The Significant Generation
In the many years that I have been in this “collapse theme”, regarding our society and civilization and the future that lies before us all, I have come to fully embrace the viewpoint that future planning is an absolutely essential and critical activity — for each and every one of us.
We do not live in the same world as before, where we were at least mildly assured of stability, progress and long-term (lifetime) security.
There are too many toppling dominoes falling down around us now, too many variables, too many “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns” for us to pin our hope on our past expectations and experiences. This means that for many of us, our own experiences cannot be trusted as our guide — we must now very carefully listen to the evidence and the reason (logic) and what these are both telling us.
We cannot rely upon the rest of society to adequately plan ahead for us (or even themselves) either. There is only little evidence that adequate steps are being taken now and unfortunately, it is the same response we have seen before — too little, too few, and too late.
These are the facts, and they should be our warning signs and our “orders” to seek to forge ahead on our own as responsible humans beings. Planning ahead, even well beyond the expectations of our own lifetimes, may seem unnecessary to some, but in just ten years from today, far more people will understand this as an essential and critical activity that we all need to embrace.
I will be planting an orchard next year, but I have no expectations that I will reap the harvest. Essentially, I will not be doing this for myself, but for my kids and their kids. On things more immediate, I have brought in a 4 – 5 years worth of wood supply (heating). For long-term, I’ve planted over 600 (firewood) trees, and installed a major water system.
On big projects and small, I’ve tried to embrace a multi-generational approach towards future planning. I believe that this is very much an essential part of “today’s generation”, especially for the older folks, who should have the wisdom to lay a collapse survival foundation and the necessary assets for the next generation.
It takes quite a bit of time for some of these things to mature, such as an orchard, or even a sustainable garden. You cannot just go out and plant a garden and expect to survive on its production, you will quite simply starve to death if you try this. It takes years of effort and gained skill and experience, along with quite a few setbacks along the way, before you can even provide a reasonable fraction of the daily calorie intake that you will need.
The younger generations lack the foresight to fully understand what is happening in our world today (especially the very young). They also lack the essential resources, most of them being landless peasants, stuck in menial jobs with no real future prospects, or simply unemployed (or under-employed). Many are entirely dependent on the system for their daily survival. At present, over 48 million Americans are receiving food stamps, both young and old. Home ownership is at an all-time low. Indebtedness and debt servitude is at an all-time high. The very existence of hundreds of millions of Americans, and indeed billions around the world is almost entirely dependent on the maintenance of the status-quo.
The failure of any major system — economic, labor, banking, government, agriculture, climate, water, environment, will virtually spell the death of millions of people, who will utterly collapse when any of these major systems falters. The reasons should be obvious — their failure to plan ahead to accommodate for any declines, and their almost complete lack of land-based resources to ensure their survival.
Most of these resources are locked up in the hands of others, who dole out what the landless peasants need in order to survive. But it is all very much dependent upon the existing paradigm and its continued operation and function. Should that change due to collapse, riots, control, disease, depletion, catastrophe, or for any reason at all, then the lives of millions will be at stake in very short order (in a matter of days).
It is dead obvious that our way of life is neither sustainable nor healthy. It was quite stupid of us with our short-sighted thinking to even construct such a civilization that has so many inherent weaknesses and built-in dependencies and their myriad shortcomings. It was also unbelievably wasteful and destructive. Irregardless of how we may feel about any of this, it is what we still have today and we must accept that reality.
Planning ahead then becomes the responsibility of all, but especially upon those who can. The very young cannot, nor even truly comprehend what lies ahead, yet they are the very ones that depend on us to do this for them. The young but ignorant, or carefree cannot either, because they lack the knowledge and awareness and quite probably the assets to do so. The older and more mature, but still in denial (a staggering large number in the hundreds of millions in this country alone), also lack the knowledge or the concern. Planning ahead can only be done by those who have the awareness, knowledge and even the time ‘left to them’ to make the effort.
This narrows it down quite a bit. This means that there is only a very small percentage of the population that have the age requirement, knowledge and awareness requirement and the means and asset requirements, to ensure that some of the future generation has other options besides 100% “total dependency” upon the collapsing status-quo. This is the “significant generation” that I will refer to later in this article.
I think that this awareness is hugely significant, because it has other meanings too. If the rather large majority of the population cannot break their dependency upon the present paradigm and its survival, because they lack the means, willpower and knowledge and/or desire to do so, what do you think this means? It means that survival of the current paradigm is essential to the lives of billions.
For the sake of argument then, this means that all of these people, these billions and billions of people, are at an elevated risk of survival, since their dependency is all externalized and dependent upon everything else. They exist (live) because of others, who provide everything for them, food, clothing, water, shelter, money, jobs, welfare, food stamps. None of them actually exist because they have the means or the knowledge to provide for any of the things for themselves. They exchange the labor of their lives for shopping power, but this is not an enabling existence, it is just the opposite.
Those that do even some of these things for themselves are at a reduced risk of survival (or at least, reduced dependency).
There is simply no possible way for the world’s billions to make the switch from 100% total dependency to 100% self-sufficiency. This is not even possible for the significant generation either! We’re all leaning, many more heavily then others, upon the production capabilities of our civilization. Food, fuel, clothing, water, energy, lumber, transportation, mining and manufacturing, modern agriculture — to produce those things we need. We ‘labor’ for these things at our places of employment, exchanging our time and talents, whatever they may be, for money.
The entire scheme of things has been rightly described as a Ponzi scheme by the way. In a Ponzi scheme, it is always the ‘last to join’ that gets screwed over. This is also true of human generations today, the next generation, and the next one after that, are going to get royally screwed over in increasing levels because of how we have constructed our civilization today. Everything about the modern world is being specifically designed to cater to just us, this present generation and those alive today. Little thought or regard is being given to what happens next in say 50 years, or a 100. It is hard for us to fathom that this is our own kids we’re talking about, or our grandchildren, but this is what this means.
Right now, we are squandering essential and critical resources like crazy. Water, land, forest, soil, oceans, oil, minerals, even the very air — it is all being “spent” very, very quickly trying to build “civilization” up ever higher and higher. This entire process is based upon very destructive human behaviors that spends now with no regard towards the future. It creates a global population that becomes entirely dependent for their daily survival on external entities, multinational corporations that pump out an endless stream of products, goods, food, even water for our daily survival. Our dependency upon them is our incredible weakness. Their survival has become our survival. It is 100% unsustainable in the truest sense of the world.
Along the way, they have also made it extremely difficult and even illegal for us to go off on our own and break free of their control. For example, you cannot start a business without permission, permits, licenses, taxes and so forth. They don’t want the competition, and if you do, you are regulated. You cannot even live off the grid in many parts of the country, this too has become a “crime” in the eyes of the life-police. You cannot build a house, have livestock, sell raw milk, or even hunt for your food without special permission slips (which are often denied).
You are not allowed to live off the land either, or beg, scrounge or “survive by your wits”, this is considered “homelessness” which is also a crime. Essentially, everyone is supposed to be plugged into the system somewhere, somehow, all laboring and contributing to the survival of the current paradigm. But this paradigm is incredibly destructive and self-defeating in the end. The money your forced to contribute (extortion) is spent on all kinds of things that nobody in their right and reasonable mind would agree to. But your objections to this insanity are met with stony silence, disinterest and even batons and mace if you object.
When I write oftentimes that we are all “owned and controlled”, I really and truly mean it. Our very lives, our daily existence, the things in which we are allowed to do and the things we are not “allowed” to do, have become an intolerable existence for some of us. We perceive that our civilization is becoming ever-more controlling and intrusive, ever more distrustful, ever more restrictive, while at the same time destroying the lives of millions with absolute impunity. Our rightful objections to this activity go unanswered.
But perhaps even worse then this is how this has become our actual existence and subsistence, with its survival our survival. And the survival of this present civilization is by no means assured, no means guaranteed, and even undesirable anymore. Why should we permit it to continue to exist anyway, when it kills with impunity, pollutes with abandon, destroys so much and restricts life itself?
These are thoughts that some of us have had. Many have tried to change the system from within, but the facts remain that the utter failure of these efforts (by the thousands now) demonstrate that there are fundamental inherent problems, truly intractable problems with making these essential and necessary changes.
I do not personally subscribe to “change within”. Your mileage may vary, but I do not believe that this is actually possible. My own study and research has amply demonstrated to me that it is always “too little, too few and too late”. I do not subscribe to the view that our present civilization can change itself in time to save the next generations from severe suffering and decline. This will happen. The entire premise of our present civilization is deeply flawed and fatally self-destructive (and very short-sighted). It is not even remotely geared towards equity, life, sustainability or future planning for the next generation.
Therefore, I have long ago abandoned the notion that we are going to fix what is wrong, as we progressed further and further in collapse. But this does not free me from concern either, in fact it has done exactly the opposite. How does the next generation cope with far less? What about their survival? What is actually being done on their behalf?
Do I entrust the survival of my own children to all these external dependencies, when I see them failing right now, all around me? Or do I realize that it is really up to me to do something about it?
Oil depletion, climate collapse, rare and critical trace minerals depletion, environmental collapse, resource depletion, these are all things happening in my lifetime and I will personally see them all get significantly worse, which means my own kids are going to have to suffer through what is even worse then I’ve seen or experienced. Who or what is being done to ensure that they will have the essential resources, skills and means to help them? Do I relegate them to the total dependency that my own generation has now long embraced (on failing systems)? This is the definition of insanity.
It actually is up to us to plan ahead. If we care at all. If we embrace any concern for their welfare and future. They are going to need what we do today. It will take a whole bunch of “todays” all aggregated together and accumulated to make any real difference in their lives tomorrow. A lot of planning, sweat, labor and effort. What I’m building here is almost entirely on their behalf, not mine. I’m “covered”, knowing already my existence and survival needs are basically met. I’m living on the decline of all things and so are you. We’ve got enough left still to ensure we will “make it” for at least a while longer, but we don’t have enough left to ensure that they will.
What we have done is a crime against all humanity of the worst sort. We’ve expended their substance in a squanderous party of revelry and abandon. Our endless and brutal wars, our military, our cities, our global fleets of trucks, planes, ships, trawlers, our mega-farms, our destruction of forests, our depletion of watersheds, rivers, aquifers, our unbelievable levels of pollution, our environmental “accidents”, our banking system and fiat money, indebtedness and debt-slavery, our promotion of greed, celebrities, riches, our global corporations and ownership of entire countries — it’s all evil and destructive at the very core. We are virtually robbing the next generation of their livelihood and future.
And we don’t care. Not one bit. I see little reasonable evidence that we give a rats ass about any of it. Lip service, protests and begging for more crumbs from an unreasonable, out-of-control government and their corporate masters. Oh sure, a few people are banging their drums and waking up the sheep, but deep down at the core of these movements, we’re still demanding, demanding, demanding more for ourselves.
It is disgusting, vile behavior and should not be condoned by anyone. But few realize this it seems. We are now so far into overshoot and carrying capacity on this planet that any thoughts of “pulling back” are considered suicidal. It’s suicide for us to continue on this crazy path. Our entire civilization is built upon the premises of pushing ahead, consuming more, producing more — but this is absolutely false. Humans do not produce anything. They convert raw resources into something else — either mountain of pollution, piles of shit or temporary products designed to appease our demands for comfort. Everything we do is the result of what was already here in one form or another.
We convert these raw resources into things we want, but give little true regard to the total consequences of these activities. This is the flaw with our civilization and why it is collapsing now. It is also why we must now plan ahead for the next generations to come and make the effort today to ensure that there will be something left for them. We do not have the right, and we have never had the right, to destroy it all. Not for this generation, not for any generation to come. No people have this right. We need to stand against this absolute stupidity and insanity.
The responsibility for this actually does fall upon our shoulders. It cannot fall upon theirs, as this is a factual impossibility. It is us who is wasting the world, not them. It is our generation, and those alive today, that are responsible as sentient beings for the preservation and survival of the next generation of our species. This should be obvious.
WE are the ‘significant generation’, the ones upon who all of this falls to. We are virtually blind to this fact when it should be so utterly obvious. If we do not do it, who will? Who else can? It fall only upon us.
It is up to us and none other species, to preserve what is now left of the other beings on this planet. The entire biosphere is severely fractured and in serious decline. We all owe our ultimate existence to its health and continued survival. We must not continue to destroy and consume it all for any generation of humans in an orgy of self-interest. We do not have the right. It is self-defeating, ecocide, biocide, virtual suicide for our entire species.
What is “left” in the world, in the living biosphere, both large and small, is what our children and grandchildren will have for their survival. Whether a homestead, farmlet, vacant lot, running stream, or an entire forest, it’s what they will need in order to obtain their substance and meet their basic needs. We do not have the right to pave it all, or tear it up, or cut it down, or consume every last marine animal in an gluttonous feast of consumption and greed. We do not have the right to make a profit from it, by polluting, dumping, burning, slashing, bombing, poisoning or destroying. These are the faults and crimes against humanity by a civilization out of control, based upon greed, gluttony, arrogance and indifference. They are destroying us all and everything else on the planet.
I am planning ahead, laying down now the foundation for the next couple generations, here — while I still can. While there yet remains the means to do so. Before it all is destroyed. I am the signifcant generation and so are all of you.
Many blog authors in this collapse meme have given up, admitting in absolute despair and frustration to the fatal flaw of humanity: we are going to destroy it all. That may very well be true, I see no evidence that demonstrates this to be false. But the desire for life within me does not tell me to give up, nor my love for my own. How can I? I would have to deny myself, and this I cannot do.
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t quit, don’t stop, don’t fail. It all depends upon you and what you have done today.