• Sunday, June 10th, 2012

This was post was eye opening and poetic.

I have spent the past 8 years preparing internally for the worst (Mad Max style collapse), while cheerfully hoping for the best (free energy devices). I have researched and experimented with new ways to live, harness energy and produce food.

This author says that is all prideful folly. The easiest way to adapt to decline is to decline yourself.

Read the entire article to understand the logic of inducing personal collapse now, rather than later.

Source: The Archdruid Report

One of my presentations to [the Age of Limits] conference was a talk entitled “How Civilizations Fall;” longtime readers of this blog will know from the title that what I was talking about that afternoon was the theory of catabolic collapse, which outlines the way that human societies on the way down cannibalize their own infrastructure, maintaining themselves for the present by denying themselves a future.  I finished talking about catabolic collapse and started fielding questions, of which there were plenty, and somewhere in the conversation that followed one of the other participants made a comment. I don’t even remember the exact words, but it was something like, “So what you’re saying is that what we need to do, individually, is to go through collapse right away.”

 “Exactly,” I said. “Collapse now, and avoid the rush.”
…Across a wide range of geographical scales and technological levels, civilizations take an average of one to three centuries to complete the process of decline and fall, and there is no valid reason to assume that ours will be any exception.  The curve of decline, to be sure, is anything but smooth; it has a fractal structure, taking the form of a succession of crises on many different scales, affecting different regions, social classes, and communities in different ways, interspersed with periods of stabilization and even partial recovery that are equally variable in scale, duration, and relevance to different places and groups.  This ragged arc of decline is already under way; it can be expected to accelerate in the months, years, and decades to come; and it defines the deindustrial age ahead of us.
Fifth, individuals, families, and communities faced with this predicament still have choices left. The most important of those choices parallels the one faced, or more precisely not faced, at the end of the 1970s: to make the descent in a controlled way, beginning now, or to cling to their current lifestyles until the system that currently supports those lifestyles falls away from beneath their feet. The skills, resources, and lifeways needed to get by in a disintegrating industrial society are radically different from those that made for a successful and comfortable life in the prosperous world of the recent past, and a great many of the requirements of an age of decline come with prolonged learning curves and a high price for failure. Starting right away to practice the skills, assemble the resources, and follow the lifeways that will be the key to survival in a deindustrializing world offers the best hope of getting through the difficult years ahead with some degree of dignity and grace…
…The way to avoid the rush is simple enough:  figure out how you will be able to live after the next wave of crisis hits, and to the extent that you can, start living that way now. If you’re worried about the long-term prospects for your job—and you probably should be, no matter what you do for a living—now is the time to figure out how you will get by if the job goes away and you have to make do on much less money. For most people, that means getting out of debt, making sure the place you live costs you much less than you can afford, and picking up some practical skills that will allow you to meet some of your own needs and have opportunities for barter and informal employment.
…There’s quite a lot of money to be made these days insisting that we can have a shiny new future despite all evidence to the contrary, and pulling factoids out of context to defend that increasingly dubious claim; as industrial society moves down the curve of decline, I suspect, this will become even more popular, since it will make it easier for those who haven’t yet had their own personal collapse to pretend that it can’t happen to them.
Research credit: Carolyn Baker
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2 Responses

  1. Rather than ‘crash’, how about ‘CONNECT’ (with people & environment), rather than ‘simplicity’ (a nebulous relative term) we can develop ‘solidarity’ with all the people of the world and wherever we live. I’ve been living with a ‘Vow of Solidarity’ for the past 33 years based in living with essential time, energy and monetary expenditures in identification with the whole world that I live in. Living in solidarity means connecting consciously as part of a whole. Humanity’s ‘indigenous’ (Latin = ‘self generating’) heritage is based primarily in ‘multihome’ (longhouse are apartment-like, pueblo are townhouse-like) dwellings. Multihome dwellings have privacy but as well have connection to common services. The multihome cost 1/3rd to construct and 1/3rd to operate as well as providing non-automobile opportunities for interaction by all to be able to recirculate our resources, time, expertise and money multiple up to 35 times before leaving a ‘community’ (L ‘com’ = ‘together’ + ‘munus’ = ‘gift or services’). String-shell used by all of our indigenous ancestors worldwide brought accounting into the specialized Production Societies and Guilds for progressive ownership from young apprentice to elder master. These inclusive welcoming ‘economies’ (Greek ‘oikos’ = ‘home’ + ‘namein’ = ‘manage’ from ‘manus’ = ‘hand’ meaning ‘care & nurture’) started with the vision-quest of youth searching their gifts. These economies account for all female & male contributions, inter-generationally and inter-disciplinary. Humanity’s challenge is to rediscover love, connection and proximity.

  2. 2

    I totally agree with this speaker – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds living in Montreal frightening for this very reason. We are so limited here as to what kind of skills we can learn and so on (eg., we can’t keep chickens; we can’t learn hunting and trapping, etc). I came to similar conclusions after reading Derrick Jensen’s work but feel like I am biding my time until my family can move to a home far out from the city…
    Douglas: connecting is good and fine, but if your multigenerational home houses individuals with no survival skills and continue to be dependent on consuming industrial goods – especially, if you don’t know how to find drinking water, dispose of poop and dead bodies, and obtain food – then you’ll still be screwed if and when the crash happens – especially living here. It’ll be a nightmare. The bridges will be totally taken over. I don’t like to think about it beyond what I can control to be honest.

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