Before civilization on this planet eventually collapses, it will go stark-raving mad

Mad World
“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” – by Prometheus, in the Masque of Pandora (1875) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
April 2015CIVILIZATION The enormous cognitive dissonance between our growing awareness of our civilization’s accelerating collapse, and the ‘news’ in the media and the subjects of most public discourse, continues to baffle me. Though I suspect it shouldn’t. We are all slow learners, preoccupied with the needs of the moment, with a preference for reassurance over truth. I often find myself, these days, at social and other events, at a loss for words, not saying anything, as a result. It’s as if I speak an utterly different language from the people I meet in my day-to-day life, so what’s the point of saying anything? Perhaps this is Gaia’s way of teaching me patience. I continue to vacillate back and forth all the way from the humanist worldview (F. on the ‘map’ above’) to the near-term extinctionist worldview (L.), depending on what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with, or what I’m reading (Charles Eisenstein seems to best represent worldview F. and Guy McPherson best articulates worldview L., and I greatly admire them both). I’m happy with company anywhere along that continuum — they both speak my newly-acquired language, though with very different dialects. It’s sad to me that most people find collapse too terrifying to contemplate. I find it liberating.
I guess that stems from what we each are invested in, and what we have divested. Fellow existentialist (J. on the map, if you’re following along) and Taoist Paul Chefurka has been reading about the nature of the human species, and seems to be shifting, a bit, toward the voluntary extinctionist (K.) camp. There’s an interesting tension between the two worldviews. Dark Mountain, I think, exemplifies the existentialist view and John Gray [thanks to Richard Saunders for the link] exemplifies the voluntary extinctionist view. Both views acknowledge, I think, the inevitable collapse of our civilization in this century and the futility of acting to mitigate its timing or severity, and both accept that humans are likely to survive, though in much smaller numbers and in a much more marginal role in the surviving web of life. Where they differ is in their fundamentally different (positive for J. and negative for K.) views of the essential nature of the human animal. Paul is finding, it seems, some comfort and solace in the negative view — that if we are an inherently violent and destructive species perhaps the world will be much better off without us, painful as the collapse process will be for all.

I continue to find more comfort and solace in the positive view — that we are an inherently caring and peaceful species that is simply suffering from the profound emotional ills of a deeply ‘dis-eased’ and stressful culture, and that the demise of that culture will usher in a new era in which, like Robert Sapolsky’s Keekorok baboons, the human survivors will live in a much more joyful, healthy and sustainable way. –How to Save the World
Civilization is headed for collapse: If we stay on the course we’re on – we’re in deep trouble. The wheels will come off this human model. The rigid structures and outdated ideologies of the world’s most sacrosanct and cherished institutions have not kept pace with changing times. Worst; the push for reforms to prevent systemic meltdowns are altogether ignored or evaded. Problems are becoming numerous and solutions, scarce. We are on the footsteps of a new global crisis. The Middle East is primed to explode. Civilization is facing grave challenges to its continual survival in the face of planetary transformation that is being hastened by the rapid pace of urbanization, shrinking arable land, the rising cost of energy, an exploding global population, ethnic and religious conflicts, geological shifts in the planet, deteriorating ecology, widening economic disparity among social classes, the entropy of national debt, increasing tensions between nations over earth’s dwindling natural resources, and of course climate change. Any one of these factors could be enough to sink us. It just so happens at this critical juncture in human history, we’re facing them all. –Utopia the Collapse by Alvin Conway, pp. 201-202 (c) 2014.

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden warns world is coming apart at the seams
Folks, “all’s changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty has been born.” Those are the words written by an Irish poet William Butler Yeats about the Easter Rising in 1916 in Ireland. They were meant to describe the status of the circumstance in Ireland at that time. But I would argue that in recent years, they better describe the world as we see it today because all has changed. The world has changed. There’s been an incredible diffusion of power within states and among states that has led to greater instability. Emerging economies like India and China have grown stronger, and they seek a great force in the global order and global affairs. 
 Other powers like Russia are using new asymmetrical forms of coercion to seek advantage like corruption and “little green men,” foreign agents, soldiers with a mission but no official uniform. New barriers and practices are challenging the principles of an open, fair, economic competition. And in a globalized world, threats as diverse as terrorism and pandemic disease cross borders at blinding speeds. The sheer rapidity and magnitude, the interconnectedness of the major global challenges demand a response — a different response, a global response involving more players, more diverse players than ever before. 
 This has all led to a number of immediate crises that demand our attention from ISIL to Ebola to Ukraine — just to name a few that are on our front door — as someone said to me earlier this week, the wolves closest to the door.  Each one in its own way is symptomatic of the fundamental changes that are taking place in the world. These changes have also led to larger challenges. The international order that we painstakingly built after World War II and defended over the past several decades is literally fraying at the seams right now.   –U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, October 3, 2014
This entry was posted in Age of Decadence, Arms Race, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Currency - Economic warfare, Depression and Anxiety, Ecological Disaster, Economic Collapse, Education Failures, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Greed and Corruption, Gun violence, Hierarchal Control, Immigration surge, Infrastructure collapse, New World Order, Political Corruption, Preparation for War, Religious War, Resource War, Rumors of War, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, Surveillance - Police State, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Troubled Banks, Unemployment rising, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Vice in Religion, Widening gap between rich and poor. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Before civilization on this planet eventually collapses, it will go stark-raving mad

  1. Dennis E. says:

    Alvin, have we not blogged about this over the years?

    We need to be aware. I have found my self lately seemingly with a short fuse or a lack of patience. Then I have to remember the spirit of the time we live in. As we further from God, the chances of dark forces trying to move in on our thoughts and assumptions.

    We are approaching the time that men and women will seek to end their lives in fear of the things(events) coming upon the earth.

    • Utopia: the Collapse says:

      Most assuredly, we have Dennis. Every parcel of ground is now sacred: sanity, hope, love, the desire to alter the power paradigms of the world that have facilitated global suffering, inequality, vice, and injustice. We are now engaged in a titan struggle for our own survival, and the survival of order and life on this planet. We live in the most dramatic time in human history.

      Keep the light burning.

  2. sharilynne says:

    I could not have said this any better myself. This article mirrors exactly what I have been feeling for so long. When I was a child, I was warned by a guardian spirit who said I would witness the end of the world as we know it in my lifetime. The good news is things will be so much better after the great destruction. The bad news is the destruction will be worse than we can imagine and we will soon experience it. There is no escape. Meanwhile, I am grateful for every day of life. Peace.

    • Utopia: the Collapse says:

      Wonderfully insightful, Sharilynne. Thanks for tuning in and being awake to the reality of the times in which we live.

      May peace and love mark your ever step

  3. mikestasse says:

    Reblogged this on Damn the Matrix and commented:
    “Folks, “all’s changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty has been born.” Those are the words written by an Irish poet William Butler Yeats about the Easter Rising in 1916 in Ireland. They were meant to describe the status of the circumstance in Ireland at that time. But I would argue that in recent years, they better describe the world as we see it today because all has changed. The world has changed. There’s been an incredible diffusion of power within states and among states that has led to greater instability.”

  4. paulchefurka says:

    I swing between J and K on Dave Pollard’s graphic on a daily basis. it depends on whether my spiritual (J) or material (K) side is having its day in the sun. I try to give them a nice equitable Taoistic balance… 🙂

  5. Adam R says:

    The inevitable collapse of the uber-chimpanzee civilization proceeds apace. Beware the great banana famine!

  6. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Alvin, you’re spot on. I think we are past several tipping points. Disaster is not at the SPLAT but at the OOPS, and that’s long behind us.
    However, we still have the duty to do the best we can, to soften, defer and treat with compassion the effects of idiocy.
    And it is possible to stay sane in the midst of it all. You may want to read my essay on that, “But there is no need for despair” and its sequels.

    • Chris Harries says:

      Thanks for that contribution Dr Bob.
      I once made a public prediction on timing and got it wrong. The certain part is that we are being confronted by dramatic change. The uncertain part is when. The global ecosystem is immensely big and has greater resilience than I and many others had predicted. This doesn’t alter what’s going to happen. I met an 87 year old geologist the other day and he was lamenting that he will probably pass away before the great disruption happens and so his burning curiosity about how the collapse will look like may never be satisfied. He was worried about his daughter and her kids.

      • Dr Bob Rich says:

        Thanks, Chris.
        There are two scenarios:
        1. The death of a thousand cuts.
        That’s happening, now. Millions have already been killed by climate change; billions traumatised by it, and billions of dollars lost.
        2. Cataclysm.
        That is on the cards, any day, but it’s probabilistic. I have an essay on “How to predict disaster” which describes it. As time passes, some kind of cataclysm increases in probability. I’ll be surprised if global civilisation sees out 2020, but as you say, predictions are uncertain.
        So, it’s a matter of definition. Supposing some people survive, and maintain technology. In a hundred years, they may well put the end of our world at perhaps the year 2000.


  7. niebo says:

    “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD,
    “For the day when I rise up as a witness.
    Indeed, My decision is to gather nations,
    To assemble kingdoms,
    To pour out on them My indignation . . . .”

    Zephaniah 3:8 (NASB)

    when the godless do what the godless will, when the enslaved masses refuse the masters’ chains, when the instinct to survive overpowers restraint, the world as we know it will collapse around, upon, and within us; for this to happen, God need not to reveal Himself but, rather, to withdraw Himself. in the absence of His presence, we are desolate.

    Events are about to get Biblical. “. . . if it seem slow, wait for it. . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3-) His appearance here may be terrifying, but the arrogant, the treacherous, the hostile will not stand, so He is our only hope.

  8. Mike Cooper says:

    I find it hard to see how humanity can possibly be considered an inherently caring and peaceful species, given all the examples from history, and the fact that our civilisation knows what it is doing wrong but is doing nothing other than rearrange the deckchairs…

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      At one level, you’re right, Mike. At another, you are not. We are both.

      The problem is, at some time in prehistory, probably in many places at different times, the concept of ego arose. Freud was wrong. Ego is not instinctual, but a social invention. Even today, there are still remnant cultures that lack the concept.

      What we are seeing is the end of the exponential that started then.

      Humans are inherently caring as well as cruel, generous as well as greedy, etc. The problem is the culture, based on ego, selfishness, that rewards, encourages and treats as natural all the worst in human nature. A culture that does the same for all the best in human nature is in principle possible, and that’s what we need to work for.


      • Chris Harries says:

        How humans have dealt with distressing circumstances has been the subject of much discussion over the centuries. As Bob says, it can and does happen both ways. We have the capacity to be cooperative and we can be selfish. There are prime examples of both. The negative side of humanity is what hits the news mostly, so we can get a distorted picture.

        That said, at face value it looks very much like the present human predicament is heading more towards dog-eat-dog madness rather than orderly transition. I don’t want to believe that, but even the most earnest Transition people know that the broad public doesn’t want to invite peaceful orderly change. We seem to want to hang on to what we have and will fight tooth and nail for it.

        But maybe that may change when we hit the wall hard and the only way to survive is to cooperate. It will certainly be the case in the aftermath post collapse world – when there’s no longer a choice.

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