It’s… Well, It’s Really Just The Absolute Inevitability Of It All…

Sharing a most revealing exposition (Hope and Vision in the Face of Collapse – The 4th R of Deep Adaptation)… with lines of enquiry that I have personally long awaited. The time is now. Get real…

Dr Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria (UK).†††

I have extracted a few notable quotes from this article but there is much more to be gained by reading it all.

On Currency:

“Last year it was unusual to claim that it is too late to stop runaway climate change damaging our agriculture to such an extent that it will lead to the breakdown of our societies within the next ten years.” – Jem Bendell

My view:
Not so now, this year, reading the signs. I have also claimed, frequently, that it will not take ten years, but only two years (this and the next), before we witness this for ourselves. I am prepared of course to possibly extend that to ten, but at this stage I don’t think that will be necessary. Not at all. I also take into account that this process of collapse is not playing out evenly. There are nations and regions that are already in collapse (mostly from external instigation) and others (mostly less developed societies) for whom collapse may not even be noticed for quite a while longer. A general rule to watch for is the complexity of a society – where more things can go wrong more quickly, compounding as collapse develops.

On Hope:

“When people say “we need hope” they might be expressing their assumption that they themselves need a pleasant story of the future in order to avoid their own emotional pain – and avoid witnessing it in others.” – Jem Bendell

My view:
“…we need hope…” (for a continuance of the way things are), but, brothers and sisters, let me tell you – there is none (for that).

On Inevitability:

“People may want to avoid believing societal collapse is inevitable in order to provide themselves with a psychological escape, so that they can still hope that someone or something will stop it happening somehow.” – Jem Bendell

My view:
That is wishful fantasy on people’s part. We have been brought up on a cult of Super Heroes. Super Heroes don’t exist. But even if they did, they can’t (stop it), and it won’t (not happen). 

On Unavoidability:

“Looking at the current climactic changes, the rising emissions and habitat destruction, the biological impacts, the warming feedbacks, the agricultural impacts, the slowness of response, the intransigence of capitalism and its client politicians, and the cultural dependence on ideas of progress and control, and the rise of stories of blame that avoid reality and foster ignorance and hate, I think that “inevitable” societal collapse is a more accurate way of communicating my view that it is now unavoidable, than saying collapse is likely or near certain.” – Jem Bendell

My view:
Totally agree.

“Bye Bye America” – Part 2

You can’t, with any hope of retaining much in the way of credibility, say on one day “Bye Bye America” – a story of societal collapse – and on the very next day say “Is America Really Collapsing?” – another story of societal collapse with a note of hope at the end.  Yet this is exactly what Umair Hague has done in his follow-up piece on Medium.

He outlines in some detail just what, or some of what, societal collapse means, defining it as “a process of going from function through dysfunction to malfunction, a journey, in other words from one system state to a higher entropic state. An intrinsically one-way process – you can’t unscramble an egg.

Having then outlined four ways that America is in collapse, namely: Political Collapse, Social Collapse, Economic Collapse and Eudaimonic Collapse (you’ll need to read the article) – and this is not by any means an exhaustive list of the possible ways in which a society can fall apart – Hague then goes on to talk about the generally accepted view that a collapse is in essence ‘unstoppable’ as not applying, or – “is not the case with societies”.

What is it with doom-writers not being able to face up to the inevitability of what they clearly see coming up for sections of humanity?  They never seem to be able to abandon hope and think clearly on what to actually do in the aftermath of the events of which they tell.  Always looking around for any tiny speck of hope.  It’s nuts …and facing reality takes courage, not to mention – some sort of plan.  But not a plan which merely hopes to stop the unstoppable in its tracks and back it up to some earlier point in its prior path, based entirely on the good will and enthusiasm of the very people who set the unstoppable train of events in motion in the first place.   Such a plan could aptly be described as ‘pure folly’, whether applied at the purely personal or at a local, national or truly global level.

Now, just a final point.  I was thinking of, or trying to come up with a precedent for the type of social recovery (the ‘minor miracles’ he spoke of previously) of which Hague and other writers are so keen to have us believe.  One might think of post-war Germany or Japan as examples of such, arising from the utter destruction of that time to become major societal economies in the modern world.  However, the ruination of those particular nations in the middle of last century was not specifically or directly a result of societal collapse, moral, social, political or any other -wise.  The destruction of those nations was in each case not as a result of a decay of the central core of the nation, its peoples – those remained essentially, morally, spiritually, etc., intact throughout the ordeal of the forced collapse of their material and economic national structures through acts of war.  Two things then were central to their phoenix-like rise from the ashes.  Firstly the central core of national pride, the people themselves, and secondly they could call on the developing availability of world resources which came fully into prominence, profligate prominence from that time until today.  It was entirely a point-in-time thing, employed alike by many nations around the world to rebuild themselves at the same time.  The likes of which had never been seen before and sadly, after less than a century of complete and obscene global madness during which the world ‘partied’ in a once only orgy of digging things up and using them, it will never serve as an option for humanity to enjoy again.  At least on the same scale – the scale of rebuilding nations into any form of structure we would today recognise as being the equivalent of modern society.

So, there we have it, believe it or not, won’t make any difference.  Undoing collapse today can never return us to any resemblance of yesterday. There is no point starting something you can’t finish.

Someone should tell that to Donald Trump …and all other national leaders who continue to seek the elusive ephemera of ‘economic growth’ or ‘growth and jobs’ or simply ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’.

America is on the way down.  Basically, we are all on the way down.  The West, being for so long standing on the upper rungs of the ladder, will feel it the hardest when there are no more ladders to climb over the shoulders of other people.  A level playing field should look the same to everybody.



There’s Always The Brick

Today I am sharing a Guardian article that has at this time achieved almost a quarter of a million shares, indicating that it has hit a nerve somewhere in the popular conciousness.  It is the second article in two days that I have come across which uses terms like ‘horror story’ or ‘horror show’  to describe the events expected to unfold over the next eight months or so, and beyond.

This story was delivered as a speech recently at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney: David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

The Wire creator David Simon in BaltimorePhoto credit: David Simon, creator of The Wire, near his office in Baltimore. Photograph: Stephen Voss/Redux / eyevine

Now, I don’t agree with everything that David Simon said there but the general thrust of the piece is valid.  What didn’t I agree with?  Well, Ok, his insistence that we need a form of capitalism married with a social contract in order to forge our way ahead.  That concept presupposes that we will always have, or indeed need, an economic system at all, or that we will in future maintain social structures which are large enough to require such complex arrangements.  In my view of the future of man, that is not necessarily a given.

One point that he made, which I am entirely in agreement with, is that 1980 was a turning point in our economic history, not only for the points raised in this article but also because that was the time that I started investigating removing myself from what I could see as a crumbling system to some remote but still comfortably furnished, friendly, relatively safe (by its remoteness) and flourishing  part of the world.  Within a short time I found myself in Australia, which matched all of those criteria.  The situation has changed of course over the intervening years and Australia now has become just as much a seething economic melting pot or witches cauldron of political and financial corruption as the rest of the Western world, with a population just as screwed as elsewhere.  Though there is still a vestige of innocence, naivety and charm about my chosen country, which separates or distinguishes it from the crowd.  There is also a level of incredible national stupidity that emerges from time to time, but of course we are not alone in that.

Before I get euphorically carried too far away from the subject that I raised here, what’s all this to do with bricks?

Bricks.  Or rocks.  Or hunks of concrete.  Or whatever is the main ready-to-hand detritus of a crumbling society.  Those metaphoric weapons of choice taken up by a populace downtrodden, ignored and pushed a step too far by a reigning polity, and thrown through the metaphoric plate glass window or at the front line servants of the offending polity.

We have already seen that, time and time again, and not so metaphorically.  Mainly in those regions of the world stirred up and ruined by our own modern weapons of destruction.  Where people with no hope and filled with desperation start to hit back at their oppressors.

But we have also seen the beginnings of such situations within the borders of our own nations.  I fully expect that we will see more to come in the months ahead.  We are mainly at the stage where we rely on mass petitions, grass-roots movements and personal lobbying to achieve our social aims.  There will come a time, and soon, when such diplomacy is seen as ineffective.  Our petitions ignored.  Our people movements subdued.  Our lobbyists incarcerated as troublemakers or bought off to turn against us.

Then is when the boil-over occurs and the not so metaphoric brick comes into play.  Watch for that to come about in the second half of this year.  There are high stakes in that period.  Much depends on the outcome.  People are generally beginning to realise this.  All trust in the system and the so-called democratic process has been shattered and destroyed.  We live in a period where the social tinder is dry and there are political sparks flying everywhere.

Expect unrest.  Plan for confusion and danger.  Be ready for suppression.  Nothing will be normal.  The age of the brick is unfolding.




“Going Full Whig” – Kunstler’s Bombshell

It was around midnight when I penned my previous post on Jim Kunstler’s latest article – : Going Full Whig yesterday.  It may not be surprising therefore, that I did not possess the mental acuity at that late hour to fully take in what he was saying. So, here I am, back again, less than seven hours later, having spent a restless night mulling over the words I remember from that piece, taking a second bite of the cherry to try to explain the momentous ideas unleashed by him that may also have passed the casual reader by.

I take you to the last paragraph of Going Full Whig.  Having just suggested that Donald Trump will never be permitted to hold the Republican Party nomination for President and that the party will destroy itself before allowing that to happen and/or engineer the demise of said Donald some time before the election in November through the auspices of the Deep State, Kunstler goes on to say this:

“Or perhaps this is America’s true imperial moment, when all party politics surrenders to the pre-tsunami undertow of events. None of the idiot network commentators or Wash-Po or NY Times columnists seem to notice that the global economy is sinking into a coma, and in so doing is igniting cluster-bombs of default through the financial system. That so far insidious destruction should effloresce exactly around the time of the nominating conventions. The tide will have visibly gone miles out just as Hillary mounts the podium like some bad joke of a national mommy and Trump sits fretting in his Cleveland hotel room wondering how his rococo dreams of glory turned into a shit sandwich from room service. Yeats’s widening gyre is upon us. The biggest surprise of all yet-to-come is that television will fail to explain it. The second coming will not be the reappearance of the celebrity known as Jesus Christ, but rather of the event called the American Civil War.”

This is truly a momentous statement regarding the future of America, not to mention of the world.  It sits well however, with my own view of what 2016 is scheduled to bring about.  I have spoken of it being a year of darkness or the beginning of a Dark Age for mankind.  I used that term because I could not see clearly, and to some extent still can’t, just how this would pan out as the months of the year unfold.  But what I had in mind, among such impending catastrophes as a collapse of global society, trade and finance, was the kind of unrest and conflict that an America at war with itself might instigate.

Jim uses the all too common but unnervingly appropriate allegory these days of a tsunami to illustrate a series of much more than just likely events to occur in this election year.  I am not quite sure how the disastrous eventuation of a collapse of party politics together with destruction of the financial system can be termed a  “true imperial moment”, but I do see how this taking place at the height of Convention Season in the second half of July 2016 could be likened to the “pre-tsunami undertow” and the associated receding shoreline that precedes the return of mountainous waves of destructive forces which would ensue.  A new American Civil War, in that light, does not seem too preposterous a concept to envisage.  A global war, following hard on the heels of that, to fill the vacuum a weakened America would create, would not seem so improbable either.

The terrifying thing is, that is less than five months away, convention season being the second half of July.  Can our cosy and sleepy little world of material comforts (those of us that still have them) be so close to disappearing for ever?

Like Nothing We’ve Seen Before

Debt, defaults, and devaluations: why this market crash is like nothing we’ve seen before

Photo credit: The S&P 500 trading pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – owner unknown.

I began this year with the thought, and sort of prediction, that we were or are heading into a Dark Age of human experience.  I admittedly found it difficult to pin down exactly what it was that would make it such a situation, but did list a number of things/ possibilities.  As always, societal/economic collapse is also on the agenda.

Make no mistake, we are already in the middle of a collapse of the financial markets, having dropped by two-thirds since their peak in 2014.  Over $120 trillion of supposed wealth having just vaporised over that period up to today, in just the commodities area.

A lot of things are coming together at this time, to create a perfect storm that could this year or over the next few years (dark ages are not just annual length events) witness the sudden or gradual ruination of everything that we have come to recognise as being the society in which we live and on which we, to a large part, depend.

It will be, in the words of this article, ‘like nothing we’ve seen before’.

I am reading the book by John Kenneth Galbraith titled ‘The Great Crash 1929’, about the last market collapse of note that occurred almost a century ago (dry and heavy going that it is, I may never finish reading the book).  Nothing that occurred almost a hundred years ago, beyond most people’s living memory now anyway, could prepare us for the effects we are likely to see and try to survive this time around.

This time there can be no prospects of recovery from the crash, which last time was based largely on the exploitation of natural resources and massive infrastructure construction (much of which is even now in a state of decay and decomposure which is proving to be  unaffordable to reverse/repair).  This time there is no readily available resource glut that we can take advantage of to pull ourselves out of the mire that we have created.  No recovery.  No way to rebuild the kind of existence that we have so recklessly enjoyed for the past decades of self-indulgence.

As we emerge from this dark age at some future point, if in fact we do emerge from it or at least some remnant of us do, we will be faced with the prospect of building a life for ourselves from just the basic technologies that have always been our inheritance and utilising just the basic (to our modern eyes) resources of nature that we have always in past ages had access to and which we could more or less depend on.

Are we ready?

I Am An Abject Failure

I am an abject failure.

I do not say this from some depressed state, some suicidal thought, some tendency to self-flagellate.  It is not some morbid attempt to heap shit on myself.

It is simply that I recognise my own limitations, my unfulfilled hopes and desires.  It is an acknowledgement that my vision is greater than my capability or strength to describe it or to bring it to a state of realisation.  It is an acceptance that the task is too great and I am not among those great persons who have taken on insurmountable tasks and somehow accomplished them.

Taking a stand on anything that lays outside of the normal, restrictive and increasingly shrinking thought patterns of a society intent on pursuing fatuous and frivolous goals of personal happiness, comfort and wealth, carries consequent risk of being perceived as raving lunacy, perversion, or some dangerous threat to the status quo, which should be extinguished or removed from sight to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the flow.

To these charges I must plead guilty.  I must also from time to time re-evaluate my reasons for taking a stand on ideas that are not generally held but which I see as being of great importance for me and all humanity.  Does ridicule or ignorance (in the sense of being ignored) bother or hurt me or sway my views?  Am I expecting to achieve some sort of success?  Or do I do this simply because it seems the right thing to do, whatever the consequences?  Should I continue, or just sit back quietly and watch?  Should I respond to my feelings, or suppress them?  Should I try to fit in, or continue to be some kind of mysterious and awkward enigma?  Essentially, do I care what other people think of me?

I will answer only the last question here, by saying “Some, but not much.”

The dashboard here on my blog is littered with unfinished and unpublished posts that I was at some stage influenced or inflamed to begin but for some reason did not complete or felt the need to withhold from publication.  Then again, so many of my aroused thoughts and so much of my accumulated knowledge never gets to the point of actually being committed to writing in the first place.

Diligently pursuing an idea or project to conclusion is quite exhausting and there is only so much that an individual person can do.

But I do what I can.  Failure, or not.

What happened to bring me to this place?

Well, I guess it was a confluence of many things culminating with my reading this morning the latest article from George Monbiot, ‘Loss Adjustment’ here on the Permaculture Research Institute website.

George begins the article with a very pertinent question –

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means?

That is my problem.  I am privileged to be among the few who do have a clear vision of what that means.  To take just one aspect, simply stated, it means that even with the best will in the world, climate change is not something that can be adapted to whilst still retaining a semblance of modern life.

How on Earth do you go about explaining that concept to people in particular and the world in general?  How?  Even if people and the world wanted to know, the message is not something that they would willingly and wholeheartedly accept.  The concept itself leads to a turmoil of world upheaval such as no-one would ever have contemplated in their wildest dreams or nightmares.

That in essence is my dilemma.

George quotes the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, as I also did, somewhere, recently –

“An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

George further partially quotes Leopold in saying that –

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.

I also feel something of that world of wounds, that agony, that torment, of watching on a daily basis the inevitable events not only of climate collapse but ecological collapse, economic collapse and societal collapse, playing out on the world stage in front of my very eyes.  Expecting soon to add to that exposure the dreadful, awful, sight of population collapse as a direct or indirect result of those events.

Sometimes the enormity of it all becomes quite overwhelming and one feels infinitesimally small and insignificant in comparison.

Climate Change Adaptation?

Climate Change Adaptation?

Is there really nothing we can do?

It is true that we can do some tinkering around the edges.  At least the wealthy nations may be able to do that.  But what about everyone else?

There is the possibility of constructing a few sea walls, strengthening structures, making homes more ‘climate resilient’, rolling out more ‘renewables’, among other things that may have been placed under consideration.  However, all this activity displays is a basic inability to grasp the parameters of what climate change means for our world.

Whatever adaptation activity is undertaken, there remains the dual-headed dilemma of 1) do we attempt to stop or reduce the human activity feeding climate change first, or at the same time?  And 2) if we do either one of those things, or even if we don’t, where is all the wealth and physical resources going to come from to enable us to effectively adapt current systems, if effective adaptation were in fact possible?

Take one example.  Two thirds of all the world’s cities with 5 million or more inhabitants, lay in coastal regions that will be effected by sea level rise and will need to be relocated at some stage, whether that be in the next few years or before the end of the century.  Can you imagine the enormity of that task?  Abandoning land and infrastructure, re-housing the population, perhaps several billion people, and rebuilding the very valuable and costly infrastructure on which many more people have previously relied.  The potential cost is literally staggering.  Another description would be ‘impossible’.  There is just not the wealth and resources necessary to accomplish such a task.

Take another example.  How is the world going to feed itself?  Pretty much all of the global food growing regions will become incapable of producing food, either at all or in such reduced amounts as to render the total food supply grossly inadequate for even current population levels.  Many of these regions are already feeling the impacts of climate change.  One in eight people already have inadequate access to food.  Then there is the question of more migration away from these areas with consequent loss of land and infrastructure and these ‘food bowl’ areas include much of central US, most of Australia, central Africa, southern Europe and parts of China.  Desertification will become a huge issue over time and is already under way.

There is no means of adaptation to these issues.  They entail a getting out and a going somewhere else.  If a somewhere else can be found, is acceptable to those already living there and, importantly, is capable of sustaining the influx of additional souls.  On top of that, unless this process occurs very soon while transport infrastructure is still available, for most it will be undertaken on foot, carrying whatever they can on their backs.

Does that make the picture a little clearer?  Well, it is not the whole picture of course.  Many other perils await, such as diminished availability of water, increased risk of disease, resource conflicts, slavery, abuse and death.

On the whole I think a policy of adaptation, in the terms that it is currently viewed, stands little chance of any success and will most likely be seen to be a complete waste of time, energy and resources in the long term.  Although, building infrastructure appears to be the new flavour of the month among politicians who continue to seek means of resuscitating their ailing economies and increasing jobs.  They could better spend their time dismantling the complex societal structure we have built and preparing for something much smaller and simpler.  They won’t of course and future history will play out as it inevitably will as business continues as usual.  Any other course of action would require them to face full on to what portends to be a very insecure and perilous period ahead.

Perceived inadequacy and failure

Reviewing these supremely important concepts causes a certain overshadowing of my feelings of inadequacy and failure to communicate them effectively.

I remain undaunted by my inadequacy and unafraid of my failure to do so.

One day, soon, I expect to see a vindication of my feeble attempts.  May they have assisted someone, somewhere, to be more ready for that day than they otherwise may have been.

“Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot.”

The Last Word

From the start of my involvement with blogging and social media I have built up a list of favourite quotations.  Among them is the following from Louis Pasteur the microbiologist and discoverer of the role of microbes in the process of fermentation and who played a large role in the field of immunisation and vaccinology, among other things.  He said:  “It is the microbes that will have the last word.”.

Of course Pasteur didn’t actually say that.  He was French so if he said something on that at all it would more likely have been the same as the title of my article:    “Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot (Gentlemen, it is the microbes who will have the last word.)”.

Pasteur’s view was quite prescient and may well be proven so within the foreseeable future and perhaps sooner than most of us would like to contemplate.

End Of An Era

Until I remembered Pasteur’s quote I was considering an alternative title for this post.  It would have been: “The Era Of Antibiotics Is About To End”.  This is a paraphrase of the title of an article I just read here at Get Holistic Health website.  The article refers to a current report from the premier US health agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This is not the only source of such news of course, the subject quandry has been fairly openly broadcast even on mainstream news outlets.

What does this mean?  Well, read the article, but basically it means that we have already lost the war against the microbes.  Governments know that.  Pharmaceutical corporations know that.  In fact the pharmaceutical industry has all but ceased research for new antibiotic drugs, knowing that they can’t win.  They can’t discover new and more effective remedies faster than the microbes can evolve to negate their effect.

Antibiotic remedies were first discovered a little more than eighty years ago by Alexander Fleming and only started to be introduced into medical practice not much more than seventy years ago.  Antibiotics were never going to be a long term solution for infection control.  Pasteur foresaw that.  Can a discovery that has an effective lifetime of only 70-80 years be truly called a success?  This is only a blip, an instant, a moment, in the timeline of human existence.  In fact, introduced only a handful of years before I was born, the practice of using antibiotics may not outlast my own lifetime.  They may have lasted a little longer but through overuse, misuse and abuse, their effectiveness has been ended earlier than may have been expected if utilised wisely and appropriately.

The Get Holistic Health article that I referenced previously, offers an alternative solution.  Well they would do that wouldn’t they?  That is their business, promoting holistic health.

It is common sense really.  What did humanity do to fight off infection and disease for the thousands of years prior to the seventy year blip that is the antibiotic era?  Well, they sought and found natural holistic remedies.  Otherwise they simply died.  Mostly they died.  That is the same range of choices that will face humanity in the, hopefully, thousands of years, perhaps hundreds of years or maybe only tens of years that we can look forward to as a viable species on this planet.  We will re-seek and re-find natural remedies for our ills, or we will die from them.  Many will die.

Without the support of modern medicine that has only been made possible by the abundant resources of the only slightly longer blip in our history represented by the fossil fuel era ie. oil, coal and gas (which is also coming to an end very soon), life expectancy, human mortality, will start to return to pre-industrial era levels such as it always has been.  We are living in a bubble and that bubble is about to burst.  The problem is that most of us, in fact practically all of us, have not experienced life (well, what we currently refer to as life, and we have little or no memory of any other) outside of that bubble.  Living in a bubble has its advantages but it is also virtually impossible to imagine with any real sense of perspective just what conditions are like outside of the bubble.  We are about to find out.

So, Where Am I Gong With This? (A Reconsidered Point Of View)

In the past I have written quite a bit about the state of the world, our human predicament, our history, why we are in the mess that we most definitely are in and about how I see the future playing out.  And I have enjoyed, if that is the right word, doing that.

I haven’t felt like doing more of that recently.  It is not that my writings will have much if any influence on eventual outcomes or even on persons who may stumble accidentally onto my site to read them.  So, does it matter?  Are my views out of line or perhaps somewhere near the truth?   What will be, will be, whether I or anyone else writes about it or attempts to alter the course of events.

So, I have taken the time to reconsider these things.  What conclusions have I made?

Have my views changed at all?  No, they have not.  We are still steering a course towards impending disaster no matter which way you look at it.

Do I need to keep repeating my message over and over again from slightly different angles?  Possibly not, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I shouldn’t, or won’t.

Should I focus more on positive action, preparation for future events, recording of helpful information?  Possibly, maybe even exclusively.  I will do my best to improve in that area, but no guarantees.

What I have discovered is that there is no point laying blame on individuals or organisations or in pursuing activist type operations with the hope of changing anything.  Kudos to those who do those sort of things but in the end none of it really matters.  We are on the downward slope of societal decline without really knowing just how steep or gradual that slope may be and future history will play out its dramatic scenes the way it will, without any help from me.

It is up to individuals (we are all one of those just as much as we are collectively one body within nature) to recognise and establish their own position on these things relative to the overall group (humanity) position but we all need a starting point and guiding influences along the way.  This is where talking about these things, reading and writing about them, comes into the picture and is actually an important part of the process towards enlightenment.  Avoiding the issues, ignoring them, does not lead to clarity.  It just means blind submission to the group mentality, behaving like sheep people or ‘sheeple’.  There is a degree of comfort and safety in being sheeple but also a great danger of collectively straying off track and all going over the cliff edge together.

For these and other reasons I have ceased membership of all activist groups and have backed off from reading and commenting on most, not all, protest websites.  I think it will pay to not get too much out of touch with the signs of the times but an observer role rather than participation seems to be the way ahead for me at least.  This does not necessarily mean that I will be silent on these matters.

I have also realised, or have gained a clearer view, of what the real problem is and this will bring us back full circle, I think, to how this article started.

What Is The Real Problem That We Face?

Let me start with what the real problem is not, and proceed from there.

The real problem is not something that is outside of our capability to control.  While there are many such things, like asteroid impact, super volcano, global pandemic, that could bring about a premature end to our little show, they are merely potential problems, not to be discounted by any means but they are not the real problem that we face.

While the following are very real issues that we do have the ability to exercise control over, the real problem is not any of them:

  1. Overconsumption, the gobbling up, accumulation and use of ‘stuff’ (technical term for anything that can be obtained by any available means) which seems to be the main preoccupation for most of us in the world today.  This of course results in Resource Depletion and lays the foundation of Corporate Greed and an out of control Financial Industry and ultimately Societal Collapse.
  2. Environmental Degradation, the careless misuse of planetary assets without thought for future consequences. Included here is human induced Climate Change, Collapsing Ecosystems and the negative effects of Modern Agriculture (which is the field to which the Pharmaceutical Industry has turned to make a buck since they realised that their hold on the medical field was always doomed to end in failure).
  3. Social Elitism, the national, ethnic, religious, class and ideological groupings that separate people one from another for no better reason than flimsy ‘team’ allegiance or superiority, resulting in Global and Regional Conflict, violence, abused minorities and many other disturbing social trends.

I repeat, these are not the real problem.  They are merely symptoms of the real problem. The conclusion I have reached is that the real problem facing humanity is one that if we viewed it as such and put in place controls that do lie within our capabilities, we could overcome.  I do not think that we will do so voluntarily, but we could.

The real problem is Over-Population.

There are just too many of us around now for our own good and for the good of the planet on which we exist.

A popular myth says that  there are more humans alive now than the total of those who have ever lived before this time in all of our previous history.  This is not true of course (if it were true, you could forget about reincarnation) and while accurate estimates are difficult to establish, it is reckoned that something over 100 billion people have been born throughout history, far exceeding our current population (reincarnationists, I am one, who claim some level of previous life memory, can thank that fact for backing up, or at least not rebutting, their beliefs).

It is perfectly true though that never in our history has there been so many people (human beings, homo sapiens) alive at the same time as right now.

I do not discount the possibility that there may have been other global civilisations occupying our planet before our time here, of which there is now little or no trace as to their passing, but if there were such they would I think most likely not have been human beings.  I also do not discount that any preceding civilisations may have expired due to exactly the same reasons that we ourselves are becoming an endangered species of which just as little will remain, if anything at all remains as evidence of our own short history, for future special populations to see as we have of those who preceded our stay here.  This is mostly, though not entirely, pure conjecture of course.

Getting back on track, I hope to show that over-population is bigger than, and in fact the root cause of, all of the other problems that I mentioned earlier.  Here is my reasoning.

There is no doubt that the human population is growing.  It appears to be growing faster as time goes by, but that is simply an illusion.  Exponential growth is often thought to operate at a faster and faster rate but that is not true.  To grow exponentially, something only needs to grow at a fixed rate and that rate can be very small.  Any growth at a fixed rate over time is exponential because it will result in a doubling of that ‘something’ over a particular time period and for every subsequent repetition of that time period.  If you like to contemplate this line of reasoning then I recommend you watch the video below from Professor Albert Bartlett.

So, the population is growing.  The more it grows the more each of my three points above of controllable problems is exacerbated, becomes a bigger problem than it used to be.

  1. The more people there are, the more ‘stuff’ has to be produced to keep them happy.  The more ‘stuff’ produced, the more quickly the finite (limited, the word finite means having a limit) resources at our disposal are consumed.  A phrenetic race for the top based on profit, greed and debt ensues. Bad things start to happen.
  2. The more people there are, the more food is required to feed them and the less a share of total global food production becomes each person’s fair share.  The more people the more living space is required and the more land devoted to food production.  The planet suffers and ultimately everyone suffers.  Bad things start to happen.
  3. The more people there are, the more friction is generated as boundaries are pushed, social mores (norms, behaviours, customs, taboos) are infringed or ignored, separations into ‘have’ and ‘have not’ groupings arise (the 1% v the 99%). Discontent flourishes.  Bad things start to happen.

The reader may require more convincing evidence than what has been said here but to me this is a pretty clear picture.  Humans breed.  Just as all other living organisms do.  Breeding uncontrolled on a ball of rock that also supplies all of our needs for sustained life will eventually result in a sad ending.  Also, sadly, we may not see that ending coming until we reach the point where we each have only one square metre of land to stand on because at the point of the previous doubling of population the Earth’s land area would have been only half full.  That holds true no matter what the rate of growth is.

In the period 1950 to 1990 the world population doubled from 2.5 billion to 5 billion.  A doubling time of 40 years.  The rate of growth has slowed slightly since that time and the next doubling to 10 billion is expected by 2050, only some 36 years from now.

Can we slow down the rate of growth sufficient to avoid dangerous overcrowding?  Or are we currently at a level that can be considered as dangerous?  Should we be considering ways to actually reduce the current population for the safety of future generations?

I will not pursue those inquiries further here but it is a conversation that we must undertake globally and soon if we are to retain, some might say regain, control of our destiny.

Perhaps this quandry will be taken completely out of our hands, since we seem to have no appetite to engage in finding a solution, which brings me back to how this article began.

I think I can safely say that we are not now, never have been, nor ever will be in charge or control of our natural destiny as temporary residents of this planet.  Nature has that job and there are signs that He/She/It (depending on your view) is beginning to exercise that responsibility.  Nature after all has been controlling things here for far longer than we have been around and I suspect has gathered plenty of expertise in seeing that proper balance is somehow maintained despite the efforts of upstart species to take over.

The article concludes with this thought:  Is the evident loss of our battle against the microbes Natures move to begin adjusting the balance by reducing human population level through natural attrition that our efforts to medically prolong human life in recent decades (only decades remember) has attempted to circumvent?  Will balance be restored with us, though materially less of us, included?  Will the process end there?  Or will Nature take a look at our latest Behavoural Report Card and say “Enough is enough. They all have to go”?

Gender Roles In Collapse

Today I read this excellent article titled ‘On Gender, Collapse, & Communities We Can All Abide‘ by Katherine Acosta at the website and was disgusted, though not surprised, to be awakened to the blinkered misogynist views of such otherwise eminent writers on societal collapse and related subjects as Dmitry Orlov and James Howard Kunstler.   I am sure that there must be others with similar gender biased views who could also be added to this list.

It continues to amaze me that many of my own gender continue to think of themselves as somehow superior to women when it comes to role allocations, limits and separation when in terms of organisational skills, command and vision at all levels, they (we) have consistently demonstrated that they (we) are incapable of even successfully organising a shit to Werribee and that it is entirely down to them (us) that the world in in the calamitous state of decay and imminent collapse that we now find ourselves.

In spite of the modern advances gained by the feminist movement, we still live in a largely male dominated world and that fact by itself speaks volumes for why we are where we are today.

As the article says, we need to re-examine and re-establish matrilineal forms of society such as those of the Native American tribes where the energies and excesses of the male lines were held in check by the roles and respect ascribed to the female.

Note that there is a world of difference between matrilineal and matriarchal.  A matriarchal (female dominated) organisation of society would be just as damaging (I expect, though I don’t know of any real examples) as the current patriarchal, male dominated situation that is prevalent around the world.

Note also that Christianity especially, and pretty much all religion (generally tied in with male god figures), tends to favour and sustain the patriarchal system. It seems to me that would be a good starting point to begin dismantling the current system.  Good Luck with that enterprise.

Read the article for yourself.  I am sure that it will be found interesting whether you are an adherent to collapse scenarios or not.  Beware, if you are a woman, it may get you fired up to take a more leading role in managing your life and relationships, and the injustices of male domination in world affairs.  Don’t blame me if it does.