irrelevant as a practical consideration of physical behavior. For my own part, I am too busy trying to figure out how to cobble together a post industrial living as an artsy-crafts person. This requires a lot of mental energy about day to day to decisions and actions that a corporate job with salary did not. When I had that job, I spent that energy considering practically irrelevant considerations like that there are 7 billion and of us and growing and that can't keep going.

Lance Michael Foster said...

The Witch of Forest
Grove (http://witchofforestgrove.com/category/wildcrafting/plants/) is a good site to check out, as well as
http://www.earthwitchery.com/witches-garden.html and
http://herbalwitchcraft.com/blog/

There are some good free documentaries too, for example: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/sacred-weeds/