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Curren: 6 ways to become more miserable

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Curren: 6 ways to become more miserable

Unread postby Pops » Thu 12 Dec 2013, 09:55:30

6 ways to become more miserable about climate change and peak oil

It’s bad enough that most middle-class people still have to struggle to keep their jobs and homes in today’s Second Great Depression.

But if you’re even a little bit awake, then you also have to worry about longer-term threats: climate change, Fukushima, peak oil and the impending collapse of industrial civilization.

There’s plenty of reason for anyone to be depressed these days. Yet, somehow, some people still manage to keep calm and carry on.

So, for the ordinary person who thinks that happiness is for dopes and who needs a little help finding their way to the bottom, therapist Cloe Madanes offers “14 Habits of Highly Miserable People.”

Here, for those who are energy- and climate-aware, I offer my own adaptation of Madanes’s six top points to succeed at self-sabotage:

Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. If you know that fiat currency is about to collapse and take the global financial system down with it, then you certainly won’t bother changing jobs, trying to start a new business or helping make your community more resilient. Just buy some gold and wait for the inevitable. Meanwhile, keep showing up at that soul-sucking cubicle job.

Practice sustained boredom. Convince yourself that your city is full of mainstream fools too stupid to dodge the can of whoop-ass that’s about to hit them in the head. And don’t forget that people are utterly predictable and will always let you down.

Give yourself a negative identity. Why not start telling others that you’re a Depressed Person, or at least a dissenter against everything that Western Civilization, patriarchy and capitalism stand for?

Attribute bad intentions. If you disagree with someone on climate change or energy, it must mean they’re a greedy bastard or just a dupe of the system. No need to listen to anything they say — except to mock it later on.

Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. The ultimate doomer-prepper stance. Be like Noah and make your home an ark. You don’t want to be caught napping when the whole house of cards comes down.

Glorify or vilify the past. It really doesn’t matter whether you think humanity made a wrong turn at the Industrial Revolution, in the Fertile Crescent or with the election of Ted Cruz. Maybe the time in which you were cursed to be born is the ultimate dark age. Or it could be that today’s world, whose ecological awareness and freedom from ancient superstitions gives us so much promise, is the victim of the flawed Weltanschaung of previous generations. Either way, the fix is in and you’re screwed!
In the Dark Ages, the benighted peasant worried that Satan was always at his back.

In today’s scientific era, the eco-doomer is way past that. He knows that an industrial-strength climate disaster, energy crisis or financial panic is just around the corner. Society has got to collapse by the end of the first quarter of next year at the very latest.

OK, let’s get serious folks.

Nobody can say how much time humanity, industrial society or any one of us has left. Even without world-threatening catastrophes, you or I could get hit by a bus while crossing the street to work tomorrow morning.

So it makes good sense to follow the advice of religious teachers and secular sages alike. That is, to live each day as if it were our last. And then, to make the most of that day. Part of that is being grateful for the pain of just living.

As John Keats said, “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”

– Erik Curren, Transition Voice

H/T PO.com

Philosophically I like what James Dean is rumored to have said,
"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."

I guess in the PO/CC world, lots of us are somewhere between the incapacitated depressive on one hand and the single-minded prepper/transitioner on the other, maybe on a daily basis, LOL.

Like someone commented on the front page, as a kid I practiced duck and cover (just like today's kids practice "Hide from the Shooter") but various other childhood experiences and of course the Tales of the Olden Days; the Great Depression, Life In General Before Happy Motoring, etc, led me to believe things are anomalously easy right now.

Since we moved to Missouri with it's very variable weather we came up with a saying for when it's nice: Soak it up now, Suck it up tomorrow! That is kinda how I view life at the Peak, enjoy it now because it is the exception not the rule.

I admire the Tranny Town folks like Erik and the Local food people and organic gardeners and the "Slow" everything folks – all the latter day sweet-smelling, well-heeled hippies who I read on Resilience.org. But I have to say I feel they are struggling to put a happy face and picnic attitude on the stark reality of a future of declining surpluses and fewer energy slaves.


I think we should take a longer view.

We've talked in the past on this board about when the US Empire Peaked. This first little chart has lately been on my mind, it shows percent of total primary energy and oil peaking in 1970.:

Image


This second plot is a longer view, absolute heat content (EIA):

Image


Per capita energy consumption showing the initial peak and the China Coal Blip (Gail):

Image


This one showing primary energy consumption per capita vs the Debt/GDP ratio (Bardi):

Image


And just one more:

Image


I don't expect us all to be hoofing it to the work camp come next August. In fact I think worrying about overnight armageddon masks the fact that while we've been iWalking staring at our iWhatsits, we've fallen into the Center Court Fountain of slow motion collapse. The long decline appears to me to be firmly in place as indicated by the inflection point around 1970 in each of those plots above. There is no doubt in my mind that Big Data and instant communication (plus containerized transport and high-speed trading) have added much more "productivity" (read "less wage overhead") to the system than energy efficiency these last 40 years.


My point then is simply that we're like a frog looking over the pot-rim fretting about the butcher knife. No use being miserable about impending doom, it isn't just around the corner. As Madge said:

"You're soaking in it."

.
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.
-- Abraham Lincoln, Fragment on Government (July 1, 1854)
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Re: Curren: 6 ways to become more miserable

Unread postby Paulo1 » Thu 12 Dec 2013, 11:30:53

Hey, good distillation of the article, (pun intended). Well said.

Yesterday, I was reorganizing my shop and came across my stock of brace and bits I have set aside for a powered down future. I need to make a rack to store them, perhaps right next to the large crosscut saws that also gather dust. Meanwhile, I'll continue to use my wonderful modern shop tools including my recently restored Southbend metal lathe I picked up for the price of scrap. It was going to be scrapped!!! I couldn't believe it.

I think it is fairly obvious we are sliding into a reduced consumption lifestyle, sooner rather than later. Why anyone would let that intrude on their happiness and enjoyment of life is beyond me. Perhaps the half full/half empty mindset is at play for many, but even the poor folks in my valley are warm with a roof and a place to sleep at night, (provided they aren't drinking or smoking up the twoonies). We have firewood for heat (woodstoves), and folks who will help with the groceries if someone is truly down and out and needs a hand. I assume that if you are reading this PO.com comment you are PO aware and not blithely going about consuming and pretending we have unlimited purchasing power and energy to buy buy buy the diversions required to maintain BAU. It is my contention that this slowing down from 70s peak is actually a positive development. I look forward to the changes and possibilities.

There is absolutely no reason why individuals cannot begin to take control of their lives and future, if even to a limited extent. Certainly, events sweep us all along to an uncertain future but isn't that what life is and has always been? Uncertain? Fraught with danger? Worries? I am astounded that our culture assumes that birth is akin to taking a ticket for a fun ride of success and consumption. Go to school, get a job, and buy and attain all the 'stuff' you are told you need and what will make you happy. Nuts. Family to love, friends, decent food, and reasonable habitation are still possible in our culture for everyone not battling illnesses of mind and body. Stuff we buy are simply diversions and squander both our time and energy eventually leaving us with nothing.

I know the above sounds corny, but I sometimes remember a few things to help me refocus on truly how full of bounty our modern life truly is. When I was in high school I read Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipeligo. I remember one statement he made about what he did when he was free. Once a week he would go down to a pub and have a beer. He would savour that one beer and revel in the sensation of it all, including the freedom. He also said, much like Mark Twain...."A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him." (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

So what if BAU declines and we live simpler? What we are now doing and how we live and teach our children is not providing happiness of any substance. Certainly, our consumption lifestyles are hurting the planet. One can either accept the impending/ongoing changes, regroup, and focus in on enduring values of being human, or one can whine about how the last generation had it so much better, and 'poor me' the days away. I plan to live each day and try to remember I have been given a gift in where I was born and my opportunities. I am thankful to have become aware of PO and the ongoing changes in our lifestyle. If my old aching knees and shoulder permits, (and they will), this afternoon I will work in the shop and finish storing away the hand tools to make room for my 45 year old junk lathe.

Regards....Paulo
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Re: Curren: 6 ways to become more miserable

Unread postby Quinny » Thu 12 Dec 2013, 18:18:54

Yeah there are certain things to enjoy about positive decline. From needing (not my words) £4000 per month to 'survive'. We now need less than 10% of that. Income down a lot, but necessary spending down even more which means although not cash-free pretty damn close.

One good days work a week and we can live really well :) A weeks work and we can invest in more money saving. It's unusual being poorer than ever, but feeling richer than ever!
Live, Love, Learn, Leave Legacy.....oh and have a Laugh while you're doing it!
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Re: Curren: 6 ways to become more miserable

Unread postby Quinny » Thu 12 Dec 2013, 18:20:12

Quinny wrote:Yeah there are certain things to enjoy about positive decline. From needing (not my words) £4000 per month to 'survive'. We now need less than 10% of that. Income down a lot, but necessary spending down even more which means although not cash-free pretty damn close.

One good days work a week and we can live really well :) A weeks work and we can invest in more money/energy saving stuff. It's unusual being poorer than ever, but feeling richer than ever!
Live, Love, Learn, Leave Legacy.....oh and have a Laugh while you're doing it!
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