Thursday, September 10, 2009

Collapsitarian quote of the day

John Michael Greer, author of The Long Descent and the most thoughtful of the collapsitarians, fisks a recent debate in The Guardian about whether the end of industrial civilization is nigh.

His conclusion is that, yes, the end is certainly nigh, and that we who are alive today should appreciate our unique privilege at living in this historical moment, and not the ones that came before or will come later. Money:
We are not going to have a future better than the present: not in our lifetimes, and not in those of our grandchildren's grandchildren. We collectively closed the door on that possibility decades ago, and none of the rapidly narrowing range of choices still open to us now offers any way of changing that....

We do no one a favor, least of all ourselves, by trying to sugarcoat that very unpalatable reality. Nor do we gain anything by playing the fox to industrial civilization's grapes, and insisting that the extraordinary gifts the recent past has given us are sour because they are about to pass out of our reach. During the age that is coming to an end, the billion or so of us who have lived in the industrial world have enjoyed comforts and opportunities that our species had never known before and almost certainly will never know again. Those could never have been anything but temporary, they were distributed no more fairly than anything else passed around by human hands, and a wiser species would likely have had more common sense than to launch itself on the trajectory we followed, but it's as distorting to dismiss the extraordinary achievements of our age as it would be to ignore the terrible cost for those achievements that will be paid by us and our descendants.
Stoicism rather than fatalism seems like the order of the day.

1 comment:

AlexEvansUK said...

I liked his post too - he's always thought-provoking, as you say.

But I disagree with him (and Kingsnorth, and Monbiot), even so: