Eeyore locutus


I’ve always had to be on my guard, in social settings, about telling people what I really think. I don’t just mean about ‘issues’, like Palestine, or Obromneycare, or what have you, but something bigger: my sense of where our world is going, in what time I have left, and my kiddies’ time. I remember an innocent dinner party, twenty years ago in the Clinton days, when the subject came up. I shed a dark pall over the conversation and really wondered whether some of our guests might go home, afterwards, and cut their throats.

I’m glad to say they didn’t, and less glad to say they all ended up really enthusiastic about Obie. I’m moderately glad, in a sour way, to report that all my dark prophecies, made on that occasion, were quickly fulfilled, even before
the shameless dogfaced Mr Clinton left office.

So be warned: If you have suicidal tendencies, stop reading now. There will be a palely upbeat conclusion, but it won’t compensate.

One receives a lot of exhortatory rah-rah stuff in one’s inbox about good ideas like stopping global warming, rolling back the police state, and so on.

My view is that none of these good things will happen in my lifetime.

Our rulers will reel, for the foreseeable future, from one mad folly to the next and end up killing who knows how many of us. It’s way too late to do anything about global warming, even if anybody who mattered wanted to — and they don’t. The seas will rise; Venice and the Jersey Shore will drown. That is, as they say, a done deal. The smart money is going into property that will soon be beachfront. Somewhere in the foothills of the Appalachians.

Time was, I thought that the public Internet might be something like the invention of printing — an immense expansion in the means of human communication. And of course so it has been, as long as you want to tweet about some starlet’s boob job. The minute your tweets become in any way troublesome — as if they could — the cops will come to your house and do a Bradley Manning or an Aaron Swartz on you.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition; but they show up anyway. Technology will not save us, whether it’s Gutenberg’s or Vint Cerf’s.

Things are going to get worse — much, much worse — before they get better.

Did I promise a palely upbeat conclusion? Oh, fuck it. As Scarlett O’Hara says, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

27 thoughts on “Eeyore locutus

  1. my opened palms are gesticulating to heaven as the corners of my mouth jerk down to hell; eyebrows akimbo, eyeballs crossed. It’s got a “Sid Caesar” Italian feel to it.

    Point is, well…yeah! Let’s start with the Sixth Mass Extinction and work our way down from there.

    You would do well to read a neat little article by Marian and Keller Breland on “the misbehavior of organisms,” which is of course a take-off on Skinner’s pompous “the behavior of organisms” I believe it contains nearly everything one needs to know about learning in general, human or otherwise. It’s replete with dancing chickens, miserly racoons, and prodigal pigs.

    Learning by trial and error my ass. I got a million of them, and I find it a perfectly suitable explanation for why humans won’t change.

        • I mean that. Really. Do go on! I’m assuming you read and digested those few short pages, which you had left hundreds of miles back in your oblique and cutting-edge journey between truth and consequences. I implore your Idiolectness to proceed and enlighten all of us on the debate. One hopes and prays for more of your beneficent admonitions.

          Or rather, one hopes and prays you can make a falsifiable argument in return. Until then, and with all due respect, I’ll just sit back on this one.

          • Further, I’d like to meet the draftsman who easily cross-hatched the dark shadings of my mind horizon. After proper introductions and drinks, I will shove his chiarroscurro renderings up his ass, using a plumber’s grip.

  2. Michael, I’ve been there for a while. But lift your eyes and read the Arch Druid Report. Collapse and rebirth are part of what civilizations have done forever. We’re in a bit of a unique situation in that our civilization is now world wide and the eventual collapse (and I make no predictions of when that will be) be the worse for it. But for those who know how to prepare, for those who know what is coming, for those who can work on a sheep farm, or grow an organic garden, or pick up some of the low tech skills we need to keep ourselves alive in a world made by hand. Well, there’s some very slim hope. Slim… but hope.

    In the next few hundred years money itself is unlikely to survive. The world will change.

    We’re headed for some serious down shifting. It’s alright. It’s happened before to the Mayans, Romans, Greeks, Persians, Assyrians, Olmecs, Incas, Egyptians, several different Chinese dynasties I don’t care to look up there name….

    Civilizations collapse. We’ll deal with it. As if we have a choice.

  3. Civilizations collapse but we are in uncharted territory. The not so distant future holds a population collapse. With mechanized farming we vastly overpopulated the world. MIT may be right that the population will stabilize at about 3 billion. Or maybe not.

    • Great point par4. As I mentioned, no civilization ever spanned the world before. When prior civilizations broke down people were able to go elsewhere and pick up the pieces. This next time there’s no where to go.

  4. Oh, you genocidal bastards. It is the bitter fantasies of the imperial bourgeois that cause, not predict, mass suffering. Your refusal to offer any resistance other than Angry Typing is what steals the future from a bunch of children who aren’t responsible for your decades of guilty inaction. No surprise that doomsday fantasies find their strongest hold in rich people writing from comfortable perches in leading nations.

    Michael, you are right to critique Clinton, Obama, etc., but you are walking a dangerous road–the kind of fateful despair you’re feeling is the very stuff that causes good people to become, in time, Clintons. You’ve recognized the ridiculous false dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats. It’s time now to recognize that you’re operating inside a higher stage of the same illusion. The resource and social mandates you lament are narratives created by the same elites who scripted the Republican/Democratic battle. The difference is, the “collapse” story is targeted at people of your higher level of intelligence.

    The corporate fantasies of a few thousand elites are broadly disseminated, and are meant to be aided by the defeated fatalism of people like you. Without the whining of the western middle classes, elites would fail in their attempt to cause depopulation.

    Earth remains beautiful and lush. A hundred years of plastic junk is nothing next to a million years of magma. Billions of people know that something is wrong, and want to change it. If you actually care, you’ll need to do what you’ve known all along you should have done.

    Dying in a Cave.

    • Well, this is bracing. Thanks.

      One small note of clarification: I don’t tend to deal in notions like the ‘collapse of civilizations’. If anything, what I most fear is the continuation of civilization, on its present course anyway. My gloom is focused on the relatively short term: my lifetime and that of my kids. And I’m deeply irritated by people who want me to sign a petition, or something, to end global warming, or what-have-you. It seems frivolous. Don’t they understand what we’re up against?

      To ask the question is to answer it: of course they don’t.

      My daughter, when she was about 5, was unaccountably fond of the movie Jurassic Park, which has a famous chase scene: a hungry and pissed-off tyrannosaur pursuing a car with our heroes in it. They were sensible enough not to draft a petition to End Tyrannosaur Tyranny.

      • Wow, what an amazing comment! I especially love the part about global warming. I keep thinking the same thing, the habitable parts of this planet are supposedly (who really knows for sure?) so fucked that even if it is a real theory, I’m more concerned with the accidental detonation of the entire nuclear arsenal or running out of clean water or some other crazy chemicobiologic accumulation we hadn’t previously considered turns into the Super AIDS or something. We’re fucking fragile, Mother Earth could give a shit if we ‘make’ it.

    • High Arka, I’ve read Dmitry Orlov’s books and many of his writings. He’s not right about everything probably but who is. Your interpretation of his outlook is not even close to the mark in my opinions. But then we all read the same things and come away with different views. Happens all the time. In this I think your views are wrong and deeply cynical.
      Your choice.

  5. Here’s some things we can do.

    Food independence:.
    Organic gardening:

    The list goes on and on. People *are* doing something High Arka. Just because because some folks are typing on the internet right now doesn’t mean they won’t be out spreading mulch, learning how to make things with their hands that will be useful when industrial civilization breaks down and many other activities. Me? I’ve learned how to operate a still (a very useful store of energy and if you can drink some to relieve a little daily monotony then so much the better). I’ve learned to can and preserve meat and vegetables.

    There’s much we can do. Just look around. A lot of people see what is coming and they are doing something about it. We just don’t make the newspapers.

    • You mistake the poetry of rebellion for the prose

      No Revolution won’t arise from your poetry
      anymore then appear full blown one day on television

      but it’s still righteous to pre figure and gesture
      So long as most of us stick to the prose

  6. In a few days TEPCO will begin without outside supervision or high grade consultation to remove distorted fuel assemblies from a pool perched 100 feet above the ground at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4. If this very flawed corporation makes even a tiny error in this delicate operation, in several months time, it will not be advisable to step outside your home, or breathe unfiltered air, or drink water that has been exposed to the sky.

    No one in authority in our world’s governments has anything to object to in all this, even though there will be nowhere to hide, nowhere to live if he damn things catch fire or begin to fission, causing the abandonment of Fukushima Daiichi and the subsequent evacuation of Tokyo, and the eventual unlivability of the planet.

    I guess this is a bit too grim, but there you have it.

  7. Me too, Michael, but then, the IRA won’t mean very much when international finance collapses, will it? Ergo our sorrow is rather crocodilish and false; we’re inactive precisely because we don’t really believe in the future we doomsay. If we did actually think it was all crumbling in our lifetimes, then we would be pouring a lot more money into freeze-dried foods and cheap flyover real estate. But we’re not. Instead, we’re enjoying the fruits of high civilization, reading blogs on the tablet, and posting dire messages. This suggests either that we don’t believe it will happen, or that we think it’ll happen after our own lifetimes, and we don’t care about our children as much as we’d like to believe. (That said, the market’s up!)

    drunk, your postindustrial scrapings will fall quickly to the roving gangs of the total-collapse fantasy, even presuming that you could grow enough to sustain in breathable health, year-round, a family of one. The “collapse” won’t be sudden in that sense; it will be a carefully managed process of crumbling, where land gets requisitioned to bank control and people are dispossessed and resettled, as we’ve been seeing in Africa for decades (and Detroit for, what, weeks?). It will all be so mundane that, when the sheriff removes you from your plot of organic farmland for national security reasons, it will seem as ordinary as sending in your 1040.

    The only way out is through; the only “salvation” here is to tame this monster we’ve created. Fantasizing about its death, and how we’re going to start over from scratch, is unrealistic. The creature is with us, and will continue to be so even as resources become more and more artificially scarce. Pretending that “the environment” will do it for us is just another way of not getting out the pitchforks. Empty chairs at empty tables.

    Lastly, as to Orlov:

    “As an engineer, I am always looking for solutions to problems. And so I almost subconsciously crafted a scenario where industrial civilization fades away quickly enough to save what’s left of the natural realm, allowing some remnant of humanity to make a fresh start…Ideally, it would start of with a global financial collapse…[t]hat would swiftly morph into commercial collapse, caused by global supply chain disruption…Those groups that have sufficient social cohesion, direct access to natural resources, and enough cultural wealth (in the form of face-to-face relationships and oral traditions) would survive while the rest swiftly perish.

    What do you call it when a white scientist fantasizes about a wave of starvation and death sweeping across the globe, and leaving behind only a pure remnant of humanity? You call it business as usual.

    It’s possible that George W. Bush actually believes, when he puts on his stocking cap and slippers, grabs his teddy bear, and slips into bed at night, that he’s set Iraq on the road to peace by freeing it from the grip of Saddam Hussein. I don’t like Saddam Hussein, and I like face-to-face relationships and oral traditions. However, Dubya and Orlov are both wishers for mass death. Any sweet little dressing-up they put on the idea (even if they really just love democracy or organic farming in their hearts of hearts) fails to exonerate them from what they’re laying the theoretical groundwork for.

    You guys can’t have all missed it, of course. Elite media has spent the past decade gently laying out the non-spiritual idea of Revelations, prepping the masses for a die-off that is meant to break the power of the working class in the ways that Carnegie busted unions in the late 19th century. “We’re out of energy” and “we’re out of space” and all the rest of the price-gouging lies are just new spins on eugenic bullshit. The “alternative media” is just the branch of corporate meant to target people like you: more-intelligent radicals who have already seen through the standard Demopublican show.

    Believe in your planet. Believe in your species. The shortages are a lie. They release a limited amount of product in order to drive up the price.

    • “Believe in your planet. Believe in your species. The shortages are a lie. They release a limited amount of product in order to drive up the price.”

      I do. And I don’t believe there will be a total collapse as in roving bands of zombies or anything silly like that. But the current configuration of human civilization will collapse. Something else will form. Local communities that will, because they must, live a lower energy lifestyle and depend on a closer relationship with the people around you than now. People are fractured, communities are fractured and that won’t be a viable model for the future.

      That’s about all I’m saying. And as I mentioned before, I don’t agree with everything Orlov says. And you can cherry pick one thing he says and paint the entire body of his work any way you please. That comment you quoted is not representative of his entire body of work.

      Orlov lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union and his views are colored by that. Wait until it happens to the United States and the rest of the world. And it will. We won’t go extinct, we can still “believe in our species” (whatever that means, I’m not sure) and life will go on reordered to adjust to the coming circumstances. When the Mayan civilization collapse the Mayans didn’t go extinct. They’re still there. And we’ll still be here also. Just living differently

      It’s not that hard to understand.

      • Not really–when the White House engages in “targeted killings,” it’s not a mere metaphor. Similarly, when these Secular Rapturists call for people to perish, they don’t mean “change in lifestyle.” They actually mean “perish.” Orlov says he’s writing about collapse, but Dubya talked about “nation building,” and it didn’t alter the fact that he killed all those people as part of the process.

        Ideologues who encourage people to wish for the mass death of their fellow men, women and children should not be supported or encouraged down that path. When Ariel Sharon calls for Palestinians to vanish, Hillary Clinton calls for Iranians to be obliterated, and Orlov calls for the bulk of humanity to perish, those are sick, dangerous things.

        Did Ariel only mean he wanted the Palestinian mindset to vanish? Did Hillary only mean she wanted the Iranians’ nuclear aspirations to be obliterated? How far are we willing to stretch our understanding of metaphor in order to make the Bible into a friendly children’s book?

        (Vladimir Putin lived through the fall of the Soviet Union, too, and it turned him into a cold capitalist [as though he wasn’t one before]. Orlov is the same way, and he’s already holding his hat out for a tech. IPO.)

        Just a few thousand more, Katya, please! I swear, I’ll pay you back after civilization collapses!

        Hey, maybe Orlov is a nice guy who has some nice thoughts to offer us. All the more reason to discourage him from wishing for a bunch of people to die. As Godwin said, Hitler was once a hopeful young street artist.

  8. Civilizations//Social Formations//Dominant
    Sets of Social Relations Are

    Historically Limited

    They Do Not End With A
    Bang and Flash

    But Fade

    In and Out

    As We Slowly Become
    Truly Human

    Or Sink Further Into
    Neo Barbarism

    The World Is Not

    Capitalism Is

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