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11 thoughts on “Open Thread

  • May 1, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Most Katrina Aid From Overseas Went Unclaimed

    In one exchange, State Department officials anguished over whether to tell Italy that its shipments of medicine, gauze and other medical supplies spoiled in the elements for weeks after Katrina’s landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, and were destroyed. “Tell them we blew it,” one disgusted official wrote. But she hedged: “The flip side is just to dispose of it and not come clean. I could be persuaded.”

    What we have here is a government that is utterly incapable of even helping itself or it’s victims, err.. “citizens”.

  • May 1, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Earth Restoration Services is promoting more intervention and preservation of the Earth’s natural resources.

    But I think their value judgement on how we could do that is faulty. Read the link above first. This was my comment to it, which they may or may not publish:

    Environmentalism is incompatable with capitalism. Preserving ecology does not promote the economy. Our existing social structures are totally inadequate to deal with this imbalance.

    It is not economic and military “aid” that it needs to be harnessed as you claim. These are the very institutions that created the problem in the first place. They need to be dismantled to allow for the natural restoration of the Earth to begin.

    It is impossible to “manage” the planetary ecosystems. This has been tried around the world with dismal failure. The planet can take care of itself – we simply need to leave it alone.

    Unless you address the overpopulation problem, you are wasting your time. Unlimited growth in a finite world will achieve what we have today, every single time.

    Intervention by manking on “behalf” of the planet (to undue damage we did) doesnâ’t work. It only serves to further disrupt the natural restorative cycles and use ungodly amounts of energy and resources in the process. The net effect is a net loss.

    The only place where we can really make a difference is in “self-management” by dismantling the institutions that created the problem in the first place.

    The other thing we can do is learn some self-discipline as a species. The planet is not “ours” for the taking. The only way we will retain a habitable planet is when we relearn, once again, that we donâ’t own it. The planet owns us.

  • May 1, 2007 at 7:06 pm
    While the forum was open, I was going to eventually post some different topics that I have problems dealing with. It’s not that I haven’t thought about any of these things before. Increasingly I find that the more I try to learn different skills, read tons of articles, and think about how surviving in a resource depleted world, the more discouraged I get. The best way to start off, I suppose, is to paste parts of 2 e-mails that I sent to Admin of SA.

    I’m not the greatest writer, so parts of it will look like scattered thoughts and rambling rants. The general theme of the e-mails was that I feel there are no answers for how I’m going to deal with the many problems as they arise because I’ve never experienced what I think will eventually happen. Also, there is no place I can imagine will be unaffected.

    E-mail 1

    Collapse is eminent. There will be no hiding from this. All will be affected. The longer we try to keep up the status quo, the more severe the die-off will be. There is no way that anyone can prepare for the long duration that this will take when it unfolds. I hold no illusions that I will be a survivor. When it happens in full swing, I will likely be in my 70’s. Long past the historical life span, and lucky to be alive. Yet, I can’t help but keep trying. Sigh.

    I have an idea as to what I should do. But, there are so many obligations to family, too many restrictive laws, unwillingness to take the hard road, fear, etc. Who wants to slap mosquitoes, be chased by bears, have limited medical care, little technology, hard life, no insurance of survival or food? The Matrix is all that I know right now. I can’t leave, but that is what I must do. I can not live without paying some kind of rent to the land owner. If I own the land, I pay taxes, and I must live by the laws. You can’t just go out and kill whatever you want for food. If you have children, they must go to school and you must provide them with what the gov’t thinks is proper lifestyle standards.

    Here is an example of the control that gov’ts have in regards to domestic animals.
    And a similar type story on an Indian Reserve.

    If anyone thinks they can just go out on a piece of land and do whatever they want to, they are mistaken. If you are raising animals or children, you better give them whatever the gov’t thinks is minimum for a decent life, or you will be charged. You can not let domestic animals roam around and forage for themselves. They are part of the Matrix too. If the authorities find a problem outside of what they think is normal, like death from starvation due to harsh winter, you will pay the price. You will not be able to own any animals, and the fines will be so steep, you would likely lose your property. The only place that anyone will be able to do whatever they want, is in areas that no one wants to live anyway. That might be too far for me.

    It’s sort of like my cat. He has a good life. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be restricted by my laws of living in our house. He’d rather be out eating, screwing or scratching whatever he wants to. But can he really? What insures his survival? Why would he think that he would do better than what he already has? Without my support, he would likely die. He has been brought up not to kill anything. His whole life has been confined to my house only. He knows nothing of his ancestral past as a obligate carnivore. Sure, he has instinct, but there would be lots of competition. He would be useless at hunting. The winters are brutally cold. Wrong choices would spell his death sentence. I would not bet on his survival. There is no experience to aide him. He would likely die without my hand outs.

    Just like me, he probably has an inkling of what he must do, but is not prepared in any way. He’s had opportunity to bolt out the door, but he fears the consequences of his actions if he disobeys me. He wonders, would I punish him? Would I just lock the door and never let him back in? Does he really want to sleep in the elements? He is in fact living in my Matrix. I control everything in his life. There is little chance of survival for him if he is ever on his own.

    In real life, there are choices. Even if I decide to leave, it may be jumping into the fire from the frying pan. I am not rich, not the strongest, the most intelligent, the craftiest, or the meanest mofo around. I’ve had a pampered life compared to human history. Our way of life is a trap. I am ill prepared for a sustainable lifestyle on all levels. So are millions of others. When the oil runs out, even the well prepared will be inundated by the sheer numbers and gov’t control. The elite will have access to the resources. I personally do not know of anyone in this category. Everyone I know is vulnerable to what happens next. First it will be the old and the weak, then we’re starting to talk apocalypse type stuff. The laws will keep everyone in place so they can not wander off.

    I don’t know the answers. I will be needing more food though. Thanks for placing my order, and thanks for listening to my frustrations.

    E-mail 2

    Of course. I would like to see some discussion about this. I don’t know if all of the e-mail applies, but maybe it does. I try to think of ways or lifestyles that need to be changed, what I think might work, and any skills I will need. What I really see is ; no solution.

    Some of my posts to the forum shows my inadequacy. “Only the lucky will survive?”, was a good example of my wondering who will make it. I realize full well that people make their own life, and that most of the time it is not pure luck for the reason they are where they are. If someone wins a million dollars, that would be lucky. But I have heard of many that couldn’t hold on to this amount of money for either foolish reasons, or not realizing they must still live within their means, or their “friends” steal or beg it from them.

    Another post about “Lessons in chopping wood” is a true story. I really did think I would do ok helping my Dad clear some fallen trees and bushes. It was obvious that unless you actually physically do something, it is difficult to do it properly. If I never drove a car before, would I be able to if I read a book about it? Or saw someone drive one a few months ago? I would do better than someone who never read a book or even had seen a car before, but my skills would seriously be lacking compared to an experienced driver.

    All this inexperience aside. Here are some issues with preparedness that I see problems with in the future, no matter what lifestyle someone chooses.

    Living in a remote area is tough to do. Best would be with a group or tribe. But who is going to come with me? Who wants to live a harsh life now with very no luxuries so that maybe, just maybe, if they survive the dangerous life of a hunter/gatherer, they may have a leg up on all the sheeple that are totally unprepared? In the bush, a good cut may be life threatening with not being able to keep the wound clean. All sorts of things we take for granted now won’t be there later, that’s true. But do I want this to happen now? There are stories of people living in the bush now. Mostly guys on the run from the law. There will also be lots of other hardy young men with the same idea. There are some places around the mountains that don’t see a lot of people. But since it is too close to the city, it won’t be remote enough for what I’m thinking is going to happen. The mountains can only sustain so many hunters without depleting the wildlife. Without food preservation experience, a lot of game may be needlessly killed more often than is needed for survival, causing the problem to be worse and support less humans.

    Gov’t control. It’s a two way street on this issue. On one hand, we wouldn’t have all the things we have now if it weren’t for some sort of organization. The trouble is that as there is more control and a better life, there are also more restrictions and laws that will actually trap us in the vortex. As I have said before, you can’t just go out and do your own thing. There are laws against that. It’s only going to get worse and more restrictive later. If you are singled out because of a problematic history, there may be more monitoring of your property.

    Family obligation keeps me where I am. A few months ago my Mom had another congestive heart failure incident. My Mother-In-Law fell and couldn’t walk at all around the same time. It was very busy around here when all this was going on. It’s more of an inconvenience, and we did take some time off work, and did whatever we could to help them with errands or doctor appointments. I thought at the same time; “What would have happened in a resource depleted world?” How would we care for them? Can I just move away right now and leave them to fend for themselves? Do I take them with me? How much time and effort would be required to take care of someone that is old and disabled? Even if they get better, they’re not much help around the homestead anyway. Both these parents need full time care as it is. It’s not wise to bring someone into the group that can not pull their own weight. But what can be done? Leaving someone in the care of an institution alone is not nice. They tend to be not looked after as well if family is not around to say something.

    Tough guy. Obviously if I’m going to be living in a resource lacking world, I’m going to have to toughen up. Decisions are going to have to be made that are not now considered good choices. Do I let my neighbor starve? Do I kill him because he was nosing around my property? Would I bring him into the group? Maybe he has something I need or a skill I lack. Maybe he will help protect me for the common good of the neighborhood. Maybe he wants to take what I have and he is more of a threat than a stranger would be because he knows my habits, skills and resources. If I’m not skinny because I have lots of food, he will know it and want me to share. How do I deal with this? How does someone train for this? Have I got the balls to be ruthless? If I live far away from everyone this may not be as big a problem. But if I need help for some reason, where would I get this in a remote lifestyle?

    Living in the city or town. There are so many people that are not prepared, that it may be complete mayhem if things happen more quickly. But there are advantages like medical care, infrastructure, and commerce. The growing of food may be controlled by the gov’t. Access to energy for the food you are growing. This food will likely end up in the cities. Gov’ts will need workers, and resources. Cities are the best option for Gov’ts. Many people living in large urban areas may have no choice but to be a worker slave.

    Farming life. I don’t think this is a great option. Much of the land I see around my city requires a lot of energy to maintain. The prairies are rather quite dry. There are irrigation canals that supply the water to most of this land. You have to pay for the rights to use this water. This is controlled by gov’t and will continue to be so in future. Any one that has no access to natural water flows will be controlled to grow what, when and how, or their water will be cut off. Many of the conveniences that farmers have now will be too expensive to have because of the distances involved. There may be less competition for food by thieves and such, but it will be generally a poor life anyway. The large tracts of land will be too hard to farm with more expensive energy. A lot more manual labor and a lot more doing without. The topsoil is being depleted at a rapid rate. When the present farming methods can not be sustained, the land may turn to semi-dessert, just like it was before we got here, or maybe a lot worse.

    My choices seem quite limited really. Living in the city with intense competion and gov’t control. Living on a farm in the middle of the prairies that can’t grow a lot of food without a lot of energy inputs and also gov’t control. Living in the harsh mountains with no luxuries, isolated, and easy prey for a small band of nomads looking for something to eat. And if the gov’t finds me out there with my daughter wearing a bearskin, maybe I’ll be breaking some sort of law and be sent to the work camps and my kid will be taken from me for lack of providing minimum standards of living.

    One of the biggest obstacles will be gov’t control. They won’t want to reduce or let anything slide. There will also be a problem of feeding starving people. It’s called storing food now, it will be hoarding in the future. Many social programs will be stressed, but not given up. Some things just won’t be worth keeping, but the gov’t will try. And I believe that the gov’t wants us to be dependant on them for our needs. They have better control this way. I don’t see gov’t as bad. I see them as another element of surviving that will have to be dealt with. It’s no use to hold my fist to the sky and yell because it is hailing. I would just have to deal with it. It would not be wise to fight against gov’t control. It’s going to come and to fight it will be making the situation worse. I am just an average Joe trying to get by, and not get stomped on by the elephant.

    Nope. I really don’t see a valid option. We are all going to be facing some very tough challenges and decisions. I’m only scraping the surface. I may not be prepared or tough enough to have a future good life. Heck, I’m not even sure I can do it at all. When there is only so much to go around, there will be a die-off, and there won’t be a sanctuary anywhere. Unless of course, I’m willing to live in the most remote place possible. Alone, and vulnerable to the same troubles early man had for basic survival. If I decide to do that, I had better do it now so I can learn how to live in the new local environment that I have no skills for at the moment. It’s a serious decision, and not an option that I would look forward to in any way, now or then.
    I store food for the moment because “I hope” more, than “believe”, it will be a long grueling affair taking decades. Getting out of debt gives more options. Being in good physical condition is a bonus. Not dependant on bad lifestyle habits helps a lot too. Doing more things by hand may come in handy as well. In a slow collapse, the weak, vulnerable, indebted, and totally unprepared will leave us first. All I have to do is outlast them. Still, that won’t be easy and it will be emotionally draining if it is a family member that will be dying early. But it may be better than an old inexperienced guy trying to make it in the bush.

    (End of e-mails)

    Anyone else feel as inadequate as I do for what’s coming? I know I’m not ready, and that bothers me.

  • May 2, 2007 at 4:53 am
    Hey Neargone
    I need to read your post but for now I wanted to respond to SA on the ERS post. They did publish your post but ignored the population issue and the irony that trying to restore the environment will continue to create the problem your trying to fix.
    John Michael Greer in his latest post talks about the religious element in civilization and I think the response to SA shows that the faith and belief in technology to save us is a mainstream dogma.
  • May 2, 2007 at 6:10 am
    Does anyone worry about the implications of so many people being off their medications that they have been dependent on for so long?

    I assume many people who are on outpatient life support drugs will just die within a few weeks. But, for the other common medications like antidepressants, it’s hard to know what will happen. Maybe the new way of life will make such drugs unnecessary… or, maybe these types will be exploited to do dirty work for someone else. Or, maybe they’ll just commit suicide. I imagine a lot of people will commit suicide. A life without motoring, golfing, and latte will seem very dire to some.

  • May 2, 2007 at 11:54 am
    Great post, Neargone.
    I really enjoyed the cat in the matrix analogy, as I can see that in my own fuzzball at home.
  • May 2, 2007 at 12:43 pm
    About the drugs. My cousin had a neighbor blow a gasket just the other day. He threw everything out the windows, furniture, pots, pans,dishes, even the cabinet doors. Then he plugged the drains and started flooding the apartment and the ones below. He tried to burn the place also, but being that every thing was wet and most of the fuel was outside on the ground…well? Swat was called in and everyone in the building was evac (no time to grab shoes or coats of course) out into the rain and wind for there “protection”. Even the kids who just got out of school and were boarding the buses were told to get off if they lived in that neighbor hood and where taken in the gym and given some lame story “for there protection”. The police blocked off the area “for everyones protection” which cause residents and parents to be unable to know what happened to there children or what was going on with there homes. And this took hours of course.
    I have told my family that this is a perfect example where the powers that be “for our protection” cause a situation to escalate from one guy off his meds and throwing a tantrum to an incident that affected many for no real threat. Who was really in danger?
  • May 2, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Here’s a link from 2004 what you can expect from the police. Long read, but worth it. And another from May 1, 2007.

    I’ve already responded privately to Neargone thoughtful post above, he brings up many valid issues. Anybody else?

  • May 2, 2007 at 6:50 pm
    I’ve been thinking about Neargone’s post all day. In a way it’s good to hear that others are completely stumped by the implications of the collapse–I know I am. I believe discussing such concerns was one of the strong points of the forum…the problem seems to be that no one knows the solution!

    I sure wish I had more to contribute because I know many are looking for answers. I am personally trying to move away from the matrix in small steps. I find each increment opens new horizons for me. For example, farming may seem like an unobtainable goal at first glance (from the city perspective), but upon closer investigation, a small garden may supply all the food one needs if properly maintained. Living with mosquitoes and bears may seem weird, but I can assure you that–to country people–living in a crowded city appears similarly odd.

    In keeping with my incremental escape plan, I have finally quit my job in the city and am planning to move to a smaller community (this summer!) away from the crowds where I will rent. (Hey look, there are more rental places all of a sudden!) Then, as I become familiar with a smaller town lifestyle, I will search for a homestead in an even more rural setting. I know what I want to do and where I want to make my stand, but I’m just not ready to go cold turkey into the bush yet.

    And by the way, the further from the population centers one migrates the fewer nice government officers I would expect. In a collapse situation, I sincerely hope they have their hands full dealing with the cities!

    No one can predict what the future holds. But when the collapse overtakes me I may be in a better position to make a difference for my family and my new neighbors. My suggestion is to keep your eye on the goal and take it one step at a time.

  • May 3, 2007 at 4:51 am
    I think for me the biggest “answer” has been the change mentally I have worked towards over the last 2 years. This last year I seem to have gone through the grief process similar to “Kübler-Ross model”
    and now am able to work toward some plans. Will they be enough? I do not know but I will adapt to whatever comes along the best I can. I have accepted that this is the best I can do.
    A site that I came across with people writing there experiences as they wrestle with Peak Oil and what that means is
    I do have to say that SA on this site has the widest lens of what is going on in the world and a keen insight into the probable “break down” as we go forward. But until one comes to “terms” with what is outlined on this site it is too easy to be swayed from a overwhelming sense of futility as the problems of the world revel themselves to trying to maintain this civilization with “hopeful alternatives” and so get stuck, churning in a state of anxiety. A realistic paradigm is the only way out and getting there takes time and work.
    SA thanks for the links, “2004” I don’t remember that happening (which it did) but having an inside perspective………well I have added one more element to my plan. Being able to “see” what may come gives one a better chance of making a “good” decision, good being relative.
  • May 3, 2007 at 9:14 am
    I read the responses to my post and I’m satisfied to find that others are also thinking about their situations and how they will adapt in future. Everytime I come up with a new plan or variation on the theme, I also come up with hundreds of new challenges that puts crimps in it.

    Bigfoot, my plans sound similar to yours, in that I intend to move to a more rural area. The sooner the better. Although there are a few advantages to living in the city that I have mentioned, it will be far worse than anywhere else.

    Geoff. My mood seems to change from hope to despair and back again as I deal with the depth of what resource depletion and overpopulation really means. I browsed through peakoilblues. Thanks for the link and comments.

    That 2004 article was a long one, but worth the read. With each step that the author went through, I felt like I was in line with him. Waiting, hoping for the end, and then realizing it leads to the beginning of another line, and another search. The unlucky people not involved that just happened to be walking by getting sucked in to the mess, kind of describes my feelings sometimes.

    In my present life, I’ve had to deal with a few obstacles, adapt, and then life goes on. The bigger the change, the harder it is to adapt of course. Some seeming problems, actually turned out for the better. Sort of like a person getting fired from a job they really need, and then landing one way better. The change for the better would not of likely happened unless there was a need to solve a problem.

    Speaking of jobs. My employment allows me to see people at their best or worst when the shit goes down. It is troublesome to watch people and know that we are all more vulnerable than we think we are. Our technologies protect us a lot, while at the same time enslaves us to it.

    We are also very predictable in our actions. Sure, there are a few that attempt to go against the situation, but those individuals are stomped down quickly, and then others see that as an example of what will happen if you resist. The others don’t see that if all work together to help, huge obstacles can be wrestled and conquered easily. A single ant can not take down something bigger than itself. But a thousand ants can overwhealm a very large animal.

    Again, in real life, I’ve noticed that many people will give up all at the same time, or roughly so. Just when a person thinks it is time to give up, most of the others are thinking the same thing. Sometimes all it takes is a 5% extra effort to separate the A’s from the B’s to get the rewards.

    ‘Ever see those individuals that stand out against the crowd? They’re actually thinking about giving up to. But they know that you will give up first. Sometimes it isn’t the strongest, it is the one that is the most determined to acheive the goal. You can see it in their eyes that they are not going to give up before you.

    One advantage, or disadvantage of our traits, is that we have trouble coming to terms with reality. This is a systemic problem in the general population. I may prepare and do alright. But all the others that refuse to believe what will come eventually, makes it tougher on everyone. If we all worked together and prepared for societal collapse, we could reduce our needs and our population in a humane manner. Life wouldn’t be as bountiful as right now, but many wouldn’t have to suffer the same die-off scenario as the animal kingdom. Too bad that as a whole, we are no better, and we can not rise above our instincts.

    I am unprepared for what will happen when population is being culled by nature, or by designed plan. I will try to learn as much as I can, stock as much as possible, and move to an area that has a good chance for survival.

    I haven’t given up, or I wouldn’t be continuing on with my preparations. I worry less for my own life than I do for the ones I love. The recent incidents involving my Mom and my M-I-L made me realize that there will be many sacrifices that I never thought about before. I may have to decide who’s worth helping out, and who gets abandoned. I will adapt because I need to.

    The simplist (but not easy to do) preparations that I believe are important are; physical conditioning, learning skills, debt free, and mental attitude. I’m still working on the attitude, or frame of mind aspect. These skills or “readiness” are transferable to many situations. There may be no safe place to be, or enough food and resources to go around, but resiliance and adaptability will be the order of the day, no matter which way it goes down.

    Some of the real life stories that I have read about or watched a documentary about are inspirations and learning tools about how to deal with extreme situations. The ones that come to mind are; “Cheating Death in Bluejohn Canyon”, and “Touching the Void”. There are of course, others. The stories are well told and made me realize that people are able to do things that they normally wouldn’t conceive of.

    Thanks to all for relating your thoughts on the emotional, or psychological level of survival. I know it’s going to be hard work and I don’t mind that. Sometimes the gravity of the situation gets ahold of me more than other times. maybe I just want to put in writing to my Mom, sorry in advance, for the decisions that I must make in the future. And to my daughter, sorry we screwed up the world and didn’t leave much of any worth for you.

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