Friday, May 14, 2010

confessions of a doomer

Video - The Road Trailer

RidingtheRubicon | I'll concede that my personal struggles predisposed me to Doomerism. If I were a rich, happily-married screenwriter living in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, I probably wouldn't care a tinker's cuss for Peak Oil. (Shout-out to Frank McCourt!) But I'm a 32-year-old temp living with my parents, so I'm far more receptive to apocalyptic theories. At the same time, I don't think my beliefs are any less valid than those of my successful, parallel-universe doppelganger. Just because I'm more likely to look on the dark side doesn't mean I'm more likely to be wrong. It just depends what era you're living in. Here in the U.S. of A. we've had Happy Days for almost 65 years in a row. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road, but overall our material comforts have been good and getting better (nearly) all the time. Therefore, people who look on the bright side have generally been right for the last 65 years. Now I think we've entered an epoch when the Doomers will be right most of the time.

Again, I must come clean and admit that I'm looking forward to collapse. (I'm using "collapse" in the anthropological sense, meaning only a re-simplification of society, without the catastrophic connotation the term has accumulated.) The process would be difficult, the resulting turmoil and loss of life could be horrific, but the alternative, in my opinion, would be worse. The status quo has devastated the biosphere and impoverished perhaps a billion or more people. Some would say those people were even poorer before, but whatever creature comforts the global capitalist system has given them have been more than negated by the social, emotional, spiritual and (usually) physical dislocation it has forced on them. I realize these are broad generalizations. I make them because I feel that dislocation and despoilment in myself, and I think our way of life is the cause of it.

Re-simplifying our society could improve our lives tremendously. Instead of spiritual alienation, we could again feel connected to the land, the wildlife and the seasons (and there might not be so much Seasonal Affective Disorder). Instead of social isolation, we could again live in community with our neighbors. Instead of competition, we could provide for ourselves by working cooperatively. This is the Sunny Side of Collapse. It may be (ironically) Utopian, but I think the disintegration of capitalism would strip us of many of our paranoid, competitive tendencies. This may be what truly isolates we Doomers, the fact that inside every one of us is a Utopian. We reject society as it is, yet still believe we'll embrace a society forged in the crucible of apocalypse. We're funny that way.