Monday, October 14, 2013

Bracing for the Long Descent - part 1

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine introduced me to The Archdruid Report the blog of the author of The Long Descent and many other books: John Michael Greer. Mr. Greer's blog has thousands of public followers. Every Thursday, on time, our gentlemanly writer posts a new, rather lengthy, article, attracting hundreds of on line comments and discussions. Mr. Greer discussed a lot of issues in his blog, here, I am going to tackle the issue of the Long Descent.

In the briefest sense, Greer argued that currently we are on the final declining phase of industrial civilization. This unavoidable decline is primarily due to the fact that cheap oil (therefore low-cost energy) is coming to an end. Our society's infrastructure is built upon cheap oil, without which, it will collapse, which incidentally include the collapse of the infrastructure supporting the internet. Why have people not been taking note of this major shift? It is because, according to Greer, our belief in the civic religion of progress, i.e. progress, and scientific progress in particular, will take care of everything. A neat theory supported by detail examples and analysis.

As Andy Grove wrote Only the paranoid survive, it is always a great idea planning for the worst and hoping for the best. Those who believe that they won't fail will eventually fail - a wisdom that I have learned from Lao Zi's Tao Te Ching.

Analysis is fine, but what about recommendations? According to Mr. Greer's book publisher:

"Hope exists in actions that range from taking up a handicraft or adopting an "obsolete" technology, through planting an organic vegetable garden, taking charge of your own health care or spirituality, and building community."

What exactly does that mean? In his blog I came across some of his more specific recommendations which include: recommending younger people to take up the profession of small electrical appliance repair; forget about computer, in the coming future and start learning to build and use radio communications/technology now; digg a well for unpolluted water; grow vegetables for personal consumption; find people with common interests to build a community away from the city, those with land pair with those supplying hard-labor, how does that work economically depends on the decision of each community (and presumably communicate with similar communities through radio) etc.

How would you like to follow Mr. Greer's recommendations?  My dear reader, I shall share my view with you in part 2. Stay tuned.

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