The Knocking Under The Hood
"The Long Descent"
You'll see us use that term a lot here, "The Long Descent".
It goes hand and hand with "The Collapse." If you are new to this site then you have to be asking yourself, "What the heck are these people talking about?" Let me explain then why this site was set up and what we expect to happen in the Future.
And why YOU should be getting prepared to live in a World Made Harsh too.
First a personal confession though...
I've never owned a brand new car.
I know that is kind of a 180 from what you were expecting as an explanation, but bear with me for a couple of moments please...
It always seemed like when I need a new vehicle, I didn't have the money. When I had the money, I didn't need a new car. My Sister and Mother have both bought new. They have the frugal gene in our Family. My Brother and I both just pick up older cars, serviceable but with dents and rust.
The thing with older cars, is they have their own "music", sounds they make when they are happy. And sounds that let you know when they aren't. People who own older cars always drive just a little bit paranoid. We know we are just one break down from a major expense. Bad enough and you are on a bus trying to get to work.
When you drive an older car, you learn to look for the signs. The unusual wet spots on the ground where you normally park. Might be an oil leak or engine coolant? Does it sit a bit different, leans one way or another, than it did before. Shock absorber going out. A weird noise when you hit a bump. Perhaps something wrong with the steering linkage? A new knocking under the hood when you first start up. Maybe a problem with the engine?
See you might not know just "what" the problem is, but you gain a fine sense of when there is a problem.
There's a knocking under the hood of the Engine of Civilization. One that is getting louder and louder.
Its not hard to notice the problems facing us.
You see them in the news at 5 pm as you sit on your couch eating dinner. You see more in the morning as you have coffee and browse your home page on the Internet. You hear them discussed around the refrigerator in the Company lunch room. You hear them on the radio as you drive home from work.
Something wrong in the Oil Industry or unrest in the Middle East = Your Gas Prices Are Going Up.
Drought, wet weather, bad harvest = Your Food Prices Are Going Up.
Government gridlock or silliness at the State/Local Capital = Your Taxes Are Going Up.
Bad roads, bad bridges = The Time It Takes To Get To Work Is Going Up.
Your Employer Didn't Make Its Numbers = The Hours You Work Are Going Up.
Up...And Up...And Up Again...
What doesn't go up, gets scarcer or smaller. Your hours at work go up, and yes you get overtime but if you look at the figures adjusted for inflation your pay didn't. For most of us, we still make what we did in the 80s.
And speaking of the past, have you ever really look at the size of products on the grocery store shelf anymore? That's not your parent's box of morning cereal. The box is the same but the portions inside have been growing less and less. We will complain about paying 10 cents more but ignore when we get 10% less for the same price.
Its easy to just turn up the car radio to drown out that knocking isn't it? It won't make the trouble go away, only make it worse when it finally decides to break.
The Engine of Civilization used to ROAR!
It was this sexy little two seat roadster that ran fast on the exploitation of the fruits of the Carbon Lotto. Millions of years of organic matter compressed. Stored sunlight. We found it in the ground first as coal then oil and natural gas, then dug it up, pumped it out and burnt it like it was unlimited.
Which it wasn't. Shame it didn't come with a warning label. Someone to just stand there and say "Don't Do It". Would we have listened?
If not "Don't", maybe just "Not That Fast".
We could have used that tremendous bounty more wisely. A small fire rather than a bonfire. I don't know if its something in our genes that drives us to excess when a resource is plentiful. We certainly keep doing it, over and over again. Throughout History you see examples where People get together out of the Dark. They establish themselves order and a civilization. That civilization grows and prospers, reaches for the Heights then at some point it all comes crashing down again. The Dark comes back.
Looks like the Frat Boys were partying hard last night, cause the furniture got tossed on the bonfire I see. It is a shame too, I liked that couch...
Unfortunately when you burn a bonfire, someone has to clean up the ashes the next morning. Charwomen we all will be this generation, sweeping up the dregs of those before us. That used to be a real job too. One of the servants would go round in the Manor in the early morning to sweep out the fireplaces and put new wood down. Now that job is left for the Lords and Ladies of the Manor to do themselves.
Sorry for the smudges on your face, Ma'Lord and Ma'Lady. Don't worry they wash off with some good old fashion soap and water. From here on, You and I, we will just have to learn to live on less.
Not many people want to hear that word..."Less".
You are going to though.
Unfortunately there are many forces out there who don't want you to hear that word. Some honestly believe that we are not facing a looming cliff of limits. Who think that science will solve it all. Or the Corporations and Free Market. Or...well insert your favorite savior figure here.
After all SOMEONE will fix it, right?
Many have a vested interest in keeping the status quo in place. The Oil Industry doesn't want you to cut back on your energy addiction to their black gold. If burning the last reserves we have puts more money into their pockets they seem perfectly ok with leaving our children a world over heated and scorched. Maybe they think their money will insulate and protect them somehow.
The French aristocrats thought the same before the Revolution.
Then there is Big Agriculture. Never mind that monocrop farming and pesticide over use is turning vast tracts of land into a near desert of infertility. And fertilizer run off is doing the same to portions of our oceans. As long as food manufacturers keep buying, they will keep producing in the same manner.
And lets not forget those Makers of Food. They have perfected a product that tastes so good, yet is so bad for you, that we face an epidemic of malnutrition and obesity.
Then there is the ultimate vampire squid with its arms in everything, the Global Financial Empire. I don't know where even to start with them...but it does seem, doesn't it, that no excess is out of bounds there. Criminal acts receive no punishment. Regulators leave jobs to become Lobbyists. Lobbyists become Regulators. Costs are born by the Public, profit is kept in private. To those high flying Lords of Money I just have a two words I hope they keep in mind...
Lampposts and Nooses. Those French lords and ladies learned how fickle the "Mob" can be.
There is a list of others, all working to ensure that their interests keep feeding from the pig trough. From the Big Box Stores who depend on cheap Third World labor to manufacture the products they sell, and then the governments of those same Third World countries who want their version of the "American Dream" and will pollute their air and water to get it. Insurance and Medical Industry that has no incentive to be efficient, since they literally set any price they want to charge for your Life, knowing you will pay.
The list is long.
I certainly understand their logic and their motivation. Unfortunately its screwing the planet. Its screwing me and you.
Those vested interests have money and their protect their agendas by using that money to buy political action and media access. They may cloak it in campaign contributions at barbecues to multi-million dollar ad campaigns on cable news but they know what they are doing. Protecting their place at the pig trough. They think that if they just keep saying the same thing over and over, "We have plenty, just keep doing what you are doing" that will solve things.
"A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth."
Know who said that?
Joseph Goebbels....Nazi Minister of Propaganda.
He helped convince a nation to walk a sizable minority of its own citizens into the ovens. Those who deny climate change, peak oil and resource depletion want you to walk your grandchildren into those same ovens of death and horror. They won't admit that. Maybe not even to themselves. Yet pursuing the way we do things now, amounts to that.
No one wants to be thought of as an evil person but when what you do, does evil things. You have no excuse.
Here is another quote for you by American Revolutionary politician Edmund Burke.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Is that too harsh for you? Well get over it. The World is about to get Harsh and the time to sugar coat the situation is long gone.
There is one vested interest I blame the most.
It is a group in our Society that truly has the ultimate power to effect change and rein in the abuses we all admit we hate to see. A group that has been absent from the discourse on the Commons, if not happy to let others take control, at least unwilling to accept any responsibility for their own Fate. A group that seems bent on hiding its head in the sand. Or in a bag of cheese puffs.
Its You and I.
We let this happen. We accepted the lies. We listened to them and said, "It must be the truth because it is on the TV (or Internet)."
We gave up our power in exchange for a handful of beads and a few comfortable blankets. Now that the visitors are strip mining our land and poisoning our water, we can only wonder at our own stupidity.
Or we can learn to do something about it.
(©: "Man with car on seaside" by Elnur)