[I wrote this a couple of years ago but never published. It appears as applicable today as it was then – Admin]
A while back, I picked up a book titled “The Worst Case Scenario“, which goes through a variety of situations where you would need to make a life-or-death split second decision, such as how to escape a flooded vehicle, or a burning hotel room.
There are about a hundred different possible situations that you could find yourself in the book and the decisions you would need to make and why.
I’ve read through the book and thankfully, most of these scenarios have never happened to me. But knowing what you could do, and what you should do, is valuable knowledge. This is “book knowledge”, not something that will always translate into real life decision making.
The “worst case” is often thought to be the most dramatic, or the most violent, or the most wide-spread. We tend to put these extreme definitions on anything we would label the “worst case”.
This however, may be a fatal flaw in our understanding and comprehension of what the worst case may actually be, because it fails to even recognize or acknowledge those conditions where danger, decline or degradation is already upon us, and how these accumulated effects can sometimes be “the worst of all”.
I think that this is happening now. The “worst of all” outcomes is unfolding right now, and very few people have been able to recognize this real threat because everyone else is still looking for the “worst case” events that meet their imagined definitions, while generally ignoring the real reality unfolding around them.
We’ve set the bar too high in other words, at least as far as what reality is actually telling us. The familiar becomes comfortable, while the danger it represents goes unrecognized.
The “worst case” we envision is very often just a simple product of our overactive imaginations, few to none which actually ever come true, supported by our superstitions and our fears, but reality on the other hand, is something altogether very different, and it is this real-world that I strongly suggest we learn to deal with.
I’ve harped on this theme before, dealing with the real world and not the one in which we imagine bogey men and space aliens, or whatever the case may be. What is more meaningful, more real, more experienced each and every day, is the real world unfolding around us.
I am definitely not making light of this real world. In fact, I want to bring attention to what I think the worst case scenario that is now happening in the real world. Consider the following scenario:
Imagine where the denial of truth, distortion of facts and ridiculing of science is considered “smart”, and “responsible” behavior, and where educated and experienced researchers and scientists are considered dumb, stupid, dishonest and corrupt.
Imagine living in a world where lies of all forms and types are accepted as truth; where facts and evidence are considered “fabrications” and “misleading information”, which are attacked, maligned and denigrated. Imagine where corruption at all levels is encouraged and richly rewarded with bonuses, vacations, kickbacks and bribes; where judicial investigation and malfeasance into these activities is thwarted, stonewalled, derailed and shutdown.
Imagine where cronyism and nepotism run rampant; where hard work and honest labor are shunned. Imagine where “getting ahead” relies on cheating the system; abusing co-workers and telling lies; where the best financial rewards go to the most corrupt and ruthless; where careers and reputations and riches can be made in an instant of opportunity and populism.
Imagine a world where domestic jobs are outsourced to poorly paid slave labor in foreign countries; where national manufacturing levels drop below a measly 10%; where every single product consumed is shipped thousands of miles from its source to the consumer at enormous cost and resources; where local resources, skills, talent and abilities are often unrecognized and underutilized in the quest for the cheapest labor costs and the highest profit potential.
Imagine the vast, global network of manufacturing and transportation required to permit all this, the megalopolis of factories, armies of foreign workers, ships, trucks and roads, the millions of miles of highways and nearly endless stream of newly-built factories and workers required to sustain all this “global trade and commerce”. Imagine the 24/7/365 days of perpetual motion and billions of gallons of crude oil being consumed to keep this all “running” every day, every month, every year, always faster and faster and at greater profits.
Imagine the seemingly endless supply of raw resources being mined, extracted and manufactured into millions of interesting widgets and whatnots, some useful, many not, millions and billions of trinkets and toys and wonderful things, all endlessly pouring out of a world-wide network of factories and mines, devouring entire mountains of harvested and processed materials, belching out and ejecting vast oceans and mountains of waste, byproducts, and toxic poisons into the soil, water, and air, hidden out of site in remote locations, buried underground or dumped into the sea.
Imagine vast forests of belching smokestacks and waste water pipes increasing “productivity” at night, out of sight, moving trainloads of toxic and hazardous materials into secret locations, secretly dumping their foul loads into the atmosphere, groundwater, the world’s oceans, and neighborhoods.
Imagine decisions making being made half-way around the world by faceless unaccountable bureaucrats who have never even set foot in your country, your region or your town, making life-or-death decisions for your very survival, economy, resources and food supply. Imagine the global communication of a massive spider web of satellites, cell towers, telephones, wires, fiber optic cables and relay stations where instantaneous decision-making “power” can be executed as swiftly as a bullet.
Imagine darkened rooms and lit computer monitors being closely watched as high-flying drones drop hundreds of tons of bombs and munitions on faceless humans, mothers and children, controlled from tens of thousands of miles away. Imagine the non-accountability of murdering innocent men, women and children and the victims of “collateral damage” that result. Imagine the rising rage, anger and secret plans and meetings of the victimized. Imagine where bombs, bullets, knives, planes, cars, and trucks piled with hate, anger, and revenge mow down and blow up more victims in a never-ending rise of poisoned injustice that spans the whole of the entire world.
Imagine boardrooms and secret meetings being held all over the world, were unaccountable governments and gigantic multinational corporations compete for control and ownership of the world’s population, resources and economic power. Where decisions by complete strangers are made affecting millions, even billions of souls, affecting their standards of living, working wages and their opportunities for peace, advancement and development are weighed against dwindling resources, economic policies, and political “necessities”. Where war is waged killing millions for expediency, natural resources, economic control and political power.
Imagine where entire regions of homes are flooded by massive super-projects or destroyed by carpet bombs, where imminent domain means your home, your job, your rights to life itself are nothing more then chess pieces on a global board controlled by the faceless, insensitive and uncaring masters in distant locations. Where entire countries are divided, destroyed and delivered to be unwilling pawns in a global game.
Imagine a world where citizens receive no or little benefits, declining support, poor medical care and rising costs, and are harassed, spied on and secretly investigated for crimes of dissent, opinion and disagreement with national policies. Where 800+ military bases originating from just one country exercise global power and control over billions and billions of people, governments and economies, replacing outdated notions such as “national defense” in favor of economic oppression, corporate control and corrupt puppet governments erected around the world.
Imagine a world where conformity and acceptance is incessantly pounded into every head from every news source, every newspaper, every television station, where coercion replaces cooperation, where incessant media brainwashing is “advertising”, where subliminal messages are found in everything from diapers to dishwashers, cars to coal factories, prescriptions to prostrate exams.
Imagine paying sports figures millions of dollars per year and teachers, educators, instructors, scientists, pilots and a numerous other professional, educated professions poverty wages. Imagine deifying the former as “superstars”, “V.I.P’s”, and important personalities, people our children should aspire to emulate, but only if their declared “nationalists” align correctly. Imagine making professional education and career choices so expensive, prohibitive, and nearly impossibly regulated and so out of reach that only the most determined or obtuse would seek to enter these fields. Imagine making the rewards they might receive a pittance compared to the glory, glamor and attention given to the “stars” — celebrities, sports stars, media personalities paid obscene wages for simply babbling along on television.
Imagine where pretending to be another person pays ten thousand times more then just being your real self. Imagine where only the privilege, pampered and protected are given a real voice to reach the world, and everyone else is forced into social media obscurity, fighting over the crumbs of “popularity” controlled by the media, search engines and social networks.
Imagine a world where millions of the dispossessed and homeless add to their numbers daily as homes, jobs and opportunities are somehow “lost” to malfeasance, corruption, criminal activities and treasonous crimes against families, individuals, communities and entire regions. Imagine the sheer amount of despair, hopelessness, anger and resentment that grows and grows from the dispossessed and displaced, neglected and abused, where political crimes of violence and “protected” by corrupt laws, dictators and wanna-be tyrants. Imagine the racial divides, divisions and dissensions created as fascists come to power, preying upon the weakness and fears and paranoia of perceived “wrongs” and “attacks” upon the majority’s privilege.
Imagine where superstitions and fears, fabricated histories and flights of fantasy replace reality, facts, real news and evidence; where millions of people cling to mental delusions and imaginary worlds, where fantasy shouts out reality from bully pulpits and hallowed halls, where fake events become widely accepted “facts”, where fabricated “prophecies” and “fulfillment” become whatever is vogue and current, where crazy behavior, attitudes, belief and participation becomes protected activity.
Imagine dying oceans, acidic and toxic to marine life, where entire food chains are collapsing world wide, reefs disappearing, thousands of critical species going rapidly extinct, where algae blooms and jellyfish explosions replace everything else, where dead zones are growing by the hundreds, thousands of locations. Imagine massive reef systems turning white from super heated water and “bleaching” events, where rising sea levels invade low lying cities, towns and villages all over the world.
Imagine bread lines for the growing homeless and dispossessed, where the migration marches of the displaced swell into the tens of thousands year by year, armies of desperation for home, safety, sanctuary and security, where national issues on the daily news are denied, denigrated and ridiculed in superstition fear, anger, paranoia and xenophobia.
Imagine where the newly defined “crimes” of dissent, disagreement and opposition are met with anger, arrest, imprisonment, body scans, underwear groping and no-fly “lists” populated with the names of dissidents, children, grandmothers, journalists and activists. Imagine where protests meet “free speech zones” and chain-link cages, mass arrests and detainment, water cannons, truncheons and rubber bullets, broken skulls, broken bodies and trumped up charges.
Imagine a judicial system that suppress truth, dissent, evidence and malfeasance, where crimes of corruption, payoffs, sex scandals and bribery permeate the entire legal and “law” enforcement profession; where honest men and woman are bankrupted, ruined and blacklisted by the media, neighborhoods and employers for daring run “afoul” of partisan politics and the prevailing winds. Where manslaughter, wrongful death, improper shootings, wrong addresses, fake charges, planted evidence, stomped cats, aborted babies and murdered children are “occupational hazards” and nonpunishable crimes by our alleged protectors.
Imagine where the peoples true voice is silenced, manipulated and distorted, where lies, dishonesty and deceit triumph over honesty, truth, justice, fairness and equity. Where confusion and distraction reign supreme, distraction, “fake news” and delusional fantasies make national headlies, where entire segments of the population is so out of touch with reality that nothing truthful is even believed anymore.
Imagine a world where the family home is stolen, the occupants evicted and the bank still demands payments, where corrupt banks and mortgage lenders receive millions in free money while victims of these crimes are forced to foot this bill also; where criminal billionaire bankers are promoted and exalted, receiving millions in bonuses every year for their corrupt activities and adventures, where failed Wall Street executives are appointed to top government positions, where revolving door politics ensures that nothing never, ever changes, where corrupt individuals and corporate power remains firmly entrenched and in control.
Imagine a global environment that is treated like a gigantic garbage dump, strip mined and exhausted of minerals, water, oil, wildlife and trees; where every resource is a designated “commodity” and only valued for its price and usefulness to humans if rapidly consumed. Imagine wars being waged on a global scale as competition for these “commodities” as the governing reason for endless, senseless slaughter, occupation and genocide. Imagine species extinctions at 10,000 times higher then the natural rate.
Imagine where the climate swings widely away from historical norms, where truly massive ice flows rivaling entire states in size simply “disappear”, rivers of melt water supplying billions of people are forever “gone” and drying up, where depleted aquifers and river basins are reaching critical levels of depletion, where crops wither and die for lack of rain and irrigation, where animals drop dead of thirst and starvation, where millions of new refugees crowd into foreign countries, occupying inhospitable “camps” and “relocation centers”.
Imagine where storms of extreme ferocity and danger are considered common events at any time of the year, where homes, businesses and buildings are routinely wrecked and destroyed, where flood waters carry away billions of dollars in real estate value, where rebuilding costs begin to dwarf and overwhelm the ability of insurers, resources and people. Imagine where entire islands are being swept about by horrific storms and tens of thousands of people are suddenly evicted from their homes to live in squalor, suffering and insufferable conditions. Imagine where huge wildfires and gigantic regions are swiftly destroyed, devoured and consumed; where hundreds of homes are reduced to ash and cinders; where fire-season is now a year-long event and a yearly national disaster.
Imagine the Holocene Extinction as a term that actually has real meaning to the world’s billions of humans, and the reality of what “extinction” really means. Imagine a world that inexorably promises to get hotter and hotter, more and more extreme, and harder and harder in which to live and survive; where humans despite constant clear warnings choose to ignore the rising perils and signs of collapse of their civilization; where billions of tons of greenhouse gasses continue to be pumped into the atmosphere, year after year, where the effects of this irresponsible activity are simply broadly ignored despite the rising costs in disasters, storms, suffering and injuries.
Imagine a world where polluting corporations are authorized and permitted to continue to deplete the environment, pollute the air, water, soil and sky, where toxic wastes and “byproducts” to the excesses of civilization are considering allowable and even necessary, where profiteers and lobbyists pressure Congress and politics to even increase their dangerous activity, where control of the world’s biosphere passes from hand-to-hand among the richest and most powerful, where the future of humanity is considered “too far off to worry about” as the destruction and depletion continues at break-neck speed.
It would be hard to imagine a reality that is in actuality much worse then this actual reality. Only in our imaginations can we “envision” something somehow “worse”, which thankfully never seems to happen (so far) — thermonuclear war, plague, invasion, asteroid strike, or some other extinction-level event.
But we need not “imagine” anything more or what we cannot already see as real – we’ve already guaranteed our extinction through the creation of our civilization and how it actually behaves and functions. We have already created the worst-case scenario for ourselves, and we’re still mostly ignoring what this means. We’re running out of time to wake up to the reality of the world we’ve built and what the true price of our apathy is going to cost us all.