Monday, March 03, 2008

Radical Simplification?

5.5 Billion too many humans is one of the foundational premises of the world problematique as originally formulated and as analytically refined by a subsequent handful of good faith futurist thinkers. Bear in mind that extensive old-school operations analysis and serious infrastructural investment in old-school solutions delivery capability is a fact of life.

I posted Orlov's Five Stages of Collapse as part of my continuing information sharing agenda, and, as a rhetorical counter to the false optimism and relentless apologetics for unsustainability by so-called conservative commentators. I'm going to go out on a limb this morning - and pose an interrogatory challenge to my most respected blogging associate Temple3 and any and all commentators tracking on the subject matter we're both following and around which he's formulating a dot connecting explanatory thesis.

T3, what if what you're about to describe is indeed the case? Knowing the absolute seriousness with which cultural hegemony is sought (a deep tenet of - what it do - because the monoculture has shown its true nature for the better part of a century) is the path to minimal-regret you're outlining a "worst case" scenario, or, a hard choice on a hard road scenario?
The word “collapse” implies for most people something highly negative. No doubt it is important to be sober about the level of shock and suffering that will be entailed in this process. But it is also important, in order to be able to imagine any light at the end of the tunnel, to play with other language that could also describe the process we find ourselves in. For example, it feels very different to say: “We are on the brink of the radical simplification of human society on the planet.”[...]

The word collapse calls up images of horror. And that’s not inappropriate. But images of collapse inspire no visions of ultimate benefit. On the other hand the term radical simplification could sound a different chime for people exhausted from the current wage slave system, where the many work ever harder to stuff the ever more soft and opulent feather beds of the few elite. Radical simplification of life, if people would slow down enough to contemplate it, could actually feel like a breath of non-polluted air. Too many people, most people I would venture to say, and even those with currently stable incomes, are incredibly lonely. They sit in quiet despair in front of their television sets or walk the malls with iPods stopping their ears, or drink beers and soullessly cheer at yet another sporting event, forever in frantic search of more distraction. For most, collapse will be, alternatively, either a shock or, if it proceeds slowly, just a heightened erosion of already degraded and meaningless lives. The coming transition will not be pretty for the bewildered herd. But for visionaries and cultural creatives collapse, or radical simplification, likely calls up what may seem to be paradoxical feelings of relief and even empowerment. I’ve heard more than one friend recently exclaim, “Bring it on. I’m sick of this shit.”
What provoked this morning's question? I came across a lengthy though somewhat new-agey and hand-wavy response to Orlov's Five Stages of Collapse article called Orlov and the Wonderful, Terrible, Radical Simplification, and, I fell asleep on Roberto Rodriquez' Planet Terror last night....,