Monday, January 16, 2012


Apparently, last night was the Golden Globes, or tonight, or something. Some guy named Ricky Gervais talked about something. A cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, sank because the captain decided to go "showboating" (heh, heh) off the coast of a small island. Tim Tebow, who does something with prayer and parabolic trajectories, lost some sort of sports contest. Finally, almost as a footnote to the news, many countries in the Eurozone were downgraded.

I could go on and on about the seemingly endless ability of modern Americans (and people around the globe as a whole) to distract themselves from the systemic problems facing the world. Maybe it's a defense mechanism, leftover from the days when we lived in clammy stone huts and wore animal skins (who wouldn't want a distraction, then?). The problem is that we, collectively speaking, at the wheel of a car that is hurtling down the road at a hundred miles per hour, when the roads are icy and getting narrower and narrower. Oh, there's a canyon nicknamed "Peak Oil" just ahead.

The downgrade of the Eurozone countries is going to be waved off by a lot of people. It'll be called a political move, fearmongering, unwarranted hysteria, whatever label happens to fit the narrative that any given person sees the world through (and therefore pushes). The real way to interpret is that it is a collective judgement on the soundness of the European economy. If you look at credit ratings, the point is to determine the ability of a person or institution (or coutry) to repay a debt. By downgrading the rating of countries in Europe, the collective judgement is that these countries can no longer maintain themselves economically the way they have intended to (or have, to this point).

Essentially, this means that we're not expecting to patient which is modern industrial society to pull through. While this is, at first, a problem for the politicians and bankers who have created this system, it is going to quickly became a problem for the people who live in these nations as the wheels that have allowed modern populations to exist and thrive suddenly grind to a halt and we all find ourselves in strange new territory. We cannot even begin to address these issues, so late in the day that things have become, so we find ourselves looking for newer and better distractions until the clock finally winds down and we return to a world where real meaning is found when simple existence itself becomes a struggle.

What strikes me is the responses to the crisis at hand. Some people, who have not examined the situation, may ask "what crisis?" Simply put, the fact that we're at the end of the road and don't know where to go, because none of the answers are acceptable in mainstream society. We place quasi-religious faith in "alternative solutions" such as alternative fuels, we pretend that there's not a problem, we believe that we can find a political solution to overspending (which in nature would be too many deer eating too little forage). We want to dream our way out of reality and into a new golden age.

In none of this is the realization that we are on a downward slope and need to adjust to it, but we only do so when we are forced into it, kicking and sreaming.


I would recommend that everyone who has already not done so follow Ed's recommendation and read John Michael Greer's latest post at The Archdruid Report. Quite a good read and is well worth it alone for the discussion about our modern narrative. 


  1. Your blog is always interesting, but please do a little proofreading.

  2. The downgrade of European countries definitely helps the US in keeping up the fake image of a strong dollar. As such it can be considered a political decision.

  3. yeah, very good observation...

  4. Lived in the arctic 15 years...when the rabbit population grew to the point the land couldn't support..the willow trees grow a poison in the bark to deter them..those who have ears,let him hear.

  5. Meh. You think it's only Americans, in the current decade, that have ignored any painful facts and distracted themselves on pointless crap instead? That's human fucking nature, and it never changes, at least at the population level.

    By the way something, the rating agencies have proven long ago that they're three steps behind reality, at least when they're not flat out lying, so any downgrades (which are never a surprise) are nothing anybody paying the least attention doesn't already know.

    What are we supposed to do, anyhow? There's no chance that we can turn the supertanker of cheap oil around, and if (okay, when) it crashes, all of the doomer preparations will be revealed for the childish sandcastle vs. tsunami folderol they are. Six months of food and water? It's not enough, and for all the ITG's: you will never have enough guns to hold off the hordes. It won't be like any of Kunstler's silly Made by Hand books, it will be like McCarthy's The Road, or the Canticle for this blog's namesake. Either way, it will be too big for an individual to effect any useful change.

  6. Well, how have you been? I have missed your blogging. I am looking forward to your next post. Stay safe, and please keep writing, oh and thankyou for all your previous work, steve.

  7. FWIW I also miss your take on World Events. Seems like things are speeding up to go along with our political non-event election. Hope to see you post some more soon.