AuthorTopic: Necromancing the Medium  (Read 690 times)

Offline K-Dog

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Necromancing the Medium
« on: September 13, 2020, 01:28:19 PM »
Another rant by the prophet behind the paywall.  He writes well.  But he only sings to the choir.

2020 is the Year the World as We Know it Began to End
This is What a Collapsing Civilization Looks Like

umair haque

As if right on cue, California began to burn — all over again. Then Washington and Oregon did. It’s not even wildfire season proper yet — and already the blazes are burning out of control. America’s learning the hard way what a new and terrible kind of phenomenon — the megafire — is. Australia learned it last year, and is going to learn it again soon. How is a state supposed to survive that? How long is it until swathes of California and Australia are unlivable? And when they are — what happens then?

It was 121 degrees in LA over the weekend. How is a city supposed to exist that way? One answer — the dumb answer — is: “Crank up the AC!” But California’s power grid is already struggling to cope. No power grid known to mankind is going to be able to let 10 million people exist in a state of perpetual air conditioned bliss, while temperatures go right on soaring past the point of human habitability. And then there’s the inconvenient question of how much carbon such power demands will require.

Did you know, by the way, that atmospheric carbon has reached its highest point in human history? Last time carbon existed in the atmosphere in such amounts, sea levels were 50 to 100 feet higher than they are today. 50 to 100 feet. Imagine civilisation surviving that. Ours, at least, can’t. There go London, Manhattan, Florida and California, Spain and Louisiana.

And did you know that the last time carbon was this high, temperatures were as much as five degrees higher than they are now? Five degrees doesn’t sound like much. But it is absolutely catastrophic. At five degrees, all the following things begin to happen. The oceans acidify. Megastorms and megafires become regular weather events. Ecosystems collapse. Topsoil turns to desert. Food chains implode. Mass extinction results.

All that is summed up in just one week of 2020. We are nine months into a year that is the most ruinous in modern history. It has been a year of natural calamity, human-made catastrophe, folly, stupidity, rage, and error. Have we learned anything yet? Are we walking apes capable of “learning” at the level that’s required of us now — at the existential level, the level beyond our own little grasping selves?

Let’s continue our journey through 2020. The week before California began to burn all over again, what was happening? America was plunging into an authoritarian nightmare. The President did everything over those last few weeks from sending shock troops to beat and gas people in the streets, to having secret police disappear protesters, to proclaiming he wouldn’t give up power peacefully, to openly building a political dynasty, sending his kids to hector to the nation at his party’s political conference.

None of this, though, should have been a surprise. There were America’s police — killing hated minorities on the streets, over and over again, in horrific ways. Caught on video. This one strangled, that one suffocated, this one shot in the back. The world was aghast. What had America become? The answer: America had been becoming a pre-authoritarian state for a decade or two, after making an abortive attempt at being a true democracy, which only lasted about thirty years — before that, it was the world’s largest apartheid state.

Americans, though, didn’t seem to care very much. Some of them did, it’s true. Those hated minorities led marches desperately crying their lives mattered too through the streets. But by and large, the “real” American might have complained on Twitter — and that’s about it. Certainly, there was no mass movement to demand a President’s resignation, like there was even in Belarus.

What had happened to Americans? The answer was that they had become uneducated people, traumatised people, and bitterly selfish people, all at once. No, #NotAllAmericans. But enough of them. Massive underinvestment in education — as well as its ideological capture by fanatics and extremists and ignoramuses — had left even the educated American a pale shadow of his Canadian or European counterparts. A brutal economy of violence where everyone was forced to compete against everyone else for the basics — money, food, healthcare, shelter — had traumatised Americans into helplessness, despair, and suffocated rage. And a hyper individualistic, consumerist society — where the only point of life was to symbolically conquer and kill the next person, by having more stuff and status than them — had left Americans viciously selfish, incapable of empathy, care, concern, warmth.

That had led to something even more frightening than authoritarianism, perhaps.

A lethal pandemic had struck the world. And Americans had simply shrugged, while the death toll reached 200,000 and counting. What the? But a nation turning authoritarian, led by a fascist movement, wasn’t going to have much regard for human life. And a nation that had turned as selfish, was as traumatised, as Americans had and were — it wasn’t going to be able to cooperate to stop something like a pandemic. So Americans just began to die by the hundreds, and then the thousands, which is where America is today, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Americans didn’t care much about this either, and still don’t. They rankle at losing their “freedom,” and those that don’t are too busy trying to eke out a living to have much room or energy left for caring about anyone else.

All that’s just the last few months of 2020. And I’ve only focused on one country. I could have spoken about Britain pursuing the folly of Brexit, breaking international law to do it. The way that Europe simply left desperate refugees to drown in the seas, violating every form of decency and law. The way that parts of Asia flooded, and a weary world barely noticed.

There is a theme here.

The first nine months of 2020 are a warning that our civilisation is beginning to collapse. They were a portrait of the future. They are history laughing at our paralysis. And they are time smiling at our vanity.

The theme of the last decade of human history has been very simple. Whatever your worst fears were, they weren’t nearly bad enough. Americans didn’t expect hundreds of thousands of dead, while fascism swept their country — they didn’t even expect not to care. They imagined they’d nobly rise up against such things. And here they are, trapped, like so many before them, in cowardice, exhaustion, bewilderment, and despair.

America teaches us the lesson of the last decade of human history in no uncertain terms. Do not let it grow too late to fix things.

It may (unfortunately) be too late to fix America now. Sure, maybe Biden will get elected, and maybe Trump will lose his court battles, and maybe the military will even march him out of office. That is all a Very Good Thing. But it is not enough. Americans will never — at least not for the foreseeable future— have any of the following things: working healthcare, retirement, pensions, decent jobs, stable incomes, security, mobility. Those things are now a memory.

That’s not my opinion, by the way. It’s one) a statistical reality now and b) a certainty tomorrow, because nobody has a plan to provide Americans such things. (Bernie and Liz Warren did, of course, but that much is history.)

So American living standards will continue to fall. But that does not mean the future is more of a slow slide into dystopia. It is a very fast one. Imagine what happens as temperatures rise — but there is no plan in America to replace its ageing power grids. What happens nobody much invests in education, to prevent tomorrow’s fascisms. What happens as sea levels rise, and maybe, just maybe, Manhattan and Miami can build barriers — but poorer states can’t.

What will happen in America is very simple. One, huge waves of migration will ensue. Two, economic depressions will unfold, as cities, towns, and regions become unliveable. Three, further waves of fascist-authoritarianism will unfold, even worse than this time. Four, social bonds will continue to break down, leaving Americans even more incapable of responding.

That is a tiny portrait of humanity’s future, too.

The theme of American collapse is: fix things before it’s too late. But that is the time we are living in now as a world, too.

We have maybe a decade or so, as Desiree Driesenaar writes, to prepare ourselves for the most calamitous time in human history, period. It is going to make the last two World Wars look tame in comparison. I call it the Long Catastrophe, and it should be eminently clear to any thinking person by now that it consists of climate change, mass extinction, ecological collapse, growing global inequality, and the fascisms, authoritarianisms, and the economic depressions and social collapses all those will yield.

Do you think Americans have a bad case of fascism now, because Central Americans began fleeing to America, since America itself destroyed their countries, because many of them wanted to be socialist? Wait until huge parts of Central America become unlivable not for political reasons, but for climatic ones. There won’t be thousands of refugees then. There will be millions.

How do you think Americas — already traumatized— are going to respond then? They are going to go right back to their fascist leanings, and put someone even more dangerous than Trump in office. Bang! It’s too late for America. Its future is written. America is not going to survive a century of upheaval to human existence. If anything, America shows us one failed road — how not to exist on this planet as sane, healthy, kind, gentle human beings.

The future is coexistence.Coexistence is all we have left, and it is what we don’t know how to do. Americans don’t know how to coexist with anybody — not even each other. There is a lesson there. Not all of us are as terrible as Americans — but we walking apes are terrible at coexistence.

We don’t know how to share this planet. With the animals. With the forests, oceans, rivers, reefs. With each other. With our kids and grandkids. We walking apes don’t yet have the values and mindsets of coexistence. That is why we are failing to build the systems of institutions. Millennia of being the most violent and hateful species on this planet — do you see lions trying to stockpile billions? — have left us the most ignorant beings of them all.

But that time is now at an end. Either we walking apes take the next step in the journey towards a higher consciousness, towards a truer and nobler way of life, towards the good — or we fall. Our civilisation crumbles. All that’s left is America. We lash out at each other in rage, pain, hate, and stupidity. We don’t know anything else. Whatever chances there are to change it all, we squander, glued to our infotainment, saving up desperately for that boob job or plastic smile. America is the way everything falls apart.

Asia knows it. That is why China laughs at any suggestion now that it should somehow Westernize. It’s building its own vision of the future — a kind of dystopian technocommunism. It’s not great — but by and large, it’s working out much better than American apathy, hate, and stupidity. Africa, too, knows it. That is why even impoverished, brutalised Africa has done better at beating Corona than America — it relied on communities and networks.

Those ways, too, give us an inkling of a very different future. Is the future African communalism? Is it Chinese techno-social-utilitarianism? Is it — as many of us have long thought — European social democracy?

The answer is that the future is probably none of those. The future — if there is one — is, again best understood through the failure of America. What can’t Americans imagine? What is it that makes them so hateful and foolish in the eyes of the world? Americans can’t imagine the world.

That is to say, Americans can’t imagine a world where, say:

— Every human child has healthcare, an education, a nest egg,

— Every human life has dignity, justice, meaning, in concrete terms, meaning an income, savings, housing, sanitation, food, water,

— Every life of any kind, from oceans to rivers to forests, has inherent worth, isn’t able to abused, cut down, exploited.

Americans can’t even imagine all that for themselves. That is why the world laughs at them bitterly. All that money, earned through all that violence. And what did it get them? Nothing. They simply threw it all away.

But we are all Americans in that regard now. We are throwing our civilisation away.

Maybe it deserves to be junked, that much is fair to say. It was built on slavery, hate, greed. Maybe we just need to start over.

That’s fair, if you ask me.

Either way — reform or revolution, starting over or saving our civilization — we have to begin now. We have to imagine what Americans haven’t yet: a world like the one above, where every single life of any kind, from a brown person in some destroyed nation to a tiny school of fish, has inalienable dignity, inherent worth, self-direction, meaning, a voice in democracy.

There’s California, burning. There are the fascists, plotting their coup in Washington DC. There are the billionaires in Manhattan, planning to flee to Mars or New Zealand. There’s the average American, in some little town, shrugging at mass death.

There is a whole world out there laughing at the painful, idiotic stupidity of all that. But. Nobody much is learning the lesson.

2020 is the year everything changed.

Umair
September 2020
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Necromancing the Medium
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2020, 05:41:18 PM »
He makes some good points, but I believe this is probably wrong:

They are going to go right back to their fascist leanings, and put someone even more dangerous than Trump in office.

I think changed boomer to millennial ratio is likely to bring an AOC 2024.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 05:45:54 PM by Phil Rumpole »
Women are like hurricanes: Wet and wild when they come, take your house when they leave

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Necromancing the Medium
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2020, 07:03:11 PM »
He makes some good points, but I believe this is probably wrong:

They are going to go right back to their fascist leanings, and put someone even more dangerous than Trump in office.

I think changed boomer to millennial ratio is likely to bring an AOC 2024.

I hope things last long enough to find out if you are right!  Umair is heavy on the doom and gloom but short on solutions.   He is also obviously in it for the coin.  I won't say that is bad, but it always perverts the message in some way.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 07:06:06 PM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Cam

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Re: Necromancing the Medium
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 05:45:57 AM »


Either we walking apes take the next step in the journey towards a higher consciousness, towards a truer and nobler way of life, towards the good — or we fall. Our civilisation crumbles.


I don't think the binary fits here. I think both will happen, and are already happening. It's not a question of which one wins, that's not how I think of collapse. I think of it in terms of a storm or a forest fire. Lots is going to be destroyed, lives are going to be lost and all that doom stuff. At the same time ideas and options that had been suppressed before collapse will have a chance to shine - similar to how a forest fire clears the way for new seedlings to begin growing freely. Permaculture, community gardens, focus on local resilience, and whatever else you can think of will be brought to the limelight. I am not denying that the worst of humanity will be brought to the forefront as well - we're going through a forest fire after all. But one can choose to focus on all the violence and terror, or one can be part of what follows. That is where I put all my energy: becoming an important part of the lower energy, more local world. Not just because I think it is coming at some point, but because it's just a more fulfilling way to live at least for me. I think I'd like Umair's writing more if he talked about how his squash and potatoes were coming along. :icon_sunny:

Offline K-Dog

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Necromancing is appropriate for this.
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 04:02:39 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hhKLrm8QWrU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hhKLrm8QWrU</a>

Average people thinking everyone else is stupid.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 04:04:21 PM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline knarf

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Re: Necromancing is appropriate for this.
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2020, 05:09:36 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hhKLrm8QWrU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hhKLrm8QWrU</a>

Average people thinking everyone else is stupid.

 :emthup:  The intellectual elite elevating THEMSELVES above the average humans who doing their best to survive now. Very CREEPY! This is the best they can do...name calling.
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Necromancing is appropriate for this.
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2020, 09:22:53 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hhKLrm8QWrU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hhKLrm8QWrU</a>

Average people thinking everyone else is stupid.

 :emthup:  The intellectual elite elevating THEMSELVES above the average humans who doing their best to survive now. Very CREEPY! This is the best they can do...name calling.

At least Berman has the integrity to leave the US and live in Mexico.  Having done that his potty-mouth is sort of earned.  The other two are all about bitching and profiting from the situation.  They don't care about solutions, all they care about is whinging and $.

McPherson is particularly disgusting.  His predictions were wrong and we are not living on a new Venus in 2020 as he said we would.  But has he said 'I was wrong and there is still time to mitigate the situation?  No he has not.

Save as many as you can.  Calling the rest of the world stupid does not advance that goal.
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Necromancing the Medium
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2020, 03:17:04 PM »
Nice to see the silver fox still batting away. I gathered moving to the equator to form an intentional community, of near term climate extinction believers (yes really), only lasted a couple of years. I'm sure everyones down payments were fully refunded.

They didn't go very deep into causes of the problems they discussed. Perhaps it isn't that everyone should simply be smarter or saner, but democracy as we know it is decision by lowest common denominator by design and the options are fed to them by far smarter people, thinking three steps ahead. It is working perfectly for themselves. This trio may not be quite as superior as they imagine.

To tell a 'pherfy' means being imprecise about facts and I can't say whether he convinced himself the data meant what he presented it as or not. I can say he was cherry picking and exxagerated the projected effects, because 5 years have indeed passed since he said we only had 5 yrs left before the oceans boiled dry. Does he recant, revise or redress that, or does he earn the tag Guy McPherfy?

« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 03:20:57 PM by Phil Rumpole »
Women are like hurricanes: Wet and wild when they come, take your house when they leave

 

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