Waiting for the Apocalypse
Its bad enough having to deal with the arrogant elite’s of the Leviathan who, in the name of progress and civilization, are doing their best to steam roll the biosphere and humanity, but rooting for the impending collapse as a cure all is even worse. This isn’t to say that the Collapse isn’t going to happen. Regardless of how its apologists defend it, its thrust for centralization, its lust for power and its need to despoil the world drives it on a suicidal path.
and there are two paths that it can take. The first would be a economic and or technological melt down. Marxists have often called this drive dialectics, but the term Entropy seems to be more appropriate. as the super-structure of capital keeps expanding and concentrating, its infrastructure becomes radically weaker until it falls under the weight of its own contradictions. The second course if via a pandemic, and with the presence of Embola in Africa (each new outbreak shows its expanding its territorial parameters); the arrival of the super-flu in Hong Kong; and the comeback of the terrors that are now resistant to antibiotics, that is an all to real possibility, which is to go airborne, and with the concentration of populations and the modes of transportation, it’ll make the Black Death look mild in comparison.
There is much to say of the Truisms of the Marxist, Gramsci, who declared that “History teaches, but no one learns” and of Santayana who offered the notion that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. No matter how intelligent humanity fancies itself to be, it has a distinct style in reproducing its mistakes, and often on a grander scale.
Our celebrants of the impending catastrophe seems to be well versed, albeit crudely, on ex-civilization that hit a critical mass and disintegrated. The leviathans of old that rose, became over-specialized, heavily bureaucratic, and highly stratified. Civilizations that were either incapable of adapting to climate change, or that destroyed their own environment. More often that not they follow one of two models.
Model A was pretty much the fate of the western half of the Roman empire, which became an empire more in name that in reality long before the Teutonics came along to destroy that fiction. Rome literally rooted on its feet. The barbarians were only the mop up crew. The fate of the USSR followed this schematic. Model B cropped up during the late Bronze Age in the east Meditterean, the Mayas, Indus Valley, the Anasazi people of the southwest, and the Mound builders in the Mississippi Valley. Their decline was rapid, often happening in a span of fifty years.
Following Freddy Perlman’s belief, there were mass withdrawals from civilization, people returning to simpler roots. What we do not really know (except in the Roman model) is whether these withdrawals were voluntary, or were forced by circumstances. But while the cheerleaders of the collapse are all to eager to point out that the signs of it are evident, they tend to ignore the follow ups, which Perlman didn’t.
Civilization crumbled to the ground, but with the exception of the mound builders (and perhaps the Indus Valley culture), the invariably resurrected themselves. More often then not the imitators of the originals became greater in power, as well as in scope. That, in itself, implies that while some people rejected the Leviathan in toto, doing their best to return to a Edenist state, others dreamed of the glories of the past, and went about to re-create it.
This, in itself, is the problem of the nature of the collapse. Most of those who celebrate the impending debacle act as if, once our global Leviathan implodes, and after the “die-off” (another euphemism, like collateral damage, ethic cleansing, friendly fire, and a host of other terms that deadens the real import of what they imply) humanity will once again be in balance with nature, and a ecologically sound policy will be promoted. This is like the modern re-make of old fairy tales, where there is a happy ending, though in the earlier ones’ the ending was far from happy.
All of this is nothing more than theoretical LSD for the naive. Timothy Leary offered the idea that LSD expanded the consciousness; our biocenters offer the notion that in the wake of a collapse our sensibilities will be restored.
In a way its reminiscent of the Christian evangelists of the eighties, who believed that their excessive devotion would ensure their status for rapture, while the rest of the world would literally go to hell. Our deep ecologists act in the same manner, though with a different set of perspectives. Theologically, the problem with the first was that early Christianity abhorred narcissism; the latter that naiveté is no solution either. The belief that a collapse will bring out an entirely new chapter in the annals of humanity, reminding it of where its ecological niche should be, its incredibly simplistic.
First, they appear to suggest that they’ll be the ones’ who will survive after the Collapse, as if they’re guaranteed a safe conduct, as if nature, and the social conflicts that will follow in the wake of a Collapse, will operate on a selective basis. Sorry, but it doesn’t happen that way. A Collapse doesn’t issue safe conducts, just as plagues don’t discriminate between potential victims. Instead, a new ideological construct will appear.
An old and familiar one will find fertile soil in the wasteland. Social Darwinism. It finds its fertilizer in a period where chaos prevails, and where no alternative recourses are given. there will be famine, which will lead to food riots; race riots; civil wars impelled neo-robber barons and the spread of disease.
We won’t see the rise of biocentricism, which will be the least of the concerns of the survivors. agriculture will re-open, and there will be plenty enough fields left vacant to provide for survivors. Scavenging the ruins of the old will occur, and technology will re-develop.
This is the written history of civilization. The Mayans re-built their culture, following the same path of the original. The Greeks, though in a different manner, recreated the old city-state, based on the old methods (Maritime trade/piracy and slavery). Ghengis Khan’s endeavor was to destroy all civilization, to create one vast steppe, only to end up having his grand-son who embodied the very civilization he detested.
In a future collapse we will see people in rural areas having a better chance of survival, but we’ll also see survivalists and white supremacists using the opportunity to promote their own goals. They often live in rural areas, know how to live off the land and have often undergone guerrilla training, have weapons and know how to use them. From out of the Chaos a new order will emerge, and it won’t be the one we envision. It’ll be time where the bully boys will get to flex their muscles. A Road Warrior future.
Ass the old adage goes: Be careful for what you which for. You might get it.