It is fascinating to see what is happening now in the world. There seems to be quite a lot of disaffection with the way things are “progressing” – ecocrises all around, meltdowns -financial and nuclear, peak oil, peak water, the growing drumbeat of war, unparalleled greed, apparently irrational terrorism, ethnic hostilities, and the evaporation of the American Dream like warm breath on a mirror. Even Mother Nature seems to be getting into the act with volcanoes, sinkholes, tornadoes, tsunamis, global warming. What’s next? It’s like the whole fricking thing is coming down around us all at once.
Barely two decades into America’s uncontested, unipolar imperial status, with the entire planet apparently globalizing around our self-delusional spectacle of democratic capitalism and its digital enclaves of techno-freakiness, and the whole thing starts to unwind. Planes began flying into buildings, insurrections, revolutions, and wars are popping up everywhere, terror is on the lips and in the minds of the populace, the world is eerily connected by virtual communities, the Euro zone is going under, Japan is history, North Africa and the Middle East are on fire, North and South Korea are playing paddy cake again, and everybody is a news reporter, political analyst, or terrorist. Why, even some Joe nobody and Sarah know-nothing became overnight national heroes not too long ago.
Now, for those of you who think this makes the system vulnerable, well perhaps you’re right. But don’t believe for one moment you are going to take it down. It will not come down by an act or even the collective acts of all the disgruntled middle class Americans and Europeans who have seen the light. There are centripetal forces holding it together as much as there are centrifugal forces pulling it apart. Aside from the controlling hands of the plutocracy, there is too much raw desire out there in the hinterlands of civilization, too many have-nots who have been living on the poverty stricken fringes of this beast just waiting their turn, and scratching for a piece of the elusive pie.
The entire Soviet Bloc, for example, was systematically and forcibly excluded from all the “fun” for almost a century. But the forbidden fruits are now within their grasp. And now the Chinese have finally woken up from their slumber as well and are quickly focused on putting a car in every one of their citizens’ driveways. The Indians as well have decided they want to play in the game. In Mumbai they have made a good beginning by taking over all of the telephone customer service functions for most major American corporations. Not only that, but a majority of citizens in the West (the first world) have been living at or below the poverty line for generations. They too want a payday and a taste of the forbidden fruit.
The only way you’re going to bring down Western civilization, its curriculum and its spectacle, is if you pry it from the dying hands of all these previously designated have-nots and the plutocrats who own and manage it. You can see it in the younger generation of Siberians here in Barnaul. They cannot live without their cell phones, their iPods, their recently financed cars and newly minted driver’s licenses. They are tasting the promise of the spectacle, and they are mesmerized by its elusive appeal. It is not just blue jeans they want… they want it all!
So, what about those of us who have this sense of ennui today, this feeling of pre post-collapse blues? How do we act on this feeling and prepare for the reality of a post-collapse world? First, if we think that we can somehow return to the Garden, how things were before the rise of civilization – back to the life of a hunter-gatherer – we are ourselves delusional. The conditions for the possibility of a return no longer exist. The land bases have been destroyed: raped and depleted of their natural flora and fauna. Moreover, the tools of civilization have become too much like a second skin for any of us to let go of them so easily, if at all. Rousseau was right when he said that civilization replaces our natural instincts with other, newer one’s, without which we cannot long survive in civil society. So, to prepare for such a return would be a fool’s errand.
However, it does seem that our current course is unsustainable, and will eventually consume itself in its own greed and shortsightedness. So, what does one do in this state of malaise, living with the pre post-collapse blues?
The most likely piece of advice is to find a small piece of manageable land in the more northern climes. This assures you that most freeloaders from the collapse won’t bother you. They will most likely head south, where it is warmer, thinking life should be easier there. But when global warming really sets in the north will be a paradise (relatively speaking), the south more like hell. And you will be sitting in the catbird’s seat, so to speak.
Next, it may be good to learn how to fish, hunt, and grow your own vegetables. Also, learn how to forage for mushrooms, berries, and nuts in the forests. A course in naturalism might be advisable. Make sure you understand which foods are edible and which are not when going into the forest.
Begin simplifying your life; wean yourself off of technology – computers, television, stereos and cell phones. Learn how to live without it all. Automobiles! Hah, that’s a joke. There won’t be any gas or oil around to run them. Remember Mad Max!! Bicycles may be a good source of transportation for short distances. But, then, you may be wiser learning how to enjoy life in the forest, the cave or your small cottage if you’ve prepared one that’s easily maintainable.