AuthorTopic: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?  (Read 5071 times)

Offline RE

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Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« on: November 24, 2014, 01:09:38 AM »

Off the keyboard of RE


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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 24, 2014



Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner


I’ve been chronicling Collapsing Economics on the Internet since 2008, after the collapse of the Investment banking firm Bear Stearns.  I knew nothing of Peak Oil at the time, and I had not really concerned myself with the monetary system, Stocks, Bonds, Investing etc since the 1980s.


I spent about the first month just trying to figure out why Bear Stearns went south, and why there was a run on the bank.  Eventually this led me to the PeakOil.com website, which at the time was very active in the commentary.  I learned a lot over there from folks who had been tracking this since even before the site was founded in 2004, and over time I got hold of the relationship between the Energy Depletion issues and the Monetary Problems going on at the time.  What would inevitably occur became quite clear, and I wrote this line in 2008:


“It will all Burn Up in the Greatest Bonfire of Paper Wealth in all of Recorded History”


A “Quote of the Month” on Peak Oil, and the Bonfire is well underway now, country after country falls into economic collapse, more Amerikans are on SNAP Card food assistance every year, and the geopolitical consequences become ever more dangerous by the day here.


Despite the fact the consequences become ever more obvious every day, it appears that there is ever less discussion about this on the internet.  Besides the economic issues, the climate problems become more apparent every day as well, drought in California, record snowfall in Buffalo, Super Typhoons hitting SE Asia on a weekly basis, you name it evidence of vast climate change is in evidence everywhere, but still the Deniers just return with “of course the climate changes, it always changes”.  True enough, but what it it changes so much it’s impossible to live in your local environment anymore because the floods come so often or because there is no water to drink?


On top of all that, you have the Ebola virus spreading in Africa, and ever escalating geopolitical conflicts between Russia and NATO, the Chinese and Japanese, and then of course ISIS Radical Muslims Beheading anyone they can get their hands on to strike TERROR into the heart of the average Oil Konsumer.


By EVERY measure in EVERY area of Collapse, there is way more in evidence today than when I started chronicling it on Peak Oil in 2008.  Conversely though, the worse it gets, the LESS people engage to discuss it, both in the commentary of Collapse blogs as well as the main Collapse Bloggers themselves.


The main folks who have been chronicling this the longest, people like Jim Kunstler and Dmitry Orlov rehash material they have been using for a decade, with the only real update to this whatever the latest manifestation is out in the real world in Current Events.  For people who have been following the collapse this long, there are no real NEW observations to make.


Far as the commentary goes anywhere, it’s all ideological bullshit and stupidity, from the commentary of Zero Hedge to The Burning Platform and back to Peak Oil too.  Anyone online in the collapse blogosphere has heard it all before, and basically anyone with any intelligence has STOPPED talking about it.  Folks like George Mobus, Paul Chefurka, David Korowicz, Nicole Foss and others have simply dropped off the map for the most part, nothing left to say, the die is cast and the Show will go on no matter what kind of Jawboning goes down on the net, or in Congress or at the European Parliament too for that matter.


This seems to have led to a kind of malaise, as folks just tun inward and pursue their own lives in the face of how collapse is affecting them.  Why talk about it on the Internet now?  We all know what is coming down the pipe here.


For me, I have come to realize that it really is not that important if people are talking or not, if there is discussion or not, I’m just observing it now.  I also will not change my opinion on where it is all going in any debate, and I am certainly not going to waste my time with Ideologues who will pitch their spin no matter how much evidence to the contrary show that it’s wrong headed.


So nowadays, I don’t look for or expect conversation on the topics, I just observe it and write down the observations as it occurs, a kind of contemporary history file overall.


EVERYBODY KNOWS what is coming down the pipe now.  As Leonard Cohen wrote so long ago now:


“Take one last look at this Sacred Heart before it BLOWS”


because anybody with any Common Fucking Sense now KNOWS IT WILL BLOW, and we won’t have to wait another 50 years for it to blow either.  In fact it is blowing as we speak, but if the implosion hasn’t yet hit your neighborhood or your job, you can still delude yourself into believing it all will work out OK in the end.



We have a little time left here, how much is anybody’s guess these days, so for everyone I suggest you try to find a little bit of Happiness and enjoy your life as it is, if you have not yet fallen off the Cliff and Collapse has not yet reached your doorstep.  Enjoy cooking and eating good food if it is available, drive the countryside while there is still gas at the pump, even go Shop On Black Friday at Walmart if finding Bargains is what floats your boat.


If you are very fortunate, you will find some others to join with as the Flowers Wilt.  For me, the Great Gift of the Diner was to find a few other people to observe this with, and it is the Gift that Keeps on Giving.



Save As Many As You Can

Offline Surly1

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 02:09:06 AM »
 An excellent question.

We've seen examples on this board. I think of WHD and others, who have said that contemplation of doom via the various vectors that have been discussed ad nauseum on this and other boards for the past several years ultimately becomes a frustrating exercise.  Not to mention pointless. That could account for where a lot of posters have gone: after you realize that the financial system is a Ponzi scheme, the oceans have been poisoned irretrievably, that we will destroy the last of our freshwater in a vain attempt to extract oil from rock, the better to plug-in in charge Junior's iPad for another evening, the glaciers are melting, that the nukes sold as "free power" are a ticking, radioactive time bomb, the weather is perverse and changing, and a new wave of volcanism seems to be displacing thousands every week,  and if there's nothing that an individual can do about it, what else is left except for growing sense of frustration and futility?

 Interestingly, in last night's episode of HBO's "The Newsroom,"  one of the subplots involves a story brought forward by a junior reporter/producer who managed to get a hold of an EPA report announcing the CO2 400 ppm/Mauna Loa story. (As a narrative device, The Newsroom looks back at recent history, and rewrites it in terms of what Aaron Sorkin, the creator, thinks ought to have happened, reflecting how a fictional cable News Network might have handled the story.)  They invite a deputy assistant administrator from the EPA, a client scientist and mid-level functionary, on for an interview.  In the interview, the scientist calmly tells Will McEvoy and the audience that our goose is quite literally cooked, that we're doomed as a species. Having crossed the 400 ppm threshold, there's absolutely nothing to be done except watch as oceans rise, the climate becomes increasingly inhospitable, and the raging floods or abetted only by out-of-control wildfires.  The only ray of hope  the scientist offers is that a rump group of survivors might possibly be able to eke out some subsistence level existence in the charred, inhospitable hell scape that remains. I thought immediately of Guy McPherson on national TV.

People in the control room hearing this, surrogates for the audience, look at one another in horror.  The interviewer McEvoy tries to tease some hope of optimism from the scientist. The scientists not having any; his story is that we're doomed, and he sticks with it.

 Yet the other subplots unfolded people go on. Just like in real life. Because what are we to do faced with the realization that we have badly botched this by being unable to restrain our darker impulses and our greed?

Find what joy we can in the time we have left, which seems to be what people are doing.

Here is a related story from the Atlantic:

The Newsroom Has Fun Promising the Apocalypse
The show's continued embrace of virtual history this week sees a government official telling the public that humanity's doom has already been sealed.
DAVID SIMS NOV 23 2014, 10:01 PM ET
 

There's one scene in this week's The Newsroom that has so much fun with the show's "what if" premise that I wanted the whole episode to revolve around it. Following up on last week's most boring subplot (Maggie's ethical acquisition of a damning EPA report from an agency middle manager), this week we were treated to a fascinating bit of alternate history. What if someone in the Obama administration—a low-ranked assistant director, but nonetheless a government expert—went on television and told us as soberly as possible that the world was going to end and there was nothing we could do about it?

Aaron Sorkin isn't kidding around here. The Newsroom is the first show he's ending on his own terms—that's remarkable to think about, but true (Sports Night and Studio 60 were cancelled, and he was essentially fired from The West Wing). So he might as well end it with Paul Lieberstein playing the chilling harbinger of Earth's doom, warning us that humans maybe could have saved the world from rising oceans 20 years ago, but have now missed their chance.

Aaron Sorkin isn't kidding around here. The Newsroom is the first show he's ending on his own terms.
Lieberstein, who was the hangdog Toby on The Office for many years, should be nominated for a Guest Acting Emmy for his work in this episode. There was something so thrilling about his despondent delivery of the doomsday message to a befuddled Will. Our host gamely tries to get wring kind of hope from him, but the best Lieberstein can offer is the concept that humanity will survive, but only to live in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where cities are leveled by storms and the population flees inward to escape rising tides and ceaseless wildfires.

My biggest problem with this episode: Not nearly enough time was devoted to the aftershock of this interview. There were some aghast silences as Lieberstein outlined Earth's calamitous future, but then we moved on to the more important plot at hand, the FBI investigation of the government leaker. If the next episode doesn’t pick up this narrative again, I’ll be disappointed. Do not dismiss this EPA Assistant Director as if he is some "Big Block of Cheese Day" crackpot from The West Wing, Mr. Sorkin! The idea of this interview airing on cable news is a truly juicy one and plays in wonderful contrast to the leaks ACN is trying to fight.

Simply put, the government devotes countless resources to bringing down Neal and possibly Will for making contact with a CIA, but it’s seemingly doing little (or nothing) to act on the EPA's report. The most damning moment of the episode is Lieberstein's shrug as Will asks him if he's worried about panicking the public. There's nothing more that can be done, so why not admit the world is ending? Sorkin excels at this kind of contrast, and that certainly was the most convincing bout of lecturing The Newsroom delivered this week.

Everything else in the episode had me a little bored. There's a long, dull digression about Jim's fired girlfriend Hallie (Grace Gummer), who bit the dust at ACN last week for writing an ill-mannered tweet about the Boston bombings. Now she's looking to work at a start-up journalism operation called "Carnivore," which offers bonuses to employees if they get a lot of page views. Such operations exist, and boy does Sorkin want to denounce them. Jim is filled with journalistic outrage at the kind of gutter writing that click-hungry employees might be forced to produce, and Hallie is understandably sick of his hectoring. It's truly dull from a dramatic perspective—I couldn't wait to switch back to a more interesting story—but there was at least one interesting note that followed.

Jim is by far my least favorite character on The Newsroom, since he is possessed of the same know-it-all, holier-than-thou arrogance as most of its characters but doesn't have the guts to admit it. But, amidst further boring debate with Maggie over the newsiness of her EPA story, he semi-admits that he was a judgmental jerk to Hallie (only after Maggie prods him about it, but still). I previously remarked on this third season showing a reflective side to Sorkin's tropes—is this another example? Could Jim finally be willing to see how foolhardy and patronizing he is toward everyone he dates? Much like Will's stupid "mission to civilize" gossip rags in season one, Jim is finally coming around to the idea that a free market might create forms of journalism he doesn't like.

Will is the biggest beneficiary of this change in tone. The FBI investigation storyline has turned him into the wise old mentor of the group (useful, since Sam Waterston's character is busy trying to preserve the life of ACN as it is possibly sold to an arrogant young billionaire played by B.J. Novak). Mac sticks up for Neal's idealism and human rights, and lawyer Rebecca (Marcia Gay Harden) plays by the government's rules as much as possible, but Will is trying to stake out his protest without simply sticking up his middle finger at the Feds. He understands their concerns and wants to work to protect the sensitive sections of this leaked information spreading onto the Internet and possibly putting U.S. secret agents' lives at risk.

Rather than just yell bullet points into the camera, Will's being nudged into an idealistic standoff by the government. It's much more dramatically efficient, and it helps that we don't know where things are going, as I said last week. Clea DuVall's appearance as the leaker at the end of the episode lit the touchpaper for the final three episodes. Let's hope Aaron Sorkin's fictional world doesn't end before then—but if it did, I'd applaud the audacity.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Eddie

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014, 06:02:33 AM »
I'm persuaded that some few are continuing to prep, and that part of the seeming lack of interest is paranoia (or possibly legitimate concern) about talking on the net about what they're doing.

A larger group has read all they want to hear about the new Four Horsemen, and have decided there isn't much they can do to really change their circumstances.

Those of us who are at least remotely interested in building community have been smacked upside the head by the reality of how hard that is...at least I have.

It's hard to see the collapse until it hits you personally in some way...losing your job, your house, whatever. The progression down the slope is uneven. Here in particular things seem pretty normal. Lots of population growth, house-building, jobs.

For me the collapse is measurable by a very slow but noticeable loss of disposable income due to various tax increases, more intermediaries of various bureaucratic sorts with their hand out, and increased competition in business due to a demographic shift of healthcare providers to the Sunbelt. Obviously that's a short term phenomenon, but I look for at least one more big wave of that if we have a deflationary Lehman type event, which seems likely this next year.

My main thing is that climate change has made me look more at various options, whether I might need to move. The reality is that i would never do that unless TSHTF here, because of my job. So I continue to try to work my plan for the stead, slowly, and to prepare for the PO world.

I plan to take the plunge today and finally buy a Volt, and I'm helping one of the kids buy another Prius. Since gas is suddenly cheap, the lack of demand for sensible cars has driven the price down. It's still a good decision.

I have a long list of things that I need to do to reduce our dependence on JIT delivery and grid power, and I'm slowly checking them off. At the same time I'm trying hard to live in the moment and I'm taking lots of photos.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/52157490@N04/15677734509/in/set-72157647113253233


« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 08:48:28 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline roamer

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2014, 08:41:33 AM »
Speaking for myself I'm in the heart of the fracking bubble trying to save enough for  a doomstead before the next economic event occurs. I live on an oil rig and I prep for peak oil an odd and ironic situation.  Anyway I lurk here and on several other doom sites just to try to keep a sense or events.  No time or energy for more than that.   Speaking of time looks like the fed will either have to implement qe4 or the whole deflationary situation will take off and strand serious energy with it.  That all said I'm not under any illusions my efforts or trajectory will play out favorable, so I find ways to live as much and as deeply as my odd circumstances allow and im at peace more less and feel I'll act as well as I can and roll with however events shake out.

Offline MKing

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2014, 08:48:28 AM »
Here in particular things seem pretty normal. Lots of population growth, house-building, jobs.

Funny how that is happening to so many people in America that the population of vocal doomers themselves are disappearing..back into BAU because certainly they aren't collapsing either, no matter how much they pray/hope/dream.

Sooner or later they just give up on doom as their lot in life improves, they find a job, turns out they like normal dental care




 as opposed to doomer dental care...



and life goes on, face it, gasoline is down, people are driving and buying more gas guzzlers,unemployment has gone down and the country has discovered this entire population of folks who simply can live by mooching off friends and family and not caring about building a life forward.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
-Dalai Lama

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2014, 08:57:04 AM »
I think it's all been pretty well summed up with this thread.  BAU continues...and so we are all forced into compliance with it.  Recognizing that BAU in our paradigm is only usual due to petroleum energy gets you nowhere within that paradigm.  It just gets you cognizant dissonance as what you know and what you observe (BAU) are not in agreement with one another.  Preparing for the future is next to impossible when the antidote is community...the one thing we mostly don't have.  It takes lots of other people in your locale to create community.  Here in Amerika we've all got our iron horses, our "ownership society," empty headed consumerism, and fences keeping us separate.  Each of us imagining that we aren't culturally poor and diminished. 

Yet gas is $2.50 a gallon now around here.  The other day I had to go back to the cashier cause I gave her too much money to fill the tank.  It smacked me as odd that I would do that.  Usually the truck eats 40 bucks and it's still not full.  This time I got 5 bucks back. 

I've been working for some landscapers lately.  I work for cash under the table...it's awesome to live by cash in this way.  Not to mention I get to keep all of the wages I earn via selling my labor.  12 dollars per hour to keep yards conventional looking.  Anyways, I was on a ladder using an extension chain saw to take 4 feet off the top of a 12 foot high hedge, and down below me was a crew of window washers.  It was a small company, with several employees, and their business was nothing more than washing rich peoples windows in McMansionville.  Who the fuck has the money to pay to have their windows washed?  That's more money than sense IMO.  Even if I was rich I wouldn't pay to have the outside of my house windows washed. 

That's BAU around here.  But wait...our society is collapsing?  One day you can pay your bills washing windows and the next you can't cause those windows are underwater, the dollar is worthless, and there's no petroleum energy left for you?  Strange cussin' days we are living in.  I've been waiting for the ball to drop for the last 7 years.  Now gas is 2.50 a gallon and I'm making cash along with the window washers. 

I think this all points to the nature of a slow and long descent.  It's stretched out in time and its nature is very complex and so it allows for glitches. 

I think once this glut in alternative liquid fuels runs out we'll see BAU harshly reset.  And yet we've all gotta eat and keep ourselves up in the manner we're accustomed somehow.  We do that within BAU regardless of what we know about how it's gonna be, how it has to be...sometime in the fossil fuel diminished world we'll be inhabiting. 

Offline Eddie

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2014, 09:07:30 AM »
MK

Some people's lot in life has improved for one short term reason or another. But nothing about the overall situation has changed, and the Four Horsemen --- population overshoot, peak energy, climate change, and currency collapse, are still bearing down on us.

You haven't started smokin' that wacky tobaccy Colorado is known for now, have you?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2014, 09:11:03 AM »
Here in particular things seem pretty normal. Lots of population growth, house-building, jobs.

Funny how that is happening to so many people in America that the population of vocal doomers themselves are disappearing..back into BAU because certainly they aren't collapsing either, no matter how much they pray/hope/dream.

Sooner or later they just give up on doom as their lot in life improves, they find a job, ...

MKing heard from.

#SoPredictable

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Surly1

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 09:13:41 AM »
Here is the video clip of the interview from "The Newsroom" referenced above.

Embedding is disabled for this clip, so try the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CXRaTnKDXA


"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline JRM

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 09:16:02 AM »
Some of us can't live on a diet of pure negativity.  Some among those are like myself, in that we are willing to look at all of the evidence for bad things currently happening adjacent horrible looming possibilities of more (even worse) to come -- but only if we are permitted to attend to these disasters as if our lives matter, as if what we have to offer matters.  When  a certain brand of "doomers" tell us that what we do, say, think, feel and do (did I mention 'do'?)... doesn't matter, we tend to switch to another channel.
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline WHD

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2014, 09:31:20 AM »
BAU gets more insane each day, those who adhere to it equally so. For the likes of MKing, the economy will continue to grow, Techno progress will continue unabated, at least until the next asteroid hits, or the sun flames out. I prefer being open-eyed and clear about the state of play: eternal flux. It is not sane to try to conform to the insane. Get in bed with the wraiths of BAU (who esp. love to blame poor people, the weak and the destitute for all the ills of society) and get poisoned.  :icon_mrgreen:

I'm looking more toward a new Aeon. The Aeon of the waterbearers, when the waters of the earth, the waters of the body, are healed. BAU dictates however, we must go through a dark night of the soul. Best of luck with that. I recommend, fall in love again, do what you love, take care of those you love, cultivate love wherever you can. Accumulate skills, knowledge and tools.  :emthup:

WHD 


Offline MKing

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 11:55:22 AM »
Who the fuck has the money to pay to have their windows washed? 

The folks who aren't working under the table trying to collect as much benefit as they can (fire, police, border security, worker's comp, social security, health insurance) while making sure that they aren't required to help pay for it?

There have always been, and always will be, moochers looking to get something for nothing. They don't have any moral compunction about this...this...theft really. They profit by ignoring the costs to the benefits they require. Certainly no moocher standing beside a cop will be beaten by a mugger because he/she is a moocher, the cop will protect him regardless. I have heard that some fire departments are trying to put the smackdown on the moochers, and this seems like a reasonable way of teaching moochers that yes...moocher...there is a cost to your behavior.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/12/07/9272989-firefighters-let-home-burn-over-75-fee-again

This country is so rich it can afford moochers. And those people who are in the system, the non-moochers, they can afford to have their windows washed.

Funny how that works...mooch pretend they are getting ahead...or those who get with the program, pay their fair share, take responsibility for their part of the world, learn and work and earn fair and square (including paying enough into the system to cover the moochers) and maybe you too can afford to have someone wash your windows.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
-Dalai Lama

Offline MKing

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2014, 11:57:01 AM »
MK

Some people's lot in life has improved for one short term reason or another. But nothing about the overall situation has changed, and the Four Horsemen --- population overshoot, peak energy, climate change, and currency collapse, are still bearing down on us.

and have been for centuries...yet....we humans...just won't...die...off.

Funny how that has happened.

Quote from: Eddie

You haven't started smokin' that wacky tobaccy Colorado is known for now, have you?

I've got enough excitement in my life, no need to add becoming a pothead to the list.   :icon_sunny:
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
-Dalai Lama

Offline MKing

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2014, 12:00:19 PM »
I recommend, fall in love again, do what you love, take care of those you love, cultivate love wherever you can. Accumulate skills, knowledge and tools.  :emthup:

WHD

Here here!! Duncan has it right.

Statistics, engineering, applied mathematics, relational database programming and how to field strip your 1911 in the dark, put it back together again blindfolded, load it up and still put 2 rounds into the nearest zombies shirt pocket, all can come in handy in the modern world.

Unfortunate that so many don't understand this Duncan, it really is.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
-Dalai Lama

Offline RE

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Re: Where Have All the Doomers Gone?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2014, 03:43:31 PM »
Although getting out in you own neighborhood and developing community on this level is important, and developing your own personal skill set is important as well, I think the dissemination of information over the internet remains very important as well, particularly since MSM sources are so bad, and in fact a large source of disinformation.

Another factor in why so much of the early discussion has diminished is that the predictions made have come to pass now, and it's no longer a question of "when will the collapse occur", since the collapse is in progress.   We can watch the collapse unfold, but there no longer is any question of doom occuring, it's already here.  So there is nothing to really debate about since the cornucopians have been proven wrong.

Probably the most important reason to continue onward though is to further develop community as more and more people fall off the economic cliff.  I think it is also important to help people understand WHY this is happening, and disseminate knowledge of ways to deal with it, like building Greenhouses, Rocket Mass Heaters, etc.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

 

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