Sunday, August 22, 2010

weapons of self destruction

I've been watching, reading, and listening to the mass hysteria over the so-called "Ground-Zero mosque" and the so-called "Iranian nuclear threat," and even participating in the debates. But no more.

Any of us interested in continuing to live with a minimum amount of comfort and security now needs to withdraw attention from the noise machine of Fox News, the imbecile fulminations of CNN's talking heads, and the crescendo of government propaganda, and focus our minds and resources on dealing with the real and severe problems we're facing -- global climate change, the abrupt end of the petroleum age, the unfolding economic collapse resulting from the credit binge of the last 30 years, and the unwillingness of our ruling elites to even acknowledge the existence of these challenges. The multitude, distracted by chimerical bogeys like the supposed Islamic plot to impose Sharia on U.S. society, or the crackpot Afghan War, are failing in the most fundamental way to provide for their own survival in a radically changed landscape.

The author and blogger Chris Martenson addresses our predicament with the caveat that "these are simply my beliefs," then goes on to lay out the probable present and future scenarios with commendable brevity.

...the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years. Why is this important? Because we tend to base our view of the future on our most recent experience. That’s just part of being a human. It is also a gigantic liability at key turning points. So I say that massive change is already upon us...

Next I believe that its (sic) possible – possible – that the pace and/or scope of change could overwhelm the ability of our key social and support institutions to adapt. Katrina taught us that a major US city could be wiped out and pretty much remain that way for years. That is an example of major change occurring faster than our ability to respond. The types of changes I foresee in our economic landscape are larger than Katrina. Much larger.

My third belief is that we do not lack any technology or understanding necessary to build ourselves a better future. Rather, we only lack the political will...


And from what I've seen the political will is not forthcoming. The future, both near- and long-term, is going to require us to fall back on our own collective resources in ways that were hinted at in the rather half-hearted "back to the land" movement of the late sixties, and which now need to be taken up again in dead earnest.

We have the capacity and technical know-how to form self-sustaining communities, able to provide their own food, shelter, clothing, electricity, and protection. Providing for transportation and medical care will be more challenging, but doable. I'm not certain whether we have the social skills necessary for this task; that may be a bigger challenge than the material aspects of the transition, although I'm hoping that necessity, as it's the mother of invention, will also be the father of adaptation.

We're talking about a small minority that will be able to weather this challenging transition with some degree of grace and redefined prosperity. The vast majority are at the moment engaging their attention on imaginary threats and irrelevant issues, and thus condemning themselves to facing the collapse of current living arrangements in a desperate, hand-to-mouth struggle.

As Grace Nearing says -- it's the motto of her blog -- "If your knew what was coming, you wouldn't be wasting valuable time reading this."

Painting by Shaun Grech, mixed media on board.