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Sat Aug 17, 2019, 12:56 PM

Do what you do [View all]

Found on FB, written by a friend.

I had a discussion with a friend a couple of days ago, and tatters of it clung to my thoughts.

She said that, yes, even though she doesn't dwell on it, she knows things are falling apart.

The gist of her narrative was this: people aren't stupid, they can see the country decaying into collapse, and they know the weather is changing for the worse.

She implied that people like me talk about it all the time, but don't tell people what they can do. It's because there is nothing they can do.

Even so, yeah, they get it.

Her point was pregnant with implication. It isn't nihilism or defeatism, it is pragmatism. Things are going to tumble, no one knows how soon or how bad, but soon and bad, and there is nothing to do for it but get up and go to work. For most people, if they don't do that, then the collapse is now.

Penn Jillette once made the observation that people do what they do every day. In a crisis, they do it more. After years of sociological study, I never heard it said more succinctly. Indeed, the stones and bones of past peoples bear witness to that. When the volcano rumbles, when the sea is dark with foes, when the heat kills the wheat and floods fall the ox, people will, until the last moment, do what they do, but desperately. And when it falls apart, for a time they labor to prop up their little corner. Until the stark realities that steer the stars and turn bones to stones overpower our need and belief, and if we live we are not who we were.

It makes sense; most people have little real choice about how they live. The daily need to eat and sleep already exhaust many people. Pragmatically, the choices are few. It is a Red Queen life, and while we can't muster the time or money or energy to do more.

If they could, what would they do? Collapse isn't something you can prepare for, really. Preparations for tomorrow fall apart the day after. Grow food, to stave off starvation, but then someone steals your food. Join together for mutual support, but then some are rewarded more than others, or perhaps our numbers draw the attention of larger groups, and we all starve. Buy guns to protect yourself from raiders, but raiders will kill you for your guns. In the end, the choices are few.

Really, the reason the Green New Deal, and the Club of Rome, and for that matter, Donald Trump have any listeners at all is that they promise to somehow allow people to keep doing what they are doing.

My endurance for all things apocalyptic is spent. I'm writing less and less because I've said what there is to say. My friend's subtle admonishment tumbled the last of my voice. There is little to add.

Garden, go fishing, do what you do.

Enjoy the day.

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