Successfully adapting to our society is typically considered a sign of sanity in the minds of the masses, but can we really say this is true when there has been no no official and thorough psychological evaluation of our society?
Fuck your silly four horsemen. How many people are imprisoned? How many are on prescription medication due to a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, bipolar disorder or other such condition? How many kids have to kill other kids or their parents? How many people have to march into their place of employment (or previous place of employment) and open fire before it dawns on us that perhaps there are deeper issues here than their surface manifestations at first suggest?
In order to evolve we need collapse: has that truly become my attitude? Insane as I label the feeling intellectually, it remains: it’s going to all come tumbling down sooner rather than later, so buckle up. Our globalized culture is a memetic complex of epic proportions driving us around like zombie ants inspiring us to do crazy things like bomb countries, put more value in a dollar than a human, drain our natural resources, pollute the planet and vote for George W. Bush for two –count ’em: TWO — terms.
It gets worse, as I feel we somehow need this system down to build a better one from the ashes. One more adaptable to both our environment and ourselves. It would appear to me that the culture is increasingly maladaptive to those living it and not the other way around. That those labeled dysfunctional are symptoms of a diseased society.
Our social systems are destroying us as well as the planet. All that we have learned through psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, history: couldn’t we apply this to build better social systems, educational methods that actually work?
I mean, how inconsistent can we be? Everything else in our society has either announced expiration dates or are subject to planned and perceived obsolescence, and there is certainly no good reason at drawing the line where disposability ends here. Sure we have upgrades (in the form of laws and whatnot), but they’re slow in coming and riddled with viruses.
Evolution has been rather stunted in this area for some time, it seems to me. We don’t need an upgrade, we need a whole new social system. Alternative social systems have been suggested by Daniel Quinn and Jacque Fresco. Countless independent communities have and continue to experiment with various different ways of living and studying their successes, failures, extinctions as well as successful adaptations could provide a vital resource as well.
As much as I once thought I could get on board with Jacque Fresco and his Venus Project, closer study brought me to his underlying BF-Skinner-view on human beings, which ground my nerves a bit too fine.
Still, his basic ideas of a resource economy and automated labor through technology are ones I find hopeful. Here humankind would find greater individual freedom, health and meaning that it is supposed he had for 99% of our history when we were without such official systems and roamed about the great earth as foragers in nomadic and largely egalitarian bands. Technology enables us to automate as much of the labor as possible and pronouncing earth as owned equally by everyone in a Resource Economy.
I do think his basic assumption is correct: if resources are plentiful and available for everyone there would be no crime, no money, no scarcity, nothing like what we have come to accept as war. No official hierarchies would be required, no power structures, no government at all — and unlike our ancestral foraging bands we have the benefits of high technology at our disposal as well.
The concept of utopia is ludicrous, I feel fairly certain, however grand an ideal. That said, these central ideas of Fresco’s may indeed be capable of delivering its closest approximation of paradise within the bounds of possibility.
Possible, but not necessarily probable in my mind. Unless we find a new power source or start siphoning oil from some other rock in space like a cosmic mosquito, that insatiable black gold will run dry and we will live in a considerably more powered-down version of human society — akin perhaps to the mid-1800s, when it seems the pattern of oil exploitation began. If I remember correctly, this is precisely where Michio Kaku speculated human society would get kicked back to if ever stripped of electricity by an extraterrestrial EMP.
So how soon the last barrel runs dry coupled with how quickly we get our ass in gear would determine whether the kind of technologically-geared societal upgrade Fresco has in mind would have any hope of developing.
Michael Rupert is persuasive. It makes me fear that we would need to stabilize and reduce our population and that we would need to power down in order to survive.
We would also have to do it a good amount of time before the peak of oil production plants it’s flag, for afterward their may be a drastic drop right off the proverbial cliff. We would need to do this not just to reserve power but to both postpone and acclimate ourselves to the inevitable — brought to us by our very own insatiable consumption; brought upon ourselves as mammals living our collective lives as ravenous parasites.
If Rupert is right, though, collapse is right around the corner and there wouldn’t be time anyway. In that case, investing in preparation opposed to prevention is the wisest course of action. Evidently it is not merely oil, either. Jared Diamond spoke about several cultural “time bombs” set to go off, too.
It’s a question of which turd hits the fan first and when: then, well, it just doesn’t matter. Then it’s all just chocolate rain.