Assertions of Belief

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Blogosphere, Culture, Debate, Environment, Ethics, Idealism, Industrial Collapse, Writing

I have linked to Dave Pollard’s blog How to Save the World numerous times in the past, as well as commented there. His blog is not on my blogroll for reasons I won’t delve into. One of the things he does best is provide a monthly (used to be weekly) list of links with brief commentary. I tried that once but have not repeated the experiment. In the commentary to his links for November 2011, Pollard provides the following assertions of belief:

  • I believe that our civilization will inevitably collapse, in stages, over the course of this century, and that that collapse will bring immense suffering (though perhaps no more than the suffering that civilization inflicts now, every day, on the human and non-human creatures of this world).
  • I believe that, in our desperate efforts to deny or delay inevitable collapse, we will do more damage to our environment and exhaust more of the planet’s natural wealth in the decades to come than has even been done to date.
  • I believe that faith in technology, innovation, human ingenuity, ‘free’ markets, leaders, deities and spontaneous global consciousness-raising, to re-form civilization culture, are all desperate salvationist magical thinking, and that such thinking is foolish, dangerous and a distraction from coming to grips with what we can and must do.
  • I believe ‘we’ are not the rational ‘individuals’ we imagine ourselves to be. ‘We’ are nothing more than a complicity of our bodies’ organs that evolved our minds for their survival purposes, minds that our culture is, in its struggle to survive, trying to seize control of to have our bodies instead do its bidding. We are all, now, victims of this chronically stressful body-vs.-culture war inside us, that has left us feeling exhausted, anxious, fearful, powerless, helpless, culturally imprisoned, intellectually paralyzed, self-blaming, and physically and emotionally ill.

I subscribe fully to these assertions but have not quoted the rationale behind them. That can be found at his website. It’s significant that Pollard has moved on from his messianic save-the-world message to making peace with himself over the guilt, shame, horror, and despair that accompany recognition of our unstoppable self-destruction. His struggle with these issues is at least double the duration of my own, so I suspect he has processed more of it and perhaps graduated through stages (à la Kübler-Ross) I’m still in the midst of.

Bright-siders might object that Pollard and I have essentially given up in view of our dank pessimism. We both admit publicly that nothing can be done really to stem the awesome force of 7 billion people (and rising) demanding to be fed, clothed, housed, and entertained — but not educated (not truly educated, if one pauses even briefly to think about it). Liberation from the demand that anyone can should fix the unfixable or indeed save the world sounds like a great load lifted. I’m not there yet. In fact, I’m still for all intents and purposes paralyzed at the prospect of it all looming before us. So perhaps I deserve a double-whammy, since about all I’m good for is seeing and pointing like some gawker at the scene of an accident — an accident where we are the next victims. Most of us would rather not see the death blow coming.

  1. P Buddery says:

    I agree. My wife agrees, and thinks that humanity will bring on a 90% extinction event. I have been watching it all unfold since the 1970s. It could probably have been stopped – population control measures could have been introduced 40 years ago. At the same time, we could have been educated about the dangers and ultimate pointlessness (and lack of enjoyment) of consumerism. Austerity would have been required, with what little pain it caused having been mitigated by more carefree lifestyles and a 3-day working week. And that stupid economic rationalism, pretending to put a monetary value on everything but really being a disguise for greed, should have been squashed at birth as a shit idea.

    Now what? Drugs and partying. Fast driving. Rock and roll. If we can’t stop the destruction of civilisation, let us at least have fun.

    And as I have said before, please cry in the bucket provided.

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