Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rapid Unraveling And The Demise Of Adolescent America

Some years ago, I found Carolyn Baker's nascent writings about Peak Oil fascinating and exceptional. Over time, I've come to discern a certain triteness (arm-chair new-age-iness) in the meta-narrative which frames her worldview. That's certainly evident in this opinion piece;
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of what we are witnessing-and there are oh so many, is the ubiquitousness of blame. Attending almost every report on skyrocketing gas prices is the question: "So whose fault is it?" I certainly am not surprised by this, but I find it unsettling to say the least. Because Americans in particular have been absolutely recalcitrant and incapable of looking at collapse, they are being and will continue to be increasingly blindsided by it. Sadly, when humans are traumatized, their functioning becomes progressively more primal and animal-like, and their capacity for taking in and assimilating new information is markedly reduced.

When Peak Oil experts first began sharing their research, they told us that food, perhaps more than any aspect of our lives, would be impacted by it, and so it is. The double-barreled trauma now hitting Americans which is putting both gasoline and food out of their reach, is certain to result in reactive, vindictive behavior that will irrationally target a plethora of scapegoats. Add to this a foreclosure or two, a bankruptcy, car repossession, job loss or loss of health insurance and you have a recipe for mayhem. Such behavior, understandable as it may be, is adolescent in nature and therefore, untempered and unwizened, making acting-out individuals exceedingly dangerous to themselves and others.

Like me, you are probably witnessing the barrage of blame in your community and nationally if you are paying attention to mainstream news. Dmitry Orlov has given us a treasure-trove of information about human behavior in the throes of collapse chaos. What is and will be different from the collapse of the Soviet Union for Americans, however, is the level of violence that is likely to proliferate as collapse accelerates. Russians were never intoxicated with affluence and entitlement as Americans are. Their history has been replete with suffering; ours marinated in privilege reinforced by gun culture and firearm fetishes.
That said, I believe the overall premise of her article is on point. Namely, that other more mature societies have indeed experienced and overcome profound traumas and hardships within living memory and in the process, been "initiated" into a more humane and discerning collective sensibility. America's cultural initiation is simply nigh at hand. I suspect that a lot of weaklings will be culled from the herd;
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own; for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone.